Threads from Henry's Web https://henryneufeld.com/threads Thoughts on biblical studies, religion, and living from a passionate moderate, liberal charismatic Christian Sat, 06 Feb 2016 19:17:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sunday School: History and Feasts https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/06/sunday-school-history-and-feasts/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/06/sunday-school-history-and-feasts/#respond Sat, 06 Feb 2016 19:17:20 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7618 Source: OpenClipart.org Gerald_G

I’m going to be teaching my home Sunday School class for the next four weeks, and it happens that the topics are all from the Israelite feasts. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about Passover, the next week about the Feast of Weeks, then the Day of Atonement, and finally the Feast of [...]]]> Source: OpenClipart.org Gerald_G

Source: OpenClipart.org Gerald_G

I’m going to be teaching my home Sunday School class for the next four weeks, and it happens that the topics are all from the Israelite feasts. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about Passover, the next week about the Feast of Weeks, then the Day of Atonement, and finally the Feast of Booths. I’m using the titles from our Sunday School curriculum. I will doubtless ignore the curriculum other than for setting the topics. I always do.

Though each feast has certain special elements of meaning, there are a number of things that I’d like to emphasize from these feasts in general.

  1. God acts in history. This is foundational to application of the scriptures in any way, I think. Whether this action is what we would describe as a supernatural intervention or a subtle presence is something to be discussed, but if God doesn’t act, we don’t have a subject.
  2. A feast or commemoration not only celebrates a point in time when we, as humans, have recognized God in action. It also magnifies that event and helps it resonate through the future. It becomes a lens through which we see the past, and a filter through which we understand our time. The Passover is not only a moment of salvation. It also explains what led up to it and drives what comes after it.
  3. A feast or commemoration is part of bringing ourselves in line with a saving event. Some of the “saving” that is to be accomplished through the event comes by bringing us in line. The wilderness experience of Israel shows the possibility of mentally and spiritually living in Egypt while physically traveling toward the land of the promise.
  4. God’s people extend not just through space in the present but through all time. I benefit by recognizing my place in this community that is not bound by time or space.
  5. God’s next action doesn’t negate his last one. We can commemorate receiving of the Torah, a return from exile, and even God’s presence with us in Jesus Christ without losing the value of the passover. The meaning of a commemoration or feast can be many-faceted.
  6. While we see new and different meaning, in that we have a different perspective, it’s good to move back to the event. Passover may look different to someone who also celebrates Easter, but also look at Passover for what it was for Israel and what it is for the Jewish people now.
  7. Feasts and celebrations have a history and setting. Without the story, the ritual loses power.

Exodus 12 is a very important chapter to read when thinking about celebrations, feasts, and commemorations in general. How do we remember these events and participate in them as a people, as the body of Christ in the world?

Ellen G. White was an important figure in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in which I grew up. While I’m no longer SDA, I can still appreciate many of the things she said. Here’s an applicable quote:

We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.

 

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Openly Discussing Evolution, SDAs, and the UMC https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/06/openly-discussing-evolution-sdas-and-the-umc/ https://henryneufeld.com/threads/2016/02/06/openly-discussing-evolution-sdas-and-the-umc/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:17:31 +0000 https://henryneufeld.com/threads/?p=7615 Credit: OpenClipart.org J_Alves

Evolution is one of those issues we often don’t discuss in church. There are actually quite a number of Christians who accept evolutionary theory in general or just a part of it, but quite often they just don’t want to get into the kind of acrimonious debate. Every so often (really [...]]]> Credit: OpenClipart.org J_Alves

Credit: OpenClipart.org J_Alves

Evolution is one of those issues we often don’t discuss in church. There are actually quite a number of Christians who accept evolutionary theory in general or just a part of it, but quite often they just don’t want to get into the kind of acrimonious debate. Every so often (really quite rarely, all things considered) I’ll get an e-mail from someone who found my e-mail address on the list of board members for Florida Citizens for Science, and they wonder how I can be a Christian and be on that list. That is, unless they simply assert that I must not actually be a Christian. (This is a rambling post. [Which of mine aren’t?] Toward the end I do get around to referring to the SDA church in which I grew up and the UMC, where I currently hold membership.)

Now this post is more about “openly discussing” than about evolution as such. I grew up in a conservative Christian culture (the Seventh-day Adventist Church), in which it was one of the articles of our faith that we accepted the literal creation week. As a result of that, and of the resistance I met when I started to see things differently, I grew up with the impression that conservatives want to close off conversation while liberals were open. Each group was, after all, treating me in that way.

But the more I have experienced the world, the more I have observed two things:

  1. Any entrenched group will tend (or at least have a strong temptation) to exclude outlying opinions
  2. Outlying groups, especially those that actually have some traction, will tend to feel excluded even if they aren’t

The fact is that no matter how energetically we may work to be totally open, no discussion can take place on a completely unlimited field. Not all boundaries are limiting boxes.

A few years back I was teaching a Sunday School class and one of the members asked me to meet with him to discuss the future of the class. He wanted us to study eastern religions. I told him that I had no problem with the class studying eastern religions if that was what they wanted to do, but they’d have to get a different teacher. “Why?” he asked. Well, I explained, there are two reasons. First, I know very little about eastern religions. Second, I’m a Bible teacher. That’s what I do. He was quite surprised and told me that I didn’t really need to know much about eastern religions in order to teach it for the class.

That attitude is more common that you might think. On the one hand we have the idea that issues can only be discussed by a very highly qualified group of experts, and outlying opinions, those contrary to the majority position, should shut up and go away. That attitude can lead to stagnation. But on the other hand we have the view that all opinions need to have an equal place at the table, no matter how poorly supported they might be. This is another attitude that will prevent progress, this time by creating chaos and wasting time.

We live in a kind of tension between these two ideas. For example, I believe that creation vs evolution is a perfectly valid subject for discussion in the church. The debate on the interpretation of Genesis is alive and well, and carried out by highly qualified scholars in the appropriate fields. I think that there is really very little actual scientific debate on this same controversy, because I don’t see creationists doing original science that can actually challenge the various facets of evolutionary theory. I see some picking at this or that, but nothing one can get one’s teeth into. But I’m not a scientist, and I’m not qualified in any of the fields in question, so my opinion on that point isn’t particularly important.

What I think we should work toward is a creative tension between consensus and new ideas, between open discussion of all views and perhaps more productive discussion between people who are more selective. I think this sort of discussion is well served by a variety of confessional, non-confessional, and secular schools, whether the topic is religious or not. I regularly hear complaints that certain sectarian institutions should be shut down because they are too closed in their confession. I disagree. As long as those who attend know what the principles of the school are, and graduates are functional in the subjects they learn, I think that’s an appropriate way to add variety.

The problem is that “functional” is defined by too many people as “accepting what I already believe.” As an example, I hear from advocates of the historical-critical method in Bible study (and with some caveats I count myself among their number), that one isn’t “qualified” in biblical studies if one doesn’t “know” something so obvious as that there are three Isaiahs. But what if one knows that this claim is made, and knows why, but doesn’t accept it? One can be so absolutely certain of one’s scholarly conclusions that one cannot imagine an intelligent person disagreeing.

Conservatives will doubtless nod and agree, but from them I hear that if someone can’t make a good argument for the 6th century dating of Daniel, or for the Mosaic authorship of all or part of the Pentateuch, that person doesn’t really know what she or he is talking about. Or perhaps the secularly educated scholar doesn’t truly understand Calvinist theology. Or Arminianism. Whatever.

My suggestion would be that if all your knowledge comes from one source or type of source, such as all your academic ideas are those favored by the school from which you got your degree, you may be a bit narrow. And that means that the simple fact that your college is confessional on the one hand, or very secular on the other, doesn’t mean you’re ignorant or closed. Ignorance and closed-mindedness are cultivated attitudes. Especially in modern America, you have no excuse not to know how the other side thinks.

You also have a variety of avenues to challenge the other side, so you don’t really have an excuse when one school or organization doesn’t like your ideas and tells you to hit the road. I may not like it. I too have an ideal academic environment, one in which serious scholars who disagree are welcomed irrespective of confessional statements. But that’s my imaginary ideal. I think I got a rather decent education from confessional schools that were closed in many ways I wish they were not. But they were nonetheless good schools.

All this blather has been leading to two links with quick opinions on my part. The first comes from a Seventh-day Adventist source, in which an SDA writer responds to some claims of supposed challenges to evolutionary theory. It’s in Spectrum Magazine, titled Dangling or Not? A Response to Chadwick and Brand. This article critiques another in which creationists see some new scientific discovery challenging the foundations of evolutionary theory. Just as I’ve been hearing all my life that the end of the world is upon us because of some recent story in the news, so I have been hearing that evolutionary science was on life support due to some new discovery. I’ve become just as jaded to both. But this story takes place in an organization that really doesn’t want to open the door to full discussion of this issue. Being an advocate of evolutionary theory in the SDA educational system is unlikely to be good for your career prospects.

On the other hand we have the UMC general conference. Now in religious terms, as I’ve said, I see creation vs evolution (though I don’t see the two in conflict), as a valid debate. Amongst the advocates against evolutionary theory is the Discovery Institute. Before you read the rest of this, you should know that I truly dislike the Discovery Institute. I think they largely make what should be scientific and theological questions into political ones. But just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be heard in the church. Yet according to this article from UM-Insight, they were denied a booth at the UMC General Conference. Why? Because they are not in accord with our social principles. Hypocrisy anyone?

I recall when I first joined a United Methodist congregation, I asked the pastor if I had to affirm the social principles. He said, “Those? We don’t pay much attention to them.” I know a number of Methodists who would object to his saying that, but what he says is very accurate. The social principles are a box that few would like to be confined in, yet that provide an excuse for many things. Advocating to change them is a recreational sport. If the GC venue was running out of space, you have to exclude someone, but this is a particularly thin excuse. There are plenty of United Methodists, though presumably a minority, who would be sympathetic to the institute’s work. Many of them live in this area. I disagree, but in the church they should have a voice.

 

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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/#comments 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.

 

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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/#comments 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 here—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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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