Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week in Review

Writing Assignment #7 – Synthesis (part 3)

Prison Fellowship believes that crime is rooted in moral and spiritual brokenness. Therefore, the best solution to crime has to start with the changing of people’s hearts. This is true with changing any person’s life for God, there has to be a change of heart. Prison Fellowship does not overlook the innocent victims of crime, the children of prisoners. Prison Fellowship work with churches to present gifts, camping and other items to the children so they do not feel forgotten.

The church reaches outward (externally) to the lost and those in need of hearing the truth of God. This is the mission of the Church, to reach the lost. The internal benefit of the church is to grow brothers together. Roberts states, “If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. If one soul is in destitution, those who have, are ready to supply his necessities” (1). The Love of God grows within the heart of the believer and it helps one to have love toward his brother or sister in Christ. “We love Him so greatly that we instinctively love His true friends. Those who walk in the light have fellowship for each other. They find each other out, and their hearts naturally run together. Rays of light, coming from the same source, easily mingle. Living streams, however widely separated, unite at last in the ocean. Holy persons feel that union of spirit, which is properly called, the communion of saints” (Roberts, 2)

One takes the offering of salvation to be set free from death’s grasp when one understands his need to be liberated. When a person receives this gift from God, there are changes that the Holy Spirit must make within the heart. The believer must willingly release the control of their life over to God’s Spirit. This release allows the Holy Spirit to change the heart and root the believer in Christ. “No other religion but that of Jesus will enable a person to do this. There may be the semblance. Anger may be suppressed by force of resolution. But God alone is able to make us really love our enemies, and honestly strive to promote their welfare. The Holy Spirit will enable us to hate sin, and love the sinner” (Roberts, 3). This is why God changes the heart’s of men. Man is placed into a right relationship with God because of his love for man. He offers this love to assure man of an eternal reward, but also so that man could then offer this love to others in need. The church is the avenue that God’s love flows through. Man is not saved only for himself, but so that men can do as the scripture says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Work Cited

Alter, Margaret Gramat. Christianity Today: The unnatural act of forgiveness. Vol. 41 Issue 7, P. 28, 3p 2c. 1997. 22 February 2006. How to know God personally. 2006. 22 February 2006.

Howard, Richard E. Newness of Life. United States of America: n.p., 1975. Previous Questions -Christianity. 2004. 22 February 2006.

McGrath, Alister E. Understanding the Trinity. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988. Scripts – Encourage One Another. Palau, Luis. 2005. 22 February 2006. Prison Fellowship. 2004. 22 February 2006.

Phillips, J.B. Your God is Too Small. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Rheenen, Gailyn Van. Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies: Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Thompson, Frank Charles, D.D., PH.D. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc., 1988.

Week in Review

Writing Assignment 2 – Divine Revelation (PART 3)

God’s word shows man’s history with God from Adam and Eve’s time in the garden through the Israelites and their journey. It shows God’s plan for mankind and how God will eventually close the curtain on time, as we understand it. Part of that revelation was that he would send his son into the world to redeem it. Therefore, Jesus’ entry into the world fulfills the promise God gave to his people. “Even though God could no longer allow them to live in their cozy paradise, he still sent them off with promises of love, protection, and of a savior who would one day win back for them and their descendants the gifts that they had thrown away. A strange God, indeed, when you consider the idea of gods that people worshiped at the time the Bible was written” (Girzone, 14).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). “Likewise, the truth and authenticity of the New Testament cannot be understood if the advent of Jesus of Nazareth is detached from the universal picture of the entry of God into the world, for the very fact is that the revelation of Jesus of Nazareth implies from man a previous comprehension of the mystery of God and the progressive revealing of Himself” (Dotolo, 18). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). God revealed himself through his son to show men not only his love of them, but to show them the way in which they should walk. Jesus became the living example of what God wanted from all men. “The synthesis of this is realized by Jesus Christ, Word made flesh. With Him the historical peculiarity takes on a character that goes beyond the limits of time and space in becoming good news for every man” (Dotolo, 21).

When men understand how God reveals himself, through nature and all that he created, it draws men to ask deeper questions about themselves. As men begin to question the world they live in, it gives an opening for individuals to hear the calling of God. When God has gotten the attention of individuals that he goes seeking for, they can be reconciled back to a right relationship with God. It is in this personal walk, that men can learn more about God through their experience and insight. “Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going…Religious experience is part of that deep perception that man has of the truth and of the sense of his being and existence, of what he does and of the global destiny of his history. A perception of inhabiting the world and the history that conceals a meaning, a truth that cannot be reduced to how much a person can succeed in perceiving, but pursues him so that in the care of himself, of the world, and of the other, he might start a journey, or make an exodus, called by the Mystery that innervates reality. In the original context of the religious experience, man does not live the dream of knowledge as simple control of what is different, whose result can consist either in the magic manipulation of such knowledge or in the declaration of it as not pertinent to his existence. Rather, religious experience allows an open relationship that produces a different way of being and existing, because it puts man at the heart of reality itself, from an angle of observation in which the things themselves appear supported by other perspectives in comparison with the only human logic” (Dotolo, 9).

It is through this personal experience that one acquires a deeper understanding of God and his attributes. “Perhaps the most important statement of the approach may be found in Emil Brunner’s Truth as Encounter, which sets out the idea of revelation as a personal communication of God – that is to say, a communicationor impartation of the personal presence of God within the believer. ‘The Lordship and love of God can be communicated in no other way than by God’s self-giving’…Revelation concerns the conveying of God’s personal presence, rather than mere information concerning God” (McGrath, pp. 204-205).

Why does God take such care in revealing himself to mankind? This question can be answered in many ways, yet any answer would lead back to his love for man. God loves mankind enough to pursue them and reveal his mysteries to them. God reveals himself to those that are in relationship with him and gives them guidance through his Spirit. His Spirit empowers them to discern what is truth and what is not. God does all this because of his love for mankind. God uses many ways to show himself to men. Believers hold to God’s word as the most important way of understanding God. The Holy Scriptures were given to guide men and women. As one encounters other ways in which God reveals himself, the believer always compares these understandings with the word of God as the guideline for understanding. It is for this reason that God reveals himself to men, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17). Even though this verse is referring to the use of scripture, it can be said that all that God does for men, is to equip them to walk worthy of his ways.

Work Cited

Dotolo, Carmelo (2006). Christian Revelation. Aurora, CO, USA: Davies Group Publishers.

Girzone, Joseph F. (2004). Trinity.Westminster, MD, USA: Doubleday Publishing.

McGrath, Alister E. (2001). Christian Theology – An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Moore, Andrew. (2003). Realism and Christian Faith : God, Grammar, and Meaning.

West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Samuelson, Norbert Max. (2002). Revelation and the God of Israel. West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Thompson, Frank Charles, D.D., PH.D. (1988). The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc.