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Showing posts from September, 2018

What is Necessary? Part 5, Repentance, Atonement, Forgiveness

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Jeremiah 24.4-7 (CEB)
Then the Lord said to me: The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims: Just as with these good figs, I will treat kindly the Judean exiles that I have sent from this place to Babylon. I regard them as good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not pull them down; I will plant them and not dig them up. I will give them a heart to know me, for I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Let’s continue our discussion about the “classical” elements of Christianity and whether they are (or what about them is) still necessary for a 21STCentury, postmodern belief system.[1]

This week we’re considering the ideas of repentance, atonement, and forgiveness.

We recently observed Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day of atonement. Jesus would have celebrated this holiday for 30-odd years. He would have understood its rituals, prayers, and meditations as his covenant responsibility to God. Repen…

What is Necessary? Part 4, Sin

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What is Necessary?
Part 4, Sin



John 15.1-4 (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

We’ve been discussing what we think are the necessary components of 21st Century Christianity, both personal and communal. Through our previous discussions about Jesus, the gospels, and the Bible, we’ve helped each other better appreciate the rich conversational heritage of Jesus’s followers.

My hope is that by remembering Jesus’ tradition was to teach us to think for ourselves, we’ll give ourselves permission to question some “traditional” Christian thought. Jesus challenged the accepted thinking of his day. If we’re his students,…

What is Necessary? Part 3, The Bible

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2 Timothy 3.15-17 (CEB)
Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.

Romans 10.17 (NIV)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

During part two of our What is Necessary? series last week we discussed “the gospel.” We looked at the history of the word “gospel,” from the Greek Evangelion, which loosely means “good news.” We learned that “good news” was the Roman Empire’s term for the information its orators, called evangelists, distributed throughout the Empire. The term “gospel” was usurped by early followers of Jesus to both protest the Empire and proclaim the real good news of Jesus Christ: that God and human …

What Is Necessary? Part 2, The Gospel

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What Is Necessary? Part 2, The Gospel

ACTS 10.34-35 (CEB)
Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships God and does what is right is acceptable to God.”

ROMANS 1. 16-17
I’m not ashamed of the gospel: it is God’s own power for salvation to all who have faith in God, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. God’s righteousness is being revealed in the gospel, from faithfulness for faith as it is written, The righteous person will live by faith.

Last week we talked about Jesus, and what we as Christians find necessary to believe about him. This week, we’re going to consider the biblical stories written about Jesus, what Christians refer to as “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

To have a conversation about what in the gospel is necessary for us—to believe, to live, to emulate—we must consider two things: What is a gospel, and what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? There is no simple answer, by the way. S…