Myth and Meaning – Walton

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Contempt and Self-Contempt

The contempt of others is often joined by our self-contempt.  We judge ourselves even more severely than our enemies.  Our enemy starts the fire, but we add the fuel.  The blaze consumes our remaining dignity, until we are tired of the voice of accusation resounding in our heads — then, we get busy and noisy.  We silence the accusations with the five thousand songs on our iPod that play in a random, unpredictable order. -Dan Allender, Sabbath, pg. 168

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Communicating the Christian Faith in our Culture

“Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms.  Confusion here is fatal.”  -J.I. Packer

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On Silence and Speech

“It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”  -John Bunyan
“I have often repented of having spoken but never of having remained silent.”  -Arsenius
“Silence is as deep as eternity, speech as shallow as time.”  -Thomas Carlyle

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The Usefulness of Tears

“What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”  -Jewish proverb

“Tears are nature’s lotion for the eyes.  The eyes see better for being washed by them.”  -Christian Nevell Bovee

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Traditions of the Ancients – Marcia Ford – Book Notes

Below are book notes I took whilst reading, “Traditions of the Ancients.”  The following are notes that strike me, and are fitting for me at this time in life and ministry.  You may have different things stand out to you should you read this book.

 

It’s a whole lot easier to draw up a thoughtless list of superficial negative behaviors and clean them up than it is to cleanse my inherent sinfulness in tears of purification.  pg. 13

 

What is blocking God from his rightful place of true lordship in my life?

 

Contemplative prayer is silent prayer.  It’s distinctive from meditation in that in contemplative prayer the mind is disengaged as much as possible.  In meditation, the mind remains active, reflecting on God or Scripture or another element of the faith.

 

“There is a simple gazing (looking) at the Lord while the heart reaches out in wordless prayer and the will seeks to be one with his.”  -James Borst (simple definition of contemplation)

 

Many Americans, though, are woefully unprepared to grieve.  As a culture, we try to hide death, cheat death, trick death, deny death, all in a vain hope that death will just go away.  pg. 56

 

Praying the Scriptures: Psalms 2:1-6; 5; 8; 13; 25:1-7, 11, 20-21; 51; 61:1-5; 63:1-8; 71; 84; 88:1-2; 89:1-8; 104; 123; 130:1-6; 139:1-4; 141; 144; 145.

 

Here’s what all the sources do seem to agree on: lector is a way of reading the Scriptures that involves an encounter with God as we listen to what he is saying to us through the text.  pg. 112

 

Lectio Divina (4 steps)

  1. lectio – reading the Word
  2. meditatio- meditating on it
  3. oratio -praying over it
  4. contemplatio- contemplating or “being with” God.

Calling them “steps” is a bit misleading, since the four elements flow into each other throughout your time spent in lectio.

 

What is my attitude towards repetitive work?  Do I see it as a blessing, gift, and opportunity to let my mind wander and ponder the mysteries of God?

 

The church automatically rejected as a candidate for baptism any man who took the military oath after seeking baptism; those who were soldiers already were apparently grandfathered in.  pg. 135

 

Next time you’re chopping vegetables, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or folding laundry, open your heart to God, slow down, and either repeat a phrase from your “ceaseless prayer” practice or just meditatively pray appropriately, blessing the people you are cooking for, expressing gratitude that you are healthy enough to mow your lawn, thanking God for the beauty of the snow, asking God to be with those who will wear all those clean clothes.  When you see your work as sacred and the tools of your work as gifts from God, everything changes.  pg. 137

 

Macrina- A woman who had grown up accustomed to luxury, Macrina joyously embraced the ascetic life with all its hardships.  “Nothing was left but the care of divine things and the unceasing round of prayer and endless hymnody, coextensive with time itself, practiced by night and day.” -Groegory pg. 162

 

Unlike Bible study, meditation involves taking a short portion of Scripture and spending time with it; I like to think of it as “dwelling” on the verse or verses.  If you are beginning to think this sounds like lector divine, you’re right.  pg. 171

 

When you meditate, you search out what God is saying to you through the passage and pursue its truths in a prayerful way.  This slightly elevated cognitive and intentional thinking level is also what sets meditation apart from contemplation, which is simply “being” in the presence of God.  pg. 171

 

Examination of sin.  At one time we can be too harsh on ourselves, at another, we can take advantage of God’s grace and go too easy on ourselves.

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Sticky Subject – Promise and Warning Passages in the Bible Pertaining to Eternal Life

When I was younger, Christianity was simple, because I was unstudied.  Ignorance is bliss.  Boy, is this ever true.  Then I started thinking, started learning, started asking questions.  Lots of questions, better questions, sophisticated questions, more probing questions.  Never an end to my questions.  I think you get the point.
Now that I’m more studied, Christianity is complex, academically, personally, and pastorally.  I see it as exegetically difficult, and resistant to neatly fitting into systematic theological systems.  Or perhaps it can be fit into historical systematic theological categories, but I just don’t know which one.  Or so this is my current position.
I hold an MA in Biblical Exegesis from Wheaton, and am open to any input on the following topic.  I’ve been at this one for a year now, slowly combing over “Four Views on: The Role of Works at the Final Judgment,” and could use insight from anyone knowledgable in this area.  I don’t care your denomination background, I’m looking to expand my knowledge base.

THE ISSUE:
I’m looking for help in articulating meaningfully both the promise passages and warning passages as they pertain to eternal life and final justification.  I’m seeking a position that honors BOTH.  I know James Dunn attempts to hold such a position.  I am sympathetic also to Thomas Schreiner’s larger framework on this subject matter, but don’t fully understand the details.  That is my stating point.  Perhaps this blogpost will reach a few people, that are keyed into what I’m attempting to tackle in this quagmire.  If you are this kind of person, please respond.

It seems to me that taking promise of assurance of salvation passages and warning against failing to persevere passages pit themselves against one another.  Perhaps you can convince me otherwise.  I would love to reconcile this tension, and keep both.  Without such a reconciliation, I do not see how PROMISE and WARNING can coexist at the same time.  One’s truth seems to negate the other.  In my schema, once a person lifts up one, they are forced to push down the other.  Hard reconcile the tension and let both speak with the weight that each particular Bible passages intends.

If the promise is true (assurance of salvation once a believer), than the warning (make sure a person keeps the faith, or the person will lose salvation) has no real bite.  It would be an empty warning with no recourse for follow through, because, God, after all, already promised salvation.

Simply put, warning passages are meaningless if a person cannot fall away.

If the warning is true (you better make sure you persevere in the faith, otherwise you will not have eternal life), than the promise of assurance once a believer is null and void.

Simply put, promises become conditional, qualified, or modified, if the warning carries both potentiality and actuality.

Promise passages that believers will never fall away:

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  -John 6:37-40

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and the Father are one.”  -John 10:28-30

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -Romans 8:37-39

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 1:6

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.  -1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Of course to complicate matters, I’m not always sure exactly what God’s promise is encompassing in the passages.

Warning passages that if believers turn away from the gospel they will face eschatological destruction:

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  -John 15:6-8

19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  -Romans 11:19-23

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.  -Hebrews 6:4-6

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  -Hebrews 10:26-29

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  -2 Peter 1:10-11

Of course to complicate matters, I’m not always sure exactly the warning is pertaining to loss of eternal life and final justification in the passages.

Your thoughts?

A SIDEBAR ISSUE:

Assurance as I define it currently pastorally, is not what people are looking for usually when a common person speaks about Christian assurance of salvation.  They want a more robust idea of assurance than what I, in good conscience, can give them.  I can only provide assurance in the moment by saying, “If you are currently expressing your faith through a posture of repentance, then you are assured that you are a child of God.”  But of course, I cannot provide solace and extrapolate that out into anyone’s future and provide that kind of assurance, because no one knows if they will continue to persevere and continue to express their faith in a posture of repentance, if I take the warning passages with my current understanding of their authorial intent.

Your thoughts?

A SIDEBAR ISSUE:

How does a person teach adoption and children of God passages if a person takes the stance that shipwrecking one’s faith is possible?  I don’t hear people preach de-adoption sermons!

Your thoughts?

I got weeds growing in my exegetical grass, and want to honor all the different passages, can anyone help me?

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