I was going to write a tad more about each of these items…but time restrains have forced me into doing something shorter. 😕
I was introduced to Greg Boyd this summer through a blog book give away. Since then I have seen his name pop up over and over and over again…so last week I decided to check out his sermons (he is the pastor of Woodland Hills church in St. Paul, MN). And wow! I was totally blown away by his teaching and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus in this crazy world.
Greg’s sermon from Oct 14th (“The Salt and Light Revolution”) was an amazing introduction into a series he just started on the Beatitudes. Two things really stood out to me in this sermon:
1) Salt has to stay into contact with the food in order to change it (i.e. Jesus followers are to be ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’ – practically meaning that Jesus follower are to have non-Jesus-follower friends as well as Jesus follower friends, just like Jesus did).
2) The Beatitudes are not something we are to strive for – but rather something that come naturally as it describes who we are.
The second sermon in the series is called “The Dependent and Those Who Mourn” and is great message on giving up everything and radically following Jesus. Greg also spends some time talking about the anti-homosexual marriage law that Minnesota is soon to be voting on – only he did so in a way that is totally different than what you would like. Greg did not agree with or disagree with the proposed law – instead he reminded the church that the biggest sin (and the most talked about) in the Bible is greed and selfishness. So instead of trying to pick out the stick in our brothers eye, we should be dealing with the log in our own eye. In other words (in my words, not Greg’s), let us stop trying to force non-Jesus followers to live by the guidelines given to us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us to love and bless everyone (friends and enemies alike) while healing the sick, cleaning the leapers, preaching the Kingdom of God, casting out demons and raising the dead – perhaps we should focus DOING that….
Father Stephen (an Orthodox Priest in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) wrote an insightful article on the development of the New Testament cannon. All too often followers of Jesus tend to think that God dropped the Bible down from heaven as is – yet history shows that that the earliest followers of Jesus survived and multiplied WITHOUT the written New Testament (the same can be said of the earliest heroes of the Old Testament as well – like Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Father Stephen talks a bit about this ‘gap’ between the early church and the NT while pointing out that it was the Church that Jesus left behind, not a book.
Like I said, it is a very interesting and thought provoking article that makes you reconsider some of the historical Protestant view on the Bible. Below are two of most thought provoking quotes from the article
“The Scripture is not prior to the Church, but of the Church. It is a manifestation of the Church’s divine life. It speaks with the voice of Christ, the same voice that speaks throughout the life of the Church. In recognizing the voice of its shepherd, the Church declared some books to be authoritative, that is, consistent with the voice of Christ they already knew.”
“Schemes of interpretation and ecclesiology rooted in sola scriptura ultimately divorce the Scriptures from the Church and the Church from the anointing. The result is the present sad state of denominational Christianity.“