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FROM SLAVERY INTO THE EIKŌN OF GOD

Gnosis-Sophia-Eleuthería-Pneuma

 

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TRENTON C. RINDOKS

RLGN 489

APRIL 18, 2016

 

 

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Introduction

The purpose of this theological prospectus is to address the areas of Metaphysic, Epistemology, Axiology and the Praxis of Ministry as it pertains to Trenton Clark Rindoks.  The views expressed is a completion of theological, philosophical and Christian counseling beliefs and is intended to support the general unified Body of Christ. The author therefore is presenting views to encouraging the multiplication of discipleship and advancement of inclusive kingdom fulfillment[1] while attempting to refrain from assumptions, doctrines and dogmas that would encourage the division in the universal Body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source and authority head of the unified body and originator of all things. Therefore, matters that endorse specific religious positions or secular views are avoided accept when such views are against the very nature and the relational Covenant of God himself.

Prospectus on Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the study of existence, creation and being – the origin and nature of all things. In the beginning, the universe was created from a formless void and was formed out of nothingness by a divine intellectual all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent being.  Thus, Essence begot existence. God is not bound by the boundaries of space, time, or substance.

In Greek “Meta ta Physika or things outside the natural “, often relates to occasions, or circumstances of a supernatural nature or beings of the spirit (essence).  The Greek Philosophers however believed in the corruptibility or mutability of the form (existence) and the fixed or unchanging nature of Essence (Spirit). Additionally Essence defines not only God, but thought, emotion, inspiration and morality. While some will contend these views are the basis for the concept of the soul  originated from Plato, one should consider that God as an omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient being revealed this general revelation to the Hebrews and in to many ancient civilization in a manner which was relative to their own understanding.

Using general revelation humanity can gain insight into the basic nature of all things. However, such understanding can be corrupted and becomes the basis for temptation leading to the worship of false Gods and then leads to immorality (Romans 1:19 24).

In Romans 1- 12 Paul builds a lengthy argument on how all humanity suffers as the children of wrath under the penal death sentence of Sin. A slave to the consequence and unable even through the Law to have eternal life. The nature of sin is thus, partially a genetic curse from our original parents and lack of obedience from our failure to realize the glory and power of God.

True freedom, understanding, and restoration into rightful relationship with God and creation comes only through faith and worship. This new freedom in Christ is granted by the atoning sacrifice on the cross and aided by the Presence of God, his Essence or the Holy Spirit. By faith and in the discipline act of worship and through the transforming unity of mind and heart we are restored to the Eikōn of Christ.

After our initial justification or declaration by faith through grace and mercy alone and the profession and committed that Jesus is the only means of Salvation and source of meaning and life one undergoes a life of obedience of faith and worship and continues the practice of spiritual disciplines in the ongoing process of sanctification.

Additionally, The Father is the embodiment of Existence, The Holy Spirit is Essence (Presence of Christ), and Jesus is The Son of Man and God having balanced qualities of both form and essence.

Jesus serves as our example of what God intends us to be.  This image or Eikōn is what was truly robbed from us by the initial temptation and act of sin when Adam and Eve chose to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3).

All aspects of creation are composed out of two primary components one is the element of Form (matter) and the other essence or Spirit.  Additionally, the view one holds on creation and humanities role within creation will shape ones worldview perspective. For Christians this begins with an understanding of God as the initiating agent of all creation. However, four views on how creation are subject to interpretation with in a biblical framework.

First, is the traditional or Young Earth View that God created the world in six literal 24-hour days and rested on the seventh day as recorded in Genesis 1:31!  This view refutes any claims that the earth is several billions of years old rather placing the age at no more than ten thousand years.

The Day-Age view holds the word day in Genesis refers to an unspecified duration in time or an era. “The Hebrew word Yom can indicated a day or a period of time such as a season (Prov. 25:13) or even a millennium (Zech. 14:1). Further support for this argument is given in Genesis 2: 18:20. “This verse states, Adam was assigned the task to name all the animals of creation (Boyd and Eddy 2009, 79).”

The Restoration View contends Genesis 1:1 is merely the initial act of creation itself while the proceeding two chapters are about the restoring of creation after an initial destruction of the first creation. The premise is that the first creation was destroyed in an act of judgement because of the rebellion of Satan and the Lord thus did not create the world as chaos (Is. 45:18). Rather  God, hovered over it or guarded it as he reformed it after the act of judgement and thus restored and gave it over to the care of a new created being Mankind.

The flexibility of this interpretation allows for the inconsistency in the description of night and day from day one and the description of heavenly bodies being created on day four after the initial creation of vegetation.

Additionally it provides a premise for when dark angels and the influences of evil appeared in creation.  This view leaves room for either a New Age or Old age interpretation of creation.

Furthermore, with the exemption of humanity and animals God did not use the word “create” but “made” for the element of creation supporting of a reformation out of preexisting elements of creation. “This allows for evolution and the possibility of an ongoing process in creation (Boyd and Eddy 2009, 84-89).”

The final view states the Moses merely chose to use the seven days format to illustrate the process of creation itself.  This view is called the Literary Framework View and points out that the intent of the author use of days was to prove a theme for creation and not a chronological outline on creation.

Many cultures of the near east speak of the world being engulfed in a primordial chaos, darkness or deep and from this formless void the creator created life. The outline simply uses a two-stage process of forming and filling and can be broken down in the following manner. Darkness: On Day 1 light/ separates darkness, which is the forming, and then on Day 4 is the filling of the Heavenly Bodies (Lights). The Deep: Day 2 is the forming of the heaven and the separating of the waters and on day five the filling of the air with the birds and the fish of the sea. Forming of Earth: on day, three Earth and vegetation are created followed by the filling of the world with animals and humans on day 6. When all was complete, God rested (Boyd and Eddy 2009, 89-95).

On the matter of Essence, souls, or thing of the spiritual nature such things are eternal and should be seen as part of God himself. Energy can never be created or destroyed.  The Bible tells us some things are a mystery thus a finite mind may never be able to comprehend that, which is only comprehensible to an infinite omnipresent, omnipotence, omniscient Eternal Being.

Additionally, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him, all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-4 NIV). Regardless of how one views creation one should diligently practice the Spiritual disciple of Biblical intake, studying, reading, hearing, meditating and praying on the Word of God. For it is the Word, which became Flesh and restored all humanity to the righteous of God through the crucifixion resurrection and gracious merciful gift of eternal life to those who are willing to live obediently in faith for the Glory of God in all manner of things.  In the Ascension, the Son of God conquered both sin and death and provided the mean for the restoration of humanity to the likeness of God.

However much of the world is still under the influence of the prince of darkness  ( John 12:32, Eph. 2:2) so we as believers must put on the Armor of God (Eph. 6), live a life in defense of the weak and against such forces of corruption, serve as steward of the earth. Furthermore, through the process of sanctification and the renewal of our minds (Romans 12) and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we practice perseverance and develop faithful disciplined life leading to a transformation of the heart and Gifts (1 Cor 12)  and Fruit of the Spirt (Gal 5).

 Axiology

Axiology is the study of worthy, significance and morality.  Thus, it can be simply defined as one’s need for significance and security.

The basis of humanities needs best be defined using Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Depicted in a five-layer pyramid, people are motivated to meet the strongest needs, first for physiological concerns such as food, water, and then progressing for needs at the top of the pyramid. The highest need is self-actualization or the becoming of one with creation, society, and fulfillment of human potentiality.  The needs from the base to the pinnacle are as follows, Physiological, Safety, Love / Belonging, Esteem / worth, and Self –Actualization. According to Maslow many individual do not reach self-actualization after developing a sense of worth / esteem (King 2013, 340).  However, those who have a relationship with God would tend to disagree.

The following five categories can be divided into two subcategories of significance and security and thus, only physiological need can never be fully achieved, as this need is an ongoing need. For women issues of security tend to be the major focal point while men tend focus on issues of significance (achievements / esteem / worth).  A predicament occurs when wants and desires are confused for actual needs.  Thus, distress and dysfunction enter into the minds and hearts of humanity and these desires become temptations within the mind and heart eventually manifesting into sin (Matt. 5:28, Romans 12:1-2).

According to the Apostle Paul. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NIV) and all humanity is a slave to sin (Romans Chapter 2, 3, and 6).  The only release from such bondage is provided in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23, Gal 5).  Self-actualization is simply the acceptance of obedience of faith after one receives the initial gift of salvation of grace and is declared righteous, or worthy and significant and thus enters a relationship or covenant with the triune of God.

Obedience of faith is the press of Christian Living, requiring renewal of mind, transformation of heart, and the ongoing process of sanctification. Furthermore, Obedience of faith leads to righteous living and a realization that every thought, feeling and action, every blessing received and every blessing given to others should be intended for the Glory of God for worship and the advancement of his kingdom. Obedience requires perseverance through gracious suffering, gratitude under every circumstance, and the exercise of sensible though and love to one’s best ability.

Finally, it is a commandment and not a suggestion to proclaim the Gospel and baptize others into the Body of Christ (Matt. 28:16-20).

The primary form of Baptism is the indwelling of the Spirit who is the instrument of faith, our comforter, protector, source of inspiration and “Presence of Christ” himself. Above all else, One should practice the Greatest Commandment of Jesus Christ “To love God and love others for in doing so one will keep all the other Laws (Matt. 22:36-40).”

The basic spiritual disciple needed is what I would define as practical worship. This involves living obediently by faith by placing trust in God for one’s needs and dying from the nature of flesh or the ways of materialism. Additionally, in the discernment of truth by the study, meditation and reflection on the Bible we are led to the awareness of what is Godly or of the nature of the Spirit and what sinful (of the flesh) or the nature of man and the ways of the world.  Furthermore, one should keep a consistent communication or dialogue with God by prayer (speaking) and mediating (Listening).  Worship requires keeping God in the forefront of the mind and by the practice of the disciple of love and in which God will write the law on the heart and will lead to transformation of Christ-Mindedness (Phil 1-6). This requires dying of selfish ways, giving, sacrifice, suffering, loving servitude, and community fellowship as well as independent development or spiritual maturation  and self -actualization.

Prospectus on Knowledge & Wisdom

Epistemology is the study and nature of knowledge, wisdom and love.

Knowledge is information gained through learning, awareness, perception, or experience. Whereas wisdom is the quantification and application of knowledge, experience, and practical information and other matters which shapes one’s perception leads to the ability to reason and discern data and what is truth and thus shapes ones overall worldview. Additional wisdom is simple practical reasoning or common sense whereas knowledge is the revelation of logical facts.

Gnosis or spiritual wisdom is the revelation of mysteries or that, which was once hidden and is now unveiled. This form of special wisdom or revelation is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit as illustrated in the Bible. However, much more is revealed to the individual and is written with in the heart, and comes only through inspiration, in discipline and obedience of faith spiritual intake, prayer worship and perseverance through struggle and triumphs of experience in life.

The Greek word Logos defines any form divine logic in a broad sense but specifically refers to the written or spoken inspired word of God. Thus, the Bible is inerrant in matters of revelation when God speaks, or when Jesus commands and is the infallibly source of faith, guidance of morality and conduct, providing wisdom in many matters of life when written as an inspired work of man.

However, one should never fail to recognize the value of general revelation as a secondary source of knowledge and wisdom. If one relies too heavily on one or the other one could easily engage in making an idol out of either source of knowledge.

The Bible states All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work ( 2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV).

General knowledge wisdom and inspiration can add to the works, provide a foundation, education, and experience and give insight on information not contained within the Bible. The key to understanding and obtain any knowledge and wisdom is the ability to study, meditate, and discern the truth from what is fiction. Also prayer leads to inspiration and all revelation is from God as God is either everything or nothing, (the source of all things) as indicative by his Highest name YHWH (I Am).

One cautionary note however, the devil’s greatest tool is deception. First, in convincing the world he does not exist and that he has no influence over any areas of creation.

Secondly and more importantly in the propagation of selective, and false teachings to propagate this grand illusion and to fulfill his desire for the expansion of his dark reign as the Prince of the world.

Finally, I must also restate that in regards to the origin of sin to humanity, Satan in the guise of a serpent twisted the Words of God and tempted Eve into partaking from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (morality). The result is the Generational or genetic curse. The predisposition of sin which resulted in slavery and death to all of humanity  but was fully repaid in full and  redeemed by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and the atonement on the Tree of Calvary. No human efforts or works can make one righteous. Only through receiving the gift of grace and mercy of salvation and by a profession of faith in our Authoritive Lord Jesus Christ can we be restored to the Eikōn or image that was robbed from us by the original sin of Adam.

This requires a transformation from the ways of the world and unification of the heart and mind so one can become a truly holistic[2] being, in mind, body soul and Spirit. Christ may be the Gateway to Eternity but the Holy Spirit is the Keys of Faith need to open the Gate.

Prospectus on the Praxis Brotherly Servitude

Praxis is the theory and practice of knowledge and education, disciple and structure.  Praxis in ministry thus is the equipping of individuals for brotherly servitude and evangelism or the proclamation of the gospel and the fulfillment of inclusive kingdom calling. We as Christians are under command by Jesus to first love God and secondly love others (Matt. 22:37-40)  Jesus also commissioned every believer to Go to all People regardless of culture or worldview and proclaim the “Good News” that all are redeemed from the bondage of sin and death. That through his death we all are worthy and significant. We in our profession of faith enter into a new covenant relationship, are transformed in obedience and faith with the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit. We in our obedience of faith and the practice of spiritual disciplines are transformed into a new creation and enter into his Eternal Living Body (Matt. 28:16-20, Rom. 12-15).

This new body or Eikōn is one of his likeness of Christ. Thus, one should work toward achieving Christ-Mindedness (Phil. 1-6). Christ-Mindedness can be best explained as the lack of boastful, pride, a becoming of a bound servant to Christ and thus a servant to all those whom we minster to.

Furthermore, one should work to achieve resisting the temptations of the ways of the flesh or immoral desires of sin by the transformation of the mind, by sensible thinking, and living the ways of the disciplines of the spirit (Romans 12).

Above all else, Christ-Likeness is the realization that all things come from God, are done for the glory of God to advance the kingdom of God, which is the ultimate plan of God.  The ultimate purpose of God is to include all people of every people group in his eternal kingdom. Unfortunately, some will chose not to receive or hear the message out of either defiance or ignorance and thus will face possible condemnation during the final judgement in the End of days.

In order to bring hope, peace and love to a fallen word requires perseverance, Spiritual, Intake, Prayer, meditation and the empathy. Additionally, one should apply their own experiences both positive and negative as a personal testimony. Furthermore as a walking and living  example of our Lord and Savior one serves as blessing and example to others  A blessed and gracious life of faith can do more to illustrate  how unrestrictive freedom comes from Christ alone and not from any form of the Law (Gal 5). In addition, a blessing given but not shared or the hoarding of processions may become a curse and lead to the worship of things and not of the Living God who provides all things and holds the fabric of creation together. We through the provisions of blessings and the discipline act of sharing of such things serve a beacon of hope and encouragement.  We also serve as comforters and in empathy embody the “Spirit of Love” that plants the seeds of faith that lead others to Christ (Is. 42).

 Experience vs. Education

Many people mistakenly believe ministry work requires a great degree of training and formal education. While such skills and knowledge can prove to be a valuable asset such as the case with knowledge and awareness of foreign languages customs, formal theological training, leadership and evangelical strategies, and counseling skills, experience is often the most effective tool in the evangelist’s toolbox.

God is love and seeks a relationship with everyone. We are all created in the image of God but all of us have unique stories and qualities. Our unique experiences and attributes serve to build rapport with those who have similar experiences and qualities as ourselves. There are no coincidences or mistakes in God’s world and God has never created anything by mistake or anything that is flawed.

Although we may error or even chose to turn away from the will of God his perfection and love is never failing and God never turns way from humanity.

 Leadership & Empowerment Methods

When mentoring others first start by assessing strength and weaknesses.  While one should focus on encouraging a developing strengths the overcoming and awareness of difficulties is necessary for growth as well. “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Cor 1:26-31 NIV).’” The main principle here is by empowering interdependence by building on strengths and the correlation of the relation of a group dynamic and awareness of ones placement with in the group and within creation itself.  Empowerment is the equipment by relationship to meet the needs of those with similar backgrounds, interests and natures to more effectively teach others how to maintain to those needs efficiently in an interdependent relational manner of obedience of faith. This distinction of role is modeled after the relationship dynamic of the Holy Trinity and the uniqueness of one collective unified person each with individual roles or functions or personas.

The awareness that culture and subculture distinctions may be of a secular issue and not a relative issue of theological significance, or even against the nature of God, needs to be emphasized. Many meaningful missionaries have failed by trying to convert people groups to the ways of their particular culture and have lost the intended will of God in inclusive kingdom calling. It is important for those who are interested in evangelism to understand the divergence between biblical and cultural ethic. Guidance on this matter is outlined in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 (The Lausanne Covenant 2009).

Diversity and Sensitivity Training as well as the limitation and strengths of one’s own worldview allows the evangelist to minster to people who think, feel and act in manners that are in contradiction from their normal cultural or even theological perspective.

Finally, communication and conflict resolution strategy can be effective in any form of organizational development. The best form of conflict resolution is negotiation in which all parties are willing to give and take something during the resolution process. Communication is more about engaging in active listening.  Pausing and learning to interpret nonverbal communications is more crucial than is the actual act of transmission or communicating itself. “Ninety percent of all communication is based on nonverbal cues.  “Forty Percent is interpreted by the tone of the voice not the context or meaning of the words while 50% is determined by posture, facial expression, and other forms of body language (Clinton and Ohlschlager 2002, 209).”

In addition, metaphors and illustrative language and tools can serve as a great learning tool. Even within the Bible, only approximately 10% of the Bible is logical thought, 15% consist of works of poetry and the remaining 75% consist of narrative stories (Steffen 2009).

 Conclusion

May this prospectus provide insight and meaning in the areas of Metaphysics, Axiology, Epistemology, and Praxis. May the blind see and the deaf hear! May those who are in bondage of sin and death be released by the gracious merciful gift of salvation, and live the life of obedience of faith. Freedom of life outside the Law is granted to the Bond Servant of Christ alone for under the law no one is free (Gal. 5).

Bibliography

 

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

 

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

 

King, Laura A. Experience Psychology. 2nd. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.

Steffen, Tom A,. “Why Communicate The Gospel Through Stories?” In Perspectives On The World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D. Winter, & Hawthorne Steven C., 639. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

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.

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[1] Inclusive kingdom fulfillment is God’s ultimate plan to include all willing recipients from all people groups of every peoples regardless of cultural, national, ethic or worldview distinction. All humanity is created in image of God but is unique in their nature and personality. God does not discriminate based on one’s initial worldview but will judge everyone based on his or her sin. Initial citizenship  ( justification) is by faith alone but one is restored to the Eikōn through obedience of faith, worship, and transformation and unity of heart and mind and indwelling of the Spirit (  Theme of  Epistle of Romans & also Matt 28:16-20)

[2] The word holistic is a derivative from the word Holy, free from sin and wholly, or complete. Such both meanings should be considered in the true meaning of what to considered be in the image of God.

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