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Johann Winer, whose grammar first appeared in 1824...introduced a revolution into the study of the Greek New Testament by adopting and substantiating the premise that Biblical Greek, and particularly that of the New Testament, was not a special 'Holy Ghost' language, nor a conglomerate of Greek words and Semitic grammar, but the ordinary colloquial tongue of the day, spoken through the Graeco-Roman world.
Dana and Mantey, Manual Grammar of the Greek NT (vii-ix)
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
G.K. Chesterton
Bach's music is much more valuable proof of the existence of God than any of the theological proofs.
Vladimir Fetsmin, Russian Pianist, Newsweek, Aug. 1, 1994
There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7
Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years where we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
A man's true glory consists in gentleness, humility, and unfeigned charity.
John Chrysostom, from Golden Mouth, p.97
Those like myself whose imagination far exceeds their obedience are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, p. 128
All written language calls for retransformation into its spoken form; it calls for its lost power.
Richard Palmer, Hermeneutics, p. 15
In the Old Testament...'the knowledge of God is mediated not by metaphysical reflection on the necessity of his being but by historical experience of his presence...'
John Courtney Murray, S.J. The Problem of God, p. 19
We moderns are accustomed to finding God in peace and beauty and silence. The Old Testament most often knows him present behind the violence and flow and clatter of everyday life.
Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier, The OT Roots of Our Faith
The history of Western epistemology might be described as the quest for a method of reasoning that assures certain knowledge. But philosophers have now come to the conclusion that there is no way to reason that both extends our knowledge and certifies the results.
Nancey Murphy, Reasoning and Rhetoric in Religion, p. 53
When men and women identify what are in fact their partial and particular causes too easily and too completely with the cause of some universal principle, they usually behave worse than they would otherwise do.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virture, p. 221
What narrowness of spiritual life we find in Frazer! And as a result: how impossible for him to understand a different way of life from the English one of his time!
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, p. 5e
In the New Testament the opposite of spirit is not the material, but the impersonal.
John Leith, Basic Christian Doctrine, p. 162
We moderns are accustomed to finding God in peace and beauty and silence. The Old Testament most often knows him present behind the violence and flow and clatter of everyday life.
Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier, The OT Roots of Our Faith

Asking the Right Question

07th November 2011

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Ephesians 2:14-16

 

If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers.  Edward Hodnett  (American poet 1841-1920)

 

 

 

“What is your church’s policy on gays and lesbians?”

 

I have been asked that question a number of times.  The direct answer to this question is,  “We don’t have policies on certain demographic groups in our community.  We exist for people who are seeking a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  All are welcome to join our community and to be transformed by the love of Christ.”

 

But this answer does not satisfy.  The problem is that the question being asked by our society is not a question that the church can answer.  This is because the church is asking a different question.

 

Christians believe that Christ came to destroy the divisions society constructs between human beings (Galatians quote above).  We believe that God’s purpose through Christ s to create one new humanity in Christ (Ephesians 2, above).  This means that we don’t buy into the divisions of our culture.  It means that we are challenged to understand ourselves and each other in a new way.  We are a people whose sense of self is being redefined as our relationship with God through Christ becomes more and more central to our existence.

 

This is particularly challenging for us to embody given our society’s project.  We can agree on one thing.  There has been a division in our society between heterosexuals and homosexuals which harms many and has justified violence against the marginalized.  Sadly, Christians have been a part of the problem.  We need to repent and stand against this division.  But many of those who have worked for gay rights have also sought to develop sexuality as an identity; as an immutable part of who we are as human beings.  We are either homosexual or heterosexual or something inbetween.  This does not solve the problem of division and injustice in our society.  It simply moves the walls of division from one place to another.  It merely shifts the power to dictate what is right and wrong from one group to another.

 

The church is called to be radical.  To be truly radical is to change the question which is the root of the problem.  We cannot choose one of the two pre-made answers that our society allows us.  We cannot choose to be liberal or conservative and thus define ourselves over/against the other option.  This simply layers division upon division. The past division which caused the injustices toward homosexuals are only shifting to a new power group.  It is now the “tolerant” (meaning those who ascribe to particular “doctrines” and “dogmas) who are increasing in power while the “intolerant” (meaning those who used to have power to define right and wrong but who continue to give validity to views contrary to the “tolerant”) receive increasing ridicule.  The scarlet “A” became the scarlet “H” has now become a scarlet “I”.  As Christians we must stand against the very idea of division among human beings.  We must ask a different question.

 

How do we create a new community without division?  How do we create a community of service and love which heals those wounded by the divisions of our society?  This is the right question.  This is the question we should always keep before us.  This is the question that will lead us to the right answer.

We exist to create a community of faith who welcomes anyone who truly seeks a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  This community is committed to radically transforming their identity in such a way that we no longer support the ideological divisions of our culture, speaking instead to the transcendent reality of the new humanity formed in Christ.  As such, the question we are asking is:

 

 

“How do we create one new humanity in Christ?”

 



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