Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive

Many Evangelical Christians today claim that we ought to defer to the tradition of the Church when faced with difficult matters such as the status of homosexuals in the community of faith or the nature of the atonement. We can see a lot of changes in the position of the public against homo couples. In the polls worldwide we can see attitudes have shifted over time. In 1988, the two-thirds of white Americans for example, believed that “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex” was “always wrong,” including 85 percent of born-again Christians. By 2010, both groups began to accept same-sex relationships. Born-again Christians still opposed homosexuality, but they answered the questions the same way non-believers answered in the 1980s. In 2010, two-thirds of evangelicals believed that homosexuality is “always wrong,” compared to just 30 percent of others.

John Piper's church. Also see here

John Piper’s church. Also see here (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Evangelicals may also differ on the role of the women in their community. Most of them affirm male headship in ordain­ing men only to pastoral ministry, but they also practice male headship in the way that they carry out the other dis­cipleship and teaching ministries of the church. So male headship characterizes both ordained and non-ordained minis­tries in the church.

In the catholic and Protestant religions we do find that many are convinced that only qualified men are ordained to the pastoral office (hierarchy in principle), and women do not teach Christian doctrine to men (hierarchy in practice). John Piper‘s position:

“Men should bear primary responsibility for Christlike headship and teaching in the church. So it is un­biblical . . . and therefore detrimental, for women to assume this role” (John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “An Overview of Central Concerns: Questions and Answers,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 60-61).

This hierarchy in both principle and practice reflects a certain interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12, an interpretation that Douglas Moo ad­vocates in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood:

“We think 1 Timothy 2:8-15 imposes two restrictions on the ministry of women: they are not to teach Christian doctrine to men and they are not to exercise authority directly over men in the church.” {Moo, “What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men?,” 180.}

While most of the young reformed evangelicals are closing ranks around traditional, conservative views of biblical inspiration and author­ity, some in the emerging church are re­vising and moving away from the same. One can hardly envision reconciliation on the gender question as long as the two groups continue on these radically divergent trajectories.

John Piper describes practices of Pas­tor Mark Driscoll who allows women to teach and lead men within the minis­tries of Mars Hill Church, as “detrimental” to the life of the church. {John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “An Overview of Central Concerns: Questions and Answers,” 61.} Nevertheless, these two men in particu­lar share a basic commitment to comple­mentarian principles and have enough common ground in their shared vision of the gospel to cooperate in endeavors such as “The Gospel Coalition,” a gos­pel renewal movement that confesses a strong complementarian position.

Priscilla Shirer who’s marriage appears to be just the sort of enlightened partnership that would make feminists cheer, avoids using words like “feminist” or “career woman” to describe herself. She is an evangelical Bible teacher who makes her living by guiding thousands of women through the study of Scripture in her books, videos and weekend conferences — in which she stresses that in a biblical home and church, the man is the head and the woman must submit.
She steers women away from the “feminist activists” who tell women to do their own thing. does a woman has to go out of the house and find a ‘proper’ job to bring more money in the family till? Can the woman make up her own decisions or is tit that she let a man “slow her down,” as she puts it?

For her it is clear that it is an evil demon, called “Satan” who “will do everything in his power to get us to take the lead in our home.” She forgets to see that satan just means any adversary or evil within, and according to the Bible is not a sort of monster which shall bring people into his realm were people shall be tortured for ever.

Molly Worthen writes

Shirer and many conservative Christians believe that the Bible defines gender as a divinely ordained set of desires and duties inherent in each man and woman since the Garden of Eden. Gender is not an act or a choice, but a nonnegotiable gift. To these Christians, the story of Adam and Eve’s creation granted man authority over woman, and they understand the New Testament teachings of Paul and his comrades — in particular, that wives should submit to their husbands — not as cultural relics of the first century but as universal teachings that Christians apply today.

Cover of "Women in Ministry: Four Views"

Cover of Women in Ministry: Four Views

In the industrialised countries we see sexual liberation has saturated the general culture and brought most citizens away from the church-institutions, but also away from the Holy Scriptures. Many people took the attitudes and sayings of churches as actions of men of God. They took their conclusions when they saw so many wrong goings by the clergy. In the meantime mainline churches are ordaining women and homosexuals, conservative evangelicals are escalating their counter-offensive.

To critics, “complementarian” is code for sexist patriarchy, a license to keep women muzzled and homebound. Yet spending even five minutes with Priscilla Shirer and her husband suggests that reality is far more complicated — not only at home but also in the new “separate sphere” that this theology has spawned: a subculture of Bible studies, conferences, ministries, religious retreats and literature ranging from Christian fitness books to Christian romance novels, all produced by and for evangelical women.

Molly Worthen writes in the New York times Magazine article Housewives of God.

Those who think the woman may not teach about the Word of God should look at those persons who opened their houses and got people in to listen to them. There we found in the first home-churches active women who not only taught their children but also their servants. The woman of the household was the  person teaching becoming the authority. Since the parent is already the authority, as God intended it to be from creation, there should be no problem in women teaching doctrine to their own children. but they had to remember that the husband would always be the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, but he is also subject to his Father, the Only One God. Like Jesus follows his Father, man and woman who say they are followers of Christ Jesus the Messiah, should follow Jesus.

The wives when they are in subjection to their own husbands should not have to bow to every other man and have to follow what they say. those wives also had to follow first the Word of God, like for every body it should be the Law of God which has to be followed in the first instance and than the laws of men as long as they contradict not the Law of God. It is by the right attitude the subjective woman can gain the man. Namely that, if any obey not God’s Word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.

MInistry in Contemporary Culture - Does Evange...

MInistry in Contemporary Culture – Does Evangelicalism have a Future? (Photo credit: George Fox Evangelical Seminary)

Those discussing the role of the woman in culture and in the church often also claim tradition as a source of authority. But why then do those Christians not take literal translations from the original Scriptures? Should English speaking people not be translating their English Bibles from the LXX since that is what the early church (not to mention the writers of the NT!) considered inspired?

Some of these same Evangelicals boldly proclaim that every book that we have in our canon as Protestants (and onlythe set that we have in our canon) is without error. Again, where does that leave our sisters and brothers from the early Church (or the Eastern Orthodox tradition which uses the LXX)?

writes Garret Menges in Rethinking Scripture.

A brief survey of the history of the LXX raises some questions about the way we view Scripture today. For example, is the LXX inspired Scripture even though it’s a translation of a more original textual tradition? If not, then are the fragments that have made it into our NT inspired? Were the scribes who translated Isaiah, for example, quickly taken up in the Spirit while contemplating how to translate the Hebrew word for “young woman” only to have the Spirit leave them shortly after the translation of that single verse?

To make matters even more complicated, the earliest copies of the Hebrew text we have are those of the Masoretes from the 7th to 11th centuries CE. The Masoretes, being faithful preservers of the oral tradition of the Scriptures that were passed on from generation to generation, decided that it was time their tradition be put on paper and so they transcribed the documents that we use today for the translation of our own English Bibles. The fact that we consider the Masoretic Hebrew text to be the authoritative version of the OT is based on the (not small) assumption that the Hebrew oral tradition was indeed successfully passed down from generation to generation completely untarnished. In fact, modern Christian translators are so committed to this assumption that we overlook the fact that the LXX predates the Masoretic Text (MT) by over 1,000 years! Could it not be argued that even though the LXX is a translation of a more original textual tradition it nevertheless ought to be considered more reliable than the MT simply because of its much earlier date of composition?

Men and women should look into that matter and get to know what the Holy Scriptures can tell them about their positions they do have to take.
They should get to remember where the words came from in what sort of language and how that language was used. Getting to know the proverbs of that language they should get a fluid and organic understanding of what Scripture is to begin with. Many may think lots of fallible and errant human beings were involved in “making up what some consider to be an infallible and/or inerrant group of texts.”

Though we should trust the Higher Being who let His Words to be written down for future generations so that they could learn from it. We should look at Jesus who kept to the Words of his Father and considered Them to be set apart (holy) and inspired, bearing witness to the God many believe was fully revealed in the person of Jesus. but those who take Jesus to be God look over the Words of the Father who calls that Jewish man His son and not Himself. It are doctrines like the Holy Trinity, twisting of the Words of God, church teachings of flat earth a.o. things people did have to believe which undermined the credibility of the Holy Scriptures.

To say it is authoritative means that as a body of believers we are committed to reading the text and rereading it, both devotionally and liturgically, wrestling with it, discussing it over a meal, and maybe even at times disagreeing with it but never, despite all the frustrations it may cause us, doing away with it. In other words, the authority of the Bible is not something it inherently holds but is something we grant it as the Church. The Bible is authoritative because we say it’s authoritative and we need no reason beyond that. And none of this has anything to do with whether or not there are any mistakes in the Bible or if it’s scientifically or historically accurate or if the virgin birth was based on a mistranslation.

Mistranslation or not, people should always go and look what is behind the words, written in black and white,or some also in colour ink. then they would find out that the Bible is not as difficult to read and understand as they first thought. When willingness is there to take the words for what they say, everything shall become clear, and than people will see that the Bible always told the truth and brings a message to believe in, giving us enough indication what to do with our life, how us to behave and which roles we do have to take.

Man can find solutions and guidance for their position and should be aware of the role the Creator had for each of us, men and women.

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Please do find:

  1. Younger Evangelicals and Women in Ministry: A Sketch of the Spectrum of Opinion
  2. Housewives of God
  3. How Evangelicals Have Shifted in Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage
  4. What The Bible Says About The Role of Women
  5. Rethinking Scripture

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  • Wayne’s World Without Women Pastors (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
    Wayne Grudem’s and Barry Asmus’s book may fall into the hands of women who are church leaders, even pastors, in poor nations.
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    As we move out from the church and the home we move further from what is fairly clear and explicit to what is more ambiguous and inferential…. When it comes to all the thousands of occupations and professions, with their endlessly varied structures of management, God has chosen not to be specific about which roles men and women should fill…. For this reason we focus (within some limits) on how these roles are carried out rather than which ones are appropriate.
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    The godly women portrayed in the Old Testament are always seen as submissive to the leadership of their husbands. In fact Peter sees a pattern in their behavior that Christian wives should imitate, for he says, “For … Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord….”
  • Dear White Christian Leaders, Don’t Do It. (davidswanson.wordpress.com)
    Last week brought disheartening news from white-evangelical-church-world. A well-publicized men’s conference was reported to have used both women and gay people as punchlines to jokes told from the stage. And, in An Open Letter from the Asian American Community to the Evangelical Church, a group of influential Asian American Christians pointed out a bunch of instances of racial stereotyping by different evangelical conferences, publishing houses, and pastors. For those paying attention – and/or on the receiving end of these offensive and marginalizing stereotypes – it seems impossible that these things keep happening. How is it that many Christian leaders of the evangelical-ish variety are continuing with language, images, and assumptions that are so unloving? It’s crazy, right?
  • Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 1 by John Piper (davidandleahweathers.wordpress.com)
    what it means for a Married couple to Truly be “One Flesh”, as God commands Marrieds to be in Several places in the Bible, starting in Genesis 2:24. Becoming One Flesh is what we Strive for in our own Marriage. But while we hear lip service paid to it, the high divorce rates, as well as the way we see Marrieds treat each other– even among professing Christian couples – suggest that it is indeed lip service only. Finding an example of a True “One Flesh” union is nearly impossible!
  • Responding to the Gay Agenda (rethinkingtheology.com)
    The first thing you may want to do is to familiarize yourself with the details of the “gay agenda” (click HERE). Then think carefully about the components of it and ask yourself if the society envisioned by the homosexual apologists is the kind of society you want for yourself, for your children and for your grandchildren. Do you want your children and grandchildren to be indoctrinated and recruited into an abnormal, unnatural, immoral lifestyle that is inherently harmful to their health and will not produce grandchildren and great grandchildren for you to enjoy and love? Do you want our churches to be infiltrated by their heretical and damning theology and filthy morals? Do you want to be punished legally for merely disagreeing with them?
  • New controversies in Evangelical theology (patheos.com)
    Evangelicals today are being torn by some major theological controversies.  The debate between Calvinists and Wesleyans is getting more and more heated.  Then there is a related debate between “Traditionists,” who believe Christians should hold onto the traditions of the historic church (particularly the decisions of the early church councils0 and the “Meliorists,” who reject holding onto traditions and believe the church can get better and better.  The Calvinists tend to be Traditionists (who themselves can be divided between “Biblicists” and “Paleo-Conservatives”) and the Wesleyans tend to be Meliorists.
  • Church History (daltonmoore116.wordpress.com)
    The body of Christ suffers when believers are not accountable to each other and when they are not saturated in the Word of God, both inside the church and outside the church. I feel this way because in my opinion so many of the problems that the church faced throughout history, specifically in theology, could have been avoided or handled better if believers were accountable in their walks. Now whether or not this was truly the case I am not sure, but one thing I do know is that time spent in the Word and accountability are crucial in the walk of a Christian and without them problems are inevitable.
  • “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism” (graceandphysics.wordpress.com)
    “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism”

    This studies the role of the man and woman in a biblical manner: more complementarian, and therefore hierarchical, or egalitarian? I really want to read this book… I have no idea what it will say or what God will show me through it, but yeah. I really want to read this book.

  • Qumran Pt 2: Why do the Dead Sea Scrolls Matter? (glanier.wordpress.com)
    Though scholarship is still unfolding even today regarding the Scrolls’ origins, interpretation, history, etc., we at least have the benefit of over sixty years of perspective to evaluate the findings. That said, the Scrolls can be a bit of a hot-button issue (both in the scholarly world and the church), so I will try to be as balanced and critically sensitive as possible. I will cover three main topics and my standard concluding set of implications:
  • How the Early Church Sought to Resolve Textual Variants (str.typepad.com)
    Dan Wallace of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts has an interesting article offering evidence that the transmission of the New Testament text wasn’t merely linear—that is, it wasn’t like a child’s game of “Telephone” (or “Chinese Whispers,” for our European friends), where one person tells the next person, and he tells the next, and so on.
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    By the middle of the second century, when canon conscientiousness was on the rise, the Christian community regarded the autographs, or at least the earliest copies of the New Testament documents, as important witnesses. They were concerned about the purity of the text with regard to select textual variants. Most likely, this implies that the copying of the manuscripts in the early decades of the Christian faith was not that of strictly linear descent (one copy of another copy of another copy). Rather, there would be times when at least a few scribes would want to check behind their exemplar and look at its exemplar. This would especially occur whenever a disputed reading cropped up. So, there seems to have been a bit of a check on the quality of the transmission of the text from very early on.
  • Men and Women: Equal yet Different (hillsbiblechurch.org)
    Gender is important because God created male and female (Gen. 1:27).
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    Some men have either become domineering or passive, whereas some women have become usurping and bought into the lie of a false sense of liberation. The truth is, only the Word of God provides a right understanding of gender. Such an understanding will provide true liberation as men and women function as God designed.