Trivial Pursuers

“Many people are rejecting our Gospel today, not because they perceive it to be false, but because they perceive it to be trivial.  They are looking for an integrated worldview that makes sense of all their experience.”

~ John Stott

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One thought on “Trivial Pursuers

  1. Patrick says:

    I agree with this statement.

    According to Romans 1:16, the gospel (in its pure unadulterated form) is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and to the Gentile.”

    But I believe some aspects of the message that ministers preach today are in need of serious re-evaluation; an evaluation in light of the Hebrew mindset found in the Old Covenant Scriptures (Old Testament). I would argue that the gospel has lost much of its Jewishness, and has been supplanted by gentile (worldview) ideas gleaned from Greek Philosophy as well as modern conventions that have crowded out Hebrew thought. Much of what I’ve heard preached in the pulpits today (particularly regarding the message of The Hope) no longer has the “to the Jew first” appeal (Romans 1:16) but rather, supplants the message of Israel’s hope, for an entirely different hope. Let me explain:

    Ever heard of Dispensationalism??? Dispensationalism is a set of ideas that endeavors to explain the different epochs (eras of time) in the Bible. The goal of Dispensationalism, for the Bible student, is to provide a guideline to understand the various changes and/or additions brought about by God’s law through the successive historical events found in the scriptures. (Here’s an example: Under the Old Covenant [Mosaic Law] the ministry of God’s law was carried out in a different manner than it is today. Today, we live in an era of time called “The Age of Grace”. Under the New Covenant, ushered in by Jesus Christ, the ministry of God’s law occurs in dramatically different ways. There’s no longer a requirement for an aniimal sacrifice to be made every time somebody sins, as it was during the time of the Old Covenant.

    Today, most seminaries teach that there is a division of either 6 or 7 epochs found within the Bible, and these epochs have classifications called “administrations”, (that is, Original Paradise, Patriarchal, The law, Christ, The Administration of Grace, etc.) I believe dispensational divisions can be helpful to describe and understand the various changes that occurred through the ages that effected the way God’s law was and is dispensed. However, I also believe that Dispensationalism has introduced an unnatural dichotomy when it comes to differentiating what is applicable to the Christian church, and what is relevant to the church [body of people] of Israel.

    For example, Dispensationallism teaches that there are two separate hopes: one specific to National Israel; and one that is specific to the Christian Church. To the Christian church, our hope is that we will inherit Heaven as the place of our final existence in glory. To national Israel (those under the Old Covenant, and to those of Israel during the post-rapture period of time), these inherit the earth, as outlined in the Abrahamic promises. But I have yet to find a verse in the Bible that supports this hypothesis. On the contrary, the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians:

    4:4&ff. : “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all….”

    Regarding the message that Paul preached to others (and for which he was on trial for) he went on to say in Acts 26:22, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come- that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

    In Acts 28:17: “And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go,because there was no cause for putting me to death….Verse 20: “For this reason have I called for you, to see you, and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

    Notice, Paul is NOT saying: “for the hope of the Christian Church, I am bound with this chain, but, FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL.

    In Hebrews 11:39 the verse says: “And all these [old testament Hebrew believers], having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

    I believe this verse is saying the that we will receive the promised inheritance at the same time as all those believers under the Old Covenant; that is, “that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (in the resurrection of The Just).

    I know I’m not even close to covering this topic in a thorough manner in this brief thread presentation. But I think these verses provide somme strong evidence for consideration.

    Living in heaven in an afterlife is MOST DEFINATELY a mythological idea espoused by the ancients in Greece as well as Rome. The whole idea of the soul separating from the body at death and living in a heavenly realm is derived from Plato and Socrates, but I have yet to find it in the Hebrew scriptures.

    I welcome any insights,

    blessings,

    Patrick

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