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! …

Annonser

In defense of thinking, reasoning, and intellectual Christians

januari 23, 2014 § Lämna en kommentar

There is a formidable resistance against using the intellect in evangelical churches. I believe this is both very scarry and devastating. If there is one antidote that God has given for preventing a community developing into a sect, it is regular human reasoning. Take that away from Christians, and any kind of brainwashing has the potential to develop depending on the circumstances.

This is why I took these three and a half hours to put this together: because there is so much at stake.

There needs to be a stop, once and for all, to this gross and terrible nonsense of categorical anti-intellectualism, among a people who call the Provider of mind and intelligence their God.

_ _ _

There is one pericope in the Bible, foremost among all others, that clamps down on thinking and reasoning, on engaging philosophically in God’s world, and that’s 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; which a friend of mine reminded me of the other week.

Paul’s quote from Isaiah 29:14 brings a few major blows to an intellectual outlook:

”I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (v. 19 ESV)

(Paul is quoting from the LXX, but he replaces the last word with another Greek word meaning ”thwart”. According to the article Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?, this replacement is a sort of a ”one-word” conflation with Psalm 33:10-15 which has a similar vocabulary, carries a similar message, and uses this same Greek word for ”thwart”.)

The next big blow comes in vv. 27-28: ”… God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, … God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are.” (NASB)

It can’t get worse than this for those who are thinking Christians.

… Something fishy though: The same word used for the ”wise” in 1 Cor 1 is used later by Paul in 1 Cor 6:5: ”… Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren …?” (NASB) So there is use for the wise among believers after all! I thought Paul just said that God had shamed them and nullified them. So a seemingly contradiction?!

One also sees something very similar in the pericope Isaiah 29:9-24 from which Paul quotes from in 1 Cor 1. After God discounts, not only the wise and the discerning, but also the prophets, the religious, and the socially corrupt, Isaiah relays God’s final words in the pericope: ”Those who err in mind will know the truth, and those who criticize will accept instruction.” (NASB) Both in Hebrew and Greek, the word translated ”truth” here is the same word translated as ”discernment” previously in v. 14, quoted by Paul. The contrast is not as stark as in 1 Corinthians, because the language is a bit more nuanced in Isaiah, but the contrast is surely there. What gives?

Well, what Paul is really getting at is found in the source from where he’s quoting from in verse 31, at the end of the pericope. It’s not directly visible in 1 Corinthians, but can be viewed in full sight from the surrounding verses from where he quotes, from Jeremiah 9:24:

”Thus says the LORD, ”Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this; that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.” (Jer 9:23-24 NASB)

So what I hear Paul saying through his quote from Jer 9 is that being wise is not the problem, but boasting of one’s wisdom, instead of boasting of knowing the LORD, is the problem. It all comes around to what or Who is center in one’s life, and to what or to Whom one gives thanks.

_ _ _

As a thinking intelligent Christian, my highest desire is knowing the LORD, and any thinking or reasoning is for knowing the truth, which is, to me, ultimately God’s truth manifested in the Messiah. All reasoning and all truth ultimately serve the LORD and his Anointed, and unto that end I long with all my heart.

The Cross is where the Good News was actually actualized in this world. We can’t fully phantom what God did there through the Messiah, though some things are revealed in the Bible. As a thinking Christian, I don’t deny this. On the contrary, I desire to realize the workings of the Cross and the Good News spiritually, physically, in my daily walk, deep in my soul, … and also by and in my thoughts and reasoning. Besides, this is what the ”greatest commandment” is getting at, here quoted from Luke 10:27: ”… ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, …”” (ESV)

I will continue loving the LORD my God with _all_ my mind!

And let it be said once and for all: God who has given you a mind, wants you to use your mind. As long as you boast knowing the ”LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth” you can use the intelligence he has granted you to know Him and His ways of ”lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth.” Totally devoted to God, use all the intelligence you think is necessary to live a life worthy of His love He has shown to you. Do not let any person or organization tell you that you may not think as a Christian: Only God may tell you that! (according to Paul and Isaiah) … But as long as you love the LORD with all your being, he will never tell you that.

So keep thinking, you intelligent, in-love-with-the-Messiah Christian!

Amen.

Rise and Shine!

mars 16, 2012 § Lämna en kommentar

"Dew Morning" (cc by-nc-sa) by Indy Kethdy @flickr

"Dew Morning" (cc by-nc-sa) by Indy Kethdy @flickr

As a Bible nerd (I guess I must confess) I feel astonished finding the pair ”rise and shine” in three different sources in biblical scriptures of various sorts: in the ”old” testament: Isaiah26:19 and 60:1-3, in the apocryphal gospel of Thomas logion 5, and in the new testament: Ephesians 4:13-14.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of our dawn.

Thomas 5

 Yeshua says: Recognize Him who is in front of thy face, and what is hidden from thee shall be revealed to thee.
For there is nothing concealed which shall not be manifest, {and nothing buried that shall not be raised}.

Ephesians 5:13-14

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible (light).
This is why it is daid:

”Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Isaiah 26:19

But your dead will live;
[Together with] my dead body they shall arise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning (or lights);
the earth will give birth to her dead.

"Relay Station"  (cc by-nc-sa) by ecstaticist @flickr

"Relay Station" (cc by-nc-sa) by ecstaticist @flickr

”Gnostic” Thomas and ”orthodox” Paul … yeah, right!

It’s interesting to see the parallell between Thomas and Paul in the concept of arising now. This is what I mean by saying that Thomas is not more gnostic than Paul. If one accuses Thomas of being gnostic, then you are taking down Paul too. We browse past passages in the NT and this passage of Paul, because we really don’t know what it means. Then we come upon a similar passage in Thomas and we call it ”gnostic” and heretic. Though, as you see here, Thomas and Paul have similar thoughts. Isn’t it more honest to say that there are thoughts in early Christianity that we just don’t really understand, which we thus cannot make any judgement upon? Do we dare think the thought that we have lost a whole lot of the orthodox life and faith from the first century, and what we have left today are shards of broken jars?

_ _ _

The expression ”rise and shine”

Incidentally, it seems that the English expression spoken in the morning to wake each other up actually comes from Isaiah 60, according to this wonderful article Rise and Shine!

Footnotes

Quote from Isaiah 60 is from NIV.

Quote from Thomas from metalog.org’s translation. The phrase inside the braces is present in one of the Greek fragments.

Quote from Ephesians from NIV, except ”lights” in parentheses to reflect Phillip’s translation: ”It is even possible for light to turn the thing it shines upon into light also.”

Quote from Is 26 is from NIV, except second line: from the NKJV, which according to its footnote is according to the Masoretic text and the Vulgate. ”Lights”: see footnote at NET Bible.

Paul the mystic and Thomas the mystic

februari 9, 2012 § Lämna en kommentar

1 Cor 13:12

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

”in a mirror” – we can only understand God in the context of our own language, our own references. (we can only see or describe God through our own image in the mirror).

2 Cor 3:18

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

The mirror again, but I believe the glory of the Lord in the mirror is the Messiah we see (the Messiah is the mirror) – we see the glory of God in ourselves since the image of the Messiah melts into our image in the mirror. – The Messiah, who is fully known of God in total union with God, translates the Glory into the human realm by letting us also become fully known of God in total union with God.

Shekhinah, the Glory and Spirit of God, is almost always dependant of a temple or abode. (Check that out if you want). She is the invisible Presence in existence, and cannot be addressed, as the Father can be addressed as a Person. The Presence cannot be described, only lived. But God is One (Shekinah and the Father in total union) and God became One through one human (pair): The Messiah (and his Bride).

We are, through the Messiah invited to this union through the foremost commandment: God is One, and love him with your whole being. Because you are destined to be united with him. Through the Messiah you are totally known by him.

Freedom

juni 3, 2011 § Lämna en kommentar

”Free at last, Free at last, Thank god almighty we are free at last.”

— Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition)

Source: Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes

”It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

— Paul, an emissary of the Messiah, Gal. 5:1 (NIV)

”Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

— God, written down by Isaiah, Isa 58:5 (NIV)

GTh 29 and 1 Cor 6:13-14 : A remarkable parallel / Thomas. 29 och 1 Kor 6:13-14 : en märklig parallell

maj 2, 2011 § 1 kommentar

Last week I was astounded when finding this wonderful parallel between a saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas and words of Paul in 1 Corinthians. They complement each other wonderfully. It makes me wonder if Paul is actually quoting some saying of Jesus more or less. You can see both passages side by side below, first in English, then in Swedish.

/

Jag blev helt förbluffad när jag förra veckan upptäckte denna parallell mellan ett Jesusord i Thomasevangeliet och ord av Paulus i 1 Korintierbrevet. De komplimenterar varandra på ett fantastiskt sätt. Får mig att undrar om inte Paulus i själva verket mer eller mindre citerar något Jesusord. Bägge versionerna kan läsas sida vid sida nedan, först på engelska, sedan på svenska.

the briar"" (cc by-nc-sa) by focus2capture @flickr

the briar"" (cc by-nc-sa) by focus2capture @flickr

Gospel of Thomas, logion 29 1 Corinthians 6:13-14
Jesus said: ”If the flesh came
into being because of the spirit, that is a marvel,
Yet the body is … for the Lord;
but if spirit came into being
because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.
and the Lord is for the body.
Yet I marvel at how this great
wealth has come to dwell in this poverty.”
Now God has not only raised the
Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.
Richard
Valantasis
NASB

/

Thomasevangeliet, logion 29 1 Korintierbrevet 6:13-14
Jesus sade: Om köttet blivit till för andens skull är det ett under. Men kroppen är … till … för
Herren,
Men om anden (blivit till) för kroppens skull är det ett större under. och Herren för kroppen.
Men jag förundrar mig över detta hur denna stora rikedom kunde ta sin boning i denna fattigdom. Gud har uppväckt Herren, och
genom sin makt skall han också uppväcka oss.
Bertil E.
Gärtner
Svenska
Folkbibeln

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