Threads from Henry's Web https://henryneufeld.com/threads Thoughts on biblical studies, religion, and living from a passionate moderate, liberal charismatic Christian Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:56:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Same-Sex Marriage, Moving Candlesticks, and the Judgment of God https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/same-sex-marriage-moving-candlesticks-and-the-judgment-of-god/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/same-sex-marriage-moving-candlesticks-and-the-judgment-of-god/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:56:46 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7612 My instinctive reaction when I disagree with people on major issues is to come out swinging. Despite this instinct, I believe I am called to be a facilitator, to try to help people talk intelligently and communicate effectively about controversial topics.

So if you’re looking for a statement about what I believe regarding same-sex marriage, [...]]]> kineso ten luchnianMy instinctive reaction when I disagree with people on major issues is to come out swinging. Despite this instinct, I believe I am called to be a facilitator, to try to help people talk intelligently and communicate effectively about controversial topics.

So if you’re looking for a statement about what I believe regarding same-sex marriage, you’re going to be disappointed. If that’s what you’re here for, go for the “Back” button, mutter about click-bait, and go on to more productive activities. In fact, I’ve been criticized this very day, and on a few others, for not taking a stand on the topic. By “not taking a stand” people mean that I will publish material on either side of the same-sex marriage debate along with a number of other issues.

Do I have an opinion? Yes I do. Will I make it public? No I won’t. [sarcasm]I will restrain myself from benefitting the world with my great wisdom.[/sarcasm] I will, instead, follow what I believe is my calling. Face it, folks! While there is a great deal that has not been heard on this topic, it’s not because it hasn’t been said. In case you missed it in the previous couple of paragraphs, I believe I am called to be a facilitator. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, it’s difficult to be a facilitator and a prophet at the same time.

Just after I finished reading my dose of blogs and social media this morning, I joined in a conversation and Bible study, and I was asked an important question. We were looking at some interpretational issues in Revelation 2 & 3, the letters to the churches. There are a number of places where judgment is threatened. I was asked about Revelation 2:5, where the NRSV translates “remove your lampstand from its place.” It sounds a bit harsh. The question was, just what did this mean?

My answer is that I believe it is symbolic, but only at one remove.

  1. The lampstand is a church.
  2. The church does not repent.
  3. The church is removed.

I think we likely have many “removed” churches. They’re still sitting there occupying space, but the light has gone out. God is not there. The glory has departed. It’s harsh, but I think it’s true.

You see, I believe in the judgment of God. In fact, because of the way in which I believe God’s judgment works, I believe God’s judgment can be quite implacable. Mercy holds the door open while there is an opportunity for repentance, for change, but eventually the door shuts. I believe the door shuts, or the voice ceases, when we cease to listen. I would commend Hebrews 6:4-6 (or really, it would be better to read 6:1-12; or hey, just read the whole book!) on this. There comes a time when we no longer hear the call to repentance.

So my answer was that a church can fail. It can essentially lose its place because it does not listen to God. I think this is important. I’m not a universalist. I believe that God’s freedom gives us responsibility, and with responsibility comes the consequences of our actions. This means that we have a choice. The choice has a result. That result fits the choice.

I further believe that God has sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and the church. Yes, we start in scripture, but we read and interpret that with the help of the Holy Spirit. This may not result in agreement, but the most important part is the listening. As long as we are listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and willing to hear and to do, we have that opportunity to repent, to change direction. Once we are no longer listening, when we no longer have ears to hear, we will no longer hear what the Spirit says to the churches. America is filled with churches that affirm doctrinal statements and action plans, yet do not do what they know.

As I facilitate discussion, I let many things pass. People seem to get tense mostly about abortion, homosexuality, and evolution. I find myself restraining myself on many other topics, including immigration, care for the poor, spreading the good news of God’s grace, carrying out the mission of the church, and training and empowering our young people (to do all of the above, of course!), all of which I consider of critical importance for the church today.

Not all of you are to be facilitators however. I can leave definitions undone in a publishing company, but if your church is to do ministry you have to make decisions, and to make good decisions you need to listen for the voice of the one who walks among the lampstands (Rev. 1:9-20).

Please do listen. “I will remove” is a very harsh phrase.

But I think it’s very real.

 

]]> https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/same-sex-marriage-moving-candlesticks-and-the-judgment-of-god/feed/ 0
When My Father Was Healed https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/when-my-father-was-healed/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/when-my-father-was-healed/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:25:04 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7608 I was talking recently with a friend who commented that there are certain events that serve as anchor points for our faith. For me, despite all the drifting I’ve done since it happened, one of those points was the time when my father was healed. I alluded to this briefly in a comment on the [...]]]> 1893729222_adI was talking recently with a friend who commented that there are certain events that serve as anchor points for our faith. For me, despite all the drifting I’ve done since it happened, one of those points was the time when my father was healed. I alluded to this briefly in a comment on the Energion Discussion Network, and was challenged (or so it felt) to retell the story more often. You can get another perspective on this story from my mother’s book Directed Paths, which includes many other stories of God in action. I was 14 years old at the time and will tell this as I remember it.

It was 1971 and my parents were called as missionaries to Guyana, South America, where my father was to become medical director of the 54 bed Davis Memorial Hospital in Georgetown. Shortly after we arrived my father required emergency surgery. This took place during the night. The surgeon persuaded my mother not to wake me up, so anything about the surgery is not from my memory, but rather from what I was told. The surgery was on the large intestine and during the surgery there was considerable contamination. In addition, at one point my mother, who is an RN, was left alone as the entire team had to go to an emergency with a delivery in another room. Overall the surgery lasted for four hours, if I recall correctly.

Nobody wanted to tell me in the morning, so I was successively directed from room to room until I arrived in my father’s room in the hospital where he was connected to various tubes and devices. It was quite a shock.

He continued to be weak for some time, and his digestive processes and intestines would not restart their function. The surgeon said that he would never work again and would not live more than another 10 years. The mission board began to plan to bring my parents back to the states.

My parents, on the other hand, did not agree. They said that they had gone to Guyana to perform a mission and that they had not yet performed one. Their choice was to follow James 5, and call for the elders of the church. The elders anointed my father with oil and prayed for his healing and that he would be able to carry out his mission. I was actually quite disappointed with the results that day. It seemed that nothing happened.

But from that moment, my father’s recovery began. Within two weeks he took over as sole physician for that 54 bed hospital and was on call 24 hours/7 days per week for the next year before any relief came. He served there for seven years and still worked after he returned to the states. He has now gone on to be with the Lord, though since he was a Seventh-day Adventist he would say “to sleep in Jesus.” I have come to not see a lot of difference there. One breath hereā€”the next breath there. Time won’t matter! But he lived into his late 80s, much more than 10 years and he continued to work through to a normal retirement. He was active as a Christian witness up to the time of his death.

I find that story challenging and encouraging. It’s challenging because my parents refused to leave and give up when everyone else was saying the situation was hopeless. It’s encouraging because when they stepped out in faith on their mission, God was there with them.

]]>
https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/when-my-father-was-healed/feed/ 0
Quick Note on the Chronology of Daniel 1:1 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/quick-note-on-the-chronology-of-daniel-11/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/quick-note-on-the-chronology-of-daniel-11/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:46:08 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7604 For those who hold to the historicity of the story of Daniel and generally to an early dating, Daniel 1:1 is a critical text that presents some problems. As I proceed with my eschatology series, and starting going through the book of Daniel verse by verse, I’m trying to keep all the options in mind [...]]]> For those who hold to the historicity of the story of Daniel and generally to an early dating, Daniel 1:1 is a critical text that presents some problems. As I proceed with my eschatology series, and starting going through the book of Daniel verse by verse, I’m trying to keep all the options in mind and explore interpretation based on the different views.

As I talked about this last night (February 4, 2016; video embedded at end of post), I thought I was being confusing, and at one point said “Nebuchadnezaar” when I should have said “Pharaoh Neco.” I want to clarify the people and dates and how they apply to the text in question.

First, here is a chart of the most critical dates. Note that you will find reference sources that differ on these dates by a year. It is beyond this post to discuss the different calendars and accession year vs non-accession year dating. The sequences involved are adequately handled by the dates I’m using.

Click to view full size

Click to view full size

Biblical sources for this time period may be found in 2 Kings 23:29 – 25:30 and 2 Chronicles 35:20 – 36:23.

Now for Daniel 1:1, my translation:

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Juday, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and put it under siege.

Here is a list of the problems:

  1. Unless it is described in 2 Kings 24:1, which seems more likely to describe the events of 598/597 BCE, there is no siege and exile set for 605. It is nonetheless possible that there was one, as the Babylonians became dominant over the territory after winning the battle of Carchemish in 605. There might have been a small exile at that time. Even if 2 Kings 24:1 describes later events, Jehoiakim would have to first submit to Babylon before he could rebel. He was put in power by Pharaoh Neco.
  2. Nebuchadnezzar, as “King of Babylon” could not attack Jerusalem in 605, as he was not yet king of Babylon, but rather became king in that year.
  3. Even if there was a small set of exiles, or perhaps hostages, taken in 605, it doesn’t fulfill the description of the siege.

The question here is how you evaluate the evidence. One critical element would be one’s determination on other grounds that the Book of Daniel is or is not historical. As an historian one would look for the most probable reconstruction of the evidence. Most scholars tend to support the later dating, even evangelicals, but you can find other arguments regarding dating via my Dating of Daniel Resources page.

I’ll discuss dating and historicity further in my series, but for now I think this will clarify the issues discussed in the video.

]]>
https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/05/quick-note-on-the-chronology-of-daniel-11/feed/ 0
Eschatology: Daniel Verse by Verse – I https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/04/eschatology-daniel-verse-by-verse-i/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/04/eschatology-daniel-verse-by-verse-i/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:30:41 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7602 Tonight will be my first session on the book of Daniel. I’ll be starting with chapter 1 and going as far as I can. I expect the whole book to take some time, though the first several chapters should go more quickly than the later ones.

Google+ Event Page

YouTube:

I’m going to skip [...]]]> Tonight will be my first session on the book of Daniel. I’ll be starting with chapter 1 and going as far as I can. I expect the whole book to take some time, though the first several chapters should go more quickly than the later ones.

Google+ Event Page

YouTube:

I’m going to skip over a good deal of introductory material (though not all of it!) in order to move forward. There are a couple of reasons for this. Most importantly, introductions are often wasted when introducing the topic. That may sound strange, but the reason is that if those reading the introduction aren’t fairly well acquainted with the text, they won’t follow the arguments. How can you know whether you think Daniel is a literary unity, rather than a collection of materials if you haven’t read it? Secondly, I want to use multiple perspectives in interpretation and let us work this out as we move forward.

To make up for this seeming lack, I recorded an introductory video on the dating of the book, and also created a resource page. The video is embedded on the resource page.

]]> https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/04/eschatology-daniel-verse-by-verse-i/feed/ 0
The Old Testament: Serious Illness, Strong Medicine https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/the-old-testament-serious-illness-strong-medicine/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/the-old-testament-serious-illness-strong-medicine/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:41:08 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7596 I ran across this while looking for something else. Dr. Alden Thompson was the author of the first book sold by Energion Publications, though it was published before I bought and renamed the company. We’ve now published a 5th edition, and this is overall our best selling book.

In this presentation Alden using a number [...]]]> 9781893729902I ran across this while looking for something else. Dr. Alden Thompson was the author of the first book sold by Energion Publications, though it was published before I bought and renamed the company. We’ve now published a 5th edition, and this is overall our best selling book.

In this presentation Alden using a number of Adventist specific references, but I think the message comes through. There are a variety of responses to the violence in the Old Testament. One of the keys to Alden’s approach is his insistence that it is all inspired, even the parts we don’t like very much, and he makes that claim in the video. Alden’s teaching at Walla Walla University was quite formative of my theology and I still enjoy working with him. We’ll be releasing a second edition of his book Inspiration: Hard Questions, Honest Answers later this year, as the publisher of the first edition allowed it to go out of print.

]]> https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/the-old-testament-serious-illness-strong-medicine/feed/ 0
Thoughts from the Energion Tuesday Night Hangout: Stewardship and Worship https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/thoughts-from-the-energion-tuesday-night-hangout-stewardship-and-worship/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/thoughts-from-the-energion-tuesday-night-hangout-stewardship-and-worship/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 21:46:54 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7593 I enjoyed interviewing three different Energion authors last night. The first was Rev. Steve Kindle who talked about stewardship and the importance of starting from an understanding that everything belongs to God. Steve provided some practical steps that a church can use in caring for all of God’s creation. Steve’s book goes into this somewhat [...]]]> books tuesday 020216I enjoyed interviewing three different Energion authors last night. The first was Rev. Steve Kindle who talked about stewardship and the importance of starting from an understanding that everything belongs to God. Steve provided some practical steps that a church can use in caring for all of God’s creation. Steve’s book goes into this somewhat more: Stewardship: God’s Way of Recreating the World.

At about 7:30 pm, a half hour into the program, Dr. Jon Dybdahl joined us. Jon is the author of a newly released book Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul. When he experienced this longing as a young missionary he started to pursue the presence of God and co-taught a class in college in spirituality. Jon’s PhD is in Old Testament, but he has a passion for serious worship.

For the last 15 minutes, he was joined by Dr. David Moffett-Moore. Dave is author of Pathways to Prayer, and has two doctorates, both a PhD and a DMin. It was interesting and challenging to hear two men with so much education of the mind nonetheless tell us that the intellectual paradigm of religion was not enough. Prayer is an essentially. Coming to know the reality of God’s presence and power is essential.

When I asked Dr. Jon Dybdahl how one would start this in a church as a pastor or other church leader he said the best way was to see your own need and start practicing it yourself. People will sense when your activities in leadership are powered by prayer and time with God whether you’re telling them all about what you’re doing or not. He also suggested a change in terminology that struck me, suggesting we might use “lead worshipper” rather than “worship leader” to take away the separation of the one on the platform from the ones in the pew.

The video is embedded below:

]]>
https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/thoughts-from-the-energion-tuesday-night-hangout-stewardship-and-worship/feed/ 0
Stirring the Pot over on EDN https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/stirring-the-pot-over-on-edn/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/stirring-the-pot-over-on-edn/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:48:16 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7591 EDN = Energion Discussion Network.

Today’s post is by yours truly and titled In the Embrace of Change.

As owner of Energion Publications, I’m putting a great deal of the company marketing efforts and dollars into building up that site, it’s sister site Nurturing Creativity, and our social media this year. We’re working hard to [...]]]> EDN = Energion Discussion Network.

Today’s post is by yours truly and titled In the Embrace of Change.

As owner of Energion Publications, I’m putting a great deal of the company marketing efforts and dollars into building up that site, it’s sister site Nurturing Creativity, and our social media this year. We’re working hard to post high quality content there and we’re inviting discussion. Watch for the Giveaway emblem there, as every comment earns you a chance to win a free book.

]]> https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/03/stirring-the-pot-over-on-edn/feed/ 0
The Relevance of Atonement Theories https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/the-relevance-of-atonement-theories/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/the-relevance-of-atonement-theories/#respond Tue, 02 Feb 2016 17:42:15 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7588 Discussion Ahead traffic sign in woman’s hand on a white background

On the Energion Discussion Network we have two essays posted in answer to the question “Do atonement theories continue to speak to the human condition?” The “yes” answer, written by Dr. Allan Bevere appeared yesterday. The “no” answer appeared today, written by Rev. [...]]]> Discussion Ahead traffic sign in woman's hand on a white background

Discussion Ahead traffic sign in woman’s hand on a white background

On the Energion Discussion Network we have two essays posted in answer to the question “Do atonement theories continue to speak to the human condition?” The “yes” answer, written by Dr. Allan Bevere appeared yesterday. The “no” answer appeared today, written by Rev. Steve Kindle. I find both of these articles well worth reading.

In the past I have been accused of rejecting penal substitutionary atonement because of the fact that I don’t see it as central, or as the explanation of the atonement. In fact, I don’t see any theory of the atonement as a single explanation of the atonement. Our theories of the atonement are metaphors, used to carry across some of the meaning to us.

As does Allan Bevere, I do find pretty much all theories of the atonement relevant in one way or another. Where I tend to be concerned is where a metaphor begins, in some people’s minds, to become the reality, i.e. that rather than believing in the cross of Christ we believe in our particular metaphor, the one that may best speak to us. I recall a professor from whom I took a class in exegesis of Romans from the Greek text. What was remarkable about the class was that his favorite theory, or metaphor, for the atonement as the moral influence theory. Now I have a bit of a liking for that metaphor myself, but it is not the metaphor Paul uses in Romans. There is some overlap. But this professor, because that was his very most favorite metaphor, taught nothing but, twisting Paul considerably in the process.

I’d add one more caveat. Relevance is a word that points both ways. A metaphor, to be relevant must communicate to one who hears. If it doesn’t, it isn’t working as a metaphor. I think quite often we need to correct the presentation of some metaphors to make them function better. If they don’t carry something over, they aren’t relevant in that case, however great they might be otherwise.

]]> https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/the-relevance-of-atonement-theories/feed/ 0
Reading for Election Year https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/reading-for-election-year/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/reading-for-election-year/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 17:24:19 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7585 The day after the Iowa caucuses I’m left to wonder how I could have gotten so uninterested in politics. I have been fascinated by government as long as I can remember, and when I turned 18 and could vote I not only registered immediately, I also started working as a precinct worker for a presidential [...]]]> politics booksThe day after the Iowa caucuses I’m left to wonder how I could have gotten so uninterested in politics. I have been fascinated by government as long as I can remember, and when I turned 18 and could vote I not only registered immediately, I also started working as a precinct worker for a presidential campaign. Now I can read a couple of articles on an election and my appetite is more than satisfied.

What has really happened, I think, is that I have gotten more perspective on politics. I have lived through eight years of my friends to the left despising President George W. Bush, and then another eight years of my friends on the right despising President Barack Obama. In both cases it was very difficult to conduct a civil conversation on topics of policy. I have problems with both of these presidents, I might note, and almost all of the problems I have with them are the same for both, primarily an extension of executive power and an excessive willingness to resort to force.

I have not decided politics is not important. I will definitely vote every time I’m eligible. I will always research the candidates thoroughly once it is time to make my choice.

What I have decided is that politics is not as critical as I once thought. I have other priorities now.

And with that, a link. Dave Black found a list of five books one should read during an election year, and proposed one of his own.

I would add to that list The Politics of Witness by Allan R. Bevere, Ultimate Allegiance by Robert D. Cornwall, and Rendering unto Caesar by Chris Surber. Self interest is here no doubt evident. I publish them all!

]]>
https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/02/reading-for-election-year/feed/ 2
Eschatology: Prophets, Symbols, and Time https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/01/28/eschatology-prophets-symbols-and-time/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/01/28/eschatology-prophets-symbols-and-time/#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 21:10:57 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7583 Tonight I’ll be finishing my preparatory studies for eschatology as I look at a few more visions, especially from Zechariah, and then at a bit of chronology in preparation for studying the book of Daniel on a more verse by verse basis starting next week.

Google+ Event Page

YouTube:

[...]]]>
Some Eschatology SourcesTonight I’ll be finishing my preparatory studies for eschatology as I look at a few more visions, especially from Zechariah, and then at a bit of chronology in preparation for studying the book of Daniel on a more verse by verse basis starting next week.

Google+ Event Page

YouTube:

]]>
https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/01/28/eschatology-prophets-symbols-and-time/feed/ 0