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Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Bible is Not a Text Book: canonicity

I haven’t done enough study on canonicity to do a full-fledged article on that topic specifically, so this won’t be addressing that issue alone. What I’m really getting at with this topic is the affect of canonicity on the way we read the Bible. It’s interesting that we didn’t only choose which books we would put in the Bible but in what order they would go as well. We have the Old Testament books that stumble through biblical history, randomly throwing in Leviticus and Ruth which seem wildly out of place, and then we jumble around the Major and Minor Prophets and hope that in a straight read through we will understand it all. In the New Testament it only gets worse, we have the retelling of the gospel, a re-retelling of the gospel and two more after that, which all have different stories and agendas. Then rather abruptly we jump to the book of acts and all these letters to churches and groups and it can be extremely difficult to wrap your head around it all.

            Focusing on the New Testament specifically, the main thing that you have to avoid is thinking of it as a book which was written from start to finish all at once. Each of the gospels was meant to be a separate documentation of the life of Jesus and each of the letters were written separately with difference purposes and audiences in mind. If we try to break up the Bible in to a title, thesis, body paragraph, level two title type of book then we will only be met with frustration. In order to understand each of these books they must be read as separate books (the way they were written). In order to understand the gospels and the epistles we need to read them as if we were the churches and people that were meant to be receiving them.

            The other thing about canonicity that we can not overlook is that the ESV canon as we know it is not the only one out there. Many different groups also contain the book of Enoch, stories about Solomon, different iterations of the Gospels as told by Thomas and Marry Magdalene and a whole bunch of crazy stuff that many Christians completely overlook.

            The issue isn’t whether or not you believe in these controversial books. The issue is that people don’t realize that Bibles have a history of how they got to us. They didn’t just descend from heaven in the English Standard Version with all the red letters and place holding ribbons. What we need to do now, is recognize that the Bible was meant to be read a certain way and we must not try to change that way to suit what we want in our modern lives today.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Religion

 

Family Ministry

During the time of Martin Luther there was no such thing as youth group.  There was no children’s ministry either and I think it’s safe to say that Luther would not have been in favor of either institution.  Luther’s ministry philosophy was to teach and disciple parents and empower them to teach and disciple their own children. “Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children… in godliness.” (Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 21-25 (1539)

The idea of Sunday School wasn’t even invented until the late 1700’s by a man named Robert Raikes.  Raikes had a passion to reach out to inner city boys.  Young men that either didn’t have fathers or didn’t have Godly fathers.  Over time this vision spread and eventually Youth Groups and Children’s ministries were birthed with the intent to come alongside parents and “HELP” disciple and train children and prepare them for mature Christian lives.

Now most churches have segregated ministries but back in Luthers time there was no segregation for ministry.  Everyone came to church and everyone heard the same message but there were pros and cons to that approach so newer approaches were developed.  Now many churches are so segregated that they fail to find any type of unity between groups.  HS students graduate and never come back because they were never connected to the church in the first place.  Small churches that can’t afford a college pastor expect 18 year old students to make the jump into either men’s or women’s ministry but they haven’t created the avenues for this to happen naturally.  And to be honest as a young man I’m not really exited about joining the men at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning for Men’s breakfast.  Some of the young women from my youth group have found ways to get involved with our women’s ministry but the events and studies that most of our women do are usually not anywhere near interesting for the young women that graduate from my youth group.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Luther’s vision was perfect but I think the lack of segregation had some benefits.  I think there is a huge need for age specific and sometimes even gender specific ministries but they cannot break away from the rest of the church to do their own thing and with changes in modern family structures, they cannot be designed around the stereotypical mother, father, and 2.5 children ideal of a family.  Many churches have Men’s ministries, women’s ministries, JH ministries, HS ministries, college ministries, single adult ministries (aka meat markets), etc, etc, etc… and what these ministries have become is mini-churches that are almost completely separated from the main church.  A similar problem exists with churches that focus on things like Marriage ministries which leave out those that are single or divorced or widowed.

So should churches segregate their ministries in order to specifically reach targeted groups of people?  I think so but proceed with caution.  There are numerous advantages to targeting certain age groups and there are times where segregating by gender can be helpful, but this segregation must be monitored and kept under control to keep the rogue youth group from becoming completely detached from the body. We also need to make sure that any segregation that we build into our churches is wide enough to accept those that may not fit the stereotypes.

James says that pure and un-defiled religion is taking care of orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).  How often do you come across an orphans ministry at a local church? How ’bout a widows ministry?  Sadly it’s probably not as often as it should be.

Check out these articles on Family Ministry:

http://david-inrepair.blogspot.com/2012/04/tapping-breaks-on-family-based-ministry.html

http://sojournkids.com/2010/04/history-of-family-ministry-part-1-the-reformation-the-home-as-a-little-church/

http://sojournkids.com/2010/04/history-of-family-ministry-part-2-sunday-school-the-industrial-revolution/

http://sojournkids.com/2010/04/history-of-family-ministry-part-3-the-invention-of-the-teenager/

http://sojournkids.com/2010/05/the-history-of-family-ministry-part-4-the-family-ministry-movement/

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in church

 

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Response to “House Churches”

This is a blog response for a post that was put up back in November. GDB has been out of commission for a while so we have a lot of catching up to do. You can’t find the original post on rough-hewn blog. It is written by David Hoopingarner and you can follow this link to get to it, http://javaman56.wordpress.com/house-churches/

First off I want to say that I am extremely blessed to have read the article. It is great to see that there are other people out there who share my passion for ministry and my ideas for discipleship. The one thing that is driving me crazy is that I have never been to a house church before. I wouldn’t quite call what we do at GDB to be a house church but we do meet weekly to talk about our faith, grow in fellowship, and enjoy the company of friends, family and the Lord.

We at GDB have seen first hand the incredible positive affects of this kind of group and my favorite portion of the article “House Churches” talks about something that we have been trying to get at for a long time, the alienation of new coming Christians within the mainstream evangelical churches. David talks about going to new churches and sitting in rows, “… politely waiting for the service to be over.” It might seem ridiculous for me to rhetorically ask if that’s the kind of service we want to be having but it is constantly the kind that we are putting out there. The personal relationship between the pastor and his congregation often ends abruptly at a handshake.

It really makes me sad to know that for most of my life I have experienced this kind of relationship with my pastor. Until just recently when I moved from Colorado to Arizona I knew my pastor as, “The preacher man that talks loud on Sundays.” When I transitioned to the new church I realized that I had a much more personal connection with my pastor. We go shooting and talk about guns, and then stop to get coffee and discuss theology. This kind of relationship has definitely caused incredible changes in the way I view how a church ought to be run.

I’m extremely excited to see that David is on the same page with GDB and hope to have more exchanges with him in the future. If you haven’t checked out his blog then you definitely should and make sure to check in with GDB next week for our continuation of “The Bible is Not a Text Book.”

 

~Arayl

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Bible, church, disillusionment, Failure, Religion

 

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The Bible is Not a Text Book

I wrote a paper a while back on the westerner’s needs to quantify and enumerate the vast expanse of eastern philosophies. Being an avid martial artist and a Hapkido teacher, this was a topic that I was extremely passionate about. It’s interesting to me that throughout the process of writing that paper I never once took a look at that same concept applied to the way that people look at the Bible. The Bible is such a vast and incredible book but there are so many people who try to break it down to the basics and read it in the sections that it has been broken up into.

These sections that we now call chapters of the Bible weren’t actually seen as separated until the fourteenth century and it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that we separated the chapters out into verses. Recently, another type of division in the form of story titles has come in and separated the text another time, which can often cause a lot of confusion as to what was actually meant in the original writing. We see this type of thing happen in Ephesians 5 and 6 when titles and chapters separate the passages between husbands and wives, children and parents, and slaves and masters.

It would appear in these passages that, because of these separations, each of these portions of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus were meant to be separate statements. This makes it seem like when Paul says, “Wives submit to your own husbands… and husbands love your wives.” (ESV eph. 5:22 &25) he is setting out a hierarchy of authority with which to structure the family and appeals to the complimentarian philosophy.

If we take away these separations; however, (and get back to the way it was written) we see that Paul is repetitively scolding the men of the house. He first says, yeah wives need to submit to your husbands, but HUSBANDS love your wives. Then he say, yeah kids need to obey their parents, but FATHERS do not provoke your children. He finishes with, yeah slaves need to obey their master, but MASTERS treat your slaves with respect. If we notice these sections without the separations we see that Paul is continually harping on the man of the house to be loving, un-provoking, and respectful and he is not at all describing how women are beneath their husbands.

Now we could argue about this particular issue all day but the main point isn’t about the egalitarian debate. What I’m trying to make very clear to you is that these separations, the one’s which were not originally written into the Bible are causing us too look at the word in a way which was not originally intended. We now see our Bible as a text book rather than a powerful weapon, which is, “Living and active, and sharper than any double edged sword.” We need to break away from thinking of these texts as we have them today and try to imagine their history and what they would have meant when they were originally written.

 

If you guys have any questions don’t hesitate to comment and check us out next week to read more on this topic.

 

~Arayl

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Religion

 

Letter to the Readers

Howdy ya’ll,

I know that we’ve been out of the loop for a while but I personally am trying to pull the GDB team back together to get this blog rolling again. First off I’d like to request that any one who has a particular topic that they would like to discuss with the GDB team or who knows the kind of stuff that we write about and wants to pitch in would please send us a message, comment on a post, or email us to let us know what your ideas are. We want to be writing about stuff that matters to you. Also the smallest amount of conversation from you guys helps. We want to know that we are having an impact on at least one person out there. Hopefully I can assemble the rest of the team and we can get this thing going again but until then, look for my new post, “The Bible is Not a Text Book.” And please know that I personally appreciate you’re comments.

~Arayl

P.S. I’m thinking of a good sign off, any ideas?

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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