Moldova – Elimul Nou – Un liceu crestin si un raspuns la o realitate dura (video)

sursa pozei aici – afisata Iulie 2010

Matei 25:40

Drept răspuns, Împăratul le va zice: ,Adevărat vă spun că, oridecîteori aţi făcut aceste lucruri unuia din aceşti foarte neînsemnaţi fraţi ai Mei, Mie mi le-aţi făcut.`
Un exemplu de dragoste pentru cei mai neinsemnati din partea crestinilor din Moldova.  Published on Apr 30, 2012 by  clip despre Elimul Nou:
Reclame

Dansul – O noua miscare „crestina”? Sau o religiozitate formala?

Dansul la Brasov, 2011

Nu stiu cum am dat peste acest video in care Romanii celebreaza Invierea Domnului Isus prin dans la Bucuresti, iar apoi am dat de acest video, incarcat pe Youtube de Second Baptist Church din Houston, Texas unde este pastor Ed Young. Biserica spune ca au fost inspirati de dansul din Budapesta aici – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVv0jH33nL4. E interesant ca in prezent, in mesajul la situl bisericii, Ed Young spune ca trebuie sa luptam impotriva culturii pentru ca asa ne-a invatat Hristos. Actiunea contrazice invatatura. Si Biserica Saddleback, Pastor Rick Warren a participat in Dansul 2011.

Cum scrie in Eclesiast: Nu e nimic nou sub soare 1:9 „Ce a fost, va mai fi, şi ce s’a făcut, se va mai face; nu este nimic nou supt soare„. Se incearca sa se „predice” cu orice metoda, inclusiv dans, in afara de singura metoda care este insotita de puterea Duhului Sfant de a strapunge inimile si a transforma o viata pacatoasa: CUVANTUL, adica Biblia.

Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea! 

Chiar in acest weekend citeam din nou din cartea lui Leonard Ravenhill „De ce intarzie trezirea?” Ravenhill a intitulat Capitolul 19 – Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea! Scrie Ravenhill:

E o nevoie disperata azi de oameni inspirati! Generatia degenerata de azi are absoluta nevoie de credinciosi cu suflete activate de Duhul. Vantul napraznic al nelegiuirii veacului din urma poate stinge usor o simpla faclie de religiozitate formala; asa cum o trestie uscata se frange in furtuna, asa se rupe si luminarea slaba a sectarismului firesc. Se aude in lume apropiindu-se vuietul infricosator al religiilor false si al crestinismului caldicel. Iar avertismentul impotriva acestora ne vine din partea unor oameni care nu au foc sfant, asa ca preferam adesea si noi sa fim mai bine de loc fara foc.

Nefiind in stare sa deosebim ce e firesc si ce e Duh, multi oameni religiosi ai zilei trambiteaza o noua spiritualitate in lume. Dar ceea ce e bun e doar un semn al mediocritatii, si ajunge din nou dusmanul de moarte al desavarsirii (Cei intelepti vor pricepe). Nu stati nepasatori! Conflictul se ascute! Aceasta e noaptea ruginii si a molimei. Dumnezeu sa ajute popoarele, ruinate de religii, faurite de oameni, aduse la blestem de culte intocmite de oameni, bantuite de doctrine nascocite de oameni! A mai fost vreodata asa o ora grozava? Stradanii irosite sunt pretul pe care-l platim pentru progesul de azi.

Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea. Cred ca e timpul sa ne trezim. Ar trebui sa ne apropiem de limbajul lui Patrick Henry astfel: „E oare lungimea vietii asa de draga si e oare comfortul caselor noastre atat de pretuit incat sa fim gata sa le cumparam cu pretul unei vieti de necredinta, cu pretul rugaciunilor uscate si fara viata? Nu cumva la marea judecata, in ultima instanta, in fata lui Dumnezeu, vor veni milioane de oameni trimisi la pierzare, in focul cel vesnic, sa ma acuze ca am fost nepasator de soarta lor, ca am trait un materialism doar invelit in cateva versete din Scriptura? Fereasca Dumnezeu Peasfantul! Nu stiu ce vor alege altii. Cat despre mine, dati-mi focul trezirii sufletului meu si a Bisericilor din intreaga tara. Daca nu, mai bine moartea!”

Doresc sa precizez ca nu am postat acest video ca sa dau cu pietre in oamenii care practica acest dans.  Si nu afirm ca nu sunt printre ei oameni sinceri si credinciosi. L-am postat ca sa ne aducem aminte de acuzatia lui Ravenhill: Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea si de ceea ce a spus apostolul Pavel: Romani 10:14 „Dar cum vor chema pe Acela în care n’au crezut? Şi cum vor crede în Acela, despre care n’au auzit? Şi cum vor auzi despre El fără propovăduitor? Dumnezeu sa ne ajute sa facem mai mult decat sa ne dam cu parerea; sa Il propovaduim pe Hristos celor din jurul nostru (caci cu cei din video, sigurat ca nu avem tangenta) pentru ca multi nu Il cunosc si chiar dintre cei care cred ca Il cunosc, realitatea este ca nu il cunosc de fel!

Christian Post Headlines: A seeming contradiction (Osteen vs. Nigeria)

Seen in today’s online Christian Post:

Headline #1:

Joel Osteen at Night of Hope DC: God Wants to ‘Supersize’ Your Peace, Joy

Joel Osteen didn’t disappoint the tens of thousands of people that filled the Nationals Park baseball stadium Sunday evening expecting him to „plant the seed of hope” in them. He not only delivered a potent dose of hope, but also rolled out an American Idol star and his own mother to share their uplifting stories of survival in the face of death at the „Night of Hope” event in Washington, D.C.

Headline #2:

Pastor, 20 Worshippers Killed in Nigeria Church Attacks

A pastor and at least 20 worshippers were killed when gunmen suspected to be Islamist militants opened fire in two separate incidents targeting worship services in northern Nigeria Sunday.

Do we really believe that God has one plan for the United States – Prosperity? And another for  Africa and other  countries where Christians are slaughtered more and more? Are we not all the body of Christ? Did Christ not say, that whoever would follow Him must take up their cross and follow Him?  Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and all over the globe who are suffering in persecution.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.—Hebrews 13:3

Unusual Music (12) Andrew Peterson – Holy is the Lord

What is unusual about this song? The story behind it: Abraham obeys God without understanding why God is asking him to sacrifice his own son, in Genesis 22:2 „Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ” . Romans 4:3″What does the Scripture say? „Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” May God empower us to obey Him, even when we don’t fully understand our circumstances.
Lyrics from www.Lyricstime.com

Wake up little Isaac
And rub your tired eyes
Go and kiss your mama
We’ll be gone a little while
Come and walk beside me
Come and hold your papa’s hand
I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb

I waited on the Lord
And in a waking dream He came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
“Here I am”, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I’ll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

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Tip: If you’re going to have doubts…

Dallas Willard:

If you’re going to have doubt, make sure to have doubts about your doubts as well as your beliefs. We’re taught in our culture that a person who doubts is essentially smarter than a person who believes. But you can be as dumb as a cabbage and still say why ? Our culture is set up on that.

You wanna say, „Believe your beliefs, doubt your doubts as well as doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts. You go the whole round, and that’s what we’re not taught. This is about how knowledge grows and knowledge grows by not only doubting your beliefs and believing your doubts but by (also) doubting your doubts and believing your beliefs. That involves conversation with others, inquiring, listening to a good preacher preach, going to read a good book on atheism by Dawkins… Now, not everybody has the time to do that, so in the fellowship that is one reason why we need one another so badly, so there can be other people who can do what we don’t have time to do and that division of labor really works in the church.

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Dallas Willard – The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews at UCLA

The Veritas Forum at University of California at Los Angeles. Dallas Willard:

  • Truth is in trouble, not just religious or moral, but TRUTH!
  • Truth does not accommodate belief; belief has to accommodate truth.
  • No one has ever made a proposition true simply by believing it.
  • Here’s a question of fact or truth and it has incredible bearings on how we approach our life: Am I, fundamentally, a material object that exists or gets organized by DNA and exists for a little while and then I stop existing? Or, am I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s Universe?
  • I always tell my students: The burden of proof is always mine because I am the one who wants to know.

The power of the world view. Dallas Willard talks about what it is and how it works in context. Notes:

Nature and Necessity of World View

  • Your „world view” consists of assumptions about the realities and values that govern you and the world in which you live.
  • It is a biological reality, built into your usual actions and responses.

Knowledge

Our ability to represent things as they are, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience
This is what our universities are devoted to.
But knowledge requires TRUTH.

Truth

A thought or statement is true if what it is about is as that thought or statement represents it.

„An institution of higher education is, by definition, dedicated to the search for truth and its dissemination”. Harvard had a little problem with this and they changed their shield several times. Primarily they were troubled about the issue of the unity of truth and that is: Does truth include the religious, the moral and the other dimensions of truth? Gradually through the years there has been a drift in university affairs that relegates truth to just the natural world. And so our ability to represent God, personal character of the human beings, spiritual side, all of that is eliminated from knowledge. But, truth itself does not do that.

Truth does not accommodate belief; belief has to accommodate truth. No one has ever made a proposition true simply by believing it. Now, maybe their belief in it caused them to act and to bring something about, that made the proposition true. But, merely believing doesn’t make propositions true. A group of people believing it doesn’t help get up a movement. It won’t make it true.

The bitterness of truth is its total indifference to human will and desire together with the fact that human desire and will is set on reshaping reality and therefore truth to suit itself. This is the fundamental conflict in human life. It is the conflict between desire and will and truth. And that conflict affects everything we do, including what we do on the university campus.

The Main World view questions 

When it comes to these world view questions the same questions are there. The question: How do we know the truth? still applies to those. Here’s a question of fact or truth and it has incredible bearings on how we approach our life: Am I, fundamentally, a material object that exists or gets organized by DNA and exists for a little while and then I stop existing? Or, am I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s Universe? Wow, what a difference. See?

The Main World View Questions:
*The nature of reality
-What counts as knowledge of reality?
*Who is really well-off?
-Blessedness
-The Good Life
*Who is a „really good” person? (one of the deepest questions)

Jesus and his tradition responds to each of these questions… as do Plato, Buddha, Freud, etc. In the university setting the dominating world view is expressed through what is accepted as research and what counts as possible knowledge. You (university students) are in a system that teaches a world view without responsibly defending it. 

How is a world view taught? 

  • Mainly by body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and inflections, „looks”, off hand remarks about people and events
  • By what is permissible
  • By example – how we treat people (in class, out of class, colleagues)
  • By who gets rewarded or punished in various ways  in the academic or other context
  • Rarely (almost never) by explicit statement. Explicit statement is only used to reinforce what is taught indirectly as previously indicated.

What we have to do with is a kind of orthodoxy, a secular orthodoxy. That is a sociological reality, not a rationally supported outlook. I am, more or less, calling attention to this and saying: Look, this is something we have to deal with. UCLA answers these questions in a pretty straightforward way but, they don’t stand on the street corner and argue for it.

How does the University answer the Four Great Questions?

  • Reality is the natural, sense-perceptible world
  • The spiritual is not real and/or not knowable – That’s been developing for a long period of time in our academic culture and although there’s an increase in talk about spirituality, when any serious moral issue arises it will be treated as not for something which will be treated as a subject for knowledge and that’s because it falls in a non physical realm. You cannot make any sense or morality if you stick to your physics. Same thing is true about logic. Logical implication is not something in the physical world. That doesn’t mean it’s not real. But, one of the funny things in philosophy is you watch people/students who go to study logic and they want to know what it’s all about, what are those funny symbols on the board and they very quickly learn and are socialized that you do not ask that question because if you ask that question, you’re too stupid to understand the answer. Logic, like morality is not a part of the physical world. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not real, it doesn’t mean we don’t know it. It means that under the prevailing outlook, we can’t come to grips with it.
  • You are your body
  • Well being is physical/social well-being: success, money, health

These „Answers” are the Assumptions of what we do and do not do

We wouldn’t try to defend them except in some philosophical context, possibly. But they are the assumptions that we live by and we set up our curriculum in those ways and we judge the qualification of people to teach and not to teach, to publish or not to publish, to get grants and not get grants. That’s where the world-view takes hold.

  • …and HOW we do (or do not do) it
  • They are the assumptions of the training, professionalization, socialization of our faculties.
  • They are not the outcome of rational research. No one has DISCOVERED them, found them to be true.
  • They are not knowledge

How does Jesus answer these four questions?

  • Reality is God and his activities, including the natural world (physical, social)
  • The person is well-off who has a life deriving from God and his „kingdom”
  • The good person is the person pervaded with God’s kind of love: AGAPE love
  • You become a good person by becoming an apprentice of Jesus Christ

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I want to stress this fact: A world view, a basically unified world view that is taught by inflection, action, model. You get crosswise of that you will soon find out that you’re not acceptable. It is very powerful, it is a sociological reality.

There is another world view, it is the one that founded the universities, and, intact dominated the universities until about 75 years ago. That change has come very recently. It is a part of a socialization process that is going on in history, a necessary one, in many respects, in which the university had to divorce itself from the implicit institutions of religion and society. (Recommends the book: The making of the modern university). It wasn’t that suddenly, someone found out that Jesus was wrong. Nobody found that out. It was not discovered, it was negotiated over a period of time in which people decided that it would be that way, and was able to set the tone against it. That’s what happened.

Where we now stand

  • The answers of Jesus constituted the world view of the universities well into the 20th century.
  • We have been locked into a sociological, not an intellectual reaction. We like to think of ourselves as engaged in a rational enterprise in the universities and we are apt therefore simply not to miss and understand the sociological realities that determine the world view that is actually taught.
  • See Julie Reuben, The Making of a Modern University (Book)
  • That goes along with the disappearance of logic from the campus. There’s almost no university or college in the world today that requires a course in simple logic, that is a part of the degree program. Your argument is now judged by your conclusion, not your conclusion by your argument.
  • The answers of Jesus have not been shown false and the now prevailing answers true. Until you recover the sense of logic you can never take that issue up.

Where to now?

  • Recognize that our world view assumptions are what govern life
  • Assume the „burden of proof”. Be a rational „skeptic”. I always tell my students: The burden of proof is always mine because I am the one who wants to know. I’m not in this discussion to put you back on your heels. I’m here to determine the truth and the burden of proof is mine. I’m not trying to win an argument. I think that’s one of the most important things that’s especially for Christians to understand. They’re not here trying to „duck and dodge”. If you can find abetter way than what is Jesus Christ’s offers, He would be the first person to tell you to take it and f you don’t believe that about Him, you can’t be His disciple because you can’t trust Him.
  • Thoroughly consider the teachings of the Bible and the record of Jesus’ people on the main world view issues.
  • Put His teachings to the test of life.
  • Do the same for the world view teachings of the current intellectual.
  • Then honestly compare. Don’t just rest in your „intellectually respectable” prejudices.

Question and answer session begins at the 35th minute.

  1. Do you consider Intelligent Design and Creationism a Science? What is and isn’t science shouldn’t be our fundamental question… Science, for me, is just a fancy word for knowledge… To me the fundamental question is, for any of those ideas is: Are they reasonable? Do they have strong support in the evidence? Do they fit together with a coherent world view?
  2. An atheist states: You use the words :knowledge of God”. I would argue that nobody can read or know the Bible or the Koran really well and know the customs and prayers really well and be sincere in their heart that it’s true, but how can one know God if one, can’t know at the same time, that miracles don’t exist? Logically, those are independent issues. You had many people who had standard arguments for the existence of God who had rejected miracles. It depends on whether you’re going to be a deist or a full blown theist. Christian theists tend to depend upon knowledge of miracles for their knowledge of God, at least partly.
  3. Dr. Willard, you had mentioned during the outlining of the secularization of the university that it was necessarily so, and possibly indicating that it was a good thing. How will I, as a person who does research in the sciences and yet, also have faith in Christ, integrate that and is it wrong to do that? And if the segregation of faith and academy is a good thing? In the period right after World War II, colleges and universities were thought not to be training people well for the future of the country. They were concerned particularly about technology, about science, but they were also concerned about international relations and things like that. There was a lot of criticism and what they experienced was this: Nearly all of the colleges and universities were closely aligned with denominations and what they found was that the denominational distinctives were not open to inquiry. That is why there had to be an opening up between institutional religion and inquiry. That is a good thing because the truth claims of religion should be open to scrutiny as any other field. Historically, religion has not been and that’s why there had to be some distance. Let’s open it now. That is what I am complaining about now on the secular side, we don’t have it (inquiry) because the secular side has trained itself to say that religion is not open to inquiry. That’s the change that had to be made.
  4. What steps do you think can be taken to encourage people to have open forums and do you see the university going in a positive direction or a negative direction? In philosophy, things have gotten considerably better in my lifetime.

Poezie – Oaie sau Capra ?

Gabi Lupescu. O poezie deosebita care avem multe de invatat de la ea:
– „În poiana de sub munte, în concert de păsărele,
Paşte-o turmă iarba grasă cu miros de floricele.
Oi şi capre, laolaltă, se înfruptă din frunzişuri;
Oile din iarba verde, caprele din lăstărişuri.
Nu departe, stând păstorul, rezemat într-un toiag,
Le admiră şi le cântă din caval ades cu drag.
Lângă oi, un câine negru, stând pe labe, urmăreşte
Ca să vadă când vreuna dintre ele rătăceşte.
Şi când vede că vreo oaie se abate de la şatră,
De-i îngăduie stăpânul, o-ncolţeşte şi o latră
Pe aceea rătăcită, ce-a rămas de cârd în urmă,
Până când se cuminţeşte şi revine iar în turmă.
Le-ar mai trage el de blană, şi aşa nevinovate,
Dar i-e frică de stăpânul, că i-ar trage-o rău pe spate…

După ce-au păscut în pace, fiind bine săturate,
La amiază, oi şi capre, stând la umbră adunate,
Se porniră să discute ce mai este nou prin lume,
Despre vreme, despre soartă, despre mode şi costume.

Mai întâi o capră zveltă, galeşă, dar cam râioasă,
Ia cuvântul şi vorbeşte despre vremea călduroasă:
„Vai ce cald e azi afară! Mă întreb nedumerită,
Cum puteţi voi, oi neroade, în asemenea ţinută,
Să petreceţi zi şi noapte, tot în lână-nvăluite,
Tot smerite şi plecate, liniştite şi tăcute?
Când vă văd îmbrobodite ca pe nişte maici sau ţaţe,
Mă gândesc: cum pot berbecii să vă sufere ca soaţe?
Voi nu ştiţi că astăzi lumea s-a emancipat în toate
Şi de nu ţii pasul lumii eşti în ex-societate?
Nu vedeţi ce rău arată lâna voastră – ca un ciuf –
Că sunteţi, cum zice lumea, „ca o oaie pe zăduf”?
De ce nu priviţi în lături la familia căprească,
Care e nu doar modernă, dar şi demnă să uimească?
Nu vedeţi ce siluete şi ce bine arătăm,
Când, cu coada ridicată, tot mai sus ne căţărăm?
Nu vedeţi ce mândre coarne şi ce ugere avem,
Cât suntem de elegante şi ce sprintene suntem?
Nu vedeţi ce admirate suntem noi de ţăpişori
Care, dându-ne târcoale, ne seduc adeseori
Cu purtarea lor atentă, cu parfumul lor specific?
Cât de eleganţi sunt dânşii şi ce mers vioi, mirific,
Ce superbă ţăcălie şi ce coarne ondulate!
Aşadar, a noastre gesturi sunt cu totul inspirate.
Chiar şi unii dintre oameni ne adoptă moda noastră.
De aici puteţi pricepe că-i distinsă şi măiastră.
Căţărându-se pe tocuri, imitând a noastră artă,
Şi femeile din lume ca şi caprele se poartă.
Şi bărbaţii îi imită pe ai noştri ţăpişori
Nu atât prin ţăcălie, cât prin gesturi şi purtări.
Însă voi tot ameţite, cu concepţii retrograde,
Cu smerenie şi teamă, staţi închise-n calapoade!
Nu consideraţi că-i vremea să trăiţi a voastră viaţă,
Să gustaţi din vraja vieţii, să gustaţi a ei dulceaţă”?
Şi, aşa, râioasa capră, pe oi le-a povăţuit
Cu parşivele ei sfaturi, până când a obosit.

Încântată de îndemnuri şi de cele auzite,
Behăind, o oaie neagră se ridică să cuvinte:
„Cred că voi aveţi dreptate, trebuie pogorăminte!
Suntem prea arhaizate, prea avem purtări de sfinte!
Astăzi când dobitocimea vrea să fie toat-o turmă,
Nu putem noi, oi profane, să rămânem tot în urmă!
De aceea, se impune ca şi noi să aderăm
La perceptele globale şi să le asimilăm.
Se impune o schimbare în trăire, cu mult fler,
Chiar de forurile-nalte deocamdată nu ne cer.
De aceea mult distinsă şi prea nobilă căprime,
Vei avea de azi în toate, primul aliat, pe mine”.

Mult a fost aplaudată oaia neagră democrată
Şi a fost felicitată de căprimea adunată.
De atunci, oiţa neagră, ca s-arate ca o capră,
A-nceput o viaţă nouă, neputând în ea să-ncapă.
Şi-a vopsit în grabă lâna, după ce s-a tuns căpreşte,
Şi pe cap, din ziua-ceea, două coarne-ncep a-i creşte.
Coada proaspăt ajustată şi-o ţinea pe spinăruşe
Şi mergea păşind agale, doar în două picioruşe.

Zilele trecură-n grabă peste lume, peste turmă.
Toate anunţau, convinse, vremea zilelor din urmă.
Ale iernii semne sumbre se-arătau cu-nverşunare,
De aceea, păstoraşul le-a adus spre numărare,
Jos, în valea cunoscută, aducându-le aproape.
Şi le-a despărţit pe ele, într-o zi, în oi şi capre.
A pus caprele la stânga, iar oiţele de-a dreapta,
Fiecare dintre ele singure găsindu-şi ceata.
Numai oaia, travestită în familia căprească,
Nu ştia, şezând în poartă, în ce parte să păşească.
Întrebându-şi conştiinţa şi privindu-l pe păstor,
Şi-a dat seama că e capră, şi-a trecut în ţarcul lor.

Tot aşa va fi odată, la temuta Judecată:
Fiecare, cum se poartă, fiecare-n a sa ceată. GBY.

Vladimir Pustan – Trebuie sa aratam acestei generatii un Crestinism autentic (Si cum s-a pocait tatal Pastorului Pustan)

Pagina – Predici Vladimir Pustan aici

Blestemat sa fie acela care face lucrarea lui Dumnezeu cu nebagare de seama„, spune Scriptura. Si, cand spun lucrarea lui Dumnezeu, nu ma gandesc numai la lucrarea aceasta de vestire a Evangheliei. Poate noi, penticostalii, ne limitam uneori la asta, dar lucrare este si sa canti in cor, orchestra, sa ajuti pe cineva, sa vizitezi bolnavii la spital sau sa maturi in biserica. Aceasta lucrare trebuie facuta bine si cu cea mai mare seriozitate. Slujind in Biserica Penticostala, slujim lui Dumnezeu!

Punandu-mi intrebarea: „Cu ce este datoare Romaniei aceasta generatie de Pastori?” – vreau, cu ajutorul Duhului Sfant, sa scot in evidenta obligatiile pe care le au pastorii fata de tara aceasta, fata de aceasta generatie de oameni care ne inconjoara.

Suntem datori acestei generatii care ne-a crescut aici, care s-a rugat pentru noi, care ne-a dus la biserica si care a investit in noi. Cei mai multi dintre noi au venit din lume si putini au crescut in biserica. Au avut rabdare cu noi ani de zile pana cand ne-am format si au postit pentru noi.

Am plecat din biserica cand aveam 17-18 ani. Aveti copii de varsta asta. O sa le vina unora clipa, daca nu le-a venit pana acum, cand, omeneste, nu se mai poate face nimic pentru ei. Caci nici bataia, nici calculatorul luat nu o sa-i mai poata ajuta, dar singurul care poate face ceva este Isus Hristos.

Au trecut 5 ani pana m-am intors in biserica. Stiam ca locul nostru este pe ultima banca verde de langa cuier. Deci, cand m-am dus pentru prima data dupa o absenta asa de mare, dupa 1990, i-am spus sotiei atunci: „Tu sa te duci in fata, caci esti prietena bisericii. Eu ma duc in spate caci sunt fiul risipitor.” In clipa cand am ingenuncheat, a venit la mine diaconul bisericii, un om batran care nu avea decat doua clase. M-a luat de mana si mi-a spus: „Vino, caci de 5 ani ne rugam pentru tine; locul tau este pe banca a doua de langa geam, caci de acolo ai plecat”.

1) Trebuie sa aratam acestei generatii un crestinism autentic.

Cu ce suntem datori noi, pastorii acestei generatii? In primul rand, trebuie sa aratam acestei generatii un crestinism autentic. Apostolul Pavel spune bisericii din Filipi: „…ca sa fiti fara prihana si curati, copii ai lui Dumnezeu, fara vina, in mijlocul unui neam ticalos si stricat, in care straluciti ca niste lumini in lume” (Filipeni 2:15). Cand vor umbla unii dupa afaceri, noi sa umblam dupa Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Cand altii vor umbla dupa foloasele lor, noi sa umblam dupa foloasele altora, caci Dumnezeu ne va da toate binecuvantarile Lui. Intr-un timp in care biserica a devenit lumeasca si lumea a devenit bisericoasa, va trebui sa intelegem ca este nevoie sa traim un crestinism autentic.

Crestinismul autentic inseamna intoarcerea cu spatele la lume si cu fata la Isus Hristos. Sa vedem in fata noastra tot timpul crucea lui Isus Hristos si sa spunem: „Doamne, ajuta-ma sa traiesc in asa fel ca Numele Tau sa fie proslavit tot timpul in viata mea, sa traiesc frumos ca in timpul zilei, sa-mi fie scarba de pacat, de minciuna, de lacomie, de toate lucrurile acestei lumi si sa Te iubesc pe Tine, sa tanjesc dupa Tine.” Trebuie sa traim un crestinism adevarat, care sa ne faca sa semanam cu Isus Hristos. Nu trebuie sa fim pe plac unei biserici sau unor oameni, ci trebuie sa fim placuti Domnului Isus Hristos, caci El ne va judeca intr-o zi si trebuie sa semanam cu El.

2) Suntem datori sa predicam oamenilor predici adevarate

In Fapte 2, Petru s-a rugat 10 zile, a predicat 4 minute si s-au pocait 3,000 de oameni. Astazi, ne pregatim 10 zile, predicam 3 ceasuri, ne rugam 3 minute, ne botezam copiii si suntem foarte fericiti ca biserica creste. S-au botezat 3,000 de oameni la predica unui simplu pescar, om fara multa scoala, dar el a predicat o predica adevarata. O predica care te face sa simti ca ceva nu este in regula cu tine, o predica din aceea care ii face pe oameni sa plece altfel decat au venit. O predica adevarata spune ca „pe acest Isus pe care L-ati rastignit voi, Dumnezeu L-a inaltat si L-a pus sa fie Hristos si Domn„.

*Adevarata predica trebuie sa deranjeze. La sfarsitul predicii lui Petru, oamenii au ramas strapunsi in inima. Noi, generatia asta, trebuie sa predicam predici adevarate si sa-i deranjam pe oameni. Cand pleaca din biserica, oamenii trebuie sa fie strapunsi in inima, sa nu poata iesi pe usa din cauza eisi sa spuna: „fratilor, spuneti-ne ce sa facem, ca viata noastra nu merge bine, predica asta ne-a strapuns, ne-a facut praf, avem inima franta.” Deci, predica noastra trebuie sa deranjeze.

*Adevarata predica trebuie sa directioneze. Au tabarat toti pe Petru si l-au intrebat: „Ce trebuie sa facem, pentru ca acum suntem strapunsi in inima„. Si Petru i-a directionat si le-a spus: „Pocaiti-va si credeti in Isus Hristos”. Asta e directia. Nu „veniti in biserica noastra„, ci „veniti la Isus si veti avea biserica adevarata„.

*Adevarata predica trebuie sa divizeze oamenii. Cei ce au primit propovaduirea au fost botezati. Nu toata lumea se va pocai la predicile noastre. Oamenii se vor diviza pentru ca Domnul Isus a spus: „N-am venit sa sa aduc pacea, am venit sa aduc sabia„, iar sabia te despica. O predica trebuie sa-i schimbe pe oameni. 

Am stat si m-am gandit la acel pasaj din Biblie, unde spune ca Naomi a plecat din tara bunastarii si a binecuvantarii lui Dumnezeu spre o tara indepartata. Stiti de ce? Pentru ca nu a fost paine. Marea noastra problema e cand ne intrebam de ce ne pleaca oamenii din biserica. Stiti de ce? Nu au ce manca. In momentul cand a auzit ca este paine in Israel, Naomi s-a intors si nu a venit singura. A mai adus pe cineva din amaraciune. Si, vreau sa va spun ca atat timp cat va fi paine in bisericile noastre, oamenii nu vor pleca, ci, dimpotriva, vor veni cei care au plecat si vor aduce si pe altii. Asa se vor inmulti bisericile noastre, daca vom predica o Evanghelie adevarata.

3) Noi, pastorii, suntem datori datori acestei generatii sa ne rugam pentru trezire

Avem aceasta obligatie. Fapte 4:31 „Dupa ce s-au rugat ei, s-a cutremurat locul unde erau adunati; toti s-au umplut de Duhul Sfant, si vesteau Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu cu indrazneala„. Pentru biserica, trezirea este darul lui Dumnezeu, dar trezirea pentru o familie, pentru o persoana, este munca noastra si trebuie sa ne luptam pentru asta. Nu va fi trezire in Romania, nu va fi trezire in casele noastre pana nu ne vom ruga. Nu sa facem studii biblice despre rugaciune, ci sa facem rugaciuni si sa Ii cerem Domnului lucruri de care avem nevoie. Si lucrurile de care avem nevoie sunt acelea care intra in sufletul nostru. Avem nevoie, ca biserica,   de trezire: avem nevoie noi, pastorii te trezire, avem nevoie sa strigam: „Doamne, indura-Te de tara aceasta, incepe treziea cu casa mea!” Satana poate construi foarte multe ziduri in jurul nostru, dar niciodata nu le poate pune acoperis. El nu poate opri legatura noastra cu cerul, si atunci, indiferent de zidul din jurul meu, legatura cu cerul este libera si pot vorbi cu Dumnezeul meu, care imi raspunde la rugaciune. Si El vrea ca aceasta generatie sa fie o generatie a trezirii. Suntem datori pentru acesti oameni sa conducem aceste rugaciuni.

Frederic, asistentul lui Luter, s-a imbolnavit grav si i-a trimis acestuia vorba, spunandu-i: „Eu nu mai pot continua lucrarea de reformare a bisericii, caci sunt pe moarte„. Luther i-a trimis o foaie pe care a scris: „Iti poruncesc in Numele Domnului Isus Hristos sa nu mori. Aceasta este voia mea si faca-mi-se dupa voia mea, pentru ca nu am alta voie decat inaltarea Numelui lui Dumnezeu. Nu voi ingadui ca tu sa mori inaintea mea, caci eu voi pleca inaintea ta la cer, iar tu te vei ridica in picioare in Numele lui Isus Hristos. A trait sa-l vada pe Luter murind, ba chiar inca 6 ani dupa moartea lui, pentru ca un om s-a rugat cu credinta.

4) Suntem datori, noi Pastorii Romaniei, sa slujim in dragoste

Trezirea nu este aceea cand bancile sunt pline, ci trezirea este cand inimile noastre sunt pline. Caci bancile pot fi pline cu oameni goi pe dinauntru. Pe vremuri aveam atatea cuvinte sa-i spune lui Dumnezeu pentru ca eram in dragostea dintai. Cand esti in dragostea dintai ai atatea de spus, dar acum parca asa de putine cuvinte mai avem. Vreau sa va spun ca dragostea sta si in vorbe. Spuneti-le oamenilor: Apreciem ceea ce faceti, ne este draga lucrarea pe care o faceti. „Dragostea acopera totul” spune Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Mai acoperim lucrurile rele, sa nu se mai auda, sa nu se mai vorbeasca, si le descoperim pe cele bune.

Dragostea sta in vorbe, in fapte, dar si in sacrificiu. Domnul Isus spune despre o biserica: „Stiu dragostea ta, stiu jertfa… dar ce am impotriva ta, biserica, este ca ti-ai parasit dragostea dintai. Pocaieste-te dar si intoarce-te la faptele dintai.” Stiti care erau faptele dintai? Te sculai la 6 dimineata sa te rogi, mergeai la spitale prin frig, ploaie si nu conta. Va veni o vreme cand tot ce am facut pentru Domnul ne va fi rasplatit. Trebuie sa ne incredem nu in ceea ce am facut, ci in puterea sangelui Lui, insa nimic din ce am facut nu va ramane nerasplatit din partea lui Dumnezeu.

Am crescut intr-o familie in care tatal meu nu l-a cunoscut pe Dumnezeu. Poti predica la mii de oameni, dar cel mai greu este sa duci Evanghelia in casa ta. Nu primea Cuvantul de la nimeni.

Intr-o iarna, pe la 10 dimineata, mi-a batut cineva la usa si mi-a spus: „Domnule pastor, va cheama bunicul meu sa mergeti la el„. Despre acesta stiam ca sta in pat de 7 ani, paralizat, si bea doar lapte, cu paiul. Era ca o leguma. Fusese clopotar in biserica ortodoxa. Cand am ajuns, el mi-a spus,” Domnule pastor, noaptea trecuta a venit la mine Isus si mi-a spus: „Miroane, tu trebuie sa te botezi. Trimite dupa pastor”. I-am spus ca nu-l pot boteza prin cufundare, dar il pot stropi cu apa in Numele Tatalui, al Fiului si al Duhului Sfant. Imediat dupa ce a fost botezat, s-a ridicat in sezut, pentru prima data in 7 ani, si primul lucru care l-a facut a fost sa ceara de mancare. S-a ridicat si a mancat. A mai trait pana acum 3 ani. Dupa ce a fost botezat si vindecat, a venit la biserica, pe picioarele lui, la fiecare serviciu divin. Intre timp, ma mutasem la oras. Intr-o zi, mama mi-a dat un telefon, sa imi spuna sa vin degraba acasa, caci s-a intamplat o minune cu tatal meu. M-am dus imediat acasa si mama mi-a spus cum fratele Miron, cel ce fusese paralizat, a stat 3 ore de vorba cu tata, dupa care tata a inceput sa planga si sa se roage. Miron a fost singurul om pe care tata il respecta in satul acela si de la el a primit Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Dupa doua luni, tata s-a botezat si de atunci merge la biserica mereu. Ma gandesc cu groaza ce s-ar fi intamplat in dimineata aceea de iarna, daca nu ma ridicam din pat, pentru ca Dumnezeu avea de facut o minune si in casa mea.

Tot ce ai  facut pentru Dumnezeu, intr-o zi se va intoarce pentru tine. Fiecare vorba spusa, fiecare lucru facut il primim inapoi in Numele lui Isus Hristos. Amin!

What does it mean that Jesus Is the Son of God?

by John Piper from desiringGod.org

 Jesus Is the Christ the Son of God

1. Jesus Is God

It means that he is God.

Paul said in Colossians 2:9, „In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (cf. 1:13, 19). He said in Philippians 2:6, „Though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself.” Hebrews 1:2–3 says, „In these last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.” Hebrews 1:8–9 says, „Of the Son [God] he says, „Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” And John writes, „In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).

When Paul said that Jesus is the Son of God, we understand him to mean that Jesus is God. He is not a mere man or a high-ranking angel in human form. He is truly man and truly God.

When we call him Son of God, we mean that he is of the same nature as God. Fathers create things unlike themselves, but they beget sons like themselves. C. S. Lewis puts it like this:

When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers, and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make (or create), you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, and man makes a wireless set (or a computer) . . .

So when we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean that God has begotten his Son in his very same divine nature, nothing less, from all eternity. Begetting is a metaphor, a picture, that tries to hold two truths together: (1) God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Father; they are distinct persons, distinct centers of consciousness, and can relate to each other. But (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature. From all eternity, without any beginning, the Father has always had a perfect image of himself and a divine reflection or radiance equal to himself, namely, the Son.

So the first thing we mean when we say, „Jesus is the Son of God,” is that he is God.

2. God Has a Unique Love for Jesus

The second thing it means is that God has a unique love for Jesus as his Son.

In Colossians Paul describes Jesus as the Son of God’s love, implying that the love for his divine Son is utterly unique from the love God has for all his human children by adoption. „God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.”

And two times in the earthly life of Jesus—once at Jesus’ baptism and once on the mount of transfiguration—God the Father broke in and said, „This is my beloved Son.” And inEphesians 1:6 Jesus is simply called God’s „loved one.”

So when we call Jesus the Son of God, we should have in our minds the truth that he is God and that there is a relationship of infinite love between God the Father and God the Son that is different from all other loves.

Why Is This the First Thing Saul Proclaims?

But let’s ask why this was so crucial for Saul and for Luke that they put it right at the front of the ministry. The first thing Saul proclaims is, „Jesus is the Son of God.” Why?

Consider these four truths about the Son of God and see if you don’t think the truth of Jesus’ Sonship deserves first place.

  1. 1 John 5:12 says, „God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.”
  2. 1 John 2:23 says, „No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” So to have a relationship with God the Father and to have eternal life you have to confess Jesus as the Son of God and „have” Jesus as the Son of God—that is, be in fellowship with him (1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9).
  3. Galatians 4:4–5 gives the foundation of all this hope: „When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son . . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” The Father sent his one and only divine Son so that he might have many human sons by adoption. „We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).
  4. Finally, Galatians 2:20 says that we „live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us.”

So it was the coming and the dying of the Son that gave us the gift of adoption. So if you confess the Son, you have the Father also—have him as Father. And if you have the Son and the Father, then you have everlasting life. And not only for the ages to come, but right now the Son of God works for us so that our lives should be described as living by faith in the Son of God.

So it is not surprising that Saul and Luke would put this truth at the very beginning of Paul’s missionary preaching: „Jesus is the Son of God.”

It Must Be at the Front End of Our Lives Too

It needs to be right at the front end of our Christian lives too. It needs to be one of the central pillars in our understanding of reality. Jesus is the Son of God.

I want you all to know the Son of God and to have personal, intimate, hour-by-hour, trustful, saving fellowship with him; and to have the Father with him; and to have life in them; and to enjoy the exalted place of adoption through the Spirit of the Son; and the gift of redemption and reconciliation and conformity to the Son; and the power of victory over the devil. „The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

How Do You Come to Know the Son?

I want all this for you. So how do you come to know and have the Son like that? Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, „No one knows the Son except the Father.” So how will I ever come to know him? Then in Matthew 16:15 Jesus asks the disciples, „Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, „You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Do you remember how Jesus responded? „Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Knowing Jesus as the Son of God is not something that happens by the mere mental and emotional powers resident in human nature. There must be a divine work of grace beyond flesh and blood, so that in and through and behind the Bible and the preaching and the miracles we see the glory of the Son. We taste the divine reality and know him supernaturally.

Is it an accident that Paul describes his conversion like this in Galatians 1:16, „When God was pleased to reveal his Son to me [„reveal”! the same word Jesus used to describe Peter’s experience], in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood . . . but I went away into Arabia”? Just like Jesus said to Peter: „Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

So how do you come to know Jesus as the Son of God and to have fellowship with the Son and walk by faith in the Son and have life in the Son?

There does have to be intelligible preaching or teaching or witnessing about the biblical story of Jesus. Our text says (Acts 9:22) that Saul „confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” An intelligible, valid presentation of Jesus is essential. But persuasive words alone do not open the eyes of the heart. They tried to kill Paul in Damascus. „Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, Simon, but my Father who is in heaven.”

„The God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

How then do you come to know and to have and to fellowship with the Son of God? You listen to his Word, his story (Luke 9:35). And you pray for the revelation of the Father—the eyes to see the glory (Mark 9:24). And by grace you believe and triumph. „Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5).

David Platt – The Gospel demands radical sacrifice

The Gospel Demands Radical Sacrifice – Read the notes from entire sermon below the video. Here is an outline of the sermon:

The Sacrifice of a Christian Luke 14:25-35

Term #1 – Jesus requires superior love

Term # 2 – Jesus requires exclusive loyalty

  • Through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live
  • This changes our priorities
  • We are workers constructing a building
  • We are warriors fighting a battle

Term # 3 – Jesus requires total loss

  • For the cause of Christ we give up everything we have
  • This changes our possessions

Jesus is supremely loving

  • He is worthy!
Jesus is supremely loyal
  • He will be faithful !
Jesus sacrificed the supreme loss
  • He is our reward!

We’ve created a system of Christianity that consists in a bunch of boxes to check off. The danger is, we hear the Word and … “Tell me what I’m supposed to do?” And we crave boxes. If we could just check these things off , it would be ok. That’s not the point. It misses the point altogether. That’s a Christianity that consists of external regulations that bypasses the heart. I believe the point is for God to take this word, show us what this word does and then to drive us to the Spirit of God. To drive you and me to hours of wrestling with God in prayer about how this would apply to our lives. If all we do is talk with each other about these things, come up with check off boxes, “Hey, this is how it looks”, then we will miss God’s design for us in His  work. He desires to bring us along with Him, with His Word, with His Spirit and to transform our hearts, to change our hearts, to radically change us, in a way that will have external ramifications. Yes, but that is rooted in internal change.

We will do everything we can in our Christian culture today to bypass spending the time necessary before God. We need to experience internal change. One primary question I want to ask you today. Are you willing to come to Jesus on His terms? I ask this question that way because the brand of Christianity we have adopted operates on coming to Jesus on our own terms. You look at how we describe Christianity, how we encourage people to come to Christ and you will find terms that are foreign to the New Testament.

  • Follow the Roman road to Jesus
  • Believe these 4 spiritual laws
  • You answer these questions right
  • You pray this prayer
  • You sign this card
  • You raise your hand and declare your love for Jesus

Jesus told his followers to do none of these things. None of them. I want you to hear what Jesus said to the crowds who were travelling with Him. His terms.

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, would he not first sit down to count the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it everyone sees and will ridicule him saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish”. Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not sit down and consider whether he will be able wit h10,000 men to oppose the one that comes against him with 20,000? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while they are still a long ways off and he will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Can you imagine standing in that crowd? Who does this guy think he is? So, I’m supposed to hate my mom and dad, and brother and sister and my wife and my children. I’m supposed to pick up an instrument of torture and give up everything I have to follow you. For most of us Jesus lost us at the beginning of this passage. Some might think that these words are too hard for us to look into. Some might say we don’t need to look at passages like this. Are we really ready and mature enough to hear words like these?

This is just it. This is how Jesus introduced people to Himself. This wasn’t Jesus speaking to a mature crowd needing to go deeper. This is Jesus speaking to a crowd who was initially interested in following Him and this was an initial invitation to them. Hate your mother and father, pick up the cross and give up everything you’ve got. This is what he said. It is a stinging indictment on our Christianity today, to think that these words sound so radical to us because they seem so foreign to us.

This is elementary, basic truths Jesus said; what it means to follow Him. And they are so foreign today. What does that say to us? About how far we’ve strayed about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, that would even ask the question today: Well, can you be a believer and not a disciple? As if there’s levels of Christianity:

1)a thin level where it really doesn’t cost you that much and

2)those who are really interested can go into a deeper, higher, deeper, higher level of Christianity. The New testament knows nothing of this. I’m not saying that all of us are at the same level  of Scriptural maturity or that when we initially come to Christ we know everything that we know 20 years later.

But the picture is clear. Jesus says three times- If you don’t do these things you can’t even be my disciple. These requirements are basic requirements for discipleship.  And, I wonder, as we look at a passage where Jesus is speaking to a crowd that has been “flirting” with Him on their terms, I can’t help to think that I stand before a crowd of people today, in our culture, who has been flirting with Jesus, on our terms.

And for some, if not maybe most of us need to ask the question: Have we ever really come to Jesus on His terms? That’s an important question to ask. Have you ever come to Jesus on His terms?

This is an evangelistic text. This is Jesus inviting people to follow Him, for the first time. Really. So, I want us to look at the terms and you see it 3 different times He uses this frame: If anyone does not do this he cannot be my disciple. These are requirements so to speak.

The Sacrifice of a Christian

I want to invite you to hear the terms of Jesus and to consider: Have you ever responded to Jesus on these terms?

Term #1 – Jesus requires superior love

In comparison to Christ, we hate the people we love. It’s not that we don’t love them. The reality is everything comes full circle – See Luke 14:26. Talk about strong. That’s an attention grabber. What does that mean? What does Jesus mean when He says to hate your mother, father, brother, sister, wife and children? Some of you are saying, “I don’t get it, I thought we were supposed to love people. Jesus is saying something here. I want to be very careful here, because there is a dangerous temptation for us to try to soften Jesus’ words and what it turns out is we try to soften Jesus’ words to justify the way we live. This is a very dangerous way to approach Christianity. We’ve got to take honest looks at Scripture to see exactly what Jesus said. Let’s go to Matthew 22:36 where there is an expert conversation between Jesus and a teacher of the law. This teacher of the law asks Jesus this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with  all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. Love you neighbor as yourself. All the law of the prophets hang on these 2 commandments.

This debunks the idea that there are priorities in our affections. That God is first, family second and so on. No, God is everything. All, primary, supreme. Superior love, everything. All your affections belong to God and the testimony of Scripture flows right from here. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. We notice this all through the New Testament when love for God is supreme in your life, the result is love for each other. They go together. Love for each other springs from God. Loving Him is supreme, superior love.

Clearly, there’s a love that supersedes all other loves. Loving God, loving Christ. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his mother and father more than me is not worthy of me. Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And anyone who does not take up his cross to follow me is not worthy of me. See the picture there?

What Jesus is trying to communicate to the disciples here is that love for Him, love supreme  – that every other love in this world is so far less that it looks like hate compared to this kind of love.

When love for God is supreme and love for God captivates our heart, then what kinf of love are we showing to mother and father? The love of God, of Christ in us. Same picture in marriage. Wife and children. Men, how do you play out Ephesians 5:25 “Love your wives just as Christ did the Church and gave Himself up for her”. How do you do that if love for Christ is not supreme in your life? You can’t. It’s impossible. It’s not that these are mutually exclusive. They flow, one flows form the other. But, it starts with a reservoir of love for the supremacy of Christ and God.  Our hearts conquered by, captivated by a superior affection in God. We know so little of this kind of love. You hear the way we talk… supposed Christians talk. We say, “I know we need to be in church. I know I need to take my kids to church. I know I need to pray, I know I need to study the Bible.

This is not Christianity at all. Christianity does not consist of begrudging obedience to Christ. We know this on a human level. Where ever do we get the idea that Christianity is begrudging obedience? This is the way we think about it. When we let go of the things in this world that we love and we do the things that we really don’t want to do, we need to do them to save our own skin, not in biblical Christianity.

Biblical Christianity sees the Supremacy of Christ and is so infatuated by Him, so drawn to Him that our love for Him drives everything we do. It is a superior love that changes our perspective on everything in this world. So the question for you, in light of this verse is, “Do you love Christ?” “Do you want Christ? Do you love Him with all your soul, your mind and your heart?”  I am not asking you if you go to church, I am not asking you if you read the Bible or if you pray or if you teach, or if you’re raising your kids good. Rubbish. Get through the rubbish. Do you want Christ? Do you love Christ? See, the reason why you live, one for whom your heart beats and your affections are driven… This is the picture. Superior love. It makes any other love look like hate.

I want to be careful here, but, I am convinced that in our culture today we idolize our children and our marriages and sex and relationship, parents, families and friends to the point where Jesus Christ gets the leftovers from our affections and it’s unchristian. You can’t even be a disciple of Jesus if that’s the case. You forsake all relationships in favor of an intimate relationship with Him. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Want to know how this looks practically? I would point you to John Bunyan. John Bunyan lived in a time when it was not easy to be a follower of Christ, especially not easy to be a preacher of the Gospel of Christ. And he preached and he was told, “If you don’t stop preaching Bunyan, you will be imprisoned. He and his family were not well off as it was. His wife, his children, one of whom was blind, barely had enough to eat while he was free. He knew that if he was imprisoned, it would bring great harm upon his family. What does he do? What do you do when faced with that decision? Preaching? John Bunyan said, “Absolutely yeah”. You keep preaching. And he was imprisoned and he wrote form his jail cell, “Departing with my wife and poor children has often been to me, in this place, as the pulling of flesh from my bones. And that, not only because I am fond of these great mercies, but often though because I have also brought to my mind any hardships, miseries and wants that my poor family is likely to be meeting with, especially my poor, blind child who lay nearer to my heart than all I have besides. Oh the thought of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces”. “But yet,” Bunyan said from a prison cell he writes, “I must venture all with God. I am like a man pulling down his house on the head of his wife and children ”.

Term # 2 – Jesus requires exclusive loyalty

The second term, Jesus outlines in verse 28 – “anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple”.

“Carry his cross”, this phrase may be the most misunderstood, misapplied phrases or terms in the New Testament. People talk today about carrying crosses. Often times they will be sharing their faith journey and people say, “I am going through this illness, this disease, this struggle, I’m in a bad relationship or in this bad marriage and these bad circumstances and this situation is the cross I bear. This is not what Jesus is talking about here. It misses the whole point of what Jesus is talking about here. It’s not what the hearers who heard this in the first century and it’s not what we hear today. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and realize that Jesus just said that “anyone who would not carry his cross… Now the only time that you would carry your cross is if you were a convicted criminal, punished to die, a cross beam was hoisted onto your back to carry through the town in public humiliation, on the way to your death.

This is repugnant. You’ve got to feel the weight of this. We see crosses everywhere. Trying to bring this in the present day, this is the equivalent of my saying to you, “If you do not pick up your electric chair, you cannot follow Jesus. Doesn’t that sound repugnant? Brash, even that would be insufficient because the cross involves so much more cruelty and torture than an electric chair would. The reality is, if you’re carrying a cross, you’re like a dead man walking. You have no more dreams, no more plans for your life, no more ideas with what you’re going to do in your life. Everything is over for you. You have no more pride, no more honor, nothing. You’re walking through public humiliation on a way to a place where that cross, you will be hoisted onto and you will die there. And this is the picture Jesus gives to the scribe, what it means to follow Him. Any takers? So strong.

>Through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live.

What Jesus is saying is that through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live. If you are a Christian according to Scripture, not according to blurry definitions of Christians, watered down. If you are a Christian according to Scripture, you are dead. You’re dead to yourself, to your dreams, to your hopes, plans, ideas. Right before this, at the end of verse 26 He said, you must “hate even your own life”. You do not live based on what you desire, what you dream, what you hope or what you want. Those things are gone. You’re dead to them. And, this is Galatians 2:20, “I’ve been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet, not I but Christ lives in me”.

This is the picture. We’re dead to ourselves and alive in Christ. Dead to self esteem thinking. We’re dead to self saturated desire, to self centered planning for our lives. We’re dead to self comforting life. We’re dead to it all. We are alive to Christ’s esteeming thinking and Christ desiring and Christ centered living. We are dead to ourselves and alive to Christ and our entire identity is wrapped up in who He is and we’re dead to all of these things and alive to Him.

>This changes our priorities

Now this changes not just our perspective but it changes our priorities because now, the life of Christ determines everything about us.  You do not determine where you live, Christ determines where you live. You don’t determine what kind of house you have, that’s Christ’s call. You do not determine what kind of car you drive, that is Christ’s decision. You do not determine the clothes you wear, you do not determine the things you buy, the plans you make. You do not determine anything, Christ now determines everything. You’ve died to the life you live. You don’t determine anything about your life anymore. Christ determines it all. This is a huge claim to authority over your life, my life. And He uses 2 illustrations in verse 28 and 30.

> We are workers constructing a building

Illustration #1 – first He says we are workers constructing a building. Don’t miss this. Jesus says, “Estimate the cost”. Estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it. This is a warning here against making hasty, emotional decisions to follow Him. He said, “You better realize the cost”. This is so radically different.

You take an evangelist today who has a sinner, somebody who is lost. Evangelist says, “Do you know you’re a sinner? Do you know that Jesus died on a cross? You answer yes to those questions, well then, “Welcome to the kingdom”. The problem is the devil can answer yes to both of those questions and Jesus is meanwhile pleading, “Count the cost”. Count the cost before you do anything. There is a cost here that needs to be considered before you take one step forward.

What does it cost? Jesus said, “It will cost you everything”.  John Stott, my favorite author/preacher wrote, “The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half built towers, the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cause of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity. In countries where Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent but thin veneer of Christianity. They’ve allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the harsh unpleasantness of life while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.” This is contemporary Christianity.

> We are warriors fighting a battle

Then Jesus uses a second illustration: We are warriors fighting a battle, talks about going to war as a king. It is a picture we see all throughout the New Testament, fighting a fight, a spiritual battle going on.

Now I want to be careful. Now it doesn’t talk anywhere in the New Testament about a holy war, like we often hear on the news, associated with radical Islam. This is not, in any way talking about a war on terror. This is not a war that is fought by guns and bombs. It’s a war that’s fought with the Gospel, with prayer, with sacrificial love. The New Testament is clear that there is a spiritual battle that encompasses the Christian life, there’s a spiritual battle for holiness in our life and there’s a spiritual battle waging for the souls of men, women and children all across this planet, who go to either an eternal heaven or an eternal hell. The stakes are much higher in this war than any earthly war has ever had. Jesus says you consider before you go into battle, what’s at stake and what’s involved.

Our version of Christianity today really doesn’t look at the Christian life as a war time faith. We have more of a peace time faith. There’s a stark difference between the two. In war time, I am always asking the question: How can I sacrifice to advance the cause, how can I spend every resource I have? How can I best contribute to accomplishing the mission?  Making sacrifices, not indulging in pleasantries, sacrificing everything towards accomplishing the mission. Peace time, pleasantries is the name of the game. We ask questions like: How can we be more comfortable, how can we have more fun, how can we try new pleasures that we never have experienced before?

There’s a war time and a peace time way to approach life and Christianity. See, the difference between the two in a ship, now docked in the harbor of Long beach, California, called the Queen Mary. It was built earlier in the 20th century as a luxury liner with a whole array of indulgences and designed to entice wealthy patrons. It could fit up to 3,000 wealthy patrons on it at one time; larger, more massive than the Titanic. What’s interesting is that for 6 years during World War II, when the country was in a state of national emergency they took this same ship and they called upon the ship to help with transporting troops. All of a sudden, the ship was transformed from a luxury into a source of transport for troops. Whereas 3,000 could get on it before, now it could transport 15,000 soldiers at one time. The whole ship was completely turned upside down to accommodate for accomplishing a mission instead of accommodating pleasures for wealthy patrons. You go today to this ship, it is now a museum, basically, due to its history and what you can see where it’s designed for troop transport it is 8 bunks high. You can see how every detail was used to accomplish mission and then you can look in another room and you can see it designed as a luxury liner for people to enjoy the pleasures of the ship.  I would ask you, which image better describes Christianity in our context today, in our lives, in our families, in our homes and in our church?

Consider the cost… What would happen if we looked square in the face of 4.5 billion plus people on this earth who are headed into a Christ-less eternity and look square in the face of 30,000 people today who are dying from either hunger or from preventable diseases and we said, “We’re not going to use this ship anymore for our lives, our families, our church, we’re not going to use it to indulge our pleasures and sit by the pools and ask for more appetizers delivered to us. Instead we’re going to change for everything to say: How can we give our lives for the sake of accomplishing this mission?

It’s a radically different way to look at Christianity and Jesus says, “Consider the cost.” We are warrior going into the battle. Are you willing to get in the battle or do you want to sit back?  This is the question He puts before us. Jesus says, “You have radically different priorities when you’re My disciple”.

Term # 3 – Jesus requires total loss

Verse 33. Jesus says, after that illustration, in the same way, any of you who does not give up everything He has cannot be my disciple”.  There’s really not a good way to soften this one. We’re just gonna say it like it is. Ok? “For the cause of Christ”, Jesus says, “we give up everything we have”.  That word “give up” literally means to say goodbye, to relinquish, to abandon, to renounce.  We give up everything we have. Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to follow Christ, we give up everything we have, not some things, not some things…

You know, I think at the core, we like to think that we have this kind of Christianity. This is part of what’s been so convicting for me because the reality is that Christ has full reign over the things in my life that I have been comfortable giving Him, as opposed to having full reign over everything. And we see this: our lives, our passions, our dreams, our lives, children, father, brother, sister, all of these things we give up. What about our houses? What about our cars? Do we give up everything? What about all our clothes? What about our TV’s? What about our i-Phones? All the stuff we inundate our lives with? Do we give up everything? Do we say, “Everything’s yours?”

Yours to use for the sake of the lost? Yours to use, my investments, my checking account, yours to use for the sake of the poor? All of it, Yours to use for the sake of Your glory, whatever way you deem best. It’s all yours. Can you say that?

> This changes our possessions

This changes our possessions. Radically changes our possessions when we give up everything. I want you to turn with me to Hebrews 10:32. You’ve got to see this; I want us to ask Hebrews to help us understand Luke 14. Ask the people of God of the New Testament: How does this look like in our lives? Listen to these folks in Hebrews Chapter 10 and 11. Remember Hebrews is written to a group of people, Christians at a time when it was not popular to be a Christian. Persecution was definitely a reality and the author says in Hebrews 10:32 “remember those earlier days   after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution, but other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated”. Listen to verse 34, “You sympathized  with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew yourselves that you had better and lasting possessions”.

You joyfully accepted all your stuff being gone. How do you do that? Because you knew you had better and lasting possessions. Very different outlook on possessions in Hebrew 10. You even go over to Hebrews 11:13”All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw and welcomed them from a distance and they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking about the country they had left they would have opportunity to return instead they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them”.

What an incredible picture. God is not ashamed to be called their God because he prepared a city for them. These are the people who are looking for another city. Looking for another country, aliens and strangers here. They knew there was something better out there, and so they joyfully accepted all their stuff being gone here, but they knew there was something better coming.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are inundated with stuff, we know this and we live in a city that says, “The more stuff, the better”.  But, Jesus did not call us to live Birmingham style Christianity. A city of have’s and have nots, where church buildings scatter the landscape of the have’s.

Jesus, I’m convinced is most clearly, in Luke 14 and in His word in Hebrews 11, is most clearly calling us to renounce Birmingham Christianity and to embrace biblical Christianity. Now, some would think, “That doesn’t seem you love Birmingham”.  Isn’t this what Birmingham needs to see? A people of God who think He’s greater than our stuff. Isn’t this what people need to see? Their lives are at stake for eternity! Isn’t this what they need to see? That stuff doesn’t satisfy?

 

Traian Dorz – Mai cheamă-mi, Isuse, al meu duh zdrobit

Pentru mai multe poezii, cantari, cartea lui Traian Dorz online, si activitatea lui in Oastea Domnului faceti click aici

Mai cheamă-mi, Isuse, al meu duh zdrobit
Să verse șiroaie de lacrimi
Și spală-l Isuse, de tot ce-a trăit
Prin negura nopţii de patimi
Mai dă-mi pocăinţă în sufletul meu
… Dă-mi har și credinţă deplină
Smerenie sfântă mai dă-mi Tu mereu
Să umblu pe căi de lumină

Mai iartă-mi, Isuse tot cât Ti-am greșit
Că nu este om fără vină
Și-nvăluie-mi dulce tot duhul zdrobit
Și-n pacea iertării alină-l
Mai dă-mi o speranţă în sufletul meu
Și-mbracă-mă-n haina-noirii
Și ia-mă cu Tine, Isuse la greu
Să scap de ispitele firii

Mai lasă-mi Isuse suspinul trudit
Plecat în genunchi să Te cheme
Mai iartă-mi Isuse piciorul greșit
Și-ndreaptă-mi umblarea prin vreme
Mai dă-mi o lumină în sufletul meu
Din sfânta și dreapta credinţă
Unește-mă veșnic, Isus, Dumnezeu
Cu Marea și Sfânta-Ti Fiinţă

Piesa, „Mai cheamă-mi , Iisuse” face parte din albumul intitulat, „Slavă şi taină”, avându-i ca interpreţi pe Lucian si Adelina Susanu. VIDEO by cristi8920

Istoria Martirilor, John Foxe Capitolul 7A – Thomas Watts, John Bradford, John Leaf, Proclamatia impotriva cartilor si arderea pe rug a celor 300 de persoane de Regina Maria – Varsatoarea de sange

Citeste capitolele anterioare:

  • Introducerea si Capitolul 1 – Apostolii, Martiraj prin Imparatii Nero, Domitian, Traian, Adrian, Antoninus Verus, Severus
  • Capitolul 2 – Martiraj prin Imparatii Maximumus, Decius, Valerian, Dioclesian, Licinius, Persia, Iulian si Constantin cel Mare
  • Capitolul 3 – John Wycliffe, Sir William Sautre, John Badby, William Thorpe, Jan Huss, Ieremia din Praga, William White, Joan Boughton si Girolamo Savonarola
  • Capitolul 4 – Joan Clerk, Thomas Chase, Laurence Ghest, John Browne,
  • Capitolul 5 A –  Martin Luter, Ulrich Zwingli, Wendelmuta, Waldenzii, Thomas Bilney, John Twkesbury, John Frith, Andrew Hewet, Thomas Bennett, William Tyndale, John Lambert,
  • Capitolul 5 B – Robert Barnes, Kerby si Clarke, Patrick Hamilton, Henry Forrest, Straiton si Gourlay, Thomas Forrest, George Wishart, Adam Wallace, Walter Milne
  • Capitolul 6 A  –  John Rogers, Laurence Sanders, John Hooper, Rowland Taylor, William Hunter
  • Capitolul 6 B – Rawlins White, George Marsh, William Flower, John Cardmaker şi John Warne, Thomas Hawkes

Thomas Watts (ars pe rug)

Thomas Watts, din Billericay, Essex, era negustor de pânzeturi. Ştiind că s-a apropiat vremea să fie arestat, şi-a vândut magazinul şi toate pânzeturile, dând aproape toţi banii rezultaţi soţiei şi copiilor săi, şi donând restul de bani săracilor, după care a aşteptat. În 26 aprilie 1555, Watts a fost arestat şi dus la Chelmsford, înaintea lordului Rich şi a altora fiind acuzat că nu a participat la misa.

Judecătorul Anthony Brown l-a întrebat de unde şi-a învăţat religia, la care acesta a răspuns “De la dumneata, domnule. În vremea regelui Edward ai vorbit împotriva acestei religii şi nici un predicator nu ar fi putut spune mai mult decât ai spus dumneata atunci. Ai spus că misa este o urâciune şi ne-ai îndemnat să nu credem decât în Cristos. Ai spus că oricine va aduce o religie străină aici, este un trădător.”

Brown s-a întors către lordul Rich şi a exclamat “El mă calomniază, domnul meu” Ce fel de criminal este acest om? Dacă vorbeşte astfel de faţă cu mine, oare ce vorbeşte pe la spatele meu!”

Până la urmă, obosiţi din pricina lui Watts, comisarii l-au trimis la episcopul Londrei care l-a acuzat de următoarele:

– Thomas Watts locuia în Billericay, în jurisdicţia episcopului de Londra.

Watts a răspuns că acest lucru este adevărat.

– Watts nu credea în sacramente şi nu lua parte la ele.

El a răspuns că crede în toate sacramentele dar aşa cum le-a instituit Cristos şi nu cum face Biserica Catolică. A fost şi el un credincios catolic, însă Biserica i-a înşelat pe oameni.

– Watts credea şi îi învăţa şi pe alţii că împărtăşania era doar o amintire a trupului şi sângelui lui Cristos şi nimic altceva.

El a răspuns că crede că trupul lui Cristos este în ceruri şi nu altundeva, deci nu are cum să creadă că trupul Său este în ostie.

– Watts crede că adevărata prezenţă a trupului şi sângelui lui Cristos este în ceruri şi nu în ostie.

El a răspuns că exact acest lucru este credinţa sa.

– Watts credea că misa este plină de idolatrie, de urâciuni şi răutate şi că Cristos nici nu a instituit-o, nici nu a poruncit-o şi nici nu a găsit-i de bună.

El a răspuns că rămâne să creadă acest lucru în continuare şi nu are de gând să se răzgândească vreodată.

– Watts credea că spovedirea la un preot nu este un lucru necesar şi că tot ce trebuie să facă un om este să creadă şi să se mărturisească lui Dumnezeu.

El a răspuns că nici un preot nu-l poate ierta de păcate, dar totuşi este un lucru bun să ceri sfat de la un preot.

– Watts credea că Luther, Wycliffe, Barnes şi toţi ceilalţi care au fost condamnaţi la moarte pentru credinţa lor despre împărtăşanie au fost oameni buni, slujitori credincioşi şi martiri ai lui Cristos.

El a răspuns că nu a cunoscut teologia acestor oameni, dar dacă ei nu credeau că trupul şi sângele lui Cristos erau trupeşte în sacrament, precis erau nişte buni creştini.

– Watts credea că postul, rugăciunea şi milostenia sunt fără nici un folos.

Dacă un om era mântuit, nu mai trebuia să facă aceste lucruri, iar dacă nu era mântuit, împlinirea lor nu l-ar fi dus la mântuire.

El a negat că a făcut o asemenea afirmaţie, şi a spus că el crede atât în post cât şi în rugăciune şi milostenie, care sunt fapte izvorâte dintr-o credinţă vie.

– Watts recunoştea în mod deschis faptul că refuza să meargă la biserică şi să primească împărtăşania deoarece slujba bisericească era o urâciune. El a mai spus şi alte lucruri greşite şi arogante, fiind un exemplu negativ pentru cei care erau de faţă atunci.

El a răspuns că aceste lucruri sunt adevărate şi va merge la moarte cu aceeeaşi credinţă.

– Watts era un eretic care trebuia blestemat de către Biserică şi dat pe mâna autorităţilor seculare pentru a fi pedepsit.

El a răspuns că se va opune legii, fiind deplin încredinţat că Dumnezeu îl va binecuvânta chiar şi atunci când oamenii îl vor blestema.

– Watts a afirmat că Biserica Romei este o sinagogă a Satanei.

El a răspuns afirmându-şi credinţa că Papa era duşmanul de moarte atât al lui Cristos cât şi al Bisericii Sale.

– Toate acuzaţiile de mai sus sunt bine cunoscute în regiunea din jurul localităţii Billericay.

El a răspuns că tot ce a spus el înainte este adevărat.

În perioada dintre 10 şi 17 mai, Watts a fost vizitat de o faţă bisericească după alta, dar nici una dintre acestea nu l-a putut determina să se abată cât de puţin de la crezul său. Watts a fost dat pe mâna şerifilor londonezi şi întemniţat la Newgate până pe 22 mai sau 9 iunie, după care a fost transferat la Chelmsford, unde a cinat cu Hawkes şi alţii care au fost aduşi acolo pentru a fi arşi pe rug. Dându-i-se ocazia să vorbească cu soţia şi cei şase copii ai săi, el i-a încurajat să rămână credincioşi crezului lor indiferent de ce se va întâmpla; doi dintre copii s-au oferit îm mod prompt să meargă la rug împreună cu tatăl lor.

Watts a sărutat stâlpul rugului înainte ca să se întoarcă spre Lordul Rich şi să-l avertizeze: “Domnul meu, aveţi de grijă! Procedaţi împotriva conştiinţei dumneavoastră în acest caz şi dacă nu vă veţi pocăi, Domnul Se va răzbuna fiindcă sunteţi cauza morţii mele.”

Proclamatia impotriva cartilor si arderea pe rug a celor 300 de persoane de Regina Maria – Varsatoarea de sange

Aproximativ tot în această vreme a fost adusă o carte în Anglia, care îi avertiza pe englezi cu privire la spanioli şi care dădea în vileag câteva planuri secrete ale Bisericii de a reintra în posesiunea pământurilor abaţilor care au fost confiscate înainte vreme. Cartea se numea “O avertizare pentru Anglia”.

În ziua de 13 iunie 1555, regele şi regina au interzis toate cărţile care nu erau de acord cu catolicismul, numind în mod special fiecare carte scrisă de următorii autori: Martin Luther, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, Jean Calvin, Pomerane, John Alasco, Bullinger, Bucer, Melanchton, Barnardius, Ochinus, Erasmus, Sarcerius, Peter Martyr, Hugh Latimer, Robert Barnes (călugărul Barnes), John Bale (călugărul Bale), Justus, Jonas John Hooper, Miles Coverdale, William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, William Turner, Theodore Basil (Thomas Beacon), John Frith şi Roy. Ba mai mult decât atât, cărţile de rugăciune în comun care erau în limba engleză şi care au fost folosite în vremea regelui Edward au fost şi ele interzise.

Cei care deţineau oricare din aceste cărţi au fost somaţi să le predea în termen de cincisprezece zile şi tuturor autorităţilor civile li s-a dat dreptul să facă percheziţii şi să aresteze pe oricine care avea asemenea cărţi.

Cărţile care sprijineau Biserica Catolică erau socotite ca fiind bune, inclusiv “Abecedarul în Engleză”, care îi învăţa pe copii să se roage Mariei şi sfinţilor, şi “Psaltirea Doamnei Noastre”, care a înlocuit Numele lui Dumnezeu din psalmi cu numele Mariei.

Apostolii ne-au învăţat că suntem desăvârşiţi în Cristos şi nu avem nevoie de mijlocirea nimănui pentru păcatele noastre. Iar dacă idolatria înseamnă să faci un idol la care să te închini ca şi unui Dumnezeu, oare închinarea la Maria nu este o idolatrie? Dacă Dumnezeu nu ne-ar fi explicat voia Sa în cuvinte uşor de înţeles, spunându-ne clar ce să credem, cum să ne închinăm şi cum să fim mântuiţi, poate că obiceiul catolic de a avea mijlocitori în vederea împăcării cu Dumnezeu ne-ar fi fost de folos, însă Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu ne spune clar că mântuirea şi îndreptăţirea vin doar prin Cristos. A nu crede promisiunea sa înseamnă a fi necredincios, iar a urma orice alt crez este idolatrie. Totuşi Biserica Romei refuza să accepte ceea ce Dumnezeu ne-a dat fără plată şi nu va căuta mântuirea prin Cristos ci prin sfinţi şi prin superstiţii. La acest link gasiti numele multor dintre barbatii si femeile care au fost arsi pe rug. In anul 1555 (84 persoane arse pe rug) 1556 (48 persoane, inclusiv una dintre femei care era insarcinata pe insula Guernsey) 1557 (55 de persoane arse pe rug) 1558 (7 persoane arse pe rug). John Foxe care a scris ‘Istoria Martirilor” reporta ca 300 de persoane au fost arse pe rug pe timpul Reginei Maria.

John Bradford

John Bradford s-a născut în Manchester şi a fost educat acolo până când a putut să-şi câştige existenţa, lucru pe care l-a făcut cu mult succes timp de câţiva ani până să ajungă să renunţe la afacerile sale şi să se dedice studiului Evangheliei. Bradford a renunţat la studiile de drept secular pentru ca să se înscrie ca student în teologie la Cambridge şi a muncit cu atâta sârguinţă încât i s-a decernat titlul de master după numai un an de studii.

Imediat după aceasta i s-a încredinţat o adunare la Pembroke Hall, unde Martin Bucer l-a încurajat să devină predicator. Bradford era de părere că nu era suficient de învăţat pentru ca să poată predica, însă Bucer i-a zis: “Dacă nu ai pâine albă să dai săracilor, dă-le pâine neagră sau orice altceva din ce ţi-a dat Domnul.” Lăsându-se convins până la urmă să predice în timpul domniei regelui Edward, Bradford a acceptat titlul de diacon din partea episcopului Ridley şi a primit dreptul să predice şi i s-a dat o slujbă la biserica St.Paul’s.

În următorii trei ani Bradford a predicat Evanghelia cu credincioşie, a mustrat cu tărie păcatele, a predicat cu blândeţe pe Cristos cel răstignit, s-a pronunţat energic împotriva ereziilor şi învăţăturilor greşite şi i-a îndemnat cu sinceritate pe enoriaşi să trăiască în mod evlavios, iar când regina Maria a succedat la tron, el şi-a continuat lucrarea.

În ziua de 13 august 1553, domnul Bourne, episcopul de Bath a susţinut o predică la St.Paul’s Cross în Londra, în care a sprijinit reintroducerea catolicismului sub domnia reginei. Cuvintele sale au întărâtat poporul în aşa măsură încât oamenii l-au ameninţat pe Bourne că îl scot cu sila de la amvon.

Cu cât mai mult încercau episcopul Bonner şi primarul Londrei să liniştească oamenii, cu atât se întărâtau mai mult, până când Bourne a ajuns să se teamă pentru viaţa sa şi l-a rugat pe Bradford să se adreseze mulţimii. Imediat ce a urcat la amvon, mulţimea a început să strige “Bradford! BRadford! Dumnezeu să-ţi mântuiască viaţa!” Bradford i-a liniştit pe oameni şi în curând au plecat cu toţii cuminţi spre casele lor. Chiar dacă primarul şi şerifii erau acolo ca să-l asigure pe Bourne că va ajunge acasă în siguranţă, el nu a avrut să iasă din biserică până ce Bradford i-a promis că îl va însoţi; astfel că Bradford a mers în spatele lui Bourne, apărându-l de răni cu propriul său trup.

Trei zile mai târziu Bradford a fost somat să se prezinte la consiliu şi a fost acuzat de răzvrătire – pentru că a salvat viaţa lui Bourne şi de predicare ilegală – deşi i s-a cerut să vorbească. Bradford a fost întemniţat pentru aproape un an şi jumătate, după care a avut loc udierea sa înaintea lordului cancelar, în ianuarie 1555. I s-a oferit chiar graţierea dacă era dispus să se abjure de credinţa protestantă şi să se întoarcă în Biserica Catolică, aşa cum o făcuseră deja mai mulţi predicatori. Oferta a fost repetată în 29 iulie dar Bradford a îndemnat consiliul să nu îl judece pe cel nevinovat. Dacă ei credeau că este vinovat, trebuiau să-l condamne dar dacă nu-l credeau vinovat trebuiau să-l pună în libertate.

În răspunsul său, cancelarul i-a spus lui Bradford că faptele sale de la St.Paul’s Cross au fost atât încrezute cât şi arogante în sensul că şi-a asumat rolul de conducător al poporului; Bradford a mai fost acuzat şi de faptul că a scris nişte scisori pline de răzvrătire. În ziua următoare el a fost vizitat de Thomas Hussey şi dr. Seton, care au venit la el în temniţă pentru a-l îndemna să ceară să i se acorde timp pentru a discuta problemele de ordin religios cu oameni învăţaţi, lucru care spuneau ei că ar îndepărta pericolul iminent şi ar fi pe placul consiliului.

“Dar ar face ca oamenii să creadă că mă îndoiesc de doctrinele pe care le mărturisesc, iar eu nu mă îndoiesc de loc” a răspuns el refuzând propunerea.

Adus înapoi în faţa consiliului, şi fiind întrebat dacă se întoarce în Biserica Catolică, Bradford a răspuns “Ieri am afirmat că nu aş fi de acord să lucrez pentru Papa şi spun acelaşi lucru şi astăzi.” El a fost condamnat şi s-a întors în temniţă.

Toată vremea cât a stat în închisoare, Bradford şi-a continuat lucrarea, predicând de două ori pe zi mulţimii de oameni căreia i se dădea voie să îl viziteze şi administrându-le sacramentele. Predicarea, citirea şi rugăciunile i-au ocupat întreaga viaţă; mânca doar o singură dată pe zi şi chiar şi atunci cugeta profund. Temnicerii aveau o aşa de bună părere despre el încât deseori i se permitea să părăsească închisoarea şi să viziteze fără a fi escortat pe enoriaşii săi bolnavi, singura condiţie fiind să-şi dea cuvântul că se va întoarce la o anumită oră. El era atât de punctual în respectarea înţelegerii încât se întorcea mai repede decât ora fixată.

Bradford era un bărbat înalt, zvelt, cu o barbă castaniu-aurie. El rareori dormea mai mult de patru ore pe noapte, preferând să-şi petreacă timpul scriind, predicând sau citind. Odată sau de două ori pe săptămână vizita criminalii de rând din temniţă şi le dădea bani ca să-şi cumpere mâncare sau alte lucruri trebuincioase.

Unul din prietenii săi l-a întrebat ce-ar face dacă ar fi eliberat şi el i-a spus că s-ar căsători şi s-ar ascunde undeva în Anglia în timp ce ar continua să predice şi să-i înveţe pe oameni.

Într-o bună zi, în iulie 1555, soţia temnicerului i-a dat de ştire lui Bradford că urmează să moară a doua zi pe rug. “Slavă Domnului!” a spus el, “am aşteptat acest lucru de multă vreme. Domnul să mă învrednicească!”

Bradford a fost transferat la închisoarea Newgate, pe la ora unsprezece sau douăsprezece noaptea, întrucât autorităţile nădăjduiau că la acea oră să nu-l vadă nimeni, dar o mulţime de oameni l-au privit trecând şi s-au rugat pentru el, luându-şi rămas bun.

Execuţia a fost anunţată pentru ora patru a dimineţii următoare. Nimeni nu ştia de ce a fost aleasă o oră atât de neobişnuită, dar dacă autorităţile au sperat că ora matinală îi va descuraja pe oameni, s-au înşelat. Oamenii au aşteptat cuminţi la Smithfield până ce Bradford a fost dus la locul execuţiei la ora nouă dimineaţa, fiind însoţit de un număr neobişnuit de mare de oameni înarmaţi. Bradford a îngenuncheat pentru rugăciune, după care s-a îndreptat voios către rug împreună cu un tânăr de douăzeci de ani, John Leaf.

John Leaf (ars pe rug)

John Leaf, care a fost ars pe rug împreună cu Bradford, a fost ucenicul unui lumânărar, născut în Kirby Moreside, York şi care trăia în parohia bisericii Christ’s Church din Londra.

Adus în faţa episcopului Bonner, Leaf a recunoscut că nu crede că pâinea şi vinul sunt chiar trupul şi sângele lui Cristos, ci crede că sunt doar o amintire a lor. El a mai afirmat că spovedania catolică nu este necesară şi că preotul nu are nici o putere ca să ierte păcatele.

Leaf a fost dus înapoi în închisoare şi a rămas acolo până în 10 iunie când Bonner l-a chemat din nou şi a încercat, folosind persuasiuni, ameninţări şi promisiuni, să-l determine pe tânăr să se răzgândească. Văzând că nu are nici un rezultat, episcopul l-a întrebat pe Leaf dacă este unul dintre urmaşii lui Rogers. El a răspuns că este şi că crede în doctrina lui Rogers, Hooper, Cardmaker şi a altora care au fost nu de mult omorâţi din pricina mărturiei lor, şi este dispus să moară pentru aceeaşi învăţătură. “Domnul meu” a zis el, “numiţi erezie părerea mea dar este adevărata lumină a Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu”. Neputând să-l clatine pe băiat, Bonner l-a condamnat şi l-a trimis înapoi în închisoare.

Se spune că nu la multă vreme după aceasta au fost aduse două scrisori lui Leaf: una care conţinea o retractare şi una care conţinea o spovedanie. Când i s-a citit retractarea, a refuzat să o semneze iar când i s-a citi spovedania, a luat un ac, şi a înţepat mâna şi a picurat sânge pe hârtie pentru a arăta episcopului că este gata să-şi pecetluiască crezul cu sângele său.

Bradford şi Leaf au mers împreună la rug, primul stând la una din părţi a rugului ca să se roage, iar al doilea stând de partea cealaltă. După ce s-au rugat în tăcere timp de o oră, unul din şerifi s-a adresat lui Bradford: “Ridică-te şi termină asta. Presiunea mulţimii este mare”. Ambii s-au ridicat. Bradford a sărutat o bucată de lemn pentru foc şi apoi a sărutat stâlpul rugului, după care s-a adresat mulţimii: “Anglia pocăieşte-te de păcatele tale! Păzeşte-te de idolatrie! Păzeşte-te de anticrştii cei falşi! Vezi să nu te laşi înşelată de ei!” Apoi i-a iertat pe persecutorii săi şi a rugat mulţimea să se roage pentru el. Întorcându-şi capul spre Leaf, i-a spus acestuia: “Fii pe pace frate. În seara asta o să ne bucurăm la cină cu Domnul!”

Amândoi şi-au sfârşit viaţa fără frică, nădăjduind să câştige premiul pentru alergarea lor cea lungă.

(Va urma…)

Current Canadian law declares that children in the womb are not human until fully born

Another one of those things I (we) did not know about our neighbors to the North. What boggles the mind is how the population of Canadian women, who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth can let their legislators declare something so abhorrent. What then is a woman carrying in her womb, something subhuman or nonhuman? This is not just an all out assault on children, but an all out assault on women as well, under the so hypocritical guise of „helping” women. We „help” by declaring something subhuman and then by killing „it”? Isn’t that what Hitler did while the world stood by and watched?

One ray of hope comes in the news that the Canadian Parliament seeks to reopen the debate on

„what constitutes a human being”.  Also ” A bill put forward by Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Stephen Woodworth seeks to reopen the debate by establishing a committee that will allow experts to give their opinions on when life begins and if unborn babies should be protected by law, the Ottawa Citizen reported.”

You can read the entire article here on the www.christianpost.com and please pray for the people’s hearts and minds to be renewed that they might have mercy for the unborn children who are slaughtered daily across Canada, the USA and the rest of the world.

God is a God of justice:

An act of justice is an act of intervention for the helpless, an act of defense for those who are too weak to defend themselves. In foretelling the Messiah, Psalm 72 says, „Justice shall flower in his days…for he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out and the afflicted when he has no one to help him” (Psalms 72:7,12). Jesus Christ is our justice (1 Corinthians 1:30) because He rescued us from sin and death when we had none to help us (see Romans 5:6, Ephesians 2:4-5).

If God does justice for His people, He expects His people to do justice for one another. „Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). „Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). „Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). „Love one another” (John 15:17).

Abortion is the opposite of these teachings. It is a reversal of justice. It is a destruction of the helpless rather than a rescue of them. If God’s people do not intervene to save those whose lives are attacked, then the people are not pleasing or worshiping Him.

God says through Isaiah, „Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings…Your festivals I detest…When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean…learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow” (Isaiah 1:13-17).

O veste trista, cutremuratoare… Dumnezeu sa umple inimile familiei cu pacea care numai El o poate da. Sa ne rugam fierbinte pentru familia Dionis Bodiu. Filipeni 3:20-21
Cornilescu (RMNN)
20Dar cetăţenia noastră este în ceruri, de unde şi aşteptăm ca Mîntuitor pe Domnul Isus Hristos.
21El va schimba trupul stării noastre smerite, şi -l va face asemenea trupului slavei Sale, prin lucrarea puterii pe care o are de a-Şi supune toate lucrurile.

dyo

In conditii de o violenta cum nu se poate crede ca exista intre oameni, socrii mei, Pintican Vasile si Victoria, au trecut in seara de vineri la Domnul.

Dupa ce mai bine de 50 de ani au slujit Celui PreaInalt cu credinciosie, batand drumuri nevazute de prea multi in vestirea Evangheliei, cateva minti criminale le-au curmat, iata, fara pic de mila, zilele. Au fost ucisi, ei, mesageri ai Domnului Vietii.

Au intrat in prezenta Regelui Regilor asa cum au si trait:  brat la brat, credinciosi unul altuia, si in zile cu soare si in incercari.

Rugati-va, va implor, pentru sotia mea (cea care le-a gasit trupurile), pentru mine (prezent si eu la descoperirea grozaviei) si pentru intreaga noastra familie.

Ceremonia funerara va avea loc marti, 1 Mai, ora 13:00, la Biserica Baptista din Sighisoara. Cei ce i-au cunoscut si apreciat pe sotii Pintican sunt asteptati cu aceasta ocazie pentru a-si…

Vezi articolul original 6 cuvinte mai mult

Helpful guide to the Old Testament

See Bible 101: What’s in the New Testament here.

By James-Michael Smith from Helpful guide to the Old Testament – National methodist | Examiner.com.

Unfortunately, most readers–Christians included–of the Bible rarely know how to read and interpret the Hebrew Bible (or as it’s more commonly known, the Old Testament or OT).  The church and those of us who have been called by God to teach His word are largely to blame for this for a number of reasons, which we won’t get into at this point.

However, during my time in seminary my eyes were opened to the importance, relevance and insight to be gained from a continuing and thorough study of the Bible of Jesus and His first followers.  I love helping people discover some of the treasures contained in the Hebrew Scriptures and have had the joy of leading hundreds of adults into deeper levels of study and a newfound familiarity with this often-neglected part of the Bible.

What I’ve found is the number one reason why people put down the OT in frustration or boredom or confusion is because they don’t have an understanding of the framework upon which the texts rest.  Like someone trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together one piece at a time with no border in place, many people find themselves bogged down in a lifeless mass of hard-to-pronounce names and detailed description of obscure religious rituals.

So in an effort to help you better understand the OT–and by extension, the NT that it’s built upon–I wanted to give any interested readers a big-picture overview of the OT to help in your reading and study.  The Bible is not a book of abstract holiness sayings or philosophical teachings.  It is a library containing mostly the historical account of God’s interaction with humanity primarily through the lens of His Covenant promises to Abraham’s offspring.  In order to make sense of any of the non-narrative parts of Scripture, we must first understand the metanarrative–the overall story of the Covenant people.  Here is an outline that may provide a helpful guide through the pages of the OT in its major literary/historical epochs.  This is not exhaustive, there are many sections which function as subsections of the books which are not listed below.  But if you were to read the passages below you would come away with a solid view of the major historical events of the OT.

Pre-history

  • Creation – Gen. 1-2
  • The Fall of mankind – Gen. 3
  • Humanity’s downward spiral – Gen. 4-6:9
  • The Great Flood – Gen. 6:10-9:17

The Patriarchs

  • God’s choosing of Abram – Gen. 12-14
  • The Blood Covenant with Abram – Gen. 15
  • Abram becomes Abraham – Gen. 16-20
  • Isaac’s birth and life – Gen. 21-24
  • Jacob’s birth and life – Gen. 25-35 (Jacob becomes Israel in 32)
  • Joseph and his brothers – Gen. 37-50

The exodus

  • Moses brings the Israelites out of Egypt – Exod. 2-18
  • God’s Covenant with Israel – Exod. 19
  • The 10 Commandments – Exod. 20
  • The building of the Tabernacle – Exod. 35-40

Israel in the wilderness

  • The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – Lev. 16
  • Israel refuses to enter the Promised Land – Num. 14
  • Moses’ summary of Israel’s dealings with God – Deut. 1-30
  • Joshua becomes the new leader of the people – Deut. 31
  • Moses’ death – Deut. 34

Israel in the Promised Land

  • The battle with Jericho – Josh. 2-6
  • The partial conquest of the land – Josh. 7-24
  • Joshua’s death – Judg. 2
  • Ehud the Judge – Judg. 3:12-30
  • Deborah the Judge – Judg. 4-5
  • Gideon the Judge – Judg. 6-8
  • Jephthah the Judge – Judg. 11
  • Samson the Judge – Judg. 13-16
  • Israel’s anarchy – Judg. 19-21
  • The story of Ruth – Ruth 1-4
  • Samuel the Prophet – 1Sam. 1-4

Israel’s Monarchy

  • Israel’s request for a king and Saul’s anointing – 1Sam. 8-14
  • Saul’s rejection and David’s anointing – 1Sam 15-16
  • David and Goliath – 1Sam. 17
  • David’s rise and Saul’s downfall – 1Sam. 18-2Sam. 6 [1Chr. 11-16]
  • David’s Mighty Men capture Jerusalem – 1Chr. 11:4-47
  • God’s Covenant with David – 2Sam. 7:1-17 [1Chr. 17]
  • David’s adultery with Bathsheba – 2Sam. 11-12
  • David’s commission to Solomon to build the Temple – 1Chr. 28
  • David’s death and Solomon’s succession to the throne – 1Kgs. 2-3
  • Solomon’s prayer for wisdom – 2Chr. 1:1-13
  • Solomon builds the Temple – 1Kgs. 6 [1Chr. 3-5]
  • The dedication of the Temple – 1Kgs. 8-9:9 [1Chr. 6-7]
  • Solomon’s death – 1Kgs. 11:41-43

The Divided Monarchy

  • The kingdom divides into – 1Kgs. 12 [2Chr. 10]
  • Elijah’s ministry – 1Kgs. 17-19:18
  • Elisha’s call to ministry – 1Kgs 19:19-21
  • Elijah taken up in flaming chariot– 2Kgs. 2:1-12
  • Elisha’s ministry – 2Kgs. 2:13-8:15
  • Elisha’s death – 2Kgs. 13:14-21
  • Jonah’s Ministry – Jon. 1-4
  • The fall of Israel – 2Kgs. 17:6-41
  • King Josiah reforms Judah – 2Kgs. 22-23:30 [2Chr. 34-35]
  • The first deportations to Babylon – 2Kgs. 24:8-17
  • The fall of Judah – 2Kgs. 25 [2Chr. 36:15]

The Exile & Return

  • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo – Dan. 3
  • Daniel and the Lions’ Den – Dan. 6
  • Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man – Dan.7:9-14
  • Esther’s rescue of the Jews – Esther 1-10
  • The return of the first exiles – 2Chr. 36:22-23 [Ezra 1]
  • Rebuilding of the Temple – Ezra 4:24-6:22
  • Return of the last exiles – Neh. 7
  • The people renew the Covenant – Neh. 8-10

God’s moral Will and God’s Sovereign Will by John Piper

John Piper from Feb. 9, 2011

I would like to help you distinguish between God’s moral will and his sovereign will. This will help you make sense of the apparent contradiction between these two statements:

1. God does all things according to his will (sovereign will).

“He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand” (Daniel 4:35).

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalms 115:3).

2. Some things happen that are not God’s will (moral will).

“Whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17)—implying some don’t.

“The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)—yet some do perish.

In other words, the Bible makes a distinction between God’s will, understood as his purpose that is never frustrated in any event; and God’s will, understood as his moral command to act a certain way.

One of the clearest evidences of the difference between God’s sovereign will and his moral will is the fact that God morally forbids murder:

“Do not kill the innocent” (Exodus 23:7).

And yet he willed the murder of his Son:

“Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27–28).

One of the high and holy truths about God that we embrace in submitting to biblical truth is that God does not sin in willing that sin be. This is crucial, because the design of God in the cross hangs on it.

God’s ways and will are pure. He has his holy purposes in ordaining all that comes to pass.

“He works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

“All his works are right and his ways are just” (Daniel 4:37).

Let us worship and bow down.

(via) © 2011 Desiring God

(7) Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones – British Evangelical Alliance 1966 – Conclusion (Nov 1996)

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian
Read Part 1 here – a history

Read Part 2 here – 1962 Address by Lloyd-Jones

Read Part 3 here – An accounting from those who attended

Read Part 4 here – What the newspapers reported

Read Part 5 here – Lloyd-Jones on schism

Read Part 6 here – Then and now

Foundations a journal of Evangelical theology for the British Evangelical Council (18th October 1966 edition) From Affinity.org.uk

Written in 1996 by Alan Gibson at the marking of the 30 year anniversary of MLJ’s appearance at the 1966 Evangelical Alliance Conference.

The Next Five Years

Futurology is an inexact science. Any uninspired prophecy can leave the unwary with egg on his face. No wonder the Book of Proverbs counsels that, Even a fool is thought wise ifhe keeps silent (17:28). Outside a general treatment of unfulfilled Biblical promises our only possibility of providing some insight into the future is to notice the present trends and to speculate about how they might develop.

In an earlier issue ofFoundations (No 36, pp 43-47) I reviewed the Evangelical Alliance book, Together We Stand, and commented briefly on chapter 10, The Futures of Evangelicalism. The very fact that the two authors, Clive Calver and Rob Warner, felt it necessary to use the plural, Futures, shows how tentative all such speculation must be. I will now note more fully the (alliterated) sub-headings oftheir chapter. Retaining the status quo, is what they regard as an increasingly unlikely prospect Reassimilation is considered a danger if senior evangelicals become increasingly distanced from one another as their energies are poured into their denominational duties. Reform is the hope that evangelicals will act to reform the existing and historic denominations. Refragmentaion is a real but disastrous prospect, should evangelicals choose the easy and yet palpably absurd option of devoting their energies to warring with one another. Remnant is how the writers speculate that the corrosion of evangelical convictions of the majority would leave a remnant of the faithful

and orthodox. Realignment, however, is what they expect to happen to the church scene under the pressures of accelerating compromise with the moral standards of the day. They suggest that there will be four main sectors, a resurgent Catholicism, a disestablished Church o f England o f mainly evangelical Anglicans, a theologically liberal Free Church and a network of believer baptising, charismatic streams. Renewal they see as being at a cross roads, the future depending on the readiness ofolder leaders to provide opportunities for their successors to emerge. Revival is recognised to be beyond our control, although if it comes British evangelicals are seen to have a potentially pivotal contribution to make.

There is already plenty of evidence that evangelicalism today is not a unified movement and we have to speak of a spectrum of evangelical opinion, covering a range of views and having very fuzzy edges. No one, then is talking about the future of an already stable movement. Quite the opposite. A paper to be presented at the National Assembly of Evangelicals in November 1996 expresses concern that contemporary attitudes to Statements of Faith are either to use them as flags of convenience which are not enforced too seriously, or to exploit them by an appeal to hermeneutics which justifies different, yet contrasting interpretations and mental reservations.

Neither will many disagree with the assumption that the next five years will not be the same as the last five. The church does not stand still. Times chahge and people, who comprise the church, also change. Events in society around us inevitably impact upon the church. What we are also unable to forecast are the unexpected novelties of the devils schemes or the extraordinary works of the sovereign Spirit of God.

Let me suggest, however, five of the more significant theological factors which I believe will influence evangelicalism, and particularly evangelical relationships, in the foreseeable future.

I. Confusion over justification
Recent scholarship professing to be Biblical has profoundly affected evangelical perceptions of the doctrine ofjustification. The 1992 Anglican-Lutheran Porvoo Common Statement uses the concepts and the language made familiar in the reports of ARCIC 11 in failing to treat justification as a distinct and forensic act. Instead it is conflated with sanctification and reduced to being only one, and not the most important, model of salvation found in Scripture. Any reader of the epistles to the Romans and the Galatians will recognise that this is not the way the Bible treats justification and it is highly dangerous. It opens the way for a wholesale review of the Protestant Reformation. While many evangelicals had previously been ready to co-operate with the Roman Catholic Church as co-belligerents in social witness they are now being told that formal church separation from it is no longer necessary. From being the objects of evangelism Roman Catholics are being portrayed as our partners in mission. In some quarters this has already become the orthodox evangelical view and those who dissent from it are patronisingly dismissed as being stuck in a sixteenth century time-warp.

This re-appraisal ofrelationships with the Church ofRome is being fed by the vitality of the charismatic movement within that church and the emergence of the Evangelical Catholic Initiative in Dublin. The acceptance of the RC Church into the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland and the enthusiasm for evangelical involvement shown by Anglican and Baptist evangelicals are likely to further soften the former lines of separation. Added to this is the unresolved political dilemma in Northern Ireland, still being blamed on religious fundamentalists who insist on perpetuating what are perceived in the popular mind as out-of-date theological distinctives. Furthermore the British media frequently portray the Anglican establishment as woolly over ethical issues while RC morality is given an unrealistically ideal press for being so uncompromised! All of which suggests that the next five years are likely to see growing social and spiritual influence for the Roman Catholic Church and more problems for those of us who question that trend.

2. The open evangelical

Correspondents in the Church of England Newspaper in the early part of 1995 reflected on the Evangelical Leaders Conference held in January of that year, when the definition of evangelical was raised once again. Those committed to the inerrancy of Scripture were criticised and it was insisted that the true evangelical must leave room for the humanity of the Biblical writers. It was a controversy sadly reminiscent of the separation of the Inter Varsity Fellowship from the Student Christian Movement in the 1920s. The so called open evangelical is apparently ready to accept not only errors in the Bible but contradictions between Jesus and Paul, together with serious ambiguities about moral guidance. 1996 saw the publication of Strangers and Friends, written by a professing evangelical so open that he is able to grant biblical validity for homosexual practice.

Another recent and formative book has given focus to a whole movement. Since Dave Tomlinson wrote The Post-Evangelical in 1995 the concept has gained popularity and a conference was held in July 1996 on Is there life after evangelicalism? It is hard not to see here a baptised version of post-modernism, with its cultural relativism and plural concept of truths instead of truth. Mark Johnston’s review of this book (Foundations, No 36, pp 40-43) shows how the hermeneutical principles it advocates are increasingly common in evangelical institutions. This is not a domestic controversy among Anglicans for it goes to the very heart of our gospel authority. To say the least, co-operation between those wearing the same evangelical label but at loggerheads about their basic source of authority will become increasingly hard to achieve. Some suggest that these strains will prove too strong for some Anglicans, resulting in a reluctant evangelical secession. The more likely outcome, however, will be an evangelical church within the church similar to the two Anglican bodies in South Africa. Moves towards alternative episcopal oversight in the shape of Regional Advisers in the Reform group ofAnglicans certainly point in this direction.

3. Uncertainty over the lost

Hell is an emotive subject. Its character is real and awesome. Our Lord himself repeatedly spoke of it in the most solemn terms. The eternal punishment of the wicked used to be a common element in evangelical statements of faith. Todays evangelicals, however, are not so sure about hell, as more and more question hell’s unending duration and prefer to speak of some kind of annihilationism. Even highly respected evangelicals like John Stott hesitate to be dogmatic about this. The 1996 General Synod commended a report called, The Mystery ofSalvation which the popular media saw as reducing hell to nothingness, leaving evangelical critics of the report in a minority.

Then there is the question of those who have never heard the gospel. Can those in other religions be saved without having heard the name of Jesus and consciously believed on him? The principals of two leading independent Bible Colleges, Peter Cotterell (now retired from LBC) and Christopher Wright (ANCC), think that they can and have published work to promote these beliefs. The mixed reaction to these views in mission circles is interesting, since both have themselves served honourably as overseas missionaries. Quite apart from the genuine fears about the implications of their arguments for the exegesis of Scripture, many of their mission colleagues foresee that the next generation of candidates must inevitably look outside the eternal consequences of unbelief for their motivation. The growing popularity of these views has yet to be felt in some evangelical missionary organisations. But it will come.

4. Worship styles

Evangelical worship culture has gone through considerable change in the last three decades. Since they reflect the context of contemporary society these changes are unlikely to slow down. What is called post-modernism refuses to adopt one overall style. The implications of this are especially painful for the serious-minded evangelical church committed to the centrality of preaching and refusing to dispense with what has stood the test of time. Even those committed to a liturgical pattern are now permitted so many alternatives that pick and mix services are almost universal. The understandable concern to be contemporary has easily degenerated into the tyranny of novelty. Christians return from major national events with songs, tapes and ideas which they cannot wait to share with their home church. What is nothing less than an almost total breakdown in respect for ministerial leadership has created space for these innovations to take root, with all the subsequent disruptions this can feed. No wonder local church unity is everywhere under strain.

Few features of evangelical life are more likely to cause separation between local churches than forms of worship. The exercise of charismatic gifts and the accompaniment of physical phenomena are almost universal in some sectors of evangelicalism. Many reg

ard them as the new orthodoxy and, given a little time, all but the evangelical Luddites will catch up. But where does that leave those with serious biblical questions about these worship styles? Can two walk together unless they are agreed? If we cannot pray together how can we work together, since prayer is itself the essence of our work? Co- operating in evangelism, in youth work, in leadership training, all these happen in the context ofcorporate worship. Without a sense ofproportion about these very fundamental questions, further separation between gospel churches at different points on this spectrum seems inescapable.

5. Ecumenism and world faiths

Canberra was the setting for the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1991 and the evangelical responses were decidedly cool. What disappointed them was not only an absence of a real theology of the Holy Spirit at an Assembly devoted to that theme but the presence of so much overt syncretism, denying the uniqueness of Christ (Beyond Canberra, Regnum Books, 1993). As ecumenism becomes more free from its Biblical moorings we must not be surprised that the ship is sailing closer to these rocks. Domestically, Methodist discussions with the Church of England are said to be on course for a gradual integrating of ministries but full inter-communion may have to wait until Anglicans admit women bishops, since Methodists already have women in their equivalent of the episcopate. The Anglicans will vote ftrst in 1997 and, if they agree to proceed, the Methodists will consider their options in 1998. The United Reformed Church already has 200 joint congregations with Methodists and has an observer at these talks.

Contemporary theology in the secular universities reflects the dominant world-view of humanist subjectivism, where every person’s god is as good as the other and every person’s truth is as valid as the other. Ironically, that very threat to Bible absolutes has driven some evangelicals to co-operate with any who stand for an objective Christian theology and has led them into a new rapprochement with Roman Catholics in the United States. The RC Church is, however, far from the monolithic body it once was and some of its academics, like Paul Knitter, are as close to universalism as the Hindus. Herbert Pollitt has amply documented the influence of this New Age thinking on the church (The Inter- Faith Movement, Banner of Truth, 1996). If the spirit of the age remains as strong an influence on the church as it has previously been then we can expect to hear a lot more of Creation Theology, well beyond sandal-wearing seminars at the Greenbelt Festival.

May I close by disclaiming any prophetic gift. I shall feel under no obligation to answer the bell to anyone arriving at my door in November 2001 with a copy of this article in one hand and carrying a large stone in the other.

(This article expands material the author earlier contributed to For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, eds. Steve Brady & Harold Rowdon, Scripture Union, 1996, chapter 24)

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