According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, April 18, 2014

Introduction to Emil Brunner, Part 1 ( + Famous Sayings by Brunner)



[My] Favorite Theologian Revisited: Emil Brunner
(Review of Alister McGrath’s Book: Part One)
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/04/favorite-theologian-revisited-emil-brunner-review-of-alister-mcgraths-book-part-one/

by Roger Olson
April 15, 2014

My heart leaped when I saw the announcement of Alister McGrath’s new book Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal (Wiley Blackwell, 2014). Then my heart sank when I saw the price: $83.79 on Amazon! And it’s only 246 pages. (The Kindle version is less expensive but still pricey and I knew I had to own the book in hardcover!) Still, I had to buy it. I couldn’t even wait to find out if I could get a complimentary copy by promising to review it here. (That sometimes works with some publishers.)

I know I’m different. Okay…the right word might be eccentric or even weird. I love theology. I devour theology—especially if it resonates with both my head and heart. Emil Brunner’s does. Always has.

Brunner Liberates Theology

Many, many young evangelicals growing up in the 1950s and 1960s and attending seminary in the 1960s and 1970s found Brunner’s theology a breath of fresh air. That [was] especially true if we were trying to find a middle way between fundamentalism and liberalism. Over the years I’ve talked to many evangelical like that—like me. Most say the same: Brunner’s theology liberated them from fundamentalism and saved them from liberalism.

Many of us find it sad that Bunner has been eclipsed by Barth. According to McGrath (and I knew this before), Brunner introduced British and American audiences to “dialectical theology”—what later came to be called “neo-orthodoxy”—in the 1920s and 1930s. Brunner’s British and American studies and later lectures and early English translations of his early books served to make him the paradigm of dialectical theology, theology of crisis, neo-orthodoxy in English-speaking lands. Then, eventually, he was largely eclipsed by Barth as Church Dogmatics was translated into English.

Professor Emil Brunner
In my opinion, a kind of cult has built up around Barth and his theology. Don’t get me wrong; I love Barth, too. But I find his writing extremely challenging to understand. Some months ago I published here, on my blog, an article I wrote about Barth’s qualified universalism. This and many other subjects were discussed and stated by Barth in such subtle and often oblique ways that it’s almost possible to think he was being intentionally coy about them. I find Brunner much easier to understand. His writing is much clearer and his positions on theological subjects are much more straightforward. You know where he stands on them.

Brunner and Barth's "Middle Way"

But the main reason I prefer Brunner to Barth is the former’s heart. I find Barth’s theology intellectually stimulating but not particularly heart-warming. Brunner’s is both. He emphasizes the necessary roles of the Holy Spirit and personal faith in Christian existence. To put it bluntly, there is an element of Pietism (in the best sense) in Brunner’s theology missing in Barth’s. But McGrath rightly distances Brunner’s experiential emphasis from Schleiermacher’s. For Brunner, Christian experience of God through Jesus Christ is a crisis of divine-human encounter in which a person must make a life-altering decision. For Schleiermacher it is the flowering of a religious a priori—the universal human God-consciousness. The difference couldn’t be more stark. People who confuse them simply haven’t studied either deeply enough.

McGrath helpfully sketches out the context in which Brunner was embraced especially in America in the 1920s and 1930s. American theology was caught up in a false either-or between liberals such as Kirsopp Lake (Harvard Divinity School) and fundamentalists J. Gresham Machen (Princeton Seminary and then Westminster). Brunner provided an alternative, a via media, a middle way not just between but around that false dilemma. McGrath quotes from an early American lecture in which Brunner said that both fundamentalism and modernism (liberal theology) represent the same tendency—“a misplaced and uncritical quest for [rational] certainty.” (59)

The Debates: Brunner v. Barth v. Brunner

The first chapters of McGrath’s intellectual biography of Brunner focus much on his British and American lectures—many of which were never published in German and exist only in obscure journals difficult now to find or in books like Word and World now long out of print and difficult to find. In these lectures Brunner could sound very evangelical. And he anticipated many themes of later, more mature evangelical theology. For example, today we hear much about “missional church” and even “missional orthodoxy.” Here is something Brunner said in London in 1931: “The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission there is no Church; and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.” (77)

This is typical Brunner. Whenever I read him (and now reading about him in McGrath’s book) I am deeply impressed by how he anticipated and forged the path for later moderate-to-progressive Protestant orthodoxy, what I call “postconservative evangelicalism,” and how (I believe) much that many people tout as “new” and “exciting” in moderate-to-progressive Protestant orthodoxy, postconservative evangelicalism, was made possible by Brunner. Most contemporaries know little about how influential his theology was in Britain and America especially in the middle of the 20th century and how it “trickled down” via seminary systematic theology courses into the warp-nd-woof of British and American “middle way” theology and even into evangelical theology.

Emil Brunner and Karl Barth
McGrath marches chronologically through Brunner’s theological career—mentioning Barth often as he goes. They were the two giants of Swiss theology and later of Protestant theology in general in the middle years of the 20th century. Unfortunately (I think) Brunner has almost completely been forgotten whereas Barth’s star keeps rising as articles and books and dissertations about his theology keep being published.

Early on in their turns toward dialectical theology Barth and Brunner were friends and comrades. Then Barth began to suspect Brunner of being infected by natural theology—to Barth the ultimate enemy of Christianity. In his first major book The Mediator, Brunner discussed “eristics”—a kind of apologetic task of Christian theology in which it debates non-Christian ideologies and world views. Barth thought he detected a dangerous hint of natural theology there and began to criticize Brunner. Then Brunner laid out his “natural theology,” which was not really natural theology at all, in Nature and Grace (1934). There he criticized Barth for over reacting to natural theology by throwing out general revelation and the imago dei as “points of contact” for the gospel. And, of course, as all students of 20th century theology know, Barth responded with his Nein!

I have always sided with Brunner in this debate with Barth. I think Barth either misunderstood Brunner’s view or decided to misrepresent it and attack a straw man rather than what Brunner really said. But I’ll return to that in my next installment. (McGrath includes an entire chapter on the Barth-Brunner Debate in the book here under review.)

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The Importance of Brunner's Theology

I’ll end Part One of this review (which is really as much or more a recommendation of Brunner as/than a review of McGrath’s book—I’m using the latter as an opportunity for the former!) with a personal testimony:

During my seminary years reading Brunner and hearing my systematic theology professor’s lectures about him and his theology absolutely revolutionized my theological and spiritual life. I emerged from a fundamentalist college nearly totally confused. There I found almost only more questions embedded in the absolutistic but often irrational answers delivered in classes with the implied (and sometimes explicit) caveat “Eat up little birdies, or die!” (a German saying) [sic, Rebirth].

One day toward the end of my final year in college, where I was majoring in theology, I asked my favorite professor to recommend a higher level book of theology for me to buy and read. My intention was to attempt to discover whether, within the genre of religion I was encountering in college, I might find answers missing in the rather simplistic readings and lectures. My professor recommended that I buy and read Things to Come by Dallas Theological Seminary professor Dwight Pentecost. So I dutifully - and with some excitement - went to the local Christian bookstore and bought it. It was a rather large and expensive tome. I began to read it with excitement as I sensed a calling to become a theologian.

I almost gave up on that calling about halfway through Things to Come—a dense exposition of dispensational eschatology. Even as a wet-behind-the-ears twenty-two year old I knew this was not what I was looking for. I saw huge gaps in Pentecost’s argument and weakness (to say the least!) in his exegesis. How he got from “A” to “B” bewildered me. If this was “the best” of evangelical theology, I decided, there was no future in it for me. I put the book down and almost gave up.

Then I graduated and decided to do the almost unthinkable—enter seminary. My spiritual and theological mentors and most of my family called it “cemetery.” Only one other person in my denomination had ever gone to seminary and he, I was told, “lost his faith” there. But the seminary I attended had a strong evangelical reputation and I began my studies with excitement and enthusiasm but also with fear and trepidation.

The seminary’s main theology professor had just returned from a sabbatical at Princeton where he “retooled” his approach to teaching theology. He had only just begun using Brunner’s Dogmatics as his main text for the two semester systematic theology course sequence. I remember Dr. Ralph Powell telling us how angry he was at Brunner’s American publisher for dropping volume 3 (“The Christian Doctrine of the Church, Faith and the Consummation”) from publication. He had to substitute something else for the last third of the course and it was, unfortunately, Louis Berkhof’s systematic theology. (I think he was just falling back on something he had used before his time at Princeton.) I loved Brunner and hated Berkhof! So I bought my own (used) copy of Brunner’s volume 3 and read it on my own.

Reading Brunner and studying Christian theology from him, absolutely opened my eyes to real theology. I realized I had not really encountered it before. Or I had tried to, on my own, but had not found it. I had been warned in college never to read Brunner or any other of those “liberal neo-orthodox” traitors to the true faith. What I found in Brunner was the middle way McGrath describes that made Brunner so popular in Britain and America in the 1920s and 1930s. Sure, Brunner’s explicit doctrine of Scripture was weak, but his treatment of Scripture (with one notable exception) was strong. Like Barth, he rejected any treatment of the Bible as a “paper pope” (meaning he rejected its verbal inspiration and infallibility), but also like Barth he proclaimed that Christian theology has no right to operate outside the authority of Scripture. But he rooted the authority of Scripture firmly in the Holy Spirit.

My seminary professor called Brunner’s theology “biblical personalism.” I don’t remember right off hand if Brunner called it that, but it’s an apt moniker for it. For Bunner, God is intensely personal and our relationship with God must be a personal one. And we must decide to enter into that relationship - God does not predestine anyone apart from their free and personal response to his grace. Brunner would turn over in his grave if I called him an Arminian, so I won’t! But his soteriology is very compatible with true, classical Arminianism even though he was an ordained minister and theologian of the Swiss Reformed Church.

I found in [Emil] Brunner what I did not find in [Dwight] Pentecost. Later, I read Donald Bloesch’s books and sensed a real affinity to Bunner even though Bloesch, like I, found Brunner wanting at certain points (e.g., the virgin birth). Brunner’s theology was, and is, intellectually stimulating and bracing but anything but dry or sterile. I’m so glad McGrath is resurrecting Brunner’s theology. I’ll continue this review later. Stay tuned….


* * * * * * * * * * *

Some Emil Brunner Sayings
(from Dogmatics, Vol. I)
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/04/some-emil-brunner-sayings-from-dogmatics-vol-i/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rogereolson_041714UTC120437_daily&utm_content=&spMailingID=45651105&spUserID=Nzg4MDU4NjI4MjkS1&spJobID=422073958&spReportId=NDIyMDczOTU4S0

by Roger Olson
April 16, 2014
Comments
These quotes are from Dogmatics I:
The Christian Doctrine of God (London: Lutterworth, 1949)

“The Dogmatic Theologian who does not find that his work drives him to pray frequently and urgently from his heart: ‘God be merciful to me a sinner,’ is scarcely fit for his job.” (85)

“Dogmatics does not consist in constructing a system of Biblical statements, but it is reflection upon revelation, on the basis of the religious evidence of the Bible.” (256)

“No speech, no word, is adequate to the mystery of God as person.” (16)

“Revelation is…never the mere communication of knowledge, but it is a life-giving and a life-renewing communion.” (20)

“In all the various forms of revelation, there is one meaning: Emmanuel, God with us.” (20)

“Revelation and faith now mean a personal encounter, personal communion.” (26)

“The revelation in Christ is not completed with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus: it only attains its goal when it becomes actually manifest; that is, when a man or woman knows Jesus to be the Christ.” (29)

“The witness of the Spirit is not the whole work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the One who witnesses and speaks, He is also the God who pours out vitality and creates new life.” (31)

“To be united with Christ through the Holy Spirit means: to be directly united with Him. Here there is no difference between an ordinary Christian of our own day and an Apostle. … The fact of our redemption—the history of salvation—is transmitted by the proclamation of facts, that is, by the testimony of the Apostles under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” (33)

“We do not believe in Jesus Christ because we first of all believe in the story and the teaching of the Apostles, but by means of the testimony of their narrative and their teaching we believe, as they do, and in a similar spirit of freedom. Faith in Jesus Christ is not based upon a previous faith in the Bible, but it is based solely upon the witness of the Holy Spirit.” (33-34)

“The Scriptures are the absolute authority, in so far as in them the revelation, Jesus Christ Himself, is supreme. But the doctrine of Scripture as such, although it is the absolute basis of our Christian doctrine, is only in a conditional sense the norm of the same. Critical reflection on the adequateness, or inadequateness, of the Biblical testimony for the revelation to which it bears witness, is not eliminated; we still have to face it; a final resort to a single Scriptural passage is impossible for us. Hence in each instance all Christian doctrine is, and remains, a venture of faith.” (49)

“Revelation cannot be summed up in a system, not even a dialectical one. … Dogmatics as a system, even when it intends to be a system of revelation, is the disguised dominion of the rational element over faith.” (72)

“Above all the teaching of the Church, even above all dogma or doctrinal confession, stands Holy Scripture.” (80-81)

“To believe in Jesus Christ and to be of the elect is one and the same thing, just as not to believe in Jesus Christ and not to be of the elect is the same thing.” (320)

“The Bible does not contain the doctrine of double predestination, although a few isolated passages seem to come close to it.” (326)

“The Ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans [does not] deal with the salvation and damnation of the individual, but with the destiny of Israel.” (328)

“Paul wishes to show [in Romans 9] that God chooses the instruments of His redemptive action, the bearers of the history of the Covenant, as He wills. The theme of this passage is not the doctrine of predestination, but the sovereign operation of God in History, who has been pleased to revealed Himself at one particular point in History, in Israel.” (329)

“If God is the One who, before He created the world, conceived the plan of creating two kinds of human beings…namely, those who are destined for eternal life—the minority—and the rest—the majority—for everlasting destruction, then it is impossible truly to worship this God as the God of love, even if this be commanded us a thousand times.” (331)

“In point of fact, it is impossible to say of the God whom the Biblical revelation shows us, that He is the author of Evil. But Calvin tries in vain to eliminate this conclusion from his doctrine of predestination. Here, too, his argument simply ends in saying: ‘You must not draw this conclusion!’—an exhortation which cannot be obeyed by anyone who thinks.” (332)

“Love is not a ‘quality’ of God, but is His Nature….” (188)


ASOR - Passover as Jesus Knew It

Passover as Jesus Knew it
http://asorblog.org/?p=7193

April 10, 2014 8:00 am by: Kaitlynn


By: Helen K Bond

Jerusalem in the 30s CE was in a frequent state of heightened political and religious tension, no time more so than at the great religious festivals. Passover was particularly hazardous, with tens of thousands of pilgrims flocking to the holy city not only from Palestine but from all over the Jewish diaspora. Some, like Jesus, would have stayed with friends in the surrounding towns and villages. Others crammed themselves into the narrow city streets, or even passed the chilly nights in tents outside the city walls. The first visitors began to appear over a week in advance, ready to take part in purification rituals, to prepare themselves spiritually, or simply to spend time in the capital.

James Tissot, Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod, painted between 1886 and 1894.

It was a joyous, celebratory occasion: work was temporarily stopped, families were reunited, food and wine were plentiful, and hopes and dreams were in the air. At the heart of the festival was a story: an account of a chosen people liberated from slavery centuries before through God’s gracious deliverance. But there was also a tragic irony: Israel was no longer free. This time the oppressors were not the Egyptians, but Rome. Together, these ideas created a lethal cocktail of deep religious yearnings, nationalism and resentment. ‘It is on these festive occasions that sedition is most likely to break out’ noted the historian Josephus wryly (War 1.88), and most of the riots recorded in his works seem to have occurred at Passover in particular.

Model of the Antonia Fortress, part of the famous Holyland Hotel
Model of Jerusalem, now displayed at the Israel Museum.

Riots in Jerusalem were, of course, the very last thing that the Roman prefect of Judaea wanted. The small province had only been under direct Roman control for twenty years, and the prefect’s primary responsibility was to maintain law and order. Not surprisingly, he took extra security precautions at Passover, leaving his Headquarters in Caesarea-on-Sea with a detachment of troops to bolster the city’s meagre garrison. These were auxiliaries, men drawn from the largely pagan cities of Caesarea and Sebaste; they would be housed in the Antonia Fortress while Pilate based his praetorium in Herod’s former palace (visiting Herods would have to make do with the older and less luxurious Hasmonean stronghold).

Albrecht Dürer, Small Passion: 20.
Pilate Washing His Hands, 1511.
The prefect in Jesus’ day was Pontius Pilate, a Roman knight who had been in post since 26 CE, and who had presumably enjoyed an impressive career on the battlefield prior to his provincial posting. He would have been sure to make a striking entry into the city, riding on a horse, accompanied by men in armour, a clear statement of Roman power. Once settled in Jerusalem, the troops were there to be seen, and quickly took up their stations on top of the Temple porticoes in full view of the assembled pilgrims. They would certainly have instilled fear in the onlookers, but their very presence also stoked up resentment. Josephus notes the ill will that existed between the populace and these pagan troops, and no doubt their very presence sometimes caused the riots they were supposed to deter.

Rome had few officials in the provinces, and the prefect needed to rely on the help of indigenous leaders, particularly the High Priest and the Jerusalem aristocracy. Their knowledge of local customs, diplomacy and (it was hoped) the respect they commanded amongst the ordinary people, were invaluable to the Roman governor. In the 30s, the High Priest was Joseph Caiaphas, ably assisted by his father in law, Ananus I (the Annas of the New Testament).

Ossuary of the high priest Joseph Caiaphas, Israel Museum.
By this time, the High Priesthood was a Roman appointment, and presumably only men who could be trusted to pursue a pro-Roman line could expect preferment. Caiaphas had been appointed by Pilate’s predecessor, Gratus in 19 CE, but Pilate allowed him to continue in office, probably finding him to be an able leader and a useful ally. (In fact, both Pilate and Caiaphas lost their posts within a few months of each other in 37 CE). Scholars nowadays doubt the existence of a fixed, formal, judicial body known as ‘the Sanhedrin.’ While there may have been some kind of a town council which oversaw routine administrative matters, governance of the city seems to have been in the hands of the High Priest alone. Typical of the times, he would have presided over affairs through face-to-face diplomacy, temporary liaisons, and by summoning meetings of relevant aristocrats.

In the tense Passover season, the High Priest, just as much as the Roman prefect, wanted to see peace in Jerusalem. Caiaphas’ chief concern was the smooth running of the vast Temple complex. The regular rounds of feasts and sacrifices guaranteed God’s continued care and blessings not only to the land of Israel, but to the whole world. There was no room for error, and no room for disruption. Riots in particular might lead to Roman involvement, perhaps even profane Roman troops in the sacred enclosures of the Temple. In the turbulent years after the death of Herod I, Roman legions had swept down through the country, stamping out insurrection wherever they found it. Eventually they arrived at the Temple; many Jews lost their lives, the treasury was plundered, and parts of the outer porticoes were burned. Further destructed was averted by the surrender of the city, but the incident must have remained in many people’s memories as an indication of what Rome might do when riled. The fear of the chief priests in John 11:48 that the disruption caused by Jesus might bring about Roman destruction of the Temple, was not an idle one. Order had to be maintained, at all costs.

Giotto di Bondone, Expulsion of the Money-changers
from the Temple,  painted between 1304 and 1306.
There were advantages for both Pilate and Caiaphas in working together. Perhaps they met one another soon after the prefect’s arrival to agree tactics. They would have agreed that these were delicate times, that disorder could not be tolerated, and that troublemakers were to be rounded up quickly, before things could escalate. Most routine disturbances could be dealt with by the Roman forces and their commanders; the prefect might be bothered only with more difficult cases. And so a plan of action emerged, an uneasy compromise in the interests of national security between two men who doubtless in other circumstances would have had little time for one another. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Those flocking to Jerusalem for the feast would have known the score. It had been the same every year since the Romans came to power. And as a Galilean prophet rode into the holy city for the Passover and stood in the outer courts of the Temple, ready to overturn the tables of the merchants and money-changers in a symbolic act which signified the end of the sacred complex, he could have had no doubt of the fate that awaited him.


Helen K Bond is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Edinburgh.

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Easter: Exploring the Resurrection of Jesus

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Jesus: The Last Day
Edited by Molly Dewsnap Meinhardt
http://store.bib-arch.org/prodinfo.asp?number=7H15

The most important events in Jesus' life took place in less than 24 hours.

Why did the Romans arrest Jesus? What happened at Gethsemane? Which route did Jesus follow to Golgotha? How did the earliest Christians interpret his Passion? Where was Jesus buried?

Find the answers to these and other key questions inJesus: The Last Day, an illustrated collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review.

Table of Contents:

What Jesus Did at the Last Supper
By Bruce Chilton
Where Was Gethsemane?
By Joan E. Taylor
What Really Happened at Gethsemane?
By Jerome Murphy-O'Connor
Jesus' Triumphal March to the Crucifixion
By Thomas Schmidt
Tracing the Via Dolorosa
By Jerome Murphy-O'Connor
The Archaeological Evidence for Crucifixion
By Vassilios Tzaferis
New Analysis of the Crucified Man
By Hershel Shanks
Where Was Jesus Buried?
By Dan Bahat

BAS, 2003

136 pp. + 25 illustrations

ITEM 7H15 Softcover
ISBN 978-1-880317-63-1



Bible Verses about Acts of Kindness


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Published on Apr 3, 2014

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Bible Verses about Acts of Kindness
Bible verses related to Acts of Kindness from the King James Version (KJV) by Relevance

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Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,...

Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

John 15:13 - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Luke 6:38 - Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

John 13:34 - A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Acts 20:35 - I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

1 John 3:18 - My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Luke 6:27-31 - But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you...

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:4 - Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up...

Ephesians 4:2 - With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Romans 12:10 - [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:9 - [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

1 Corinthians 13:13 - And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

James 1:27 - Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

1 John 4:16 - And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:12 - No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Colossians 3:12-13 - Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God...

1 Corinthians 13:2 - And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 12:7 - But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

John 15:9 - As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

1 John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:8 - He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 Peter 5:5 - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Hebrews 13:5 - [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Hebrews 13:1-25 - Let brotherly love continue.

Hebrews 6:10 - For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

1 Timothy 6:11 - But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

1 Timothy 3:15 - But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

2 Corinthians 8:7 - Therefore, as ye abound in every [thing, in] faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and [in] all diligence, and [in] your love to us, [see] that ye abound in this grace also.

1 Corinthians 14:1 - Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 - Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God....

Acts 2:1-47 - And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 1:8 - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 John 4:9 - In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1 John 3:6 - Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

1 John 3:1 - Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1 John 2:5 - But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

Hebrews 12:12 - Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

Titus 1:1-16 - Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Galatians 6:1-18 - Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Galatians 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith...

Galatians 1:13 - For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it...

2 Corinthians 6:6 - By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned...

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 - Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Romans 15:30 - Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me;

Romans 10:17 - So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Acts 8:1-40 - And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 2:36 - Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 1:11 - Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

John 16:13 - Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 16:12 - I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

John 14:21 - He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 13:35 - By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Matthew 24:12 - And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Matthew 22:37-38 - Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Matthew 10:34 - Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 5:43-48 - Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

Micah 5:2 - But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

Isaiah 53:7 - He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Proverbs 25:22 - For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

1 Kings 1:1-53 - Now king David was old [and] stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

Revelation 21:4 - And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 2:3 - And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Revelation 2:2 - I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Revelation 1:9 - I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:14 - We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death.

1 John 3:3 - And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 John 3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 Peter 2:9 - But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1 Peter 2:5 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:7 - That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 13:17 - Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 12:2 - Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1 - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...

2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 - And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. [And] be at peace among yourselves.

Ephesians 4:14 - That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Ephesians 3:19 - And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:10 - To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Ephesians 1:22-23 - And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church...

Ephesians 1:17 - That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

2 Corinthians 4:17 - For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;

1 Corinthians 6:4 - If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

1 Corinthians 1:17 - For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1 Corinthians 1:1 - Paul, called [to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [our] brother,

Romans 12:1 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:5 - And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Acts 17:26 - And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Acts 14:17 - Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

Acts 9:31 - Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 8:36-38 - And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Acts 8:4 - Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

John 21:15-17 - So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.


Thomas Jay Oord - Random Events in a God-Created World


Random Events in a God-Created World
http://thomasjayoord.com/index.php/blog/archives/random_events_in_a_god-created_world/#.U1EWvfldX9y

by Thomas Jay Oord
April 16, 2014

We live in a world characterized by a degree of randomness. Scientists speculate that randomness occurs at the quantum, genetic, and environmental levels of existence. But I’ve been wondering lately, What does this mean for theology?

SCIENCE

If contemporary science is to be believed, randomness seems at play, at least to some degree, from the bottom to the top of existence. Not only is the quantum level and simple organisms affected by randomness. Complex creatures like humans live lives characterized by at least some measure of randomness.

On its own, of course, science cannot judge whether chance is merely a matter of our lack of knowledge or actually real. Scientists rely upon philosophical assumptions.

But a good number of contemporary philosophers also argue that chance occurs in our lives. These philosophers explore the issues of chance in relation to probability theory and induction.

CS PEIRCE

A century ago, C. S. Peirce proved one of the most insightful among philosophers when it comes to explaining the role of chance. The advantage Peirce had for thinking carefully about chance was that his job required him to make careful measurements. Although a world-class philosopher, he worked for the government as a type of technician. His assignment was to measure things and to improve measuring devices. In this capacity – especially as Peirce found errors in observation – he realized the pervasiveness of chance.

Peirce’s inability to measure reality with absolute precision led him to conclude that a measure of spontaneity exists in the world. The world is not a determined machine, and chance emerging from spontaneity is inevitable. In fact, chance is irreducible, because randomness is a fundamental fact of life. Chance is genuine.

Peirce’s conclusions about the role of randomness rings true today. A number of philosophers accept that chance, randomness, unpredictability, and imprecision characterize existence, although specialists debate how best to speak of each. In this debate, philosophers sometimes use “random” to describe the product of a series of events and “chance” to describe the process of a single instance. There is no consensus on how best to conceptualize them in relation to each other. But the consensus among contemporary philosophers seems to be that randomness and chance is real.

THEOLOGY

Contemporary views about chance are at odds with the theological perspectives of Augustine and John Calvin.

“Nothing in our lives happens haphazardly,” said Augustine. “Everything that takes place against our will can only come from God's will, his Providence, the order he has created, the permission he gives, and the laws he has established."

John Calvin argues the same: “We must know that God’s providence, as it is taught in scripture, is opposed to fortune and fortuitous happenings.” [fate v.destiny]

Even one of my theological heroes, John Wesley, approved of cleromancy, which is the practice of casting lots (chance) to find God's will. Apparently, Wesley thought that chance events were determined by God in a hidden way.

I believe we cannot make significant progress in understanding our world if we ignore the role of genuine randomness. Theologies in conversation with science, philosophy, and other disciplines that accept randomness and chance must propose different ways for understanding how God acts providentially.

OPEN AND RELATIONAL THEOLOGIES

For my own part, I think open and relational theologies offer the best theological vision for affirming God’s providence and a world characterized by randomness. Open and relational theologies do not see God controlling all things. Out of love, God gives freedom and agency to creation. And this means random events can and do occur, events that even God may not have known with certainty. [sic, goes to the nature of the event: "open" and "relational"]

I’m currently about half done writing a book on this subject. I’d love to have feedback that may help. If you have questions or issues that you think I should address, please contact me.

- TJO


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* For further discussion see sidebars re "Theism - Open" and here under "Theism - Relational" along with additional discussions under God's Sovereignty.


- R.E. Slater