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Archive for the ‘JS Analysis’ Category

So how does the material in the “rest of the Gospels” come into the Christian life? What are the “processes of Discipleship” we see in the first half of the Gospels that should be integrated into faith in the crucified and risen one.

1. We should start with affirming the perspective we’ve gained. The Kingdom of God, which Jesus embodied, proclaimed, taught and practiced is only possible because Jesus is a mediator-King; a King who makes things right through death and resurrection, not through miracles and exorcisms. Hold these things together. See these two tracks in scripture: the establishment of God’s Kingdom and the victory of God’s messiah over evil, sin and death. Jesus death secures our place in his Kingdom, and his Kingdom insures his victory in the world. (more…)

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How does the ministry of Jesus fit into our consideration of Jesus?

In 1982, I returned to seminary and took a job as youth minister at a church near the seminary. Because of some of my studies in seminary that semester, and because of something I heard Dr. John Piper say in a sermon, I determined to make the Gospel According to St. Mark a major life’s project.

At the time, 27 years ago, it seemed like many other resolutions that I made but probably wouldn’t keep. Surprisingly, I have kept that resolution, much to the chagrin of all those around me who have come to hear far more sermons, lessons and talks from Mark than any other Gospel, and especially to the regret of my Bible students, who have come to view my annual trek through Mark as the great mountain to be climbed in my Bible survey class. (more…)

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I want to write some posts exploring what I am going to call “The Jesus Disconnect.”

Nothing has impressed me more in my last few years of writing, reading and discussion than the disconnect the average Christian believer feels from the ministry of Jesus, specifically his miracles, exorcisms, teachings, training of disciples and encounters with individuals as described in the first half of the Gospels.

For many Christians, their view of Jesus is much like the movie Passion of the Christ. The story of Jesus begins with the suffering of Jesus, with the ministry of Jesus fading anonymously into the background, appearing occasionally in a few moralistic or sentimentally devotional flashbacks. (more…)

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NOTE: Just for the record, I think the civil case is a money grab and a waste of the court’s time. But that’s another post for another blog.

Jared nails it. Read him, because I’m just stealing his stuff.

The prosperity Gospel has nothing to do with Jesus.

The Osteen trial is providing all the evidence you need- if you needed more- that this nonsense about a religion obsessed with “God’s favor” produces people who are in another universe as far as Jesus is concerned.

These are people who want the first class seats, and they want to be served. They are entitled.

Entitled. (more…)

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One of the many children of the original “Wretched Urgency.”

In his outstanding, must-read book, The Myth of Certainty, Daniel Taylor uses a narrative method in some portions of the book that I’m sure many of you can relate to. The protagonist, a moderate Bible teacher who finds himself teaching at a fundamentalist Bible college, is constantly surrounded by Christians who operate on a set of assumptions he doesn’t share at all. In conversation after conversation, he finds himself saying as little as possible as his co-workers proceed on with their various crusades of certainty, fear, mythology and anger.

Such a narrative device bears more than a little resemblance to real life for many Christians. Surrounded by those with whom we share a basic faith, we’re constantly confronted with our non-participation in various causes and adventures that have, from our point of view, almost nothing to do with Jesus. Many Christians live out a kind of spirituality that shares the facts of belief with us, but beyond that, things get strange and stressful. (more…)

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I am traveling all day and may not have web access for a while. So be patient with moderation. Thanks.

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour the Vatican Splendors collection at Cleveland’s Western Reserve Historical Society. The traveling exhibit contains selections from the Vatican’s collection of art and artifacts. Much of the exhibit concentrates on the papacy itself, with items associated with significant popes of the past and present. Other artifacts are more archaeological in nature, including items from the purported burial site of the apostle Peter.

The exhibit is excellent and I recommend it anyone interested in cultural and religious history. Do not be surprised that aspects of the exhibit are, as anyone would expect, presented in such a way as to support the various claims of the Roman Catholic church to antiquity and, therefore, authority. But aside from a few excesses of description- such as the apostles wearing mitres and Jesus elevating the cup to say “This is my blood”- the exhibit had little that any non-Roman Catholic Christian would disagree with on purely historical grounds. (more…)

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One of my readers sent me two very interesting links. The first is on the phenomenon of “subcultural segregation,” especially of the politically like-minded, and the second is on a similar topic, but more applied to the overall quality of civic life in our culture.

Let me translate some of these ideas out a bit: For a Jesus follower, spending all our time in various club-like enclaves with people who are just like ourselves is simply not an option. We must cross the cultural and subcultural barriers that are around us, and we must make intentional, missional efforts to do what Jesus did in going to/relating to Samaritans, Gentiles, women, lepers, Romans, sinners and people from various circles on the cultural map. (more…)

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Several days ago, I posted an invitation to discuss Jesus and Gas Prices on this blog. It’s a topic that, to a large extent, will reveal how much we really can engage our imagination with the concept of Jesus shaped discipleship.

For example, one evangelical has taken his particular view of rising gas prices and started a movement called “Pray at the Pump.” Somehow, the rise of gas prices is a sign of the end times and praying at the pump for God to lower prices will apparently prove that he’s in charge.

Of course, one wonders if it ever occurred to anyone that the inconvenience to the American lifestyle of mobility and affluence isn’t really something that God would respond to as an act of mercy. Most Americans are inconvenienced by gas prices because of the value they place on mobility and the decisions they’ve made about the kind of life they want to live, decisions made with the assumption of cheap gas in the background. (more…)

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This is a three part post dealing with a classic Roman Catholic critique of evangelicalism followed by a missional defense of evangelicalism on my part.

If you haven’t read Bouyer, you will be at a bit of disadvantage. Same if you don’t know anything about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

In part I of this post, I review Louis Bouyer’s The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, perhaps the most solid Roman Catholic criticism of Protestantism in print. In Part II, I respond to Bouyer’s criticism with an exploration of what evangelicals mean by a missional understanding of being the church of Jesus, as exemplified by Mars Hill Church in Seattle. And in Part III, I assess the prospects for unity considering the value of both these models. (more…)

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churchesstores.jpgI’ve developed a serious case of “What would Jesus think about this?” Trust me, it’s just as annoying to me as it is to you.

I don’t claim to know perfectly what Jesus would think about anything, but going on what Jesus says in the gospels, I’m usually able to get on the right road and start asking some of the right questions.

No, I won’t shut up just because you disagree. Sorry. I can’t help myself.

For example, yesterday I was driving through a community where I used to live, and at one intersection there’s a large building that was built about twenty years ago with the intention of housing about 30 “storefront” businesses. It’s turned out to be a bit of a white elephant, as few businesses have located or succeeded there, even though it is a good location right at a major intersection. Now it’s looking a bit second class. (more…)

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