Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Truce


"... a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:8

I'm not a huge fan of war in real life.  I pray I never have to participate in one. The ideal world would be one where there is no war, always peace. But I recognize dreaming of our world without war may be just a dream. I also recognize that many of the freedoms we enjoy today are a result of battles fought by others before my time.

The same applies to the wars in Christ's church that have divided and reformed over the years. I also dream of a day when the Church would recognize that it is one, and that there would be peace. The prayer for Christian unity was the starting point of my journey that got me blogging 6 years ago.  However throughout the history of the church many battles have been fought.  I recognize that some of those battles have brought new understandings of the freedom and life Christ is offering us.

But I'm not a huge fan of war.

I believe aspects of my blog has been more than pushing forward different fronts in different battles.  For myself it has largely been a tool I have used to process different beliefs.  Sorting through beliefs and traditions that have been handed down to me, testing them against Scripture, and looking at alternative ways of interpreting Scripture related to that topic.  I enjoy theological dialogues. I enjoy gaining fresh perspectives of how Scripture can be interpreted.  I enjoy grappling through issues that have polarized the church, and trying to find balance within the tensions.  I enjoy the teaching one another that can sometimes occur in on-line discussions.

But I understand I am in the minority here.  I get that most people do not welcome questions that challenge beliefs they hold to.  So my pushing and questioning here naturally creates an equal and opposite reaction from others.

I still believe the Church is entering another reformation. Some of the changes I feel are taking place:
  • A fresh awareness what the priesthood of all believers under Christ is
  • An increased desire to follow the person of Jesus (less desire to follow a religion about Jesus)
  • An increased understanding that there is only one Church even though it meets in different places
  • A new emphasis on relational and participatory gatherings
I pray that at the end of the day Christ's people reflect more of the love and grace of Christ's that we all proclaim.

However at this point I am questioning if my little contributions to the cause are worth it.

My default is for the way of peace.   I do not enjoy tension. I do not like mis-trust. I do not enjoy causing pain, or receiving pain.  These all come in varying degrees whenever we engage in any sort of conflict or debate.  I've known and accepted this all along.  But I sense it may be time to wave the white flag of truce.

I've likely written enough here on this blog.  If someone wants to openly dialogue or discuss any of these topics they can contact me or find others who are also engaged in such discussions.

Related Posts:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Literal Hell

Valley of Hinnom, c. 1900
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna
I was accused recently of not believing in a literal hell.  I find it interesting that I could be so misunderstood.

When Jesus spoke about hell, the word he used was Gehenna (Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 18:9, Matthew 23:15, Matthew 23:33, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, Luke 12:5).

Gehenna's meaning literally means  the "Valley of the son of Hinnom". Some believe that in Jesus' day it was the location of a garbage dump that had fires continually burning to consume the filth and cadavers thrown in it (others question the burning garbage dump explanation).

Some Jews of Jesus' day held some spiritual beliefs about this literal place called Gehenna as well. Gehenna was viewed as the place of punishment or destruction of the wicked. Gehenna was considered a Purgatory-like place where the wicked go to suffer until they had atoned for their sins. It was stated that the maximum amount of time a sinner could spend in Gehenna was one year, with the exception of five people who are there for all of eternity.

I believe Jesus believed in a literal place called Gehenna.  He spoke about fires of Gehenna, and spoke about bodies being thrown into it.  The way he talked about Gehenna makes it sound like it was a bad place that nobody wanted to end up in.

I don't know if Jesus' had similar spiritual views about Gehenna as some other Jews of his day held.

But I do assume that Jesus believed in the literal Gehenna, and he possibly held some of the non-literal views other Jews of that time held.

Other New Testament passages frequently contrasts eternal life for some with death, destruction, and perishing for others.  It seems to me that most Christians believe in literal 'eternal life', but don't accept that death, destruction, or perishing in those same verses should be taken as literally.

So I believe there was a literal place called Gehenna, and tend to lean towards an understanding of a literal 'eternal life' for some, and literally not eternal life for others.

So feel free to accuse me of believing in a literal reading of Scripture in this case. :)

See also:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gospel of Christ The Anointed King and Saviour

Over the past few years I have taken interest in how the term gospel or good news is used in Scripture.  I've posted a six part series on how the term gospel is used in the 4 books we call the Gospels. I've noticed that Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel or good news of the kingdom/reign/rule/authority of God.  I've also noticed a number of passages where Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God.

This week another combination of terms caught my eye.  In many of the books attributed to Paul we see the words "gospel of Christ".

The term 'Christ' means Messiah or anointed one.  The Jews were waiting for a Messiah to be their King and Saviour.

If we substitute the term Christ with its meaning "anointed King and Saviour", it helps clarify that Paul and Jesus were proclaiming the same good news.

Romans 15:19
"in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem even as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of the anointed King and Saviour."

1 Corinthians 9:12
"If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving? But we have not made use of this right. Instead we endure everything so that we may not be a hindrance to the  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour."

2 Corinthians 2:12
"Now when I arrived in Troas to proclaim the gospel of the anointed King and Saviour, even though the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me,"

2 Corinthians 4:4
 "among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour, who is the image of God."

2 Corinthians 9:13
"Through the evidence of this service they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour and the generosity of your sharing with them and with everyone."

Galatians 1:7
"not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour."

Philippians 1:27
"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour so that..."

1 Thessalonians 3:2
 "We sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for  gospel of the anointed King and Saviour, ..."
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Related Posts: