Things Learned

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These thoughts are new to the website but are ideas and answers that I have found over the years.

1. Everyone, and I really mean everyone has something sacred, something that they hold very near and dear to their heart. It helps define their core convictions. No matter one’s theism (atheism, deism, monotheism, pantheism, or polytheism) each person holds something valuable, and when discussing that sacredness both must be careful.

2. Any and all dialogue about the sacred should be conducted in such a way as to administer grace unto the hearer (Ephesians 4.29), having the speech seasoned with salt (Colossians 4.6).

3. The primary thing for a disciple of the Messiah is to love God with everything (heart, soul, mind, and strength) and to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12.28-34); while no less important, everything else competes for second place.

4. No one is born outside the reach of God.

5. The best spiritual key to use when unlocking theological dilemmas is Prayer and Holy Spirit guidance. The best intellectual key to use when unlocking theological dilemmas seems to be Covenant.

6. There is only one thing that cannot be forgiven (Matthew 12.31-32) and it is not: lying, hatred, murder, fornication, adultery, divorce, coveting, or any of the other sins.

7. Unfortunately, just like anything else in life, the church has its ecclesiastical and theological jargon. Familiarity with the jargon helps us understand what is being communicated. The jargon is not intended to necessarily exclude, but ecclesiastical and theological terms encapsulate concepts similar to how E=MC2 encapsulates the concept of Mass-energy Equivalence within the Theory of Relativity.1 Awareness of the information that defines the ecclesiastical and theological terms results in informed dialogue.

8. It can be neither denied nor over simplified that differences exist within Christian Biblical Interpretation (CBI). These differences can be quite extensive and it seems proper to conclude that CBI is at the root of long standing arguments and debates through Christian History. While CBI is absolutely important, proper CBI is often identified by one’s Christian heritage, an agreed upon CBI does not seem absolute for salvation because salvation is dependent on one’s faith in Jesus not interpretation. Paul provides a starting point for addressing these differences in CBI in Romans 14; differences in CBI will continue to exist, our faith in Jesus is the tie that binds, may we learn to live together.

9. CBI seems to run the gamut from existential and experiential to a wide variety of methodological interpretations. Yet, it seems proper that in order to find the intentions of the message in its original setting, it becomes essential to have contextual studies that incorporate items from history, culture, Hebraic theology, literature, language and language idioms.

10. If another person claims to be a follower of Jesus (Christian), then that is sufficient enough for me to begin calling them a brother or sister in Messiah. Nuances exist, but those nuances should not necessarily be de facto means for excluding association of brethren. Consider Apollos (Acts 18.24-28) and the approximately twelve disciples (Acts 19.1-7), both groups claimed to be Messianic believers, yet they were at different levels of interpretation and information about the man Jesus; neither Aquila and Priscilla, nor Paul felt their fellowship narrowed, they extended fellowship and blessings were received.

11. Christians might very well have in their possession the best answer for humanity’s condition, but the living condition and application displayed by the Christian and Christianity either enables and empowers the Gospel or nearly eviscerates all the power from the Gospel.

12. The Gospel is an Olive Branch of Peace. It requires the making of disciples through teaching, not by literal or metaphorical sword point, not guilt, and certainly not fear.

13. I do not argue the superiority of one English Bible Translation (EBT) over another. EBTs are, in many ways, like Bible classes and sermons, each is generally designed in such a way to meet the needs of the audience. The audiences of the New American Standard and The Message are different; one is not better than the other, just different. I accept these differences; I simply say, “Pick up an EBT that is easy for you to read and understand, as your faith grows, you EBT preference will change.”

14. Encouraging each other to “love and good works” (Hebrews 10.24) is an essential part of Christianity; yet it should incorporate a spiritually wise approach that encourages maturity while minimizing the risk that might destroy the faith of a “little one” (Matthew 18.1-7; Mark 9.33-42).

15. Paul admonishes both Timothy and Titus to avoid discussions that lead to worthless unprofitable strife (2 Timothy 2.23; Titus 3.9). People have honest sincere questions about the faith and its practices, but addressing those concerns must be done to encourage the faith, not discourage it.

Footnotes
1. “Mass-energy Equivalence in Special Relativity.” Wikipedia Links: Mass Energy Equivalence; Theory of Relativity, November 15, 2010.

Last Updated: November 15, 2010

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