Saturday, October 31, 2015

On The Gospel - Sin

Sin. Such a small word but with huge ramifications and not really understood. There are various definitions of sin available for various purposes ranging from "missing the mark," to "breaking the Law." All the available definitions are appropriate in their contexts but all are themselves a bit off the mark.

If we are made to be cosmic, world-class, YHWH-image Lovers, then sin it seems at its core, is not-Love. In other words, anything that is done (intentionally) against the wellbeing of the other, against the building up, the glorifying of the other is not-Love or sin. To get a better picture of sin, we can look at its opposites in YHWH's revelation. We are told that the fruit of the Spirit is akin to a laundry list of good character attributes. We might start in Galatians 5, but that is not the only place we find the fruit of the Spirit. So then, patience, kindness, gentleness, even self-control are descriptors or evidence of the sort of Love we are after. Their opposites then are our first place to start looking for a definition of sin. Impatience, meanness, hardness, and yes, even lack of self control or dissipation are sin descriptors.

These things though are not sin because they some how violate a list of positive behaviors or attributes, but because they do not arise from a fully-formed Love. They are less than, incomplete, adulterated forms of real life that do not reveal an inward state of full Love. These then, the attributes or characteristics of not-Love are the basic, broadest, and most profound definitions and evidence of sin.

When we read of the Law of Christ, we are to understand "the law of Love," or "what Love demands, propels, causes." There is not a list of things in this law but rather an expectation of having been formed into the likeness of Jesus, the fullness of YHWH and therefore the very expression of divine Love. Murder isn't a sin because it has been listed as such but because it fails to reflect Love for the person killed. Adultery is not sin because it has been listed as such but because it fails to reflect Love for the person to whom we have already committed ourselves, or for the person with whom we commit adultery. Gossip, which shows up in the middle of more "serious" sins, is not sin because it is listed among those others, but because it fails to reflect Love for the person spoken about.

Lists of sins have their purpose and that is to remind us that our oft-too-human desires are not reflective of Love. Those lists those can never be exhaustive of all the ways - all the behaviors - we might reveal an imperfect Love for those around us. No, the measure of sin is that place from which it arises. Anything that arises from not-Love is sin.

This is good news and bad news. Good news that we aren't tied to lists of either good behaviors or bad behaviors by which we will be judged; we are truly freed from such things in absolute terms. The bad news - or perhaps the inconvenient news - is that we can't claim to be not-Loving just because we've managed to not kill someone. This, the problem the Pharisees and their buddies had. They thought that because they had the Law itself; that they even perhaps kept a lot of it, that they were therefore righteous, or sinless. What they had forgotten, much like the rest of us do from time to time, is that it isn't the finite thing we do or avoid that makes us righteous or sinful, but the place or character from which that behavior arises.

Not-love then, becomes the definition of sin and how we can determine what is pleasing or not pleasing to YHWH. Stated as a negative, it allow us to focus on the positive - Love. When we focus on becoming and behaving as Love in this world, we have less chance of being not-Love, and we can know in ourselves that what we are is either Love or not-Love.

Next: On The Gospel - Coming to God

On The Gospel - Love

John tells us that YHWH is Love and Jewish Scripture reiterates that that He as and extends steadfast love toward people, especially those who He has called to be His people. This love though is not what we often call love. It isn't romantic, emotional, or even familial love as we know them and yet, it is all of them. To have divine Love is to express that Love and to do so willingly and fully. Love, even as we experience it in its specific essence is self-giving for the good, the benefit, the building up of the other. Love in its positive, self-giving aspect is to glorify the other person.

When we say that we are to glorify YHWH, we mean that we are to laud, to give ourselves for Him, to point others to His Love, mercy, and kindness. We glorify YHWH by the ways we live, the reasons we give for what we do, the value He has in our lives and the potential He has in others' lives. YHWH's complaints about Israel is that she has not done this, routinely. She not only has other gods she adores, worships, and runs to for help, but based on the way His people treat each other, who would want to be a follower of YHWH?

Why indeed and yet this enticing peoples to YHWH was part and parcel of Israel's purpose - to bear the message of YHWH and embody His divine Love among herself. Israel was supposed to have a sort of flashing neon light above her that read, "This is the wonderful, loving way to live on the planet." Yet what her sign read was, "We aren't really any different than you are, so no big deal."

Israel did not love and this was her biggest challenge.

It is our biggest challenge.

Divine Love is freely given - to all persons and all peoples. God made Man(kind) and there is nothing in the history of the world that indicates that He has stopped loving Man(kind). Freely given is a key consideration when it comes to love. Love by definition is concern about another's wellbeing, another's full development and full life. Love in the final analysis cannot be compelled, it cannot be coerced, it cannot finally, be commanded. Love must be chosen by the lover, regardless of the response of the beloved. No one wants their partner to "love" them because a third party is making their partner "love" them. It would be clear that their "love" was not true love, but was forced and essentially simply going through the motions. This sort of love would quickly be seen to be hollow and worthless. 

And yet we are commanded to love. Commanded because that is the expectation and it is a command we can choose to ignore. We are also told to become transformed, but that transformation is into the character and likeness of Jesus, who is Love. It makes sense to tell our children that we want them to grow up to be good people, but we speak about being good people as something that would be constituently who they would become. We do not speak necessarily about "being good," or "being have" in public or toward others, but about the character from which would arise those good behaviors, that view of life and others that would move our children to love those around them.

In the same way, we are expected to become those in whom Love is a constituent aspect, those who love because Love is who we are. We become those who choose to Love others as a matter of course, as simply what we do. At some point, we might say that we "can do no other," not because we literally cannot, but because not-love doesn't occur to us. It was popular a few years ago, and still appropriate to say that we become "little christs," living in the world. It is as appropriate to say we become "little gods," loving others and the world as YHWH does. We don't become divine in the sense of essence, but we come to so embody the Love of God that we move about our lives as YHWH did as Jesus of Nazareth.

The good new of YHWH, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than "you can be saved." It is rather, that we can be restored to who we are made to be; we can return to God and live the Life of YHWH right here. We participate in the work of God and we participate in His essence when we receive the Holy Spirit. We are called to become cosmic Lovers, rather than ego-centric sinners. We are called to be who Adam was made to be.

God offers us, and calls us to become Love, the most fulfilling way to live imaginable. It is the most fulfilling because it is precisely who you are made to be; how you were made to live. Every primary religious belief system and modern psychological theory tell us that to embody the fruit of the Spirit and to live as God has intended us to live, is the most desired and the most emotionally healthy way to live.

This should not surprise us, and we should embrace it as the good news - the gospel it is.

Next: On The Gospel - Sin

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On The Gospel - The Image Or Character of God II

Israel was intended to be the image of her God in the world, the bearer of blessing and good news for all the nations. Her history with YHWH was at best an inconsistent witness to this image. The Law, the leading of YHWH, His protection and blessing of Israel was not for her alone, but as a witness to the entire world of what faithful discipleship to YHWH could mean for every country.

Every country, every nation could be caught up in the gracious mercy and blessings of YHWH if they would simply heed what Israel was supposed to have demonstrated - what she was supposed to have become. Israel was to be the very embodiment of YHWH and as such become a priest for the world until the world itself could become one with YHWH.

Being the image of YHWH wasn't a secret; we are told in Genesis that YHWH made Man(kind) in His image. There have been various ideas about what being the image of YHWH means, including being spirit beings or having souls; being able to use logic and critical thinking; to have an independent and effective will; and even being creative beings. All of these miss the mark, but that last comes closest to the implication of being an image of YHWH. To be the image of the Creator God is to be imbued with the same character, the same values, the same drives as the Creator.

The character of God is revealed repeatedly in the Jewish Scriptures and is again revealed in the Christian Scriptures as well. Perhaps the greatest characteristic of God is Love. This love causes graciousness, mercy, and believe it or not, humility to be manifested by YHWH. It is these same characteristics expected of Israel. YHWH is also faithful and so was Israel supposed to be. To be a creator implies the giving of oneself; one's energy, one's creative process, one's blessing if you will to the thing created. Love, or giving of self for another is the primary characteristic of YHWH and it is in this character aspect that we come to understand what it means to be the image of the Giver of Life.

But YHWH is not always loving, patient, and gracious toward Israel or any other nation for that matter. Certainly the character of YHWH also includes anger, vengeance, and violence toward even those He uses to accomplish His purposes. We cannot avoid admitting that yes, it does seem that this God of Israel's is not always depicted as we have described Him, as Love. Isaiah gives us some insight into this seeming dichotomy when it is revealed that YHWH uses punishment that fits the crime to discipline Israel and other nations. This discipline is intended to bring her and them back to YHWH if they would but see that life with Him would be so much better.

It is this better life that YHWH wants to give all nations; all the people on the planet. He has made not only Israel from nothing, but the world itself, including all other nations. He is the crafter of existence and from the beginning of Man(kind) His intent has been to bless, to nurture, to shape all people and all peoples into the very likeness that His image points toward.

This alignment of image with the character of YHWH is the underlying reality of the fruit of the Spirit. Why does living with YHWH result in these things listed in Galatians 5, if not because they represent the character and image of YHWH and therefore the core, inherent character of all persons. This is what YHWH meant when He dared make Man(kind) in His image; He would make creatures that carried His character and then grow most fully into that image. As Paul says, we become the likeness of Christ who has demonstrated nothing if not the characteristics reminiscent of the fruit of the Spirit, leading us (back) toward our very Creator's character and the full blossoming of what lies inside ourselves.

The image of YHWH then is not about being spirit, not about being able to think logically, not any of those other things primarily although aspects of the image may indeed match those ideas. Rather to be made in the image of YHWH is to carry within ourselves the character of our God; He who created the entire race out of nothing. If we can say that YHWH is Love, then we can say our make up and our calling also is to be Love as expressed through the fruit of the Spirit and similar attributes. If Israel's calling was to remain faithful and embody the life lived with YHWH, so too is the calling of every person.

That with which YHWH began - the mutual nurturing of Man(kind) with one another and the rest of creation - remains the goal. The ultimate purpose is to return all peoples and all persons to YHWH as faithful vessels who live the very sort of Love as does YHWH. This planet is not exile; it is not punishment to live this life. Living a YHWH-life on this planet is precisely why you are here. We are not "just passing through," but rather placed here intentionally to enjoy the best life possible and entice others to that same life.

The character of God then is Love in its fullest and deepest manifestation. This Love was demonstrated by the loving faithfulness of YHWH toward Israel even when she did not deserve it, and it was demonstrated in the life of Jesus. Micah tells us that YHWH wants His creatures to act justly and love mercy; and remain faithful to Him. Nothing has changed about that expectation. That is the expectation not because YHWH has arbitrarily decreed that it should be, but because that is precisely how YHWH made you to be.

Next: On the Gospel - Love

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On The Gospel - The Image Or Character of God

A cursory reading of the Jewish Scriptures reveals that YHWH is concerned about two primary topics. The first is Israel's fidelity to Him. It was YHWH who called Abram and YHWH who called Israel from Egypt. Finally, it was YHWH who had mercy on Israel and brought her from exile in Babylon. There are a number of reminders of these realities throughout the Jewish Scriptures. He has been faithful to Israel and He expects she would be faithful to Him. Fidelity then is one topic that is recurring in Jewish Scriptures.

The second recurring topic is the kind of people Israel was supposed to be. The expectation is that they would reflect their God, His character in their relationships with each other. Of particular importance to YHWH is the behavior of Israel's leaders - her kings, prophets, judges, and other organs of the state. The behavior of the populous is as important, but the maladies affecting Israel are routinely placed at the feet of those in power.Two recurring themes fidelity and character. When YHWH sends Israel off into captivity and then on His own initiative, elects to redeem her, to reconcile her to Himself, the constant refrain is that Israel will once again be faithful to YHWH and will be shaped into people who reflect His own character.

What is this character that Israel is to reflect? Micah gives us a hint when he offers, to act justly and to love mercy. Justly here does not mean justice in a legal, objective sense, but fairness coupled or tempered with mercy. To treat someone justly does not mean to execute justice and throw them in jail. It means to bear with them, to not take advantage of them. It means to give them their due. Justice we are told was often perverted in Israel to the benefit of the powerful and sly. As a result, the poor were taken advantage of and abused by the very people they should be able to trust. They were not being treated justly. Mercy then tempers and shapes our treatment of others in the direction of healing, of reconciliation, of life. Mercy foregoes my prerogatives for your benefit.

Isaiah's description of the fasting that YHWH likes is not simply self denial, but self denial that issues in the benefit of others. Mercy and justice. These two are the common themes when YHWH complains about Israel's character. It seems that YHWH could almost bear with the high places but for the failure of Israel to assume His character in their lives with each other. The greatest surprise for YHWH is not that Israel would worship Moloch, but that they would feed their children to him.The abuse of others, the lack of YHWH character in His people seems the greater form of infidelity. Having been created as a nation at His discretion, that He has demonstrated steadfast love for her should have resulted in their steadfast love for each other. It resulted in their abandonment of Him and the further deterioration of their own lives and character. There seems to be no limit to our possible depravity when we focus on ourselves and on gaining more and more for me and mine.

Those who would be the people of God are expected to assume YHWH's character and this is the measure of whether those people are indeed His people. The honoring and worship of YHWH is expected by Israel as a starting point; as a basic understanding of Him as the God for His people. But this acknowledgement isn't sufficient. We are reminded that even the demons believe but we are not at all assured that those demons are "saved." Acknowledgement of God or even destroying the high places is not what God is after entirely. Rather, after we acknowledge God, it has always been necessary to live like Him - as His image and likeness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

On The Gospel - The People of God II

YHWH has come for those who would be His people. He has come to rescue, to recover, to reconcile first Israel and then all of humankind to Himself. He has done this more than once in the history of the world. YHWH has come for His people out of His own initiative, not because those He seeks to find are guiltless or morally deserve His rescue, but as an act of grace. This grace, freely offered by YHWH and arising from His steadfast love for Israel and all people, is freely exercised. Paul will tell us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Before we had faith, before we repented, before we had come to our senses, YHWH effected the death of Jesus for the entire world.

The intent of this reconciliation offered first to Israel and then to the nations, is the same intent - to form and shape a people of YHWH who would be the name by which they are called. This people would both be faithful to YHWH and embody His character among the nations and each other. Their lives and message would be their calling, their burden, and their blessing for the world. These people would be a sort of incarnation; they would embody their God in this world. YHWH offers through His people, real life lived fully as images of Himself with and among each other. The glory of God is truly human beings fully alive.

But we have become distracted and have built religious institutions, complete with structure, rules, and set liturgies and we have called these the church. When Jesus promised to build His church, it wasn't one of these Sunday morning institutions to which He referred. He was referring to the very thing YHWH has always been after namely, a people who would be the name by which they are called. A people faithful to YHWH as their God, their strength, their protector, their defense, their example and master. A people who would embody the very character and image of YHWH as a wise, merciful, just, and faithful God, and be His people.

This then, rightly is the people of God, a people and all people who are faithful to and disciples of YHWH and Jesus, who have rescued them and given them life right now. They are not defined primarily by religious doctrine, ecclesial structure or rules, historical institutional continuance, or a culture-bound denominational name. They are defined by how closely they reflect the character of their God. As YHWH has told us, His people will be known by their love - for each other and for the world. These people are the only true people of God and it is this people that YHWH has been after since the beginning.

Monday, October 19, 2015

On The Gospel - The People of God

Christians are not fond of the designation, “People of God” and it hardly ever appears in connection with the church or Christianity in general. This is unfortunate because our loss of this name has helped play havoc with our identity and understanding of God and salvation wrought by Jesus. Salvation, despite repeated claims that it involves some sort of personal relationship with Jesus, is all too often understood as a legal exchange wherein God moves your attendance peg from “Lost” to “Saved.” There may be some aspect of salvation that approaches that concept, but it is far from being the primary definition or even consideration for salvation. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The People of God is not a designation of a group as much as it is a descriptor of the people in that group. It describes a few things which are interrelated. First, it describes possession yes, but more a connection. These people described in the Jewish Scriptures enjoy a particular relationship with YHWH not shared by other peoples. These, we are reminded by Paul, have been given the oracles of YHWH, they have had the prophets among them and they have enjoyed YHWH’s protection, rescue, and leading.
They don’t wear the name as much as they are the name.
This naming having inherent meaning is experienced throughout the Jewish Scriptures and play prominent roles in Isaiah, the naming of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Esau, and Israel. Names are important and they carry the essence of their meanings.
The connection with YHWH is not the only import of the name People of God. Another aspect is the quality or character of these people. They are to embody the character of YHWH in their lives. If YHWH is gracious, they are to be gracious. If YHWH is longsuffering, they are to longsuffering. If YHWH is merciful, they are to be merciful. If YHWH is fair, they are to be fair. These characteristics furthermore are not to be evident just among their internal relationships with one another, but they should be reflected in their dealings with others – those who are not the People of God.
We might say again that they don’t wear the name as much as they are the name.
Israel has consistently failed to meet the double standard of fidelity to YHWH and transformation of her character. Isaiah will tell us that the entire nation is corrupt from the head to the foot. Israel has failed to grasp that it is YHWH that has formed her and wanting to form her; and she has failed to live among herself and other nations as a people transformed into the very character of her God.
YHWH repeatedly uses the goal to encourage Israel, that He will be her God and she should be His people. This is Israel’s purpose as the People of God: to manifest the character of YHWH and fidelity to YHWH to all peoples. She will also carry in her existence the anticipated blessing for the entire world; the very thing that intrigued angels and that the creation itself waited and waits to experience.
The church, or Christendom in general is not a replacement for Israel, but the blossoming of the People of God. At least, that is what the church is supposed to be. Having been sought by and returned to YHWH through Jesus; having seen the very character of YHWH among people as depicted in the life of Jesus; having seen the fidelity expected through the passion and death of Jesus, the church is an expansion of Israel just as has always been the intent. Israel, the Gentiles, and even Barbarians are invited into the People of God as a result of the faithfulness of Jesus. Christianity cannot fully understand her calling without understanding the historical narrative that has described for us in the Jewish Scriptures the desires of God.
The church is not primarily exclusively a saving organization, but a larger and more expansive and inclusive manifestation of Israel. The church has been blessed to be a blessing. She has been given the oracles of God and she derives from the Chief Prophet who was also the Son of God. She like Israel is to carry the message and to manifest the character of God among the nations. She is to be faithful to YHWH no matter what tempest she may be experiencing.
The People of God then, collectively and individually are to both carry and be the message of rescue, of reconciliation, of the offer of return to a loving, merciful, and just God.

Next, The People of God II

Sunday, October 18, 2015

On The Gospel - History of the Gospel

This post is the second in the series, On The Gospel
The first century events that have come to be known as the gospel of Jesus Christ are not the first time God has come into the world. Called the Old Testament in Christian circles, the Jewish Scriptures are often over looked. In fact, the history of Christianity has had its share of what looks like anti-Judaism, perhaps best exemplified by Marcion who rejected both the Jewish Scriptures and a number of what would become New Testament books because they were too Jewish. While this seems odd to some Christians today, the impact of thinking like Marcion’s has resulted in an avoidance of the Jewish Scriptures or at least their sidelining in favor of a much restricted study of the New Testament documents, with Paul’s epistles forming the central teachings of the Christian community.

The Jewish Scriptures provide the history of the Christian gospel and it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that we cannot fully understand the gospel unless we appreciate the revelation contained in the Jewish Scriptures. The Jewish Scriptures provide the story, the narrative into which the Christian gospel fits. It is somewhat misleading to say the Christian gospel because the gospel is actually God’s gospel, effected by the incarnation and death of Jesus. Jesus’s life comes as the ultimate gospel, the ultimate Good News, but its core message hasn’t changed since Creation and is repeated and rehearsed throughout the Jewish Scriptures. In this sense, the gospel doesn’t represent a difference in God or His plan in the world. The book of Isaiah contains what is sometimes called the Gospel of Isaiah. This comes before the midpoint of the book when Isaiah reports that eventually YHWH will not only return Israel to Judea, but He will also welcome other nations into the people of God. The return of Israel will include the nations of the world. As ancient as Isaiah is however, it isn’t the first we have heard of God’s concern for either Israel or other nations. The founding promise of Israel, that to Abraham includes blessing for the whole world. Abraham was blessed, we’re told, to be a blessing for the world.

YHWH forms Israel from nothing, He retrieves her from Egypt and from Babylon. Throughout the Jewish narrative, YHWH pleads with Israel to be faithful to Him as He has been to her. Infidelity to YHWH is couched in two ways. The first is clearly when Israel insists on worshiping other gods, complete with household statuettes and idols placed in the high places. This infidelity is one of the categories YHWH complains about when withdrawing his protection from His people. The other category of infidelities too often listed by YHWH to be ignored by those who would be His people is the mistreatment of other Jews and even foreigners. Often, these two categories are listed in tandem as God pleads with Israel or presents His case against her to what is the entire creation.
Even so though, YHWH with every accusation, offers a way of return. YHWH even tells us that He will keep a remnant and will rescue that remnant, returning it to Himself in His time. YHWH will also tell us why these assurances of rescue are included. That answer also has two categories of reasons. The first is the faithfulness of God. The phrase comes to mind, if Man is faithless, YHWH is faithful. YHWH has chosen Abram and Israel to be His people and YHWH will remain faithful to that covenantal promise even if Israel rejects Him through infidelity. If we aren’t careful, that faithfulness might come to seem like a cold, dutiful burden that YHWH maintains because He has to. To make sure we don’t become jaded and cynically dismiss this divine faithfulness, the other category of reasons is also provided. Not only is God faithful, He is faithfully loving. YHWH’s steadfast love commits Him not just to fidelity, but loving fidelity to Israel no matter what.

When YHWH removes His protection from Israel, He always intends to restore her to Himself. It is important to understand here that when Israel cries out to YHWH, when YHWH decides she has suffered enough from affects of her own infidelity, YHWH comes to her. This even though she does not deserve this rescue; even though nothing can eliminate her past infidelity. Even so, YHWH remains faithful and He moves at His time to rescue and restore Israel because He loves her.
This is good news for Israel; it is gospel. It is the gospel found and narrated in Jewish Scripture. It is the gospel for which modern Jews are waiting. When YHWH comes to rescue Israel, He will also restore her purpose in the world to bless the world and to welcome all peoples to her God. This then has been the purpose of Israel. She is not to simply or only be the People of God for her own sake. Rather, she is to carry the message of God among the nations, for the nations. Her life with YHWH was intended not only to carry that blessing, but to model the life of God’s people for the nations. Part of that modelling was to trust YHWH no matter what, to entice the nations to trust Him themselves. What YHWH offered was the best life possible on earth; a planet of people living lives as followers of YHWH.
YHWH’s faithful loving kindness throughout the Jewish narrative forms the history of the gospel and tells us that a gospel theme of rescue and salvation is not unique to the Christian era but is rather a continuing theme in YHWH’s relationship with Israel and the world.

Next, The People of God

On The Gospel

This post is the first in a short series looking at the gospel and its relative simplicity.
On one hand, the gospel is rather simple. The gospel is simply that God loves you.
There it is; it is that simple.

God loves you.
There are a number of concepts and realities bound up in that phrase but that truth is the basic, life-validating truth we call the gospel. Those concepts and realities are characteristics of the context of the gospel events related in the Gospels of the New Testament.

The coming of Jesus as YHWH incarnated, to live among us and to die for us is surely the quintessential coming of God into the world, but it isn’t the only time God has come for His people. Christianity, rightly so, has focused on this coming and dying of Jesus as its central event. We are told that it is Jesus who has reconciled people to God; that it is His death that gives life.
Christianity though isn’t settled on all the specifics of this or actually how all those concepts and realities shape the gospel. Surprisingly, Christianity doesn’t agree on whether or not YHWH loves every person. In the United States, there are more than two hundred Christian denominations. This number though is suspect because the definition of denomination is a rather loose one and there is no official listing of denominations in the United States. There may be a few less; there may be considerably more. Some of these denominations are separated from their close cousins by both major and minor differences over salvation, sin, church structure and governance, and worship styles. Clearly, the gospel isn’t perceived as all that simple.

To study Christianity formally, one often studies a variety of systematic theologies that divide Christian theology into a series of topic areas. These topics traditionally include God, Man, Sin, Salvation, Jesus, Heaven, and End Times. These studies are often accompanied with arcane theological terms, studies in ancient language syntax and idiom, and often comparative ideas of other theological opinions. These works can be highly academic and seemingly irrelevant to real life. Not a few newly branded seminary graduates have entered the pastoral ranks intellectually separated from those on the pews. This has been common enough that Helmut Thielicke wrote a short little book entitled A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. The academic system suffers from the same divisions as does Christianity itself. The numerous denominations have their own preferred or even required seminaries; not any well established and credentialed seminary will do. Prospective clergy need to attend the right schools. This of course simply serves to continue denominational divisions and complicate understanding the gospel.
So much for all those systematic theologies.

The gospel isn't complicated enough to require so many theologies, seminaries, or denominations. Let's not forget that Jesus was speaking to ancient peasants for the most part; being rejected by the sophisticated political and religious leaders who had developed their own complex systems of living the righteous life.
No, the gospel isn't that hard to grasp.
God loves you. Come home.
Next time, The History of the Gospel

Welcome and legal mumbojumbo

Welcome to my corner of cyberspace! Make yourself at home and enjoy a few minutes of reading. Everything here (text and pictures), unless otherwise indicated, is original and enjoys copyright protection. For re-use information, please contact me directly.

Information provided here is simply the creation of the author and is not intended as life advice, counseling, or therapy for anyone else. The use of any information found on this site is entirely at the discretion of the reader as they see fit for themselves. The author makes no claims to any particular expertise, experience, or training appropriate to justify basing any life, career, or any other type of decision on any of it.