Way back when, the ancients surmised that the universe was geocentric and had several vertical tiers...
The Jewish traditional view features three heaven above, the earth itself, and Sheol the grave beneath the earth--later to become the Greek underworld. The “first heaven” was the earth’s lower atmosphere where the birds fly, the “second heaven” was where the stars were to be found, and the “third heaven" was the abode of God and the angels.
Bryce Self comments: The so-called “tradtional Jewish view” is a fabrication of 19th Century German higher-critical scholarship that took the Hebrew poetic metaphors and prohetic symbolism of the Old Testament in a ploddingly literal sense in order to discredit the “primitive” religion of long ago and and pridefully demonstrate how far ‘“modern science” had progressed and debunked the Bible.mThe ancient Jews did not actually believe in a solid dome of sky with a big gold chair for God set above it, any more than we do when we speak of heaven as “up” or the grave as “down”, or when we mention the sun rising or setting when we know it is the earth that is rotating.
Since Copernicus (c1500) most everyone has assumed an entirely new cosmology was a true, based on the belief that the physical universe is all there is. This paradigm can now be challenged big time solely based of new discoveries in science, apart from consideration of any revelations from outside the observable cosmos.
This topic (Absolute Geocentricity) will be addressed later by several friends of mine, God willing. For now, this present article is limited to discussing two prevailing world views in America. But please know that science is very limited!
My friend Horace Bissel liked to say, "Live heresy is better than dead orthodoxy any day."
Theologian and philosopher Frances Schaeffer several decades ago provided us with a brilliant analysis of the changes in Western Civilization in the past two hundred years. Schaeffer showed that the older world view held to a "two-storied" universe, but that "modern, modern" now believes the universe has only one story. In other words, prior to the Darwinian revolution and the period known as the Enlightenment, "everyone" assumed there was both a material universe and a spiritual universe. This tacit assumption that God and His angels were in the heavens, and man was on the earth---was reflected in music, art, literature, philosophy and theology pretty much throughout the western world. Gradually this world view was replaced, step by step, with the present views of secular humanism and scientific naturalism. The universe is now believed to have only one story. That is, the spiritual world does not exist or is irrelevant. God probably does not exist, or if he does, He does not interact in any way with the universe today. At most He was possibly a "First Cause" but beyond that need not be considered. The physical world is all there is and man will eventually be able to explain everything on a purely naturalistic basis. Of course, in our time this view is mostly encastled in the leading universities and think tanks. The general public continues to hold to "archaic" religious views. In fact an increasing number of respected scientists is calling for a re-examination of atheistic materialism in favor of a non-Christian but definitely spiritual world-view, commonly called "the New Age Philosophy." See also, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian World view, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois 1982.
Tim Keller in 2019 has described “two stories” to two traditional Christian views of reality.
Noting the current very dead condition of the Protestant church in Europe, Keller in 2019 drew attention to the big disconnect in the younger generation in the U.S. today—leading many to believe they live in a cosmos having only one story. In the old paradigm churches “sound doctrine” is everything. Conformity to the church sub-culture is important, leading often to "Country Club Churches." Church splits are usually over doctrine. Whether members actually know and obey Jesus Christ is not usually a root issue. Outward appearance, church attendance, and regularity of generous giving are often thought to be good indicators of spirituality. For example, some old paradigm churches resemble cabals --because their congregations are unaware of Biblical teaching on stewardship of time and money.
Never mind that more than one evangelical pastor recently said that as many as 70% of their flocks may not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A couple of hours together on Sunday morning says next to nothing about how we live the rest of the 168 hours in the week. (In contrast, Christians living together in communes or group living soon know all sorts of things about one another. The hippies in the ‘60’s learned this the hard way).
Perceived or imagined hypocrisy in a church is one big reason for many dropping out of “the organized church" in recent decades. But “...he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone,” said Jesus to the bystanders who brought a woman caught in adultery to Him for judgment.
We are far more sinful and selfish and proud than we know.
The old paradigm, springing up through church history in Europe, apparently began to develop about the time of Constantine (272-337 AD). At the time the Emperor realized that a majority of his subjects had become followers of Jesus Christ and were no longer taking the Roman pantheon of gods seriously, nor considering their leader to be god. (Reference: Glenn Miller, the Christian Think Tank.)
Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire back when there were no church buildings, no clergy, no organized bodies of believers. The followers of Jesus Christ, from all walks of life, met in homes (later in prisons and in the Catacombs). Many consider Constantine's proclamation was a disaster for the true church which Jesus was building.
The Apostle Paul had written his amazing Epistle to the church in Rome in 62 AD. (He later visited there at least once). There was a thriving community then in existence in Rome in the First Century as can be seen in Romans Chapter 16. This was before the first pope.
There were no printed publicly available English Bibles until Wycliffe in 1395. The manuscript scrolls written by the Apostles were quickly copied and passed along to the next house church by couriers. (Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in 382 AD, resulting in the Latin Vulgate Bible back when not everyone spoke Latin).
“Primitive Christianity” from Pentecost to Augustine, as initiated by Jesus and His Apostles was a form of Body Life --thriving in small groups with neither overlording area bishops nor supervising “host pastors.” The book of Acts records a selection of exciting events in the lives of the Apostles as documented by Luke. It was “leaderless” in a sense. This protocol allowed God to show individual followers to take on the work of the ministry and to function through His Body, the true church. That is, Jesus Himself was invited to show up at every gathering and take charge.
Tim Keller (a Presbyterian) describes the growing obsolescence today of old paradigm Christianity passed down to us by the Reformers to our forefathers. Today we see on the playing field, the children of the Reformation in our Evangelical Churches, Independent Bible Churches, Charismatics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans...
[Note: Orthodox Churches developed separately from the Roman Catholic, from the time of Constantine. The Roman Catholic Church today is widely held to be fully apostate and counterfeit by many]. Many Catholics know Jesus Christ personally, of course.
Many churches in America can be grouped into the dying old paradigm! If they were alive and well assembles, Jesus would show up in power, and transformed lives would be everywhere seen. Old paradigm churches have had “Revivals” in the past—some revivals were sound and enduring. For example, Continuous Revival by Norman Grubb was inspired by the Welsh Revival of 1905. (Wikipedia is informative on revivals in general). But revivals seldom accomplish lasting renewal.
Today there are many fake revivals going on today, luring millions away from the real Jesus.
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.“ (2 Peter 1:10-11)
But see The Seven Churches in New Jerusalem. Examples of each of these seven archetypal church types existed as far back as the First Century, and each type of church can be found in the world today. In each church there exists, within, a remnant of “overcomers” who swim against the current opposing the status quo.
Think of the true church quietly being called out by Jesus as an embedded remnant within the professing church. This is exactly what the New Testament teaches. Wheat and tares, remember?Many today have defaulted to seeing themselves as living in a one-storied universe. Back in the ‘50s and 60’s the old paradigm (whether true or not), was not working for many.
I agree with Tim Keller that the old two story model better fits the model of one story. That is, authentic Christianity is full of content! The unseen realm is packed with angels, full of splendor. The present world we live in below is but a pale shadow land.
The course of Western Civilization has been downhill for centuries—quite the opposite of the claims of “progress” and evolutionary advancement!
Therefore the older paradigm more correctly reflects the actual created universe—which has both material and spiritual aspects. “In the beginning God created the heavens AND the earth.”
The hippie movement was spurred on as a spiritual movement rebelling in part against materialism and dead orthodoxy. The Jesus Movement which followed correctly proclaimed that Jesus Christ was the only answer that worked in real life. Yes, it is important to embrace the real Jesus and not buy into any counterfeits. But the Jesus Movement was fatally flawed and did not cause many parents and grown-ups to trust Jesus for the first time, or renew their commitments to know Jesus personally.
Some of this apostasy was because many professing Christians gave in to the false security proffered by the fallen world system--obvious in Matthew Chapter 4.
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.“ (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
The stirrings of the spirit provoked by the Hippies and the Jesus People, brought new art, new literature, new fashions, new life styles onto the stage. Communal living was an effort to return to primitive early-church living. Today the “Jesus Freaks” have been morphed into the Establishment culture, mostly out of economic necessity. The default is actually a conformity to the world system brought about by the majority.
“I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.“ (Romans 12:1-2)
As implied, the churches in this country are growing weaker by the year. Subscribers to the new paradigm consider themselves to each be their own god, and traditional secular notions of a brave new world or of human progress in the universe are no longer taken seriously.
The coming generation of Millennials actually contains many committed followers of Jesus. They are everywhere in our society, even if no one sees them in churches on Sunday. Many have good reasons for not identifying with our cultural values. Many, of course, are resisting the call of the real Jesus to know Him and be made whole.
That is, the majority of younger people today, often called "Millennials," no longer buy into the old paradigm at all! A huge gap exists in many parts of the country because younger people are no longer attracted to old-paradigm Christianity. Yet the new paradigm followers of Jesus can’t be expected to do better by nature than their parents. We are all in this grand adventure together--that is, assuming we know Jesus in the first place and planning to live with Him forever. The course of mankind has been downhill since the Fall with much restraint and renewal from God every day. But today both groups tend to dislike one another not realizing that God is not a "respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34).
Keller urges that we as a nation discover again the pragmatic life styles of the early followers of Jesus, where there were no paid clergy members to bail people out and needs were met by immediate friends in house churches and communes. Since Christians today ordinarily meet one another only on Sunday, community living is nothing new but has not worked well down through the ages. Today our homeless problems are legend. The great wealth of many in America stands in stark contrast with the poverty elsewhere. We may feel entitled but we are not! Radical changes lie ahead from Jesus since He is the Owner and the Heir of all things. The status quo is surely unacceptable to Him. See The Approaching Time of the End and Population Decrease Ahead.
No one is basically good! We each need God far more than we know. But God IS Love. If we understand the real self-giving love Jesus offers, and shun the counterfeit, life becomes a grand adventure.
A wonderful Internet, FaceBook friend, Ethan Renoe, who is under 30, always has great things to say. Here is his current post:
The Biggest Myth of Evangelicalismby ethanrenoe
For decades, the motto of countless evangelical churches has been “we teach the Bible and nothing else.” And that’s the biggest myth of evangelicalism.
Thanks for reading!
The idea behind that sentiment is not only incredibly arrogant (“Our church has the correct interpretation of the Bible”), but it is blindly ignorant. What I mean by that is, whenever someone comes to the Bible, they will read their own experience, culture, and worldview into it.
You may think that you, certainly, are exempt from this and are able to forgo any outdated cultural lens and read it as it is, but my friend, that is the first mistake you can make when reading the Bible. Let me give a few examples.
One of the most common themes in the Bible is that of liberation. Israel from Egypt, then from Assyria and Babylon. Then Jesus from sin and death, although the Jews were hoping for Roman liberation. So, a black slave in the 1800’s would pick up the Bible (assuming they could read), and come to the conclusion that Jesus was on their side, because God fought for the liberation of the oppressed. Meanwhile, their owners read the exact same book and come to the conclusion that owning slaves was okay because Paul tells slaves to honor their masters, etc.
Clearly the slaves would be in the right! You’re probably thinking. Of course the Bible condemns slavery! How could they be so foolish??
Well, where does it condemn slavery? It…doesn’t.
See? You brought your own worldview and plugged it into the Bible, rather than approaching the Bible untainted and reading it as it is. This is just one example, but the more you dig into the study of hermeneutics, the more you find that there is absolutely no raw, pure, unadulterated reading of the Word; we always bring ourselves into it.
I could go on and list examples of how you bring your own presuppositions into the Bible and don’t believe what it says, but what you’ve been told it says, but I don’t want to get too myopic. I’ll just say that for whatever view you hold on an issue (abortion, politics, hell, Calvinism, et al.), I could build an opposite argument from scripture and defend it. The point is, doing theology this way is exhausting and gets us nowhere.
In my opinion, this is one of the foundational ailments of evangelical culture. This idea that anyone can read the Bible and get one true, accurate understanding of it is pretty absurd, frankly. This is why labels are actually helpful. One church identifies as Eastern Orthodox because they align with the world of believers who read the Bible this way. Baptists read the Bible that way. And so on.
The effort to establish “_____ Bible Church” is a self-defeating effort (Most churches that call themselves a 'Bible Church' are founded on this idea of being informed by the Bible and nothing else). It’s almost the same as building a house on quicksand. Humans need tradition, because it teaches us how to read the Bible. To claim that we are sola Scriptura without any tradition whatsoever is ludicrous. Think about it: if you were raised in the American church, there’s a good chance you could rattle off a quick rendition of the gospel in four acts: “God is holy. We are sinful and deserve separation from Him. Jesus died in our place. Believe in Him and go to heaven.” While this presentation isn’t necessarily untrue, it is not found anywhere that clean-cut in scripture. What tends to happen is that we read that structure we’ve been taught into the Bible, rather than seeing what’s actually on the page before us.
An example: Yesterday I was teaching on the demon possessed man in Mark 5. He gets demons cast out of him and Jesus says, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (v.19). I was thinking about this and realized, the man could only say what he knew:
There was a rabbi named Jesus who had mercy on me.
He had authority over the demons in me and sent them out of me into some pigs.
And that’s it.
If we (evangelicals) heard that as an entire gospel presentation, we would stand up and shout, “Yah, but what about hell?? What about heaven?? What about the death and resurrection?? What if he didn’t accept Jesus into his heart, speak in tongues, or get baptized??”
Jesus didn’t give the man gospel tracts with the formula for 4 Steps to Salvation, nor did He lecture him on sound doctrine for when he goes out to share the good news. He basically just said, ‘tell your story’ and that was enough.
Do you see how much we’ve read into our understanding of the Bible?
What about Zacchaeus who was saved because he gave away half his money?
What about the rich young ruler in the previous chapter who was offered salvation if he gave away all of his money?
I’ve heard so many sermons that tried to cram these stories into the presupposed model of salvation, rather than just let the stories tell themselves. It seems like all these non-denominational churches have become their own denomination; walk into any non-denom church in America, and 9/10 times, you won’t be surprised by how the service goes and what they teach.
Non-denominational churches, ironically, have become their own denomination.
Even though they claim sola Scriptura, they tend to read the Bible the same way. There is most definitely an evangelical way to read the Bible, and most of us who grew up in this tradition are taught how to read it; we don’t read it as it is. Sadly, our reading often neglects the very Jewish culture in which it was cultivated in favor of a “more educated” western reading. Then we wonder why we get so mixed up by certain passages with heavily Jewish contexts.
Reading the Bible—a 2,000 year old book—is reading a text through a mirror of a mirror of a (slightly warped) window, through another window, through a mirror, etc. There are references we totally miss, metaphors which would have been common, political undertones, and a myriad other things we don’t see as 21st century Americans.
I can't help but wonder if this lack of structure is what is leading to the slow death of evangelicalism. Since everyone thinks they can accurately read the Bible for themselves, we have a million micro-denominations and are less unified than before. Even if you denounce the theology of the Catholic church, you must admit, they are unified all over the world in a way we are not.
Evangelicalism today has swung toward political power and a pursuit of wealth, fame, and the elevation of celebrity pastors in a way the world hasn't seen since the pope crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor. Half of us defend these powerful, rich pastors, while the other half denounces their uses of money and power—all using Bible verses.
But all that's for another day.
Are you starting to see how foolish it is to say, I just read the Bible and am immune to reading it through a specific lens…?
Lastly, I’ll add that white people are especially guilty of this. We are the most prone to thinking that our ethnicity, race, experience, and nationality don’t affect our understanding of the world. If someone suggests that one of our views is due to our whiteness, we see it as a challenge to our objectivity. Yet we don’t hesitate to think thoughts like, “He thinks that way because of his black culture…” or, “She just likes that because she’s Asian…” But of course, white is right.
This is a deep-seated pride that comes from thinking that our reading of the world is the right one.
Therefore, we also think that ‘when I pick up my Bible and read it,I am reading it correctly, or at least, objectively.’
What’s most important, more than hermeneutics and theological nitpicks, is relationship with Christ.
Our understanding of the Word can move and evolve as long as it remains centered around our relationship with the living, dynamic Son of Man.
As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-19)
Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name Yah, And rejoice before Him.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah
The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.
Your congregation dwelt in it;
You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.
The Lord gave the word;
Great was the company of those who proclaimed it:
“Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home divides the spoil.
Though you lie down among the sheepfolds,
You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with yellow gold.”
When the Almighty scattered kings in it,
It was white as snow in Zalmon.
A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.
Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks?
This is the mountain which God desires to dwell in;
Yes, the Lord will dwell in it forever.
The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.
Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.
But God will wound the head of His enemies,
The hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.
The Lord said, “I will bring back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
That your foot may crush them in blood,
And the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”
They have seen Your procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;
Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.
Bless God in the congregations, The Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
There is little Benjamin, their leader, The princes of Judah and their company,
The princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naphtali.
Your God has commanded your strength;
Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us.
Because of Your temple at Jerusalem,
Kings will bring presents to You.
Rebuke the beasts of the reeds,
The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,
Till everyone submits himself with pieces of silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.
Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth;
Oh, sing praises to the Lord, Selah
To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old!
He sends out His voice, a mighty voice.
Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel,
And His strength is in the clouds.
O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.
Blessed be God!
Jesus loves the wealthy and the entitled but He usually hangs out preferentially with widows and orphans.
I know Millennials stuck in the new paradigm who seem at first glance to know the same Jesus as I do. Often I can “connect” briefly with them one-on-one for short conversations but they seem not able to form deep lasting times with anyone. In think they are “existential Christians.” That is, they know the same Jesus as I do.
There are, after all, many false Christs out there, there are lots of avatars and false messiahs attracting millions to their “churches” and organizations. Our schools are “secular” but opposed to the real Jesus with deep malice in most cases. (The once great universities in our nation were nearly all founded by committed followers of Jesus.
But Biblical illiteracy rules the day! When I became a follower of Jesus in a small Baptist Church half a century ago just about everyone in the congregation read the entire Bible at least once a year. Fellow church members usually illustrated situations going on in their lives by bringing up stories and illustrations from the Bible.
The Apostle Paul’s words:
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness...” (2 Timothy 2:1-16)
The Apostle John wrote:
“Little children, it is a last hour (eschatos hora) and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:18-23)
In the new paradigm, each person is his or her own god, with limited accountability to anyone. Horizontally the prevailing value system is about surviving in company of like-minded peers. Since we all can’t be God, we must respect the godhood of our traveling companions--there are no absolutes except for death.
The saving life of Jesus is the best possible good news for anyone, especially for the young among us who fear death profoundly.
“Since then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.“ (Hebrews 2:14-18)There are two extremes in following Jesus. One extreme is existential. Trusting Jesus by faith moment by moment with little accountability and not much Biblical knowledge.
“...And God Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love...” (Ephesians 4:11-16)The second extreme is Legalism:
“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.“ (John 5:38-40)It’s too easy of us to believe that we are the center of things. Not so! Our destiny as followers of Jesus is a great marriage feast where followers of Jesus will see Him as He is now shining in the spender of redeemed manhood.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.“ (1 John 3:1-3)
Psalm 8To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!“
This is quoted in Hebrews 2 concerning our lost dominion in Adam and the restoration given back to us through Jesus the Second Adam.
“...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
For God has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:
'What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.'
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
'I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.' And again: 'I will put My trust in Him.' And again: 'Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.'
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.“ (Hebrews 2:3-18)
There is a good bit of gender confusion common in the new paradigm kids. But moral standards are generally considered (in their camp) to be relative. Marriage is considered by many to be obsolete. Casual sex—hooking up—is very common. All
Manner of sexual expression is kosher. Gender confusion ought not to be a surprise. Never mind that this is really pure paganism.
In the new paradigm rejection of traditional marriage and anything-goes sexual expression (“hookups”) are common and generally accepted.The new paradigm embraces not only the Roman and Greek pantheons of fallen angels but has opened the door to pantheism (as in Hinduism and Buddhism.)
Anyone who knows the Bible should see immediately that history is going somewhere. But many young people today are unfamiliar with history!
Pastor Tim Keller urges a return to primitive Christianity. That is, to communal living, small groups, house churches, with no paid professionals running things. True followers of Jesus must let their lights shine before men to stand out against the Establishment (whether the “organized church” or the prevailing culture). Obviously the content of Scripture and derivative sound doctrine must not be discarded.
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5,6)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.“ (Matthew 5:14-16)
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. (Luke 6:37 - 7:1)
The Left Behind
Intimacy with God
Rebellious but Religious
On Lepers and Virgins
Tiers in the Universe
Christ in You
The Nature of Time
What Holds the Universe Together?
The Creation of Everything The Ruin of Creation
Made in the Image of God
The Return of the Landlord
Creation in the New Testament
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Tim Keller and Sinclair Ferguson
For reference purposes here are excerpts from Wikipedia’s article on the Jesus movement:
Evangelical Christian movement
The Jesus movement was an Evangelical Christian movement beginning on the West Coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s and spreading primarily throughout North America, Europe, and Central America, before subsiding by the late 1980s. Members of the movement were called Jesus people, or Jesus freaks.
Its predecessor, the Charismatic Movement, had already been in full swing for about a decade. It involved mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics who testified to having supernatural experiences similar to those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, especially speaking in tongues. Both of these movements held that they were calling the church back to a closer Biblical picture of Christianity, in which the gifts of the Spirit would be restored to the Church.
The Jesus movement left a legacy that included the formation of various denominations as well as other Christian organizations, and it also influenced the development of both the contemporary Christian right and Christian left. Jesus music, which grew out of the movement, was very influential in the creation of various subgenres of contemporary Christian music during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, such as Jesus Culture and Hillsong in both America and the UK. This also led to the inclusion of new musical instruments in churches all over the world, such as guitars and drums, in addition to traditional musical instruments such as pianos and organs. Music in other parts of the world was also greatly influenced by the Jesus Movement, such as music in Central America and the UK. In Central America, Pentecostal churches under the Charismatic Movement began to compose spiritual music called "coros" (fast-paced hymns) which is normally accompanied by dancing as worship.
The terms Jesus movement and Jesus people were coined by Duane Pederson in his writings for the Hollywood Free Paper. In an interview by Sean Dietrich on August 19, 2006, Pederson said that he did not coin the word "Jesus people" but gave credit to a magazine/television interviewer who asked him if he was part of the "Jesus people" and thereafter credited Duane as the phrase's founder. The term Jesus freak was originally a neutral label imposed on the group by non-Christian hippies, but members of the Jesus movement, who misunderstood the term as pejorative, reclaimed the phrase as a positive self-identifier. The Jesus movement was partly a reaction against the counterculture from which it originated.
The Jesus movement was restorationist in theology, seeking to return to the original life of the early Christians. As a result, Jesus people often viewed churches, especially those in the United States, as apostate, and took a decidedly countercultural political stance in general. The theology of the Jesus movement also called for a return to simple living and asceticism in some cases. The Jesus people had a strong belief in miracles, signs and wonders, faith, healing, prayer, The Bible, and powerful works of the Holy Spirit. For example, a revival at Asbury College in 1970 grabbed the attention of the mainstream news media and became known nationwide.
The movement tended towards strong evangelism and millennialism. Some of the most read books by those within the movement included Ron Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth.
Perhaps the most illustrative aspect of the Jesus movement was its communal aspect. Many Jesus people lived in communes. Although there were some groups, such as the Calvary Chapel movement, which did not live in communes, these remained more on the fringes of the Jesus movement. Within the commune, the group became more important than the individual and communal sharing of possessions was the norm. One example would be Graham Pulkingham's community described in his book They Left Their Nets. Some of the communes became highly authoritarian.
Secular and Christian media exposure in 1971 and 1972 caused the Jesus movement to explode across the United States, attracting evangelical youth eager to identify with the movement. The Shiloh communities and the Children of God attracted many new believers while many other communes and fellowships sprang up.
Explo '72 was an event organized by Campus Crusade for Christ and involved such conservative leaders as Bill Bright and Billy Graham. Many of the young Jesus People attending Explo '72 discovered for the first time these and other traditional avenues of Christian worship and experience. Afterward, the movement began to subside, largely concluding by the late 1980s.
Although Explo '72 marked the high-water mark of media interest, the Jesus movement continued at a grass roots level with smaller individual groups and communities.
Although the Jesus movement lasted no more than a decade (except for the Jesus People USA which continues to exist in Chicago), its influence on Christian culture can still be seen. Thousands of converts moved into leadership positions in churches and parachurch organizations. The informality of the Jesus movement's music and worship affected almost all evangelical churches. Some of the fastest growing US denominations of the late 20th century, such as Calvary Chapel, Hope Chapel Churches, and the Vineyard Churches, trace their roots directly back to the Jesus movement, as do parachurch organizations like Jews for Jesus and the contemporary Christian music industry. Perhaps the most significant and lasting influence, however, was the growth of an emerging strand within evangelical Christianity that appealed to the contemporary youth culture.
There has been a long legacy of Christian music connected to the Jesus movement. Jesus music, also known as gospel beat music in the UK, primarily began when street musicians of the late 1960s and early 1970s converted to Christianity. They continued to play the same style of music they had played previously but began to write lyrics with a Christian message. Many music groups developed out of this, and some became leaders within the Jesus movement, most notably Barry McGuire, Love Song, Second Chapter of Acts, All Saved Freak Band, Servant, Petra, Resurrection Band, Phil Keaggy, Paul Clark, Dion DiMucci, Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary; Randy Stonehill, Randy Matthews, Andraé Crouch (and the Disciples), Nancy Honeytree, Keith Green, and Larry Norman. The Joyful Noise Band traveled with a Christian community throughout the U.S. and Europe, performing in festivals held underneath giant tents. In the UK, Malcolm and Alwyn were the most notable agents of the gospel beat.
According to The Jesus People: Old-Time Religion in the Age of Aquarius by Enroth, Ericson, and Peters, Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California founded the first Christian rock labels when he launched the Maranatha! Music label in 1971 as an outlet for the Jesus music bands performing at Calvary worship services. However, in 1970 Larry Norman recorded, produced, and released two albums: Street Level and Born Twice for Randy Stonehill. on his own label, One Way Records.
Don Finto became involved with the Belmont Avenue Church of Christ (now simply Belmont Church), an ailing old inner city church in Nashville, Tennessee on Music Row between the public housing and several universities – Peabody, Vanderbilt and Belmont College etc. By the summer of 1971, the membership roll had dropped to about 75 elderly members. The church had mainstream roots in the Churches of Christ, but was transformed and firmly placed in the Jesus movement by an influx of counter cultural Christians. Seating ran out, with people sitting on the window sills or on the stage. It was not uncommon to find them walking the worst parts of Lower Broadway witnessing to hookers and addicts. Within a year or two, the fellowship grew to hundreds and the famous Koinonia Coffee House was opened, being managed by Bill and Sherry Duguid at 1004 16th Avenue South, as it was known then, and a year or so later was led by Bob and Peggy Hughey. The second Koinonia building next door at 1000 16th Avenue S. (16th and Grand) had been an old "Five and Dime" store on Music Square that had closed down. The concerts held there on weekends helped east coast Christian music to grow in popularity. The house band was Dogwood, and many famous musicians regularly appeared on stage, including Dogwood, Amy Grant, Brown Bannister, Chris Christian, Don Francisco, Fireworks, Annie and Steve Chapman, Clay In The Potter's Hand and many others.[citation nee
Chuck Smith, founder and pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, led with expositional verse-by-verse Bible studies. While he taught that the gifts seen and described in The New Testament were at work today there were Biblical restrictions on the exercise of those gifts among believers in their services. He baptized members in the Pacific Ocean. Unlike many other Christian movements, there was no single leader or figurehead of the Jesus movement. Some of the larger names include Duane Pederson, Jack Sparks, who led the Christian World Liberation Front, as well as Lonnie Frisbee, who worked for a time along with Smith. Frisbee was a key evangelist during the growth of the Calvary churches, while Smith was one of the few pastors who welcomed in the hippies who after coming to faith, eventually became known as Jesus people, and thus allowed for the dramatic future growth of his affiliate church network. Sparks and Pederson later became priests in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The international Potter's House Church (CFM) was birthed out of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a church movement based in Los Angeles where Smith received his early theological training.
Steve Freeman and others opened the Kingdom Come Christian Coffee House in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1971. Each Saturday night Jesus People gathered for worship, songs and fellowship. In 1972, several people who were highly involved in the Kingdom Come graduated from high schools and dispersed in several colleges and universities throughout the Southeastern United States and started a Fellowship House Church. Maynard Pittendreigh, Jay Holmes, and Freeman each established one at Erskine College, the University of South Carolina, and Furman University respectively. Leadership moved from Steve Freeman to a charismatic preacher named Erskine Holt, a self-described apostle of the movement who lived in Florida. By 1973, nearly every campus throughout Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia had Fellowship House Churches. These generally died out by 1977, with many of the members moving to more traditional campus ministries. However, many moved onto similar ministries in such organizations as Calvary Chapel.
In the UK, the Jesus Army was among the groups most influenced by the Jesus movement, embracing (former) hippies, bikers and drug addicts, among others. Many members of the church adopted a communal lifestyle, which continues to this day, with around 600 living in Christian community.
The Shiloh Youth Revival Centers movement was the largest Jesus People communal movement in the United States in the 1970s. Founded by John Higgins in 1968 as a small communal house in Costa Mesa, California, the movement quickly grew into a very large movement catering mostly to disaffected college-age youth. There were over 100,000 people involved and 175 communal houses established during its lifespan. Two years after the movement's founding, Higgins and some of the core members of the movement bought 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land near Dexter, Oregon and built a new headquarters which they called "The Land".
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