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2019 Lenten Study
March 6, 2019, 12:00 AM

 

 

 

 

Lenten Study for 2019

 

Grace Lutheran Church of Miami Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Index

 

 

pg 3                 March 12 – Jesus sits with THEM!!!

 

pg 9                 March 19 – Biblical Arguments in Favor of Slavery

 

pg 12               March 26 – Diverse images of God

 

pg 17               April 02 – Contradictory Things the Bible Says

 

pg 19               April 09 – God is Love

 

 

 

 

 

March 12 – Weekly Lenten Study – Jesus sits with THEM!!!

 

Lepers

Matthew 8:1–4

Mark 1:40–45

Luke 5:12–16

 

Children

Matthew 18:1-7

Matthew 9:22-26

Luke 18

Luke 8:41

 

Demon Possessed

Luke 8:26-39

Mark 5:1-20

Tax Collectors and Sinners

Matthew 9:10-17

Mark 2:15-22

Luke 5:29-39

Luke 15:1

 

Enemies (See Roman Oppressors and Samaritans)

Luke 10:25-37

John 4

Luke 3:14

 

The Poor

Luke 14:13

 

 

Preferential Option for the Poor [and young]

The "[preferential] option for the poor" refers to a trend, throughout the Judeo-Christian Bible, of preference being given to the well-being of the poor and powerless of society in the teachings and commands of God as well as the prophets and other righteous people, thought it seems to contradict Leviticus 19. Jesus taught that on the Day of Judgment, God will ask what each person did to help the poor and needy: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

Available @  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Option_for_the_poor 

 

Apostolic Letter "As the Third Millennium Draws Near" by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, November 14, 1994

51. From this point of view, if we recall that Jesus came to "preach the good news to the poor" (Mt. 11:5; Lk. 7:22), how can we fail to lay greater emphasis on the Church's preferential option for the poor and the outcast? Indeed, it has to be said that a commitment to justice and peace in a world like ours, marked by so many conflicts and intolerable social and economic inequalities, is a necessary condition for the preparation and celebration of the jubilee. Thus, in the spirit of the Book of Leviticus (25:8-12), Christians will have to raise their voice on behalf of all the poor of the world, proposing the jubilee as an appropriate time to give thought, among other things, to reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations. The jubilee can also offer an opportunity for reflecting on other challenges of our time, such as the difficulties of dialogue between different cultures and the problems connected with respect for women's rights and the promotion of the family and marriage.

 

Encyclical Letter by His Holiness Pope John Paul II
On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, May 1, 1991

11. Rereading the encyclical in the light of contemporary realities enables us to appreciate the Church's constant concern for and dedication to categories of people who are especially beloved to the Lord Jesus. The contents of the text is an excellent testimony to the continuity within the Church of the so-called "preferential option for the poor," an option which I defined as a "special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity."[36] Pope Leo's encyclical on the "condition of the workers" is thus an encyclical on the poor and on the terrible conditions to which the new and often violent process of industrialization had reduced great multitudes of people. Today, in many parts of the world, similar processes of economic, social and political transformation are creating the same evils.

57. As far as the Church is concerned, the social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all else a basis and a motivation for action. Inspired by this message, some of the first Christians distributed their goods to the poor, bearing witness to the fact that, despite different social origins, it was possible for people to live together in peace and harmony. Through the power of the Gospel, down the centuries monks tilled the land, men and women religious founded hospitals and shelters for the poor, confraternities as well as individual men and women of all states of life devoted themselves to the needy and to those on the margins of society, convinced as they were that Christ's words "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40) were not intended to remain a pious wish, but were meant to become a concrete life commitment.

Today more than ever, the Church is aware that her social message will gain credibility more immediately from the witness of actions than as a result of its internal logic and consistency. This awareness is also a source of her preferential option for the poor, which is never exclusive or discriminatory towards other groups. This option is not limited to material poverty, since it is well known that there are many other forms of poverty, especially in modern society--not only economic but cultural and spiritual poverty as well. The Church's love for the poor, which is essential for her and a part of her constant tradition, impels her to give attention to a world in which poverty is threatening to assume massive proportions in spite of technological and economic progress. In the countries of the West, different forms of poverty are being experienced by groups which live on the margins of society, by the elderly and the sick, by the victims of consumerism, and even more immediately by so many refugees and migrants. In the developing countries, tragic crises loom on the horizon unless internationally coordinated measures are taken before it is too late.

58. Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor, in whom the Church sees Christ himself, is made concrete in the promotion of justice. Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment. Only such an awareness can give the courage needed to face the risk and the change involved in every authentic attempt to come to the aid of another. It is not merely a matter of "giving from one's surplus," but of helping entire peoples which are presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. For this to happen, it is not enough to draw on the surplus goods which in fact our world abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of lifestyles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies. Nor is it a matter of eliminating instruments of social organization which have proved useful, but rather of orienting them according to an adequate notion of the common good in relation to the whole human family. Today we are facing the so-called "globalization" of the economy, a phenomenon which is not to be dismissed, since it can create unusual opportunities for greater prosperity. There is a growing feeling, however, that this increasing internationalization of the economy ought to be accompanied by effective international agencies which will oversee and direct the economy to the common good, something that an individual state, even if it were the most powerful on earth, would not be in a position to do. In order to achieve this result, it is necessary that there be increased coordination among the more powerful countries, and that in international agencies the interests of the whole human family be equally represented. It is also necessary that in evaluating the consequences of their decisions, these agencies always give sufficient consideration to peoples and countries which have little weight in the international market, but which are burdened by the most acute and desperate needs, and are thus more dependent on support for their development. Much remains to be done in this area.

 

 

Women

Summary of Female Characters in the Four Gospels

All the female characters in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, organized into categories:

References to OLD TESTAMENT CHARACTERS

MARK

MATTHEW

LUKE

JOHN

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, wife of Uriah (in genealogy of Jesus)

x

1:3, 5, 6

x

X

“Behold, The virgin shall conceive and bear a son…” (cf. Isa 7:14)

x

1:22-23

x

X

Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Mt “her deeds”)

x

11:19

7:35

X

Queen of the South came to Solomon (1 Kgs 10:1-10)

x

12:42

11:31

X

Widows of Israel & widow of Zarephath (1 Kgs 17:1-7)

x

x

4:25-26

X

“Remember Lot’s wife” (see Gen 19:15-26)

x

x

17:32

X

Daughter of Zion” (Zech 9:9; ref. to Jerusalem)

x

x

x

12:15

MARY, Mother of Jesus; his sisters;
ELIZABETH, Mother of John Baptist; and ANNA

MARK

MATTHEW

LUKE

JOHN

Concern of Jesus’ family (not named)

3:19b-21

x

x

X

Arrival of Jesus’ mother & brothers (not named)

3:31-35

12:46-50

8:19-21

X

Jesus is called “Son of Mary”; mention also of his sisters

6:3

13:55-56

x

[6:42]

Genealogy: “…Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born”

x

1:16

x

X

Birth of Jesus: mother Mary engaged, pregnant, wife of Joseph

x

1:18-25

x

X

Magi visit “the child with Mary his mother

x

2:11

x

X

Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah (brief mentions)

x

x

1:5-7, 13, 18

X

Elizabeth conceives a child & praises God

x

x

1:24-25

X

Angel Gabriel visits Mary to proclaim Jesus’ birth

x

x

1:26-38

X

Mary visits Elizabeth; Elizabeth praises Mary;
Mary praises God in the “Magnificat”

x

x

1:39-56

X

Elizabeth gives birth to John and gives his name

x

x

1:57-61

X

Mary & Joseph go to Bethlehem; she gives birth to her firstborn son

x

x

2:5-7

X

Shepherds visit Mary & Joseph; Mary treasures all things in her heart

x

x

2:15-20

X

Simeon speaks to Mary: “a sword shall pass through your heart”

x

x

2:33-35

X

Prophet-widow Anna praises God and speaks about Jesus

x

x

2:36-38

X

Jesus’ parents (not named) take him to Jerusalem at age 12

x

x

2:41-51

X

Mother of Jesus (not named) at the Wedding of Cana

x

x

x

2:1-12

Jews claim they know Jesus’ “father and mother

x

x

x

6:42

Mother of Jesus (not named) at the Cross

x

x

x

19:25-27

NAMED CHARACTERS / EPISODE

MARK

MATTHEW

LUKE

JOHN

HERODIAS & her daughter (cause John Baptist’s death)

6:17-29

14:3-12

[3:19-20-anon.]

X

Many Galilean women support Jesus & his disciples:
MARY MAGDALENE, Joanna wife of Chuza, Susanna, and many others

x

x

8:1-3

X

Martha and Mary of Bethany host Jesus for dinner

x

x

10:38-42

X

Martha and Mary of Bethany at the death of Lazarus

x

x

x

11:1-45

Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus

x

x

x

12:1-8

Women at the Cross (various names in the four Gospels):
Mark: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James & Joses, and Salome
Matt: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James & Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee
Luke: [anonymous here; not named until 24:10]
John: Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene

15:40-41

27:55-56

[23:49]

19:25b-27

Women see Jesus buried (various names in the four Gospels):
Mark: Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses
Matt: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
Luke: “the women who had come with him from Galilee…”
John: [only Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus]

15:47

27:61

23:55-56

X

Women visit Jesus’ tomb (various names in the four Gospels):
Mark: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome
Matt: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
Luke: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James, and the other women with them (v. 10)
John: Mary Magdalene alone (but she says “we” in 20:2)

16:1-8

28:1-8

24:1-11

20:1-2a, 11-13

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (and other women)

[16:9-11]

28:9-10

x

20:14-18

ANONYMOUS CHARACTERS / EPISODE

MARK

MATTHEW

LUKE

JOHN

Mother-in-law of Simon Peter, healed by Jesus

1:29-31

8:14-15

4:38-39

X

Whoever does God’s will is Jesus’ brother, and sister, and mother

3:33-35

12:48-50

8:21

 

Daughter of Jairus, raised by Jesus from the dead

5:21-24, 35-43

9:18-19, 23-26

8:40-42, 49-56

X

Woman with a flow of blood, healed by Jesus

5:25-34

9:20-22

8:43-48

X

Syrophoenician woman (Mt: Canaanite) & her daughter

7:24-30

15:21-28

x

X

Widow at the temple treasury in Jerusalem

12:41-44

x

21:1-4

X

Woman at Bethany (anonymous), who anoints Jesus

14:3-9

26:6-13

[cf. 7:36-50]

[cf. 12:1-8]

Servant girl challenges Peter, who denies knowing Jesus

14:66-72

26:69-75

22:56-57

18:16-17

Pilate’s wife, who tells Pilate of her dream

x

27:19

x

X

Widow at Nain, whose son Jesus raised

x

x

7:11-17

X

Sinful woman, who anoints Jesus in Galilee

x

x

7:36-50

X

Jesus sends out seventy disciples (or 72) on a mission (possibly including some women)

x

x

10:1-20

X

Woman in a crowd, who says to Jesus,
“Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!”

x

x

11:27-28

X

Crippled woman, healed by Jesus

x

x

13:10-17

X

Wailing women of Jerusalem on the way to his crucifixion

x

x

23:26-31

X

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell Jesus: some women of their group had gone to the tomb

x

x

24:22-24

X

Samaritan woman at the well, who encounters Jesus

x

x

x

4:1-42

Woman caught in adultery, forgiven by Jesus

x

x

x

[8:1-11]

Parents of the man born blind (implicitly including the mother)

x

x

x

9:18-23

FICTIONAL CHARACTER / EPISODE

MARK

MATTHEW

LUKE

JOHN

Example of a woman who had seven husbands

12:18-27

22:23-33

20:27-40

X

“Alas for pregnant and nursing women

13:17

24:19

21:23-24

X

Parable of a woman mixing yeast & flour

x

13:33

13:20-21

X

Mention of “two women grinding meal together

x

24:41

17:35

X

Parable of the unforgiving servant: mentions his wife & children

x

18:25

x

X

Parable of the ten bridesmaids and their lamps

x

25:1-13

x

X

Parable of wicked manager: beats both men & women slaves

x

x

12:45

X

Parable of a woman who lost & found a coin, rejoicing with her female friends & neighbors

x

x

15:8-10

X

Parable of a widow fighting against an unjust judge

x

x

18:1-8

X

Nicodemus asks Jesus: “Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"

x

x

x

3:4

John (Baptist) uses analogy of a bride and bridegroom

 

 

 

3:29

Analogy of a woman in labor

x

x

x

16:21

Available @ http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Synoptics_Women.htm

March 19 – Weekly Lenten Study – Biblical Arguments in Favor of Slavery

The Southern Argument for Slavery

Those who defended slavery rose to the challenge set forth by the Abolitionists. The defenders of slavery included economics, history, religion, legality, social good, and even humanitarianism, to further their arguments.

…Defenders of slavery noted that in the Bible, Abraham had slaves. They point to the Ten Commandments, noting that "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, ... nor his manservant, nor his maidservant." In the New Testament, Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master, and, although slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, Jesus never spoke out against it.

… Defenders of slavery argued that the institution was divine, and that it brought Christianity to the heathen from across the ocean. Slavery was, according to this argument, a good thing for the enslaved. John C. Calhoun said, "Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually."

… JAMES THORNWELL, a minister, wrote in 1860, "The parties in this conflict are not merely Abolitionists and slaveholders, they are Atheists, Socialists, Communists, Red Republicans, Jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other." …

Excerpted from http://www.ushistory.org/us/27f.asp

 

Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery as Exhibited in the Institution of Domestic Slavery in the United States; With the Duties of Masters to Slaves

William A. Smith (William Andrew), 1802-1870 and Thomas O. Summers (Thomas Osmond), 1812-1882

Nashville: Stevenson and Evans, 1856.

Summary

As its title suggests, Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery (1856) is a collection of lectures comprising an extended apology for slavery both in theory and in practice. The first lecture treats the condemnation of slavery as an aspersion of the morals of the free inhabitants of the South, and calls the reader's attention to the threat such abolitionist sentiments represent to peace both in the South and nationwide. The second lecture treats slavery as an abstract principle, showing that the principle of slavery is valid because it can be compared to the authoritarian bases of religion and civil government. Both operate through the subjection of one's will to another, and since slavery operates the same way, it is also theoretically valid. The following lectures deal with the question of "rights," pointing out that equal rights cannot apply when humans are inherently unequal in various ways. Smith argues that in the state of nature, humans exist within a network of liberty and servitude according to their conditions. In the sixth lecture, Smith turns his attention to scripture, arguing that since scripture explicitly sanctions political government it can by extension be shown to support the principles behind slavery. He refutes the common distinction made between slavery and hired service, and points out that Old Testament Law expressly institutes a system of slavery.

Christopher Hill

Available @ https://docsouth.unc.edu/church/smith/summary.html
A BRIEF EXAMINATION OF SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY ON THE INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY,

In an Essay, first published in the Religious Herald, and republished by request: with Remarks on a Letter of Elder GALUSHA, of New York, to Dr. R. FULLER, of South Carolina:

By THORNTON STRINGFELLOW. LOCUST GROVE, Culpeper Co., Va., 1841.

 

BROTHER SANDS:

        Circumstances exist among the inhabitants of these United States, which make it proper that the Scriptures should be carefully examined by Christians in reference to the institution of Slavery, which exists in several of the States, with the approbation of those who profess unlimited subjection to God's revealed will.

         It is branded by one portion of people, who take their rules of moral rectitude from the Scriptures, as a great sin; nay, the greatest of sins that exist in the nation. And they hold the obligation to exterminate it, to be paramount to all others.

         If slavery be thus sinful, it behooves all Christians who are involved in the sin, to repent in dust and ashes, and wash their hands of it, without consulting with flesh and blood. Sin in the sight of God is something which God in his Word makes known to be wrong, either by preceptive prohibition, by principles of moral fitness, or examples of inspired men, contained in the sacred volume. When these furnish no law to condemn human conduct, there is no transgression. Christians should produce a "thus saith the Lord," both for what they condemn as sinful, and for what they approve as lawful, in the sight of Heaven.

         It is to be hoped, that on a question of such vital importance as this to the peace and safety of our common country, as well as to the welfare of the church, we shall be seen cleaving to the Bible, and taking all our decisions about this matter, from its inspired pages. With men from the North, I have observed for many years a palpable ignorance of the divine will, in reference to the institution of slavery. I have seen but a few, who made the Bible their study, that had obtained a knowledge of what it did reveal on this subject. Of late, their denunciation of slavery as a sin, is loud and long.

         I propose, therefore, to examine the sacred volume briefly, and if I am not greatly mistaken, I shall be able to make it appear that the institution of slavery has received, in the first place,

         1st. The sanction of the Almighty in the Patriarchal age.

         2nd. That it was incorporated into the only National Constitution which ever emanated from God.

         3rd. That its legality was recognized, and its relative duties regulated, by Jesus Christ in his kingdom; and

         4th. That it is full of mercy.

         Before I proceed further, it is necessary that the terms used to designate the thing, be defined. It is not a name, but a thing, that is denounced as sinful; because it is supposed to be contrary to, and prohibited by, the Scriptures.

….

The first recorded language which was eve uttered in relation to slavery, is the inspired language of Noah. In God's stead he says, "Cursed be Canaan;" "a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren." … they were holding the posterity of Ham in a state of abject bondage. May it not be said in truth, that God decreed this institution before it existed; and has he not connected its existence, with prophetic tokens of special favor, to those who should be slave owners or masters? … as well as the Canaanites or Africans, who descended from Ham, then it is quite possible that his favor may now be found with one class of men, who are holding another class in bondage. Be this as it may, God decreed slavery--… Abraham, honored in the sacred records with the appellation, "Father" of the "faithful." … he "took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance, that they had gathered, and the souls they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan." Gen. xii. 5.

  All the ancient Jewish writers of note, and Christian commentators agree, that by the "souls they had gotten in Haran," as our translators render it, are meant their slaves, or those persons they had bought with their money …

I have been tedious on this first proposition, but I hope the importance of the subject to Christians as well as to statesmen will be my apology. I have written it, not for victory over an adversary, or to support error or falsehood, but to gather up God's will in reference to holding men and women in bondage, in the patriarchal age. And it is clear, in the first place, that God decreed this state before it existed. Second. It is clear that the highest manifestations of good-will which he ever gave to mortal man, was given to Abraham, in that covenant in which he required him to circumcise all his male servants, which he had bought with his money, and that were born of them in his house. Third. It is certain that he gave these servants as property to Isaac. Fourth. It is certain that, as the owner of these slaves, Isaac received similar tokens of God's favor. Fifth. It is certain that Jacob, who inherited from Isaac his father, received like tokens of divine favor. Sixth. It is certain, from a fair construction of language, that Job, who is held up by God himself as a model of human perfection, was a great slaveholder. Seventh. It is certain, when God showed honor, and came down to bless Jacob's posterity, in taking them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, they were the owners of slaves that were bought with money, and treated as property; which slaves were allowed of God to unite in celebrating the divine goodness to their masters, while hired servants were excluded. Eighth. It is certain that God interposed to give Joseph the power in Egypt, which he used, to create a state, or condition, among the Egyptians, which substantially agrees with patriarchal and modern slavery. Ninth. It is certain, that in reference to this institution in Abraham's family, and the surrounding nations, for five hundred years, it is never censured in any communication made from God to men. Tenth. It is certain, when God put a period to that dispensation, he recognized slaves as property on Mount Sinai. If, therefore, it has become sinful since, it cannot be from the nature of the thing, but from the sovereign pleasure of God in its prohibition. We will therefore proceed to our second proposition …

… And really, in view of what is passing in our country, and elsewhere, among men who profess to reverence the Bible, it would seem that these must be dreams of a distempered brain, and not the solemn truths of that sacred book.

         Well, I will now proceed to make them good to the letter, see Lev. xxv. 44, 45, 46: "Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land. And they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children …

…To show that Jesus Christ recognized this institution as one that was lawful among men, and regulated its relative duties. …

  If, therefore, doing to others as we would they should do to us, means precisely what loving our neighbor as ourself means, then Jesus has added no new moral principle above those in the law of Moses, to prohibit slavery …

All 32 pages Available @ https://docsouth.unc.edu/church/stringfellow/stringfellow.html

March 26 – Weekly Lenten Study – Diverse images of God

 

Female Images of God in the Bible

Genesis 1:27 Women and Men created in God’s image ;“Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.”

Hosea 11:3-4 God described as a mother ; God: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”

Hosea 13:8 God described as a mother bear ; “Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…”

Deuteronomy 32:11-12 God described as a mother eagle ; “Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”

Deuteronomy 32:18 God who gives birth ; “You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

Isaiah 66:13 God as a comforting mother ; God: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 49:15 God compared to a nursing mother ; God: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

Isaiah 42:14 God as a woman in labor ; God: “For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.”

Psalm 131:2 God as a Mother ; “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”

Psalm 123:2-3 God compared to a woman ; “As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!”

Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 God as a Mother Hen ; Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

Luke 15:8-10 God as woman looking for her lost coin ; Jesus: “Or what woman having ten silver coins, is she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

Compiled by the Women’s Ordination Conference

Available @ https://www.womensordination.org/resources/female-images-of-god-in-the-bible/

 

 

 

 

10 Things You Should Know about the Image of God

Sam Storms - samstorms.com

The Imago Dei, Latin for “image of God,” is crucial for our understanding of who we are as the direct creation of God. Here are ten things to guide our thinking.

 

1. Embodied Imago Dei

We read in Genesis 1:26 of God’s determination to create man “in our image (tselem), after our likeness (demut).” Theologians typically have tried to identify one particular element or characteristic feature in humanity that embodies or constitutes the imago dei.

 

2. Uniquely Made

If both humans and animals are created by God, yet the former bear his image and the latter do not, perhaps the image of God consists in some particular feature of a human not found in any animal. In other words, the image is something we possess, some property or properties uniquely characteristic of humans.

 

3. Capacity and Accountability

Some have distinguished between the “image” and “likeness” of God in man, the former consisting of our capacity for reason and choice, the latter of our moral and spiritual accountability to God. Irenaeus (135-205) is representative of this view (he argued that in the fall the likeness was lost, to be regained in redemption, but the image remained).

 

4. A Triune Nature

Thomas Aquinas focused on man’s reason, Calvin on the soul (i.e., the mind and heart), and Augustine on the mental capacities of memory, understanding, and will. Augustine argued that since man’s reason or mind is his preeminent or most important feature that we should likely find in it a reflection of God, hence his triadic model which he believed mirrored the triune nature of God.

 

5. Dominion and Stewardship

According to what we might call the functional view of the imago dei, the image and likeness of God consists not in something man is or has, nor in his relationship with either God or other humans, but in what man does. Primary emphasis has been placed on the exercise of dominion over creation. Note that in Genesis 1:26, immediately after God’s declaration that man would be made in his image, it is said, “and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air . . .” This emphasis on dominion and stewardship over creation is found in Genesis 1:28-30. See also this link between the image and dominion in Psalm 8:5-6 (“Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet”). But as Dennis Okholm asks: “Does the imago consist of dominion, or was dominion a result of having been made in the image of God?” (“Theological Anthropology in Christological and Soteriological Perspective,” 7).

 

6. Capacity for Relationship

Some have argued that the image consists primarily in our capacity for relationship and social interaction both with God and other humans. Karl Barth (1886-1968) pointed to Genesis 1:26-27 where God (described as plural, “We/Us/Our”) creates man as male and female (plural). Since there is plurality and thus relationship and interaction within the Godhead, so they who are the image of God are likewise fundamentally relational in nature. I agree with Bruce Ware, however, and wonder “whether the point of mentioning ‘male and female’ was to say that the image of God was constituted by their social relatedness, or might the point more simply be that both man and woman are created in God’s image.”

 

7. Image Lost, Then Restored

Martin Luther (and to some degree, Calvin) emphasized man’s original righteousness as embodying the image of God. Thus, the fall significantly damaged and perverted the image, without destroying it entirely (see especially Genesis 9:6-7 and James 3:9 which indicate that whatever of the image was lost in the fall it in some sense still remains). The image, for Luther, was a special relation man had to God which Adam lost but Christ restores (see Eph. 4:24 and Col. 3:10).

 

8. Moving Toward Imago Dei

Then there is what might be called the “dynamic” view of the image of God. This is difficult to explain, but essentially entails the idea that the image is not to be found in the structure of human personality or in our functions or relationships, but rather is a goal or destiny to which redeemed humanity is moving. Daniel Migliore put it this way: “Being created in the image of God is not a state or condition but a movement with a goal: human beings are restless for a fulfillment of life not yet realized” (Faith Seeking Understanding, 128). Although all humans are even now in the image of God, that image is fully embodied by Jesus Christ according to whose image we are being shaped and conformed. Thus, the image is both a present reality and a dynamic and progressive telos (goal) toward which we are moving.

 

9. 3 Claims from 2 Clues

Dennis Okholm expands on the dynamic view by arguing that we have two clues in helping us identify the image of God in man: “(1) we have those references that describe the goal of our regeneration or redemption – viz., Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:49; and 2 Cor. 3:18; and (2) we have those references that point us to Christ who as the ‘Adam’ is also the very eikon of God – viz., Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3; and 2 Cor. 4:4” (8). He thus concludes with three claims about the imago dei in man.

 

First, the restoration of the image involves “becoming like Christ” (see Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15). To the degree that we correspond to or become like Jesus, the more perfect is the image reflected in us.

 

"The goal of our salvation is the restoration of the image of God."

Second, the restoration of the image is a “continual process” (2 Cor. 3:18). “In other words,” says Okholm, “the goal of our salvation is not to be forgiven of our sins nor to escape hell. The goal of our salvation is the restoration of the image of God” (9). I must say that I don’t agree with this last point. The goal of our salvation is unbroken fellowship in God’s presence and the beholding of his beauty that brings consummate joy and satisfaction of soul.

 

"The 'restoration of the image is not an isolated project of the individual.'"

Third, the restoration of the image “takes place in community,” or more accurately “as community” (Eph. 3:17b-19; 4:12-13,15-16; Col. 3:10-11). The “restoration of the image is not an isolated project of the individual” (9) but occurs only as we grow up together in Christ. (On the element of “community” as essential to the restoration of the image, see especially Stanley Grenz, Theology for the Community of God [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994], 151-80.)

 

10. A Holistic View

It would appear that each of the above views is true in what they affirm but incomplete because of what they deny. Perhaps a more holistic view is in order that embodies all of these elements. Anthony Hoekema (Created in God’s Image [Eerdmans, 1986]) states:

 

“Must we think of the image of God in man as involving only what man is and not what he does, or only what he does and not what he is, or both what he is and what he does? Is ‘image of God’ only a description of the way in which the human being functions, or is it also a description of the kind of being he or she is?”

 

"...those who relate to and represent God on earth."

Hoekema goes on to emphasize that our structural capacities (reason, will, conscience, etc.) provide the necessary conditions for us to function and to fulfill our responsibilities as those who relate to and represent God on earth. In an unpublished paper, Bruce Ware builds on this suggestion and concludes that:

 

“the structural serves the purpose of the functional being carried out in relationship. One might think of this proposal, then, as advocating a ‘functional holism’ view of the image of God. That is, while all three aspects are involved, priority is given to the God-ordained functioning of human beings in carrying out the purposes he has for them to do. Perhaps our summary statement of what it means to be made in God’s image could employ this language.”

 

"We are images of God in order to image God and his purposes."

Ware then draws this conclusion, and with it I close:

 

“The image of God in man as functional holism means that God made human beings, both male and female, to be created and finite representations (images of God) of God’s own nature, that in relationship with him and each other, they might be his representatives (imaging God) in carrying out the responsibilities he has given to them. In this sense, we are images of God in order to image God and his purposes in the ordering of our lives and carrying out of our God-given responsibilities.”

 

Sam Storms is an A millennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementarian, Christian Hedonist who loves his wife of 44 years, his two daughters, his four grandchildren, books, baseball, movies, and all things Oklahoma University. In 2008 Sam became Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sam is on the Board of Directors of both Desiring God and Bethlehem College & Seminary, and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Sam is President-Elect of the Evangelical Theological Society

 

 

Reconstructing Our Images of God

 

As a clinical chaplain and grief counselor, I am often confronted with images of God that create more suffering than solace when people have experienced a traumatic loss. The question they usually ask is, “Why would a loving God let this happen?”  Or they will say, “I thought if I was a faithful Christian and pleased God, nothing bad would ever happen to me, so why did my child die? What did I do wrong?”

 

I tell them that the answer depends what they think God is.

 

If we see God as a man-in-the-sky who randomly dispenses joy or sorrow, reward or punishment,  that God is separate from us, residing somewhere out there in a place that we can never reach. We expect that god to protect us like a doting mother hen, and when protection isn’t provided, we are shocked and dismayed. That god not only fails to protect us (despite our earnest pleas and efforts to “earn” that protection through pious devotion), it places unreasonable conditions on its love. But even if we devote our lives to meeting those conditions and understanding the divine plan, there is no guarantee of protection.

 

Why? Because it doesn’t work that way.

 

Seeing God as a protective/authoritative parent is an infantile view that separates and disempowers us. If we think that God’s love is is supposed to provide us with a conflict-free existence, we will always be disappointed. Because when that expectation is not met — and it can never be met — we end up focusing more on our feelings of anger and abandonment than on the valuable lessons these experiences were designed to teach us.

 

By contrast, if we see God as a connective fiber that links every action in the universe in an interdependent movement toward wholeness, then there’s no reason why this force would shield us from discomfort and conflict. Instead of wondering why bad things are allowed to happen, consider instead that there are no “good” or “bad” things in the universe, only the creations that move us forward in our evolution. We cannot judge these creations, because they are necessary in order for growth and expansion to occur. They are there to provide traction, something to push against, like a swimmer pushing off the edge of a pool.

 

Copyright 2014 by Terri Daniel

Available @ https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/god-needs-a-new-image/

 

 

 

 

April 02 – Weekly Lenten Study – Contradictory Things the Bible Says

 

10 PAIRS OF BIBLE VERSES THAT SEEM TO TOTALLY CONTRADICT EACH OTHER

JULY 14, 2015

To Enslave or Not to Enslave? – Leviticus 25:45 & Isaiah 58:6

These two bibles verses produce mixed messages in regards to the institution of slavery. Leviticus 25:45 reads, “Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.” Yet, Isaiah 58:6 challenges this view when it asks, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Matt 5:16 & Matt 6:3-4

The Bible offers different views when it comes to the execution of performing good deeds. In the same book one verse states that one should do good deeds for others to see, while another statement conveys that one should perform good deeds secretly. For example, Matthew 5:16 reads, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” However, Matthew 6:3-4 reads, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

Is God All Good Or Not? – Numbers 23:19 & Exodus 32:14

Two bible verses have led many to question God’s act of repentance. This is due to the fact that Numbers 23:19 and Exodus 32:14 relay differing messages. Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” On the other hand, Exodus 32:14 states, “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Proverbs 24:17 & Psalms 58:10

Verses of the Bible also contradict one another when explaining how people should treat their “enemies.” For instance, Proverbs 24:17 reads, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:.” On the contrary, Psalms 58:10 reads the following: “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.”

The Sins of Our Father: Guilty or Not – Isaiah 14:21-22 & Deuteronomy 24:16

These particular verses express different perspectives in relation to the sins of fathers’ children. Isaiah 14:21-22 declares, “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.22 For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord.” However, Deuteronomy 24:16 communicates, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Birthday Mixup – 2 Kings 24:8 & Chronicles 36:9

Two verses of the Bible do not communicate the same age in which Jehoiachin rose to power. 2 Kings 24:8 imparts, “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.” Yet, 2 Chronicles 36:9 conveys, “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Has Anyone Ever Looked Upon His Face? – John 1:18 & Genesis 32:30

The Bible communicates different answers to the following question: Has anyone ever seen God? This is due to the fact that the messages of two verses completely contradict one another. John 1:18 reads, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” However, Genesis 32:30 conflictingly reads, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

Foolish Associations – Proverbs 26:4 & Proverbs 26:5

Two verses in Proverbs, though juxtaposed, impart opposing notions. Proverbs 26:4 declares, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” Nevertheless, Proverbs 26:5 declares, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”

God A Respecter of Persons? – Psalms 145:9 & Jeremiah 13:14

The good book also encompasses verses that put forth perspectives that negate one another in regards to who God is good to. Is the Lord good to a select few or good to all individuals? Psalms 145:9 confirms, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” However, Jeremiah 13:14 confirms, “And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together,’ saith the Lord. ‘I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but shall destroy them.”

Nobody Goes to Heaven Yet? – 2 Kings 2:11 & John 3:13

Two particular verses of the Bible assert conflicting ideas when discussing those who have and have not gone to heaven. This is due to the fact that 2 Kings 2:11 reads, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.,” while John 3:13 reads, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

Available @ https://thafcc.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/10-pairs-of-bible-verses-that-seem-to-totally-contradict-each-other/

April 09 – Weekly Lenten Study – God is Love

 

Love is found in the Bible 542 times (188 in New Testament)(NRSV)

 

Bible Verses about God Is Love. These either show directly the comment God is Love, they show that the nature and character of God is love or they speak of that which is larger that time and creation and thus the basic nature of God.

 

1 John 4:8 ESV           

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

1 John 4:16 ESV

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

 

1 John 4:19 ESV         

We love because he first loved us.

 

1 John 4:7 ESV           

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

 

Ephesians 2:4 ESV      

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

 

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV    

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

 

Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

 

Psalm 86:15 ESV        

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

 

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV         

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Ephesians 5:25 ESV    

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

 

Colossians 3:14 ESV   

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

 

1 Peter 4:8 ESV          

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

 

1 John 4:7-8 ESV        

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

John 13:34 ESV          

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

Romans 5:5 ESV         

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

Matthew 5:43-48 ESV

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? ...

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV        

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

 

Matthew 22:37-39 ESV          

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

 

Galatians 5:22 ESV     

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

 

John 13:34-35 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

1 John 5:3 ESV           

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV         

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV           

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Romans 13:10 ESV     

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

John 15:9-17 ESV       

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ...

 

Romans 8:39 ESV       

Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Isaiah 54:10 ESV        

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

 

John 13:35 ESV          

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Deuteronomy 7:8 ESV

But it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

 

2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV         

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

 

Jude 1:21 ESV

Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

 

John 17:24 ESV

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

 

Psalm 63:3 ESV

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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