Get a Grip on the History of this Book:

"The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science.
Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man.
To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment.
In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men."
On Science, Awe, and Humility
(read more @ Alfred Einstein Thoughts of a FreeThinker)
Spirituality =/= Religion. One breathes life. Religion is tradition, to "tie it back," literally.

Welcome to my blog. This is how I talk...
It is not a dissertation or outlined. It is an exhortation, and may at times sound foolish, so be it.
Is life eternal? Who knows for sure. But -- I see people who understood their own times (Jesus clearly was such a person) and I exhort us to understand ours, now.
While this blog reeks of my personality and writing style -- the Bible (and Christ) have at least the scent of God, of something more abiding and eternal than a mystic emotion of awe and reverence.
This book deals with and as a language talks about spiritual matters.
To understand (versus just appreciate the impact of) this book is, literally Jesus, Lord and Christ. The central premise of the book defies imagination and human experience; it demands faith, and as such deals with the impossible.
Its depth has many layers, which is sometimes hard to hear when politico-religion is around, sounding the call to submit, attend, participate and donate. And, in the United States, to also "incorporate" for tax (avoidance) purposes.
[[A Psalm] of David.]] I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, [and] strengthenedst me [with] strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth."
Though the LORD [be] high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off
The history of the preservation, translations, and censorships of the language and concepts of this "book" [starting apparently with papyri] is itself in part a history of the world -- politics -- nations. Obviously, it also speaks to the control of wealth and confronts it.
and now here we are on the internet, where words and creeds are cheap. (far too cheap and too easy to propagate).
It is a history of sweat, tears, drama and fire (book-burnings, people-burnings) and bloodshed. It was spread, with changes of technology and languages; and
For some reason, the understanding and action on this book was a threat to power, and to accumulated wealth-- which tells us something about this type of power, and wealth.
Religious people exist - -and can be seriously disruptive. I suggest -- getting a grip on the language (and history) of this book, if nothing else, for survival reasons.

Could you describe nature, its origins, its behaviors, like this? [Or, do you want to lament to God, "Why me??"] Check out Job 38, when the LORD, after hearing (37 chapters of theological debate, who's to blame for Job's suffering..) the LORD finally quizzes not his miserable (self-righteous) psychoanalysts -- only back then it was religious -- but Job himself.
. . .Actually, less a quiz than a challenge -- like standing (alone of course) to defend one's beloved thesis, in hopes of that blessed Ph.D. -- and realizing one is empty-handed: Job 38
"Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? [smile...] Gird up your loins now and answer me like a man! Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth...who laid the cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy?" ... Where is light and darkness?[v.19]; "Who hath put wisdom in the heart, and understanding in the inward parts?" [v.36]
Where is light and darkness, indeed! Men still wish to know! NASA, MIT, FermiLab and various universities are still working on it . . . . . must be powerful information to invest such fortunes into exploring...
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 (Dated: June 15, 2001)

The existence of light (a massless U(1) gauge boson) is one of unresolved mysteries in nature.

In this paper, we would like to propose that light is originated from certain quantum orders in our vacuum. We will construct quantum spin models on lattice to demonstrate that some quantum orders can give rise to light without breaking any symmetries and without any fine tuning.
Through our models, we show that the existence of light can simply be a phenomenon of quantum coherence in a system with many degrees of freedom. Massless gauge fluctuations appears commonly and naturally in strongly correlated quantum systems which originally contain no gauge fields.

PACS numbers: 11.15.-q"

(MIT Xiao-Gang Wen: The Origins of Light)

Who puts wisdom in the heart?
Do we normally think in those terms--of wisdom, as a quality, which can be planted, engrained, or even poored into a heart? We don't yet know where light comes from -- so with all our institutions, anyone have a definition, way to implant, and who can tell what is the origin of "wisdom"??
...after a while of this interrogation (still presumably being destitute and completely covered with disease) Job replies -- I will lay my hand upon my mouth....
Generally speaking, most people won't come to God (or, this word) until life has got them speechless. But "speechless" is appropriate before this text. Reading it, one is in the presence of something older, very probably wiser (even if "collected wisdom") and more perceptive than onesself. It, and its language, just may have some serious insight & wisdom you just do not have! . .
What would persuade men to risk their lives, and end up burned at the stake, rather than recant on their translation of this book, and instead of saying "FORGET you -- this is MY survival, here!" to future generations, literally say things like (Jesus, allegedly) "Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do?" -- or (Stephen, on being stoned, Acts 7, allegedly) "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!" -- or Wm. Tyndale, 1536 A.D., Lord, Open thou the King of England's eyes!" . Why? -- or for that matter, why were these men murdered to start with? Does the world really NEED a continual provision of scapegoats and bloodshed over who rules this place? If so, then perhaps they need the central message of Christ! -- or at a minimum of the books which similarly foretell of the need for redemption and prophesy of a Redeemer to come! Why did they value it so highly -- and why do religions today clearly (which this blog will illustrate) value almost anything higher than this Bible, while quoting it?
And what IS it about those psalms? . . . how can you not admire this plain speech and sentiment?....
"But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.Selah
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time [that] their corn and their wine increased." (from Psalm 4)

Who can really summarize this topic? But I WILL speak to it -- and while the experience is shared by many (women and mothers), not enough are speaking out about it.
Now is the time to understand its concepts, and how that church-state hybrid never (ever) had any blending with the gospel in purpose and intent, and by about 300 (possibly 200) A.D. also had little in common with its language.
Which of course, can still change....
Let the games begin...

Monday, September 3, 2012

How Trinitarian is your Muslim Outreach? (2 of 3)

Continues directly from the bottom of last post. If you dare . . . . "I searched, I saw, I was ensnared" in this foolish debate . . . . . but good history lesson...



N. Carolina vote could turn on gay marriage

Updated 10:17 p.m., Saturday, September 1, 2012
In print version of SFChronicle yesterday, this photo was front page of A22, and very large, although it is simply someone's marked up bible.  

If you note, this Bible version (two-column highlit parts over horizontal lines across the whole page, plus extra middle-column of notes in the center) is (left-side) about half commentary, or (right side) about one-quarter commentary on the bottom. It's an electoral issue for sure. When a preacher can't read a Bible with out a 1:1 or 1:3 portion of commentary, then we have a problem.  Which is more important? . . . . . 

The Rev. Patrick Wooden's Bible contains colorful annotations at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, N.C. Photo: D.l. Anderson, SFC / SF

Compare with a page from a far older "Tyndale translation -- it's in one piece..."  Notice, there are no numbered verses, either.    

File:Tyndale Bible - Gospel of John.jpg
English: First page of the Gospel of Saint John, from the 1526 Peter Schoeffer printing of William Tyndale's English translation of the Bible.
Visually compare -- one is a solid, single body of text.  the other is hacked up, divided into two columns with middle references and (apparently on every page) explanatory footnotes, as though the bible couldn't speak for itself. 

Blueletter Bible gives the timeline:  Chapters in 1227AD, Verses (for Greek) in 1551 -- post-Tyndale, etc.

The Chapters Added In The Thirteenth Century
A man named Stephen Langton divided the Bible into chapters in the year A.D. 1227. Langton was a professor at the University of Paris and later he became the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Verses Were Added In The Sixteenth Century
Robert Stephanus (Stephens), a French printer, divided the verses for his Greek New Testament. It was published in 1551.
The First Bible With Chapter And Verse Divisions
The first entire Bible in which these chapter and verse divisions were used was Stephen's edition of the Latin Vulgate (1555). The first English New Testament to have both chapter and verse divisions was the Geneva Bible (1560). Fortunately Jewish scholars have followed the way of dividing the Hebrew Scripture into chapters and verses.  (huh?)

The original authors of Scripture did not intend that their writings be divided up into chapters or verses. They intended that the books be read straight through from the beginning. A number of the books of Scripture can be read through in one sitting. This is the best way to discover what the author is trying to say{{or, as it were SAYING...}}} . Dividing up the Scripture into chapters and verses encourages people to read only small parts at a time. This is not always helpful.

So, re: (above):
Another useful tool comes from Logos Bible Software who has a program that equips the pastor with a library for lifeWe will be supplying these to selected leaders around Africa


They are equipping, they have determined doctrine, they are fundraising. A LOT of funds.  Certain men are selected; those who don't subscribe to the (trinitarian) confession of faith need not apply?  Probably not because if they simply preached the gospel -- and if that gospel is the true one -- the signs, miracles and wonders (healing & deliverance, essentially) would be more than adequate toolkit, not to mention if they had been called as evangelists (Eph 4 not everyone is), not to mention how are people going to minister the holy spirit to others if they are not clear from the scriptures on the identity of God, Jesus in relationship to the very thing that is stated to equip them for ministering, i.e., holy spirit?

From what I read in the gospels, Acts and throughout the book, God typically made his approval and selection known, often by signs, miracles and wonders (Mark 16:  "These signs shall follow them that believe; Acts 3:  "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by signs miracles and wonders."

Since this post is already obnoxiously long, for contrast between "equipping pastors for life" with teaching platform (like media is unlikely to change between now and the end of their lives?) (or doctrinal confessions -- sounds like some did in 1980....), here's the entire chapter of Acts 3 (significant in that it's the first recorded events immediately after the account of the day of Pentecost:  A lame man is healed and enters the temple leaping and praising God, which naturally catches people's attention (God's advertising?) and causes people to WONDER what happened (i.e., signs, miracles and wonders?).  Peter, who just ministered that healing by commanding the lame man to walk in the name of Jesus Christ, not the first healing he had either witnessed, OR done himself (12 disciples were sent out by Jesus (per gospels) and instructed to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils") in association with their preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  THAT WAS THEIR PREACHING 'EQUIPMENT' THE BIBLE AS YET HAD NOT BEEN CANONIZED (CERTAINLY NOT THE NEW TESTAMENT GOSPELS, OR THE EPISTLES).

There is a contrast in language between the Bible here (and the actions and speaking points) and the strategic outreach plan of any of these groups.  it is a complete account of success in preaching and evangelization, and there's no indication of any teaching tool in Peter's hand; his primary teacher had been Jesus, and apparently he'd been equipped with "power from on high" for the witness, i.e., how to "reach" people, and was attentive to his surroundings, or perhaps inspired, as he walked past the lame man, perceiving that man had "faith to be healed."  Apparently there had been some recent momentum (PR) from the recent events on the day of Pentecost. . . . Why, 2000 years later, would CDs from Josh McDowell be more important than this?  And why, if this is no longer available, would anyone be pushing the scripture at all to make disciples of Jesus the God-man of all nations?
<< Acts 3 >>
King James Version

1Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayerbeing the ninth hour2And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. 8And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.9And all the people saw him walking and praising God10And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
 In the course of his life (going up to temple at the hour of prayer) and having been commissioned by Jesus (Acts 1: describes, the commands from Jesus after his resurrection (and after they'd been finally convinced of it):  "Tarry in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high, for John baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the holy ghost not many days hence."  Apparently God had a plan, and as before, they were not to go out naked or unequipped -- with power from on high, a.k.a. "the holy ghost."   They wanted to know about when Jesus was coming back and restoring the kingdom to Israel (and obvious question as Israel was under Roman rule).  Men's plans often don't match God's commissions, apparently.   The reply:
 Acts 1:8 It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 2 records them being "endued" and the first recorded "witness" (testimony of Peter), and the start of the assembly of people who responded to that word, including being baptized.  Acts 3, here, record a notable miracle that again set the stage for more testifying about Jesus, which (Peter reminds them) was nothing their prophets had not prophesied already.  And he made a big deal about the resurrection also..
Acts 3:11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John {{I would be too, in the situation!}}all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering12And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk13The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go14But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the deadwhereof we are witnesses{{they were witnesses to the resurrection, not to mention also the crucifixion.}} 16And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:21Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 
Then he quotes Moses (I believe this is Deut. 18, if not also elsewhere -- see blog inset to left)
22For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.23And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Jesus is called a prophet, and God's Son.  This tradition (the prophetic tradition) was already associated with the concept of the "Spirit of the Lord," in re: prophets, and the relationship to that of anointing.  Obviously it was a monotheistic tradition.  The shocking, and the "repent" part was that man had just been shown in serious opposition to God in the matter of, who they killed (i.e., rejected) had been chosen by God, and God raised Him up again.  THEREFORE a change of heart was indicated (repentance).  That forgiveness is involved goes along with the healing in the name of Jesus.

This was not complex doctrine to its first hearers, it was a challenge to be believed or (as prior prophets) rejected.  The NOVELTY was the extent of the power, and that a man such as Peter (not of the right religious pedigree, and not having been trained as a Pharisee or scribe, etc.) was getting lame men to walk, not to mention, giving testimony which hadn't been properly "vetted" for the theology (so to speak) of the day.  

That is the essential gospel.

Nothing is mentioned about a God-man; Jesus is called a prophet raised up by God from among his brethren, AND raised up from the dead.  Thereafter Peter (just then) 'raised up' a lame man from being lame, and announced that it's time to repent; the point being to turn away every one from his iniquities.  Not to mention, the "time of restitution."  In fact, this appears to be the gospel in a nutshell... and (as mentioned in Mark 16), "they went everywhere preaching the word, the lord working with them and confirming the word preached with signs following."

**as this link states, Josh McDowell Ministries is a subdivision of Campus Crusade for Christ, is from Richardson Texas, and its mission is to "serve others til the whole world hears that:  <>Jesus is God; <>the Bible is true <>God is passionate about a relationship with each person, and <>the Christian faith is relevant, reliable, and relational.  
Also it appears that this ministry lived longer than Tyndale did -- it's over 40 years old.  Its namesake was born in 1939....
Biographer Joe Musser indicates that McDowell struggled with low self-esteem in his youth, as his father was an alcoholic and abusive.[4]McDowell also revealed he was sexually abused repeatedly as a child by a hired farm hand from the age of 6 to 13.[5] He enlisted in the Air National Guard, received basic training and assumed duties in mechanical maintenance of aircraft. After sustaining a head injury he was discharged from the service.
He initially intended to pursue legal studies culminating in a political career, and began preparatory studies at Kellogg Community College, a two-year junior college in Battle Creek, Michigan. According to McDowell, he was an agnosticat college when he decided to prepare a paper that would examine the historical evidence of the Christian faith in order to disprove it. However, he converted to Christianity, after, as he says, he found evidence for it, not against it. He subsequently enrolled at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then studied at Talbot Theological Seminary of Biola UniversityLa Mirada, California. He completed an exit paper examining the theology of Jehovah's Witnesses, and was awarded the Master of Divinity degree graduating Magna Cum Laude.
In 1982 McDowell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Simon Greenleaf School of Law, now Trinity Law School, in recognition of his ministry and writings.

this is interesting, in that Talbot is conservative evangelical Christian, and "premillennial dispensationalism" where as Jehovah's witnesses are notably nonTrinitarian and millennial.  Go figure...(I also learned that one of the earliest figures in Jehovah's witnesses was a lawyer.  See Wikipedia...)

**Not listed as nonprofit with the IRS in Atlanta; "Tucker,GA" has only 4 (and these are not among them).
Grace Community Church
United States
Grace Community Development Inc.
United States
Greater Believing Faith Outreach Ministries Inc.
United States

OBVIOUSLY, this type of lookups could go on, forever, probably.  However, Wycliffe felt necessary to publish their statement in response to the attack that they are not being Trinitarian enough when reaching out to Muslims (!!).   I also note that in looking at Bob Creson (link, far above [previous post], probably in the Huffpost article), he is about a 1975 graduate of "Pepperdine" in Malibu, California, which is significant. 

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