Discovery of new term and concept for ”faith” – Part 1
april 12, 2014 § Lämna en kommentar
I would like to introduce to you a new term and a new concept for ”faith” which I just recently stumbled across. It would be pretty astonishing if this concept would be new for mainstream Christian theology, but that could pretty well be the case, for historical reasons. (See next paragraphs about that). Personally, this new concept of ”faith” came as a needed component in my struggling life of faith, so maybe this discovery is flavored by this need, but you as a reader can later decide if this is really a new discovery or not. I say ”later”, because this blog will be a little bit of a background to the discovery.
Historically, we have been caught between pillar and post, between James and Paul, when it comes to faith. So we have been literally blinded to any other outlook to what ”faith” could be.
This is unfortunate. I am fairly convinced that the difference of opinion we believe James and Paul had was a religious chimera originating from the schism of the Jewish and non-Jewish Christian communities. A typical cultural clash. Since the schism and loss of communication and understanding of the others mindset, we have not been able to understand the mindset of James, and to a certain degree, not of Paul either, since he is addressing the ”God-fearers,” who were sympathetic to Judaism. Because these two communities have totally different religious mindsets (to this day), we have not and can not understand the others mindset, ever since the time we denied the others existence, (that is, through the whole of orthodox church history).
The reason why I am fairly convinced, is because a few weeks ago I compared James and Paul on the issue of faith, but with consideration of the mindsets of these two authors. What I found is that they could very well be saying the same thing, but with different mindsets. James says specifically that he is writing to the twelve tribes, so he is a Jew writing to Jews. So when reading James you must put on the semantic glasses of the Jew. Paul though is writing to both Jews and non-Jews, but when warning the Galatians, for example, he is talking to non-Jews, and probably the so called ”God-fearers”, so when one reads Paul you need to put on the semantic glasses of the non-Jew. So when I read the pivotal verses about faith in the letters of James and Paul with the different mindsets taken into consideration, I found an astonishing third viewpoint about faith that harmonizes the two! I’ll quote from myself (from material not published yet):
But the Gospel is seen differently by Jew and Gentile. To the Jew, the Gospel is a deepening of the Law (=instruction from God to His people Israel) through faith in the Messiah. To the Gentile, the Gospel is the realization of the purpose of their faith, that is the realization of true communion with God and Mankind. For both Jew and Gentile, this is made possible by the Law of the Spirit. But the vocabulary to describe this is different for Jew and Gentile.
For the Jew who had the Law, they received faith in the Messiah in order to fulfill the True Intent of the Law in them, the Law of the Spirit. For the Gentile who already had faith, they received the Law of the Spirit of the Messiah in order that their faith in God would fully and totally reach its goal.
My conclusion: James and Paul are actually saying the same thing about faith, but with different mindsets, and thus with different words and expressions. I think we can express what James and Paul is trying to say in the following phrase: By faith we live by the Law of the Spirit.
Now, I don’t pretend that I know precisely what this means, and I guess it all boils down to what ”faith” here is supposed to mean. I think my ignorance has to do with the loss of experience and the loss of vocabulary, both mine and the Church’s. … (Our theological history has worsened our understanding of these terms, especially the term ”Law,” for which we have no longer the understanding of its origin and dynamic in the Israeli covenant. Instead we have added on laws from this Law as a sort of morality, which is both law to us (because they are ”Biblical”) and not law to us (so that Paul won’t get angry 😉 ) …)
But I think the abovementioned ignorance of what it means to ”by faith, live by the Law of the Spirit” is greatly reduced with my and maybe our discovery of a new term and concept for ”faith”! It is a discovery of what ”faith” could have meant before the orthodox church cut its cord with the Jewish Christians. … But instead of just saying it, I will let you have the joy of discovering it from the source from where I myself discovered it: In a quote from Ephesians 2:8-9 from the OJB (Orthodox Jewish Bible) version at this ”frantic” webpage: http://www.afii.org/studygkwus.htm (Don’t be intimidated by all the Hebrew and Yiddish terms. (They do reflect another mindset, and thus the words do pop up more emphatically.)).
Can you find the new term for faith here?:
For by unmerited Chen v’Chesed Hashem you have been delivered from Hashem’s Din(Judgment) and granted a share in the Geulah (Redemption), through emunah; and this is not [an ainfal (intuitive idea)] of yourselves, it is a matnat Hashem (gift of G-d); 9 Not the result [of the zchus (merit)] of doing ma’asei mitzvot (works) [Ac 15:1; Ga 5:3-4], so that before Hashem no man should be a ravrevan (boaster, braggart). [DEVARIM 9:5] 10 For we are His masterpiece, having been created in Moshiach Yehoshua for ma’asim tovim, which Hashem prepared beforehand, that we should walk our derech in them.[YESHAYAH 29:23; 42:7; 60:21;]
Did you find it? I will take on this new term of faith in my next blog (part 2) coming shortly! …