Mosaix Blogs Full Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer Jesus and When Minorities Should Leave Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:861730db-c1c5-a382-bdf3-8ef8b8a12467 Mon, 21 Jun 2021 08:53:28 -0500 <p class="">If I were pressed on a short list of questions I regularly get from people of color serving on staff in majority white spaces, it’s the question of when is it time for them to leave?&nbsp;<br></p><p class="">I surprise them when I say that Jesus actually spoke to this. In fact, his answer was so compelling (as if any of his answers weren’t), it’s recorded in all of the gospels except John.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br>Jesus said we should never put new wine in old wineskins.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br>Jesus isn’t speaking about age; he’s actually after something else. When one puts wine in new wineskins, over time the wineskin would expand to house the new wine and the gasses it was emitting. The reason you never put new wine in old wineskins is there’s no room to expand. No elasticity. And when there is no elasticity, the new wine would just burst the old wineskins creating a huge mess.&nbsp;</p><p data-rte-preserve-empty="true" class=""></p><p class="">The principle Jesus is establishing is crucial: A fresh vision housed in an environment that refuses to grow and expand will cause a huge mess.</p><p class=""><br>For so many existing homogenous churches, their leadership is articulating a fresh vision of being multiethnic. I rejoice over this. We all should. And, I know many of these churches whose culture is exhibiting a willingness to grow, churches like the one I’m currently serving.&nbsp;</p><p data-rte-preserve-empty="true" class=""></p><p class="">But a new vision, with new looking leadership is not enough. There must be elasticity in the culture of the church or organization. Of course we get these things don’t happen overnight, so we need to have patience, not passivity. Being a new wineskin church will require courage as new initiatives are introduced, programs established and changes take place. It will require constant teaching, many emails and conversations with the constituents who in their own way will push back or question the culture shift. And in some cases it will necessitate saying, “God bless you, but this is the direction we are headed in, and while we’d love to have you with us, we understand if you can’t continue on the journey.” If you don’t say these things to some from one crowd, you will end up saying them to many of the new crowd you’re trying to reach.</p><p class=""><br>So, when should minorities leave majority spaces? At whatever point the elasticity has maxed out, the growth has stopped and the change has ceased is when one should look for the exits.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p> Freedom and the Black Church on Juneteenth The Witness urn:uuid:d2f7134b-8358-be3c-e223-9e106663d48a Sat, 19 Jun 2021 12:00:00 -0500 The Black church is at the center of emancipatory events like Juneteenth. In her book On Juneteenth, Pulitzer Prize winner [&#8230;] Why Black and White People Should Commemorate Juneteenth Differently The Witness urn:uuid:acbdd0cd-a4e2-f700-ec78-8e2a6348518b Sat, 19 Jun 2021 10:00:00 -0500 In junior high and high school whenever the teacher would assign a group project, typically only a couple of people [&#8230;] Naomi Osaka: When Enough is Enough The Witness urn:uuid:7178079f-9b20-e0b9-ca20-59170ca84193 Thu, 17 Jun 2021 06:00:00 -0500 &#8220;The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don&#8217;t have any.&#8221; Alice Walker By now, [&#8230;] PTM: White Evangelical Racism with Dr. Anthea Butler The Witness urn:uuid:e6e44fab-1e70-7233-e14f-4d471b78c968 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 12:00:00 -0500 Buckle up! We have the incredible Dr. Anthea Butler with us today to talk about her new book White Evangelical [&#8230;] Contextual Study: Exegetical Method perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:99646405-aad0-d755-9a79-0b8505597486 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 08:05:33 -0500 Hermeneutics deals with the field of biblical study. One of hermeneutics’ fundamental principles includes the context principle. Context connects thoughts &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>Hermeneutics deals with the field of biblical study. One of hermeneutics’ fundamental principles includes the context principle. Context connects thoughts running through a portion or whole of Scripture to reveal the original intent of God’s truth. One interprets a word or verse keeping in mind the surrounding content, historical, and cultural contexts of the passage, book, testament, and Bible. The God-inspired text speaks for itself in context, rather than the reader injecting ideas into it.</p> <p><img loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="5180" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="641,215" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="Exegesis Chart" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-5180 aligncenter" src="" alt="Exegesis Chart" width="641" height="215" srcset=" 641w,;h=50 150w,;h=101 300w" sizes="(max-width: 641px) 100vw, 641px"></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Contextual Principle: Exegetical Method&nbsp;</span></strong></h3> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 1 (Read and Reread)</span></strong></h3> <p>Read and reread the passage both silently and aloud. Take time to hear it. Remember, the Bible’s early audience utilized the text as spoken word. Take caution when listening, however, not to inject contemporary meaning into the ancient text. The current social location and cultural identity differ from the original audience.</p> <p>Do not rush the process. Pray for understanding and meditate on the Word. Allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate its meaning. Remember, a quality study takes time.&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 2 (Ask Questions)</span></strong></h3> <p>A context study should make the reader ask questions and extend thinking about the text. While reading, write down open-ended questions about the verse and words. Begin by formulating who, what, when, where, why, how, and for what reason questions with an open-ended nature. An open-ended question suggests more than a yes or no response; rather, it requires digging for the answer. Look at Jas 1:2. The author in this verse remarks, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” (KJV). James conjugated the word ‘count’ as a command. What events transpired that necessitated James to command the readers to ‘count it all joy’? How do we understand ‘divers temptations’ in the context of the early church? What might Jesus say to His followers today through this passage?</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 3 (Research Behind the Text)</span></strong></h3> <p>Find out what occurs behind the text for its situational contexts. When studying the passage behind the text, investigate the passage and the book. Learn about the overall book, passage, and surrounding verses to the passage/s of study. Find out such information as the book’s author, audience, dating, purpose, themes. To understand the background of the scattered, the reader must trace the historical events from the book of Acts that led to scattering the church. What religious, political, economic, social, and ethnic factors created a tension that resulted in their scattering? Where did the diaspora settle? How did living in a different locale away from the synagogue, family, and community affect their spiritual walk?</p> <p>James, the brother of Jesus and head of the Jerusalem church, wrote the book in the form of a letter. He addressed it to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” (Jas 1:1). The expression ‘twelve tribes’ applied to Jewish Christians. After Stephen’s death, believers from the early Jerusalem church scattered as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Syrian Antioch due to persecution (see Acts 8:1; 11:19). As the leader of the Jerusalem church, James wrote as their pastor to instruct and encourage his dispersed people in the face of their difficulties as aliens in a foreign land. The nature of displacement accounts for James’s references to trials and oppression, his intimate knowledge of the readers, and the authoritative nature of the letter in providing moral direction.&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 4 (Investigate Within the Text)</span></strong></h3> <p>Go within the text and determine its literary features. Look for context clues to help define a word. Begin by reflecting upon how the passage connects to other verses in the chapter, book, and testaments. Notice the surrounding words in the sentence and paragraph and how they affect word meaning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Parts of speech additionally shine a light on meaning. Does the word appear as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb, conjunction, etc? Consider ‘divers temptations’ in Jas 1:1. The plural adjective divers modifies and describes the plural noun temptations. When defining temptations, describe it by including the meaning of divers. Also, look for the verbs in a passage, especially commands. Unique to James, the author ordered 59 imperatives out of 108 verses and followed the commands with a purpose statement. Imperative verbs in James 1:2-4 include count (v. 2) and let (v. 4).&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 5 (Continuing Within the Text: Expository Dictionary and Cross Referencing)</span></strong></h3> <p>Look up the word in a Bible expository dictionary, either online or hard copy. Do not use a contemporary dictionary. Find what the word means according to authorial intent in the passage. First, determine the gloss meaning, a basic definition of one to three words in length. Note, the gloss must match the context of the verse. Then, find the full definition. Read it in more than one expository dictionary (,, and Vine’s Online). Again, make sure the full definition matches the intent and context of the sentence containing the word. Do not assume the same definition applies to two identical words in a sentence or paragraph. The context of a word changes its meaning.</p> <p>Cross-referencing also develops meaning. Locate the cross-reference verses to unwrap a word. Do not just cite it; explain how it describes the word and adds to its meaning. Select the cross-references with like meaning.</p> <div class="wp-block-group"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container"> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 6 (Organize Behind and Within the Text Information and Write a Summary Definition)</span></strong></h3> </div></div> <p>Combine within and behind-the-text information and then write a final, four-sentence definition. Thoroughly check the findings to eliminate word fallacies. Look at the draft information below. While lengthy, it unwraps the word temptations showing both behind and within the text meanings. It culminates with a summary definition taking all the research into account.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Step 7 (Application)</span></strong></h3> <p>Respond to questions about how the word or verse applies to the body of believers today. What is your takeaway from the study? Based on the study, how does God work in the lives of His people? Answer in three to four sentences.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Contextual Study: Jas 1:2 (Temptation)</span></strong></h3> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Behind the Text</span></strong></h3> <p>What temptations did the scattered experience? The word ‘divers’ (Jas 1:2) describes temptations. As part of a triple alliteration (<em>peripesēte</em>, <em>poikilos</em>, <em>peirasmos</em>), the author perhaps sought to emphasize divers temptations to the listeners and highlight every kind of testing when read orally. The &#8216;when&#8217; (sometimes after) before divers temptations gives a clue that a person does not invite the temptations. In other words, when divers temptations occur, one does this particular action.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Within the Text&nbsp;</span></strong></h3> <p>Upon first review, <em>Blue Letter Bible</em> notes a gloss meaning for temptation as “trial of man&#8217;s fidelity.” <em>Vine’s Dictionary</em> breaks out temptations further noting, “trials divinely permitted or sent&#8221; (Luke 22:28; Acts 20:19; Jas 1:2 ; 1 Pet 1:6 ; 4:12; StudyLight). The <em>Key Word Dictionary</em> adds “a state of trial in which God brings His people through adversity and affliction in order to encourage and prove their faith and confidence in Him” (p. 2215; cf. 1 Cor 10:13; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 2 Pet 2:9).</p> <p>Jas 1:2-4 and 1:12-15 parallel each other. While 1:2 shows how temptations (trials or testing) perfect one in their current life, verses 12-15 show temptations bring an eschatological reward of the crown of life.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since God uses temptations, it serves as a holy trial. God has control over trials in His sovereignty. A holy temptation leads to God perfecting the believer in growth for godliness. However, the believer must depend on God to endure the temptation (1 Cor 10:13).</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Cross References </span></strong></h3> <p><strong>Acts 5:41.</strong> In Acts 5:41, worthy means deserving as if to do a favor for them (Strongs). They rejoiced because God considered them worthy to go through a trial for His name “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).</p> <p><strong>Gen 22.</strong> Genesis 22 tells the reader that God tested Abraham to give his only son as an offering. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”</p> <p><strong>1 Pet 1:6.</strong> In 1 Peter 1:6, it says) “you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” The phrase “You may have had to” translates as “it may have become necessary” for you to suffer trials. The verse discloses that God has a design and purpose behind a trial. </p> <p><strong>Rom 8:28.</strong> God has sovereignty over temptations. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom 8:28). As James stated temptation in the plural form, a person may encounter one or multiple trials. The community James addresses had experienced hurt and poverty at an extreme level.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Summary Definition</span></strong></h3> <p>Write a four-sentence definition that summarizes temptation’s definition using information from the investigation.</p> <ol><li>Temptation entails a trial of man’s fidelity, a divinely inspired trial of adversity and affliction that God divinely sends or allows to prove one’s faith and confidence in Him.”</li><li>Considered a holy trial over which God has sovereignty (Rom 8:28), it perfects the believer through strengthening by enduring afflictions in Christ (Jas 1:1; 1 Cor 10:13).</li><li>Rather than viewing the temptation (trial) as punishment, one rejoices from being counted as worthy to suffer for His name (Acts 5:41).</li><li>God will not tempt the believer to sin during temptation (1:13); instead, He tests to build up and perfect (1 Per 1:6; Heb 1:13), ultimately providing an eschatological reward of the crown of life to those who endure temptation (Jas 1:12).&nbsp;</li></ol> <h3><span style="color:#c40a0a;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></h3> <p class="has-text-align-center">&nbsp;</p> <p class="has-text-align-center">All Nations Leadership Institute, All Right Reserved, 2021</p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>June 15, 2021</p> <p>For information about All Nations Leadership Institute classes see <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p> Black Mental Health Matters The Witness urn:uuid:e8bb4da5-4bf9-21f2-5a1b-9521c2710fab Thu, 10 Jun 2021 06:00:00 -0500 In November 2020, the American Psychological Association reported that depression and anxiety were at an all-time high last year because [&#8230;] Cultural Reading of Dinah: Gn 34:1-31 perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:f71a4733-64ac-99d7-2a4f-38f693b257d3 Wed, 09 Jun 2021 03:13:34 -0500 Set in Shalem, a city of Shechem in Canaan, the Gn 34:1-31 pericope describes in third person the defilement of &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>Set in Shalem, a city of Shechem in Canaan, the Gn 34:1-31 pericope describes in third person the defilement of Jacob’s daughter Dinah and subsequent events. A Hivite named Shechem, defiled Dinah when she visited area women (34:2). Upon Shechem’s request to marry her, his father Hamor approached Jacob with a proposition of land, wives, and trade (vv. 3-4, 6, 9-10). However, Jacob’s sons requested all the city’s men first undergo circumcision (vv. 14-15), which Hamor and his son found favorable (v. 18). The sons did so deceitfully, though, since Shechem defiled Dinah (v. 13). Ultimately, two of Jacob’s sons slew all the city males weakened from circumcision, took Dinah, spoiled the town, and seized the city’s wealth along with the murdered men’s wives and children (vv. 25-29). As the passage unfolds, it weaves in themes of gender, unspoken voice, and honor to the story events and actors.</p> <p><span id="more-5384"></span></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><img loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="5391" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="3449,2832" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="baabedbc-ec7c-4f09-acb3-1b2ab6f1063e-e1599791704353" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone wp-image-5391" src="" alt="baabedbc-ec7c-4f09-acb3-1b2ab6f1063e-e1599791704353" width="548" height="450" srcset=";h=450 548w,;h=900 1096w,;h=123 150w,;h=246 300w,;h=631 768w,;h=841 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 548px) 100vw, 548px" /></p> <p style="text-align:center;">(From the Red Tent)</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Gender Distinctions</span></h3> <p>As if to underscore gender distinctions, the passage opens describing Dinah as the “daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob&#8221; (v.1 King James Version), as opposed to the defiler Shechem “the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country” (v. 2). This comparison contrasts kinship naming systems. Being birthed to the unfavored wife Leah, possibly influenced the narrative’s author to describe Dinah’s descent in matrilineage fashion (Gn 29:25-26), as opposed to Shechem in a patrilineage. In yet another instance of differentiating genders, Jacob reacted to the news of Dinah’s defilement silently, holding his peace until his sons arrived (34:5). However, when Jacob heard of a beast devouring Joseph, it led him to mourn several days (37:34). Further, Jacob did not respond to Hamor’s bride price; instead, Dinah’s brothers took the lead in deciding her future (34:13). This action again highlighted gender inequalities.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Unspoken Voices</span></h3> <p>In addition to gender differences, the pericope omits the female voice. The passage overlooks any mention of Dinah in the decision-making process upon her dishonoring. She remains in its background as an inactive participant, albeit the receiver of Shechem&#8217;s sexual actions. Likewise, it also leaves out her mother, Leah. Without the inclusion of female viewpoints, especially Dinah, how can the reader perceive Shechem’s conduct in verse two? Rape or consensual sex? Consequently, the reader must look to textual evidence when Shechem “saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her&#8221; (v. 2). All verbs conjugate with a&nbsp;<em>waw&nbsp;</em>construction in Hebrew (e.g., “and defiled,” transliterated as&nbsp;<em>way‘annehā</em>). Although not apparent fully in English, the word ‘and’ in this verse separates each action, possibly serving multiple functions. Genesis uses the ‘verb-plus-and’ to highlight event sequences throughout the creation story. That might hold true in this account, too. However, the construction also may indicate cause and effect between each event. Further, the waw structure might accentuate the domination and power of Shechem’s moral code toward women (v. 2). Moreover, when listening to verse two in Hebrew read slowly, the force of his actions stands out to the listener. It leads the reader to ponder what ‘defile’ means. Bible versions vary in defining it. The New American Standard Version translates it as “rape,” the English Revised Version uses “humbled her” (afflicted), the New Revised Standard states “lay with her by force,” while the Aramaic Bible Version says “disgraced her” (v. 2). Based on the translations, it appears defile’s meaning could reflect all translations. Yet, if Moses wrote Genesis as traditionally believed, although an inspired author, his gender and Ancient Near East orientations may influence how he conveys the narrative from his cultural and social locations.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Honor and Shame</span><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"></span></h3> <p>Despite Dinah playing no overt role in the narrative, it reveals the defilement led her brothers to perceive family disgrace because Shechem did a “thing ought not to be done” (v. 7d KJV). The defilement in their eyes dealt with their sister as a harlot (v. 31). Ultimately, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers through Leah, took matters into their own hands with blood atonement. They slaughtered the Hivite men at their weakest after circumcision, spoiled the city, and took all its wealth, women, and children (vv. 25-29). Did they remedy Dinah’s honor or have a broader intent for justification? Quite possibly, they disapproved of marriage with the outsider Hivite and his extended offer of intermarriage, leading the Hivites and Hebrews to “become one people” (v.16b). By killing the defiler Shechem, it prevented any Canaanite heirs from entering the Abrahamic lineage through Dinah. By extension, murdering all the Hivite men ethnically and religiously cleansed the region for any future social intercourse between the tribes. Their redress may have had economic implications in sharing their wealth and land with the Hivites apart from their ancestral family. Hamor referred to the financial benefits from marriage to include their cattle, substance, and beasts (v. 23).</p> <p>This narrative demonstrates how gender, voice, and honor influenced Jacobian family decisions. As a by-product of establishing family honor, the sons may have shamed Jacob in his relationship with neighboring Canaanites and Perizzites. The KJV notes Jacob as saying their actions made him stink among the land inhabitants, or as the NASB states, making him repulsive (v. 30). They also shamed the God of Israel by abusing circumcision. God’s intent did not include them bartering for tribal inclusion; instead, He used it as a sign for an everlasting covenant with Abraham and His descendants, confirming it with Jacob (17:13; 28:13-15). Finally, the brothers’ purpose of bringing honor to their family, in turn, shamed the Hivite wives and children of the slain men. What worth did they have after capture? The story never mentions what happened to them after the brothers seized them.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Close</span></h3> <p>If Shechem raped Dinah, did it justify Simeon and Levi raping, so to speak, the Hivites and their city? While God did not make known His voice in the narrative, nor Jacob or his sons seek it; His silence cannot equate to approval. How can the reader perceive God not revealing Himself amid humanity’s poor decisions? While the text gives no indication of time between chapters 34 and 35, conceivably, God may have used the tragedy in this narrative as a launch to move Jacob to Bethel, renaming him Israel and reaffirming His covenant with Abraham and Isaac (35:10-12). Despite the affairs at Shechem, God blessed Jacob (35:9). Nonetheless, how can believers in Christ avoid the same moral iniquities when reacting in the absence of God&#8217;s voice? In what ways can the faith community extend restorative practices to the powerless?</p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>June 9, 2021</p> Redemption at the Gate: Ruth 4:1-12 perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:087b0b33-528b-2939-7da0-0f7d77949529 Thu, 03 Jun 2021 17:21:59 -0500 The book of Ruth, a historical work of the narrative genre, occurred during the era of Judges (Ru 1:1). It &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>The book of Ruth, a historical work of the narrative genre, occurred during the era of Judges (Ru 1:1). It opened in Moab, where Naomi sojourned from Bethlehem due to famine. She and her two Moabite daughters-in-law survived the death of their husbands while there (1:5). Upon hearing the Lord visited His people and gave them bread, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem (vv. 6-7). While the one daughter-in-law Orpah left for her mother’s house to find rest and a husband upon Naomi’s advice, Ruth cleaved to her mother-in-law and made Elohim her God (Gn 1:1, Ru 1:16-17). Naomi arrived in Bethlehem with Ruth but felt the Lord dealt bitterly with her, bringing her home empty without a husband and sons (1:20-21). However, subsequent events demonstrated the Lord’s redemption, making Naomi full again through Boaz.</p> <p><img loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="5380" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="320,320" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="Untitled_Artwork" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-5380 aligncenter" src="" alt="Untitled_Artwork" width="320" height="320" srcset=" 320w,;h=150 150w,;h=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 320px) 100vw, 320px" /></p> <p style="text-align:center;">Jan Paron, 2021</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Background</span></strong></h3> <p>In what one might call the story&#8217;s peak, Ru 4:1-12 opened with Boaz at the city gate, seeking Naomi&#8217;s nearer relative to rescue her from the shame of loss. The discourse announced Boaz&#8217;s entrance with the word then, signaling a transition from the previous chapter: &#8220;for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day&#8221; (3:18b KJV). The discourse focused on Boaz, the central character, regarding what he said (4:1-5, 9) and did (vv. 1-2, 4-5, 9-10) to redeem Naomi and Ruth&#8217;s future. Here, Boaz would seek the elders as witnesses to the kinsman-redeemer covenanted for Naomi&#8217;s inheritance.</p> <p>In ancient Israel and Judah, the city gate played a critical function in settling community affairs. Its process reflected a vertical social order governed by a patriarchal societal norm. Thus, males played the dominant role, frequently determining a woman’s fate. Occasionally, a bloody outcome resulted in surrounding events such as in Gn 34:20-25, the first mention of a gate matter involving female honor and shame. While Boaz’s business concerned a more peaceful outcome for Naomi and Ruth, they could not control the decision from their social location. The women had much at stake, impoverished from the loss of their husbands and without an heir.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Redemption</span></strong></h3> <p></p> <p>For Boaz to take on the role of kinsman redeemer (3:13), it required community witness. Characteristic to a collectivist culture, he settled the matter among the people. Boaz initiated the act at the gate (v.1) and assembled ten elders and the nearer kinsman. Since the nearer would not accept the land with the provision to marry Ruth the Moabite as well, he signified his intentions by removing his shoe similar to levirate marriage tradition (Deut 25:5-10). Instead, Boaz took up the role. His redemption of Naomi and Ruth concluded with “all the people that were in the gate” (v.11) serving as witnesses. The text highlighted Boaz naming all the people and elders present as witnesses (v. 10), and they, in turn, repeating “We are witnesses” (v.11a).</p> <p>The focal point occurred when Boaz announced he bought all that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon from Naomi (4:9), redeeming the land. Further, he acquired Ruth the Moabitess as his wife (v.10b). Boaz’s climactic statement reminds the reader of God’s providential hand resolving Naomi and Ruth’s need for redemption, as well as echoes the types therein that shadow salvation for humankind. As if to draw attention to the redemptive act, the discourse repeated the word redeem eight times in Ru 4:4-6.</p> <p>Just as Boaz restored Naomi and Ruth in covenant at the gate, Jesus’ death on the cross brought a greater redemption to fallen humanity outside the gate (Heb 13:12) in the new covenant. The gate decision resulted in a royal heir descending from the lineage of Boaz starting from Pharez (Mt 1:1-25, cf. 1 Chron 2:4-13, Ru 4:11-12). The lineage also demonstrated a transformative progression from Rahab as redeemed and her life transformed to Ruth also transformed as a virtuous woman elevated in status (3:12).</p> <p></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Conclusion: God’s Grace and Mercy</span></strong></h3> <p>The story supports Judges in which &#8220;everyone did what was right in his own eyes&#8221; because Israel had no king (Judg 17:6; 18:1; 19:1). The Deuteronomic Code lay central to God&#8217;s covenant with Israel, the governing law upon living in the land of promise. Naomi&#8217;s husband, Elimelech, sojourned to Moab either temporarily or permanently. Further, his two sons married Moabite women. Deuteronomy 7:1-3 prohibited Israel from mingling with or marrying Canaanites. God&#8217;s consequences for breaking covenant historically resulted in judgment. It signaled a lack of faith in Yahweh providing for His people in the land of milk and honey by dwelling in a country that oppressed Israel.</p> <p>Nevertheless, God lifted the famine from Bethlehem, which drew Naomi back to the Promised Land. There, He showed grace and mercy to Naomi and her Gentile daughter-in-law, restoring what Naomi lost and giving her provisions and an heir. Naomi found her redeemer at the gate (4:14-15). The people at the gate saw a seed the Lord would give to build the house of Israel (vv. 11-12). Through redemption at the gate came the lineage that would birth King David (vv. 22) and in time fulfill the begetting of the Redeemer for all creation.</p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>6-3-21</p> Non-Toxic Masculinity: A Fresh Start The Witness urn:uuid:a1e48d6b-f6d0-d1a8-c5f2-e4c85fe7e085 Thu, 03 Jun 2021 06:00:00 -0500 “Meditate and learn to be alone without being lonely&#8230;Learn to be quiet enough to hear the sound of the genuine [&#8230;] No Quid Pro Quo Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:66aebf72-0e6c-3b78-0f2e-23eadc281155 Mon, 31 May 2021 21:20:28 -0500 <p class="">Ever been betrayed? Wondering how to use the gospel to bring healing to a broken relationship? This message by Dr. Bryan Loritts will provide hope and much needed answers:</p><p class="">No Quid Pro Quo<br>Matthew 5:38-48</p><p class="">Some years ago, most of us can remember a really popular phrase- <em>quid pro quo</em>. At its core, the phrase means “you do something nice for me, and I’ll do something nice for you.” It seemed as if this phrase spent more time in the news cycle than a Kardashian. It came to popularity because of some accusations levied at our then president, and no matter where you may have fallen out on the issue, or politically, I think we can all agree that we got really sick of that phrase.<br></p><p class=""><em>Creating the Need- The People Problem</em></p><p class="">While it has become fashionable to levy the blame of quid pro quo on our president, we should all understand that the law of quid pro quo is endemic to humanity.&nbsp; Beneath the surface of all of our hearts is this “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my back” way of doing life and relationships.&nbsp; It was C.S. Lewis who once said that all great friendships begin on the note of, “Oh, you too.”&nbsp; What he meant by that is our friends are people whom we share common affinities with, and yet beyond that, our friends are those who reciprocate in kind.&nbsp; I call you, you call back.&nbsp; I help you when you are in need, and you help me.&nbsp; When I’m wounded and weary, I come to you for solace and counsel, and when you are wounded and weary you come to me.&nbsp; I keep your confidences, and you keep mine.&nbsp; This is how relationships work, right?&nbsp; But the problem comes when people’s humanity and sinfulness get in the way, and instead of scratching my back they begin to stab me in the back. And when people don’t go the way of quid pro quo, and act as our enemies, this throws us, big time. So what are we to do?&nbsp;</p><p class="">&nbsp;Now I really need you to get this, because if you don’t you’ll miss the whole thing. Yes our passage is about how Christians are to respond to enemies, but it’s way more than Jesus offering tips on how to engage those who mistreat us. We must see Jesus’ teaching through the larger lens of Scripture. Here’s what I mean: When we look at this through the lens of the gospel, we come to a profound truth. See, the gospel in essence says that at one point you and I were enemies with God. Ephesians 2 actually says that we were objects of God’s wrath. Yet, at great cost to himself, God did the unthinkable- He gave his only Son, who gave his only life. Jesus Christ endured persecution and mistreatment. He was scourged, spit upon, had his beard plucked out, jeered and crucified. Why did he endure such mistreatment? So that you and I may be reconciled to God. See, the gospel is not God just doing nice things for we enemies! The gospel is about reconciliation- transforming enemies of God into friends of God. And to be a Christian (literally little Christs) means that in some way we do the same with those who have acted as enemies towards us!</p><p class="">This was the message of the CRM. If you think the CRM was only about changing laws you’re wrong. It was about reconciliation. John Lewis, one of the leaders of the CRM, said that the mission of the movement was to redeem the soul of America. I was once with a pastor who marched with Dr. King, and he said it was all about reconciliation. That’s why the method of non-violence was used- to be a tool of transformation that would lead to friendship. King said it this way, “We will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We will meet your physical force with soul force. You may bomb our homes and spit on our children and we will still love you”- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</p><p class="">Now, tough question: Who is in your life that you need to say these words to? It could be that ex-spouse who has wronged you deeply. Yeh, the marriage is over, but your call to love them with agape love is not. It could be that boss who has gone out of their way to make life miserable for you. It could be that child who is really hard to like. It could be that friend who has betrayed you. Maybe it’s the stranger who uttered those racially hurtful words at you that has wounded you deeply, and instead of going cancel culture on them, you need to say these words.&nbsp;</p><p class="">&nbsp;See, we all have enemies at various points in our lives. Jesus is going to tell us that we do not win our enemies by going tit for tat or quid pro quo. In other words, we don’t wait to do something nice to them, when they do something nice to us. Instead, Jesus is going to say something really hard: We win our enemies by losing our rights.</p><p class="">&nbsp;Losing Our Rights- Matthew 5:38-42</p><p class="">If you’re new to the faith, or maybe you wouldn’t even call yourself a Christian, I would highly recommend reading Matthew 5-7, The Sermon on the Mount. It’s the Blinkest version of the Christian life. But beware, you are going to read this and feel overwhelmed at the impossibility of it all. And nowhere is this more clear than in our text, as Jesus gets into how we are to engage our enemies.</p><p class="">Now, I want you to look at how he describes the enemy. He calls them evil (morally abhorrent). They are physically violent, ruthless- suing and going after everything, even your cloak- forcing people to do what they don’t want to do by going a mile, and they persecute them. Now, notice carefully with me how Jesus says we are to respond. He says that if a person slaps you on the right cheek. Stop right there. In that day, as it is today, most people were right handed, so for a right handed person to slap you on the right cheek means that they have given you a backhanded slap which is deeply insulting. Jesus says, no problem turn to them the other cheek. Then he says if someone sues you and takes your tunic, give him your cloak as well. Back then people had several tunic’s, but only one cloak. The cloak was seen as so essential, there were laws prohibiting people from taking it, and yet Jesus says, give them what’s rightfully yours to keep. He then goes onto say if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Back then, Jesus is talking to a region that was occupied by Roman guards who at any given moment could tap you with their sword and demand that you carry their pack for a mile. Really humiliating. Jesus says at the end of the mile, don’t say I’ve fulfilled my rights, no, go another mile. And finally he says to give to people when they beg and seek to borrow from you. Sure, you have the right to not give money, but lose your rights and give. See the common denominator to each of these four scenarios? They all have to do with losing your rights! Scholar D.A. Carson sums it up well when he writes, “What Jesus is saying in these verses, more than anything else, is that his followers have no rights. They do not have the right to retaliate and wreak their vengeance, they do not have the right to their possessions, nor to their time and money. Even their legal rights may sometimes be abandoned...Personal self-sacrifice displaces personal retaliation, for this is the way the Savior himself went, the way of the cross. And the way of the cross, not notions of ‘right and wrong,’ is the Christians principle of conduct”- D.A. Carson, <em>Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount</em>. The message is clear, we are to LOSE OUR RIGHTS.</p><p class="">Now, I don’t hear any amens at all, only groans and a lot of push back! And the reason why we bristle at this is that we have been discipled by American culture, which is all about individual rights. America was founded on the right to religious liberty. The American revolution was about our rights to be free and independent. The Civil War has been described by many historians as, among other things, states rights. There’s AA rights. There’s Women’s rights. There’s LGBTQ rights. And while I am making no moral statements about these individually, what I am saying is that everywhere we look it’s about our rights. Couple this with sin and the fallen nature of our hearts and Jesus’ words here in our text to lose our rights, means OF COURSE WE PUSH BACK AND BRISTLE at this!</p><p class="">Let me drive this home with two analogies and a much needed disclaimer. Let’s go back to the 1960s and look at Malcolm X and MLK. Now we might say Malcolm was all about rights, right? This is the man who gave us the phrase, “by any means necessary.”.He’s pictured with a gun at his bombed home in Queens. He ridiculed MLK and the CRM movement for being sell outs and soft. On the other hand was MLK and the whole idea of non-violent resistance which was all about losing your rights. They didn’t fight back when spit on, or had hot coffee thrown on them at sit ins. They didn’t retaliate when bitten by dogs, beaten by police or had fire hydrants turned on them. Now sixty years later we would do well to ask, which way was the most redemptive? What brought about the most change? Holding onto rights, or losing rights? You know the answer.</p><p class="">Or let’s look at marriage. Okay, she cheated on you and you’re devastated, as you should be. Now you have the right to divorce, and no one would fault you for that. Completely understandable. But what if you actually said, “I’m going to lose my rights here, because marriage is an illustration of what God in Christ has done for me on the cross.” Which way is a more compelling illustration and picture of the gospel? Holding onto rights, or losing rights?</p><p class="">Now, I want to be careful here. Jesus, nor I, am advocating abusive relationships. We know this because Jesus’ analogies all have limits. We only have two cheeks. We only have one cloak. You’re only told to go one more mile. And we only have so much money to give. There’s limits. If you are being abused, talk to someone; get some help. <em>We </em>want to help.. If you’re with a person who refuses to repent, it’s time to move on. That’s why Paul would say in Romans 12:18, as best as you can be at peace with all people. It takes TWO to have a healthy relationship.</p><p class="">So let me ask you- where do you need to lose your rights?</p><p class="">Loving Your Enemy- Matthew 5:43-44</p><p class="">Jesus is concerned with winning our enemies through the power of the gospel. We do this by losing our rights, and also by loving our enemies. See, if it was just about losing our rights, that’s a passive thing, but responding to our enemies is also active. Jesus gets to this when he commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. <span>One scholar says that the word <em>love</em> means unconquerable benevolence and invincible goodwill</span>. I like that! The idea here is that no matter how bad you treat me, there’s nothing you can do to make me stop doing good to you. Even if the relationship has been toxic to the point where I have to leave because you fail to repent, I can still love you by praying for you.</p><p class="">I remember a season in my life where an individual had betrayed me, I mean really knifed me in the back. I was just hurt. I go on these prayer walks in the morning, and I just sensed the Lord saying to me, “I need you to commit to praying for this person, and I want you to pray prayers of blessing over them.” And I’m like, I’ll pray for them alright! Seriously, I started to pray that God would bless their finances, their kids and marriage, and so on. I prayed the great prayer of blessing over them from Numbers 6. You know what happened to me over time, don’t you? The anger and bitterness began to dissipate, and what started out as forced awkward prayers, ended up with being these intense, authentic, like really do this in their lives kind of prayers. Loving your enemy often begins with prayer!</p><p class="">Now this is so hard for me, and for you, because when people wound us, our natural reaction is to treat them in less than humane ways. Sometimes we lash out, but most of us are too sophisticated and prideful for that, so we delete their name and number, block or mute them on social media, avoid and ignore, and act as if they don’t exist. You know, the whole cancel culture thing. But this is not what Jesus means when he says to love our enemies.</p><p class="">Loving our enemies requires that we pray for them, but it also means that we acknowledge what Bishop Desmond Tutu calls <em>ubuntu</em>. In the 1990s when South Africa was emerging from apartheid, the nations leaders said we need more than changed laws, we need reconciliation among people of color and whites. So they started something you’ve heard of called the TRC. Now, Tutu in his book, <em>No Future Without Forgiveness</em>, says that the impetus for reconciliation was ubuntu. At its core ubuntu means my humanity is caught up with your humanity- that we need each other, that we are incomplete without each other. In other words, a failure to forgive and reconcile dehumanizes both the offended and the offender. One person, during apartheid, said that while they were being beaten by their enemy, he thought the person was acting like an animal, and that they needed to forgive this person in order to give them back their humanity! This is ubuntu.</p><p class="">Who’s humanity do you need to give back to? Who’s acted like an animal towards you, that your unconquerable and invincible love is needed to give them back their humanity. What beast do you need to “kiss” with your forgiveness? We can’t control reconciliation (that takes two), but we can extend the olive branch by forgiving.</p><p class="">Looking Like God- Matthew 5:44</p><p class=""><em>“So Bryan, do you really know my boss or co-workers and how often they’ve been to me? If you spent a week with my ex, you would understand that what you’ve been talking about is just impossible. Or do you know the racial trauma I’ve experienced?” </em>I mean why should I even consider engaging my enemies in such a way that they become friends? Jesus tells us in verse 44. You know what we call this? Common grace. Common grace says that God loves everyone, and by everyone we mean everyone. Daily, everyone is a recipient of God’s common grace. That’s right: Trump and Obama; MSNBC and Fox News watchers; Duke and UNC fans; people in Manhattan AND people on Staten Island!</p><p class="">No, seriously. This idea of God’s impartial active love called common grace is so important for us, because we do really act as if God should love us more than the person who hurt us. Theologian James Cone got to this in many of his books. Widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Black liberation theology, Cone said some deeply problematic things, things like the God we serve is <em>only</em> the God of the oppressed. It was Cone who popularized the oppressed/oppressor binary, with more virtue being assigned to the oppressed and multiple categories of oppression. And while this may make me feel good as a Black man, when I hold this thinking up to the lens of the gospel there are some significant problems. See, if I really get the gospel, and that it is for everyone, I come to the uncomfortable conclusion that Christ died for the lynched and the lynch mob, for BLM and the Proud Boys, for the spouse who didn’t cheat, and the spouse who did, for the persecuted and the persecutor! And when we show this kind of love towards those who have wronged us, we look like God!</p><p class="">And it’s here where Jesus ends by saying something so easily misunderstood: He calls us to be perfect in verse 48. Now he’s not talking about a life that is mistake free, oh no. The word <em>perfect</em> means completion or desired goal or end. Here it means a person who is living up to their full purpose. Don’t you see? In context, Jesus is saying that when we are wronged and refused to go quid pro quo, and instead choose to lose our rights, actively love and look like God in the midst of all the wrong, God slaps high five with Jesus and says, That’s exactly why I created them. You’re living up to your purpose- displaying the gospel!</p><p class="">Civil right’s leader John Lewis did this almost daily during the sixties. In 1961, he was a freedom rider, working to end segregation in bus terminals and other places. One day his bus stopped at Rock Hill, SC. He was met by a white man named Elwin Wilson who immediately began to beat him. In that moment, John Lewis thought to himself that it was not good enough to not hit back. It was not good enough to not hate. He needed to love the person even as they beat him. And that’s what he did. Over the years, Elwin could not get Lewis out of his mind, and the fact that he didn’t go quid pro quo. Finally, Elwin turned to Jesus, and in 2009 (48 years later) he turned to John Lewis and asked for forgiveness. John, being a Christian man freely forgave, and they reconciled and would speak together at events. Writing of this episode, Jon Meacham said that to know John Lewis was to clearly encounter a man whose kingdom was not of this world, but was of a different world!</p><p class="">Well, there was another man whose kingdom was not of this world, but was from another world. For 33 years he took on flesh and lived among us. When beaten he willingly gave up his rights. When attacked by an angry mob, he healed a man’s ear. When jeered, he refused to return evil for evil! The result is that you and I have gone from being enemies with God to being friends and sons and daughters of God. May we live the same way! </p> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="" data-image-dimensions="910x490" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="John Lewis and Elwin Wilson in 2018." data-load="false" data-image-id="60b599c6e08b710458c37656" data-type="image" src="" /> <figcaption class="image-caption-wrapper"> <p class="">John Lewis and Elwin Wilson in 2018.</p> </figcaption> </figure> Tohu Wabohu perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:334575f3-837e-8cb9-020c-bfa089729c3c Tue, 25 May 2021 20:57:13 -0500 The human story reflects a contrast between what the Creator intended from the promise of His presence versus humanity’s violation &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>The human story reflects a contrast between what the Creator intended from the promise of His presence versus humanity’s violation of His will and purpose. This contrast presents itself as a clash between the righteousness of God and corruption of humankind found in the books of Genesis to Revelation. Thus, an earth without form and void (Gn 1:2a) or <em>tohu wabohu</em> (Hebrew) may represent life in an empty place to believers in Christ&#8211;a metaphoric, subsequent condition resulting from leaving their First Love.&nbsp;</p> <p>To apply the concept of tohu wabohu to contemporary Christianity first necessitates tracing its significance in the Old Testament context. <em>Tohu Wabohu</em> occurs twice in the Old Testament in a combined form after Gn 1:1: Jer 4:23 and Is 34:11.&nbsp;<em>Without form</em>&nbsp;(Heb: <em>tohu</em>) signifies wasteness—that which is wasted, laid waste, formless, a worthless thing, or empty place; while&nbsp;<em>void</em>&nbsp;(Heb: <em>bohu</em>) indicates an undistinguishable ruin, voidness, or desolate—something void and empty. The ancient Israelites viewed the opposite of the created order as something much worse than wasteness and emptiness. To them, tohu wabohu had the characteristics of an active, malevolent force (Jer 4:23; Is 34:11)—chaos signifying God’s judgment culminating in the Battle of Armageddon.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div class="wp-block-cover aligncenter has-background-dim" style="min-height:265px;"><img data-attachment-id="5363" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="903,903" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="tohuwabahu-2" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="wp-block-cover__image-background wp-image-5363" alt="" src="" data-object-fit="cover" srcset=" 903w, 150w, 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 903px) 100vw, 903px" /><div class="wp-block-cover__inner-container"> <p class="has-large-font-size"></p> </div></div> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">T</span><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">ohu Wabohu: Transformation From Wasteness and Emptiness (Gn 1:1)</span></strong></h3> <p>“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth&nbsp;was without form and void; and darkness&nbsp;<em>was</em>&nbsp;upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gn 1:1-2). When God brought the heaven and the earth into existence from nothing, the earth appeared <em>tohu wabohu</em>&#8211;without form and void, in other words, wasteness (<em>tohu</em>) and emptiness (<em>bohu</em>). The earth in its initial state could not sustain life. Elohim had created it as a forerunner for His inhabitants to commune with Him, their covenant God Yahweh. He transformed the earth by His own word from tohu wabohu to order and fullness, a place where He could dwell intimately in the midst of His people and they would come to know Him in relationship. Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden opposed Elohim’s actions of creation for intimacy and fellowship. The Lord God banished them from paradise to the hardship of a land filled with disorder and chaos “to till the ground from whence he was taken”(3:23).&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Tohu Wabohu: Primeval Chaos (Jer 4:23)</span></strong></h3> <p>Scripture mentions another instance of <em>tohu wabohu</em>.<strong>&nbsp;</strong>Jeremiah 4:23 describes a land destroyed to the extent of primeval chaos as <em>tofu wabohu</em>.<strong>&nbsp;</strong>“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.” Just as God created the earth without form and void to order and fullness, His&nbsp;signaled a return to <em>tohu wabohu</em> (barren waste, GNB) from the promised, plentiful land.&nbsp;</p> <p>While God remained the faithful husband, Israel (the northern kingdom) rejected Him as the spiritually adulterous wife with false gods, likened to a harlot (2:20). They committed two evils in His sight, “They have abandoned me&#8211;the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” (2:13 NIV) Israel refused to repent. Because of their infidelity and lack of repentance, Israel lost her freedom (3:1-5).&nbsp;Judah did not remain loyal as well, lukewarm wanting both God and Baal (3:11). Judah forsake the Lord and and turned to idolatry. The people no longer knew Him. Thus, God allowed the invading Babylonians army to decimate their land until it became a barren waste of complete destruction (<em>tofu wabahu</em>). Even the birds flew away. However, the Spirit of God remained. God promised the Messiah Who foreshadowed a restored land with the fullness of the Godhead.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Tohu Wabohu: God’s Judgment of the Nations (Is 34:11)</span></strong></h3> <p>“But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it, the line of confusion and the stones of emptiness.” Isaiah described the day of the Lord’s vengeance against all nations (Is 34:8 KJV). The prophet predicted God’s apocalyptic judgment resulting in <em>tohu wabohu</em> against the Edomites for helping the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and then occupying the southern tip of Judah (Ps 137:1; Lam 4:21-22; Ez 25:12-14; 35:3; 15; Jl 3:19; Mal 1:2-5) The line of confusion symbolizes the Lord’s judgment (cf. 2 Kgs 21:13). Obadiah also warned of no survivor left in the house of Esau because they prevented refugees from leaving and handed them over to the enemy (Ob 11-14). The Lord made Edom a burnt offering (Isa 24:21) and marked the ruins of Bozzrah, its capital, for confusion and chaos (34:11). Only wildcats and goat demons would inhabit it (34:14). This judgment affects all the nations in cataclysmic destruction of humanity ushering in the new heavens and new earth (65:17). God returns the earth to Himself in a perfect, eternal state.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Knowing God or Living in an Empty Place</span></strong></h3> <p>“To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?” (Jb 26:4). Job responded with a true knowledge of God’s accomplishments to Bilhad’s misguided attacks. Then, Job illustrated the Lord’s divine grandeur, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Jb 26:7). Job refers to without form as an empty place (<em>tohu</em>), which was chaotic and suspended on nothing but His will and purpose. However, God created earth for His inhabitation (Is 45:18d). To believers in Christ<em> tohu wabohu</em> may represent life in an empty place separated from knowing God, a metaphoric subsequent condition resulting from leaving their First Love. </p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>May 25, 2021</p> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Bibliography</span></h3> <p>Custance, A. C. (2008).&nbsp;<em>Without form and void</em>. Retrieved from <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p></p> Lands of the Bible Cruise- 2022 Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:4f3d2d6b-d9da-05a0-d6cb-b6689a8987d1 Tue, 25 May 2021 11:51:08 -0500 <p class="">Join Drs. Bryan Loritts, Albert Tate, and Eric Mason on a 14-day teaching cruise through the holy lands. Click on the flyer for registration information. Register by July 3, 2021 to receive a $200 discount.</p> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <a class=" sqs-block-image-link " href="" > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="" data-image-dimensions="1200x675" data-image-focal-point="0.4781021897810219,0.7533231861998986" alt="Cruise flyer 1.png" data-load="false" data-image-id="60ad28faad40ed3618f3cd10" data-type="image" src="" /> </a> </figure> The Power of Black Therapy The Witness urn:uuid:13fb7f2f-f98a-2afb-c7ff-00cd5c73c234 Mon, 24 May 2021 09:15:00 -0500 About ten years ago, I went through a period of grief following the deaths of two friends. Grieving is never [&#8230;] PTM: The Cost of Reconstruction The Witness urn:uuid:7b78da04-4c82-5135-93d3-03d55a191cfd Mon, 24 May 2021 08:30:00 -0500 This Behind the Mic was too good not to share! Tyler and Jemar talk about the cost of reconstruction after [&#8230;] The Cost of Leaving The Witness urn:uuid:ce1b5fbe-2551-78ee-d12e-b8ec86c28f05 Fri, 21 May 2021 06:00:00 -0500 Let me keep it buck: church hurt sucks. And when you #LeaveLOUD, church hurt often comes with a side of [&#8230;] PTM: Creative Anti-Racism with Danielle Coke The Witness urn:uuid:08bd38a9-2109-88f4-4191-811c601d52cb Mon, 17 May 2021 06:00:00 -0500 Today we have a special interview for you! Our host Tyler Burns recently interviewed Danielle Coke, also known as @ohhappydani, [&#8230;] Emmanuel Among the People: Laying Out the Tent’s Foundation perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:381d1e96-1a86-7732-de9e-83ca89a90ec8 Fri, 14 May 2021 16:20:27 -0500 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan (Mt 4:25).</p></blockquote> <p>The covenant God Yahweh incarnated Himself in Jesus—“Yahweh breaking into the human realm to bring salvation” (Mt 1:21).<sup>1</sup> Thus, God manifested Himself as Jesus, who came to rule His kingdom and bring redemption. For this very purpose, God dwelt among His people (Is 7:14) and set up His tent as their heavenly dwelling place on earth. In particular, He did so amidst a diverse segment of a Mediterranean populace from the ruling Jewish class to Gentiles. Jesus spread His tent far and wide from Galilee. Consequently, not only Jews heard about the kingdom of heaven, but also Gentiles.</p> <p>A well-structured tent involves many preparatory steps to maintain its sturdiness among the elements. One of the initial steps for setting up a tent requires a foundational barrier to protect it from the ground. That barrier should cover an area large enough to support the tent itself. By stationing His ministry in Galilee, Jesus had a locational launchpad giving Him access to the regions encircling it, in turn, expanding His reach to a broad-based demographic for all those who would seek Him where He dwelt. As a result, a diverse multitude of people heard Jesus’ word and witness from within and outside Galilee’s borders.</p> <p>While the authority of Jesus’ redemptive, divine presence threatened the existing Jewish power structure, the expanse of His dwelling place enlarged out from Galilee, affecting both Jews and Gentiles. Great crowds followed Him from Galilee to the east from Decapolis, south from Jerusalem and surrounding Judean areas, and beyond Jordan (Mt 4:25). In essence, His divinity reached across the masses in His humanity as the Light of life (Jn 8:12). His foundation covered a wide area of which to give access to the gathered into His tent. The better and more perfect tent came in Jesus’ own body in the flesh, a house not made with hands, as God incarnated. Later on the Cross, He would offer it up with His own blood. The expansion of His tent from Galilee’s borders to the surrounding regions gathered those who would hear His teachings on the sermon on the mount (Mt 5).<sup>2 3 </sup></p> <p><img loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="5209" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="680,1041" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="map-palestine-new-testament-times" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone wp-image-5209 aligncenter" src="" alt="map-palestine-new-testament-times" width="266" height="407" srcset=";h=407 266w,;h=814 532w,;h=150 98w,;h=300 196w" sizes="(max-width: 266px) 100vw, 266px" /></p> <p style="text-align:center;">Bible</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Galilee.</span></strong> Beginning at Galilee to the nations (cf. Mt 28:19), Jesus&#8211;Yahweh is salvation&#8211;taught in the synagogues and preached the Gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23). Preached (Greek: <em>kēryssō</em>) in the context of 4:23 means to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom openly and matters related to it. In doing so, Jesus also established His credentials as its Messiah among the lost sheep of the house of Israel.<sup>4</sup> The gospels mention He taught in the synagogues on ten occasions. Synagogue in Greek means assembly. It formed a key locale for Jews to come together for communal life central to their identity.<sup>5</sup> Moreover, Jews held prayer, Torah study, and Scripture readings there. Jesus mingled with the people and brought the presence of the manifested kingdom (12:28) and His eternal rule over His creation. From the synagogue vicinity, He later birthed His new community of believers on the Day of Pentecost. </p> <p>Jesus relocated from Nazareth to Galilee in Capernaum, thus fulfilling Emmanuel as the promised light dawning on the territories of the tribes of Zebulun and Nephtali from spiritual darkness.—They who “sat in darkness saw a great light” (Mt 4:16a; Jn 8:12; IS 8:23-9:6). During the time of the prophet Isaiah, the Assyrians conquered the two territories and the whole of the Northern Kingdom. Other invaders occupied it during Neo-Assyrian, Persian, Hellenist, and Roman periods. Isaiah prophesied the light, Emmanuel&#8211;God with us, would deliver them from their oppression. Many Galileans received Jesus during His ministry there. Galilee included the cities of Capernaum, Magdala, and Chorazin. Though Jewish in ethos and population, the Romans controlled Galilee and left a Hellenist influence.<sup>6</sup> Roman officials resided in Capernaum, even though a Jewish town<sup>.7</sup> They also populated Tiberias, just south of Capernaum. However, Tiberias differed culturally from Tiberias since Romans had recently built the city. During Jesus’ ministry, 204 towns and villages spread across Galilee populated primarily by agrarian and fishing communities.<sup>9</sup> Due to Roman rule by Herod Antipas, Gentiles also lived in lower Galilee in growing, urbanized city centers. Hence, its residents reflected a culturally and economically mixed demographic. From this rich mix of people, Jesus extended His tent outward from Galilee. The gathered included the multitudes who would hear His teachings on the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5).</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">D</span></strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>ecapolis.</strong> </span>Galilee and Decapolis combined comprised the northern area of Jesus’ ministry. Greek settler-soldiers from the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms originally founded Decapolis&#8211;known as the ten cities&#8211;after the death of Alexander the Great.<sup>10 </sup>Thus, Decapolis’ demographics primarily comprised a Hellenist population.<sup>11 </sup>Further, the founders’ cultural origins left a strong influence from Greek worldviews and subsequent practices in the region. Later, Romans ruled Decapolis as one of its provinces. The Roman legate from Syria ruled the inhabitants of Decapolis’ cities. </p> <p>Jesus visited the region twice, restoring a demon-possessed man (Mk 5:20) and healing a deaf and mute (7:31). Upon learning of His mercy, it amazed the inhabitants (5:20c; 7:37). While the Pharisees considered the area’s Hellenist practices morally offensive and off-limits due to herds of pigs (5:11), Jesus met its populace on their grounds and confronted darkness. Many from the area followed Him into Galilee, His merciful nature and authority preceding Him.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jerusalem.</span></strong> In contrast to Galilee, Jerusalem represented what Ernst Renan described as obstinate Judaism, founded by Pharisees and fixed by the Talmud.<sup>12</sup> John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a generation of vipers (Mt 3:7)&#8211;children from the seed of the serpent following after the lusts of their father the devil (Jn 8:44).  Jesus also likened them to vipers who would try to evade the flames, but the fires would consume them (Mt 23:33). Their corrupt and evil works would not allow them to escape the condemnation of hell.</p> <p>Both the crowds and the ruling Jews sought after Jesus but for different reasons. Matthew 4:24 points out Jesus’ “fame went throughout all Syria.” The multitudes brought Him their sick, tormented, possessed, lunatick, and palsy for healing. Large crowds continually followed Jesus. His fame also caught the attention of the Pharisees and Sadducees, enraging them. While the crowds anxiously sought out Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees plotted His demise. After Jesus healed the lame man in Bethesda on the Sabbath and substantiated His authority by referring to God as His Father, the Jews sought to kill Him (Jn 5:18-47). Ultimately, Jesus died there crucified on the Cross, giving the ultimate sacrifice atoning for humanity’s sin.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Judea.</span></strong><sup>13</sup> Matthew 4:25 separates the multitudes that followed Jesus of Judea from Jerusalem even though the region contained the city. Judea, a province of Rome, lay south of Galilee. It included the former territories of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. Considered an upper hill country, it extended from the north to Bethel, south to Beth Zur, west to Emmaus, and east to the Jordan River. Economically, Judeans considered themselves more sophisticated Jews open to Hellenistic influences than their southern, Galilean neighbors (Jn 1:46).<sup>14</sup>Also, Galileans spoke a different form of Aramaic (Mk 14:7; Jn 7:52; Acts 2:7), which the Judeans looked upon as crude.  </p> <p>While Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Mt 2:1, 5, 6; cf. Mi 5:2), the book of Matthew only features His baptism there before chapter four. Yet, the event marks a pivotal moment in redemptive history. In the Judean wilderness, God publicly announced Jesus as His beloved Son and anointed Him as the Messiah (Mt 3:16-17). Later, Jesus ministered in Judea (Mk 10:1; Jn 4:3). Also, Judeans did hear Jesus’ teachings and witness His miracles (Lk 5:17). Later, however, Jesus experienced persecution there (Jn 4:1-3).&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>And from beyond Jordan</strong>. </span>Known as Peraea, the area pertains to the territory east of the Jordan River. The territory bounded Decapolis to the north and east with Samaria and Judea to the west. The Jews did not esteem the region east of Jordan since only the land of Canaan (or Israel) symbolized a holier than all lands&#8211;the land flowing with milk and honey.<sup>15</sup></p> <p>When the Hebrews had conquered and made ready for settlement the land east of Jordan, the children of Reuben and Gad claimed the lands known as Jazer and Gilead as their inheritance because of its suitability to graze their livestock there (Nm 32:1-5). However, their choice left them vulnerable to attack. Second Kings 15:29 tells that the King of Assyria placed them in captivity there as the first in exile of the tribes from the Northern Kingdom of Israel.</p> <p>Jesus&#8217; Perean ministry began with His departure from Galilee (Mt 19:1; Mk 10:1) and ended with Mary anointing Him in Bethany (Mt 26:6) and His journey towards Jerusalem commencing (Mk 10:32). Mathew previously mentioned the people from that region in the account of John for the baptism of repentance in the Jordan River: that all the areas around it went out to Him (Matt 3:5 NKJV).&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Scope of Jesus&#8217; Tent</span></h3> <p>As Jesus unfolded the range of His tent’s groundsheet, He ministered to Jews and Gentiles as well. Beginning in Mt 2:12 with the pagan magi and spreading to all Syria and Decapolis, non-Jews experienced the kingdom of heaven, too. Jesus saw no class or ethnic distinctions among people. In contrast, the Pharisees created a dichotomy labeling people as insiders or outsiders, with outsiders considered unworthy sinners (i.e., Lk 7:37). He offered salvation to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. He also did not esteem one nation over the other, as did the Jews with Israel.</p> <p>Further, the Messiah did not distinguish between statuses of personages; instead, He brought forth all who came to Him into a new community of believers as one. Paul described this unity in Gal 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” He freed the oppressed, the afflicted, and the wounded, preaching the gospel to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, bringing deliverance to the captives, and recovering the sight to the blind to free the bruised (Luke 4:18). The foundation for His tent set initially in Galilee extended across the world, offering rest in Him to all humanity.</p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Notes</span></strong></p> <p><sup>1 </sup>David K. Bernard, <em>Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ: Deification of Jesus in Early Christian Discourse </em>(Deo Publishing, 2016), 87.</p> <p><sup>2 </sup>E. Masterman, “Galilee in the Time of Christ,” <em>The Biblical World</em> 32, no. 6 (1908): pp. 405-416, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.</p> <p><sup>3</sup> According to Ex 33:7-11, this <strong>tent</strong> was for communion with Yahweh, to receive oracles and to understand the divine will.</p> <p><sup>4 </sup>G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, <em>Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament </em>(Grand Rapids, 2007) 21.</p> <p><sup>5</sup> Ray Vander Laan, “He Went to the Synagogue,” That the World May Know,<em> </em>accessed May 13, 2021, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.</p> <p><sup>6</sup> Randall Niles, “Galilee at the time of Jesus,” Drive Through History, accessed May 11, 2021 <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.</p> <p><sup>7 </sup>R. T. France, <em>The Gospel of Matthew</em> (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007), chap. 2, Kindle.</p> <p><sup>8</sup> France, T<em>he Gospel of Matthew</em>, chap. 2.</p> <p><sup>9 </sup>Selah Merrill, <em>Galilee in the Time of Christ</em> (Elibron Books, 2006), chap. 2,  Kindle.</p> <p><sup>10</sup> Ray Vander Laan, “He Went to the Synagogue.”</p> <p><sup>11</sup> Ray Vander Laan, ”A Far Country Decapolis,” That the World May Know, accessed May 10, 2011, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.</p> <p><sup>12</sup> E. Renan, <em>The Life of Jesus </em>(trans. C.E. Wilbour; New York, 1991) 56f.</p> <p><sup>13</sup> &#8220;What Is the Significance of Judea?” Got Questions?, accessed May 12, 2021, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p><sup>14</sup> Justin Taylor &#8220;7 Differences Between Galilee and Judea in the Time of Jesus,&#8221;<em> </em>Gospel <em>Coalition</em>, accessed May 9, 2021, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.</p> <p><sup>15 </sup>&#8220;Mishnah Kelim 1:6,&#8221;, accessed May 9, 2021, <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> </p> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p> List of Christian Social Networks in 2021 urn:uuid:f1b1156b-fffb-33bd-3f93-7dabed525861 Mon, 10 May 2021 16:30:20 -0500 <p>Many social networks exist on the internet for a season, some last longer than others. There are some that are specifically for Christians. While Christians are called to be salt and light in the world, that means being in conversations&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">List of Christian Social Networks in 2021</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p> Leading Cause of Death among Asian American Young Adults urn:uuid:da640b3e-041b-289f-1c67-c3f49a12350e Sat, 24 Apr 2021 19:48:02 -0500 <p>Do you know what is causing more deaths among Asian American young adults between the ages of 15 and 24? It&#8217;s not anti-Asian hate crimes by others; it&#8217;s suicide, a self-directed act of violence that results in death. But it&#8217;s&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Leading Cause of Death among Asian American Young Adults</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p> What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2) The Front Porch urn:uuid:ed057c63-2b12-5382-bb85-73fe13fc8fc0 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 10:05:20 -0500 <p>In the first installment of this series the aim was to remind those of us who have made the choice to #leaveLOUD, that Christ is the “founder and perfecter of...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">first installment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of this series the aim was to remind those of us who have made the choice to </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">#leaveLOUD</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, that Christ is the “founder and perfecter of our faith” according to Hebrews 12:2a (ESV). With Christ as the foundation, we have the freedom to ask questions and interrogate our beliefs. We can do so without fear of losing our faith. Consider Acts 17:26-28 (CSB):</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and </span></i><b><i>perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring’.” </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember that those who are deconstructing are in good company. As Charles Holmes states in his </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent article</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s a need for healthy forms of deconstruction, some of which we see in the Scriptures through the prophets and the life and teachings of Jesus. Jesus Himself made radical critiques of the religious leaders of His day, bringing correction to their abusive and harmful religious practices.”</span></p> <p><b>How Might This Look In Daily Living?</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As stated in the first article of this series, our reclaiming process will look as varied and personal as we are all unique. For example, I am a Latina, a wife, a mother to four children, and a small group leader/mentor whose days are full of loving and caring for the souls that are in close (sometimes too close) proximity to me. I have intersections and a lifetime of layers of beliefs that I am working through. Perhaps some of my practices will spark potential practices in which you can process your journey. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can seem overwhelming because white supremacy has permeated all aspects of white evangelicalism. We must take it one step at a time. Or as the Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (CSB), “</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments, and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and </span></i><b><i>we take every thought captive to obey Christ</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">.”</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clearly, the apostle understands that various “arguments” and “proud things” will attempt to dethrone the knowledge of God in the Christian life. He calls the Christian to </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">demolish</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> those arguments and proud things. That means to destroy them or tear them down. But we cannot demolish these strongholds, arguments and proud things unless we first identify them and distinguish them from the truth that is in Christ. For me this means when a thought enters my head, a child, friend, or small group member asks me a question, etc., I ask myself these questions:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">What have I believed about this before?</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Who does this benefit?</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">How does the Bible address this?</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s use the doctrine of complementarity as an example.</span></p> <p><b>The Doctrine of Complementarity</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I have wrestled with the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Doctrine of Complementarity</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">  in recent years. I will not get theologically academic in this article, but I will get personal with how I have dealt with this doctrine. I attended a globally recognized church for over 13 years where this doctrine was held in such high regard that anyone who wanted to become a member had to affirm belief in this doctrine before they were approved into membership. I share about some of this in my </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">#leaveLOUD first visit</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on The Front Porch. “I assimilated in the ways that the church desired without much resistance because I felt there were biblical implications to support this self-erasure. Christ-likeness was the aim. Yet the deeper I went into the cultural fabric of this community the more I began to observe a disconnect between what was proclaimed and what was practiced.”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>What have I believed about this before?</i></b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Upon membership I jumped headlong into being mentored by multiple older women in the faith. I was in book studies, Bible studies, and homemaking groups. I read </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. I was committed to being a housewife and a homeschool mother when my children were old enough. I looked down on women who worked outside the home and truly felt they were being disobedient to the Lord because Scripture was clear that women should be “workers at home” (Titus 2:4, CSB). Families whose children went to public school were not doing what was best for their children. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I began to realize that what I was being taught was a flawed interpretation of Scripture. These things were taught through implication, as well as subtly from the pulpit, Titus 2 ministry, Bible study, mother’s ministry. Thus my self-righteousness was born.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>Who does this benefit?</i></b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the years passed, I grew older and began thinking about the women who raised me, as well as other women who lived differently than me. I began to lay the implications of this doctrine over their lives. Was my Mexican-American grandmother, who worked as a migrant worker in South Texas most of her life walking in disobedience to the Lord because she was out picking cotton in the sweltering sun? Or was that job a means of provision from Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide) that allowed her and my grandfather the ability to feed and clothe their ten children?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The truth was that every female ancestor in my family worked outside the home. I was the first afforded the privilege to stay home with my children. Were all of them walking in contrast to Scripture? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I began to realize that the cultural context of the Doctrine of Complementarity worked best in a white evangelical setting and they were the ones who benefitted the most from this doctrine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aside from my personal cultural context, in the church setting I noticed that white men were those who were the main beneficiaries in the Doctrine of Complementarity. In the church service, women were essentially absent from view, except for the back up singers in the choir or the pianist. In leadership, there was one women’s minister for a congregation that had over 2,000 female attendees out of approximately 3,800 regular attenders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What does this mean? Disproportionate representation for the issues of women, especially the marginalized within this demographic (i.e. non-married, divorced, or single mothers). To our shame, it was not until the Spring of 2019 that there was a Sunday School for single mothers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A dear friend, who is a single mother once told me, “There is no place for me. The shame I felt working in the nursery with my son when the other workers found out I was his mom. They did not speak to me the rest of the time we were working.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The culture that was created was one that idolized white middle-class traditional marriage and ostracized anyone who did not fit that mold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the home and marriage, it meant that the husband/father made the final call in decisions and at times the wife’s views did not hold the same worth as her husband’s because she was weaker and deceived more easily. For example, there were times when I’d hear a sister explain to me how she had been praying about something and expressed her feelings to her husband, only to be met by dismissal and lack of consideration when he would make an opposing decision that wounded her.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the years, I witnessed many wives submitting to the point of being abused, yet I rarely if ever experienced or witnessed husbands loving their wives </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(Ephesians 5:25b, CSB).</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>How Does the Bible Address This?</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Danvers Statement from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood claims it has the authoritative interpretation of what God says in regard to gender roles. I am not convinced. I have witnessed and experienced too much of the negative personal implications of this doctrine to ascribe to complementarity anymore. This doctrine has proven to not take into consideration the needs of anyone other than majority culture with financial means to entertain such privileges. Complementarity looks great on paper but in practice it tilts toward oppression.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I follow Jesus’s life and teachings, I see a man who cared for women in ways that flipped patriarchy and misogyny on its head. Throughout his life on Earth he ministered to women in a very unique way. In her book, <a href=""><em>Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian</em></a>, Michelle Lee-Barnewall asserts, “Jesus’s actions and words are a significant statement about the acceptance of women in the kingdom of God. Women were not traditionally disciples of a rabbi, and it would be unheard of for a rabbi to come into a woman’s house to teach her specifically.” She later continues, “Not only were women accepted and presented as exemplary disciples, but in a surprising reversal, they are even portrayed as being more faithful than the Twelve.” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b>Jesus Honored Women </b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He went out of his way to meet “the woman at the well,” meeting her at the well that Jacob had dug in Samaria. A Jewish man not only interacting with a Samaritan, which was culturally frowned upon because the Samaritans were not pure Jews. John 4:27 (CSB) says,</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Just then his disciples arrived, and they were amazed that he was talking with a woman.&#8221;</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jesus’s interaction with “the woman with the issue of blood” was miraculous due to healing her long term condition with but the touch of his robe. Luke 5:46-48 (CSB), </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“‘Someone touched me,’ Jesus said. ‘I know that power has gone out from me.’ When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched him and how she was instantly healed. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’”</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When a woman, who is labeled “a sinner,” begins washing Jesus’s feet with her tears and hair, those in attendance begin to say things to themselves about this unclean association. Christ corrects them.</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Turning to the woman, he said to Simon (Pharisee and owner of the home), ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’” </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luke 7:44-48 (CSB)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many more accounts of his treatment of women in the New Testament. He took time to address them. He made it clear that he valued them. He bent down low to acknowledge them and lift them up in restoration of their bodies and souls in the presence of men. He employed his power to elevate women, showing those present a better way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I believe Christ’s treatment of women was vastly different from what I witnessed in the church I was a member of and different from my own marriage while we were living out complementarity. My husband and I have been processing much over the last few years and have currently landed on Philipians 2:3-4 (CSB), “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others.” This has been a refreshing perspective shift for us. </span></p> <p><b>Let’s Follow Jesus</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During these days of reclaiming I often find myself in the Psalms and the Epistles. I need the comforting balm of the Psalms as it seems things are falling apart from the church house to the furthest reaches of the earth. I crave the words of Jesus. I want to remember what he said, what he did, who he ate with, and how he kept everyone in awe. He gave us clear instructions on what we were called to do, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“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 everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we work through questions in regard to our faith, it will ultimately require us to walk by faith and not by sight. We are forced to trust the Holy Spirit guiding us as a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My prayer for all of us who are renewing our faith is this:</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through a faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith &#8211; more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire &#8211; may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls,” 1 Peter 1: 3-9 (CSB). </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">May we rest in the reality that we are kept, guarded, and saved, Beloved.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Front Porch</a>.</p> Prophets AND Pastors Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:76c547e3-23e2-5523-7073-da70fd6ba881 Tue, 06 Apr 2021 16:38:43 -0500 <p class="">A Pastoral Word in a Prophetically Dominated Conversation on Race:</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">One of the challenges of recent discussions regarding race is that we are hearing more from prophets than we are from pastors, and there is a world of difference. Prophets care more about the what. They speak to the issue. The prophet’s wardrobe has historically been monochromatic, allowing little room for variation. And please don’t misunderstand me, we need prophets. Prophets tell it like it t-i-is. Prophets make us squirm. Prophets tend to talk and tweet with their outside voice. Prophets tell us to #leaveloud, call out white supremacy and white privilege, then exit stage right, heading out to the next event.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">But when the event is over and you are sitting in a multiethnic room for the debrief, among people who go to your church where you have not been called to leave (or #leaveloud for that matter), what then? It’s here where you need a pastor.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Writing to the Colossians, Paul said something interesting regarding his aim as a pastor: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). In essence, Paul is working under the pastoral assumption of immaturity. Like a parent, Paul takes it for granted that his people just won’t get it, and so should we as pastors. Every day our people are being formed away from God’s vision for sexuality and generosity (to mention just a couple examples), so of course they won’t get it when we call them to steward their bodies and money God’s way.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">The same holds true when it comes to matters of race and ethnic unity. For four hundred years in America, we have been shaped by a system that seeks to <em>extend</em> value to one group of people based on the color of their skin and <em>extract</em> value from other people groups based on the color of their skin. So when they show up to our churches, we likewise must assume immaturity in matters of race and ethnic unity. The prophet points this out, while the pastor must patiently walk this out.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">It was the great African American pastor, A. Louis Patterson who said there are three qualities for the pastor:&nbsp;</p><p class="">1. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class="">2. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class="">3. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">While prophets care about the <em>what</em>, pastors care about the <em>who</em> and the <em>how</em>. While prophets point to the desired destination, pastors join with the people on the journey. While prophets are blunt with their language, pastors are careful with their language. Prophets have a low threshold for pain; pastors have a much higher threshold.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">So what does this mean for us on a real practical level? Several things. First, you have to know your calling and function accordingly. We need both prophets and pastors. But if you try to function as a prophet while wearing the title of “pastor” in a multiethnic church setting, you will not last long. You can’t retweet prophetically true, yet abrasive statements while wearing the mantle of pastor or leader in a multiethnic church. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve found myself nodding my head over the prophet’s social media post, while resting my thumbs.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Second, as pastors we must be careful with language, especially in a multiethnic church setting. Truth is uncomfortable. I get that. When talking about matters of race and ethnic unity, you can say things as carefully as you can, while injecting a lot of levity, and people will still send the nasty email—and even leave. Understood. I am not asking us to water down the truth. However, the multiethnic pastor is keenly aware of how people will hear things, and will not unnecessarily trigger. After all, they are dealing with immature people, shaped by four hundred years of racism. The pastor, in talking about race, will always ask, “Is there a way to faithfully deal with the text, exegete the culture, and call out the sin, without unnecessarily alienating people?”&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Prophets are needed, and so are pastors. Prophets are like doctors who diagnose and necessarily inflict pain during surgery. Pastors are the physical therapists who encourage their patient to push through the pain. Prophets, like doctors, are there for a moment, while physical therapists show up over and over again, coming alongside their patient in their journey into wholeness.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need both.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We don’t need pastors who ignore the prophets.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We don’t need prophets tearing down pastors.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need both.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need to work together.</p><p class=""><br></p> How to Understand Anti-Asian Hate Crimes urn:uuid:4bf5afd5-d539-953a-b372-8daef6e12b0e Sat, 20 Mar 2021 13:23:18 -0500 <p>Since the start of the global pandemic with COVID-19, there&#8217;s been over 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes. And those are only the number reported; undoubtedly there are many more unreported. Anti-Asian sentiment has been a part of American history,&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">How to Understand Anti-Asian Hate Crimes</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Jehovah-Jireh (The LORD Provides in His Provision) perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:05ff156f-95d8-260a-740b-7581f0d88d8b Mon, 15 Mar 2021 09:27:05 -0500 Jehovah signifies the covenant name God revealed to the people of Israel. When Moses asked God who sent him, He &#8230;<p><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>Jehovah signifies the covenant name God revealed to the people of Israel. When Moses asked God who sent him, He replied, “Thou shalt say to the people of Israel, Jehovah sent me unto you; this is My name forever” (Exod 3:15 KJV). The name makes known the Coming One and His action of redemption for the Israelites. The Messiah will come for the final crushing of the serpent’s head and provide salvation for His people (Gen 3:15).</p> <p>Jehovah’s name remains immutable. “I am Jehovah, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6.) When coupled with another descriptor in a compound name, it explains other roles and natures of who He is and what He will do. The incarnate God in Jesus continues in these roles to supply all our needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). This writing explores the first expression of His redemptive title and nature, Jehovah-jireh. Barry Liesch in <em>People in the Presence of God </em>said, “God by His very character, loves to bless His people” (1988, p. 22). The incarnate God in Jesus’ divine and human character blesses His people as Jehovah-jireh illustrating its fullness by four redemptive provisions<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a> and three redemptive roles.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a>      </p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><img alt="Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice. Etching and drypoint on paper, 1655. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam." src="" width="383" height="227"></p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><sup>(Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice, 1655)&nbsp;</sup></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><br><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>Four Provisions of Jehovah-jireh</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>Jehovah-jireh means the LORD that provides (Gen 22:14; cf. John 1:29; Heb 11:17-19). The Lord revealed His first redemptive name in a place up yonder on Mt. Moriah (Gen 22) when He tested and proved Abraham’s faith with the command to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. Upon examination of Gen 22, Scripture uncovers four aspects of Jehovah-jireh’s provision:</p> <ol><li>Blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18)&nbsp;</li><li>Opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10)</li><li>God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13)</li><li>Promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)</li></ol> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 1: Blessing From One’s Faithful Response to Testing</span></strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>&nbsp;</strong>(22:1-2; 16-18)&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>Jesus embodies the one, true God with the character, quality, and personality of the express image of God’s own substance (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:3; and 2 Pet 1:1). All the names and titles of the Deity apply to Jesus including Jehovah-jireh. Thus, Jehovah first revealed His unchangeable nature as Jehovah-jireh at a place called yonder or Jehovahjireh (Gen 22:13-14) with the provision of a blessing:</p> <p>And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: <sup>17&nbsp;</sup>That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; <sup>18&nbsp;</sup>And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (22:16-18).</p> <p>Testing means temptation. Before the provisions of covenant, God tested Abraham’s faith on Mt. Moriah by asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac, “whom though lovest” (21:5; 22:2). He tempted Abraham to act in faithful obedience. Faith appropriates His provisions as Jehovah-jireh. God already had pre-established with Abraham that through Isaac He would establish His covenant “for an everlasting covenant and his seed after him” (17:19). God identified Isaac by name as the legal heir to the promise years prior to Mt. Moriah.</p> <p>The promise of Isaac as the legal seed to the inheritance required Abraham to stand in faith on what God ordained. James 2:14-26 teaches faith comes alive with active obedience by response, commitment, and action (Bernard, <em>Message of Romans</em>, 2010). Abraham responded yielded to God’s command without objection or hesitation. One does not read of Abraham negotiating otherwise with the Lord, rather Scripture tells he rose early the following morning to take the three-day journey to Moriah. He showed commitment by ascending the mountain with Isaac carrying wood, fire, and knife. Abraham’s action of declaration to his son Isaac that God will provide a lamb for a burnt offering displayed steadfast faith (22:7).&nbsp;</p> <p>By Abraham’s obedience to heed the Lord’s command, Jehovah supplied a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac to insure the future seed for provisions of the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:13, 18; Heb 11:17). Because of Abraham’s obedience, God would fulfill the everlasting covenant through the sacrificial Lamb of God (Gen 17:7; John 1:29). Abraham’s obedience by faith provided not only for him in the immediate context, but also to generations to come. As the father of those who walk in the righteousness of faith, Abraham exemplifies provisions coming from God’s grace (Rom 4:1-16).</p> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 2: Worship Through Sacrifice (vv. 5-10) </span></h3> <p>In the Old Testament, the Israelites considered rendering sacrificial offerings as a means to worship their God (Kurtz, 2004). A true sacrifice for worship must be what God wants and by faith. The Lord respected Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock by faith because he followed5 according the instructions; however, God rejected Cain’s of the fruit from the ground since he gave what he desired (Gen 4:3-5). One presented acceptable worship and the other unacceptable.&nbsp;</p> <p>The first mention of worship in connection with worship occurred with Abraham (Gen 22:4), back dropping the essence of Jehovah-jireh in covenant. Abraham presented a blood sacrifice of his own son acting out his faith and obedience. God stated the test in emotional descriptors depicting Isaac as if to emphasize the gravity and magnitude of the command: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (22:2a). Worship requires complete reliance on God when releasing sacrifice in worship. On the third day of their journey, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place yonder of which the Lord would tell him. He went up yonder with Isaac who carried his own wood of the burnt offering for sacrifice. Abraham then drew near to Yahweh’s presence standing on the everlasting covenant between God, himself, and his seed through worship. When Abraham bound Isaac covenant on the firewood and raised the sacrificial knife, the father of many nations demonstrated the full reliance and uncompromising trust in relationship Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, to whom he relinquished his son, the heir to the covenantal promise.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Worship gives God glory, fueled by faith. Generations gain understanding of God’s desire for true sacrificial worship in Abraham offering Isaac; and at the same time, see Abraham “against hope believed in hope in an unchanging God (Rom 4:18a). Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform” (4:20-21). God honors true sacrifice in worship with His provisions.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 3: God’s Presence During Trials (vv. 11-13)</span></strong></h3> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Just as Abraham readied to slay his beloved son Issac with hand outstretched (22:10, a voice from heaven identified as the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham:</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.<sup>12</sup>And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me (Gen 22:11b-12).</p></blockquote> <p>The angel of the Lord commanded Abraham to release Isaac, render another sacrifice, and promised his descendants will be “numerous as the stars of heaven” (22:22b). Biblical interpreters vary as to whether the angel of the Lord juxtaposed as Yahweh with the two names interchangeable or the term exclusively refers to the angel of the Lord as His messenger. Internal) textual evidence of the Gen 22:11-12 (cf. 15-18) narrative suggests the former. The speaker called Abraham by name with divine authority in the first person. He ordered two commands and made a promise to Abraham. Most notably, the angel of Yahweh talked to Abraham as the Lord Himself (22:12, 17-18). The manner and content in which He spoke suggests a theophany, a manifestation of God.&nbsp;</p> <p>Consequently, God did not leave Abraham during the testing, rather walked alongside him and then honored his yielding to Him. As a result, the covenant-keeping God not only supplied a substitutionary blood sacrifice with a ram in the bush, but also reiterated the regeneration of the Abramaic lineage through the fulfillment of the Seed Messiah. In the midst of a dark trial, Yahweh confirmed the promised Light—the sacrificial Lamb who would redeem Israel.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 4: <strong>Redemption Through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)</strong></span></h3> <p>Abraham’s story teaches that God’s blessings come by faith, not works. Faith saved Abraham. Without faith, Abraham would not have realized the promised seed.&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Three Redemptive Roles of Jehovah-jireh</span></strong></h3> <p>Jesus is Jehovah Jireh, the place called yonder, for “On the mountain of the Lord it will be seen and provided” (Gen 22:14b AMP). Some archeological evidence suggests Golgotha as one of the hills on Mt. Moriah. God clothed in flesh sacrificed His only Begotten Son as the sacrificial sin offering for humankind on the hill of Golgotha at Calvary. Thus, this same name Jehovah-jireh embodies God incarnated in Jesus to complete the fullness of this title with three redemptive roles fulfilled as the son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah (Matt 1:1; Luke 19:9; John 8:58; Rom 9-11; Gal 3:16; Heb 11:8); Only Begotten Son, Word made flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah</span></strong></h3> <p>Jesus fulfilled Yahweh’s child of promise, as the ultimate substitutionary sacrifice who would atone for the sins of humanity. Jehovah-jireh, revealed Himself as the Saving Seed to both Jews and Gentiles, found in the Son of Abraham in the Matthean genealogy (Matt 1:1). The evangelist Matthew showed Abraham’s seed as the Lord God of Israel in flesh (Cox, Reader, p. 13; Matt 1:22-23).&nbsp;</p> <p>Abraham fathered Ishmael by Hagar a slave women, and Isaac through Sarah a free woman. Isaac exclusively holds the claim of Abraham’s son of promise and legal heir. Therefore, Isaac typed Jesus, who fulfilled the Saving Seed called the Messiah (Matt 1:16). God required only Abraham and Isaac to go up to the place called yonder where they would receive the provision, which the Lord revealed as Jehovahjireh. Jesus descended 42 generations after Abraham (Matt 1: 1-13) through Isaac the son of promise to fulfill the ultimate provision with the sin sacrifice as the Son of Abraham and Saving-Seed Messiah. Therefore, Jesus is the place called Yonder, the Jehovah-jireh. In Jesus’ First Coming He established the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” for the Lord’s provision of a substitutionary sacrifice.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah-Jireh: Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh</span></strong></h3> <p>In the messianic genealogies in the gospels, both Luke and Matthew in their infancy narratives explain the Lord God of Israel in flesh, beget through Jesus’ Sonship as the Son of God. When the Spirit came upon the virgin, the power of the Most High overshadowed her and conceived the begotten Son uniting flesh with divinity in the incarnate Jesus who would “save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:18, 20-21; Luke 1:35).&nbsp;</p> <p>The only son offering (Isaac) in the Genesis narrative (22:2) typed a greater Son (Jesus) offering profiled in the Gospel of John prologue (1:14, 18; 3:16) the Only Begotten Son, the Word made flesh. The Begotten Son fulfilled “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” or God will provide a Lamb for Himself (22:8a; Bernard, 2014). God made flesh in Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29). John in his Gospel supported the manifestation of divinity in humanity in the begotten Son as well: “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; cf. 1:18). This divine procreation in Mary’s womb begetting the Son of God provides a continual redemption for humanity, completed in Jesus’ second coming (cf. Isa 7:14). Through the Word made flesh humanity received their provision, Jehovah-jireh.</p> <p>In another Gospel exposition, the Book of Matthew, God publically announced Jesus as His beloved Son with His anointing symbolically represented with the descent of the dove upon Jesus (Matt 3:17). The Holy Spirit did not baptize Jesus for the beloved Son already had the fullness of God in Him at conception.&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah Jireh: Son of God, Servant Son</span></strong></h3> <p>Mark’s Gospel also reveals this same Saving-Seed Messiah and Word Made Flesh through God’s manifestation in Jesus as the Servant Son (1:1-11). He would serve humanity by sacrificing Himself on the Cross as a sin offering.</p> <p>God incarnated Himself in Jesus as the Son of God assuming the likeness of humanity but without sin when the Spirit came upon the virgin. In sonship, Jehovah-jireh assumes the role of Jesus as the Servant Lord manifested in the form and nature of a bondservant, a slave&#8211;Jesus the Servant Son (Luke, 1:35; Phil 2:6-8).&nbsp; This sinless Son of Man, the Servant Son, gave His life as the substitutionary sin sacrifice on the Cross to serve humanity as a sin offering.</p> <p>“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many&#8221; (Matt 20:27- 28). The evangelist Matthew speaks of a servant in this verse meaning bondservant (Grk: doulos; cf. Phil 2:7a). As the Servant Son, a bondservant, Jesus gave up His self-interests and will in His humanity to advance God’s mission as a slave. By definition, a bondservant approaches enslavement with joy, devotion, obedience, yielding, and sacrifice (Paron, 2013). “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all’” (Mark 9:35). He served all of humankind fulfilling the Saving-Seed Messiah from the lineage of Abraham as Jehovah Jireh, the Son of God and Servant Son.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">References</span></strong></h3> <p>Bernard, D. <em>Message of Romans</em>. (1982). Word Aflame Press.</p> <p>Bullinger, E. W. (2014). <em>Divine names and title</em>. Open Bible Trust.</p> <p>Conner, K. J. and Malmin, K. (1983). <em>Interpreting the Scriptures: A textbook on how to interpret the Bible</em>. Bible Publishing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Deffinbaugh, B. (2004, May 28). <em>The story of the Seed⎯The coming of the promised messiah</em> <em>[Web log post].</em> Retrieved from <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p>Evans, C. (2012). <em>Matthew: New Cambridge Bible commentary</em>. Cambridge University Press.&nbsp;</p> <p>Humphreys, W. L. (2001). <em>Character of God in the book of Genesis</em>. Westminster John Knox Press.</p> <p>Jukes, A. (1981). <em>Types in the New Testament. </em>Krefeld Publications.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Kaiser, W. C. (1995).<em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MO: Zondervan Publishing House.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kurtz, J. H. (2004). <em>The sacrificial worship of the Old Testament</em>. Edinburgh, GB: T &amp; T Clark.&nbsp;</p> <p>Liesch, B. (1988).<strong> </strong><em>People in the presence of God: Models and directions for worship. </em>Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reeves, K. V. (1962). <em>The Godhead, book 1.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Co.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reeves, K. V. (1984). <em>The supreme Godhead, book 2.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</p> <p>Schultz, S. J. (2000). <em>The Old Testament speaks: A complete survey of Old Testament history and literature (5</em><em><sup>th</sup></em><em> ed.).</em> HarperCollins Publishers.&nbsp;</p> <p>White, S. L. (1999). <em>Angel of The Lord: Messenger or euphemism? </em><a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>3.15.21</p> <p>Excerpt from <em>The Redemptive Names of Jehovah</em></p> <p>See also <a href="">The Doctrine of Immutability </a> and <a href="">God’s Immutable Purpose: The Revealed Redemptive Jehovah Titles in the Incarnate&nbsp;Jesus</a></p> <hr class="wp-block-separator" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> The four redemptive provisions include (1) blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18), (2) opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10), (3) God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13), and (4) promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18).</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a>The redemptive roles uncover Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah; Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.</p> What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1) The Front Porch urn:uuid:bd2fa482-b423-16e2-2c69-a3f212783860 Mon, 15 Mar 2021 09:04:44 -0500 <p>Deconstructing. Decolonizing. Dismantling. Perhaps these are words you are familiar with or you have heard used on social media while wondering what the hubbub is about. The current cultural climate...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deconstructing. Decolonizing. Dismantling. Perhaps these are words you are familiar with or you have heard used on social media while wondering what the hubbub is about. The current cultural climate has not left anyone unscathed, particularly white evangelical churches and those who sit within her pews. And perhaps this is exactly where you find yourself. You have left fatigued from those very places, wondering, “Now what? Where do I go from here?” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This rift has been the impetus of the #leavingloud by BIPOC Christians from those congregations and has left them with more questions than answers in regard to why they have believed what they believe. There is a lingering temptation for many to throw their entire Christian faith out the window. But given the opportunity, the Lord longs to show us a better way forward. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to reclaim our faith as our own, is there a way laid out for us by God himself? A way forward that does not lead us away from the foot of the cross. I firmly believe that there is a clear, grace-filled path for us. A path strewn with love, filled with echoes of a gentle Savior to guide our souls toward healing. A voice wooing us to recognize his intonation through the tangled web of others’ voices longing to trap our hearts and make our minds question the Spirit’s guiding us. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to interrogate these short or long held beliefs, be assured that we have a Helper. What this process of reclaiming, decolonizing, or whatever name you choose to give it looks like in a believer’s life can and should look different. A personalized faith will look similar to other believers, but should not be a carbon copy. Nevertheless, we can trust that the Lord has given a framework to shepherd our wounded and weary hearts to know him. </span></p> <p><b>How Do We Know God?</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">First things first, how do we have a relationship with the Creator of the universe? Scripture reveals to us how we are to know God. Not only is this how we know him, but is how we are trained to hear his voice through the screaming crowd vying for our attention.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The following passages connect the dots for us:</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son (Jesus Christ). God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1:1-3a (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Presently we are living in what the Bible would term as the last days. Before Jesus was born, the Lord spoke by the prophets, but now he speaks through Jesus, also known as the Word.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i></i></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He (Jesus Christ) was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created,” John 1:1-3 (CSB).</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He is speaking to us today in a different way than he spoke to his people before Jesus. To know the Father we must know the Son, yet the Son is not walking the earth as he was in the first century, so who leads us now? Jesus himself tells us prior to his ascension. (Added bonus Jesus also reveals to us the Trinity): </span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it two you,” John 16:13-15 (CSB).</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Believers we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. This is indeed good news! But wait… what does this mean for us today?</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><b>God Has Given Us Himself</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It means that YOU have God himself residing and guiding you in all truth! In the first century there were scoffles concerning who followed who, meaning who followed Jesus, who followed Apollos, and who followed Paul. Does this sound familiar to you in the present age, as many well known leaders are being used as credentials for faith? The Apostle Paul warns against such allegiances.</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For whenever someone says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not acting like mere humans? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given…. For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building,” 1 Corinthians 3:4-5, 9 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What Paul and Jesus are striving to help us understand is that faith requires us to pursue a personal relationship with God through faith in Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, Luke writes about a group of people called Bereans who give us another example of the type of Believers we are called to be.</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men,” Acts 17:11-12 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scripture does not give us a lot of information on the Bereans, but we see that they are characterized as having noble character. They were not skeptical in a negative sense toward Paul and Silas, but they sought out if what these men were teaching was in accordance with God’s word. They were eager to receive the word, which was cast in contrast to those in Thessalonica. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A Grace-filled Way Forward</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These gentle nudges from the Lord to guide us in how to walk with him should give us encouragement. There is perspicuity of Scripture, which is to say that God’s word is written in such a clear way for even the lowliest of humankind to be able to understand and know him. It is not to say that teachers of the word are not useful, it means that they are not necessary. God has given us himself. </span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i>John 10:25-30 (CSB), “‘I did tell you and you don’t believe,’ Jesus answered them. ‘The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me. But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. N</i><b><i>o one will snatch them out of my hand.</i></b><i> My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. </i><b><i>No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.</i></b><i> I and the Father are one,’” (emphasis added).</i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to sift through the tenants of our faith, parsing out what are the social implications that we have accepted as truth versus the biblically rooted truths given to us in Scripture by God himself, we must be careful not to demolish the very foundation of our belief which is Christ. The impulse to break down everything may be strong, but do not be deceived into believing that what you were taught by White Evangelicalism was a clear picture of Jesus, because history and current events proves that religion to be in opposition with the brown-skinned Jesus of the Bible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we begin this series, as well as reclaiming our faith, we can be confident that we will not be shaken because of </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Who</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> holds us, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">his</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> foundation is sure, and </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">he</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will guard our souls. Breathe. Rest, Beloved. He who has called you is faithful. </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:6 (CSB).</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Front Porch</a>.</p>