Faith & Works

As Christians today, there is major debate is faith or works that save humanity? The Gospels appears to claim Jesus said we are to be judge by our actions. He said couple of times you will know person by his or her actions.

According to Matthew Jesus said,

 “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”” (Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭35-38‬ ESV)

Jesus said,

““Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.””(Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭33-37‬ ESV)

Jesus also said,”And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”” (Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭49-50‬ ESV) he you once more see you judge by action, rather be relate even to Jesus.

Jesus also said,

“And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”” (Matthew‬ ‭15‬:‭16-20‬ ESV)

So what you say and do is reflection of soul.

:St. Paul would be the one who said, we are saved by work and major part of the Christian Bible was written by St Paul.

St Paul wrote,

Well then; it was through one man that sin came into the world,   and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned.  Sin already existed in the world before there was any law, even though sin is not reckoned when there is no law.  Nonetheless death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sin was not the breaking of a commandment, as Adam’s was. He prefigured the One who was to come …  There is no comparison between the free gift and the offence. If death came to many through the offence of one man, how much greater an effect the grace of God has had, coming to so many and so plentifully as a free gift through the one man Jesus Christ!  Again, there is no comparison between the gift and the offence of one man. One single offence brought condemnation, but now, after many offences, have come the free gift and so acquittal!  It was by one man’s offence that death came to reign over all, but how much greater the reign in life of those who receive the fullness of grace and the gift of saving justice, through the one man, Jesus Christ.  One man’s offence brought condemnation on all humanity; and one man’s good act has brought justification and life to all humanity.  Just as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience are many to be made upright.  When law came on the scene, it was to multiply the offences. But however much sin increased, grace was always greater;  so that as sin’s reign brought death, so grace was to rule through saving justice that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.[1]

 However, St. James the brother of the Lord, would seem to believe we are saved by works.

St James wrote,

How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation?  If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on,  and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that?  In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead.  But someone may say: So you have faith and I have good deeds? Show me this faith of yours without deeds, then! It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.  You believe in the one God—that is creditable enough, but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear.  Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by his deed, because he offered his son Isaac on the altar?    So you can see that his faith was working together with his deeds; his faith became perfect by what he did.  In this way the scripture was fulfilled: Abraham put his faith in God, and this was considered as making him upright;   and he received the name ‘friend of God’. 24 You see now that it is by deeds, and not only by believing, that someone is justified. There is another example of the same kind: Rahab the prostitute,   was she not justified by her deeds because she welcomed the messengers and showed them a different way to leave?  As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds.[2]

As you can read both authors had very different perspectives on salvation. Jesus even seem to say we are judge by our actions

too. Remember the good Samarian? This is a person enemy of the Jews were used as example what to do and the Priest and

other Jewish persons did what was wrong. I attend to agree more with St. Paul, because it seems it almost impossible not to sin. Therefore, it must be faith alone. But, Paul did not fully say this. Martin Luther would come to use this wording.   Maybe this is cough out, that Catholic seen to believe we are judge by works. I have come to believe in more faith, but with some works too. What is your point of view on this ?

 

[1] The New Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1985), Ro 5:12–21.

[2] The New Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1985), Jas 2:14–26.

Pre-Egalitarianism by Daniel L. M. Smith

The role of women throughout the Bible evolved into Pre-Egalitarianism. According to The Oxford Dictionary, Egalitarian means,  “Believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.”[1] This concept comes from the Age of  Enlightenment. Nevertheless, if one reads the Bible one can see this happening right before their eyes throughout The Hebrew Bible and  the Christian Bible .  In the first creation story women and men were made at the same time according to A & E’s Mysteries of the Bible series. Biblical women went from total submission to men to equal to status over time.  This essay will look at the Hebrew Bible and the Christian  Bible proposing how women’s roles in the Bible evolved to a pre- Egalitarianism. This will be broken into two parts. The first is on  the Hebrew Bible and how women acted in that era. The second will be on the Christian Bible and how women behaved under Christ. Jesus never treated woman as less, but pretty much as equal to men .

The Hebrew Bible

Women of the Hebrew Bible are very different from the modern perspective of  women.

These were women of the desert and they had to be fit and strong to handle the environment

around them. according to Dr. Bryan Widbin a professor at Alliance Theological Seminary who

specializes in the Hebrew Bible.

D.W Baker writes in The Dictionary of the Old Testament,

The Old Testament, and the religion of which it tells, is male-originated, male-focused and probably anti-women. This is seen in the way that it is written, in the interests of the writers and most clearly in the laws which it describes, where women’s interests and concerns are of small account and where women are seen as little more than the property of men or at best as adjuncts. The Pentateuch in particular shows the truth of these statements.[2]

The Bible is male focused for the most part, however when women were spoken of they had

something important to say to the reader. The women mentioned in the Bible were not typical

for women of modern times These were the marginalized, outsiders and risk takers in this world.

 

Eve: Genesis  1 through 4

Eve, most likely, was not an historical person, but her story is a very interesting one. “This story would come to define women’s relationships with men within the Judeo-Christian background of the sexes. According to Mary Evans, “Thus the Genesis 1 account tells us that the distinction between the sexes is there from the very beginning, inherent in the idea of Man; the creation of mankind as male and female is an integral part of God’s decision to make Man.”[3] Men and women complete each other in a perfect union according to the Bible. The author of Genesis wrote, “Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”[4] This is a covenant that, for better or worse, they will be as one for life. This is example of the first marriage, according to many Biblical scholars.

According to the biblical account, God made Adam and then all the animals for Adam to have as partners . Adam was not happy and God put him in a deep sleep and God took a rib from Adam. From this rib, God made Eve. They lived in the Garden of Eden and they could eat from any tree, however not the Tree of the Knowledge of  Good and Evil. For  if they did, they would be like God and know good from evil. A talking Snake would trick them into eating from the tree. God would find out and punish them by removing them. They would have to work for their living and no longer would be free as they were in the past. In theory, Eve was supposed to follow Adam however she wanted an equal say and was tricked by the snake to eat from  Tree . By her doing this, she was changing her role to become more active in the world around her. She was not just a sheep following orders. She wanted to be equal to Adam and to God. By her doing this, she not only hurt herself, but harmed the whole of humanity. As the myth goes, all of humanity is connected to her throughout time.  They would have a child Cain who would kill  Abel because of Adam and Eve’s  disobedience. From this one story many have thought that Eve was responsible for the fall of humanity, however both her and Adam were guilty of it.

Sarah:  From Genesis 12 to 23

Sarai would become the mother of the Jewish people. She would follow Abram to this new land of milk and honey.  Sarai, by God’s blessing, becomes Sarah who had Isaac . From Issac would eventually come  the blood line of the Lord Jesus. Sarah is obedient to Abraham and travels all over with him, sometimes pretending to be his sister, when ironically  it has been proposed in Gen 12 that she was his half-sister.  She directed  Abraham to take Hager as his second wife. Hager would give birth to Ishmael, and Hager would look down to Sarah. Sarah would finally give birth to Isaac, but would force both Hager and her son to leave their family.  God protected them nevertheless. Abraham would finally get to the land and would have Isaac with Sarah. Sarah was not perfect and she had doubt.  

However, she was obedient to her husband.  Sarah’s role would change and she would become the matriarchal mother of the Hebrew people. Her submission would allow for women’s roles to change in the Bible over time, because of her providing the blood line to Jesus who would elevate women. The role of Sari would be as an obedient wife and she would then become Sarah. The Messiah would come and from her line and women would in the future have more options and equal rights through Christ.

Rebekah Genesis 24 to 26

Rebekah was from the old country before Abraham  came to the new Promise land.  For some reason God wanted his descendants to come from this part of the world.  Rebekah would marry Isaac and from this marriage Jacob and Esau would come. Esau was manipulated out of his birth right by Jacob.

Rebekah, by tricking her husband Jacob, would become the leader of Israel and she

would become  very important in Judaism. Rebekah felt it was her right to make one son have

power over the other. She felt Jacob would be a better son to rule over her people. If it were not

for Rebekah, Jacob would never have become Israel. Rebekah’s role would change from

daughter to wife and then to mother. She would be obedient and listen to her husband.

Pre-Egalitarianism would still have long way to go,; women were just objects of men at this period, it

seems.

 

Rachel and Leah: Genesis 28 through 36

Rachel and Leah were sisters and were considered property. Their father, Laban, would sell them both to Jacob after seven years. Jacob had  no desire to marry Leah, but was tricked according to Genesis 26 . He would have to wait another seven years to marry Rachel. Baker wrote, “ Laban suggested that, as soon as the seven days of the wedding festivities accompanying his marriage to Leah were fulfilled, Jacob could marry Rachel, on the condition that he work for Laban for an additional seven years.”[5] What made matters worse was that Leah could have many  children and Rachel could only have two. In this era, women not having  many children were seen as cursed. Both of these sisters would suffer in their own way due to the men in their lives. Their role seemed to be one of submission and yet their stories are still one of the most moving of the Bible today. If it were not for these women, the nation of Israel would not be what it is today. Women of this age, did not get to decide who why they loved and who they would marry. Consider how both sisters had to sleep with same man.

Baker states,

3.1.3. Genesis 26–50: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph Narratives. Rebekah, particularly in Genesis 27, continues to be portrayed as the dominant partner in her marriage. Her manipulation of Isaac and favoritism toward *Jacob is not necessarily approved by the text, but the writer clearly presents her initiative and ability. As the Jacob stories proceed, there is continued interest in family life, and the writer draws clear pictures of Rachel and Leah with an insight into the vital importance of fecundity for these women’s valuation of themselves. However, in these chapters the focus remains centered on Jacob, and there is little sign of a critique of contemporary values or any parallels to the concern for Sarah’s spiritual development that the earlier chapters present.[6]

  Not only would it cause them conflict, but it would also affect their children. Joseph would be sold into slavery by his brothers, so that Jacob thought he was dead. Rachel and Leah’s gender roles would not change or move towards  Pre-egalitarianism.

Miriam:  Exodus  & Numbers 12

Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. Miriam would watch Moses be sent down to the river into the hands of pharaoh’s daughter who raised Moses as an Egyptian. Miriam was a slave and would wait for Moses to return to save their people by the power of God. Miriam with Aaron, would be a prophet under Moses.   Dr. Rosen wrote, “Traditional midrash matches Miriam’s life nearly miracle for miracle with that of Moses, though without crossing the line that would usurp Moses’ power in favor of his sister’s.”[7] Miriam would come to challenge Moses and would lose, due to God favoring Moses over her. Baker wrote,  “Because of this incident, Miriam’s name evidently became associated with punishment and leprosy (see Deut 24:9). Her name can also mean ‘bitterness,’ for it resembles the Hebrew word for bitterness (Ex. Rab. 26:1).”[8] Does this mean women should not question men? This is the traditional view that women should be submissive to men, especially their husbands or their fathers or even their brothers. This would not have been easy for Miriam since she was a Prophetess (ex 15:20).  Moses, the father of Torah was being questioned by his sister and she died because of it.  This is a step back for women in being equal to men because she tried and failed.

Nevertheless, Miriam demanded respect and she got it. Was this a family matter? Who was Moses that he did not live as the Hebrew slaves, but she did. Maybe he did not fully understand what it meant  to be Hebrew according to her. Since this story goes back so long ago, there is no way to know what fully happened between them.  According to Baker, “In Jewish tradition it also says that, like her brothers Aaron and Moses, Miriam died by the kiss of God because the angel of death had no power over her (b. B. Bat. 17a)”.[9] It has been too long for people to know in this life, and in the next who will care to know ?  Here Miriam came  close to being Pre-Egalitarian, however, she pushed too far. For example, she questioned Moses and was punished by God alone in the desert. Pre-Egalitarianism was almost achievied but could not go all the way.. In fact, it was possible that it was pushed back for that generation due to her action.

Ruth: Book of Ruth                        

This whole book is about Ruth and how she was married to a Jewish man who passes away and his mother, Naomi, told her she could go back to Moab  since her son had passed away. Dr. Matthews wrote, “Widows in the ancient Near East had lost all social status and generally were also without political or economic status.”[10] She was Moabite and she went with her mother-in-law  Naomi back to Israel.  They would go back  to Bethlehem and she would find a man to take her as his wife. They needed a protecter to keep them safe in the village. Dr. Matthew  wrote,  Ruth is fashioning herself as a bride, and thus to be seen would be to tip her hand. Most consider her remaining hidden to be an issue not of propriety but of appropriate timing.[11] Therefore in this book, Ruth is an example of how a woman can be trusted and stay faithful to her family.  This is a neutral spot in the Bible were Pre-Egalitarianism is possible, but really did not fully happen either. Again, gender role is becoming more balanced here,than  previously.

Debra: Judges 4

According to Achtemeier ,

Deborah (debʹaw-ruh; Heb., ‘bee’). 1 Rebekah’s nurse (Gen. 35:8; 24:59). 2 An Israelite judge and prophet. Though the exact duties of the judges are not clear, some appear to have exercised legal functions while others were purely military leaders. Deborah combined these two important offices in addition to holding a third one, that of prophet (Judg.4:4)[12].

In this example Deborah would be a leader and Prophetess for her people. This is what the Book

of Judges Chapter 4 is all about. This is the story of Deborah and she is proof women can be

leaders too.  According  Achtemeier again,

Deborah’s victory is recorded in prose (Judg. 4) and poetry (Judg. 5). In the prose version, her general, Barak, refused to go into battle unless Deborah accompanied him. She agreed, declaring that ‘the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ That woman, we discover later on, is not Deborah, but another courageous woman, Jael.[13]

Here once again is proof that women could be leaders in the Hebrew Bible,  that  they all were

not like Eve who got humanity in trouble. This is the closest story in the Hebrew Bible that

portrayed to Pre-Egalitarianism and this is debatable at that. Was gender role being redefined by

this community or would no man step up? This has been lost to the ages and people will not

know for sure anymore.

 

Bathsheba: Second Samuel 11.

Bathsheba is King David’s wife and King Solomon’s mother. Collin Biblical Dictionary

wrote, “The second portion of her name, “-sheba” (“-shua” in 1 Chron. 3:5), probably refers to a

foreign god, which may indicate the family of Bathsheba was of non-Israelite origin.[14]  Her story

of bathing on the roof is known to most people. Was this done on purpose to get David’s attention or was she a victim? This has been lost to the ages, since the readers can not claim to read the minds of the deceased people. David would pay for his adultery and murder of her husband Uriah. David and Bethsheba would get married and, lose their first child. Bathsheba would go on to have Solomon. Solomon was not the first born, however Bathsheba got him this title. According to Collin Biblical Dictionary wrote,

 Bathsheba later became the mother of Solomon (12:24), and she and Nathan collaborated to intercede with the elderly David in a way that would ensure Solomon’s succession to the throne (1 Kings 1:11–31). In another instance, she appealed (unsuccessfully) to Solomon on behalf of Adonijah, Solomon’s half brother and former rival for the throne, when Adonijah asked to marry Abishag the Shunammite (1 Kings 2:13–25).[15]

Bathsheba was not a perfect person, however she took care of her own. She is an example of how

to make things happen for yourself. All people  could learn from this, especially   women.

These were some of the greatest women of the Bible and how they would come to influence the

world that people know. Now on to the Christian Bible and women from this period.

 

The Christian Bible

The Jewish people were no longer a proud nation, but a nation that was put into exile twice and now were trying to come back to the Holy Land. They were in exile for not listening to God and worshipping other gods according to their own Hebrew Bible.  This was the world of the Greek and Roman Empire but the empire would take over a large amount of people, that were never ruled under one kingdom before. Jesus would be born and his teachings would change the world, as we know it today. In this era where men were the center of attention,  this young Rabbi Jesus would come and make people rethink things about gender roles in his own way.

Marshall and McKnight writes,

Yet, as a Jewish male in an androcentric, patriarchal society, Jesus’ respect for women as persons of dignity and worth and his inclusion of them as disciples and proclaimers in his life and ministry was very significant in its own first-century context for women and their place and activity in ministry in the earliest churches and is important as a heritage for both Jewish and Christian people today.[16]

The role of women, still, was submission and some women were bending these rules to

help their people as in the past before Jesus came long. Furthermore, this how Jesus especially

acted with women.

  1. H. Marshall writes,

Women Healed by Jesus. Jesus healed various unnamed women: Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt 8:14–15; Mk 1:29–31; Lk 4:38–39); the daughter of Jairus and the woman with the twelve-year flow of blood (Mt 9:18–26; Mk 5:21–43; Lk 8:40–56); and the eighteen-year crippled woman (Lk 13:11–17) whom Jesus called a “daughter of Abraham,” probably an important status marker for a woman (see further the discussion of Lk 8:1–3 in 3.1. below).[17]

Women’s needs were met by Jesus equally and he treated women the same as men for the most

part. Jesus healed both men and women. There was no difference to him, it appears. According

to Millard Erickson  “Donald Shaner has summarized well Jesus’s relationships to women:

“It is striking that Jesus did not treat women as women but as persons.”[18] Women were always a

part of Jesus’ ministry and this cannot be denied in the research over the years. Women were also

part of Jesus followers, which was very different from other Rabbis.

Marshall writes,

The verb used to designate their following of Jesus is akoloutheō (or its compounds), a term which occurs over seventy-five times in the Gospels and normally means following Jesus in the sense of being a disciple. This lexical evidence confirms the narrative presentation of women as disciples of Jesus, although some would argue that when this term is used of women it does not designate discipleship.[19]

If women can be disciples there is no logical reason not  to think Jesus would be ok with

women being elders too. This is not full Pre-Egalitarianism. It is although, a step closer to it.

Jesus treatment of women would have the church rethink its view of women.

 

St. Mary the virgin:

Not much is known about Mary, other than her being the Mother of the Lord. According

to Robert Atwell, “Only her name is known for certain – Mary or Miriam (in Hebrew) – and that

she had an aged relative called Elizabeth.”[20] According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary was a young

Jewish girl living in Nazareth, betrothed to a man named Joseph, when a messenger from the

Lord announced that she was to be the bearer of the Son of God to the world. Now Mary, a

person of great faith did not ask questions, but was obedient.[21] According to The Orthodox Church,

Mary has been a model for the church ever since that moment. Mary was truly pure and unconditionally obedient to God. The tradition of the Church holds that Mary remained a virgin all her life (see note on Mt 12:46–50).[22]

Mary was also given the title “Mother of God” and this, in fact is true. For if you believe Jesus is God, then in theory Our Lady is the Mother of God. According to the Rev. Pohle, “The Third Ecumenical Council, which met in Ephesus on Whitsunday, 431, under the presidency of St. Cyril of Alexandria, defined it as an article of faith that Mary is really and truly the mother of God.” Mary’s role was done in obedience, however she had a vision. She would be a force in Jesus life. She pushed him to do his miracles, when he would be reluctant to do so.   If you look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke and Saint John, you have most  of the information on Our Lady. Mary was a poor Jewish girl living in Galilee. As we all know, Mary was visited by an Angel of God and she was going to carry the Son of God. Most people would have been afraid, but Mary asked the most logical question “How can this be since I do not known man?” (Luke) The Angel Gabriel would explain that it would be by the power of The Holy Ghost that she would get pregnant. Mary would say “let it be according to your word”.  She knew the Jewish people were to trust in God and follow her to her son and our Savior. The question  arises, if woman is good enough to carry our Lord in her womb, and she is good enough for God, why not for the church’s early ministry? It is rather a paradox that the Roman Catholic Church treat Mary almost like a goddess, however they still feel they need to keep women at distance when comes to the church. Mary was just woman and her purpose was to bring the Savior into the world. It must be stated that Mary is honered not worship by Catholics.

Atwell also writes, “In Christian tradition Mary is often described as ‘the second Eve’

who unlocks Eve’s disobedience”.[23] According to Saint John’s Gospel ch 19 and Luke’s Acts of the Apostles ok 2, Mary was present at the crucifixion of her Son, and was with the apostles and others at Pentecost.  Furthermore, according to the Gospel of John, at the time of his death, Jesus commended the care of his mother to the beloved disciple which may explain why in Christian tradition her final years are associated with both Jerusalem and Ephesus. Ephesus is where Saint John the Apostles went and he possible took her with him.

According to o the  NIV 12:1-5 The Woman and the Dragon ,

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.  Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

The child is Jesus and the dragon has always been seen as the Devil. The woman by Protestants

is seen as only the church only, however according to Roman and Greek churches this is seen as

Mary too. If the child is Jesus then why cannot the woman be Mary? If this is right by this very

action has not a woman’s body become equal to man in this very act ? Ivone Gebara writes,

Mary’s assumption, however, restores and reintegrates woman’s bodiliness into the very mystery of God. Starting with Mary, the dignity of women’s condition is recognised and safeguarded by the creator of that very bodiliness. In Jesus Christ and Mary the feminine is respectively resurrected and assumed into heaven – definitively sharing in the glory of the Trinitarian mystery from which all proceeds and to which all returns[24].

From Gebara and Bingermer once more,

“Mary’s assumption—seen in the light of Jesus’s resurrection is hope and promise for the poor

of all times and for those are to come as well.” [25]

I know this is rejected, by Protestants however why? It not heretical. Mary is the mother of

the Lord; why would the very body who carried Jesus be left on earth? This is Catholic tradition

and most argue non Biblical, one could think otherwise, too. She is in the Cloud of Witness

praying for humanity.

St. Mary and St. Martha: Luke 10

Luke wrote, 

Jesus came to the village of Martha and Mary and decide to visit them as his way to preaching from village to village. Jesus knew them and they were good friends. Martha got ready to serve him and Mary decides to sit and listen to him instead. Martha was up set up, that she was not helping her get ready to serve Jesus.   (Luke 10:41-42)

What Martha is asking does not seem to be an unreasonable question. Middle Eastern women of that culture, even to this day, have been known to host guests, such as Jesus. However, Martha was not wrong in asking this question, but Mary had decided on the better choice and dropped everything to listen to Jesus. Many women, especially my mother, feel that Mary should have been helping. What my mother did not realize was that Mary was not just doing housework, but she was culturally out of place because she acted like a man would act.  This has been lost on the modern listener or reader because women and men for the most part nowadays do study together and women have more of an active role within the modern churches today. This is where Jesus was different from other rabbis of this era, he treated women as equals for the most part. No one else we know of ,did this.

  What do people think Jesus said to her ? Some would think, that  Mary should get up and help her sister in her time of need. Some may think, that he would tell her that what Mary was doing  was ok. According to Luke Jesus said,  “But the Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha, do not worry over everything something are more important then other others thing. Such as making time for God before all over others” (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus heard her suffer and was not trying to belittle her feelings, but Jesus knew Mary was in the right. Father J.A Fitzmyer writes, that Martha wanted to follow the traditional meal, but the Lord Jesus wanted to  instruct them in the right way of living.[26][27] Even though she was acting like a man, she knew that Jesus would not always be there, so she would make the most of his time with them. Fitzmyer writes that Jesus was going against the traditional norm of rabbinic Jewish understanding of this era ”.[28]  Once again the Lord Jesus was breaking barriers all over the place, which is Pre-Egalitarianism. R. K. Huges wrote,

Judaism did not forbid women to be instructed in the Torah, however it was unheard of for a rabbi at this time to allow a woman to sit at his feet. Later rabbinic tradition includes quotations such as: The Torch should only be given to men, and a man should not teach his daughter the Torch for met for men.[29]

Some pastors could argue that Jesus was saying it was ok for women to be more active in his ministry and one could see this argument. But not a single woman was picked to be one of his twelve to go out and preach the Gospel. Sometimes we want to reach for things that are not fully there. Jesus is clearly saying women should be active listeners and being willing to drop everything and follow him. This alone is rather radical for this time period. Women were not really considered people and here this Rabbi  made time for them.

Nevertheless, Jesus broke down barriers and made equality of the sexes possible. After all  another woman named Mary  was the first to obey God and carried Jesus Christ our Lord. Now people  could be Martha and get caught up with all the social norms that our society dictates to us or people could be like Mary and drop everything and listen to Jesus’ message. People do not have Jesus walking among them today like Martha & Mary did. But we do have the church and the church today is supposed to be a mouth pieces for God, like the prophets of old.

 

St. Mary Magdala

Once more, we do not have the whole story of this woman’s life. However, she was the first one to see the risen Lord. In this very act, Jesus can be seen as giving equal rights to women. In this era, it was not very wise to have women speak as witnesses.  Richard Bauckham wrote,

As you know, the women in the Gospel narratives are the first people to find the tomb of Jesus empty. Moreover, they are the only witnesses to the empty tomb who had seen Jesus buried and therefore could vouch for the fact that the empty tomb really was the tomb in which Jesus’ body had been laid two days before. According to two of the Gospels, the women were also the first to meet the risen Lord. The argument you will have heard is that, since women’s testimony in the ancient world, including especially Jewish Palestine, was widely regarded as unreliable and untrustworthy, this role of the women in the Easter events is unlikely to have been invented.[30]

So by picking women, the Gospel writers were taking great risks that believers would not believe them. However God still picked her.

David Veal wrote,

Mary of Magdala (Magdalene) was one of several people of ill repute whose lives were radically changed by Jesus. The scriptures are not explicit about the nature of her many sins, but it is made clear in the gospels that Jesus gave her the will and power to abandon them. [31]

Veal also wrote, “Tradition has held that Mary of Magdala was a very emotional person and our

English word ‘maudlin’ derives from her name. She followed Jesus into Galilee and helped care

for him and the disciples there.”[32]  Atwell wrote, “Along with other faithful women, she stayed

beside the cross during the crucifixion and was the first disciple to discover the empty tomb on

Easter morning.”[33] Women were always there even when men ran for the hills, when times got

bad. Mary Magdala wanted to take care of Jesus’ body after he was murdered so she went to look after the Sabbath. In John 20:13 

Her tearful reaction on finding an empty tomb is still a favorite line to many faithful, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him” When the Lord appeared and called her name, “Mary,” she recognized him and exclaimed, “Teacher!” She was the first to see the risen Lord.

Mary Magdala would become known by the Eastern Church as the Apostles of the Apostles. Atwell wrote, “This commission earned her the title ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ in the early Church”.[34] She saw the Lord risen before they did. She would be there on the day of the Pentecost and she was a follower just as much as the men. Sadly later in history men would feel the need to belittle Mary and claim she was a street walker before she met Jesus. This would allow men to keep women down and think less of her. People know she had several demons in her, which could be real demonic creatures or just mental illness. Nevertheless, Mary Magdala was somebody who followed the Lord until the very end. She was living proof that God could use women to lead too.

Stanley J. Grenz  wrote, “From the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy at Pentecost (‘Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’) through the early years of the church, women and men contended for the faith side by side.”[35] From the very start, men and women were treated as equal men and women both were baptised and received the Lord Supper. Genz wrote,

In any case, in the second and third centuries the church ordained women deaconesses along with male deacons. These women ministered to other women in a variety of ways, including instructing catechumens, assisting with women’s baptisms and welcoming women into the church services.”[36]

Women were active in the church and did a lot of forms of leadership.

Genz wrote,

In his most expanded statement of the unifying implications of the gospel, Paul declares that in addition to racial and social distinctions, gender distinctions likewise give way to a new unity in Christ: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).[37]

St Paul knew that God was not concerned about gender like men were. He wrote a greater

truth, that sometimes he did not always follow. Grenz wrote,

Egalitarians, in contrast, see Galatians 3:28 as the foundation for a new social order in the church. It is Paul’s “Magna Carta of Humanity,”” a charter of Christian equality. In their view this verse looms as the clearest statement of the apostle’s own understanding of the role of women, thereby serving as an “Emancipation Proclamation for Women.[38]

Jesus message is so radical it breaks down all labels and this means gender  too. Jesus spoke

to women as much as men. Alan F. Johnson wrote,

Domination by one gender over the other were not God’s ideal that we were supposed to work hard to uphold; rather, they were predictions of consequences that we were to work hard to overcome and that Jesus himself would fully overcome as a part of our redemption.[39]

Jesus came to  humanity to break  free from all labels and sexism as well. Erickson states,

The faithfulness of the women around Jesus in the time of crisis is striking. We see them at the cross (Luke 23: 49); they sought to anoint Jesus’s body (Luke 23: 55– 56); they discovered the empty tomb, heard the message of the two angels, and told the news to the apostles (Luke 24: 1– 11). 923 There are several indications in Scripture that the gift of prophecy was given to and to be exercised by women.[40]

Women were always in his ministry and were in the end as well.

Johnson wrote,

Scripture must always be my starting point. However, it has been my experience of sexism in the church that has driven me back to the Bible for answers. One of those answers has been this metaphor of the body with all of its parts working together for the good of the whole.[41]

Men and women needed to work together to reach all of humanity.  John Bristow wrote,

Centuries later, church leaders who themselves were a product of Greek culture and education interpreted Paul’s writings from the perspective of Aristotelian philosophy, even to the point of assuming that when Paul wrote of the husband being head of the wife, he was simply restating Aristotle’s analogy of the husband being to his wife like one’s soul to one’s body. As will be seen, a careful reading of what Paul wrote demonstrates that this apostle was actually challenging Aristotle’s idea instead of supporting it.[42]

Was Paul just a person of his age and that he was just sexist? Paul knew what was right, but he

comes off narrow minded , too. Women being silent in the church, what is that about ? Bristow

wrote,

The translation of this passage, if taken quite liter-ally and observed with all strictness, would mean that women are not to make any sound at all during worship. Women would not be allowed to sing during worship, either with the congregation or in a choir.[43]

Of course not, if this was the case women could not be active in church. When one takes a part of

the chapter and uses it, one can make it mean anything. Bristow wrote,

Instead, his words (as translated) have been employed to debar women from preaching, leading in worship, or even serving sacramental bread and wine (even when such actions do not involve any words spoken on the part of the server!). Such an interpretation is in keeping with Aristotle’s words (quoting Sophocles) that ‘silence is a woman’s glory.’[44]

If one wanted to get a full picture, they would need to read all of Paul’s letter to get the full story.

 

After reading all they facts from the Bible and church history one cannot help but see women

having a more active role within the Bible and more pre- Egalitarianism over time.

 

Pre-Egalitarianism did not happen overnight, it was a long process and it evolved slowly. It is right to say that Jesus helped to bring about gender equality, however, he did not force it. He allowed for people to grow in their own terms and become better people over time. Jesus did not pick high and Almighty; People  chose everyday people and one can see this in his outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Atwell  Robert Celebrating the Saints: Daily Spiritual Readings for the Calendars of the Church

of England, the   Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales

Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. 2003 Kindle Edition.

Bristow, John T. What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on

Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love 2011. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Bauckham, Richard . The Women at the Tomb: The Credibility of their Story The Laing Lecture

at London Bible College

Church Publishing. Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Kindle Location 5583).

Church Publishing Inc. 2010. Kindle Edition.

Evans, M. J. . Woman in the Bible: an overview of all the crucial passages on women’s roles 

  1. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster.

Erickson, Millard J. . Christian Theology. Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 2013

Gitay, Y. . Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and

Updated). New York: HarperCollins  2011.

Kroeger, C. C. Women in Greco-Roman World and Judaism. In (C. A. Evans & S. E. Porter,

Eds.)Dictionary of New Testament background: a compendium of contemporary biblical

scholarship. 2000 Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Patterson, D. Woman. In (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C.

Butler, Eds.)Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 2001 Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Prelinger , the late Catherine M. Episcopal Women: Gender, Spirituality, and Commitment in an

American Mainline Denomination (Religion in America) 1992 Oxford University Press, USA

Johnson, Alan F.. How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories

from Prominent Evangelicals 2010 . Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Hughes, R. K. Luke: That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word 1998. Wheaton, IL:

Crossway Books.

Hammer, J. Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women  2011. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish

Publication Society.

Grudem, W. A. (Ed.). Biblical foundations for manhood and womanhood (2002). Wheaton, IL:

Crossway Books.

Rosen, N.  Biblical Women Unbound: Counter-Tales  1996. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish

Publication Society.

Stanley J. Grenz;Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in

Ministry (Kindle Locations 378-379). Kindle Edition.

Ochs, V. L. Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons from the Wisdom and Stories of Biblical Women

2011 Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society.

Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background

commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Nelson, Thomas . The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today’s World

(Kindle Locations 70912-70914). Thomas Nelson. 2008 Kindle Edition. 

Taitz, E., Henry, S., & Tallan, C. The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E–1900 C.E. 2003.

Philadelphia: TheJewish Publication Society.

Roop, E. F. Genesis . Scottdale, PA:  1987 Herald Press.

Veal, David . Calendar of Saints: Lent Madness 2013 Edition. Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

[2] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Evans, M. J. (1983). Woman in the Bible: an overview of all the crucial passages on women’s roles (p. 12). Carlisle, UK: Paternoster.

 

[4] Gen 2:23

[5] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Baker, 903

 

[7] Rosen, N. . Biblical Women Unbound: Counter-Tales . Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society 96

[8] Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[9] Jewish tradition also says that, like her brothers Aaron and Moses, Miriam died by the kiss of God because the angel of death had no power over her (b. B. Bat. 17a).

Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). In Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[10] Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[11] Matthews

 

[12] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

 

[13] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

 

[14] Gitay, Y. (2011). Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated). New York: HarperCollins.

 

[15] Gitay, Y. (2011). Bathsheba. In (M. A. Powell, Ed.)The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated). New York: HarperCollins.

[16] Green, J. B., McKnight, S., & Marshall, I. H. (Eds.). (1992). In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

[17] Marshall , 882

 

[18] Erickson, Millard J. (2013-08-15). Christian Theology (p. 500). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

[19] Marshall, 883

 

[20] Robert Atwell (2011-11-09). Celebrating the Saints: Daily Spiritual Readings for the Calendars of the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales (Kindle Locations 9313-9314). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.

 

[21] Atwell Kindle Locations 9313-9314

 

[22] Nelson, Thomas (2008-02-28). The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today’s World (Kindle Locations 70912-70914). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

[23] Atwell Kindle Locations 9313-9314

 

Atwell ( (Kindle Locations 9375-9378).

 

[25] Atwell ( (Kindle Locations 9375-9378).

[26] Fitzmyer, (892).

[27] Fitzmyer, (892).

[28] Fitzmyer, (892).

[29] Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word (396). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[30] http://richardbauckham.co.uk/uploads/Accessible/The%20Women%20&%20the%20Resurrection.pdf

 

[31] Veal, David (2013-01-28). Calendar of Saints: Lent Madness 2013 Edition (Kindle Locations 1739-1741). Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

 

[32] Veal, (Kindle Locations 1739-1741). Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.,

 

[33] Atwell  Kindle Locations 8031-8032

 

[34] Atwell, Kindle Location 8033

[35] Stanley J. Grenz;Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry (Kindle Locations 378-379). Kindle Edition.

 

[36] Grenz; (Kindle Locations 380-382).

 

[37] Grenz, (Kindle Locations 1117-1120).

 

[38] Grenz, (Kindle Locations 1135-1137).

[39] Johnson, Alan F. (2010-11-02). How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals (p. 42). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

 

[40] Erickson, Millard J. (2013-08-15). Christian Theology (p. 501). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

[41] Johnson, p. 162.

 

[42] Bristow, John T. (2011-07-12). What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love pp. 6-7. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

[43] Bristow, p. 60.

 

[44] Bristow, p. 61.

The Story of the Bible is Violence

The story of the Holy Bible is violence. Violence was used by God and sometimes God used mankind to help the nation of Israel  change  its ways. One has to pick the stories from the different books of the Bible to prove, through the whole Bible, that violence was used. One will see in these examples from the different translations, that God used violence to make the world a better place.

            First, we will start from the book of Genesis and the fall of mankind; after Adam and Eve wished to be like God. God punished them by forcing them out of the Garden of Eden.  From the book of Genesis chapter 3:24, “And he cast out Adam: and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. [1] The effect of Adam and Eve’s choice made possible for this sin to spread to their children. Cain and Abel were brothers, but were jealous of each other. God would take offerings from Abel and not that of Cain. Cain tricked his brother into thinking they were going for a walk, when Cain would murder his brother. From Genesis 9:1, “and he said to him: What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth to me from the earth.”[2] Cain would end up being forced out from God as his parents were before him and he would be cursed.

            The book of Exodus is about the  Ancient Hebrew People  and their movement to Egypt over time, which became such a large number of people that the Egyptians had to force them into slavery. This way, the Hebrew people would not over-power them. This would backfire on Egypt for out of this, Moses would rise to be the voice of God among His Hebrew People. Moses and his brother Aaron go through conflict with the Egyptians  over whose gods were more powerful than the other. The Pharaoh’s heart was still hard to letting the Hebrew go. God chose to soften his heart by killing all first borns of Egyptian households in that area. In Exodus 11:5,  “All the first born sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour”.[3] Moses, through God, used Pharaoh’s own words against him by killing all the first borns. This  reinforces that the Lord used violence for the  purpose of the “greater good” of humanity. The Pharaoh, mourning his son’s life and his people’s children, told Moses that  the Hebrew people could go. Ironically, Pharaoh would rise up with force and try to stop the Hebrew people from leaving. Once again, the Egyptians would be foolish to act this way. The Hebrews would pass through the Red Sea with God’s help and when the Egyptians tried to follow, the Red Sea came down and crushed them. Then, the Hebrew people started over, but again violence is ever present in their lives. The Hebrew people would live in the desert for 40 years according to Exodus and other books of the early Hebrew Bible. There is also Numbers, Joshua and Judges. All of these books have violence in them in one way or another.

First and Second Book of Samuel

            Eli’s family was called to be a part of the priesthood and his children were not doing what was right in eyes of God. For this, God punished Eli and his family. According to the  book of Samuel, “And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day”. [4] Now this may not seem like violence to most people, but God did kill this whole family. They were His priests and they were not living rightly in his eyes, so he destroyed them. In the story of David and Goliath, people think David is an innocent boy. As people know, David was simply a Sheppard and a little boy, but look at his actions. According to Samuel 17:51, Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; then he cut off his head with it”. [5] David was not meek. Firstly, being a Sheppard they were  tough people and he said before this that God had protected him from lions and bears. God used David with violence to save his people of  Israel and ultimately make him king. David  became King of Israel and united them under him. David would cross the line and sleep with another man’s wife and get her pregnant Uriah, not even Jewish but Hittite, was more of a man of honor than David. David would have him killed and take Bathsheba as his own. David did this because he did not get caught. He would not sleep with his wife before battle, which was Jewish custom. So David had him killed to protect him from the crime he did.  David is so blinded by his power he does not realize what wrong he has done. According to  2 Samuel 11: 15, “In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”[6] Nathan, the Prophet of God, remind David of his sinful deeds  and God take away his son’s life. According to 2 Samuel 12:14, “Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.”[7] It can clearly be seen God used violence to bring his message across.

The Book of Kings:

            In the book of Kings, Elijah gets into contestation with other prophets of Baal who stated their  god was  more powerful. Elijah would let Baal’s priests “work their magic.” but a fire would not start with their spells. Elijah, even with wet wood, would start a fire with his God’s power. After this, Elijah had the Jewish people murdering in the name of their God.  According to  the book of Kings,”and Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal!   Do not let one of them escape!’ So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.”[8] God used violence in this situation to get his message across. Baal is a false god and  Yahweh of Israel was not.  God used the exile of  other nations to make Israel become the nation he wished it to be. First by Babylonians and then by Persians. Both of these nations were used by Yahweh to make Israel change its ways.

The Exile :

            Both the book of Jeremiah and  Daniel show life before and after the exile. Jeremiah warns the  people and acts likes a fool to get his point across. According to Jeremiah,  “and the king of Babylon’s army was then besieging Jerusalem; and the prophet Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the king of Judah’s house.”[9]  God is using violence in this situation to gain humanity’s salvation for the greater good. The first passage of Daniel shows how God used the Babylonians to help the Jewish people and humanity overall. In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged .”[10] Both of these passages used the word “besieging” which was warfare and one nation forcing control over another ., Israel let God down and a cycle of  God punishing them and then redeeming them  came about. Violence, once again, is ameans to an end for God and the greater good of humanity.

The Salvation Story through Violence:

 Most people know the Biblical story of the Lord Jesus. There were many violent events that took  place in His lifetime. The connection as seen in Matthew’s Jesus as the new Moses.  According to Matthew :

            Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly            angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all         its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.[11]

These poor infants were killed in an effort to stop Jesus from becoming the Messiah. It is  interesting how this violent act is only talked about in this Gospel; once again reinforcing that violence is needed  to make God’s salvation plan known.  Jesus, when he was put on trial, was whipped badly  and he could have died from that alone. According to Gospel Matthew, Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”[12] This sentence has double meaning because Jesus was whipped and this is a violent act, However, when the Jewish people pick Barabbas over Jesus, this shows that  the Jewish people said they preferred violence over peace. Most people knew that Jesus died on the Cross for humanity’s sin. This can even be seen throughout the Bible to the book of Revelation.

            Revelation has been seen as the end of the world and has been influenced by the book of Daniel.  St. John the Divine writes about how those who used violence will have  violence used on them too.  St. John the Divine wrote, “If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed” [13] Revelation also tells about the ten plagues that fall on the Earth. Revelation states, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”[14] It is about when judgment day comes upon the end. Also,  St. John the Divine writes about other forms of problems for people. Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”[15] The “mysterious whore of Babylon” has been a question of some scholars for many years. Many think it is the  link to paganism, especially in the Roman Empire, In the age of  Reformation,  many of the Reformers claim it  to be  the Papal state.  One must think of this as Rome. Of course, the early church was attacked by Rome and ironically it took over the Roman Empire itself. This too proves that God used violence for a greater purpose. St. John the Divine writes about these visions of battle between good and evil; in other words, Jesus against the Devil. The Devil will lose and be locked in Hell for all eternity in the lake of fire.

            The world  has always been in a battle between good and evil. In the end, the Good, which is God, will win and bring salvation to people who repent and change their sinful ways. Sadly, this world only seems to know violence and God has let us have it. The book of Revelation said it the best, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” [16]

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611            Authorized Version.) (Jn 19:1). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.The Holy

Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611    Authorized      Version.) (Lk 22:50–52). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

The New King James Version. 1982 (Mk 6:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (Je          32:1–2). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (Is          53:4–5). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (Da 1:1). Nashville: Holman Bible       Publishers.

The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (1 Ki 12:1–4). Nashville: Holman         Bible Publishers.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 12:29–30). Grand Rapids:             Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 11:4–6). Grand Rapids:     Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 2:11–13). Grand Rapids:   Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ex 1:12–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The Everyday Bible : New Century Version. 2005 (Ge 4:9–12). Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson,   Inc.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.) (Ge 3:22–24). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

1 The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. 2009 (Ge 3:24). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2 The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. 2009 (Ge 4:10). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

10 Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.) (Ex 11:4–5). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

4 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Sa 2:34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

5 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Sa 17:51). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 6 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Sa 11:15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

7 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Sa 12:14–15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] 1 Kings 18:40 (NKJV)

[9] Jeremiah 32:1-2

10 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Da 1:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[11] The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 2:16–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Matthew 27:26 (NKJV)

13 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 13:10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

14 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 15:1–2). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

15 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 16:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

16 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 1:8). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Sowing the Seeds

The Gospel of Matthew is consider to be the Jewish of all the Gospels that the church has today. According to A. Carr , “The date is uncertain. Irenæus however states that St Matthew wrote his Gospel when SS. Peter and Paul were founding the Church in Rome: and the fact that it was published first of the written Gospels rests upon early and uncontradicted testimony”.[1]  Carr also wrote, “St Matthew’s Gospel was primarily intended for the use of the Jewish converts in Palestine. It is this fact that gives its special character to this Gospel[2].” According to U. Luz, “Thus the Gospel of Matthew tells the story of a conflict”.[3] In essence one could argue all of the Gospels in this way. The author is unknown to the modern  reader but whoever wrote this was Jewish. They clearly see Lord Jesus as the New Moses and they write Jesus in such a way. Luz wrote, “This is not a story of conflict but a story of teaching and learning, of misunderstanding and of understanding, of failure and new beginning”[4]. Jesus was the new Moses to bring about the Law again.  Now Matthew 13:1-23 will be broken down. Jesus use parables to get his message across to people. This passage main message  is how people see and act with the word of God. J. B. Green  wrote,”The English word parable refers to a short narrative with two levels of meaning”[5].  Furthermore, Green states, “The Greek and Hebrew words for “parable” are much broader. Jesus’ parables are both works of art and the weapons he used in the conflict with his opponents”[6]. They were the teaching method he chose most frequently to explain the kingdom of God. The parable has hidden message inside the story and was common way of telling stories at this point in time. Craig Keener wrote,

That the parables in Matthew address his people’s acceptance or rejection of the kingdom message follows from the context in Matthew’s narrative: Jesus speaks parables “that same day” that he has confronted Pharisaic opposition (12:24-45) and offered a culturally offensive statement about his family (12:46-50).[7]

 Lord Jesus use the farmer perspective for it would been to know more common known to the people. Keener wrote,“This “parable of the sower” (13:18) draws from natural agricultural conventions, as one would expect from a teacher sensitive to rural Galilean hearers.[8]

 

The Parable of the Sower:The author wrote, “That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea”.[9]  This verse is rather simple; Jesus went and sat by the sea in a boat.  The Scribe also states, “And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down”.[10]  Once more Jesus goes out and people come to listen to his teachings by the sea. Furthermore, the biographer wrote, “And the whole crowd stood on the beach”.[11]  The crowd of people stand by the beach to listen to him. The novelist states, “And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow’”.[12] Jesus goes on to tell a story about a sower.  Jesus states, “And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them”.[13] Jesus explain where his seeds fall as he is sowing them along the way.   The scribe wrote, “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,”[14] Some of the seeds fell into rocky soil and come up to soon.  Jesus goes on go explain, “ but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away”.[15] The sun would rise and kill off these plants without soil.  The biographer states, “Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them”.[16] Some of the seeds would grow in the throns and would be killed off by the throns. The author states, “Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears1 let him hear.”[17]  Then Jesus said about some seeds fell in the good soil and they grew and gave much better plants to the planter.

The Purpose of the Parables:

The Scribe wrote, “Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?”[18] Jesus’ followers  came to him and asked him about the meaning of this message.   “And he answered them,’To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given’”.[19]  Jesus explains how his followers would know whathe was saying, but outsiders would not. Lord Jesus states,  For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away”.[20]  Jesus talks about how even people with great wealth will have these objects taken from them and even the poor who do not listen to The parable of  the sower will lose more. The scribe wrote, “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”.[21]  Jesus explains why he speaks in parables and so most people would not understand. The writer wrote, “ Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand,  and you will indeed see but never perceive.”[22] Jesus is quoting from Isaiah who wrote many years before Jesus had lived. According to Isaiah, someone would come along and speak in parables, and so most people will not understand what he was saying.

The story teller wrote,

For this people’s heart has grown dull,  and with their ears they can barely hear,  and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears  and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’[23]

In this passage, Jesus explains how people are going to react to his message: some will not care

and other will not hear. Some would not see what he is doing for the people. If people were

willing to listen and see what he was doing, he would heal them from all their issues.

The essayist states, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear”.[24]  Jesus is telling them how blessed, they were to live in this time because they’re seeing the Messiah.  The writer states “For truly, I say to you, “many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it”.[25]  Jesus in this passage is explains how blessed they were, when prophets and holy people would have loved to have seen him. This was a hard life and earlier Jews wish to have lived to see the messiah in the flesh.  

The Parable of the Sower Explained:

Lord Jesus states “Hear then the parable of the sower:[26] “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart”. “This is what was sown along the path”.[27]  Jesus  explain in this passage the evil one will come long and  always take the message from listeners for they did not understand. Who is the Evil one ? It is another term for Satan who is trying to destroy humanity. Jesus is telling us to beware of him and be on the watch.The writer writes , “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,”[28]  Jesus explain how people see the message, but over time it died off because they lack firm  foundation.  The essayist states, “yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away”.[29]Lord Jesus states, “As for what was sow among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful”.[30] In this passage, Jesus explains how people listen to his message, but care more about the world and do not listen to him. The biographer writes, “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty”.[31] These are people who listen to him and do what he is saying. If one has not figure out the sower is Jesus, the seeds are his lesson, and the people are different types of soil some are good and others are bad.

What does this message mean to modern readers today?

This passage can be used just as it has been in the past. Jesus’ message is rather simple in this passage compared to many others stories within the Gospels. Let the reader break down the different types of soils that there are again. In the first, place he saved The sower sowed his seeds in the path and birds eat them up. Lange writes, “Ver. 3. [By the wayside.—‘The ordinary roads or paths in the East lead often along the edge of the fields, which are unenclosed. … Hence as the sower scatters his seed, some of it is liable to fall beyond the ploughed portion, on the hard, beaten ground which forms the wayside.’ Dr. Hackett: Illustrations of Scripture, etc., p. 168.]”[32]The second, the sower sow his seeds in rocky soils. There is not enough soil and the sun rises and the plants’ roots died off. Lange writes, “Not merely soil covered with stones, but rocky soil. Think of the terraces used for agricultural purposes in ancient Palestine. The cultivated soil terminated in the rocky abutments of the hills”.[33] This is not  good area to plants seeds, because they will not have soil to grow. Palestine was a desret, sowers in this era needed to know the good soil from the bad soil, where to plant and where not too.

  1. Garland wrote, “

New themes emerge in this discourse that address the following issues: (a) the different kinds of response among persons ; (b) the parables and their purpose ; (c) the requirement of understanding ; and (d) the nature of the kingdom of God . (e) A theme found in every discourse reappears: the threat of judgment .[34]

Jesus is trying to get them ready for the Kingdom of God and he is explaining it in hidden

messages. People who were true follower would stay around and listen to his message.

Thirdly, Jesus explains, other seeds fell among thorns and these seeds grow and choke from

going on thron.  These people fall under pressure from others and stop believing. This has

happened to a lot of Christians over the years. Many Americans today are unchurch and their

familes for generations were Christians but they were not Christian,  in name only. This is

major issue of the modern church. Is America culture the path the throns which so many

different beliefs are allow and have made the Christian message come off as too narrow-mind?

. Is Africa today the good soil ? Many parts of Africa are become Christians. 

  1. B, Gardner writes,

As one might expect, Matthew adds his own touch to the interpretation as he passes it on to us: (1) He identifies the word sown as the word of the kingdom (v. 18), which is the subject of each of the parables in the collection. (2) He contrasts the first and last types of hearers in terms of who does and doesn’t understand (vv. 19, 23), picking up the theme of the previous section. (3) He underscores the fact that hearing should lead to doing, adding a verb which here is translated yields (v. 23), but which is the same verb used elsewhere for one who does God’s will.[35]

Once again these are ageless teaching that clearly can be taught at any age. Now people here in

the States are not farmers for the most part, but people can still can understand what Jesus is

trying to tell the listener.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Carr, A. The Gospel according to St Matthew. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges (xvii). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1896 

Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. . A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Matthew . Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software 2008.

  Garland, D. E. (2001). Reading Matthew: A literary and theological commentary on the first Gospel. Reading the New Testament Series (146). Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing.

Gardner, R. B. . Matthew. Believers Church Bible Commentary . Scottdale, PA: Herald Press 1991.

Luz, U.. Matthew 1–7: A commentary on Matthew 1–7 (H. Koester, Ed.) (Rev. ed.). Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (11).  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. 2007

  Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 1992 (J. B. Green, S. McKnight & I. H. Marshall, Ed.) . Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew 2011. Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Carr, A. The Gospel according to St Matthew. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges (xvii). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1896  .

[2] Carr, xvii.  

[3] Luz, U.. Matthew 1–7: A commentary on Matthew 1–7 (H. Koester, Ed.) (Rev. ed.). Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (11).  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. 2007

[4] Luz, U. (11).

[5] Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 1992 (J. B. Green, S. McKnight & I. H. Marshall, Ed.) (591). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] J. B. Green, 591

[7] Keener, Craig S.. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 371). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.

[8] Keener, 375

[9] Matt 13:1

[10] Matt 13:2

[11] Matt 13:3

[12] Matt 13:4

[13] Matt 13:5

[14] Matt 13:6

[15] Matt 13:7

[16] Matt 13:8

[17] Matt 13:9

[18] Matt 13:10

[19] Matt 13:11

[20] Matt 13:12

[21] Matt 13:13

[22] Matt 13: 14

[23] Matt 13: 15

[24] Matt 13:16

[25] Matt 13:17

[26] Matt 13:18

[27] Matt 13:19

[28] Matt 13:20

[29] Matt 13:21

[30] Matt 13:22

[31] Matt 13:23

[32] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P.). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Matthew (239). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software  2008.

[33] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. . A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Matthew (239). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software 2008.

[34] Garland, D. E. (2001). Reading Matthew: A literary and theological commentary on the first Gospel. Reading the New Testament Series (146). Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing.

[35] Gardner, R. B. . Matthew. Believers Church Bible Commentary (213). Scottdale, PA: Herald Press 1991.

A Seeking Soul

 

As most people, I was raised in the religious way. My Mother is a deeply devoted Roman Catholic who married a Catholic man, but he does not really practice his faith anymore. I would not say I was not religious, because I was forced to go to church until I was 13 or 14 years old. This is the time when one is confirm in to the Roman Catholic church and became a full member of the church. I am not sure, that I did not believe in God. But I was tired of the strict rules of the Roman Catholic Church, which were almost impossible fully to do. Sin is sin, rather then degrees of sins as in the roman Church. Just about every thing could be seen as sin, and maybe there is some truth in that statement by the Church.

The Roman Catholic Church did not even encourage one to read the Bible, unless at the church. One can not forget you need to get only a Bible that the Catholic Church has approved. This is one of the major issues, I had with this church. Many of it teaching were not back up by the Bible. When you question the Church, you were not a good Catholic anymore. This Church tells you what to do and how to think without question the Church.

 I found myself going to a high school in my freshman year, with a bus driver who was deeply religious, but A born again Christian. She told me and another student about the Bible. She show me the book of revelations, which scare me to death.   This book kept me up all night and at this point of time; I only thought the Bible was totally pure fact. It was over time I came to realized that the Bible is in part fact and part myth. Myth did not mean that the Bible was all made up, but that something are just unexplainable to one.  I stay up that whole night up set and I came to read the passage from Matthew from Chapters twenty-Eight verse sixteen to twenty. “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

I knew after reading this I was called to the  service of God in the church and at this time I thought it was in the Roman Catholic church, but over time learned otherwise.  The passage that stood out that night and I would even dare to say now was when Lord Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” At the same time, I thought this met I was called to the priesthood and was looking into it. A Father Francis Hoffman and other local priests were heroes to me. I never  really felt  apart of the church , because it seem to only pick some people over other people. For Example Father Albert Audette was the first priest, I really felt had a connection with the people. He was a married man, before his wife would pass away. So he knew how the real world work compare to other priests. He knew what it was like to be a husband and father. I think many Catholic’s priest miss out and cannot fully do their job. Father Audette is the very reason, I want to be a priest. We sadly had a falling out, when I left the church, but I guess this is how it goes. Catholic for most part do not realized all churches are preaching the same gospel, but without the pope.  I really did not get attach with in the church, until I went Protestant. My Mother always felt that I had a calling, because when I talk about the Bible it was as those, I was not the same person. It is as if the Holy Ghost was speaking through me and I was just the tool to do so. At first I was not sure, if I could agree, but over time I must say I did. There is a presents with me, when come to Bible. My Mother of course felt I was called to Roman Catholic Church, but Protestantism overtime made more sense to me.  I knew over time many of the Roman Catholic teaching was man made and not base on the Bible. There was a church just a cross the street from a grocery store in my home town, but I never knew its name before. It was old fashion and very simpler to The Roman Catholic Church. 

This was Saint Thomas Episcopal Church and over time I would become a member. I thought I was met to be a priest within this tradition.  The Episcopal Church was not the right match for me and over time I look else where. I would say around the age of 18 years old, I started reading all books on theological or just spiritual matters. I never fully felt one church spoke for God over the other, but each one claims that their church was the true church for me. I just know all these churches were preaching the gospel, so they were all doing the same thing. I read some works of Luther and Calvin. I read still many Catholic books and felt a connect with St Francis of Assisi. Later on this connection would lead me to third order of Franciscans. This order would welcome me in and allow me to keep some of my Catholic devotional that other churches would not. In the middle of my college days, I became to be involved with the Third Order of Franciscan, which is an Episcopal order, but allowed Lutheran of ELCA to be members. In this community of I am require to do Daily office, either in the morning or evening, but it must be done. I must follow a rule of life,that I promise to do as example of following Jesus Christ as Saint Francis did back in his time period.  I came to learn about Lutheranism founding out that my great grand uncle was a Lutheran minister in the Germany. I came to enjoy Lutheranism, but the church teaching are not question as much as in other Protestant traditions. This is not say questioning is not good, but it can hurt. Martin Luther’s story spoke to me, because he was once a Roman Catholic too, but felt that some of the teaching were not Bible base. I try to follow the Bible as much as possible and to keep the basic.  I am very active with the church being a lector and usher, when needed so a greeting too, but not as much. People do not realized how a greeting can make church seem friendlier.

 I was going to college, first at Norwalk Community College and then just finished Western Connecticut State University. Coming up this spring of 09, I will have my degree in History. I have come to believe that I am called to Deacon within a church and this why I am writing to you. I am offer my body and soul to the service of the living God and I want to do his service with in this tradition and in this ministry. I would love to work at hospital chaplain , but I could also see myself being  caring soul to those in need at hospital both patient and employee.. I knew when Jesus said these words, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” I have no choice in this, because it God’s will over mine and I must do his will. There was a point in time that I did not really want to talk about God, but somehow his present would come up again and again. Was this God doing or my own will? I like to think both, because, as I said I know I must do his will over my.

My Current understanding on Deacon is a position to make Jesus Christ known, not only in the church, but outside the church walls. Many seem to forget that church building is not the church, but just building. I feel that over time with right training and studying I will be able to express this over time better.   I like that fact that one can do many things with in this ministry. I love to focus on Hospital Chaplian , but I would not mind doing anything else on side service the church. I feel the African American church these days, are doing more with their members.  Men like Dr King and even Jesse Jackson and other great black ministers. Many of them unknown to most people, but God know who they are. Their rewards await them in paradise up above.  I am of course willing to change over time and move into other area, if the church needs it. I know I am just one of many preaching the crucified Christ message and what great message is it. I hope to be a tool for the church, maybe being type that go between churches. Because, I do not mine trying new things and learning new ways of worship. Then the possible sharing with other within our church.

Ecumenical creeds of early church 

The Nicene Creed

WE BELIEVE in one God,

 the Father, the Almighty,

 maker of heaven and earth,

 of all that is, seen and unseen.

 We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

 the only Son of God,

 eternally begotten of the Father,

 God from God, Light from Light,

 true God from true God,

 begotten, not made,

 of one Being with the Father.

 Through him all things were made.

 For us and for our salvation

 he came down from heaven:

 by the power of the Holy Spirit

 he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

 and was made man.

 For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

 he suffered death and was buried.

 On the third day he rose again

 in accordance with the Scriptures;

 he ascended into heaven

 and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

 He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

 and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

 who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

 With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

 He has spoken through the Prophets.

 We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

 We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

 We look for the resurrection of the dead,

 and the life of the world to come.

Amen.[1]

The Apostles’ Creed

 I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

 And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

 Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into

hell:  The third day he rose again from the dead:

 He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

 From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

 I believe in the Holy Ghost:

 I believe in the holy Catholic Church: the communion of saints:

 The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

 And the life everlasting  Amen.[2]

the Athanasian Creed  

 Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

 And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

 For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

 Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

 The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

 The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

 And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

 As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

 So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

 And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

 So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

 And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

 And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

 For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

 So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

 The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

 So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

 And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

 But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

 He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

 God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

 Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

 Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

 Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

 One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood

into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

 For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

 Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day

from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

 At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

 and shall give account of their own works.

And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

 This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.[3]

[1] http://anglicansonline.org/basics/nicene.html

[2] https://www.ccel.org/creeds/apostles.creed.html

[3] https://www.ccel.org/creeds/athanasian.creed.html

Post-denominational Experiment

Do not be fool by the name, this is not a postmodern concept, nor is it a progressive Christian ideal. This is new experiment of the Christian experience in 2014. I grow up a Roman Catholic with  Irish Catholic mind set in America.  I was taught by the Church and that only Catholicism is right church. However, I came to see that all these different churches were really not that different. I say about 80% to 90% is the same theology.I knew from early age I was called to be  servant of God. At this time I felt I was called to be a priest and Catholic one at that. I learned you could not marry those. I was like wait a minute, Let me look at these other churches where you could get marry. I over time went to the Episcopal church and I was rejected over my learning disability and weight. I then looked towards Lutheran and always also reject by them over my learn disabity, but my weight. apparently, if you are slow and fat, you do not have place in the Kingdom of God. This was not told to me by words, but by others actions. I came to believe in God  and less in the churches who had their clicks and if you did not fit in you left just sit and watch others do. Well, I am person of acting, rather than watch others enjoy life.

So, instead of others defining my fate,” I took the bull my horns”. I went to seminary and I got my master in divinity.  I have been out for little over eight months give or take a few months.  I have decided to take fate into my hands again and look for start my own Post-denominational church, which will apply many of positive aspect of the many traditions. If this experiment works, it will be of God. However, if I fail we know it was not of his will.  I think Post Denominational churches should each do their own Jesus’ experience in each and every local churches. I like to have all creeds of the churches be used in each every church. However, one should follow their concise and do what they feel the Holy Ghost is doing within them and their churches. The Bible should always be at the corner stone, but experience and reason should not be the enemy of the churches either. Remember how the disciples learned other were using  Lord Jesus name and they were not followers of their? Luke wrote, John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” (‭Luke‬ ‭9‬:‭49-50‬ ESV) Jesus did not agree that, they need to stop. He said who was for us is not against us. The Denominations need to put past their petty difference and focus on the Gospel. Jesus came and took away our sins, but not our minds. The Bible is bunch of books, that were inspire by God, but were written by men at different point in time in history. For example for long time Jewish people thought Moses wrote the five books of Moses. However in the two last ones, he already dead. So, how was this possible? Again, tradition can get in the way of reason.  There are four gospels, but one Jesus. He came and died and Rose  again.  Therefore, why are these gospels so different from each other? They were written by different people and were met for different audience. Over time as the early Holy Catholic Church came about, did they collect these gospels and rejected other ones. In fact St, Paul letters were written first and we do not know what the other letters were saying back to him.

I am thinking of keeping it Sabbath base having services on Friday evening and Saturday morning. This will keep with the churches Jewish foots, but follow the liturgy of the modern churches. I like following a format, but each pastor or minister will follow what they are feeling will work for the church. I just personal love the Book of Common Prayer and I feel it will allow the church to have structure.  However, the robes and incense are not necessary per se to good worship experience. Once more, each church must come to term in what that parish is looking for. The churches should have each fully member have vote and be able to voice their point of view respectfully. This is just draft, but I want to see what other people thought about this. Some of you may ask why not just be non-denominational? I have experience was very negative, they are very anti Catholic and this really turn me off. I saw them making fun of Holy Communion and were calling the church McChurch, as a person of Irish descent, I felt they were not mocking the Lord supporter, but Irish people as well. I have learned later on, they were mocking more the churches being like McDonalds cookie cutter format. Meaning all the churches were following the same format and that they were catering to church members taste in beard. I still felt it as disrespectful and really as said before turn me off. So, this church will be different. I want to embrace all the different churches and show the Unity of Christ. For example many suppose Catholic worship Mary, this is not true. They give her the due and proper respect that the Mother of the Lord should be given respected and honor. Now have some worship Mary over the years as goddess ? Possible, but it was never the church teaching of her. She is blessed among all women and has special place in the Kingdom. In Revelation 12:1-6, if the child is Jesus then the woman must be Mary. Why is that not possible ? Now should one ask a saint to pray for them? As you ask someone on earth, why is not possible in the cloud of witiness can we not pray for us down below? I am not saying this need to be requirement, but it is not hurting anyone either. May I ask what are your thoughts on this ? This is just infancy and I hope, if of God this seed will grow into something more.