Christianity – Leadership, Teaching and Critiquing – Part 1

Introduction

From the outside, it sometimes appears that there is little actual critiquing within the body of the Church.

But, that is not entire true.

 

Terminologies

Here are some of the terminologies that one might come across.

Terminology Definition Link
Sacrificial
 Kenosis In Christian theology, kenosis (Greek: κένωσις, kénōsis, lit. emptiness) is the ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will.

The word ἐκένωσεν (ekénōsen) is used in Philippians 2:7, “[Jesus] made himself nothing …”[Phil. 2:7] (NIV) or “…[he] emptied himself…”[Phil. 2:7] (NRSV), using the verb form κενόω (kenóō) “to empty”.

Link
Atonement
 JDS  Jesus Died Spiritually

Jesus died spiritually (sometimes abbreviated JDS) is a view of the substitutionary atonement of Christ in which Jesus is considered to have suffered both physical death (on the cross) and spiritual death (in Hell) as the complete penalty for sin. In this view, spiritual death (defined as separation from God) is considered the ultimate penalty for original sin, and proponents assert that Jesus must have suffered the complete penalty for sin in order for his substitutionary sacrifice to be effective. Accordingly, those who support the JDS view also teach that Jesus was spiritually born again at his resurrection. Not all Word of Faith teachers believe that Jesus died spiritually. Many actually believe something similar to the Harrowing of Hell. The Word of Faith group does believe that the Harrowing of Hell was part of the plan of redemption. The Word of Faith movement does teach that Jesus himself was never a sinner and on the cross Jesus was forsaken by God for humanity paying the price for all sins.

 Link
Trinity
Hypostatic Union Hypostatic union (from the Greek: ὑπόστασις hypóstasis, “sediment, foundation, substance, subsistence”) is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.

The First Council of Ephesus in 431 AD recognized this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that the humanity and divinity of Christ are made one according to nature and hypostasis in the Logos.

 Link
Arianism  Arianism, in Christianity, is a Christological[1] concept that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was created by God the Father at a point in time, is distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the prevailing theological views held by proto-orthodox Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist but was created by God the Father. Link
Homoousion Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ hom-oh-oo-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantial or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.  Link
Governance
Dominion Theology is a contemporary grouping of theocratic ideologies that seek to institute a nation governed by Christians based on understandings of biblical law. Extents of rule and ways of achieving governing authority are varied.  Link
Holy Spirit Gifts Timeline
 Cessationism In Christianity, cessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the original twelve apostles. This is generally opposed to continuationism, which teaches that the Holy Spirit may bestow the spiritual gifts on persons other than the original twelve apostles at any time.Cessationism has various forms and can be classified in different ways depending on the questions and issues on which Cessationists disagree. Cessationism can be classified in two ways: (i) with regard to the question of a reemergence of the gifts and (ii) with regard to the types of justification for cessationism.
Cessationism can also be divided with regard to the question whether God still and occasionally performs miracles and healings or provides miraculous guidance.
 Link
 Continuationism  Continuationism is a Christian theological belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued to the present age, specifically those sometimes called “sign gifts”, such as tongues and prophecy. Continuationism is the opposite of cessationism.

Continuationists believe that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are still distributed today, are still in use, and are still needed in the church. The same Holy Spirit that the Apostle Paul wrote of, claiming that it gave him supernatural abilities, was also written about in the Old Testament, which claims that it also endowed such abilities upon those whom God chose to accomplish his works, as in the New Testament.

 Link
Church – Greek
ekklésia ekklēsía(from ek, “out from and to” and kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

ekklēsía (“church”) is the root of the terms “ecclesiology” and “ecclesiastical.”]

 Link
kyrios  The English word “church” comes from the Greek word kyriakos, “belonging to the Lord” (kyrios).   Link
airōn  Take Away  Link
Movements
Messianic Judaism Messianic Judaism is a syncretic movement that combines Christianity—most importantly, the Christian belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah—with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition. Its current form emerging in the 1960s and 1970s, Messianic Judaism believes that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and “God the Son” (one person of the Trinity), and that the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament both are authoritative scriptures.

Salvation in Messianic Judaism is achieved through acceptance of Jesus as one’s savior, and Jewish laws or customs which are followed do not contribute to salvation.

Indeed, belief in the messiahship, power to save, and divinity of Jesus, which Messianic Judaism professes, is the defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism.Other Christian groups usually accept Messianic Judaism as a form of Christianity.

 Link
Movements
Dispensationalism Dispensationalism is a religious interpretive system for the Bible. It considers Biblical history as divided deliberately by God into defined periods or ages to each of which God has allotted distinctive administrative principles. According to dispensationalist interpretation, each age of the plan of God is thus administered in a certain way, and humanity is held responsible as a steward during that time. Each dispensation is marked by a cycle. God reveals Himself and His truth to humanity in a new way. Humanity is held responsible to conform to that revelation. Humanity rebels and fails the test. God judges humanity and introduces a new period of probation under a new administration.Dispensationalism is a religious interpretive system for the Bible. It considers Biblical history as divided deliberately by God into defined periods or ages to each of which God has allotted distinctive administrative principles. According to dispensationalist interpretation, each age of the plan of God is thus administered in a certain way, and humanity is held responsible as a steward during that time. Each dispensation is marked by a cycle. God reveals Himself and His truth to humanity in a new way. Humanity is held responsible to conform to that revelation. Humanity rebels and fails the test. God judges humanity and introduces a new period of probation under a new administration.   Link
Sins
Unpardonable Sin Several passages in the Bible are frequently interpreted as referring to the unforgivable sin:

Matthew 12:30-32: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Mark 3:28-30: “Truly I tell you, all sins and blasphemes will be forgiven for the sons of men. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit’.”

Luke 12:8-10: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

 Link

 

 

 

Systematic Examination

Let us look through the History of the Church and see occurrences of introspection and questioning.

 

Jesus

Character

  1. Jesus Testifies about John
    For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’
    The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and of sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by her actions.”
    Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles had taken place, because they did not repent.… ( Matthew 11:18-20 )
    Link

 

Discipleship

  1. Jesus Heals  a man born blind
    So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”
    He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
    They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
    He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”
    And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
    We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”
    The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.
    We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
    Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.
    If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
    They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
    He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
    Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”
    He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
    Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see ( John 9:24-39 )
    Link

 

Trinity

At this, the Jews again picked up stones to stone Him.
But Jesus answered, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?”
“We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.
Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’?
If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—
then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God?
( John 10:31-34)
Link

 

Works

If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me.
But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
( John 10:31-34)
Link

Paul

Paul Talking about Jesus emptying himself

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
MSG :-Link

Why does this matter?

  1. Did Jesus perform his miracles as God, Christ, or just like any other human being

 

 

The Gospels

Why is the Life of Jesus shown through 4 lenses.  That is the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John?

David Padfield

Here is how David Padfield sharpens the differences

Matthew
Matthew was a Galilean Jew and is often referred to as “Matthew the tax collector” (Matt. 10:2).

It is the unanimous consent that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew and it was later translated into Greek.

It is to be concluded that in Jesus of Nazareth is to be found the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecy. Some have commented that the gospel of Matthew was written by a Jew, about a Jew, to other Jews.

Try to picture a Greek opening the gospel of Matthew for the first time. Within the first few verses he would read of the genealogy of Christ. Among the Jews this would have seemed both logical and appropriate, but to a Greek it would have been unintelligible. He would also read of Jesus being the Messiah — a term which no Greek would have been able to fully comprehend. The point is that the gospel of Matthew was never intended for a Greek audience.

There are more than forty Old Testament passages quoted in Matthew in connection with even the minor events of the life of Christ. Matthew would often mention some minor detail in the life of Christ and then go on to show that the event was a fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew explains that Christ was born of a virgin “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” (Matt. 1:22; Isa. 7:14). The chief priests told Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, “for thus it is written by the prophet” (Matt. 2:5; Micah 5:2). When Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocent children, it was seen as a fulfillment of “what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet” (Matt. 2:17; Hos. 11:1). John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, “for this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah” (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3).

Christ began His ministry in “Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet” (Matt. 4:13-14; Isa. 9:1-2). Even the teaching method of Jesus was a matter of prophecy. Matthew explains that “Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.'” (Matt. 13:34-35; Psa. 78:2).

The death of Christ on Calvary’s cross was also a matter of prophecy, and Matthew goes into detail to explain this fact. Christ was betrayed into the hands of the enemy for thirty pieces of silver, as prophesied by Jeremiah (Matt. 27:9-10; Jer. 32:6-9). When He was crucified, the soldiers “divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.'” (Matt. 27:35; Psa. 22:18). Even His words on the cross were a matter of prophecy, for there in agony He quoted the words of the Psalm of the Cross, “‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'” (Matt. 27:46; Psalm. 22:1).

 

Mark

The gospel of Mark was written to a Roman audience. If one verse could reflect the message of the book, it would be this: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). In the book of Mark, Christ is presented as the ideal servant. Unlike Matthew, Mark does not give us the genealogy of Christ, for the genealogy of a servant is not important.

Since Mark was not writing to a Jewish audience, he had to explain Jewish customs and settings to his readers. Matthew tells us of the question the scribes and Pharisees had over the fact the disciples of Jesus did “not wash their hands when they eat bread” (Matt. 15:1-11). When Mark tells the same story he has to explain the washing of hands was a ceremonial cleansing, not the washing of dirt off the body. “For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.” (Mark 7:3-4).

When Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple, Mark tells us that Jesus “sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple” (Mark 13:3). Every Jew knew the Mount of Olives was “opposite the temple,” but Roman readers would have had no idea as to its location.

Mark also has to explain the day of Unleavened Bread was “when they killed the Passover lamb,” something every Jew would have known since birth, but about which a Roman would have been unfamiliar.

Luke 

Luke has the distinction of being the only Gentile writer in the Bible. He is referred to by Paul as “Luke the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). It has been observed that preachers usually see men at their best, lawyers see men at their worst, and doctors see men as they really are. Luke sets forth the humanity of the Son of Man and presents in chronological order the life of Christ. As a physician, he is more exacting in his use of language. When he refers to a leper he uses the exact medical term to describe the condition, i.e., “full of leprosy” (Luke 5:12). In Mark 3:1 we read of the man with the withered hand whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath — Luke adds it was his right hand which was withered, something a physician would note (Luke 6:6). It is also the physician who notes that in the Garden our Lord’s “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

“An example of Luke’s care is the way in which he dates the emergence of John the Baptist. He does so by no fewer than six contemporary datings. ‘In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (1), Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea (2), Herod being tetrarch of Galilee (3), and his brother Philip being tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis (4), and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene (5) in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (6), the word of God came to John’ (Luke 3:1, 2). Here is a man who is writing with care and who will be as accurate as it is possible for him to be.” (William Barclay, The Gospel Of Luke, p. 3).

John

Unlike the other gospel writers, John clearly states the purpose of his book. After describing the appearance of Christ to Thomas and the rest of the apostles, John writes: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31).

The whole purpose of the gospel of John was to prove the Deity of Jesus Christ. Instead of giving the genealogy of Christ, John goes back into eternity to tell us that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4).

“The humanity of Jesus Christ is genuine, as John makes clear, but it is not an ordinary human life that John discloses. It is that of one who before His incarnation existed with God, as very God (John 1:1, 14, 18), and who came to earth to reveal the Father to men … If we wish to know God, look at Jesus Who has revealed Him in personal bodily form, in human personality, the actual combination or union of God with man.” (Robertson, Epochs in the Life of the Apostle John, pp. 167, 172).

I have always been impressed with the descriptive terms John uses for Christ in the first chapter of his book. Not only was He “the Word” Who “became flesh” (John 1:14), but He is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He is further described as “the Son of God,” “the Messiah” and “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:29, 34, 45). Nathaniel refers to Him as “Rabbi,” “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel” (John 1:49). Jesus ends the chapter by referring to Himself as “the Son of Man” (John 1:51).

Unpardonable Sin

Link
Several passages in the Bible are frequently interpreted as referring to the unforgivable sin:

Matthew 12:30-32: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Mark 3:28-30: “Truly I tell you, all sins and blasphemes will be forgiven for the sons of men. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit’.”

Luke 12:8-10: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

 

References

  1. Jonathan Merritt – Setting the record straight on Jesus, ‘the friend of sinners’
    March 20, 2014
    Link
  2. World of Faith
    Link
  3. Hypostatic Union
    Link
  4. Christ Teaching By Miracles
    Link

 

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