Archive for the 'Church History' Category

Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was near, but that there would be an interim period before it was fully inaugurated. The Kingdom, to him, was primarily the eschatological (end-times) reign and judgment of Messiah on earth. It is in this sense that it would fulfill the promises to Abraham and David, and the many prophecies of the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Son of Man.

The following excerpt is from the online Jewish Encyclopedia regarding the Jewish and Christian perspective on the “Kingdom of God.” The article begins by giving a short overview of the development of the Jewish understanding of thiws concept followed by some commentary on the transistion of the idea into Christianity. Here is some of the except which I thought was interesting:

If any of you are interested in history, specifically Christian history, then this podcast is a must. Lars Brownworth, from Long Island, NY, teaches American History at a private, high school. He became fascinated by the history of the Byzantine empire from Constantine the Great in the early 4th century through to the destruction of Constantinople in a.d. 1453 by the Turks. This was the first explicitly Christian empire and many lessons can be learned from observing its history.

I thought this article was excellent.  My thoughts to follow:

I’ve heard the quote once too often. It’s time to set the record straight—about the quote, and about the gospel.

Francis of Assisi is said to have said, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”

This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.

What “recipe” do we use to find the truth of God.  For Christians, we say, “The Scriptures, of course.”  And that’s certainly the way to go.  But what happens when we say, “The Scriptures plus . . .”  I recently came across this quote from Eugene Robinson, bishop in the Epicopal Church, USA.

I just finished watching Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. It was not what I expected from a seminarian and ex-Catholic priest. I expected more of a documentary explaining theology behind the peace movements. Carroll, during his priesthood, while a chaplain at Boston University, was a big part of the Christian anti-war movement. What the move actually is was very different. Part of my expectations were based on a lecture I saw that Carroll gave during the Religion & Violence Conference given last February at Trinity Church in Wall St. New York City. In that lecture he gave a fantastic analysis of the American civil religion and violence, heavily based on biblical themes though in no way actually backed by it. I got a story about primarily about anti-Semitism throughout the Christian ages. On its way through that story was the interaction with state-backed religion, and a smart bit of theology about it. The stories were incredibly moving. One of the most moving images was seeing the erection of a Cross directly outside the walls of Auschwitz by the then Pope. It is unfathomable to me that the institution of the church could be so insensitive. I highly recommend this film for all to see.

This past Sunday, we sang the hymn “Nothing Between” at our church.  The hmyn was written in 1905 by Charles A. Tindley.  Tindley has quite a story:Charles Tindley

From Wikipedia – Tindley’s father was a slave, but his mother was free. Tindley himself was thus considered to be free, but even so he grew up among slaves. After the Civil War, he moved to Philadelphia. He continued his education while working as a church janitor, teaching himself Hebrew and Greek and eventually earning a doctorate. After 25 years, he became the pastor of the same church at which he had been a janitor. Under his leadership, the church grew from 130 to a multiracial congregation of 10,000.

I saw this at “aliveandyoung”

I was looking at the Athanasian Creed recently and found myself asking if anyone could be saved if the doctrines in this creed are necessary for obtaining eternal life.  Even folks I know who affirm their belief in the trinity would hard pressed to say that they even understood what the tenets of this creed espouse.  Here are a few points that are made about the creed by R. C. Sproul as found at Christianity.com.

Heb 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Heb 10:33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

Heb 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

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