6-4-17 From Pentecost to Here (part 1)

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Sermon Notes:  (disclaimer – these are my pulpit notes, so they may seem sparse, but may be of some benefit)

FROM PENTECOST TO HERE

 ‘YOU ARE HERE’ – AIRPORT – GOING TO NEXT GATE – NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE

THE CHURCH WAS ORIGINALLY ‘THE WAY’

BUT NOW – TENS THOUSANDS OF DENOMINATIONS – EVERY SINGLE ONE – “WE ARE THE TRUE CHURCH1”

‘WE HAVE IT RIGHT?’ – WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT WE JUST HAPPEN TO BE THE ONES?

OR COULD BE WE JUST LIKE ALL THEM – HAVE BLINDNESS TO OUR OWN ERROR?

EASY SEE OTHERS ERRORS – ALOMST IMPOSSIBLE SEE OWN

WE WEST – DO NOT SEE HOW MUCH BEEN INFLUENCED BY LATIN, ROMANIZED LENS

Romanizing the Jesus Movement, Dr. Pryor is founder of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies

This commentary was first published in the February 2010 issue of The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition

WHAT TODAY is called “Christianity” actually began as a messianic movement within Judaism, which was especially diverse and vibrant in the First Century.

From its inception, the Jesus movement was thoroughly Jewish in its composition and culture. The Rabbi from Nazareth taught in the manner of other Jewish sages, but with uncommon authority and unprecedented claims of Divine identity. Like other esteemed teachers, he raised up many disciples, all of whom were Jewish. He taught them from the Torah and Prophets, never undermining or “abolishing” the Word of God, but filling it fuller with sound interpretation and spiritual implications.

In subsequent centuries, however, the Hebraic foundations of the Gospel in the West were eroded or even excised under the weight of the prevailing Roman worldview. Some of the shifts were seismic, others were more subtle, but together their influence reverberates upon the Christian mind even today.

FOR EXAMPLE, by the end of the Fourth Century, the emperors Constantine and Theodosis had wed the church to the Roman Empire. What began as a persecuted minority sect metamorphosed into a persecuting majority, a triumphalistic State religion concerned more with worldly power than fidelity to the Kingdom of the gospels.

Theological shifts occurred as well. Preoccupation with the individual and the soul’s place in the afterlife displaced the Hebraic orientation of creating a new humanity, a renewed covenant community of people, reconciled to God and one another in love.

The multiple images of atonement found in the New Testament, all drawn from the Hebrew Bible – such as sacrifice, conflict and victory over evil, ransom and redemption, reconciliation, and adoption into a family – gave way to doctrinal “theories of atonement.” Justification and a juridical view of salvation began to dominate, conceived more in categories of retributive Roman law than the relational context of a Torah given in grace. Satisfying Divine justice via penal substitution (Christ dying in our stead) suited the West’s preoccupation with guilt that prevailed from the time of Augustine and his doctrine of Original Sin (in which all stand guilty from birth for Adam’s transgression).

Y/H/W/H, Israel’s gracious God, became re-imaged in the popular mind after the likeness of Greco-Roman deities whose anger had to be appeased.

 

EAST WEST DIVISION – ARE SO AFFECTED – LATIN TRANSLATION REFLECTED MORE THE PREVAILING IMPERIALISTIC THEOLOGY

NT WRIGHT – THE DAY THE REVOLUTION BEGAN – NEW BOOK DETAILING THE WAY THE EARLY CHURCH VIEWED WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS – NOT SAME WAY WE TAUGHT

  ANOTHER EXAMPLE: DIFFERENCE!

There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of how we come to know God. The scholastic approach that places emphasis on the use of logic and reason in the acquisition of the knowledge of God, as seen in the teachings of Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, is unknown in the East.

The Ancient Church taught that knowledge of God comes only through the noetic science of the heart. From the standpoint of Orthodox theology, the mind and logic are not the same thing, since logic functions within the brain, while the mind functions within the heart. This important distinction results in the Eastern Church seeing herself not as a religious institution, but rather a hospital of the soul, wherein one comes for therapeutic procedures that restore the health of the soul, and allow for the ultimate goal of union with God (theosis).

EARLY CHURCH FATHERS – KNEW GREEK – SPOKE SOMETHING WE NEVER HEARD OF:

“At the heart of the Patristic doctrine of the Holy Trinity is theosis — the transformation of the human being in the communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Gregory understood Christian salvation in terms of the larger idea of theosis, the transforming participation in the being and life of God.

The primacy of theosis in Eastern Christian theology is directly related to the fact that Eastern Christian theology is based on the direct spiritual insights of the saints or mystics of the church.  Romanized theology was based to a greater extent on the apparently more rational, judicial thought tradition of the West.

Eastern Christians consider that “no one who does not follow the path of union with God can be a theologian” in the proper sense.

CHANGED VERY WORD MEANINGS OVER CENTURIES:  The words of Christ regarding ‘eonian’ read very differently if interpreted as meaning “of the future age.” But apparently at some point in the Greek-speaking world, the original meaning of aionion was lost and the word almost exclusively came to mean eternal. It should also be noted that when St Jerome translated the New Testament into Latin, he used the word æternum to render aionion. Western Christians never had a chance.

 1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

6 Yet among the mature (perfected) we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory… 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit… 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (Or ‘in spiritual language’)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 3:1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife ( a readiness to quarrel (having a contentious spirit), affection for dispute) IN you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human (FLESHLY)?

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