Spiritual Encouragement, SSB Sunday Gathering

SSB Sunday Gathering – August 31, 2014

Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

spiritual sounding board gathering IMG_5979
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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.  But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Luke 24:28-35

 

Photo credit: Raymond Ernst, Bayou in south Louisiana 

172 thoughts on “SSB Sunday Gathering – August 31, 2014”

  1. Marsha,

    Now I am trying to lead you into a minefield? Whoa! You guys are a tough bunch! Well, while we are waiting for Lydia, you have said something worth addressing about the whole seminary thing. Look at what has been addressed lately on this blog; for example, the issue of church membership. 2000 years later and that isn’t a settled issue? Marsha, what good has institutionalized academia done us? Where is the beef? God’s people are more doctrinally illiterate than they have ever been. The fact that you haven’t been to seminary is what qualifies you.

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  2. Paul,

    I don’t get where you are coming from, either. I have listened and read much of Wright and are not getting the sense you are talking about. He is HUGE on sanctification (and justification being a done deal). That is one reason the Reformed in America do not like him. One of his consistent messages is living out the kingdom now. He often mentions the problems with dualism in our thinking. With that said, there are several things I don’t agree with him about. But one thing about him is he offers up his opinion according to research but is very open about being wrong.

    Anglicans are all over the map,from what I can tell,but seem to accept the differing point of views (except women bishops, of course).

    I am curious, are you separating out historical context from “grammatical” interpretation?

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  3. No, a consideration of history is assumed in the grammatical. Also, Wright believes in future justification like all Reformed. Present justification is authenticated at the final judgement. According to Wright…

    ” are we talking about justification in the present or justification (judgment) in the future? Paul is quite clear: the future judgment will be based on the totality of the life that has been led (Rom 2:1–16; 2 Cor5:10). The point of “justification by faith” is that this final verdict is brought forward into the present when someone believes the gospel (an event which itself takes place because, according to Paul, the word of the gospel carries power, the power of the Spirit, to bring about this effect)”

    It would not appear that Wright holds to a separate judgement for believers. This is telltale. It appears to be the same old, “already, but not yet” Reformed justification construct. Future justification is authenticated,

    If i am wrong, his propagation of gospel contemplationism in the video is a senior moment–makes no sense.

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  4. Paul, you are the second person to see some hidden agenda in that video. The first saw a clever call to occult practice. I am not sure what you are reading into it that would make Wright have to be having a senior moment to say what he did.

    I am not a stupid woman, but i can’t see how anyone could have a problem with that video. it seems to me that Christians cannot help but benefit from reading the Gospels and thinking about what Jesus said and did and what he wanted us to learn from it. And imagining the despair that his disciplines and followers felt at His death and the joy of His resurrection makes me feel connected to those early believers and to feel the same joy.

    I don’t know how to put this except to quote Freud, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

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  5. “No, a consideration of history is assumed in the grammatical.”

    Ok, just wanted to check.

    ” Also, Wright believes in future justification like all Reformed. Present justification is authenticated at the final judgement. According to Wright…

    ” are we talking about justification in the present or justification (judgment) in the future? Paul is quite clear: the future judgment will be based on the totality of the life that has been led (Rom 2:1–16; 2 Cor5:10). The point of “justification by faith” is that this final verdict is brought forward into the present when someone believes the gospel (an event which itself takes place because, according to Paul, the word of the gospel carries power, the power of the Spirit, to bring about this effect)” ”

    I could be wrong but my sense is that Wright is addressing something he often addresses in some of his talks but is always careful in how he addresses it. I don’t think he buys into once saved always saved. I get the sense he views sanctification as the real factor in judgement. Either that or he is all over the board.

    Future judgement IS based upon the totality of the life we have led. That is something the Reformed hate. Justification was the big issue Piper had with Wright.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/books/the-future-of-justification

    Just look at this intro from Piper who wrote a book about how NT Wright is wrong about Justification”

    “.N T. Wright, a world-renowned New Testament scholar and bishop of Durham in the Church of England, has spent years studying the apostle Paul’s writings and has offered a “fresh perspective” on Paul’s theology. Among his conclusions are that “the discussions of justification in much of the history of the church-certainly since Augustine-got off on the wrong foot, at least in terms of understanding Paul-and they have stayed there ever since.

    Wright’s confidence that the church has gotten it wrong for 1,500 years, given his enormous influence, has set off warning bells for Christian leaders such as John Piper, a pastor and New Testament scholar. If Wright’s framework for interpreting the New Testament text and his understanding of justification find a home in the church, not only could the doctrine of justification be distorted for generations to come, but the New Testament writers’ original intent could be silenced. So Piper is sounding a crucial warning in this book, reminding all Christians to exercise great caution regarding “fresh” interpretations of the Bible and to hold fast to the biblical view of justification.”

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  6. Ok, let me spell it out. Salvation is a call to a kingdom that has a King, a law, and citizenship. The first century was saturated with the exact same contemplative spirituality that owns the present-day church. When we read the gospels, take note of Christ’s irritation with those who wanted to heap praise and adoration on Him, but fell short of studying the word for intentional life application. Christ made it clear, those who study His word and “PUT IT INTO PRACTICE” are the one’s who will have a life built on a rock. Wright’s suggestion that our life flows from contemplating the personhood of Christ in the Gospels is the same old Gnostc nonsense presently wreaking havoc on the church. I leave room here for the senior moment not withstanding. “Q” got it right, and you all owe him an apology. I am very troubled at the way his concerns were rejected out of hand–I think that is what troubles me–the assumption that his concerns have no merit. Who does that remind us of?

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  7. Lydia,

    I am going to consider what you have said and read Wright’s book on Justification. I don’t know enough about him to dialogue further with you on this. I will do my homework and revisit this– you could be right, but I will not defend the video.

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  8. Paul, I personally think you are overthinking the video. And I don’t really understand where you are coming from with this:

    “When we read the gospels, take note of Christ’s irritation with those who wanted to heap praise and adoration on Him, but fell short of studying the word for intentional life application.”

    The typical average poor Jew who was going to hear Jesus speak did not have Torah scrolls in their adobe house. They were going to synagogue to hear it spoken to them along with their extra burdens. I feel like your view bases everything on being an expert on the bible. What about the Holy Spirit? The early Christians had only that to rely on. And what about the Gentiles who had no idea of Torah?

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  9. Lydia,

    Sermon on the mount: he came to “teach them.” That assumes they had everything needed to be taught. At the end of the teaching, he states that applying what they had learned in the sermon alone would result in a house built on a rock. Why is this hard to understand? They were taught by Him and the apostles orally, it’s written down for us–this seems evident to me.

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  10. Paul, I think someone asked him a poignant question and he gave an answer. In effect his answer IS about “studying” the Gospels. But not in the way some accept. I thought it was beautiful. I mean people put on “passion plays”. Is that contemplation? In effect the play is putting us there during that time.

    Imagination is from God. If someone imagines themselves with Jesus Christ in one of the stories do we really expect Satan to show up? I don’t get it. Even my studies on 1st Century culture puts me in that frame of mind to imagine what it was like…especially for women. I have thought of being the shameful Samaritan woman in that era and here comes Jesus talking to me like an equal and having a serious conversation while I am drawing water from the well. A taboo thing.

    It only makes me understand and love Him more.

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  11. “Sermon on the mount: he came to “teach them.” That assumes they had everything needed to be taught. At the end of the teaching, he states that applying what they had learned in the sermon alone would result in a house built on a rock. Why is this hard to understand? They were taught by Him and the apostles orally, it’s written down for us–this seems evident to me.”

    I agree with that. When you use “the word”, it throws me off. That could be Torah or the New Testament. In my opinion, Jesus is the “word”. The bible usually refers to “scriptures”. My bad.

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  12. I think I would know if I was engaging in an occult practice. I think Brenda and Lydia and Julie Anne would know as well.

    Q did not get it right. He hasn’t even read Wright, he has only read neo-Calvinist critiques of Wright. I have read Wright. So why would you tell me that I assumed Q was wrong and dismissed him out if hand. I assumed nothing. I read the post, read the linked critiques, reviewed some passages in the four Wright books I happen to own and rejected the concerns from my own knowledge of the books I have read and am reading.

    So your opinions are based on your knowledge and study but MINE are based on assumptions. Uh huh.

    And I suppose when I, like Wright, spend time re-reading the Gospels I am annoying Jesus by being contemplative but when YOU do it, you are studying it for intentional life application. Okay then.

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  13. I will read NT Wright’s book, if he’s good on justification, I will shut up about the video. I don’t agree with it, but I will shut up about it. But Lydia, is it not true that he doesn’t believe in multiples judgements?

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  14. Wait a minute here Marsha, you have studied NT Wright, but you don’t know the difference between the two major biblical hermeneutics? Sorry, I find that hard to believe.

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  15. Paul, A lot of believers don’t study the different hermeneutics. Heck, my versions of hermeneutics are either the “determinist filter” or “free will filter”. I should find a neat name for them and then trademark them. :o)

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  16. Wait a minute here Marsha, you have studied NT Wright, but you don’t know the difference between the two major biblical hermeneutics? Sorry, I find that hard to believe.

    Paul, when I became a Christian, I read the Bible. I didn’t know there was doctrine/hermeneutics or any of those fancy words. I had a relationship with Jesus and I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to me through His Word.. I don’t get this idea that people must learn hermeneutics to measure up. I thought that God is the one who speak to people – that even children can learn about Christ in simplistic terms.

    What I have found is that the more I learn about doctrines, the more disgusted I am about religiosity altogether. I don’t want it.

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  17. Julia Anne,
    Indeed they are labels, but don’t you think one should know how their pastor interprets reality? The fact remains that these two hermeneutics bear two radically different outcomes. If you don’t understand Redemptive Historical interpretation, which 80% of the pastors today hold to, you only think you know what they are saying, but you don’t. And in fact, the RHH, was Luther/Calvin’s hermeneutic and interprets all of life through suffering. This worldview is at the crux of spiritual abuse in the church, but yet it’s not important to understand? I find that assertion stunning.

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  18. Paul – I find it interesting that the way I interpreted scripture (or the Holy Spirit spoke to me through scripture) is entirely different from the way that tyrannical church leaders teach it. I wish I would have trusted my own spiritual foundation, rather than being convinced/swayed/manipulated to believing the doctrines of men, rather than of God.

    My life spiritual life would have had less trauma without all of that nonsense.

    So, for some reason, it looks like God was pointing me in the right direction, I then looked to man’s teachings and stumbled, and now I’m going back to my roots: me and God.

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  19. My family left the Anglican Church no too long ago and without a doubt they are reformed in their teaching and only getting worse. Wright’s influence is in the ‘church’. He also believes “if you’re a Christian you’re just a shadow of your future self”. I wanted to read the book with everyone even though I think differently of NT’s teaching but I knew my opinions would get me accused of hidden agendas and I just don’t need any more of that. I don’t go looking for them but I do believe we are called to test all teachings to the word of God and there is much I disagree with Wright on. I’m probably the only artist (who is a believer in Christ) that does not fawn over NT as he appeals to them in a huge way, he says “perhaps it will be the artists who are best at conveying both the hope and the surprise.” He reminds me of Keller.

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  20. Well, if it’s all as complicated as it’s being made out to be on this thread, and also over on the one where Hans is holding forth, I think I may need chapmanEd to come in and convince me once again that I need have no doubts about my salvation. Jesus made it pretty simple for the thief on the Cross. And for little children. Why does it have to be so complicated for everybody else? Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge as much as the next person, but at the end of the day, why should I have to worry whether reading the Gospels and thinking about Jesus might be a practice that is occultic or otherwise objectionable? Why is thinking about Jesus somehow different than, say, thinking about my wife?

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  21. “I think I would know if I was engaging in an occult practice. I think Brenda and Lydia and Julie Anne would know as well.”

    First Mohler tried to declare my yoga stretches as occultic now picturing what Jesus was like in the 1st century setting is occultic. BTW, is there any way to read a book without using your “minds eye”? Including scripture? This whole convo has me thinking about it on a larger scale. Can we really read things without having mental pictures about them? Oh dear. :o)

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  22. I have gotten into some pretty big arguments about yoga – – saying that even if I did some of the poses that I was inviting evil or whatever. Sorry, I don’t buy that at all. Now if I was meditating on some “thing” while I was doing yoga, then we can talk.

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  23. Actually, pondering, I would love to have you join us. I don’t think you have a hidden agenda. I don’t think Wright has one either. I think he is straightforward in his beliefs and he tells us why he believes them – in great detail sometimes. He is a Bible scholar. And each of us will probably agree with some things and disagree with others. But it seems ridiculous to me to suggest that he is sneakily trying to get us to engage in occult practices (as another poster did). If he were he would write a long book about it. With footnotes.

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  24. “I have gotten into some pretty big arguments about yoga – – saying that even if I did some of the poses that I was inviting evil or whatever. Sorry, I don’t buy that at all. Now if I was meditating on some “thing” while I was doing yoga, then we can talk.”

    It is ridiculous. Yoga is good for you. Just call it Christian stretching for crying out loud. :o) (My guess is I look “evil” when doing some of the stretches. ouch)

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  25. My point to them is that God is the one who created us so marvelously to get into a myriad of postures/poses/stretches (whatever you want to call them). So some dude named put Yoga names to certain poses and added a Yoga™ on them? Right? Wrong!

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  26. “Sermon on the mount: he came to “teach them.” That assumes they had everything needed to be taught. At the end of the teaching, he states that applying what they had learned in the sermon alone would result in a house built on a rock.

    Lydia, The only thing they really needed to be taught was an open mind, heart and ears.

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  27. Julie Anne,
    So true. I don’t care about the fancy words or doctrines. I want a relationship with Jesus. I use the entire Bible to learn about Him. I use the entire Bible to know what he says about a subject. This talk of only a couple of ways to study scripture with fancy names is a load of garbage.

    And I love imagining that I am with Jesus and Sam at the well in Samaria. What a beautiful picture of Jesus view of women. His compassion for a fallen woman and I might add much was not of her choosing.

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  28. Of course we know that reading the scriptures and thinking about Jesus are not occultic and we need not ever worry or think that it is for that is not true. But we do not need imagination to understand God or to love Him more. In fact quite the oppisite is true. We know God because He has told us who He is and who we are and that the word is near, it is in our moughts and our hearts plus we have the written word today! Praise God.

    But let me remind everyone just what the imagination has done through history, minds have imagined and created other God’s. Imagined things that are not true. We should all shutter at just how easy the deception has filtered in to our churches. This is how the mystical reformers created their tyrannt god. Who ever would have thought that a little deception here and a lilttle there would be the cause of so much horrific abuse in the ‘church’. We are told to REMEMBER our Lord not imagine Him.

    We were told at ‘church’ the two absolutes for loving Jesus are imagination and information. What lies. The imagination is a wonderful gift but it not to be misused. I use mine daily to create beauty! 🙂

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  29. Julie Anne,

    I got into the yoga debate a couple of weeks ago. I was told that the poses represent the way a serpent looks in different ways and it has something to do with paganism from 4k years ago. I suppose if I were into Eastern meditation and worshipping snakes that would be one thing, but I am doing gentle stretching with my MS Yoga dvd for 15 minutes. I spend much more time than that in the Word. I can’t believe how people make exercise into paganism.

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  30. Yoga is good for you. Just call it Christian stretching for crying out loud. :o)

    Lydia, I was asked why it wasn’t called something else entirely. Take yoga out of the name. MS Yoga was not good enough, so I’m sure Christian yoga woulnd’t have worked either. It would have been trying to slide the occult into Christianity. The whole thing was really stupid. But, apparently I am a pagan.

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  31. The Yoga criticism reminds me of a similar brouhaha over Halloween. My elementary school aged daughter was attending a Christian school and got into trouble for wearing Halloween themed stockings that I had bought her for fun, not knowing that this school thought it was unChristian to celebrate a ‘pagan’ holiday. I told them that whatever the origins of the holiday it is now a U.S. holiday for children to dress up and have fun and that is all that it is. But no, we were a scandalous family. As it happened, the teacher who made the fuss was fired a few months later for having an adulterous affair with a staffer but at least she didn’t participate in Halloween.

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  32. Pondering, it seems you are making a bigger issue about “imagine” than needs be. I don’t see how I’m creating a tyrant god by imagining myself as the women at the well with Jesus speaking to me. I don’t think it’s bad at all to imagine what it must have felt like for Mary to talk to him let alone tell her things she had not yet revealed to him. When we read stories, it is our imagination that gives imagery.

    Imagine (haha) if all of us had a blank canvas and drew what we thought it would look like to see Jesus and the woman at the well. All of us would have a different interpretation of what that would look like. I’m sure my Mary would look different than yours, etc Maybe you drew Jesus closer to the well than me. Maybe you pictured plants around the area. Maybe I drew a camel lol. I think the author of creation is perfectly fine with us using our imagination as we visualize the setting of Bible passages.

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  33. Pondering makes a good point with the observation that deception can enter through the imagination. Yet, it seems that this circumstance calls us to caution rather than to the suppression of the imaginative faculty. After all, deception can and does also enter through reason; and most do not, therefore, reject reason.

    Also, it seems to me that a distinction needs to be made between imagination and empathetic intuition. As between humans, our interactions are not limited to an exchange of facts. Except for narcissists, we also relate on the basis of feeling what the other person feels, and on the basis of knowing unspoken facts that the other person knows. Why should we not place ourselves at the scene of the woman at the well, why should we not identify with the the woman caught in adultery or the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears? Would we not come to a better understanding of, and a deeper relationship with, our Lord if we would but enter into the same sort of empathetic knowing regarding these events as comes natural as between two live, flesh and blood human beings?

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  34. “We were told at ‘church’ the two absolutes for loving Jesus are imagination and information. What lies. The imagination is a wonderful gift but it not to be misused. I use mine daily to create beauty! ”

    Pondering, I am confused as to why we cannot use our knowledge of right and wrong when it comes to our imagination. Do you not do this with creating beauty?

    An imagination that thought up killing devices also thought up cures for diseases.

    So I am not sure exactly where you are going with this. Are you suggesting we should not trust our own imaginations because others have used them for evil?. That we will misuse ours or that we will not recognize it when others misuse it? What about our relationship with Christ? What about the indwelling Holy Spirit? Are we not to be trusted with our own imaginations as adults?

    You write:
    “But we do not need imagination to understand God or to love Him more. In fact quite the oppisite is true. We know God because He has told us who He is and who we are and that the word is near, it is in our moughts and our hearts plus we have the written word today! Praise God.”

    Just look at the genres some scripture is written in. Just look at the allegory in some books. This was how much information was passed down…in allegorical story form. Which does not make the message any less true! It is how they communicated.

    Are you saying that if I imagine what the Great White Throne is like, it is wrong to do so? Now, if I write that I know what the Great white throne is like, people should throw rocks at what I write!

    That would suggest that all art throughout the ages trying to depict what the artist imagined from bible stories are all sin/evil. Stained glass windows all over the world are a result of sin? (I know folks who actually think this. Cromwell, for one. :o)

    For example, the bible actually encourages us to use our imaginations to understand a concept. For example, Jesus is/was not a real lamb. That is metaphorical language for the hearers/readers to understand his innocent/ sacrificial function. Male Christians are not “brides” in the literal sense. It is metaphorical language. Look at all the idioms used in the OT that are culturally relevant to that time (and are hard for us to understand) These are literary devices that our imaginations must use to understand the message.

    “But let me remind everyone just what the imagination has done through history, minds have imagined and created other God’s. Imagined things that are not true. We should all shuttert just how easy the deception has filtered in to our churches. This is how the mystical reformers created their tyrannt god. Who ever would have thought that a little deception here and a lilttle there would be the cause of so much horrific abuse in the ‘church’. We are told to REMEMBER our Lord not imagine Him.”

    We are told to remember a real person we have never seen and have no real description of except the vague prophecy in Isaiah. Are you suggesting it is evil to
    imagine what He was like as the most Human of all Humans? (And God in the flesh at the same time)

    As I have studied cultural context of the NT, it is almost impossible for me NOT to imagine what it must have been like and how radical Jesus was both as Israel’s Savior.

    Imagined things OFTEN become true/real. From the Guillotine to the Polio Vaccine. I, for one, cannot “imagine” a world without imagination. Without it there would have been no printing press to mass produce bibles, for one example. It had to be thought up in some way, process, etc.

    The Reformers mystical tyrant god comes from Greek Pagan Philosophy (and even further back to OT pagan influence) where all material world is evil and only “spiritual” good. But that means we cannot really know the “spiritual” and some specially anointed philosopher kings have to explain it to us peasants.

    In fact, had more folks used their God given imaginations to think through things and seek truth instead of listening to mere men, perhaps the tyrant god would not have gotten such a foothold. Who knows. I know it worked for me. Where else can God plant truth? In our minds. (The “heart” passages are also metaphorical because in the first century they thought all thinking and decisions came from the “heart”. The heart was sort of thought of as the brain function. The “head” was the source for the body as in senses, seeing, smelling, hearing, eating, etc. About a 100 years after Paul, the physician Galen discovered the brain controlled our limbs and that thinking started to change)

    Our imaginations are part of our being. They are real and go with us as part of the created human package. They can be used for good or evil. And they cannot be regulated up front. Have you ever been around a developmentally disabled child who could not “imagine”? It is horrible. Imagining for a child is their way of developing mentally. A kid can turn a stick into a airplane. I have even seen a Barbie doll become a warrior sword.

    I think you understand all of this.its just that so much false teaching out there accepted, we sometimes have reactions to things based upon that. I know.

    The thing about Reformed is they have basically reengineered Jesus to some degree
    to fit into their paradigm. He is not really the exact representation of God in that doctrinal landscape.

    When someone tells me to beware of my imagination it communicates to me, “don’t think”. We have enough of that in Christendom and it is the reason for all the problems.

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  35. “Also, it seems to me that a distinction needs to be made between imagination and empathetic intuition.”

    Gary, what about instinct? I was wondering about that, too, with this conversation.

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  36. “I’m afraid if I drew any image other than in my mind, they would all be stick people. : (”

    BWHAHA! That is my artistic ability! I actually bought a paint by numbers kit because I wanted to create beauty. Do you know how hard it is to find something that is not a kitten or a puppy dog or some Kincaid knock off? I was able to finally find a simple Italian villa.

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  37. “Pondering makes a good point with the observation that deception can enter through the imagination.”

    Gary, Is this how it works with cults? The love bombing that takes place early on is imagined as how the leaders really are as people—- until you disagree.

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  38. Lydia,

    Yeah, adding instinct is good.

    Regarding love bombing, yes. And, it seems that we have a tendency to idealize those who appear to love and value us. I don’t expect it’s all bad, except that we can forget to exercise called-for caution. The exercise of caution threatens to interfere with that which feeds our egos, and so we can become prey.

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  39. If Paul pops back in, I would like him to explain why he thinks I owe Q an apology for ‘rejecting his concerns out of hand’ and making an ‘assumption that his concerns have no merit.’

    I have been reading Wright so I did not reject Q’s concerns out of hand nor make any assumptions. I even reviewed the critiques to make sure I hadn’t missed something in Wright’s work. I rejected Q’s concerns based on my knowledge of Wright’s work.

    Both Q and Paul have not read Wright and not quoted him on occult practices or justification or anything else. So why is MY opinion the one to be disrespected as based on assumptions and not knowledge? I am not saying that disagreeing with me is wrong, I am saying that my opinion was rejected as not being informed and considered when that was not the case. Paul even thinks I should apologize to Q!!! Why? Is it because I am a woman?

    And by the way, Gary and Lydia and Steve have all read Wright extensively. No ‘assumptions’ or out of hand rejections there either.

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  40. Paul –

    This is a quote from gotquestions.org –

    “Catholics view salvation almost entirely as a process, while Christians view salvation as both a completed status and a process.”

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-Christian.html#ixzz3CSMAr4Ir

    You might want to investigate the sites (the people associated with the sites and the schools they are associated with) referenced by Q. You may agree with them concerning NT Wright you may not. Just because I may not believe “everything” a certain biblical scholar has to say does not mean I automatically label them as a “false teacher” or any other such names. I do, however, believe false teachers exist.

    I have not read much of Wright, only excerpts, so I don’t have much of an opinion. My opinion on the “video clip” is that Wright is not advocating contemplative prayer or any strange process such as “think on Jesus and all will be well with your soul.” He is just suggesting that we imagine what it would have been like to be with Jesus when he lived and walked the earth to help us understand the context of life at that time and place in history.

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  41. Lydia,

    I never said the imagination is evil nor should we never use it. Each man has been given the freedom to use his/her imagination however one chooses – whether it for good/bad right/wrong. But to instruct people to believe it is an absolute to loving Christ is a false statement and is not a requirement for loving or understanding Christ.

    We are not shadows of our future self. Nor, are we ‘actors’ who become ‘characters’ in the great drama who “enter into the story of God.”

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  42. NT Wright did not say this approach was an absolute to loving and understanding Christ. He was telling us what last advice might give his children, who are believers, to better know Jesus. He suggests rereading the Gospels. He suggests imagining oneself as a character in these Bible scenes. (He does not use the word actors.)

    I can very well imagine myself with Jesus’ followers. Had I been born in that place at that time, I hope I indeed would have been with them.

    The Bible often uses metaphors to get across a point and that is what Wright is doing here. Are we participants in the ‘great drama which has Christ at his Center?’ Yes, absolutely we are! We were not there at the cross, we did not follow the Jesus two millennia ago, but Jesus died for our sins too and was resurrected and our belief in Him makes us part of the family of God. We ARE part of the greatest story ever told.

    I understand that you don’t see it the way I do but I find this video beautiful.

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  43. Marsha,

    I never said NT did say that please reread my comment above.

    And, thank you for understanding that I just don’t see the video or NT’s teachings the way you do!

    I no longer want to be decieved by what appears to be beautiful – and no I am not referring to the video!

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  44. I do find it very interesting how we can be so passionate about the use of our imaginations yet show no passion for someone who is intentionally being publicly made fun for a couple of days…….when someone does speak up they are only further egged on……..while attempting to teach about Christ on another thread.

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  45. “We are not shadows of our future self. ”

    Do you have a reference for that so I can get where you are coming from with it? As I understood something similar I have heard him say concerning that is we are not the perfected version we will be in our glorified bodies when the earth is redeemed.

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  46. “I can very well imagine myself with Jesus’ followers. Had I been born in that place at that time, I hope I indeed would have been with them.”

    I have often wondered if I would have had the guts to be one of the women mentioned at the beginning of Luke 8. That was scandalous for that time!

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  47. “I no longer want to be decieved by what appears to be beautiful – and no I am not referring to the video!”

    I totally get this and understand where you are coming from. We are each in different places.

    And I apologize to Q for my offenses. It is a bit shocking to be accused of being so stupid as to fall for occultic like practices from such a benign video. Ten years or so ago, it was all the rage in the blogosphere to accuse emergent Christians of this with yoga, meditating on scripture, etc. Lecto Divina and all that. Brendan Manning was their occult practice poster boy. So was Richard Foster and some others…..the Merton guy. Dallas Willard was even cited a few times!

    Q linked to someone I had read years before who was in the forefront of this. I honestly think I have been around too long. :o)

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  48. “Objection? No objection, Just asking for clarification. There are only two ways to interpret the Bible: Redemptive Historical, which is of the Reformed tradition, or Grammatical.” (PPT)

    Maybe, if your goal is to interpret “the Bible.” But what if you just want to interpret Jesus?

    Or rather, what if instead of interpreting the Bible as an infallible inerrant set of words dictated to the writers directly by the Holy Spirit, you want to interpret it as a testimony to Jesus Christ? To Jesus Christ the teacher, not the divine whipping boy who barely existed and did nothing but take our whoppin’ for us so we can sin like Calvin and still make it to heaven.

    I think what NT Wright is saying (but what he has to be careful about and can’t come out and say in plain terms) is: Stop interpreting the Bible through the lens of Paul. Stop interpreting the Bible according to the “Redemptive Historical” method in which Jesus is nothing but a divine whipping boy. Start taking seriously what Paul never took seriously, Jesus as teacher.

    I used to read a blog called Vridar or Vidar, something like that. Its run by an atheist who’s a mythicist. He believes that Jesus never existed. And why? Because he’s convinced of the numb-skullery of Protestant “scholars” who say the Pauline Corpus was the first Christian document written and the gospels are much later than Paul. Based on this, Neil Godfrey, and his atheist followers, believe that Jesus was originally just a myth, a phantom crucified not on earth but in heaven by demons, because Paul doesn’t say anything substantial about Jesus’ life on earth and never quotes any of his teachings. This kind of view is popular among atheists.

    But if we take the gospels seriously, and don’t buy into the lie that they’re some late addition and Paul is the real deal, then we avoid such nonsense. If Jesus as teacher came before Jesus as some pre-existent “logos” (which is obvious since Christianity came from Judaism) then Jesus’ teachings must be real and historical and matter. If Jesus as rabbi came before Jesus as demigod, then his teachings must matter. Turning Jesus into God Himself via the Trinity took the teachings of Jesus away from us (ironically) because it brought forth the idea that he didn’t mean to teach anything but only to save us all by his own action, no free will, no cooperation on our part, just monergism. Also ironically, Paul himself doesn’t call Jesus God but only says “God was in Christ, reconciling the word to himself” which is a totally different idea, and allows for an adoptionist christology in which Jesus was a mere man with nothing of the divine in him prior to receiving the Spirit at his baptism. You know, the view of the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Sabelius, Paul of Samosata, Nestorius, and Marcellus, not to mention Praxeas, and a whole host of “heretics” who didn’t get on board with the Trinity when Rome snapped its fingers.

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  49. I don’t know why I mentioned the Trinity thing, but I guess its because historically the only people willing to question the Augustinian premises (original sin, predestination, monergism) were non-Trinitarians. This is true both before (all the names I listed) and after the reformation (the Socinians). Has it actually changed? Many Trinitarians may be questioning Calvinism, but they don’t seem to get too far, because the doctrine of the Trinity seems to alway lead back to monergism somehow. I’m not sure I’ve figured out why, but I think its because it makes Jesus’ humanity fake…makes his freewill fake by making him God in a strict sense…..thereby also making our humanity and freewill fake.

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  50. I am bummed too.

    He promoted unbiblical practices in the video, if I were him, I would want the video gone also.

    I hope it is still floating around somewhere as it is good evidence.

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  51. Unbiblical to imagine yourself as a character in a Bible story? Thinking about what it would be like to converse with Christ? Alrighty then. You and I will have to agree to disagree.

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  52. Amen, Julie Anne.
    Can you imagine being at Jesus feet during the sermon on the mount, or Mary learning at His feet, the Samaritan Woman, when we are in Heaven casting our crowns at Jesus feet. There is a lot of good stuff to meditate on and imagine.

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  53. “He promoted a type of Ignatius Contemplation”

    Oh please. All these practices everyone is always railing against are so vague and undefined. They’re nothing but names. There is no substance there. Just a meaningless buzzword. There’s no such practice, only a phrase to describe what doesn’t exist.

    As to imagining yourself there in the biblical story….if you never do that, then you are a DOCETIST, PERIOD. I mean seriously. And this is the problem with Calvinism: they believe in Jesus like they believe in Batman. He’s nothing but a comic book character to them. They don’t see it as real history. And why not? Because they don’t analyze whether its realistic or not, which requires putting yourself in the story, as it were, to say “hmmm…what would I have thought of this if I had been there? Would I have bought that argument? Would Jesus’ answer to the question have satisfied me?” etc. etc.

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  54. But a quick google search shows “Ignatius Contemplation” is “Imaginative Prayer” where you pray backwards, i.e. let God pray to you. You imagine a scene from the gospels, and believe that whatever hits your imagination is God praying to you, giving you a revelation. Only an idiot would be so stupid. Imagining the story and trying to make it make sense historically, via logic, is totally different from some mystic mumbo jumbo where you think God is praying to you.

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