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Religious category composed of the Latin Church, Protestantism, and their derivatives

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Best podcasts about western christians

Latest podcast episodes about western christians

Christ Presbyterian Church
Co-Laborers in Paul's Communities

Christ Presbyterian Church

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2021 49:41


For our final week in our co-laborer series, we will be looking at Paul's communities. Since the rise of modern feminism, there has been a tendency for Western Christians to cherry-pick from Paul's letters to support their “side” of the debate over women's leadership in the church. While some cry Galatians 3:28 or Romans 16:7, others retort with 1 Timothy 2:12. And to everyone “their” text seems unambiguous enough to end the discussion. How can Paul be read so differently? Is there a way to take all the data into account? Join us as we investigate what happens when Paul is read in light of the biblical theology we have been developing over the past five weeks.

Gospel Spice
How should we understand today's Middle East? | Joel Rosenberg, part 2

Gospel Spice

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 47:54


Episode 110 – In the wake of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, how are we to understand the Middle East today? How should Western Christians approach Israel and all things Jewish? What about Bible prophecy in light of the Jewish state today? Who are the enemies and the allies of the West, and of Israel, in the Middle East today? Stephanie is joined again by Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of novels and nonfiction books with nearly 5 million copies in print. This is part 2 of Joel Rosenberg's exclusive interview with Stephanie. Make sure to first listen to part 1, episode 109! An evangelical Christian, dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and global influencer living in Jerusalem, Joel Rosenberg embodies the Gospel Spice mission to inspire you to taste and see that the Lord is good, through an in-depth experience of the cultural flavors of Scripture. Joel is an unmatched storyteller with a contagious passion for Christ and his people. This makes him the ideal Gospel Spice anniversary guest as we celebrate our 2nd anniversary this month! Not to mention, Stephanie has been a fan of his books and political analyses for almost 20 years now. In his latest book, Enemies and Allies, Joel asks, “do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace?” One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies takes readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Today, Joel also tells us about his Jewish family and growing up in America, before moving to Israel with his wife Lynn and his four sons in 2014. We talk spices and Jewish flavors – spiritually and literally! Joel takes us on a tour into Jerusalem—its streets, flavors, smells and most importantly, its uniquely global culture today. How is the Jewish Christian church doing today? Make sure to listen to find out! How can we understand what is happening in the Middle East today, from Afghanistan and Tehran to Jerusalem and Amman? Joel Rosenberg joins us to share a sobering truth about our world today: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” This applies spiritually, but also politically today more than ever, as history has shown. Then we move on to more personal things: how does Joel study Scripture in general, and prophecy in particular? How does his expertise on all things Mideast inform his thriller writing? What should we Christians know about the Middle East today to understand our world? How does our perspective on Israel inform our faith? And, how does prophecy build faith? We talk about expanding our view of God to make Him our delight and glorify Him – a topic near and dear Stephanie's heart, as you might know! How does Joel use his thriller-writing talent to sneak in other topics? Well, you GOT to hear Joel's analogy of the meatloaf smoothie. It's got to do with leveraging our entertainment culture to share the gospel, and it is irresistible. And then, how should Christians view Israel? This is a heavy question with answers ranging from disdain, to ignorance, to idolatry. Joel brings a balanced, discerning view that is sure to inform your approach to all things Jewish—spiritually and yes, politically too. This leads us to a conversation about the famous Abraham accords that normalized relationships between Israel and 4 Muslim nations in 2020: how do these breakthrough accords inform our attitude as Christians today? How about Iran? How about Afghanistan and the role of the US in the Middle East today? MORE ABOUT JOEL ROSENBERG Joel has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. As a sought-after speaker, he has addressed audiences at the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, the Israeli president's residence, the Israeli Knesset, the European Union parliament in Brussels, and business and faith conferences in North America and around the world. Joel became famous in 2002 when writing novels that had the uncanny tendency to become reality. He says, “Before my first political thriller was released, I had never in my life been on national television. Nor had I been on but a few small radio shows. But when The Last Jihad was published in November of 2002, I suddenly found myself interviewed on more than 160 radio and TV programs. Sean Hannity. Rush Limbaugh. Michael Reagan. Fox News. MSNBC. I had the opportunity to talk to more than twenty million people in less than sixty days. The media was intrigued that anyone could have written a novel that opened with a plane hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists flying a kamikaze attack into an American city and then led to a war between the United States and Iraq over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. They were even more intrigued that I'd begun writing nine months before 9/11 and had finished the book before any of it had ever happened for real. How was this possible? Did I work for the CIA? Did I have some sort of inside information? To each host I would explain how after more than a decade in Washington as a senior advisor to a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders including Steve Forbes, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Natan Sharansky, I had decided to write a political thriller about a War on Terror I was convinced was coming and how such a war might be triggered. I explained the research I had done, and the process I'd gone through of writing a first novel. Such questions only intensified after my second thriller, The Last Days, was published in October 2003. It opened with the death of Yasser Arafat and an American president pushing hard for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Thirteen months after it was published, Arafat died, and two months later President Bush decided to make democracy in the Middle East the centerpiece of his second term agenda. What was particularly odd was that the first few pages of Days put readers inside a U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process that would involve an Israeli pullout from Gaza and the West Bank when that convoy was attacked by a massive explosion. Just two weeks before Days hit bookstores, something terrible happened. A U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process was suddenly attacked by a massive explosion. Among the readers of his books are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former President George W. Bush, former CIA Director Porter Goss, former Delta Force Commander General Jerry Boykin, former senior White House advisor Jason Greenblatt, Jordan's King Abdullah II, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Israeli Interior Minister Natan Sharansky, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and many other US, Israeli, Arab and other foreign leaders. Joel's latest non-fiction book, “Enemies and Allies,” releases this week and is already poised to become a global bestseller (you can order it here: https://joelrosenberg.com/non-fiction/). Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Make sure to go to and subscribe at Allarab.news and AllIsrael.com for regular updates. For more information, visit joelrosenberg.com and follow Joel on Twitter (@joelcrosenberg) and Facebook (facebook.com/JoelCRosenberg). Support us!

Gospel Spice
What is happening in the Middle East today? | with Joel Rosenberg

Gospel Spice

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 53:12


Episode 109 – With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 barely behind us, how are we to understand the Middle East today? How should Western Christians approach Israel and all things Jewish? What about Bible prophecy in light of the Jewish state today? Who are the enemies and the allies of the West, and of Israel, in the Middle East today? Stephanie is joined by Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of novels and nonfiction books with nearly 5 million copies in print, to celebrate our 2nd anniversary this month. Their conversation was so fascinating that we will publish it in two episodes this week (episode 109, this one, and episode 110 on September 15, 2021). An evangelical Christian, dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and global influencer living in Jerusalem, Joel Rosenberg embodies the Gospel Spice mission to inspire you to taste and see that the Lord is good, through an in-depth experience of the cultural flavors of Scripture. Joel is an unmatched storyteller with a contagious passion for Christ and his people. This makes him the ideal Gospel Spice anniversary guest! Not to mention, Stephanie has been a fan of his books and political analyses for almost 20 years now. In his latest book, Enemies and Allies, Joel asks, “do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace?” One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies takes readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Today, Joel also tells us about his Jewish family and growing up in America, before moving to Israel with his wife Lynn and his four sons in 2014. We talk spices and Jewish flavors – spiritually and literally! Joel takes us on a tour into Jerusalem—its streets, flavors, smells and most importantly, its uniquely global culture today. How is the Jewish Christian church doing today? Make sure to listen to find out! How can we understand what is happening in the Middle East today, from Afghanistan and Tehran to Jerusalem and Amman? Joel Rosenberg joins us to share a sobering truth about our world today: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” This applies spiritually, but also politically today more than ever, as history has shown. Then we move on to more personal things: how does Joel study Scripture in general, and prophecy in particular? How does his expertise on all things Mideast inform his thriller writing? What should we Christians know about the Middle East today to understand our world? How does our perspective on Israel inform our faith? And, how does prophecy build faith? We talk about expanding our view of God to make Him our delight and glorify Him – a topic near and dear Stephanie's heart, as you might know! How does Joel use his thriller-writing talent to sneak in other topics? Well, you GOT to hear Joel's analogy of the meatloaf smoothie. It's got to do with leveraging our entertainment culture to share the gospel, and it is irresistible. And then, how should Christians view Israel? This is a heavy question with answers ranging from disdain, to ignorance, to idolatry. Joel brings a balanced, discerning view that is sure to inform your approach to all things Jewish—spiritually and yes, politically too. This leads us to a conversation about the famous Abraham accords that normalized relationships between Israel and 4 Muslim nations in 2020: how do these breakthrough accords inform our attitude as Christians today? How about Iran? How about Afghanistan and the role of the US in the Middle East today? MORE ABOUT JOEL ROSENBERG Joel has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. As a sought-after speaker, he has addressed audiences at the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, the Israeli president's residence, the Israeli Knesset, the European Union parliament in Brussels, and business and faith conferences in North America and around the world. Joel became famous in 2002 when writing novels that had the uncanny tendency to become reality. He says, “Before my first political thriller was released, I had never in my life been on national television. Nor had I been on but a few small radio shows. But when The Last Jihad was published in November of 2002, I suddenly found myself interviewed on more than 160 radio and TV programs. Sean Hannity. Rush Limbaugh. Michael Reagan. Fox News. MSNBC. I had the opportunity to talk to more than twenty million people in less than sixty days. The media was intrigued that anyone could have written a novel that opened with a plane hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists flying a kamikaze attack into an American city and then led to a war between the United States and Iraq over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. They were even more intrigued that I'd begun writing nine months before 9/11 and had finished the book before any of it had ever happened for real. How was this possible? Did I work for the CIA? Did I have some sort of inside information? To each host I would explain how after more than a decade in Washington as a senior advisor to a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders including Steve Forbes, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Natan Sharansky, I had decided to write a political thriller about a War on Terror I was convinced was coming and how such a war might be triggered. I explained the research I had done, and the process I'd gone through of writing a first novel. Such questions only intensified after my second thriller, The Last Days, was published in October 2003. It opened with the death of Yasser Arafat and an American president pushing hard for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Thirteen months after it was published, Arafat died, and two months later President Bush decided to make democracy in the Middle East the centerpiece of his second term agenda. What was particularly odd was that the first few pages of Days put readers inside a U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process that would involve an Israeli pullout from Gaza and the West Bank when that convoy was attacked by a massive explosion. Just two weeks before Days hit bookstores, something terrible happened. A U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process was suddenly attacked by a massive explosion. Among the readers of his books are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former President George W. Bush, former CIA Director Porter Goss, former Delta Force Commander General Jerry Boykin, former senior White House advisor Jason Greenblatt, Jordan's King Abdullah II, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Israeli Interior Minister Natan Sharansky, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and many other US, Israeli, Arab and other foreign leaders. Joel's latest non-fiction book, “Enemies and Allies,” releases this week and is already poised to become a global bestseller (you can order it here: https://joelrosenberg.com/non-fiction/). Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Make sure to go to and subscribe at Allarab.news and AllIsrael.com for regular updates. For more information, visit joelrosenberg.com and follow Joel on Twitter (@joelcrosenberg) and Facebook (facebook.com/JoelCRosenberg). Support us!

Thoth-Hermes Podcast
Season 7-Episode 1 – Golden Dawn down under-Pat Zalewski

Thoth-Hermes Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2021 108:02


It is with great pleasure that I introduce my first guest of Season 7 to you although he probably doesn't need a lot of introduction. Born in 1948 in Brisbane, Australia, Pat Zalewski is a well-known Golden Dawn initiate and author of several extraordinary books on the less obvious and readily available aspects of the Golden Dawn teachings. Pat's own magical path started out pretty early in his life although in a different way that would reveal itself only later. As a young man he got interested in Karate and soon used Yoga to loosen up his muscles when he discovered that both techniques were actually linked to each other by similar practices of meditation. Pat soon went on to study Tai Chi and through his journeys to the East he was able to meet Chinese masters in Hong Kong who made him aware of the internal energy systems that were connected to martial art practices in general. After studying Tantric methods in India Pat returned to New Zealand in 1970 where he found ‘The Black Brick', Israel Regardie's (in)famous book ‘The Golden Dawn'.It was also in New Zealand where Pat met Jack Taylor from the local Golden Dawn temple Whare Ra who would become his teacher within the system he was just exploring by that time. In our conversation we talk a lot about the origins of the Golden Dawn center in New Zealand, why and how exactly it could establish itself the way it did and in what aspects it was different from other branches of the order. Rudolf Steiner and the question whether antroposophy had any influence upon the Golden Dawn and if so to what extent are further topics of this episode. Pat opens up about his motivation to publish the Inner Order rituals of the Golden Dawn and why he included alchemy into the restructured teachings. We talk about how he met 75-year-old Israel Regardie in person back in 1994 in Wellington and about Regardie's views on Jungian psychology and its relationship to magic. Furthermore, Pat offers his views on ranks, traditions, social structures all in connection with the Golden Dawn as well as what a proper teaching process should include. We also go into depth on how the Golden Dawn is rooted in our Western Christian civilisation and how Rosicrucian and Hermetic elements come into play with it. In the end, important advice for the beginner in the occult is not to be missed as Pat recommends some excellent starting points along with good explanations for them. Music played in this episode And once again this time we have music from one of our listeners! Exceptionally, I play four tracks this week, but it will be clear why! He produces his musical art under the name of ZENCESTRY, hie real name being Blake C. Erickson. Blake is also the author of the book "The Forbidden Fruit & The Tree of Knowledge: Opening the Third Eye. And he is a fellow podcaster, producing his show named "Tthe DMT Xperience Podcast". We present four songs, a kind of tetralogy created in relation to the four suits of the Tarot corresponding to the four elements of magic. Enjoy! 1)  THE CUP (Track starts at 2:16)   2) THE DISK (Track starts at 13:41) 3) THE SWORD  (Track starts at 55:45) 3) THE WAND (Track starts at 1:25:37) Intro and Outro Musicespecially written and recorded for the Thoth-Hermes Podcast by Chris Roberts

Saint of the Day
Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir (in holy baptism Basil), enlightener of the Russia

Saint of the Day

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 1:46


Though his grandmother, Queen Olga, had been a Christian, his father Svyatoslav reverted to paganism, and Prince Vladimir spent the early part of his life believing and living the beliefs of the pagan Russian people. But he sought for something more, and sent emissaries to study the faiths of the Jews, the Muslims, the Western Christians and the Orthodox. After attending services in Agia Sophia in Constantinople, they told him 'We knew not if we were on earth or in heaven,' and Prince Vladimir determined to embrace the Christian faith. He was baptised in Cherson in 988, receiving the name Basil. "He came forth from the font not only healed of a blindness lately afflicting him, but also from being passionate and warlike, he became meek, peaceable, and exceedingly godly." (Great Horologion). He married Princess Anna, sister of the Emperor, and returned home with a retinue of priests from Constantinople. He immediately set about building a Christian nation: casting down the idols, baptizing the people, and establishing a Christian government. His legislation for his recently barbarian nation was modeled on the Gospel, and in its conformity to Christ's commandments exceeded even the other Christian nations of the time. He reposed in peace in 1015, leaving behind a kingdom that grew to be the largest Orthodox nation in the world.

Get Real! -Lithoscry
Raven's Heart_22 Seeing The Unseeable with Dr. Michael S. Heiser

Get Real! -Lithoscry

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2021 70:01


Much of today's heavy metal is filled with imagery of unseen entities such as demons, angels, alien entities, and an array of "other gods" that interact with and often mess with humanity. While often dismissed as mere fantasy or mythology do these unseen entities really exist? Could it be that the lyrics of music from bands such as Kamelot, Sleeping Romance, Beyond The Black, and Nightwish point to a world that the Church has been blind to? DR. Michael S. Heiser joins Lithoscry to discuss the realm that we cannot see but is often alluded to in heavier music and is actually spoken of very clearly in Scripture. DR. Heiser is a Biblical scholar, author, blogger, and podcaster. His most notable work is the book entitled, "The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview of the Bible." Be ready for this edition to shatter many patterns of Western Christian thinking! #aliens #angels #demons #gods

Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
Patron Saint of Boomers: Gandhi (1982)

Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2021 84:33


There are a few films on the Vatican film list James and Thomas haven't been looking forward to watching. Among them is Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, and our dread was due to the suspicion that this film, certainly negligible in its historical importance as a work of cinema, was included mainly because Vatican bureaucrats of a certain age are apt to confuse Mohandas K. Gandhi with a Catholic saint. (Though to be fair, the film was included under the heading of Values, not Religion.) The reasons for its inclusion aside, our suspicion was confirmed at least in that this enjoyable and well-crafted biopic in no way deserves a place on the Vatican's list of 45 important films. Gandhi, driven by Ben Kingsley's outstanding performance as the title character, is in many ways an inspiring picture of nonviolent resistance. However, it has been pointed out that this film presents a Gandhi sanitized (and we mean that quite literally) for Western consumption, leaving out his essential Hinduism, as well as his many inconsistencies, eccentricities and flaws. It is a work of boomer hagiography, from a secularized Western Christian perspective. Watch discussion on YouTube: https://youtu.be/R-FbOXEuJ0s Next on Criteria, we are watching the seventh installment of Dekalog, the classic Polish series of short films inspired by the Ten Commandments. Dekalog can be difficult to find. It can be streamed online with a (relatively cheap and surprisingly legal) subscription to https://easterneuropeanmovies.com—the best viewing experience, however, will be the recent restored edition on Blu-Ray/DVD from Criterion.  https://www.criterion.com/films/28661-dekalog Older editions on Blu-Ray and DVD are available for considerably cheaper on Amazon and elsewhere, and you may have luck borrowing Dekalog from your local library. This podcast is a production of CatholicCulture.org. If you like the show, please consider supporting us! http://catholicculture.org/donate/audio

Apollos Watered
Episode 61: Deep Conversation w/Os Guinness Part 2, Religious Liberty on the Line

Apollos Watered

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2021 31:03


Join Travis and Os Guinness as they discuss religious liberty in the West and how Christians should respond. Western Christians are often ignorant of history and can't see the forces that are slowly eroding away their faith and religious freedoms. It's the spirit of the age operating as a cultural carbon monoxide of sorts, slowly lulling people into a spiritual stupor by pleasures and distractions. They talk about Os's new book, “The Magna Carta of Humanity,” as well as modernity and its effect on the modern evangelical church. Rather than despair, Os shares his hope of a revival because only God can save us from the cultural morass we are in.

Bible Study With Jairus
Bible Study With Jairus - Romans 13

Bible Study With Jairus

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 43:23


Bible Study With Jairus - Romans 13  God's Will for Believers and Politics Roman chapter 13 is about obedience to authority. Paul tells us that all authority is given by God, and that we must submit ourselves to those who govern us. If we resist authority, we resist God, because God has set up authority to punish evildoers on God's behalf. If we do good, we don't have to be afraid. Paul also notes that we must pay taxes, because the ruler is God's servant. Jesus also said “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21). The words of Jesus have been interpreted in different ways throughout the ages. Some have used them to argue that Christians should not participate in politics. This will be our study focus today. How on earth do you understand what is being said here? First of all, the truth has two sides, and we must deal with each side in a balanced way. Although we should obey those in power, the premise is that those in power are doing what God wants them to do, such as maintaining social justice and punishing wrongdoers. But if the authorities persecute Christians by saying that they cannot believe in the Lord or preach the Gospel, this is a violation of higher authority. God's Word charges us to preach the good news to all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, throughout the ages, many people have disobeyed the orders of those in power by preaching the Gospel. Second, regarding understanding Jesus' words, Christian participation in politics also needs to be considered with a balanced principle. Let's start by looking at some different historical interpretations of whether Christians should participate in politics. Should Christians Participate in Politics: A Summary of Views Anabaptists First, let's look at the Amish, the Anabaptist view. I live in Maryland. There is a large Amish population in Lancaster, PA about an hour north of us. Over the years, we have taken Bible study group members and non-believing friends on trips to Amish museums and the exhibits of life-size models of tents built by Mennonites. The Amish and the Mennonites are both Anabaptists, but the Amish are more isolated; they don't accept other people or modern things, such as electricity and cars. The Mennonites are more open to other people and modern things. According to what we were told in a tour of the museum, the Amish see modern electricity, cars, and the like as evil, so they still drive wagons and run farms for a living. Students are expected to attend school only through middle school, and there is only one class in a community. Younger and older children alike have classes in one classroom. (This is what I picked up from the tour guide at the museum and it may not be 100% correct.) The Anabaptists came into being during the Reformation period in Europe. They opposed both Catholicism and Martin Luther's Reformed Church, because both Catholics and the Reformed Church advocated infant baptism. The Anabaptists, on the other hand, believe that you have to be truly saved and baptized after you become an adult, so you have to wait to be baptized. Since many people had been baptized as infants, they started the practice of being baptized after being saved as adults, hence the name Anabaptist. The Amish have chosen to live in isolation, avoiding electricity, cars, and politics. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, was a Christian who was forced out of England because he was persecuted by the state church of England. It is said that his father, who was rich, bought him a piece of land in Pennsylvania and said “you can go to America and do whatever you want.” William Penn made Pennsylvania a land of diverse Christian denominations, including Amish and Quakers. American society also protects the rights of the Amish, who are said to pay no taxes and do not serve as soldiers. (In the process of evangelization in Europe, there were many brutal wars, so Christians suffered a lot in the military. Therefore, the Amish also choose not to serve in the military.) The Anabaptists do not promote active participation in politics and stay away from some modern things of society. To some extent, these practices keep them away from the evil of the world. But the evil is definitely not only in these modern civilizations; evil is in the human heart.  I do appreciate the Amish's willingness to abandon modern civilization and live a simple life so they can focus more on the Bible and their faith. But most people agree that such an approach is not a good way to have a positive influence in this world. Local Church Movement Second, let's move on to the point of view of the Local Church Movement (LCM) where I was saved. In an article titled "Attitudes of Local Churches to Authority and Politics," we find the following statement: "We believe that churches should have no share in, participate in, or influence politics on the ground, but should operate as a purely faith body under the rule of law of government. The church should be wholly of God  and for God. As for the participation of individual Christians in political activities, The Church does not support or oppose it."[1] The LCM does not object to individual involvement in politics, seeing it as a personal issue. They also believed that the church is spiritual and should not engage in worldly politics. In particular, the LCM has drawn lessons from many difficulties brought about by the mingling of church and state in history. They have made the church less spiritual but more worldly. Therefore, they advocate that churches should not participate in politics. This view is not only the view of the LCM but is also held by many churches and pastors since they see how politics can tear the church apart. Some pastors even prohibit the church members from talking about any politics in the church. However, this does not solve the problem. This problem still divides churches and Christians alike. A WeChat post in Chinese I read earlier says that President Lincoln was asked if he thought God was on his side during the Civil War. President Lincoln said,“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.” To a certain extent, this post reflects the attitude of some believers in the churches I mentioned towards politics. They are more spiritual and do not express their positions on controversial political issues. Instead, they hide their political opinions in a spiritual cocoon and say they want to remain one with God. But knowing exactly what the will of God is depends on the individual and the Lord. To me it is kind of confusing. One of my fellow members of our Bible study group was confused as well. He asked me since some Christains say God chose Trump, and others say God chose Biden, who did God really choose? I told him that one side must be wrong as God is not a schizophrenic. The view in this social media post does reflect the common view that God is sovereign, so whoever is sitting in the office is what God chooses or allows. This view dictates that as Christians, we just accept whoever it is. This view is criticized by many as being too passive. Theological Liberals Third, let's look at the theological liberal view of politics. Liberal theology was influential from Europe all the way to the United States. Theologians from Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher in Germany to Paul Johannes Tillich in the United States are representatives of liberal theology. Liberal theology was in part an attempt to explain theology in contrast to science, or to build a bridge between the rapid development of science and the somewhat stale theology of that time. But liberal theology went to the extreme of disbelieving the authority of the Bible, even accepting homosexuality and so on. Fundamentalism is a reaction to the overrun of liberal theology. It emphasizes the supreme authority of the Bible and the basics of Christian values. Randy Clark, the founder of Global Awakening and the Randy Clark Scholars program at UTS that I am now a part of attended a liberal seminary, but later in his ministry switched to more conservative and miraculous positions. He recalls that by the time he attended the liberal seminary, he had almost ceased to believe in God. It was only because he had experienced God's miraculous healing after being in a car accident that he had not lost his faith. He criticized liberal theology for the damage it did to seminary students, but he affirmed that one of its merits is concerning social justice and helping the poor. He says caring for the poor and social justice is a constant focus of God in the Old Testament. On this point, conservative churches can still learn from the churches that hold more liberal views. The conservative churches can do more to advocate for social justice and to help the poor. This type of liberal theology includes the social evangelicals that were once popular in Europe and America. The so-called Social Gospel was also popular in China in the 1940s. They advocated participation in social reform and social relief. They advocated breaking down the systemic injustices of society to help the poor. They wanted to be helpful “in the world” but gradually forgot that the church is “not of the world.” It went too far and gradually lost the spiritual position of the church. Many of these Christian organizations gradually degenerated themselves into welfare institutions. In other words, they are “in the world” to the point of being “of the world”. If you look at the YMCA, which was once a powerful organization of evangelism, you now see a community center for sports. This is also the case for the Salvation Army and many other organizations. Therefore, the LCM has borrowed from the failings of the Social Gospels in an effort to avoid becoming secular welfare organizations. It is said that in the early Gospel meetings in Taiwan, the LCM publicly declared that their churches did not provide free rice or other welfare like many other churches do, but only provided pure Gospel; the number of people at the next meeting was greatly reduced. It is obvious that the LCM attaches great importance to the purity of the church, and for this purpose they do not advocate the church's participation in politics. The African American Church Fourth, we will look at the views of the African American church on politics. Our course on church history at the UTS included a special course on the history of the African American church in the United States, so I have a slight understanding of the history of the African American church. The history of the African American church has been one of blood and tears. From the first African American slaves secretly learning the Bible and praying, to the rise of African American pastors and churches and the persecution from mainstream churches, to the later civil rights movement in which the church became the central organizing force, the African American church played a very important role in the Civil Rights Movement. The famous Martin Luther King, for example, was a pastor of a church. My personal observation is that the African American church is very politically engaged. And the politics that African American churches engage in tend to be more left-wing and possibly related to the liberal theology. This can be seen in the numbers of the 2016 elections. Only 8 percent of African Americans voted for Trump. The Democratic Party, with its focus on welfare and social equality, has traditionally been supported by African Americans. The percentage of African American people who are Christian is very high, according to certain reports. I don't have exact statistics, but I have heard that 70 percent of African American people in the Baltimore area are Christian. I met a number of African American pastors at our seminary. We became friends on Facebook, and I saw that many of them were staunchly anti-Trump and politically active on the left side. The African American church also has conservative members who support Trump, but they are a minority. I deeply sympathize with the struggles of the African American church throughout its history and have many close friends who are African American pastors. I have absolutely no motive here to criticize the African American church, but simply to describe my observations. My observation is that the African American church in general has been more influenced by the participation of liberal theology in society, and this, along with the rise of liberation theology in South America, has been very popular. Both had a positive impact on social change during the Civil Rights movement in the United States and the anti-colonial movement in South America respectively. Both black theology and liberation theology played an important role in emancipating those who are persecuted in the US and South America. But because the African American church is too focused on improving the discrimination against and status of their own race, it has also turned a blind eye to some extent, failing to see God's greater role in politics through Trump. It is through President Trump that American society has tried to stop the left and stop anti-God agendas such as abortion and homosexuality from dominating the political and social processes of the United States. The past and present wounds inflicted on African American Christians and the African American church are indisputable, but on the other hand, the wounds and the bitterness caused by them may also become a stronghold set up by the evil spirits. We must acknowledge the previous hurt of the African American church and people, but we must move beyond this to receive healing from the Lord. We must not allow the hurts and unforgiveness to be used by the enemy. Pentecostals Fifth, we look at the views on politics of some Pentecostal preachers. Compared to evangelicals, the Christians in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are more politically engaged. I will cite only one prophet, Lance Wallnau, and in particular the 7 Mountain Mandate, which he and others have proposed. Since I left the LCM in 2015, I have studied and observed in different American Pentecostal churches and attended many special meetings of the Pentecostal church. I also attended many of the meetings where Lance Wallnau was a speaker, so I often listened to his messages online. His so-called "Seven Mountains Mandate Theory" advocates that Christians actively participate in politics and other social fields, including education, religion, family, business, government/military, art/entertainment, and media. These seven fields are known as the Seven Mountains. The main argument of this theory is that Jesus calls on us to be the light of the mountains, and that Christians are to actively enter the world to be influential figures on the seven mountains, thus positively influencing society. You have to understand the state of American society in recent decades to understand where this doctrine comes from and why it has become so popular among Pentecostal churches. For decades, leftists and homosexuals in the United States have become a vocal minority because of their active participation in society and frequent protests. In the media, especially in the arts/entertainment sector, homosexuality has become a big voice. For example, a Christian baker in the United States experienced a very difficult time because he would not make a cake for a gay couple. As a result, he was sued and his business suffered. These pastors and teachers in the Pentecostal camp learned that traditional churches do not participate actively in the political process. Based on the reality of American society, they draw a conclusion that because Christians do not participate in politics and hide in an ivory tower of spiritual pursuit, it results in a vacuum. In this vacuum, anti-God people occupy the media, art/entertainment, education, family, business, government/military, and even religion. Therefore, they actively advocated that Christians abandon the past position of not participating in politics and occupy every field with an active attitude of joining public affairs-- that they be in the world but not of the world. They encouraged each Christian to choose his own "mountains" to occupy according to his own gift and God's calling, and to be an influential person on those mountains. The purpose is not for personal success, but to influence society by occupying such a mountain and becoming salt and light to the people around us. These differing views influence churches all over the country. Churches and Donald Trump During the 2016 election, Pentecostal preachers began supporting Donald Trump from the very early stages. In addition, he received considerable support from Christians across all denominations in the United States. Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, a Pentecostal Magazine, described the convergence of Trump and Pentecostalism in a recent article titled "Why Most Pentecostals Back Trump." Trump, who wanted to run in 2012, sought Christian support. In the evenings, when he was free, he watched Pentecostal televangelists. One of them was Paula White, a Florida based Pentecostal evangelist. After Trump watched her show, he called Paula White. Paula White gathered a number of Pentecostal leaders, including Christian leaders gifted with the gift of prophecy, to pray for Trump. After some time in prayer, they said that God had told them that 2012 was not the right time for Trump to run, so they advised him to wait. Trump followed their advice, and in 2016 he asked them again to pray to God. When they prayed, they felt that God's time had come for Trump to go out and run. After Mr. Trump's first election, I attended a prayer gathering for him in Washington, the nation's capital, organized by the POTUS Shield. The event invited key Pentecostal leaders and many prophets to pray for President Trump after his first election. (POTUS stands for President of the United States, and the group aims to offer intercessory support to Mr. Trump.) One of the group's founders, Frank Amedia, a Pentecostal prophet, said he had a divine revelation while helping Mr. Trump campaign before he was elected. He wrote the prophecy in a note that he handed to Mr. Trump to read on the plane. The note read, "God says if you humble yourself, you will be the next President of the United States." There were many such prophecies, all of which said that Trump was chosen by God. I could give you a lot of examples, but that's not the point. The point I'm making is that talking about whether Christians should participate in politics right now is hard to separate from being for or against Trump. Because Trump is such a controversial figure, the US has acquired the phrase "silent Trumpist". If you openly support Trump's words, you may be attacked, alienated, and misunderstood by the mainstream media and people around you, because so many people in society are against Trump. Many people quietly support Trump, but are afraid to express their views publicly. One man told me that he had already seen some Chinese American churches split over their attitude towards Trump. Some churches have avoided such internal strife by taking the attitude that the church should not participate, and that individual Christians must choose their own political positions. Individual political attitudes are individual political attitudes, they argue, but the church should not take a collective stance. This would preserve the church's spiritual position and keep it from getting caught up in political disputes. But there are also people who are against this view.  “Don't worry that if you support Trump from the podium, your church will lose some supporters and followers,” said Mario Marillo, an active advocate for churches teaching their followers to support Mr. Trump. “If Mr. Biden takes office, you might lose your church.” What he said is by no means an exaggeration, because the suppression of Christian power is real. If the left, represented by Biden, is in power, the Christian influence in the United States will be greatly suppressed. So both sides are treating the presidential election as a battle to the death. I personally feel the same way. This is a decisive battle for Christian freedom in America that will decide the future of America and the future of the world. God has shown me many visions of the Great Revival to come, including a Great Revival in the United States, China, and the Middle East. I am convinced that the election of President Trump is a divine intervention to prepare the international political environment for the great revival that is to come. In a strange dream, God took me to Trump's office, where I felt God's presence. I felt that this was God confirming to me that Trump was His chosen one. So at this point, I chose to actively endorse Mr. Trump. By this day (March 23, 2021) Trump is not in the White House but I am still believing that God will intervene and bring Trump back to the White House supernaturally. But many of the people around me are deeply educated by the LCM, so their attitude towards politics is more reserved. In addition, the LCM does not hold an official  position, leaving individuals to make their own political decisions. As a former member of the LCM, I understand the reasons and considerations for their position. I also see individuals supporting Trump and Biden. I still agree with the view of the LCM that we should take the lessons of the Social Gospel and not fall into the trap of making church a political or social organization and losing the spiritual side of it. But I personally accept the Seven Mountains theory and believe that Christians should be actively involved in politics and changing society. Churches should get involved in politics and make it clear that they are taking a stand. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes' or ‘No'; anything more than this comes from evil (Matthew 5:37). This is what the Lord Jesus himself said. Personally, I think it is wrong not to say what should be said. I know from personal experience that we often do not take a stand on many things. It is not because we do not have a stand, but because we are weak and do not dare to take a stand. We are afraid of losing the church, we are afraid of losing the status and salary of the pastor, we are afraid of losing followers, we are afraid of being persecuted if we participate in politics, we are afraid of being attacked, we are afraid of getting into disputes with people and so on. Too often, we are afraid to engage in politics and take a stand out of fear, not spirituality. If this election is a showdown between God and Satan that will determine the future of America and the world for hundreds of years to come, then silence is appeasement, or even participation. Of course, my belief that Trump represents God's side and this election is a showdown was not formed within a day. It came after I left the LCM and went to a lot of Pentecostalist activities, special meetings, and teachings about the Seven Mountains. But many traditional churches and pastors do not teach these spiritual battles from the podium, so naturally, when election time comes, believers are left to decide for themselves. However, do not forget that many believers look at the media for information and are therefore influenced by the media. We also know that a lot of the media in the United States is opposed to God's agenda, so many Christians don't get a good spiritual education. They don't know why they should support Trump or what God's will is. In the end, many believers have made their own choices based on their own personal preferences, personal interests, and the media agenda. This, I have to say, is a natural consequence of the idea that the church does not participate in politics. Even though people say the church should be not involved in politics, the church is still involved. If the churches do not teach believers how to make right choices, many believers will be deceived by the media. In other words, the church, in the name of "church non-participation in politics," is actually abdicating their opportunity and responsibility to educate believers to make divine choices. If this election is a spiritual battle, the church that fails to educate its followers will be partly an accomplice to its enemies, so God will hold us accountable. This is not a condemnation, but a spiritual fact. The left is pro-gay and pro-choice, with millions of babies said to have been aborted in the United States over the past few decades. To support the left is to support homosexuality and abortion indirectly, which is not a position a Christian should take. And God's choice of Trump as president is just the tip of the iceberg of what God intends to do in the next few decades. The Great Revival is just around the corner, as evidenced by the many dreams and visions God had given me, and by the words spoken to me personally by the Lord and the Holy Spirit. God doesn't just say this to me. He says it to many people with prophetic gifts. But many churches do not accept the gifts of the prophets, which is part of the problem. “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). Many churches ignore the prophetic gifts that God has restored to the church in the last 100 years, especially in the last few decades, and that is why they don't hear God speak in a timely manner. The church urgently needs to reevaluate the Pentecostal  movement, especially the prophetic movement, and open itself up to prophetic gifts. I know that the prophetic movement itself has lots of issues, but they have made much progress in the last few decades. Many churches and church leaders need to pray before the Lord, ask these questions, and seek the Holy Spirit's guidance. Don't forget the story of the race between the hare and the tortoise. We may become the hare while belittling the tortoise. That was the shock I felt when I went from the LCM to the Pentecostal churches. I realized that, while I thought I knew a lot of truth in the LCM, the Pentecostal churches have made great progress in some areas. Therefore, I strongly desire to pursue learning these truths. In addition to taking prophetic courses and healing courses, I am currently enrolled in the Randy Clark Scholar doctoral program at the United Theology Seminary. My project there is to compare the prophesying practices in the LCM with the prophesying practices of Pentecostal churches. My personal view is that the practice of prophesying in a forthtelling way in the LCM, including Pray Reading and calling on the Lord's name, helps believers to build a foundation of biblical truth, practice good spiritual practices, and become holier. It is well worth it for other churches to learn, including Pentecostal churches. These practices can help the believers to grow more in holiness, spirituality, and life growth. At the same time, the practice of the Pentecostalist prophecy in a foretelling way can help believers unlock the gift of the prophecy, receive supernatural revelation from God, provide guidance for the church to move forward, and give comfort and encouragement to individual believers, so it is well worth learning for the LCM and  other evangelical churches. The Lord Jesus appeared to me in a dream and told me that two rivers were about to converge, which was also a confirmation of what I am trying to do. Politics and Love Finally, we come back to Romans 13:8-10 about loving one another. I know it's hard to get involved in politics because different political views can be divisive. But this is an opportunity for us to learn more about love. I agree with Christians being involved in politics, but I do not agree with the extreme language of many Christians on the right who criticized the left. We are not engaged in a physical battle, but a spiritual one. Even those who are used by the enemy are created in God's image, and God wants them to enter the kingdom. I have been praying every morning not only for President Trump, but also for Mr. Joe Biden, hoping that the people he represents will repent and enter the kingdom of God. Romans 13:11-12 says, “...the hour has come for you to wake from sleep... The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” To be involved in politics is not to give up love; to participate in politics requires a higher degree of love. Once you get involved in politics, you suddenly find yourself facing a lot of different people. All of this will require you to love not only those who disagree with you, but also your enemies. In other words, staying out of politics comes from a fear of exposing our inability to love. Staying out of politics is ostrich policy. It's not love. It's fear of not being able to love. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Therefore, whatever comes from fear is not from God. We will open ourselves up to more attacks when we engage in politics. Attacks come not only from people with different opinions, but also from evil spirits. Some have recognized that it is God's will for them to be involved in politics, but they are afraid to take a stand. If this is you, I pray that God will give you a strong spirit that will dare to speak and proclaim your views. Don't get caught up in any kind of political correctness or false religious masks. Yes means yes and no means no. Don't be afraid to stand up for your biblical views. Fortunately, we have observed that this presidential election has caused many Christians to become politically active and engaged. This is also part of the will of the Lord in the process of awakening the church and believers. When the Church is no longer asleep, the Great Revival is not far behind. So I say again that the fight over Trump's presidency is just the tip of the iceberg of many things that God is going to do in order to prepare everyone and wake up the church. Time will tell. I still believe God will intervene. My Personal Testimony and Politics I was born and raised in China and am now a citizen of the United States. Like many Chinese immigrants, we did not have a strong desire to participate in politics in America since we did not come from a democratic country. It took many years to become a citizen of the US, so we usually stayed outside of American politics since we were not citizens for many years. But things changed when I became a U.S. citizen. God called me to be involved in politics, especially in China. I knew I had a calling to evangelize China, but I had never thought of a way to participate in the democratic movement in China. However, several prophetic dreams from God caused me to reconsider my stance. In one of the prophetic dreams, I was riding a bicycle. A bicycle or other type of vehicle in a prophetic dream often represents a ministry we have. In the dream, I then saw a couple Chinese Democratic dissidents chasing me on bikes as well. I was a little uneasy as I had never involved myself with them, even in the US. Many Chinese immigrants take this stand as well. Some do not like them and others are just afraid to be involved with them due to fear of family members in China being persecuted. When these dissidents finally caught me, they expressed their appreciation for my preaching and books which greatly influenced their effort in this democratic movement. I was surprised by the dream because they were 50 years old. I asked them how this was possible since I myself am not over 50 years old. Later I realized that this was a prophetic dream- God was showing me that my ministry will have a huge impact on them. In another prophetic dream, I was dropped down from the air into a chimney at my college in China. God often uses my college or other places I lived in China to represent China in my dreams. I worked at my college for a few years before I left China. This chimney is not actually at the college. These were all images to explain something. No one will come into your house through a chimney except Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a figure associated with Christmas, and Christmas is the birth day of Jesus. So this means I was trying to preach the Gospel to the Chinese people. However, people in the building were so surprised to see me coming through the chimney and reacted strongly. I was forced to come back. It represented the obstacles I will be facing in preaching the Gospel in China. In the next scene, I was able to miraculously land on the campus by a tree near this building with a chimney. I saw great battles happening but eventually found myself resting on a bed. By this bed, I saw a former colleague from my college who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and an alumni in the US who is a democratic dissident. They were talking with me in peace while I rested on the bed. I felt that this means China will have a great transformation in politics after the great revival in China. China may even become a democratic nation. The tension between those who support or oppose the CCP will be reconciled. In another recent vision I had several months ago, I was shown that a great revival will come to China. It will eventually transform China into a democratic country. In the last scene of this vision, I saw a fish type monster wrapped in a green military uniform the size of a dolphin. It was bound and taken away by some angels. In this vision, I asked if this was the CCP and the answer was yes. This vision showed me that eventually China will experience a great political change, and the Gospel and revival will play an important role in it. This is all out of my norm. I was taught to not participate in politics, and I was afraid to stand for justice as well. But I started to realize that my calling to be part of this great revival in China is involved in politics whether I am ready or not. It is like St. Patrick in the old days. His evangelizing efforts in Ireland were greatly involved with politics at that time. He was facing many dangers. Being involved in politics, especially in a country where the Gospel has not been fully preached, is dirty and bloody, but it is necessary. Politics in the US is much more civil than it was in the time of St. Patrick or how it is now in China. It is because the American people have the firm foundation of the founding fathers of this country and the history of Western Christian tradition and heritages. Those of us privileged to live in the US need to realize that we are very fortunate here to have the freedom that we enjoy, so we must stand up to fight for that freedom.     [1] https://cftfc.com/%E9%99%84%E4%BB%B6%E4%BA%8C%EF%BC%9A%E5%9C%B0%E6%96%B9%E6%95%99%E6%9C%83%E5%B0%8D%E6%94%BF%E6%AC%8A%E5%8F%8A%E6%94%BF%E6%B2%BB%E7%9A%84%E6%85%8B%E5%BA%A6-2/

Bible Study With Jairus
Bible Study with Jairus - 1 Corinthians 3

Bible Study With Jairus

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 55:36


Unity and Humility in the Body of Christ. Bible Study with Jairus - 1 Corinthians 3 Have you ever wondered why Paul seems to expect Christians to leave behind spiritual childhood, while Jesus expects Christians to become like little children? Paul asked Christians not to be “infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1), yet Jesus commanded us all to “turn and become like children” (Matthew 18:3) Which is it? Does God want us to become mature in Christ, or does he want us to become like little children? The difference between spirit, soul, and body To understand the answer to this question, it's important to understand the difference between the spirit, soul, and body. To grow spiritually, our soul needs to be transformed, but that does not mean our physical self—mind, will, and emotions--remain immature and childish. Our will, along with our IQ and EQ, will continue to grow and develop as we mature. What is important is for us to maintain “child-like innocence” in our hearts. A person controlled by the Holy Spirit should be very innocent. In other words, Jesus calls for our hearts to remain pure like the heart of a child. Paul, on the other hand, encourages us to grow and mature, so that we do not remain immature, like an infant. Our souls need to experience transformation and renewal through Christ. This discussion relates to a correct understanding of the heart, soul, spirit and body, and the ways they are perceived differently by different churches. In the Local Church Movement (LCM), I was taught that a person has three parts – spirit, soul and body. A person's soul consists of his mind, emotions and will. A person's spirit consists of his conscience, fellowship, and intuition. A person's heart consists of the spirit's conscience and the soul's mind, emotions and will. Whether or not these definitions are complete is a discussion for another time. However, by using these definitions, we can focus the discussion on the difference between spirit and soul. The founder of the LCM, Watchman Nee, preached that a person has three parts, spirit, soul and body, while other famous preachers from Chinese Churches hold the viewpoint that the spirit and soul are inseparable. One of the most famous preachers who holds such a viewpoint is Indonesian Pastor Stephen Tong. This discussion is present throughout the Western Christian community, where different theologians hold differing viewpoints. However, for today, we will focus on the differences between the teachings of Pastor Stephen Tong's and those of the LCM. Pastor Stephen Tong denies the three-part being (spirit, soul and body) and claims that spirit and soul are one. This teaching is more in line with the Chinese culture, and hence more widely accepted by Chinese Christians. Because Chinese culture does not differentiate between spirit and soul, many Chinese Christians have been influenced by this teaching.  The LCM, on the other hand, believes that Tong's beliefs are not scripturally sound based on mainly two Bible passages. First, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The original Greek text clearly lists the spirit (‘Pneuma'), soul (‘Psuche') and body (‘Soma), which are three distinct words in Greek. Second, Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Again, two distinct Greek words, ‘pneuma' and ‘psuche', were used to describe spirit and soul. From these two passages, spirit and soul are indeed distinct.  Pastor Stephen Tong does not agree that Hebrews 4:12 highlights the difference between spirit, soul and body. Instead, he believes that this verse is highlighting the power of God's word in a metaphorical way. Personally, I tend to agree more with the LCM's belief on this topic. Teachings that do not differentiate between the soul and spirit lead believers to identify with their soul but not mature in their spirit. Many first-generation Chinese-American pastors have noticed that first-generation Chinese churches often devolve into a social club, where believers build friendships, share their culture, or even network for business. However, they are often lacking severely in spiritual growth. From my personal observation, this issue may be related to the lack of teaching on the difference between the spirit and the soul. Watchman Nee's nephew wrote a biography of his uncle, in which he admits that their teaching on the spirit life is an important strength of the LCM movement. Though the biographer disagrees with the One-City-One-Church principle of LCM, he admires their emphasis on spirit life. He admits that many other Chinese churches tend to be more worldly in their outlook and behaviors. The LCM is a movement that originated in China but has now spread all over the world. In this discussion, however, I will be mainly referring to the Chinese segment of the LCM movement. Spiritual exercise The LCM teaches that we can grow up spiritually and train our spiritual being through “exercising our spirit.” Just like we strengthen our muscles and increase their functionality through physical exercise, we can grow “spiritual muscles” by exercising our spirits. There are many ways to exercise your spirit. One of the most common ways is to “Call Upon the Name of Jesus” and read God's word meditatively and prayerfully. After I received Christ, these two methods helped me experience tremendous spiritual growth. However, the reputations of these two methods have been tarnished outside of the LCM. For this reason, people outside the LCM have not had the opportunity to reap the benefits of learning and practicing these spiritual disciplines. At LCM meetings, discussions center around spiritual matters, avoiding the problem of “social club” that many other Chinese American churches are facing.  Many mainstream American church teachings also adopt the viewpoint that a person has three parts: spirit, soul and body. However, the LCM is unique in several ways. The LCM not only differentiates between spirit and soul, but also between our human spirit and God's spirit. The LCM is unique in its emphasis of practical ways to exercise and strengthen our spirits. The LCM teaches believers to cleanse their consciences, deal with the flesh, and remove external things that suppress the spirit, thereby achieving breakthrough and growth in the spiritual life. Such an emphasis on exercising the spiritual person is something that I have rarely seen in mainstream American churches. Certain methods of spiritual growth, such as meditation and speaking in tongues, are promoted by preachers in both evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the US; however, the majority of believers in the US do not actually incorporate these practices into their daily lives. However, the LCM helps the believers to put these disciplines into rigorous practice.   A very important analogy that we can use to illustrate the LCM's teaching is that of an apple tree. An apple tree does not need to try hard and exert extra effort to develop apples. It is part of its nature to grow apples. No matter how hard it tries to grow pears, it will not be able to do it.   However, in the growth process, the tree still needs to be cultivated. If weeds are not removed, fertilizer is not used, and branches are not trimmed, the apple tree will not reach its full potential for producing apples. In the same way, a spirit-filled life can be developed through trimming away things that hinder its natural growth, in order to allow our spiritual growth to reach its full potential. Just like weeds and wilted branches hinder the growth of the apple tree, our sin, guilt, and the flesh hinder our spiritual growth. Through the power of the Cross, we can remove these weeds and live an overcoming life that glorifies God. Just like the apple tree's nature is to grow apples, we have Christ's nature within us, enabling us to live out Christ's love, light, holiness and righteousness. Hence, we do not need to ‘make extra effort' to live out these attributes of Christ. But we do need to remove the weeds and wilted branches that hinder the development of the spiritual life.     Renewal and transformation of the soul Besides teaching the difference between spirit, soul and body and promoting the exercise of the spiritual man, the LCM also emphasizes the renewal and transformation of the soul. Besides the external factors that can hinder our spiritual growth, such as our sinful, fleshly self, a lot of hindrances also stem from the unrenewed mindset of the soul. As such, the LCM emphasizes the transformation and renewal taught in Romans 12:1. This verse teaches us to offer our bodies as a sacrifice and be transformed through the renewal of our minds. Difficulties encountered in the soul will ultimately affect our spiritual progress and development. For example, when two brothers fight, their conflict is taking place in their souls. Both men harbor feelings of unforgiveness and the unwillingness to compromise and be united in their minds. However, when both are willing to come before the Lord to pray, they exercise their spirit and are ministered to by the Holy Spirit. As they unite their spirit with God's, they recognize that the conflict is taking place in their souls. Through prayer, they exercise their spirits and recognize their ability to forgive and accept each other. As each man repents and both reconcile, the issue that they were fighting over gets resolved. The LCM teaches believers to break free from their natural soul, exercise their spirit, and unite their spirit with the Holy Spirit. Believers in the LCM strongly encourage each other to break free from the natural soul and exercise their spirit-man. It is often said that the soul is the “city of problems,” a place full of problems that are difficult to resolve. However, the spirit is a “city of no problems,” where difficulties faced by the soul can naturally resolve. Pastor Stephen Tong has sharp criticisms for this belief. He believes the LCM overly emphasizes spirituality, neglecting rationality. “I don't know when it started,” he says, “but I do know that the Church in China is facing a catastrophe. Reason is seen as part of the soul, emotion is part of the soul, will is part of the soul. Believers are taught to only be spiritual, and to abandon anything related to the soul. So, everything related to thought and rationality is said to be part of the soul! Since the arrival of this catastrophe, intellectuals have left the church. The church is full of fools. The more anti-knowledge and anti-cultural Christians become, the less they are able to gain a reputable standing in the midst of global changes.[1]” From my personal experience in the LCM, I would counter that the LCM focuses on the transformation and renewal of the soul. The teaching emphasizes that as the spirit grows and changes, its benefits will overflow into the soul for its transformation and renewal. The LCM teaches that transformation in the spiritual realm will naturally lead to renewal of the soul. Hence, to solve problems in the realm of the soul, we would first need to grow in the spiritual life. The LCM also teaches the removal of hindrances such as earthly sins and worldly distractions, so as to allow for the change of the soul. The LCM focuses on the shepherding  of one's soul, with special emphasis on helping new believers shepherd their souls and open their hearts to receive the life in the spirit. The LCM teaches us to deny the natural soul life, since that represents our old life apart from Christ. But it does not teach us to deny the functions of the soul, such as the mind, emotions and will. They teach that the stronger our spiritual life is, the more our souls will be transformed. As we lead a spirit-led life, our thoughts will be clearer, our will stronger, and our emotions more filled with love. In my experience, the LCM has never denied rationality. Instead, they encourage believers to diligently study the Bible and other spiritual books. My personal experience of the LCM does not match Pastor Stephen Tong's observations. Tong does not paint a full picture of the LCM's beliefs, and his criticisms are overly harsh. As a result, many Chinese Christians have been discouraged from accepting the good teachings of the LCM.   Some drawbacks to the LCM's teachings While we can learn a lot from the LCM's teaching on the spirit and soul, there are limits to the helpfulness of their stance. At times, the LCM neglects the care of the body and soul by over-emphasizing the growth of the spiritual life. For example, the LCM discounts miraculous healings because they believe Charismatics over-emphasize healings to the detriment of spiritual growth. However, many LCM believers struggle with physical pain and do not get the healing that they so desperately need. For example, my wife and I struggled with infertility for 10 years while in the LCM movement. They were not able to help me in terms of praying for a miracle. I had to seek help from the Charismatic movement. There, through the gifts of healing and prophecy, a divine intervention occurred, and God gifted me a miracle baby. Although many miraculous healings from the Charismatic movement may be questionable, my years of observation and learning in the Charismatic movement have led me to believe that more real miracles occur in the Pentecostal movement than in evangelical churches. I have personally witnessed and heard of many miracle healings and other miracles in the Charismatic church. God's word says that “By His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The LCM teaches believers to exercise their spiritual muscles, but it does not teach believers to exercise their faith to receive miraculous healings through the word of God. Therefore, their spiritual faith muscles remain underdeveloped, and they see few miraculous healings. There are many sick believers in the LCM who do not get the help they need, which is a great loss to the LCM. This loss is not restricted to the LCM, but also exists in many other evangelical churches. After I left the LCM and posted a testimony of the miraculous healing God granted me, I received private messages from believers in the LCM who were sick. They were wondering how I received the miraculous healing. While I could not completely help them resolve their issues, most have admitted that the LCM provided limited help in this area of miraculous healing. Secondly, the LCM also neglects certain areas of the soul. While Pastor Stephen Tong's criticisms of the LCM were too harsh, he has an important point. They often over-emphasized the spirit. From what I have observed, there is indeed an issue of over-spiritualizing things in the LCM. While there, I actively read my Bible, exercised my spirit, and sought spiritual growth. I did indeed encounter major changes in my life. However, my pursuit of spiritual growth did not resolve some issues that arose from within the soul. To a certain extent, the seeking of spiritual growth was an excuse for me to avoid dealing with issues pertaining to the soul. For example, my father and I had issues with expressing our emotions and showing care for others. In my growing up years, I always witnessed my father's coldness towards others and my mother's anger towards him. As I imitated him, I also became a cold, unfeeling individual. After I got married, I realized that the same issue that I'd witnessed between my parents was playing out in my marriage. Arguments between my wife and I often resembled those of my parents. I neglected my wife's feelings, she became angry, and I felt hurt. This vicious cycle continued unabated in my marriage. Coupled with the inability to conceive, my wife and I went through many trials and difficulties. I tried my best to follow what the LCM taught, to diligently grow spiritually: to pray more, read the Bible more and take up my cross. Although it was helpful, it did not completely resolve our problem. We were then led by God to enter the Charismatic church, where we learned about deliverance ministries (casting out of demons) and inner healing ministries. These ministries that the LCM neglected have really helped us. First, with the help of the Charismatic church, we were blessed with a miracle baby, who provided much healing in our marriage. Second, the Charismatic church's teaching about inner healing and casting out demons was very helpful. Through Global Awakening, I took several certified, advanced courses on deliverance, miracle healing, inner healing, and prophetic training. In addition, I read extensively on the topic of inner healing and deliverance ministries. Through practical and hands-on learning experience, I have learned that when we see a cyclical pattern appearing in our lives, repeating through several generations, it is often due to generational curses that require the casting out of demons and inner healing. The Charismatic movement's focus on inner healing and deliverance ministries is often done together with the gift of prophecy, where servants of God receive supernatural revelations from God to help fellow believers who are plagued with issues pertaining to the soul. In January 2016, I attended a prophetic conference in Oregon. While there, I prayed for God to speak to me and give me healing as well. At the conference, I met a believer who was a former member of the LCM. She is Korean and had left the LCM and has attended a Charismatic church for many years. She shared that she left the LCM because of their unbelief in current-day miracles. At her Charismatic church, this sister received an obvious gift of healing and a prophetic gift. I watched her praying for the sick. Rather than asking about the person's condition, she received revelations from God as she spoke to him in tongues. She prayed for me in the same way. After the prayer, she shared that there was conflict between my father and I that drove us apart, and that I needed to forgive him. She also shared that my father was unable to show his love, not because he did not love me, but because he was being spiritually attacked and was bound by generational curses. She added that because I was called by God, Satan was torturing me by punishing my father, hoping that this would stop God's call in me. She told me to forgive my father and pray for him, speaking out about the deepest pain in my entire life, which was hidden in my heart. I had never met her before, nor had I mentioned any of these secrets to her before her prayer. God gradually healed the problems that I was facing. Through receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, deliverance from demons, and healing ministries, God provided the growth that I needed. I would not say that I am completely free of problems, but I do know that I have achieved a breakthrough that I never experienced while in the LCM movement. Many Christians deny the fact of demon influence in Christians' lives. Often, the life of Christ in the believer has not permeated throughout our inner being. Demons can take advantage of areas of our life that Christ has not fully occupied.  In the past, I thought that through reading God's word, prayer, and exercising my spiritual man, I would be able to resolve all the issues that I faced. While these disciplines are important and useful in achieving growth in my spirit, they had limited effectiveness in resolving the issues in my soul. Issues of the soul must be managed directly, which the LCM is hesitant to do. For example, the LCM does not provide marriage counseling, since it is associated with issues of the soul. Many people in the LCM have diligently pursued spiritual growth, but still struggle in their souls. The LCM does not recognize the importance of ministries that address the struggle of the soul. For example, the LCM neglects the gift of prophecy, which can effectively minister to the soul. (The LCM does focus on the forth-telling aspect of prophecy, but they do not believe in foretelling the future through prophecy.) In the Charismatic movement, the gift of prophecy is not restricted to predicting what is to come, but also includes visions, dreams, and revelations, helping believers understand the hidden difficulties of their souls. A minister from the LCM shared that in his many years of prophesying (in a forth-telling way), he has never witnessed a scene similar to the one depicted in 1 Corinthians 14:25, where “the secrets of his heart is disclosed, and so falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” However, this is a common sight in the Charismatic movement. Many times, I've seen a brother fall on his face crying as the secrets of his heart are shared through prophecy. I spent many years in the LCM, where I grew spiritually, increased my Bible knowledge, and received much loving help from many brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I never have met anyone who helped me like the Korean sister in Christ who revealed the secret hidden in my heart. Many in the LCM could benefit greatly from her gift if they were open to it. Many LCM believers continue to bury their problems under the guise of pursuing spiritual growth. Neglected bodily ailments can also negatively affect some believer's spiritual growth. Randy Clark of Toronto Blessings further illustrates the importance of prophetic and deliverance ministries. Randy shared that several generations of men in his family have been involved in promiscuity and other sexual sins. He also sinned in this area, even after accepting Christ as his savior. Even though he had repented, he did not recognize a need to cast out a demon from his life. Eventually, he met some believers with the gift of casting out demons. Through revoking the generational curses and casting out the demons, the spirit of promiscuity was chased away from his household. He then recognized that generational sin in his family was not a coincidence or his own weakness, but a generational curse. He testified that his son and daughters are not continuing in this generational pattern of sin. Another time, at the Toronto Blessing conference, a sister in Christ was unwilling to open up and share her heart, and Randy felt like his prayer was going nowhere. Another prophet, Larry Randolph, offered to give it a try. When Larry started praying, he used the gift of prophecy to speak of what the sister in Christ was keeping inside. As a result, this sister opened her heart and received the encouragement of Randy's ministry. These two examples convinced Randy Clark to strongly promote the ministry of casting out demons and prophecy and to create courses to train others in these areas. I have learned a lot from his courses. In addition, LCM has the tendency to lean towards over-spiritualizing. The LCM denies the physical aspect of heaven, teaching that heaven is a spiritual new Jerusalem, a mutual dwelling place for God and men. After my prophetic gift was activated in 2015, I experienced many visions of heaven, where I have seen architecture with glass, libraries, animals, gardens, many different types of transportation, various houses, fruits and vegetables that are found in heaven. Combining what I have read with the heavenly accounts of other prophets such as Choo Thomas, Kat Kerr and Lai-Wang Xiulan, I realize heaven is a real world, with mountains, seas, plants, houses, activities and gatherings. Heaven contains all the wonderful things of earth. It is not a purely spiritual realm with no physical things. Based on the words of Kat Kerr, heaven is unlike what people think. Many people think of it as flat, but it is round, like earth—just way bigger than the entire galaxy. In my prophetic encounters of heaven, I often saw different sizes of houses: some were small, and some were large. Kat Kerr believes the sizes of our heavenly homes are determined by how we live for Christ on this earth.   The LCM also tends towards speaking in absolutes. Pastor Tong shares his critique of the movement: “The faults of the LCM can be summarized in this way: they speak in absolutes about things that are often not absolute.”[2] Personally, I came to know Christ through a LCM church and have been blessed tremendously by them. I may be emotionally biased towards the LCM. I do believe Tong's criticism of them is overly harsh and that he fails to take into consideration the positive teachings there. For example, the LCM invited Pastor Stephen Tong to study their teachings in greater detail, and to have a conversation with the LCM. However, Pastor Stephen refused this invitation. Pastor Stephen Tong made some sarcastic comments about the LCM and was reluctant to humble himself, converse with the LCM, and better understand them. He said that if the first bite tasted bad, he did not need to take a second bite. The LCM's attempts to dialogue with Tong have not reaped positive results. While I cannot completely agree with Pastor Stephen Tong's criticism toward the LCM, I can admit that they have the tendency to perceive things in an absolute manner. The LCM is unwilling to accept the teachings of other Churches, and often does not venture beyond the framework of Watchman Nee's and Witness Lee's teachings. After leaving the LCM and joining the Charismatic movement, I have learned many new Bible truths, which helped me grow in areas that the LCM is weak in. For example, the LCM speaks in absolutes about Christmas. It teaches believers not to celebrate this holiday, since the Christmas holiday originated in the worship of the sun god. They also teach that Jesus was not born in December. The shepherds would not have been out in the field during the middle of December, so Christmas is not the right time of year to celebrate Jesus' birth. Other churches may concur with them on this point. However, according to Choo Thomas' book, “Heaven is So Real,” Jesus celebrated Christmas with her when he appeared to her. Also, American Prophet, Kat Kerr, had thousands of encounters in heaven, where she witnessed the presence of a Christmas town in heaven. In the town, Saint Nicholas was stationed to welcome children who wished to meet Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas used to give children gifts on Christmas, and the legend of Santa Claus is based on his life. I attempted to share such testimonies with believers attending the LCM churches, but they usually reply with a standard answer: “We speak only of the Bible in the LCM.” The LCM is unable to accept prophetic and spiritual gifts; thus, they would rarely accept such testimonies. However, while these testimonies are not from the Bible, they do not deviate from the Bible. In other words, it is extra-biblical but not unbiblical. Those who have been truly saved will one day see for themselves what heaven is like. God has prepared a real world for believers in heaven. Through these two examples about Christmas and heaven, we can see that the understanding of the LCM is limited. All of us have limited understanding, and we need to have humble hearts so we can learn and accept what God wants to communicate to us through other believers and other ministries. When we are unwilling to openly learn from others what God has in mind for us, we are unknowingly perpetuating factions amongst believers. We are claiming, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:12). I love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from the LCM, and I know that they follow the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee out of reverence for God, rather than idolizing these two men. Many Chinese churches criticize the LCM for idolizing Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, which the LCM denies. Many churches also criticize the LCM for being the most closed-up faction of Christians. The LCM denies it is a faction of its own. However, when we are unwilling to learn from others, we are naturally creating factions among believers. In effect, they are claiming, “I follow Watchman Nee” or “I follow Witness Lee.” Similarly, many brothers and sisters in Christ from many other Chinese churches are not open to receiving the teachings of the LCM. Due to criticism from famous preachers such as Pastor Stephen Tong, many do not try to understand what God has given us through the LCM, nor do they try to understand the helpful practices that they teach. This is also equivalent to saying, “I follow Pastor Stephen Tong” or “I follow XXX preacher”. I know that there are many Chinese churches that are against the teachings of the LCM and those of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, especially Witness Lee. However, things are not as simple as they seem. I admit Witness Lee is not perfect, but I have learned a lot from his teachings. We need to “rightly explain the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), objectively understanding and analyzing God's word and the teachings of his servants, including Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. It is not wrong to be critical of their teachings. While I do not agree with Pastor Stephen Tong's criticism, I do think he has the right to criticize. Besides criticizing the LCM, Pastor Stephen Tong is also critical of the Charismatic church. Historical differences, as well as conflict between the LCM, the Charismatic church, and other Chinese evangelical churches, have prevented the uniting of the Chinese Church as one. After identifying the issues at hand, the Chinese Churches should learn to accept the differences and learn from each other, thus unifying the Chinese Church as one. Adopting a punitive, critical approach will not solve the issues. God has indeed used the LCM to teach much truth related to spiritual growth. However, if we do not critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of the LCM, many people outside may treat them as heretical and refuse to listen to their teachings. As a result, believers like you and me will suffer. In 2015, God led me to learn from the Charismatic movement. I have discovered that the teachings of the Charismatic Church and those of the LCM can complement each other. My doctoral thesis at the United Theological Seminary discussed this very point. Not only can the Charismatic Church and the LCM help each other, but other Chinese evangelical churches can also benefit from learning from the Charismatic Church and the LCM. For example, the Charismatic church has been criticized for its over-emphasis on gifts and for neglecting the teaching about growth in holiness. This is precisely the area where LCM can be of assistance. The LCM can complement the Charismatic church by teaching on spiritual growth and holiness. However, many Chinese Charismatics have been influenced against Witness Lee by Steven Tong and others. They perceive Witness Lee and the LCM as heresy. Thus, they are not open to his teaching, and they miss out on an important opportunity to grow in their spiritual lives.   God has given me many revelations and visions of revival in China. In order for China to usher in this great revival, Chinese Christians need to be unified, especially on doctrinal beliefs. The LCM, Charismatic churches, and other evangelical churches need to work through their historical differences and doctrinal deviations. I believe that we need to work for unity so God can usher in the revival of the church in China. Spirit and Soul Pastor Stephen Tong discussed the issue of the soul and the spirit. He said, “The LCM attributes the mind, will, and emotions to the human ‘soul.' May I ask for a scripture reference that backs up this point? There is no Biblical text that supports such a theological theory. To say that reason, emotion, and will are in the ‘soul,' and that the spirit is not the same as the soul, is completely out of line with the Bible's teachings. God is a spirit. Does God have reason, emotion, and will? Does God have a soul? If reason, emotion, and will are in the soul, and if God is a spirit, does God lack reason, emotion, and will? “In reality,” Tong continues, “God not only has reason, emotion, and will, but his will determines his decrees. God's decrees come from his will, God's love comes from his emotions, and the truth of God's revelation comes from his reason. Therefore, God is the source of reason, the source of emotion, and the source of will. God is not a soul, but a spirit.”[3]   Pastor Stephen Tong rejects the separation of soul and spirit, but his argument above is illogical. We will not discuss whether God has a soul. However, humans, as God's creation, do have a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Even though we were formed in the image of God, we are not God. Even if God is a spirit, and not a soul, that does not prove that human souls do not have reason, emotions and will. We have a spiritual body within our physical body. People with prophetic gifts often have the prophetic experience of seeing their spiritual body walking outside of their physical body. Many prophets testify they have seen a spiritual body leave a person's physical body at the moment of his or her death. They saw that these spiritual bodies have arms and legs, just like the physical body. Likewise, there is a spiritual person in our soul-person, and the spiritual person may have the same function as the soul-person. Our spiritual man may also have mind, emotion and will, just as our soul has. Just as we are shadows of God, our souls are the shadows of our spirits. Kat Kerr shared that God clearly told her that his omnipresence has many “layers.” Similarly, humans have many “layers,” just as our soul does. Many prophets have the experiences of being transported. When they are asleep or in a trance or vision, their souls (not just their spirits) are brought to other places to minister. (Philip was even taken into other places physically.) These events take place not only in their spirits, but also in their souls. The mind in our soul recorded these experiences in dreams or visions. I have experienced similar situations multiple times in prophetic dreams. If a human's soul can have many different “layers” that can enter different dimensions of time and space, I suppose there are even more “layers” in a person's spirit, which function similarly. For example, when I am sleeping and having a prophetic dream, I could be brought to a different place, to testify to others about my testimony of having a miracle baby. Not only can I speak to an audience, I can also interact with them, and even see their tears. This is not just a dream, but my spirit and soul being brought to different places to testify. Hence, prophets can shed light on truths that were never known before. Possibly, when a person's spirit matures, more layers can be developed. I understand it is still a mystery to us, just like no one knows where our spirit dwells, even though we all know we have a spirit. However, practically speaking, it is difficult to separate soul and spirit, especially for less mature Christians. A seed contains the life of a tree inside just one seed. The seed can be said to have many “layers,” but is has not fully developed. Paul explained that “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” (1 Corinthians 2:15). He also said, “But a soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is not able to know them because they are discerned spiritually” (1 Corinthians 2:14, Recovery Version). Some Chinese versions of the Bible translate this verse as “soulish man,” but since English does not have a category for “soulish man,” most English translations say, “Natural person.” However, in the original Greek, the word “Soul” modifies the word “man.” While we cannot fully or clearly split the soul and spirit, it is important for us to learn and understand the differences between the two. This is something that Pastor Stephen Tong and many other Chinese preachers have missed, which I believe is a major cause of the tendency towards creating a “social club” in the church. It is a mystery for us to divide the spirit and soul, but we know for sure soul and spirit can be and should be separated in our spiritual experiences. Both the LCM and Charismatic churches, as well as other evangelical churches, preach on the difference between soul, spirit and body. For example, a leader of the Modern Faith Movement, Kenneth Copeland, said, “We are a spirit, we have a soul, we live in a body.” He also focuses on teaching believers to receive healing and develop their faith through the Word of God. John Sandford is a Charismatic leader who specializes in casting out demons and prophecy. He is also a pioneer in deliverance ministries. He has a strong prophetic gift and was considered a prophet in Charismatic circles. Often, in the process of casting out demons and inner healing, he receives prophetic revelations from God. He uses these revelations to help those who are suffering to receive inner healing and be free from demons. He can use his prophetic gift to pinpoint a hidden, secret problem in the soul or find out what demons are inside. Jon Sandford has coined a term, “the slumbering spirit.” Through his many years of ministry in casting out demons and inner healing, John Sandford has learned about the important relationship between a person's spirit and soul. When a child is young, if the child does not get sufficient affection, his spirit will not be able to develop. His emotions and thoughts (in his soul) will develop abnormally. Hence, in his ministry of healing and casting out demons, Sandford would first awaken the slumbering spirit in people, connect with them through their spirit, and slowly awaken their heart and emotions. Then he would be able to heal them. A lot of research has shown that when orphans who live in the orphanage do not receive sufficient hugs, their emotional and mental development is hindered. With sufficient hugs and through allowing them to experience God's love in their spirit, their spirit would slowly become complete. Sandford realized that if people only settled issues of the soul and did not resolve issues of the spirit, it would be challenging to resolve the issues of the soul. This point is similar to the teachings of the LCM, which teaches believers to exercise their spirit and receive God's divine life to renew the soul. However, the LCM misses out on other aspects of John Sandford's teachings, which is using the prophetic gift to reveal the innermost hidden problems of the human soul. Issues relating to the soul are often messy, but God is all-knowing. Through the practice and development of the gift of prophecy, we can work with God to resolve the issues pertaining to the soul. A Korean prophet prophesied over me, saying that God wanted to use me to bring healing to people's spirits, souls, and bodies. He has given me a holistic, wholesome healing ministry. I respond to God's call with a hearty, “Amen,” since God has allowed me to experience this kind of healing in the spirit, soul and body. I want to help others receive the same healing. My father had challenges in building relationships and expressing emotion, which also hindered my own emotional development. Even though I actively pursued spiritual growth and Bible reading in the LCM, they never offered help in the area of emotional development. However, the Charismatic movement's teaching and practice on inner healing, deliverance ministries, prophecy and the encounters with God, brought a greater breakthrough in these areas. My wife and I had a miracle baby, which provided tremendous healing for us emotionally. The LCM focuses on the three-part distinction of spirit, soul and body. It emphasizes the exercise of the spirit and the soul's renewal and transformation but does not focus on physical healing or inner healing and deliverance ministries. While the LCM focuses on the impact of spiritual growth on the soul, it does not focus on recognizing and resolving issues in the soul. It lacks tools in helping people resolve these issues. The LCM also lacks in knowledge and practice pertaining to the gift of prophecy. Pastor Stephen Tong may be right that the LCM over-spiritualizes things, but his own complete denial of the separation of soul and spirit has also affected many believers negatively. His teachings lead to a lack of understanding of the difference between soul and spirit, a lack of spiritual growth and exercise, and the lack of assistance with issues in the soul. My personal experience of the LCM, my interaction with believers influenced by Tong, my subsequent experience with the Charismatic church, Randy Clark's testimony on the gift of prophecy and casting out demons, and the teachings of John Sandford have all influenced and shaped my beliefs. These examples show that there are things to learn from the LCM, the Evangelical Church, and the Charismatic Church. Paul reproached the Corinthian believers for claiming to “belong to Paul, belong to Apollos, belong to Cephas.” At the end of 1 Corinthians 3, Paul writes, “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). I prayed through this verse meditatively, as taught by the LCM, and the Spirit gave me an inspiration. The Holy Spirit impressed on my heart the words “so let no one boast in men. For all things are yours.” The Holy Spirit highlighted the word “for” in the verse. The reason why we say that “we belong to Paul, we belong to Apollos or, we belong to Cephas” (and the modern Chinese churches equivalent, “we belong to Watchman Nee, we belong to Witness Lee or we belong to Pastor Stephen Tong,” etc.), is because we have not recognized that “all things are yours.” All things are God's. All God's things are for us, and we should be thankful to receive these blessings. Later, when talking about food sacrificed to idols, Paul instructed believers to receive all food from God with thanksgiving. Every denomination has received certain aspects of God's truth. We must practice these aspects of truth, not so our denomination can be superior to others, nor so we can put down another denomination. Instead, we should be filled with gratitude and humility and seek to learn from one another. We should not flippantly judge others as heretics. We should not assume that we ourselves are completely right while others are completely wrong. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that we should not revere people. Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life, death, the present, the future--all belong to us, who belong to Christ, who belongs to God. Everything works together for the good of those who love God. In the same way, Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, Pastor Stephen Tong—all of these belong to us, and we should learn from each of them. We belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. God has raised up different shepherds and servants, just like He has raised up Paul and Apollos. Each of us are called to different ministries by God. Some are called to plant seeds, some to water, and some to teach God's word, all for the good of believers. If we recognized “the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints” (Ephesians 3:18), we would not be tempted to revere or idolize any man. They all have limitations. However, each of them plays apart in God's kingdom. We should help each other for the benefit of those who love God. If we recognize the goodness of what God wants to share with us through others, we will be able to grow in Christ and not remain spiritually immature. Some remain immature spiritually, because they only accept the teachings of their own denomination instead of learning from others in other ministries. Just like cross-pollination increases the quality of the plants and flowers, “cross-pollination” in the church would help us mature in our spiritual lives. We need to overcome the differences between denominations and learn from each other, so we can leave spiritual infancy far behind. In this message, I have shared about the LCM, the Charismatic church, and other Chinese evangelical churches. We all need to be humble and learn from each other. Many readers or listeners may not be familiar with these three denominations that I have mentioned or with the Chinese church at large. But they can still agree with the principles of humility and unity. In a prophetic dream, the Lord showed two rivers flowing towards convergence. While the Lord did not specify which two rivers these are, I believe that in our generation, different denominations or streams are going to come together, just like river waters that flow towards the ocean. In this way, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Let us humble ourselves to learn from others in the body of Christ!     [1] https://congfang.com/2826/ [2] https://congfang.com/2826/ [3] https://congfang.com/2826/

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2021


Full Text of ReadingsWednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter Lectionary: 293All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is Saint Leopold Mandicclass="content"> May 12, 2021 Franciscan Media Image: Statue of Leopold Mandic | St. Jacob Church in Međugorje, Bosnia | photo by gnuckx Saint of the Day for May 12 (May 12, 1866 – July 30, 1942) Audio file Saint Leopold Mandic’s story Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers. A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight, and a stomach ailment. For several years Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice. Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers. At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is “to have lost all sense of sin,” Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation. Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982. In the Roman liturgy his feast is celebrated on July 30. Reflection Saint Francis advised his followers to “pursue what they must desire above all things, to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy manner of working” (Rule of 1223, Chapter 10)—words that Leopold lived out. When the Capuchin minister general wrote his friars on the occasion of Leopold’s beatification, he said that this friar’s life showed “the priority of that which is essential.” Saint of the Day Copyright Franciscan Media

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Sunday, May 2, 2021

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2021


Full Text of ReadingsFifth Sunday of Easter Lectionary: 53All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is Saint AthanasiusAthanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church. Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism. When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first, it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of Saint Paul. After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters. Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing, and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism. Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world. Reflection Athanasius suffered many trials while he was bishop of Alexandria. He was given the grace to remain strong against what probably seemed at times to be insurmountable opposition. Athanasius lived his office as bishop completely. He defended the true faith for his flock, regardless of the cost to himself. In today’s world we are experiencing this same call to remain true to our faith, no matter what. Saint of the Day Copyright Franciscan Media

The Gospel for Planet Earth w/ Karl and Susie Gessler
How First Centruy Jews Began to Worship Jesus

The Gospel for Planet Earth w/ Karl and Susie Gessler

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 16, 2021 36:25


How did monotheist Jews begin to worship a man named Jesus as God? Western Christians know that Jesus is God, but we often fail to make a well-articulated argument for how that came to be. We often start with beliefs about God that come from various places, and then we say that Jesus is THAT God's son. But this argument is backward. Today, I want to explain how faithful, monotheist first-century Jews began to worship Jesus as the one and only God. NEVER MISS ANY CONTENT WITH EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION -➡️http://bit.ly/EMAILSUBSCRIBEOn TELEGRAM➡️Telegram - https://t.me/TheGospel4PlanetEarthKarl Gessler on DING DASH➡️Ding Dash - https://dingdash.com/web/accounts/583The GESSLERS ON GAB➡️https://gab.com/KarlGesslerSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/karlgessler)

Mission Minded
Navigating the Changing World of Missions Aviation

Mission Minded

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2021 55:56


"How might we use aircraft in order to propel the Gospel?" That was the mindset behind the founders of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) after World War II. Doug Harrison is the Director of Strategy and Innovation today with MAF, he and his wife also spent time in the field in central Asia. Doug's job is to explore what the role of MAF is today even though the organization was born in the 1950's. The organization has seen changes with declining Western missionary passengers who have been replaced by national pastors or local Great Commission workers needing MAF services. MAF and Doug use a tool called the "Theory of Change" that has helped them work through some of the major shifts happening in the global mission field where they operate. Resources Discussed: Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF): https://maf.org/​ Theory of Change: https://www.theoryofchange.org/​ Western Christians in Global Missions Book: https://www.amazon.com/Western-Christ...​ Millennials in Ministry Book: https://www.amazon.com/Millennials-Mi...​ The Daniel Generation Book:

Godward: A Lit-Wisdom Podcast
Episode 59: Toward a Standard Model of the Interpretation of Heroic Virtues in Western/Christian Literature

Godward: A Lit-Wisdom Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 5, 2021 42:39


In this abstract episode, consider a few specific examples taken from literary classics -- as well as a couple from modern books & movies -- in order to answer the question of whether there are limits to interpretation that are "built into" the narratives we enjoy. What ramifications do these proposed limits of interpretation have on our own sense of moral duties, heroism, virtue, and human psychology? If we consider our own lives as a story, does it help us to make good moral judgments, or was Socrates right in saying we should throw out the stories because they give us a false sense of reality? There's a lot going on in this episode, but the good news is, you'll be able to keep up even if you haven't read Aeschylus or Euripides -- although, you probably should at least know the outline of Antigone & the New Testament, okay? I mean come on. Get a grip. Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Godward

St Helen's Sunday talks podcast
Predictable persecution

St Helen's Sunday talks podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 14, 2021 38:56


Charlie Skrine - In three chapters in Acts, we meet the first Christian martyr, the first organised persecution of Christians and the first inquisitor. At the same time, the church was growing massively in a way that modern, Western Christians find hard to understand. In this verse, Stephen tells us that persecution is an entirely predictable part of the Christian life.

Things You Don't Hear in Church
Youth Groups: The Good, the Bad, and the Injuries They Incur From Games #54

Things You Don't Hear in Church

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 43:29


Youth Groups are a pretty normal part of the Western Christian culture. For the most part, they're pretty influential. In this episode, we discuss their importance, what their role is, and some pitfalls that may arise. Enjoy! --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/thingsyoudonthearinchurch/support

Who's That Girl? A New Girl Podcast

This podcast covers New Girl Season 1, Episode 23, Backslide, which originally aired on May 1, 2012 and was written by David Quandt and directed by Nanette Burstein.Here’s a quick recap of the episode:Jess is upset about breaking up with Russell and after learning about the term “backsliding”, she sleeps with an ex. Nick is still pursuing his relationship with Caroline even though the loftmates are advising against it. Schmidt’s still dealing with his broken penis and meets Cece’s grandmother while Winston gets drunk with his boss and ends up with a new accessory for everyone to make fun of.We discuss Pop Culture References such as:The River by Joni Mitchell - While Jess was wallowing over her breakup with Russell, she played The River by Joni Mitchell on repeat in her room.Tom Waits - Nick refers to the voice in his head sounding like Tom Waits and later in the episode Jess imitates what Tom Waits would sound like. Additional Pop Culture References such as:Cylon - After asking herself if she was “self-sabotaging” her relationship with Russell, Jess asked herself if she was a Cylon. Cylons are a fictional, artificially-intelligent race of machines in the Battlestar Galactica series. Grateful Dead Bears - When Nick was looking at the apartment with Caroline, she asked him where the Grateful Dead Bears were going to dance. The Grateful Dead is a band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The “bears” were initially designed by artist Bob Thomas to appear on the back cover of the band’s 1973 album, The History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice). They have come to be a symbol for many things but are most notably used as a symbol for the band. Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky - When Jess finds out that Paul cheated on his girlfriend when he slept with her, he claims to know what Bill Clinton felt like and Jess says she knows how Monica Lewinsky felt. Bill Clinton was a former US president who was impeached after lying to a grand jury about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, who was at the time a White House intern.“Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day…” (Sonnet 18) - When Nick is watching past Nick be sad over Caroline, Schmidt retrieves the poem past Nick wrote about Caroline. The poem began with the beginning of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, which is one of Shakespeare’s best-known sonnets. Batmen - When Schmidt and Cece go to the nursing home to visit Cece’s dadi, another resident shared that he mentions he and his wife had been together through four different “batmen”. Since 1943, there have been 9 actors who have played Batman on the big and small screens. Yoda - When Schmidt is talking to Cece’s dadi and friends, he mentions they are like real live yodas. Yoda is a small, wrinkly, green character from the movie franchise Star Wars. Winston’s Earrings - Throughout the episode, the loftmates made fun of Winston by comparing him to many famous references including the below:Disney Pirate Movie / Captain Black Sparrow - This is a reference to the movie The Pirates of the Caribbean where the main character is an eccentric pirate named Captain Jack Sparrow. The first movie came out in 2003 and it has since had 4 more feature films with another 2 potentially being made.George Michael - George Michael was a member of the music duo Wham! who later embarked on a solo career. When he died in 2016 he was considered one of the best-selling music artists of all time and achieved eight number one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100.Carnival - This is a reference to the Western Christian festive season before Lent and occurs in February or early March. It involves public celebrations like parades, street parties, and has elements of a circus. Typically the festival has attendees in costumes and masks and celebrate by eating and drinking excessively.Mr. T - Mr. T is an alias for Lawrence Tureaud who is an American actor, TV personality, bodyguard, and professional wrestler. His catchphrase “I pity the fool!” is from his character on Rocky III and became his trademark which led him to have his own reality show.Lil Wayne - Lil Wayne is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor who is known as one of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation. He joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member at the age of 12.Shaquille O'Neal - Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal is an American former basketball player who spent 19 years in the NBA. He was also one of the first African Americans to portray a major comic book superhero in a motion picture and has continued to act since.We also cover a “Schmidtism” when Schmidt tries to cheer Jess up at the beginning of the episode. For “Not in 2020” on this episode we discuss how Cece’s dressing down to avoid discomfort for Schmidt was compared to dressing like a “women’s study major”. We also discuss how Paul called Winston “Washington” and Jess referred to Jenn as “Asian me” and herself as the “Caucasian you”. We also explore the careers of Phil Hendrie, Melissa Tang, and Madhur Jaffrey, the guest stars of this episode.This episode got an 8/10 Rating from Kritika and Kelly and we both had the same favorite character: Jess!Thanks for listening and stay tuned for Episode 24!Music: "Hotshot” by scottholmesmusic.comFollow us on Twitter, Instagram or email us at whosthatgirlpod@gmail.com!Website: https://smallscreenchatter.com/

Search the Scriptures Live
Christ, Adam, and Salvation

Search the Scriptures Live

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2021 92:20


In Romans 5, Paul explains the role of Christ in salvation in relation to Adam. How can Christ be a "type" of Adam, since Adam sinned and Christ did not? Does this chapter support the interpretation of universal salvation? Since all "died in Adam," will all "live in Christ"? Western Christian understanding of sin and its effects on the human race was strongly influenced by Augustine's interpretation of Romans 5:12. From Augustine's faulty interpretation, the concept of "original sin" was born and took root in the West. How are Catholic and Protestant concepts of sin and salvation different from the Orthodox understanding? What do these different ideas of sin reveal about our different conceptions of God and His relationship to humanity?

Grantham Church Podcast
Resilient Faith (2 of 4)

Grantham Church Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 28, 2021 32:00


Sermon Series: Resilient Faith | Lent 2021Sermon Title: Resistance Builds ResilienceScripture Reading: Matt 4:1-11; James 1:13-15, 4:7-8; Eph 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8-10 Jesus shows us that you can’t build resilient faith unless you learn to resist temptation and evil. The New Testament reveals that we have three enemies that should be resisted: the world, our flesh, and the devil. But unfortunately, many Western Christians have not taken resistance to the devil seriously enough. Listen as Pastor David challenges us to follow Jesus by engaging in spiritual warfare through prayer.Worship Resources:sermon video (mp4)sermon slidesFebruary 28 Worship Liturgysmall group discussion questions

Dutch By Association - A Northwest Iowa Podcast

We talk money on this episode of the DBA pod! We are joined by Travis Alday, who is Wayne's resident Trader Bro, to talk about Cryptocurrency and what this whole r/wallstreetbets phenomenon is all about. Aaron decides that he's going to take the advice of his Trader Bro and purchase stock in Canadian cannabis. Mitch responds to allegations that he was the Screech Powers of South O'Brien, and we talk about Western Christian's exit from the Lakes Conference.

Far From Normal
Western Supremacy Isn't Far From Normal on Valentine's Day

Far From Normal

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 18, 2021 35:57


Happy (belated) Valentine's Day! In this episode, Miranda and Shivani discuss how holidays such as Valentine's day are largely based on Western Christian traditions. White supremacy has largely affected how we perceive history, certain rituals and traditions, other cultures, and many current events. How might we go about changing the way our complex history influences the present?~02/14/2021~

Inverse Podcast
Luke Glanville and Mark Glanville: Refuge Reminagined

Inverse Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2021 76:46


This week Drew and Jarrod intervie two brothers Mark and Luke Glanville about their new book Refuge Reimagined. The global crisis of forced displacement is growing every year. At the same time, Western Christians' sympathy toward refugees is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about personal and national security, economics, and culture. We urgently need a perspective that understands both Scripture and current political realities and that can be applied at the levels of the church, the nation, and the globe. In Refuge Reimagined, Mark R. Glanville and Luke Glanville offer a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. God's people, they argue, are consistently called to extend kinship—a mutual responsibility and solidarity—to those who are marginalized and without a home. Drawing on their respective expertise in Old Testament studies and international relations, the two brothers engage a range of disciplines to demonstrate how this ethic is consistently conveyed throughout the Bible and can be practically embodied today. Glanville and Glanville apply the kinship ethic to issues such as the current mission of the church, national identity and sovereignty, and possibilities for a cooperative global response to the refugee crisis. Challenging the fear-based ethic that often motivates Christian approaches, they envision a more generous, creative, and hopeful way forward. Refuge Reimagined will equip students, activists, and anyone interested in refugee issues to understand the biblical model for communities and how it can transform our world. Mark R. Glanville (PhD, Bristol University) is associate professor of pastoral theology at Regent College, Vancouver, and an Old Testament scholar. He is the author of Adopting the Stranger as Kindred in Deuteronomy and Freed to Be God's Family: The Book of Exodus and has written articles for a variety of publications including the Journal of Biblical Literature, Refuge Journal, Journal of Missional Practice, Christian Educators Journal, Evangelicals for Social Action, Faith Today, The Light Magazine, and The Presbyterian Pulse. Glanville previously ministered in a missional urban community, Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, Vancouver, and was a professor of congregational theology at the Missional Training Center in Phoenix. He is a trained jazz pianist and lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife, Erin, and their two children. Luke Glanville (PhD, University of Queensland) is associate professor in the department of international relations at Australian National University. He is the author of Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect: A New History, which won the Australian Political Science Association Crisp Prize in 2016 and the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award in 2014. Refuge Reminagined is out now, published by IVP (IV Press). https://www.ivpress.com/refuge-reimagined Follow Mark Glanville on Twitter @markrglanville Follow Luke Glanville on Twitter @luke_glanville Follow Drew Hart on Instagram and Twitter @druhart. Follow Jarrod McKenna on Instagram and Twitter @jarrodmckenna. Become a Patron of Inverse at https://www.patreon.com/InVerse

Inverse Podcast
Luke Glanville and Mark Glanville: Refuge Reminagined

Inverse Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2021 76:46


This week Drew and Jarrod intervie two brothers Mark and Luke Glanville about their new book Refuge Reimagined. The global crisis of forced displacement is growing every year. At the same time, Western Christians' sympathy toward refugees is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about personal and national security, economics, and culture. We urgently need a perspective that understands both Scripture and current political realities and that can be applied at the levels of the church, the nation, and the globe. In Refuge Reimagined, Mark R. Glanville and Luke Glanville offer a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. God's people, they argue, are consistently called to extend kinship—a mutual responsibility and solidarity—to those who are marginalized and without a home. Drawing on their respective expertise in Old Testament studies and international relations, the two brothers engage a range of disciplines to demonstrate how this ethic is consistently conveyed throughout the Bible and can be practically embodied today. Glanville and Glanville apply the kinship ethic to issues such as the current mission of the church, national identity and sovereignty, and possibilities for a cooperative global response to the refugee crisis. Challenging the fear-based ethic that often motivates Christian approaches, they envision a more generous, creative, and hopeful way forward. Refuge Reimagined will equip students, activists, and anyone interested in refugee issues to understand the biblical model for communities and how it can transform our world. Mark R. Glanville (PhD, Bristol University) is associate professor of pastoral theology at Regent College, Vancouver, and an Old Testament scholar. He is the author of Adopting the Stranger as Kindred in Deuteronomy and Freed to Be God's Family: The Book of Exodus and has written articles for a variety of publications including the Journal of Biblical Literature, Refuge Journal, Journal of Missional Practice, Christian Educators Journal, Evangelicals for Social Action, Faith Today, The Light Magazine, and The Presbyterian Pulse. Glanville previously ministered in a missional urban community, Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, Vancouver, and was a professor of congregational theology at the Missional Training Center in Phoenix. He is a trained jazz pianist and lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife, Erin, and their two children. Luke Glanville (PhD, University of Queensland) is associate professor in the department of international relations at Australian National University. He is the author of Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect: A New History, which won the Australian Political Science Association Crisp Prize in 2016 and the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award in 2014. Refuge Reminagined is out now, published by IVP (IV Press). https://www.ivpress.com/refuge-reimagined Follow Mark Glanville on Twitter @markrglanville Follow Luke Glanville on Twitter @luke_glanville Follow Drew Hart on Instagram and Twitter @druhart. Follow Jarrod McKenna on Instagram and Twitter @jarrodmckenna. Become a Patron of Inverse at https://www.patreon.com/InVerse

Living Words
A Sermon for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

Living Words

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2021


A Sermon for the Third Sunday after Epiphany Romans 12:16-21 by William Klock   We live in the overlap of two ages and see it in the hostility of the world to Jesus and his people.  In his death and resurrection, Jesus has inaugurated a new age, a new world, and he’s given his people and the world hope.  He will make all things new.  But making all things new and setting God’s Creation to rights also means judgement and wiping away everything and everyone who stands against God and his world.  We see his graciousness and his patience on display in the fact that he sent his Son, not to bring an end to the story by crushing and wiping away ungodliness, but by sending him into the middle of the story, to die for the sake of his enemies, in order to make a means of redemption.  Jesus offers a way out of the coming judgement.  Jesus offers an opportunity to be part of his new creation.  We need only kneel in faith before him in acknowledgement that he is Creation’s true Lord.  In return, he makes his people and, in that, he forgives us and he makes us knew.  In our baptism his plunges us into his own Spirit and his Spirit then converts ungodly hearts set on rebellion, and places in them a love for God and a love for each other.  Jesus and the Spirit make us part of God’s new creation.  Jesus could have come to bring history to its end, but that would have been the end of us, too.  Instead, he’s inaugurated God’s new age, he’s inaugurated God’s new creation, and in this overlap—the new age inaugurated while the old age continues to trundle along—he sends his people out to proclaim his royal summons to the world, calling men and women to repentance, to faith, to take part in his new world. But the people and the powers and the institutions invested in the old age don’t like that.  Jesus warned his friends: “A disciple is not greater than his master.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  Persecution is bound to happen whenever and wherever the old age and the new age meet.  Paul knew this from personal experience.  In fact, Paul had found himself on both sides of the clash.  He knew what it was to be the persecutor and he knew what it was to be the persecuted.  He knew that it was in this meeting of the ages, this place where the world and the kingdom come up against each other straight on, that Jesus’ people find one of our greatest opportunities to be the people the Spirit has made us.  This clash is the place where Christians have profound opportunity to live the gospel and to be and to manifest God’s new creation here and now. You and I, as Western Christians, really know nothing of persecution.  Not first-hand.  We’ve read stories of brothers and sisters martyred for their faith in China or the Soviet Union or the Middle East, but we haven’t experienced real persecution ourselves.  We sometimes face opposition and hostility.  The older I get the more I think that an awful lot of the “opposition” we face here in North America isn’t so much for being Christians; it’s for being jerks about being Christians.  But that highlights what Paul is getting at in our Epistle today, in Romans 12:16-21.  We’re continuing in this passage that began with Paul telling us to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God.  To do that, he writes, is to worship the one who has saved us.  He went on to explain what that looks like in practical terms.  It begins with love and last Sunday we looked at his description of love at work in the Church.  How we live with and treat each other is a profound witness to the world.  In the Third Century, Tertullian wrote about the influence the Church had on the pagans around it.  They didn’t comment on what the Church taught or said, but on how the Church lived.  In the midst of a dog-eat-dog world, the pagans saw Christians and were astounded, saying, “Look how they love each other!”  Here in the Church we are a microcosm of God’s new creation.  But Jesus doesn’t intend for us to keep it to ourselves.  Just as God’s love spills out of us to each other, it then spills out of the Church to the world—and it often has its most profound impact when it comes up against opposition, hostility, and persecution.  In these verses, Paul now carries this theme of love as he leads us out of the doors of the church and back to our neighbourhoods, workplaces, governments, and communities. Paul knew this first-hand the impact of the love of Jesus can have when it comes up against the world.  What he writes here is not what he grew up with.  What he writes here is the opposite of what characterised the Jewish world he knew—not to mention the pagan world.  The Seventh Chapter of 2 Maccabees gives us an idea of the mindset that Paul was raised with.  We don’t have time to read the whole thing this morning, but the story takes place about 160 years before Jesus was born.  A group of Jews under the leadership of Mattathias Maccabeus and his son, Judas, rose up against their Greek rulers.  The Greeks tried to supress the faith of the Jews.  In 2 Maccabees 7 we read about a woman and her seven sons who were threatened with torture in an effort to force them to eat pork.  They refused and, one by one, the sons were brutally tortured and killed for their refusal to compromise.  Each, in turn, as he was tortured called down curses on those Greek soldiers and on Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greek king.  They became national heroes, not just for refusing to compromise and eat pork, but for having the courage to curse the soldiers as they were dying.  The men who rose up to violently overthrow the Greeks in the revolt that came were national heroes too.  (They still are.)  The Maccabees were the spiritual fathers of the Pharisees.  They were heroes to Paul and Paul saw his opposition to the Church as being faithful to that heritage. But something changed.  It might have begun as Paul stood by while Stephen, the first martyr, was stoned.  Stephen preached Jesus and the Jews killed him for it.  Paul held coats so that those throwing stones wouldn’t be encumbered.  And he heard Stephen with his dying breath cry out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).  Just like Jesus, who was crucified, but did not curse or revile in return, but prayed, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing,” Stephen prayed for his enemies.  This was unheard of.  But, years later, here’s what Paul wrote in Romans 12—the end of our Epistle last week: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.   Someone reviles you for your faith in Jesus.  Bless them.  Someone has your church’s tax-exempt status revoked because of your witness for Jesus.  Bless them.  You’re fined for refusing to compromise your faith as it relates to your business practices.  Bless them.  You’re arrested and put in jail for proclaiming the good news about Jesus.  Bless them.  Bless them.  Bless them.  Bless them.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Is that a hard thing to do?  Of course it is.  But do it anyway.  If Stephen used his last breath to pray for the people who were stoning him, so can you.  And Stephen’s story reminds us of the key here.  Stephen had his sight fixed on Jesus and the Cross.  Brothers and Sisters, you can’t revile, curse, and fight back when you have your eyes fixed on the one who gave himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of his enemies and who preached, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).  Epiphany reminds us of the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah, as Lord, as Saviour.  You and I have experienced that manifestation and it changes everything. And it’s not just blessing the people who would persecute us for our faith.  We’re going to face hostility everywhere we turn in the world.  The old age is filled with sin and corruption.  Our interactions are tainted with it every day.  But instead of seeing this as an opportunity to get back or get even, as people of God’s new creation, we should look at our life in the midst of the world as a means of lifting the veil on the new creation that is our hope—and that Jesus and the Spirit have made us a part of already.  Look at verses 15-16: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.   Never be wise in your own sight.   That means: Don’t be a sourpuss.  When something good happens to your pagan neighbour, be happy for him.  When he throws a party to celebrate something, go and celebrate with him.  Some people might get drunk in the process.  You can still celebrate with him, just don’t get drunk yourself and don’t be a nag.  When Veronica’s brother got married it was by a druid priestess with a druid-Wiccan ceremony.  We could have been sourpusses about it, but the fact is that marriage was instituted by God.  Marriage is a good thing—even when the pagans do it.  It’s what men and women are supposed to do.  It’s a joyful time.  We went.  We politely declined the smudging and stood outside the “sacred circle” drawn by the priestess and didn’t take part in the pagan rituals, but we could still rejoice with them in their marriage. The flip side of this is that we ought to weep with our neighbours or with the world when it weeps.  Some Christians are really, really good at Schadenfreude.  They sit and smirk every time something bad happens to unbelievers.  Brothers and Sisters, don’t be like that.  First, it’s self-righteous to be like that.  Bad things happen because we—all of us, every human being who has ever lived—have sinned and contributed to the corruption of our world.  Sometimes we suffer as the consequence of our own personal sins.  Most of the time we suffer the cumulative consequences of thousands and thousands of years of sins committed corporately by the entire human race.  The problems of this world can be laid at our feet too.  We’ve all contributed and none of us has any business gloating at the misfortune of a fellow human being.  But, second, you and I are privileged to be stewards of the answer to human suffering.  In Jesus and the Spirit, we’ve caught a glimpse of the world set to rights.  God, in his grace and mercy, saw fit to reach each of us with the good news about Jesus.  We ought to show that same grace and mercy to others who suffer.  Instead of gloating, we ought to take the good news about Jesus to them. In fact, even though the world around us is hostile to the good news, Paul says “live in harmony with one another.”  The Greek literally says, “thinking the same thing towards one another”.  The sense is that Paul is calling us to live alongside our neighbours, sharing life with them.  We Christians are prone to withdrawing from our neighbours.  We may not go off and form literal ghettos where we all live in the same place apart from everyone else, although there have been some groups who have done that.  No, our problem is that we tend to minimize our association with non-Christians.  That’s particularly true of those of us who have been raised in the Church.  We tend to form all of our close relationship with fellow Christians.  And then we wonder where all the opportunities for evangelism have gone!  It’s good to ask yourself—particularly if you’ve been a Christian for a long time—if you’ve isolated yourself from non-Christians. Paul says not to be snobs, but to associate with the lowly.  We see this lived out very dramatically in the Church of Paul’s day as slaves and free people lived alongside each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Paul, no doubt, had in mind the tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Roman churches.  Those may not be the sorts of division we’re prone to being snobbish about, but they make the point that the love of Jesus that has been poured into our hearts by the Spirit crosses boundaries of every kind. Now look at verses 17 and 18: Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.   Responding in kind is the way of the fallen human heart.  It’s our most natural response.  But the Christian is different.  Again, the Spirit has removed our hearts of stone and in their places filled us with love for God and love for our neighbours.  This is the most basic and fundamental characteristics of the Christian, which is why Paul beats this drum so often—he says almost exactly the same thing in 1Thessalonians 5.  Love does not seek revenge.  Love seeks the best, even for our enemies.  If you struggle with this—and we all do—remember, again, the cross.  We rejected God.  We sinned.  We sundered heaven and earth.  We corrupted God’s creation.  But instead of repaying our evil with more evil, God sent his Son to forgive, to reconcile, and to restore. Why?  Because he loves us.  Think on the cross.  Meditate on the cross.  Keep the cross always at the centre of your vision and love will become easier and more natural. And because of love and our desire to live out the good news and to manifest God’s new age in the midst of the world, we’ll always be thinking about how to do good.  Paul knew that sometimes doing good and manifesting the kingdom will bring the scorn of the world.  It took Jesus to the cross.  But he also knew that it’s possible to live at peace with our neighbours.  There are times when our integrity and refusal to compromise may lose us friends or get us fired from our jobs, but we can still rejoice with our joyful neighbours and weep with our weeping neighbours. What comes to my mind as I read these words is that Paul understands that we will face the opposition of the world, but we should respond to that by being squeaky-clean.  We should be living in such a way that when we do face opposition or persecution, it should truly be for the sake of Jesus and only for the sake of Jesus.  I think this is something we modern Christians need desperately to hear.  We can be real jerks sometimes, all in the name of Jesus.  We can be horrible snobs in the name of Jesus.  We can be terrible sourpusses in the name of Jesus.  We often gloat at the sufferings of unbelievers—particularly those who actively oppose us—and we gloat in the name of Jesus.  We can be horrible, self-righteous hypocrites in the name of Jesus.  And we too often seek our own welfare—often doing so in the name of Jesus—through associations with ungodliness and ungodly people.  Politics, in particular, has corrupted our gospel perspective and compromised our witness.  And politics, too, has caused us to forget Jesus’ warnings about violence and retaliation.  We may never dream of taking up swords against our enemies, but we invest ourselves in winning control of the government so that we can turn its sword against our enemies.  We must make every effort to live for the sake of others, following the example of Jesus, and seeking to show the love of God to all. It’s become pretty common for some people to compare Christians to Nazis because of our stance on sexuality, sexual identity, and marriage—hot topics at the centre of today’s cultural revolution.  We’re seen by many as bigots and haters.  Brothers and Sisters, our refusal to compromise will bring this sort of opposition, but we need to be sure that the opposition is truly for the sake of our commitment to Jesus and to the real love that Paul describes here.  If the world is going to call us Nazis, we need to be squeaky-clean.  We need to be the most loving people on the planet—as we should be—even if the world doesn’t fully understand true love.  The people who are going to call us Nazis on this issue, need to see us rejoice with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep.  They should never see us thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.  To the contrary, they should see us seeking out the lowly.  They should know, even if they’ve suppressed it in the backs of their minds and seared their own consciences, that their accusations are utterly false. Brothers and Sisters, Paul gives us a sombre warning in verse 19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”   This isn’t always an easy thing to do, but, again, look to the cross.  God’s people are loved by God.  That God would give his Son for our sake is the proof.  We’re Christians because we trust in God—in his goodness and his wisdom seen first and foremost in his provision for forgiveness and renewal through Jesus.  Brothers and Sisters, we know that God is good.  We know that God takes care of us.  We know that God will set all things to rights in the end and that his justice will prevail.  We don’t need to take justice into our own hands by seeking vengeance.  To do that is to perpetuate the very cycle of evil that Jesus died to end.  Have you ever considered that your faith is witnessed to others when you choose to trust in God to deal with your enemies?  Think on that the next time you’re tempted to repay evil with evil. Then in verses 20-21 Paul writes,   To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   Instead of cursing our enemies, we need to devote ourselves, as Jesus said, to praying for our enemies and seeking out ways to do good to those who persecute us.  Paul quotes Proverbs 25:21-22.  Don’t just leave it at not taking vengeance on your enemies.  Look for ways to actively do good to him or to her.  This goes along with being squeaky-clean.  Manifest the love of God to your enemy.  There’s some disagreement about exactly what Paul means by heaping coals on his head, but Paul’s point seems to be this:  First, doing good to your enemies is the right thing to do, because it models the love that God has shown us in Jesus.  Never forget that we were once God’s enemies.  Second, vengeance is God’s prerogative and we need to trust in him in these situations.  And, finally third, Paul’s thinking that—even if it’s a long-shot—loving our enemies may bring them to repentance.  That may seem a stretch, but Paul knew this first-hand.  Remember Stephen.  Paul stood there holding coats for the stone-throwers.  He heard Stephen’s prayers for his enemies.  Paul didn’t change his mind about Jesus that day, but Stephen’s witness stayed with him and was part of a long sequence of events that would eventually bring Paul to Jesus. Paul really knew how evil is overcome, not with more evil, but with good.  He’d seen it in his own experience.  But he understood it, first and foremost, because of the cross of Jesus.  Paul understood the way in which violence compounds violence and evil compounds evil just as we do.  Someone hits you so you hit back harder and the violence spirals.  It’s in our fallen nature and has been from the beginning.  In Genesis 4 we’re told of Lamech who boasted that a man hit him so he retaliated by murdering the man and the world has been spiralling into greater violence ever since.  Evil only begets more evil. Brothers and Sisters, Jesus stepped into history to break that cycle.  Evil concentrated itself in one place, rose up to its full height, and did its worst at the cross.  Peter drew his sword, but Jesus knew that evil begets evil, that those who live by the sword die by the sword.  Jesus told Peter to put his sword away and then allowed himself to be led to the cross.  Jesus let evil do its worst and in doing so, he broke the cycle.  He returned death with life and evil with love.  And now he’s filled us with that same love and calls us to break the cycle wherever we find ourselves in it.  It’s not a question of if, but when.  The spiral of evil and violence finds us every day, even if only in small ways.  How do we respond?  Brothers and Sisters, think on that.  Focus your eyes on Jesus and his cross and meditate on his love. Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities; and in all our dangers and necessities stretch out your right hand to help and defend us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  

Generations Radio
Water Witching, Microwaves, and UFOs - Science vs. Junk Science

Generations Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2021 27:00


Western Christian influence brought about breakthroughs in science, but over the last century a pseudo-science and eastern mysticism is back. What in the world does Darwinian evolution, microwave ovens, water witching, and UFO's have to do with witchcraft- When does science veer away from its proper realm---What's wrong with the idea that a spirit essence or memory of a substance remains in a solvent- What happens when science tries to -verify- or speak authoritatively to the supernatural- Author and scientist Dan Brown offers food for thought for Christians who want to know the hard limitations of scientific-inquiry in this segment of the program.--This program includes---1. The World View in 5 Minutes with Adam McManus -Chinese Communists raided Evangelical's homeschool, 79- of Americans say the country is falling apart, Trump- -We are all made equal by God.----2. Generations with Kevin Swanson

Greystone Conversations
Enjoy God Forever? Augustine, Westminster, and the Enjoy/Use Distinction

Greystone Conversations

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2021 46:02


What do the Westminster Catechisms mean by speaking of our chief end as glorifying God and enjoying him forever? What difference does it make if we read the word "enjoy" here against the background, not of modern notions of happiness or enjoyment, but of Augustine's famous and deeply influential distinction between "enjoy" and "use"? A distinction established even more firmly in the Western Christian tradition in Peter Lombard's decision to begin his widely used Sentences with that same distinction.The opening words of the Westminster Shorter and Larger catechisms are among the most well known in the history of the church's catechisms. "What is man's chief end," asks the Shorter Catechism, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." The Larger Catechism opens almost identically yet more fully saying, "Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever." But the use of "enjoy" in these catechetical statements is not likely what we as moderns assume it to be. We use the word "enjoy" to say we take delight in or pleasure in an activity, person, or occasion—and ordinary with at least a slight preference for the pleasure sense. We hear the word "enjoy" and think of our desires and of happiness. Perhaps when we hear the word "use" we think of negative misuses of people or things. But the traditional meaning of "enjoy" in Christian literature reflects a distinction between "enjoy" and "use" introduced by the great African theologian Agustine in his opening section of On Christian Doctrine. Reflecting on what Augustine meant by this distinction, which is easily misunderstood by contemporary Christians, can greatly enrich our appreciation of what the Westminster Catechisms likely intend by their famous opening words. To explore Augustine, Lombard, "enjoy" and "use," the Westminster Catechisms, and the difference all this makes to Christian faith and life, we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast, friend of Greystone Theological Insitute, Pastor Jesse Crutchley. Jesse Crutchley is pastor at Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCA) and member of Greystone’s Presidential Ministerial Council.

One Friday in Jerusalem Podcast
Mission and vision Statement of Twins Tours

One Friday in Jerusalem Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2021 45:24


In this podcast we will give a general introduction about Twins Tours, we will talk about twins Tours Mission statement, the Vision of Twins Tours , and at the end we will be   talking about Twins Tours Team.    Twins Tours & Travel LTD is a local Christian Travel agency specializing in building customized tour packages to the Holy Land. You will Experience the Bible's living history first-hand as you retrace the path of the Patriarchs and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. It is our aim that you and your fellow travelers will gain greater insight into the Scriptures as you connect with the land and the local Body of Christ. It has been both humbling and a privilege to see numerous lives transformed as our groups experience the God of the Scripture on a personal level through the intentional interaction with the Land of the Bible. Our Mission Statement To provide a journey of identity through learning the culture, the customs, and the context of Scripture through Jesus' Middle Eastern eyes, mind, and heart.   Our Experience In our experience of more than 20 years, most people leave this land changed forever. For those who have never been to Israel, it is hard to describe how much of a difference it makes to come and stand in the land of the Bible and see it for yourself. We have often heard it described as suddenly seeing in color after living in a world of black and white. There is no doubt that coming to the Holy Land will inject new life into   the faith walk of each tour participants with Jesus of Nazareth, and unveil a new appreciation for His Word. In addition to offering Biblical study tours, we also offer a variety of tours, each with a different focus: Biblical Study Tours Faith Pilgrimages Service/Volunteer/Ministry Projects Intercessory Prayer Journeys Personally Customized/Specialized/Themed or Concept Tours Conferences/Concerts   Twins Tours  Vision Statement We  pursue  unity  between the Western and Eastern Churches by building bridges in personal interaction between the living stones to foster relationships of mutual blessing and understanding between them. Through personal experience, God gives revelation of  His heart for every tongue, tribe, and nation which matures the Body of Christ in bringing reconciliation, unity, and a testimony that Jesus is Lord. To achieve these goals, we invite groups to experience the Holy Land and its people in depth from an indigenous Evangelical Christian perspective. Come join us in bringing your prayers to life!   Detailed Vision Statement We pursue a real unity which does not imply becoming homogenous or agreeing on everything. Real unity recognizes that no man (or culture) is an island. We each have strengths and weaknesses and we benefit from diversity when we achieve unity that produces mutual blessing. Achieving unity requires a revelation from God on three levels:   Awareness – God reveals to us that there are Christians from a completely different culture and with a completely different history – Middle Eastern Christians. Awareness begins with realizing that there are Palestinians Christians which are not Muslim background believers (MBBs) but rather Christians from birth and often for many Awareness continues with the revelation that Jesus didn't give His disciples the King James Bible with His words in red. Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. Middle Eastern Christians today speak the same Semitic languages of Aramaic, Hebrew and Awareness, ultimately, includes revelation that Jerusalem is the birthplace of all Christianity and not the Western Nations which receive the most media attention. There is something holy and rooted about Eastern Christianity that Western Christianity only vaguely knows exists! Understanding – God reveals the culture and history of these Middle Eastern Christians and gives us the ability to see how they Their perspective of the scripture becomes one in which we understand and can also access. Appreciation – God reveals his heart for these Middle Eastern Christians and the beauty He sees in that culture and perspective. Co-founder Tony likes to say, “We still carry the smell of Christ.” It may be different and because it is foreign, that smell may not appeal at But with understanding and connection, a level of unity can be achieved which produces appreciation for the Middle Eastern Christians and the “smell of Christ” still present in this culture. Appreciation begins with humility of seeing weaknesses in one's own culture/perspective that could be strengths in the other cultures/perspectives. Appreciation also realizes that Eastern Christianity may look very different and have weaknesses, but the strengths Western Christianity has to offer must come from a place of service and not superiority. Appreciation also includes a decision not to vilify any of the groups in the Middle East: Jews, or Palestinians. The saying is, “If you choose, you ” The Western and Eastern Churches which Twins Tours is trying to unify has  many  distinct  differences. As mentioned previously, it is to be aware of these differences, understand these differences, and ultimately, appreciate these differences. Here are some of the noteworthy differences:   Western Christianity Romance Languages (English, Spanish, latin etc.) Organizational Individualistic Rigid/Boxy Formal without many customs Values Mind and Thought Theoretical Timely   Eastern Christianity Semitic Languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic) Relational Communal Fluid Informal with many customs Values Heart and Emotions Action-oriented Improvisational   These Christian communities also differ tremendously in their history. These historical differences impact the perspective of Christians from these communities even today. Western Christianity was integrated with national governments even ruling over large sections of Europe at times. This produced a more hierarchal oriented  Christianity and one which naturally thinks institutionally. Eastern Christianity began with almost 400 years of persecution and attempted to survive under various ruling nations and people. This produced a community oriented relationally. Both Western and Eastern churches have valuable natural strengths and Twins Tours would like to help each side to be aware, understand and ultimately appreciate those strengths. We recognize that our rich indigenous Christian heritage and culture utilizing the Aramaic and Hebrew sources of scripture can be an asset to Western Christians. Twins Tours serves as a natural bridge because of its connection to Messianic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Arab Christians, Arab Muslims, and Western Christians. We want to help others build bridges in personal interaction in three main ways: Bridging to Arab Christians Bridging to Arab Muslims Bridging to Jews   A bridge, by definition, is a two-way connection. A weak bridge cannot handle a heavy load. Similarly, a weak relational bridge cannot handle heavy topics and in order to bring true unity, we must be able to talk about the heavy concepts plaguing the Middle East. But we start building and recognize not all relational bridges are ready for the weight of some issues.   We appreciate any and all bridges as they   do represent an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the “other” to an extent.   In  the  end, every relational bridge  comes  down  to  a  personal connection. To this end, Twins Tours fosters personal connections between tourists and local communities. The type and depth of connection is dictated by the size of the group.   Ministry: For groups of 10-25 people, these groups get hands on with locals often in their personal Interaction: For groups of 26-50 people, these groups visit locals in their ministry Exposure: For groups of 51+ people, these groups are visited by locals who share about their life, ministry, and   Three quick examples of these opportunities: A Ministry Group can have one- or two-nights home stay with a Palestinian family in Bethlehem or West Bank. They will enjoy the food prepared by the host and learn the village culture in a way that brings the bible to life. They will hear the family stories and have fun learning from each other. In this way they will understand the daily challenges of the family, build trust, and begin a lifelong friendship. Though many people want to do “ministry” in Israel and Palestine, we have found that pastors first need to build a relationship with the people before “doing ministry” in order to be effective. An Interaction Group can have a Shabbat dinner with a Jewish family. They will learn about Shabbat and Jewish family values and the daily life in Israel. They will learn a Jewish perspective that will help the Bible come to life. The experience will probably stay with the group longer than the guide teachings at a given site.   An  Exposure  Group  can have a Jewish Rabbi meet the group for a lecture about Jewish-Christian relations. Then that same group can meet a Palestinian Christian farmer and hear his story as well. Another option is to bring a Muslim-background believer (MBB) to share his testimony. These experiences expose the group to a world they may not have even been aware of previously. For those who want to minister to locals, they must have a relationship with local pastors and appreciation for the good in the culture. It is important not to give solutions until a relationship is established. In the beginning of a relationship, it is important not to judge but just hear the hearts of the people who are hurt and need someone to listen to them. In this way, a tourist can relate to the history and ancient lessons rooted in the Bible and also to the living stones. We read in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We are all the living stones which are being built up together. Sometimes tourists forget the local believers who are living stones far more precious than the ancient stones of the Western Wall or Caesarea. They are a holy priesthood with spiritual sacrifices and gifts to give. They are the continuation of 2,000 years of what Jesus started here in the Land. There is a continuation of biblical events with events going on TODAY in the land. To bring the living stones into unity, the wounds of the past will need to be healed through reconciliation. Some of these wounds include the wealth of the Western church, neglect and even complete ignorance of the Eastern Church, a Western superiority complex, and indigeneity pride of the Eastern church.   Clearly, the vision for unity has not yet been achieved. It has grown but the vast majority of the Body of Christ is still far from unified. What will real unity look like when achieved? The mutual appreciation we've discussed, will result also in mutual blessing. There will be a cooperation between the different parts of the Body just like the eyes, hands, feet, and ears of our physical bodies work in harmony (1 Corinthians 12:15-25). “15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the  hand,  “I  don't  need  you!” And the head cannot  say  to  the  feet,  “I  don't  need  you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the  parts that are unpresentable  are  treated  with  special  modesty,  24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” The strengths of one part of the Body of Christ assist in the weakness of another part. The Body functioning properly is a healthy whole and each part is blessed by being part of the whole.   In addition to mutual blessing, unity brings a testimony to unbelievers (John 17:20-23) and the power of the holy spirit (Acts 2:1-4). 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” In a land divided by politics, language, and tribal loyalties, unity of believers which transcends politics, language and tribal loyalties is remarkable to the unbeliever. The love of Jesus is given a stage which all can appreciate. The heart of God is not just that as many to be saved as possible in a general sense. It's not a generic love to mankind, it's a personal love and appreciation for the beauty of diversity. In the age to come every tongue, tribe, and nation will come up to Jerusalem to worship (Revelation 5:9). “ 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God   persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” We serve Jesus as Lord.  He cares for us and He is our friend, but He  is also our Lord. We serve Him fully with all our heart, mind and soul. Our business is a ministry to build His Kingdom. He is the King of that Kingdom… Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our vision for unity is such that we bend knees together in unity to Jesus as Lord. Twins Tours chooses to be a sustainable business rather than a donor supported ministry in order to be a source of stability and blessing to others. God provides miraculously for hundreds of ministries in Israel, but our desire is to be a source of stable economic provision for the ministry done by our staff as well as helping subsidize groups who cannot afford to come otherwise. In addition to subsidizing some Ministry Groups, Twins Tours will do once a year a Ministry Group completely free. The group only has to get to Israel and Twins Tours will cover the rest of the costs. Lastly, Twins Tours does familiarization tours for pastors which are also free to them. On familiarization tours, we invest in pastors for a week teaching them how to lead groups on the ground. These activities are only possible from the modest profits from the unsubsidized tours and the books we publish. Another important part of the vision for Twins Tours is to send out ministers to bring the message of unity to others overseas. Currently Andre travels twice a year for 3-4 months and in the future, we envision, others will also be sent out. Our Local Vision Part of the vision of Twins Tours has always been to build up the local believing community by building bridges between Messianic Jews, Palestinian Christians, and the worldwide Church. A service tour is an excellent opportunity for your group to take part in the day-to-day   ministries of the ‘living stones' of this land, and to experience firsthand what God is doing today both in Israel and among the Palestinian Territories. The Holy Land is larger than you think: Israel, Jordan & Egypt, Lebanon, Syria (Expansion to Turkey, Greece, Rome). The heart of our vision is to be able to reach the forgotten Christian people especially in the heart of the west bank. Your presence is a big encouragement for the Christians in the west bank who are left and just to connect with them is a big deal. One example is with some of the ministry groups that partner with us, they help in running summer camps through the churches of the land for even simply visiting Christian homes for a dinner eating together at their homes and talking as well as also literally cleaning and painting their homes and villages as well working through the different municipalities. Though these are little things, but it means a lot for the Christian people living in villages in the heart of the west bank and in the outskirts of Ramallah or one example the Zababdeh village near the city of Jenin. This is where almost no tourists get to and is away from the normal touristic sites. This will unite the west with the east and they will find simple people who want just to live a normal life, Twins Tours will prepare and help the people from the west how to be sensitive to their culture, as Palestinians have tight family relations. For example hugging is not encouraged, as well as when staying at their homes to have marine showers that is a very quick few minutes shower as water is scarce in the west bank and they don't get water every day, they will find out even the Palestinian Christians don't have much but they are very hospitable and serve fresh healthy food, coffee and tea. As they will be greeted with something to drink, and it is not nice at all to refuse the first drink, that will break the ice and not to ask immediately for the internet password when you first meet! Only listening to these people and to their daily struggles is something quite big for them as sometimes they are more open to foreigners. Twins Tours will help the west learn more about the Palestinian culture even help them in Olive harvesting for example as Palestinians are very good farmers, some folklore dance, etc. This way our pilgrims will experience more deeply not only the sites but as well the living stones of the land. It is not necessary to agree with all but try to understand each other. The Twins Tours Team Twins Tours office staff looks forward to meeting you and doing our best for your group to have the best experience in the Holy Land. We pray that while you are touring the land of the Bible, you will have a special encounter with the Holy Spirit. We are so excited that you were able to make this trip of a lifetime! Andre & Marie Moubarak:   Andre is the Co-founder and manager    of Twins Tours and one of the main tour guides. Marie is the Director of Program & Partnership Development, and she has a heart to see visitors and pilgrims encounter the land and the people of Israel in a meaningful, integrity-filled way. Tony & Sawsan Moubarak: Tony is the Co-Founder of Twins Tours and the main Tour Guide. He also helps manage the office when Andre is outside the country. Sawsan assists in accounting and manages supplier payments. Tony and Sawsan have 2 Children – 12 years old girl and 14 years old boy. Tony loves studying, reading, and writing so that he can teach the Word of God. Setrag & Sylvia Shemmessian: Setrag is the Reservation Manager  at Twins Tours, he deals with all the hotel bookings, site reservations, and daily emails and communications with all the suppliers. Sylvia, Setrag's wife, is the Accounting Manager and oversees all financial   transactions. They have a newborn child almost 6 months old. Sylvia is Andre, Tony and Albert's cousin. Albert Moubarak: Albert is the logistics manager in the office - he communicates with drivers and guides and supports the whole office. Albert and his wife, Rasha, have 3 children, two boys (6.5 yrs. old, 5.5 yrs. old), and one girl (4.5 yrs old). Celesty Dabbagh: Celesty is the Media Projects Manager and a licensed Tour Guide with a deep love for the land of the Bible. When she is not on tours, she is at the Twins Tours office, creating physical and digital content to enhance and promote the business. Celesty is also Sawsan's niece. Our Website to book Tours: www.twinstours.org Blessings Andre

The Man in the Pew Show with Phil Mershon
How to Express Gratitude in Community (7 Minute Prayers)

The Man in the Pew Show with Phil Mershon

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2021 7:50


Do you regularly practice gratitude as a family or church community? How is that different from personal gratitude? Life.Church recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. As part of their celebration they thanked God for thousands of changed lives, stories of God's amazing provision, and the unprecedented opportunities for sharing the Gospel. It was very moving and God-honoring. It got me thinking about how Western Christians tend to practice our faith very individualistically. What might it take to be grateful together?

My Heartsongs
My Heartsongs Podcast #122 The Epiphany

My Heartsongs

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 9, 2021 7:24


January 6 is the Western Christian feast of the Epiphany, when Jesus is recognized by the Magi as the spiritual King of humans. It is also a term referring to a striking realization that allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. With the violent events unfolding at the Capitol on that very day, did you have any epiphany? I know I did. Let me explain what it was…

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Friday, December 4, 2020

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2020


Full Text of ReadingsFriday of the First Week of Advent Lectionary: 179All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is St. John of DamascusCatholics remember and celebrate the life of the great Arab Church Father St. John of Damascuson Dec. 4.Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics, whose tradition has been particularly shaped by his insights, celebrate the saint's feast on the same day as the Roman Catholic Church.Among Eastern Christians, St. John (676-749) is best known for his defense of Christian sacred art, particularly in the form of icons. While the churches of Rome and Constantinople were still united during St. John's life, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III broke radically from the ancient tradition of the church, charging that the veneration of Christian icons was a form of idolatry.John had grown up under Muslim rule in Damascus, as the child of strongly Christian parents. His excellent education particularly in theology prepared him well to defend the tradition of sacred iconography, against the heresy of the iconoclasts, so-called because they would enter churches and destroy the images therein.During the 720s, the upstart theologian began publicly opposing the emperor's command against sacred images in a series of writings. The heart of his argument was twofold: first, that Christians did not actually worship images, but rather, through them they worshiped God, and honored the memory of the saints. Second, he asserted that by taking an incarnate physical form, Christ had given warrant to the Church's depiction of him in images.By 730, the young public official's persistent defense of Christian artwork had made him a permanent enemy of the emperor, who had a letter forged in John's name offering to betray the Muslim government of Damascus. The ruling caliph of the city, taken in by the forgery, is said to have cut off John's hand. The saint's sole surviving biography states that the Virgin Mary acted to restore it miraculously. John eventually managed to convince the Muslim ruler of his innocence, before making the decision to become a monk and later a priest.Although a number of imperially-convened synods condemned John's advocacy of Christian iconography, the Roman church always regarded his position as a defense of apostolic tradition. Years after the priest and monk died, the Seventh Ecumenical Council vindicated his orthodoxy, and ensured the permanent place of holy images in both Eastern and Western Christian piety.St. John of Damascus' other notable achievements include the Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a work in which he systematized the earlier Greek Fathers' thinking about theological truths in light of philosophy. The work exerted a profound influence on St. Thomas Aquinas and subsequent scholastic theologians. Centuries later, St. John's sermons on the Virgin Mary's bodily assumption into heaven were cited in Pope Pius XII's dogmatic definition on the subject.The saint also contributed as an author and editor, to some of the liturgical hymns and poetry that Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics still use in their celebrations of the liturgy.Show me the icons that you venerate, that I may be able to understand your faith. - Saint John of Damascus Saint of the Day Copyright CNA, Catholic News Agency

The Holy Post
Episode 432: The Idol of Individualism with E. Randolph Richards

The Holy Post

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2020 78:52


The cultures which produced the Bible were collectivist, but most modern Western Christians are immersed in individualism. Biblical scholar and missionary, E. Randolph Richards says this causes many of us to misinterpret critical aspects of the Bible, or miss them altogether. He talks with Skye about his latest book, “Misreading Scripture with Individualist Eyes.” Also this week—has a decline in religious authority caused a decline in empathy in America? And how did we go from expecting institutions to form us, to now expecting them to affirm us? Jerry Falwell Jr. is suing Liberty University for damaging his reputation. Plus, Christian’s surgery, itchy rashes, and swearing parrots.   https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/swearing-parrots-moved-park-scli-gbr-intl/index.html https://religionnews.com/2020/10/06/new-book-explains-how-the-decline-of-religious-authority-led-to-the-end-of-empathy/ https://www.holypost.com/post/10-of-the-most-memorable-celebrity-interviews https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/we-used-to-ask-institutions-to-form-us-now-they-must-affirm-us/

Giants of the Faith - A Christian History Podcast

I'm pretty excited that this show has reached 20 episodes and to celebrate this milestone we're going to look at the life of one of the giants among the giants, Augustine of Hippo. Augustine is recognized by churches of all stripes - Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox (well, sort of) as an important church father. His impact is summarized by historian Diarmid MacCullough in his book Christianity: The First 3000 Years "Augustine's impact on Western Christian thought can hardly be overstated; only his beloved example Paul of Tarsus, has been more influential, and Westerners have generally seen Paul through Augustine's eyes."RESOURCESChristian History Institute: https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/issue/st-augustine-of-hippoChristianity Today: https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/theologians/augustine-of-hippo.htmlEarly Christian History: http://www.earlychristianhistory.info/mani.htmlBranemrys.blogspot.com: http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2010/08/vision-at-ostia.htmlIntro Music: Country Strumstick Mountain Hop, by Andy Slater

The Biblical Mind
Not a "White Man's Religion": Church History and Biblical Thought (Vince Bantu)

The Biblical Mind

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2020 40:58


Western Christians tend to emphasize Western church history and culture at the expense of the global church. Many have cursory understanding of the Greek Orthodox tradition, but know little about early Christianity in Asia and Africa. This ignorance of church history leads to more than just historical inaccuracy; it can alienate those of other nationalities and ethnicities with a false portrayal of Christianity as a European- or white-only religion. In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson interviews Dr. Vince Bantu of Fuller Seminary about global church history. They give special attention to the origins and spread of Christianity in Egypt, Nubia, and the broader African continent. Along the way, they highlight Western misunderstandings of non-Western Christology and the issue of racism in the ancient world. By expanding our perspective beyond our own historical and cultural tradition, Western Christians can improve our ability to truly preach the gospel to all nations. Show notes: 0:00 Contextualization and interpretation of Scripture 2:10 The global nature of Christianity 4:07 The origins of African Christianity 12:32 The spread of Christianity in Nubia 15:03 The schism between the Roman and Ethiopian churches 19:06 Racism in the ancient world 22:22 Athanasius, Arianism, and the Egyptian church 25:50 The importance of the non-Western church 33:00 The "cultural elasticity" of the gospel Learn more about Dr. Bantu and his work. Show notes by Micah Long.  

Proof Of Love
The Western Love of Yoga with Miranda Jo Davis - Proof of Love Ep. 81

Proof Of Love

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2020 55:50


Miranda Jo Davis overcame a difficult youth to become a devoted wife and mother, an achievement she credits to her strong Christian faith. Now, she works within her congregation as a counselor, a teacher and...yogini? That's right, Miranda is a master of the ancient exercises of yoga. And today, she joins Tatiana & Lauren to talk about her beliefs, relationships, what to look for in a church, and how she reconciled Eastern mysticism with Western Christian ritual. She also confronts misconceptions about her religion, and why she believes what many consider intolerance can instead be a path of love and acceptance.About the Guest(s):Miranda Jo Davis is an expert in the yoga world with over twenty years' experience. She owns a Christian yoga/Pilates studio, infusing scripture to shape her teaching. In ministry, Miranda is a biblical counselor, using God's word to implement heart change. She is a published Christian writer and featured on TV, radio, and print for education in Mind/Body wellness.If you like this content, please send a tip with BTC to 1Q2QHoNowg8D2QzWhBQU1YrraG771aCpgSMore Info: Tatiana Moroz - https://www.tatianamoroz.comCrypto Media Hub - https://www.cryptomediahub.com Vaultoro - http://www.vaultoro.gold/tatiana Miranda Jo Davis - http://www.mirandajodavis.com Friends and Sponsors of the Show:Proof of Love - http://proofoflovecast.comGlobal Crypto Advisors - http://globalcryptoadvisors.io *You have been listening to the Tatiana Show. This show may contain adult content, language, and humor and is intended for mature audiences. If that’s not you, please stop listening. Nothing you hear on The Tatiana Show is intended as financial advice, legal advice, or really, anything other than entertainment. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Oh, and if you’re hearing us on an affiliate network, the ideas and views expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the network you are listening on, or of any sponsors or any affiliate products you may hear about on the show.

VOMRadio
MISSIONS: We Shouldn’t Run From Suffering

VOMRadio

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2020 24:59


God is at work in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh! Even amidst the Covid pandemic, the gospel message is advancing among Rohingya people. But it’s not without cost; Rohingya Christians risk intense persecution. Dave and Pam lead Operation Mobilization’s work in western and central Asia, overseeing gospel workers reaching Muslims in multiple countries. They will share first-hand accounts of the gospel’s advance and the persecution Christ followers endure in their region of the world. They will also offer advice to Western Christians who want to build a bridge to Muslims living in their countries. It starts, they say, with simple things like hospitality and friendship. Dave and Pam also give listeners encouragement for seasons of struggle and discouragement. Finally, they will equip us to pray for God’s work in Muslim nations—including praying for our Christian brothers and sisters and praying for government leaders in those nations. November is a strategic time to pray for persecuted Christians as churches around the world commemorate the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download resources to help you and your church pray. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

Parenting Forward
095: Keeping Families Together w/ Heather Askew

Parenting Forward

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2020 27:14


A few episodes ago, I hosted a show with Cam Lee, a transracial adoptee and mental health professional. We talked about issues surrounding transracial adoption, white saviorism, and the movement to adopt from orphanages internationally. Heather Askew, one of my listeners, reached out to me and she works with NGOs that are trying to make the shift from orphanages to family based-care. I don't know very much about this. But I feel like for those of us who advocate for the well-being of children, not just in our own communities, but worldwide, it would be good for us to learn more about how we can be better advocates. Heather Askew grew up in the US and moved to Thailand just over nine years ago to work at an after school program for kids who lived in the slums and the red light district of Chiang Mai, Thailand. But over the years, she and her teammates saw issues that were not being met by their work. They started a new organization that is developing a foster care system in Thailand and helping shift the Thai system from being dependent on orphanages to being more family-based that supports children living with relatives or their biological parents. Show Highlights: The misconceptions of orphanages. Why building more orphanages is not a solution to the social problems vulnerable children face. Why it’s important to transition children back into their own families. The differences between family-based care and orphanages. How Heather is working with churches and Western Christians to change their narratives.   Links (affiliates included): Jojo’s Sanctuary - https://jojosthailand.org Faith to Action - https://www.faithtoaction.org Christian Alliance for Orphans - https://cafo.org Join us at the Parenting Forward Patreon Team - https://www.patreon.com/cindywangbrandt Parenting Forward, the Book - https://amzn.to/3g0LJPn     *** EPISODE CREDITS: If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, coaches, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com  

Messianic Torah Observant Israel
Afterburn: Thoughts, Q&A on Love and Torah - Part 10

Messianic Torah Observant Israel

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2020 43:31


Some of the topics covered are: • How can we make sure we are following every applicable command for today? [12:55] • Psalm 119:45 “that I may walk in a ‘broad place’…”, what is a ‘broad place’? [13:41] • There are rabbinical teachings about Torah, but reject Messiah Yeshua – are those teachings considered “falsehood”? [15:22] • If it appears that someone in the walk doesn’t have trials, does it mean the love isn’t there? [16:25] • Psalm 119:28 – Do we fall into depression or have anxiety because we are in this world? [17:34] • I grew up in a Western Christian church – how is the best way to explain that I am not keeping “the Law” as much as I am honoring the Father by keeping His Torah? [22:12] • How should we be as parents when it comes to letting our children experience His Law on their own? [34:31] • How do I “inspect” my own fruit? If we’re not around like-minded people, how do I know my false understandings are being removed? [38:33] … and much more! Don't miss out on new teachings every week. Please click on the "LIKE" button if this podcast has been a blessing to you. For more information about MTOI (Messianic Torah Observant Israel), visit our website at http://www.mtoi.org Join us on Social media! Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mtoiworldwide Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mtoiworldwide/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mtoiworldwide We are located in Cleveland TN. If you would like to know more about us, we would love to hear from you! Feel free to visit us on our website wwww.mtoi.org, email us at admin@mtoi.org or call us at 423-250-3020. Join us for Shabbat Services & Torah Study LIVE Streamed on our Main YouTube Channel every Shabbat at 1pm (EST) and every Tuesday for Torah Study Live Stream at 8pm (EST)!

Grace Saves All: Christianity and Universal Salvation
Ep. 1 The Necessity of Christian Universalism

Grace Saves All: Christianity and Universal Salvation

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2020


If God is all-knowing and all-powerful and does not save all, then God is not all-good. The logic of this statement is hard to avoid, and it exposes a deep problem which faces Western Christianity. Fortunately, an older and better theology of universal restoration lies behind what became the Western Christian tradition. This theology was advocated by prominent early Christian leaders and it is now enjoying a well deserved revival of interest. In this theology God is good, and grace saves all.

Inverse Podcast
Marlena Graves: The Only Way Up is Down

Inverse Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2020 70:06


Marlena is a writer, deep thinker, and speaker who is passionate about the eternal implications of our life in God. In this conversation, Marlena explores Philippians 2:1-16 in light of her new book, "The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself." In this book, Marlena describes the process of emptying herself that allows her to move upward toward God and become the true self that God calls her to. Drawing on the rich traditions of Eastern and Western Christian saints, she shares stories and insights that have enlivened her transformation. For Marlena, formation and justice always intertwine on the path to a balanced life of both action and contemplation. She is a lover of beauty - especially the beauty of her family, others, and creation. Marlena is a justice seeker—trying to overcome evil with good. She is most concerned with those who profess to follow Jesus but speak and behave so unlike him. She includes herself in the mix and therefore seeks to bridge the gap between what Christians profess to believe and how they live. She speaks regularly to congregations, university campuses, and to retreatants about the implications of following Jesus. Follow Marlena on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Drew Hart on Instagram and Twitter @druhart. Follow Jarrod McKenna on Instagram and Twitter @jarrodmckenna

Inverse Podcast
Marlena Graves: The Only Way Up is Down

Inverse Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2020 70:06


Marlena is a writer, deep thinker, and speaker who is passionate about the eternal implications of our life in God. In this conversation, Marlena explores Philippians 2:1-16 in light of her new book, "The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself." In this book, Marlena describes the process of emptying herself that allows her to move upward toward God and become the true self that God calls her to. Drawing on the rich traditions of Eastern and Western Christian saints, she shares stories and insights that have enlivened her transformation. For Marlena, formation and justice always intertwine on the path to a balanced life of both action and contemplation. She is a lover of beauty - especially the beauty of her family, others, and creation. Marlena is a justice seeker—trying to overcome evil with good. She is most concerned with those who profess to follow Jesus but speak and behave so unlike him. She includes herself in the mix and therefore seeks to bridge the gap between what Christians profess to believe and how they live. She speaks regularly to congregations, university campuses, and to retreatants about the implications of following Jesus. Follow Marlena on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Drew Hart on Instagram and Twitter @druhart. Follow Jarrod McKenna on Instagram and Twitter @jarrodmckenna

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Sunday, August 16, 2020

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2020


Full Text of ReadingsTwentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 118All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryToday, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her body were taken into the presence of God.Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as the perennial teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.His Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus (Most Bountiful God), which defined the dogma,contained the Pontiff's accounts of many longstanding traditions by which the Church has celebrated the Assumption throughout its history.The constitution also cited testimonies from the early Church fathers on the subject, and described the history of theological reflection on many Biblical passages which are seen as indicating that Mary was assumed into heaven following her death.Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the woman clothed with the sun who is described in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation.The passage calls that woman's appearance a great sign which appeared in heaven, indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven in this manner.Eastern Christians have also traditionally held Mary's assumption into heaven as an essential component of their faith. Pius XII cited several early Byzantine liturgical texts, as well as the eighth-century Arab Christian theologian St. John of Damascus, in his own authoritative definition of her assumption.It was fitting, St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the assumption, that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death, and that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary. Eastern Catholic celebration of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week period of fasting which is similar to Lent. Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus, mentioned this same fasting period as belonging to the traditional patrimony of Western Christians as well.The feast of the Assumption is always a Holy Day of Obligation for both Roman and Eastern-rite Catholics, on which they are obliged to attend Mass or Divine Liturgy. Saint of the Day Copyright CNA, Catholic News Agency

Spirit Farm Podcast
Meditation Isn't Weird

Spirit Farm Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2020 9:45


In this short bonus edition of the podcast Caleb talks about meditation. This ancient practice has been embraced by more people in recent years but there is still a stigma associated with this Eastern tradition in the Western Christian world for many people. Caleb demystifies meditation by showing us that Jesus was a big fan of this practice.

Hope for the Lonely
Episode 26: Loneliness and the Way of Jesus with Marlena Graves

Hope for the Lonely

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2020 60:45


In this episode of Hope for the Lonely, Charlotte Donlon talks to Marlena Graves about her new book, The Way Up is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself and the loneliness Christians may experience when they follow Jesus. From InterVarsity Press "Now, with God's help, I shall become myself." These words from Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard resonate deeply with Marlena Graves, a Puerto Rican writer, professor, and activist. In these pages she describes the process of emptying herself that allows her to move upward toward God and become the true self that God calls her to. Drawing on the rich traditions of Eastern and Western Christian saints, she shares stories and insights that have enlivened her transformation. For Marlena, formation and justice always intertwine on the path to a balanced life of both action and contemplation. If you long for more of God, this book offers a time-honored path to deeper life. About Marlena Graves Marlena Graves is a writer and adjunct professor. She has also worked at Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). Marlena holds an MDiv from Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York, and is a graduate of the Renovaré Institute. She has been a bylined writer for Christianity Today, (in)courage, womenleaders.com, and Our Daily Bread, and she is also the author of A Beautiful Disaster. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Toledo, Ohio. Learn More about Charlotte, Her Writing, and Other Projects www.charlottedonlon.com Sign Up For Charlotte's Email Newsletter www.charlottedonlon.com/subscribe

Ask Pastor John
How Can I Be Free from Materialism?

Ask Pastor John

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2020 7:54


For many Western Christians, materialism has transformed our wants into needs and distorted our view of biblical Christianity. How can we be free?

Today in the Word Devotional

Four million people, mostly in southwestern India, call themselves “Thomas Christians.” They trace their roots back to the apostle Thomas—the same “doubting Thomas” in today’s reading. Tradition says Thomas went as a missionary to India in 52 A.D. and was martyred in 72 A.D. The resulting “Thomas Christians” are one of the oldest non-Western Christian groups in the world. What a powerful reminder that once Thomas had his doubts answered, he was quite a force for the kingdom of God! After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples in a locked room. He showed them the scars in His hands and side, and they knew it was really Him. Thomas was absent on that occasion, however, and when the other disciples told him the news, he responded: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (v. 25). Thomas’s skepticism was actually quite rational. Given the natural impossibility of a dead person coming back to life, he was demanding evidence. When Jesus next appeared, Thomas was present. Christ commanded him, “Stop doubting and believe,” and Thomas responded in faith, “My Lord and my God!” (vv. 27–28). Confronted with the evidence, Thomas immediately surrendered his doubt. If we cling to doubt, as we learned back on June 4, it’s a mark of immature faith (see Rom. 14:23) or sinful mistrust in God’s character. But there’s also a kind of doubt—found often in the Psalms, for example, as well as here—that takes its questions straight to the Lord. That’s the best strategy, since only He can answer them! This episode is recounted not only for Thomas’s faith but also for ours (v. 31)! >> Do you have doubts about the validity of the Christian faith? Do you know someone else who struggles? The Case for Christ, the bestselling book by former atheist Lee Strobel, will help answer questions and strengthen your faith.

Ward Wrestling Live
Western Christian HS in Iowa Wrestling Coach Pete DiPol

Ward Wrestling Live

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2020 31:53


9x Coach of the Year 5 NJ state Championships as coach of Camden Catholic High School - NJ Over 300 career wins Former college coach at Baker University and MacMurray College. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/daniel-ward9/support

Give and Take
Episode 228: The Way Up Is Down, with Marlena Graves

Give and Take

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2020 38:50


My guest is Marlena Graves. Her newest book is The Way Down Is Up (https://www.amazon.com/Way-Up-Down-Becoming-Forgetting/dp/0830846743). "Now, with God's help, I shall become myself." These words from Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard resonate deeply with Marlena Graves, a Puerto Rican writer, professor, and activist. In these pages she describes the process of emptying herself that allows her to move upward toward God and become the true self that God calls her to. Drawing on the rich traditions of Eastern and Western Christian saints, she shares stories and insights that have enlivened her transformation. For Marlena, formation and justice always intertwine on the path to a balanced life of both action and contemplation. If you long for more of God, this book offers a time-honored path to deeper life. Special Guest: Marlena Graves.

Worth Your Time
Mark Sayers: The Church Then, Now and Beyond (BONUS)

Worth Your Time

Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2020 41:10


Mark Sayers is a renowned author, pastor and speaker -- and I was so excited to get an interview with him for a bonus episode this week. His books, specifically "Disappearing Church" and "Reappearing Church," completely blew my mind with their incredible insight and analysis on the Western Christian church, post-Christian culture and what the history of the Church reveals about how God is moving RIGHT NOW. Mark's work came blasting into crazy relevancy with COVID-19 because he writes so beautifully about how God works in tragedy, crisis, transition and change -- all things we are experiencing worldwide right now. This episode is relevant to COVID, but also important for anyone who cares about faith, the future of the Church and wants some good news about what God's doing in the West, despite what the headlines or doomsday statistics may say. His books inspired my recent Wall Street Journal op/ed and his work has influenced the aim I'm taking in my next book. I was honored to get this interview with Mark (who is in Australia) so we were on different days while recording and please stay till the end because his answers get really good in the last few moments. Learn more about Mark here! This Cultural Moment podcast

The Back to Jerusalem Podcast
Episode 458: Former Muslim Shares About A Danger To Western Christian Society

The Back to Jerusalem Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 8, 2020 62:01


Eugene is joined by a dear friend who is part of the Memon people group from India. She's a former Muslim and spends some time talking about the religion's potential impact on the Western world.