Thinking Out Loud

May 17, 2019

Charles Colson Quotation

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:33 am

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July 13, 2018

Let’s Start Rumors About People Whose Ministry We Don’t Follow

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:55 am

She informed me that Andy Stanley didn’t believe in the Old Testament.

It didn’t just come up in the conversation, rather I felt like it was the purpose of her visit. That I needed to know this.

I wasn’t buying it.

I told her that I had watched the message in question, if not in person, via the next best medium. That I have been watching Andy preach for at least a dozen years. It was once Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM, but now the feed is available on demand.

I also said something about we need to know the heart of the people we are spreading rumors about, we need to understand their motivation to do something or say something that we consider unorthodox.  We also need to have a good handle on the intended audience. I added that knowing something about the context in which the statement appeared is also useful.

I don’t wish to get into the specifics. You can link to Michael Brown’s podcast for that. I encourage you to do so.

What struck me odd about yesterday’s exchange was that this person has probably never watched a North Point service from beginning to end. It was all about dropping someone’s name and then going in for the kill: “Do you know he doesn’t believe in the Old Testament?”

As if.

Well, actually I do know. I don’t know that, but I know what it is that’s got her so riled…

…After Christ’s ascension, something new was in the air. Something that owed so much to its origins in the teachings of the Hebrew scriptures, and yet, at the same time, was the start of a whole other paradigm.  Everything was on the table: declaring certain foods clean or unclean; circumcision or uncircumcision; etc.

It was the birth of The Church…

…Andy Stanley gets another shot at this — with a modern application — in the book Irresistible: Reclaiming The New That Jesus Unleashed For The World, publishing in September. Here’s what the publisher says about that:

Two thousand years ago, Christians risked persecution and death for the sake of their faith. What would happen if 21st-century believers followed their lead? Taking you back to a time when Christianity couldn’t be ignored, marginalized, or eradicated, Stanley shows how the early church turned the world upside down—and how we can recover that same faith

Will those who who are so quick to criticize Andy jump at the chance to hear his defence?

Somehow I doubt it.

 

 

January 25, 2018

The 72 Jesus Sent: Who Were Those Guys?

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:10 am

This will appear on Friday afternoon at Christianity 201. We occasionally cross-post original devotionals here at Thinking Out Loud.

“Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. (Acts 1:21-23 NIV)

New Christians often face roadblocks to understanding because the terminology used is often clear to insiders, but requires explanation to those unfamiliar.

Take for example the word disciple. A disciple is one who follows a master. We are told to “Go and make disciples.” (Matt. 28:19) So far, so good.

But we often speak of “the twelve disciples” and to outsiders this might be unclear. It obviously refers to a very specific group of people to whom Jesus, the itinerant Rabbi, said, “Follow me.” But we know that Jesus had many other followers.

So we sometimes speak of “the twelve apostles” but in the giving of spiritual gifts we’re told, “he gave some apostles.” This phrase in Ephesians 4:11 is translated by Eugene Peterson in this beautiful passage:

He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

Peterson retains the term “apostle” — most commonly found — while some others use “messengers” and “emissaries.” A good definition might be “sent ones.”

This can also confuse, since we sometimes speak of “the apostolic age” and cessationists would argue that when that period ended — when those who were witnesses to the resurrection all died — then the supernatural gifts (healing, tongues, prophecy) also died.

Being a “disciple” is not a specific gift. The mandate to follow Christ applies to all Christians. To say that Jesus only had twelve followers in his ministry is to ignore the passage where he sends out 72 in Luke 10:

The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.

This “advance team” is interesting because we’re told that Jesus chose them, which would imply he had more than 72 to choose from. In my mind, certainly some of them were women, but that’s another discussion; I know some would disagree. We do know from other texts there were women followers; whether or not they were part of these short-term mission trips is up to interpretation.

We also know that not every disciple continued with Jesus. In John 6, Jesus teaches and interacts with the crowd. He talks about being the bread of life, and introduces the idea of “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood.” Then we read,

Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”(60)
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. (66 NLT)

Perhaps this sounds familiar. Maybe you know people who started attending your church and then found the cost of discipleship to high a price to pay, or found the teaching, like those early hearers, hard to accept. The similarity to the parable of the soils in Matthew 13 comes to mind especially.

But perhaps you know people who have been faithful throughout their entire lives, who haven’t really been “prone to wander.”

Among the 72 were some of those. In Acts 1:21-23, it’s time to choose a replacement for Judas to be among the inner circle of twelve, and the text states,

“Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

The InterVarsity Commentary tells us,

By detailing the apostolic requirement of being an eyewitness to the whole course of Jesus’ ministry, including the resurrection and ascension, Luke emphasizes the continuity of eyewitness testimony which would be the church’s foundation. And through it all he presents a prepared church with a restored integrity in its leadership.

There’s no mention of these two nominees before or after this point in Acts 1, but the mere mention of their names gives us insight into a broader community of followers. It’s almost certain, if these two were part of the story beginning from when John baptized Jesus, we can safely assume they were among the 72. Some day we’ll get to meet the other 70.

 

 

 

August 14, 2010

Confidential Internal Memo to Jesus

TO: Jesus, Son of Joseph, Woodcrafters Carpenter Shop, Nazareth

FROM: Jordan Management Consultants, Jerusalem

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant. The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully.

As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,

Jordan Management Consultants

from Michael Kruse blogging as Kruse Kronicle

via Michael Krahn who shares the same initials

May 26, 2009

Keep Your Eyes on the Skies

Filed under: Christianity, Jesus — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:16 pm

looking upSometimes, if someone is expected to drop by, you occupy the time in a room with a window facing the front of your home, with one eye on your work and one eye looking for their appearance.    In a recent Ascension Day devotional at Daily Encouragement, Stephen Weber suggested that the early church functioned in much the same way.   Imagine literally going about your day but constantly looking up to see if anyone’s coming!   That probably explains a lot of what motivated the early church to accomplish all that they did.

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