What is a Religion? Rethinking Religion and Secularism

– This is what I hope will be potentially a future book, which I’m tentatively calling “The Myth of Secularism”, but I’m basically going to share some of my reflections on what is really a work in progress. And looking at a few questions. What is religion?

We usually think of it as a relatively limited concept. Everyone knows what a religion is when they see one. What is din? That’s usually translated. It’s an Arabic word, usually translated as religion. And I want to look at whether that translation, which has been called into question

By a lot of scholars might have something to it. And finally, what is secularism, and that is an area of considerable sort of contention in the contemporary era, but it’s also in a sense, an ideology that underpins the way in which we organize the world, particularly in the Western world today.

So let me begin actually, by looking at some competing conceptions of the notion of religion. There are in a sense, I mean, there are a number of conceptions of what constitutes religion in academic scholarship today. But I wanted to actually think about, perhaps start by looking at the Oxford dictionary definition of religion.

So this is the Oxford dictionary of English. It’s not the OED that 20 volumes of mammoth piece of scholarship, but it’s basically a work of contemporary English usage you could say. So how is this word used in English today? And they sort of define religion as the belief in

And worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. This sounds familiar to most people, but if we think about a religion like Buddhism, which we usually refer to as a religion, about 70% of the global population, half a billion people, there’s no concept of God.

Some scholars have described it as an atheistic religion. So already, even with our common sense, understanding of these things, things are starting to break down. And so, in a sense, you have these two conceptions of religion within the academy one is close to the conventional understanding,

Which we’ll have a look at in a moment, but you also have a notion that religion is actually a modern category. It was invented in the modern period after the 17th century, the wards of religion kind of work constitutive of our understanding of religion today.

And some scholars also talk about the fact that secularism as an idea develops with the concept of religion. Scholars talk about the fact that as they would put it, there is no for religion in pre-modern times, what we refer to as religion doesn’t have a pre-modern equivalent. So that’s actually a widespread view

And we’ll have a look at it. I shouldn’t proceed any further without plugging the work of a colleague at Stanford University, Rushain Abbasi, he’s recently written a mammoth article, a 100 page article called Islam and the invention of religion where he’s basically criticizing what he describes

As the kind of modern orthodoxy in the study of religion, which argues that religion is a modern invention. Rather he says, that concept can be found early on in the Islamic tradition. And that’s something I’ll be looking at in a moment. But as I say, the current academic orthodoxy,

And it might be a little overstating of the case. I think that there are a significant number of scholars and I quote one of them in the transcript, but I’ll be sort of quoting him in passing. They hold this kind of traditional concept of religion that I mentioned earlier but this is

The view of Brent Nongbri, a scholar whose recent book is a 2013 book published by Yale University press called “Before Religion:The History of a Modern Concept”. He actually early on in his book defines religion in this way. “Religion is anything that sufficiently resembles modern Protestant Christianity.” Okay, now stay with him on this.

Let’s stick around. So religion is anything that sufficiently resembles modern Protestant Christianity. Such a definition might seem as crass, simplistic, ethnocentric, Christiancentric, and even a bit flippant. It is all of these things, but it is also highly accurate in reflecting the uses of the term in modern languages.

So this is, as I say, this is a very widespread view that basically what happened was modern Protestant Christianity post reformation kind of develops a conception of itself as a religion. That religion is privatized. That religion is in a sense to stay in the private realm, stay out of public life.

At least that’s the dispensation we live with today for the most part in a place like the UK. And then Europe exported that concept around the world and said, “This is what religion is. Get your religions in line with this.” So this is kind of the argument that scholars like

Brent Nongbri are making, that religion has to be privatized. And this is actually something we hear very often in society. We say, “Well, if it’s a religious matter, it’s a private matter. It should be privatized.” And what he’s saying is that conception of religion is actually a distinctly Protestant conception of religion

Developed after the 17th century in the wake of the wars of religion. And that is actually the way religion is used in other modern languages as well. And that’s a point which I will contest in just a moment, at least with respect to Arabic and other what scholars call Islamic cult languages.

Scholars sometimes make a distinction between Islamic and Islamic cult. And Islamic cult is basically a reference to what you could say, the secular components of a Muslim society, which are in some way imbued with the values of Islam, but are not really part and parcel of the religion.

I’m already using the category of religion that we’ll get back to why I think that is justified. Now, I want to ask us to think beyond Europe and I take my cue from sort of a Bengali historian, my own roots of Bengali as well, from the University of Chicago, a very prolific author,

This is an influential book he wrote in the year 2000 called “Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference”. So Dipesh Chakrabarty is a scholar of post-colonial studies. And he basically is arguing in this book that when we do history in an academic setting, we are so deeply embedded within a Eurocentric paradigm

That it’s extremely difficult to escape from it, even though that’s something that we should try and do. So the very concepts that we’re using, et cetera, are deeply embedded within the conceptual universe of Europe. And in a sense, it’s descendants in a place like the United States.

And so in the spirit of Provincializing Europe, I’m trying to ask ourselves, well, what if we discard this conception of religion and start to think about religion in terms taken from another tradition, the Sonic tradition, for example. Not to say that there’s a single unitary conception of religion in any given tradition.

Sorry on the basis of this I’m trying to look at, okay, is there an Islamic conception of religion? And why should that not be as legitimate of basis for our theoretical ruminations on the category of religion, on society, on the way in which society is organized.

Why should that not be as legitimate a source for those sorts of reflections as sort of what some scholars described as the Eurocentric conception of religion, right? And I think, increasingly it’s possible to ask those sorts of questions. I think maybe a generation or two ago

That suggestion would have been sort of dismissed as being, that’s not scholarship. Scholarship means you have to respect the canon, right? And that canon is now being brought into question. I think that’s a healthy development in our studies. So in Islam you have a concept of din.

So the term din is the Arabic word found in the Quran, found in the hadith literature. And I’ve got a hadith up there, section of its terpene on. And that term is usually translated as religion in modern period. Okay. It’s not always been translated as religion,

But in a sense, a language shifts over time. There’s something to be said about that. But what I’ve got on the screen is actually a hadith, a statement that is attributed to the prophet, which Muslims generally will consider to be authentic in this particular case, authentically attributed.

I’ve just made a note of where it’s found in sort of authoritative missing collections. And it’s a hadith where it’s a statement of the prophet or it’s actually a narrative of something that happened to the prophet and his companions where someone came to the prophet completely unfamiliar. It’s known as the Gabriel hadith

And so kind of title gives away who’s coming. So Gabriel appears in the form of a human and asks the prophet, “What is Islam? What is iman?” Which means faith. “What is the lesson?” Which is sometimes translated as spiritual excellence, and then asks a series of other questions.

And at the end of that hadith, the prophet asks one of his companions, “Do you know who asked that question was?” He had gone at that point. And then the companion response, “God and his messenger know best.” It’s very pious response. And the prophet responds, “(speaks foreign language) That was Gabriel.

He came to teach you your din.” And so early on in the tradition you have this term, which kind of identifies the entire project, din. But what’s interesting is and perhaps in contradistinction with some other traditions and some scholars point out people like Wilfred Cantwell Smith made this observation over 50 years ago.

That Islam is almost unique in history as naming itself. The scripture in a sense names itself. It reifies itself to use a bit of an academic term. And so the Quran itself actually has this sort of 109:6 where it says, “(speaks foreign language).” It not only attributes din to itself

Or the Muslim communities practices, but also attributes it to the other. It says that you have your religion, we have ours. Okay. Or I have mine. And this was addressed according to the unbelievers who are persecuting the prophet, okay. Saying, let us be, you have your religion, we have ours.

So the clan in a sense, uses this word. And this is just one instance but throughout the grant, this term is to be found in my estimation, rather transparently refer to beliefs, norms, practices that a given community adheres to, whether it be approved or disapproved by God.

And sometimes it refers to the din or the religion of Muslims as din will have the true religion. So it will sort of make those sorts of claims. But it’s interesting that that concept is in my estimation, very transparently present in earliest time scripture. And this should disrupt in my view,

What Rushain Abbasi calls the orthodoxy that has formed about the notion that religion is actually a modern category. Now, I’m going to change gears now and think about secularism for a moment. Okay. What is secularism? Another of these concepts, as I say, we all think we know what it is,

But when we start to sort of explore what it means, it’s difficult to pin down. And so, philosophy is sometimes called ideas like this, essentially concepts. Concepts where people are arguing about the very essence of it, the concept itself, democracy. And you could say Britishness, like what is Britishness?

And so secularism is often viewed as the separation of church and state. That’s one very popular definition. Something I’ll come back to towards the end of the lecture. And Charles Taylor, and this really it’s an award-winning book, “A Secular Age”. It’s a huge book, I think it’s 900 pages,

Took a long time to finish reading that. But Charles Taylor has suggested that secularism should better be understood as managing pluralism, a kind of neutrality between different competing religious claims, for example, on the part of the state. So the state should be a neutral umpire between different sort of perspectives.

But as I say, secularism is a contentious topic. How do we define secularism? Talal Asad, the chap whose book is on the left, an influential anthropologist of the secular. So he’s an anthropologist, who instead of looking at sort of traditional societies he said, “Well, what does an anthropology of secular societies look like?”

And he says, “Secularity is a distinct product of European history.” And he’s one of these people who described religion and secularism as Siamese twins for example. Charles Taylor, I’ve already mentioned talks about sort of neutrality. And he also highlights that secularism is about sort of the prevention of the persecution of minorities.

For example, the recognition of pluralism is acceptable, managing pluralism. And then you have, I think this is a relatively conventional view, but one which has been brought into question increasingly as he’s a scholar, I think he’s in Budapest at the moment, but he describes secularism as kind of a natural product of history.

So history kind of tended toward secularism and he’s a very sophisticated scholar, but it strikes me as teleological. It’s kind of history arrived at its conclusion with Europe, for some reason, according to that view. And I would sort of question that kind of a reading, but what about secularism beyond Europe as well?

So, I’m sort of going perhaps a bit backwards, sort of in a sense I’ve already mentioned Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “Provincializing Europe”. And so what I’m suggesting here is that account of secularism as sort of emerging and kind of reflecting natural historical development whereby all societies as they mature, as they advance,

As they progress, they will secularize. This is a very widespread assumption within the sociology of religion as well. And so, in a sense, in accord with that sort of an understanding, I want to sort of go back slightly and mention Bruce Lincoln, as another person who upholds a conception of religion,

Which is relatively conventional in that way. And he describes religion as a consisting of four components. The most important of which I want to highlight is a transcendent discourse, but it also is. And I want to highlight Bruce Lincoln’s definition for two reasons. One is, let’s think about religion,

But let’s think about how this might even apply to the concept of secularism as well. So Bruce Lincoln, a scholar at the University of Chicago as well wrote in this book made an attempt to define religion. And he’s a very sophisticated scholar, one of the finest positive religion of his generation,

But someone who in my view, adheres to the conventional view, that in a sense you can attempt to come up with a universal category of religion that excludes secularism as well. So he defines religion fairly extensively. I have summarized it here as a transcendent discourse, a practice, a community and an institution, right?

So, if we think about Christianity, transcend the discourse, the discourse of the Bible, a practice, there’ll be various rituals attached to it, the community, the Christian communion as were and an institution, the church. But in my estimation, depending on how you define transcendent, that can define any community.

So if we think about the British. Britishness as a discourse, it is also a practice that is regulated through laws, laid out through statute or in the form of the British constitution, whatever that is, a community. I happened to have my passport with me today ’cause I’m flying out tomorrow,

But we actually have sort of like these documents with which we can identify ourselves, and an institution. The institution you could say is the British state. But I think Britain is an institution in a sense. So I mean, one of the things that I should perhaps highlight here is these are all ideas

That there’s nothing natural in the world, which identifies someone as being from some country. These are ideas that we generate and we develop into institutions. The idea of progression college is basically a collectivity of people who have continued certain practices over time, right? And in that way, what I’m suggesting here is that

What is so different about secularism as a practice compared to a religion? The term transcendent is what Bruce Lincoln leans on heavily in my estimation, in order to justify the distinction between religion and secularism. So transcendence, he uses in my estimation, and he doesn’t use the term, God

Probably bearing in mind a traditional Buddhism, right? Or other potentially non-theistic practices, I suspect certain forms of other religions other than Buddhism and I’m not an expert on Hinduism would be considered to be transcendent discourses. Buddhism in a sense believes in spiritual practices that elevate people to around that cannot be accessed

By the normal human beings and so on. So in a sense, transcendence is doing a lot of work here, but to my mind, the values that underlie, any of these religious systems are transcended on some level. And I’m happy to sort of take questions later,

Querying my conception of this, but what is liberty? What is sort of liberalism as an idea? What is individualism as an idea? These are transcendent ideas in a sense, they are concepts and conceptions that we elevate to levels of unimpeachability in order to underpin our legal frameworks,

In order to recognize what is an acceptable social practice in our communities, what is equality? And what I want to suggest is that any normative system has to depend on these norms, which are transcendent ideas on some level, I haven’t gotten the book in the slides, but I’m reminded of William T. Cavanaugh,

Has a wonderful book called “The Myth of Religious Violence” where he basically argues that transcendence is something which is a kind of convenient way. It’s a slight of hand to allow for the creation of religion as a category. So he says that someone who works on Wall Street

And has a commitment to capitalism in a sense engages in a kind of deifying of the market and may spend hours and hours in rituals of devotion to the market, I suppose to give a sort of a locally relevant example, be the City of London, right?

And so I personally think that there’s something to that. And I think that the attempt to distinguish between theistic traditions or even something like Buddhism and an idea like secularism hinges on this conception of transcendence, which I think is highly problematic, I should sort of conclude this slide.

I didn’t mean to take quite so much time on it, but I’m going to plug my colleague, Rushain Abbasi’s work again as being an extraordinary history, his PhD, a 600 page PhD is a remarkable history of the concept of the secular not secularism, but the secular meaning.

He talks about the distinction between a religious realm and a secular realm as being present within the Islamic tradition from early on and theorized by scholars through history. It’s unfortunately unpublished. So if you want to read it, you’ll have to fly to Cambridge, Massachusetts and check-in at the library of Harvard University,

But hopefully it’s a different publication in 2023 with Princeton University Press. So if you’re interested that will be a book to look for. Okay. So I’ve already sort of suggested this, inverting the gaze: secularism as religion. And I’m taking inverting the gaze as a kind of a decolonial phrase, so to speak.

In my estimation, the Islamic view of religion resembles Emile Durkheim sort of famous definition of religion early on in his enormous book, “Les Formes Elementaires de la vie religieuse.” “The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life”. So this is 1912 work. He passed away five years later. It’s kind of his… I’m sorry.

I hope that’s not me. So, this is his great work towards the end of his life. And he defines religion interestingly enough, without reference to God. He says a religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say things set apart and forbidden.

So that’s his definition of sacred. And in all societies, we set things apart and forbid people from transgressing them in a sense. And practices which unite into one single moral community called the church, all those who adhere to them. So he’s used the term church, I think, that’s a little sort of,

I would query the use of that term, but I think to a certain extent, these sorts of conceptions of various modern ideologies religions is not terribly new. Another example. So this is from 1912, obviously, Emile Durkheim. And in a sense argues towards the end of his book that all societies need religions.

If we were to get rid of religion, we’d have to invent a new one. A decade later, Carlton Hayes, a scholar, a historian at Columbia University. And he writes an essay in a collected volume of essays, nationalism as a religion. It’s out of copyright so you can Google it and read it online.

And a really fascinating, I mean, he expands it later on, I think he published the book form in 1961, so 30-35 years later, but the book is called nationalism or religion, and this is nationalism as a religion. But those sorts of reflections on the way in which various modern ideologies in a sense

Take the place of religions is something which is quite widespread. And so I asked this question, could various modern ideologies be viewed as religions and his, one potential way of looking at this, depending on how one defines religion. And I’ve suggested a few definitions, we could view secularism as a broad church religion

While various secular ideologies, such as liberalism, nationalism may be seen as denominations or sects, right? I suppose denominations is a less loaded term, but perhaps Nazism and fascism should be considered sects. And so, in a sense, these are all post-enlightenment ideologies that predicate themselves on a world focused, what Charles Taylor calls,

“They look through an imminent frame.” They look at the world beyond not as transcendent, as connected somehow to a transcendent world, but only as eminent, only as interacting with the here and now, and well the times as well. And so, this is I think a remarkable transition in the history of humanity,

In a sense this kind of a shift beyond transcendence. But I also think that this is simply another manifestation of human religion. So these religions are ones which the secular wealthy realm, sorry, one’s in which the secular wealthy realm has been converted into an encompassing system that has replaced religious traditions.

And what do I mean by that? I’m just thinking about an idea like liberalism as something that imbues all of our institutions, or at least it should in a sense. So, we see ourselves as a liberal society, the values of liberalism and individuality, equality, all of these sorts of notions,

In a sense what Charles Taylor, the Canadian historian of secularism calls the French revolutionary trinity. Liberty, equality and fraternity. And those values in many respects are things that imbue our institutions. They imbue our laws. They are the basis on which we can actually adjudicate disputes among one another. And in my estimation, we engage in philosophical inquiry, which can be described as theological

With respect to those sorts of traditions. So if what I’m suggesting is a legitimate reading, then we live in a deeply religious age, right? And it sort of subverts our self image as a secular society. So in a sense, I mean, this book is slightly unrelated to the slide,

But I’m highlighting the limitations of the prevailing understanding of secularism in light of Islam, that a number of modern scholars know that Islam even as a practice today, even as a tradition today, not only the pre-modern world, but the Western trend of secularization in a form of marginalizing religion from the political sphere.

Now, most of the time people have rather sort of like unpleasant conceptions of this, partly because of the way in which it has been mediatized. But even beyond the more shocking manifestations that people are used to and form, part of a narrative, which is very problematic and skews our understanding

Of what’s actually happening in the world in my estimation. There are interesting things to be said about the fact that religiosity in the Muslim world often manifests also in the political sphere. And there isn’t really a very widespread conception in parts of the world, which have not been deeply touched by secular paradigms

That that is a bad thing, right? And so, that’s something that we can explore in perhaps the Q&A but it’s just something to recognize that the sort of the common understanding that secularism is the natural way for humanity. And it will gradually sort of secularize the whole world

Still held by a sort of respected sociologist of religion today. I think really needs to be brought into question and not in a historical fashion, but in a fashion that’s reflective and thinks about the sort of plurality of perspectives that exist in the world. These perspectives remain discussable marginal.

So in the broader discourse on whether it’s as an academic level, whether it’s I think greater latitude in this sort of discourse, or certainly in the popular level, they are discussing only marginal due to sort of the dominance of certain in my estimation narrow views of how society should be organized,

What we can think in a sense. So let me give one other example of what we can think of as a nation, as a religion. So I’m taking this again from Carlton Hayes, this is his 1961 book or note, it says 1960 on there.

So his 1960 book, and I’m just riffing off of it. This isn’t necessarily what he’s saying, but I’m just saying, what do we think about modern nation states as kind of these religious entities of sorts? They have sacred histories, all nation states have founding myths.

Why are we sort of Britain rather than England or Scotland? I guess Scotland might happen. But what makes France France? And younger nations have to kind of invent mythologies about themselves. They create museums. They sort of write histories that are to a certain extent, an act of creation,

Not an active sort of discussive discovery. You could say it’s a form of discovery question. It can also be a form of discovery. And so we have founding myths, we have sacred scriptures in my estimation, and I had a sort of Marshall Hall Patel’s book earlier “People of the Book”.

Constitutions, I mean, it’s a bit difficult to say this in the UK, of course. But in some respects statutory law can be seen as having elements of this. These are texts which cannot be ignored. They are true by definition, right? That’s how scripture works, right? The constitution of the United States is a good example because to a certain extent, it’s starting to be a bit archaic,

A couple of 100 years old at this point, or more than that. And it’s creating all sorts of complications with respect to, for example, the second amendment and the right to bear arms and things like that, written in a very different time. Yet, it’s not something that can just be discarded.

It’s a sacred text in practice, and you have a clerical class that adjudicates this sacred texts and various rankings of clerics, the Supreme court justices of the greatest theologians, the sort of the doctors of the church. But you do have a massive theological discourse and describing it somewhat facetiously as theological discourse,

But that’s what legal scholars are there for to mull over these complicated questions as they relate to practice, the philosophers are there to explore the philosophical underpinnings. And sometimes those two realms will overlap as well. You have, as I said, sort of a clerical class, you have unequal ingroups and outgroups

So religions will have members of that confession and people who are outside of that confession, but we have citizens and foreigners, for example. In fact, we’re so committed to our in-groups and out-groups that we create documents to prove that we’re number of one and not a member of another,

And people vie over these things, of course, right? I mean, it’s a tragedy that we’re living through in the course of the refugee crisis. And the state, is in a sense this inviolable sort of entity, the state in a sense becomes quite sacred. And we can talk about that,

But in a sense, the way in which sometimes security is used to run roughshod of a liberty is an illustration of some of these crazy theological debates. And yeah, so I hope that this sort of reading of kind of alternative history of the secular, so to speak,

Based on an Islamic sort of set of presuppositions is an interesting, sort of interesting one that people may consider taking up. That’s my friend, Rushain Abbasi, the scholar at Stanford, and here is a book by Noah Feldman, who’s at Harvard. But in a sense, what we have with secularism

Is the kind of in my estimation, the marginalization of traditional religions and replacement with potentially an alternative religion. Rushain Abbasi argues in his thesis at one point, that Islam’s worldliness. Actually, no, this isn’t a separate article, but Islam’s worldliness may have prevented the formation of secularism within Islamic civilization

And the form that we have within Western civilization. In a sense, this is his argument, that there was a kind of harmony, a natural harmony between the secular and the religious within Islam that allowed for that interplay not to create great tension in the way that he suggests was the case in Europe.

And Noah Feldman also sort of points out in the political realm, which is, in a sense of the reason secularism is the separation of the religion, religious and the political. In the political realm historically sort of… Sorry. Historically the political realm was subordinate to a rule of law system.

Yes, it was based on the sheria, but it was a rule of law system that was seen as just, and operated in ways that conform to society’s values rather than what is very often assumed that, pre-modern religious policies were in some way on the basis of religion despotic,

The divine right of kings doesn’t really exist in the Islamic tradition in my reading. Part of the reason I wrote my latest book about the Arab revolutions of 2011, is that there’s an attempt to revive or in a sense manufacture kind of divine right of kings

Or in the case of the Middle East divine right of dictators. So, that is a problem, but yeah, this is kind of my last slide. And then I’m just going to read a brief, sort of the conclusion to the written version of the paper, which I say is a work in progress.

And so, there’s a lot of stuff here, which I don’t talk about in that paper, but under stuff in that paper, which I didn’t talk about here. But, in a sense the implication of what I’ve said for the last 40 minutes is that it creates a kind of contradiction in secularism self-image, right?

How can secularism be a neutral umpire between religions, if it is self is a religion? I think this question indicates the need for reassessing our conceptions of various concepts. And I hope that, in a sense that I’ve contributed to something useful in that regard, I’m just going to read out

And I hope this is not too much, I don’t drone too much, but I just wanted to read out a brief section, the conclusion of my article. Of course, secularism rejects the notion that it is analogous to the religions of old. It sees itself as a uniquely rational enterprise

That has transcended the superstition of pre-modern religions. Those religions now belonged in the private sphere of the modern secular order. This was essential to maintaining the peace and preventing the world from being written by superstitions wars of other world is south Asian, at least in secularism self-conception.

But in fact, secularism was simply even in genuinely reenacting the established pattern of a new universal religious project. It had simply come to recognize its own salvific qualities and thus it was only reasonable, but it supersede the primitive paradigm of religion in the public sphere. Secularism was the new dispensation

Brought for the salvation of humanity. And it was for humanity’s own good that it’d be accepted in one ideological form or another. Yet unlike a religion like Islam, his scriptures offered the ostensibly unbeatable claim that God had sent Islam as the final revelation through the final prophet to end all profits.

That’s the Muslim belief that the prophet Mohammed was the final prophet. Unlike that secularism could make the claim that it had in fact, superseded the category of religion itself. This was in many ways a master stroke of self legitimation for it cleared away all the traditional competitors for authority in the public sphere.

By masking itself as transcending religion, secularism has arguably found the means of legitimizing itself that is proven remarkably effective. It is called for religion to be largely removed from public life except in a symbolic or vestigial form. In doing so, it has rendered the public sphere, a realm over which it exercises

A monopoly of legitimate violence. Yet, I have tried to suggest, as I’ve tried to suggest over the course of this presentation, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of secularism, as it stands today, namely that it upholds the principle of separation of religion and state or in more recent articulations upholds

The states neutrality or equidistance between all religions. But if secularism is indeed itself a religion, then the claims that the secular state is separate from religion breaks down. And I asked the question, how can the secular state be neutral between religions if it is governed by the rules of one particular religion,

Namely secularism? I don’t have the answer to these questions, versions of which have been posed by certain Christian scholars for some time now. But I do think posting such questions from an Islamic perspective is important in helping us recognize the need for our society to acknowledge that the conversations in these areas

Needs to be broadened to include a wider range of viewpoints that better reflect the people who make up our increasingly diverse societies, the conversations these kinds of reflections might open up can be enriching and mind broadening in many ways. And I hope we’ll foster greater mutual respect

And understanding if what I say contributes to such an outcome, I will consider the job of this brief presentation to be done. Thank you. – If secularism is a religion, what should it mean for the separation of religion and the stats in your view? – Oh my, I hope my conclusion made clear I have no idea. I mean, I think we need to have conversations about this because it does make things a lot more complicated in a sense. And I think that that claim that I have presented, and I’ve not presented it as the truth, but I’m presenting it as a claim that secularism is a religion,

Opens up opportunities for conversations and discussions rather than giving us any answers, to be honest. And I think that that’s the opportunity that we should embrace at this point in time. And, I think it will make for a very interesting sort of, and mutually respectful conversation.

– [Man] Thank you for a fascinating lecture. – Thank you. – [Man] I have a number of questions, but I’ll keep it to one. – Thank you. – [Man] Where in secularism or religion does morality come and I think it’s been subtext there actually. – Right, right.

– But is there a universal morality that can be a bit- – That’s an excellent question. I mean, yes, it’s absolutely. It’s been sort of implied throughout and I’ve used the term, norms throughout. And in a sense, the sort of the enterprise of ethics and moral philosophy and philosophy more generally

Over the last century or two has been trying to address what happens to morality when we lose sort of the traditional sources of that morality. So Christianity or Judaism or any given religious tradition, what I’m suggesting is that actually, and it’s not a suggestion. It’s very well recognized.

Political philosophy is a species of ethics. It’s a species of moral philosophy when people like John Rawls, great sort of liberal philosopher from Harvard wrote a theory of justice. He was basically trying to ask, what is ethical for society? How should societies be organized in a way that’s ethical?

So I think secularism has its own traditions of morality. And liberalism is one such tradition of morality. Religious traditions have that sort of discourses on morality as well. So I think that in my estimation and I figured out a definition for religion from an Islam conception,

But what I take to be the broadly speaking, the understanding of religion is a community that religion is basically a set of norms that govern the community, norms mean that there’s morals involved, right? How should we behave towards one another? What sorts of laws? Laws are intimately tied with our ethics as well,

But what kinds of laws should govern our transactions and interactions with each other? And so, I think religions where that source historically and secularism in its various dispensations, liberalism and forms that we might not like so much, communism and so on. We’ll have the morality’s as well.

And I think we need to recognize, of course, that there’s a diverse array of moralities out there. The question of universalism is a difficult one. I mean, one classical and perhaps dominant Islamic perspective was that virtually relativist one, which was to say that you cannot really know

What is right or wrong without the guidance of God. I think that’s somewhat problematic personally, because then how do you know how to accept what God gives you? Is that right or wrong, right? But there’s interminable debates, anyway. So I hope that answers the question somewhat.

– [Man] Would you say that the periods of political Islam revival, the 1970s to 2010s actually represent a wide rejection of secularism within the Islamic world or due times or perceived Islamic revival merely represent Islamic influence coming from the background to the forefront of society. – It’s a very thoughtful question actually.

So the sort of what’s referred to as political Islam, a term which I think reflects and scholars are increasingly noting this, that even that label reflects a kind of Eurocentric paradigm because you have to give a special label to a religion that has a political component phrase.

But, I think that it reflects not necessarily, I mean, what is secularism? A lot of the groups that are labeled as political Islamists are pro-democracy, they want to uphold a certain regime of human rights, which in many cases we would recognize, in some cases, there would be tensions

With dominant liberal traditions, for example, perhaps on questions of gay rights or things of that nature. I think it’s too simple to say it’s a rejection of secularism. Secularism is an entire tradition. There are lots of things that, secularism in my view as a religious tradition

Has to offer and not all of those things are problematic. In fact, many of those things are quite positive in my estimation. And so those elements don’t need to be rejected by political Islam. And I don’t think are rejected by political Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that I’ve spent some time studying,

Which is probably the largest and most influential organization under the label of political Islam is an organization that is very pro-democracy that is extremely popular and anti dictatorship in the middle east. And that’s why they are hated by the secular autocrats and the secular autocrats sell themselves as secular to the west.

They’re not actually any more secular or less religious than the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s just a good marketing tool to get sort of the west on your side. So, I think in the region that there are interests, but there’s not much to do with the secular religion divided in my estimation.

– One thing that really came to mind when thinking about your ultimate conclusion, secularism as a religion, is why is the word secularism used? And it immediately made me think of France, the concept of laicite. And to my mind and I’d like your observations on this, it’s a device, the word secularism,

It’s a device basically used to make a particular belief system seem more important, neutral, and acceptable in a society. And that in a sense what happened to France because you have a particular belief system. – Right. – [Man] It’s not called a religion, it’s put forward under the concept of laicite

And it privileges certain historic practices. And what I’m really interested in is what do you think about the use of the word secularism, and why is it used? – That’s again, very thoughtful question. Thank you very much. And France is a very unusual sort of case of,

I mean, compared to sort of the liberal polities that we might be used to in the Anglophone world, I lived in the United States for more than five years. And religion is quite widespread in society there and it’s invoked in Congress and all of those sorts of things.

And France is a very kind of laicite is a very aggressive kind of anti religion in a sense. And some such a sociologist of religion actually call it a religion. I mean, not in the sense that I’m talking about, for some reason, this is something I feel a bit irritated by the way,

Some sociologist of religion will label as religious secular ideologies, which tend to be extreme. So they’ll see Nazis and fascism and perhaps laicite can be considered political religions or something. And I’m like, “Well, everything’s a religion.” Anyway, so I think at the end of the day, we use labels…

These developed very often organically in the course of debates. The word secularism emerges from a sort of important English thinker, George Hollyoke who wanted to coin a phrase that would not suggest atheism and immorality. I believe he’s the one who sort of coined the phrase

Sort of secularism, but then it kind of takes a life of its own. And as a philosophical system, it sort of develops into a very important and central idea. I think those things happen through historical accident and then we become wedded to a particular version of that.

So I’m not sure that there’s a particular sort of effort to engineer something by using a particular word. I think whatever word has ended up representing what we think is appropriate, an appropriate ideology or appropriate philosophy and appropriate religion, we will then argue the best thing since its spread

And therefore we must uphold it. And if you’re not upholding it, we need to somehow marginalize and show society that this is not acceptable. All societies do that with their core concepts. And so, I’m not sure it’s particularly unusual to secular societies. I hope that answers the question somewhat.

– [Woman] I can remember when I did my first thesis long, long time ago, but there’s a theologian, who wanted to encompass a whole variety of different theistic and nontheistic, including dialectical materials. and he had angles his material, his stints in the sense of the material world

Is all that counts and the highest (indistinct) but he wanted to call it a religion that would ought to include that in this broad conception of what religion might be. – So I mean, as you can see, I’m quite sort of liberal with the liberal religion, no pun intended.

But what’s interesting about dialectical materialism is that even someone like Bruce Lincoln who holds this sort of notion of religion as transcendent in a footnote in that book argues that, well, it might be reasonable to say dialectical materialism, given that certainties in this sort of like in the ideas that they’ve generated

Can be considered a religion. But again, for me, this is one of the things that irritates me slightly, which is that, well, why make a special case of bad things is religion, right? I think there’s a kind of prejudice in my estimation in the way in which certain things are called religion,

Because there’s something wrong with them. They come into the political realm, that’s a Protestant prejudice. So to speak that is post 17th century for what it’s worth. – [Man] I disagree with most of it. – Great. – I don’t really think that secularism can be defined as a religion because it doesn’t have

The normal characteristics or religion. It doesn’t have a catechism or membership category or rituals. It’s not a religion, it’s a principle. No, I don’t have a religion but I’m a secularist. But if I had a religion, I’d also be a secularism because I do believe as a principal in the separation

Or the neutrality of the state and institutions. So I don’t think that religion should have a special role in the functioning of the state. That’s all that secularism is. So the examples you give really secularism grew out of conflicts within religion not between religions, whereas the Islamic societies you describe,

Have always been almost wholly Muslim. Not always, not always, not always, but mostly have. And secularism, even before (indistinct) had a history, there were many empires, which were broadly speaking secular. They left people to their own devices. They did not interfere or force conversions, et cetera, et cetera.

So I’m not saying that it’s secular, but there were in some ways secular and so secularism has a long history which you seem to be suggesting somehow it’s a completely modern idea. It’s not. – It’s a lot of stuff that you’ve mentioned. I’m just trying to keep up with which points.

I wonder if you’d like to sort of like summarize the question in one or two components. – Well, your definition of secularism as a religion is not substantiated because it does not have the characteristics of religion. It doesn’t have places of worship, does not have catechism rituals.

– So how do we define anything? On what basis do we define something as religion, something as secularism? Basically the conclusions will arrive that will depend on those decisions that are made early on in that sort of thought process. So early on, I kind of set out my store

On how I conceived of religion. And religions are basically, broadly speaking about norms that allow for the cohesive existence of a society. If I define religion on that basis, then certainly I can call it secularism my religion, your defining religion on the basis of, certain other presuppositions.

So we can then go and question, the presuppositions themselves, is it reasonable to say that, if something has a catechism, it is a religion. If something has such and such a component, it is a religion. And I think there are scholars who have argued in that way, as I’ve mentioned with Bruce Lincoln,

But I would suggest that it’s perfectly reasonable to develop this kind of a conception of religion. And I think the resistance to that is something that we’re better bringing into question because it shows us a kind of attachment to ideas which are somewhat arbitrary and historically

Sort of like have come about at a certain point in time for reasons that maybe need to be brought into question. So, yeah, I mean, that would be my sort of broad response to that. We could take specific questions because you raised a lot of…

There were a number of aspects to what you mentioned, and I can’t recall all of them and I didn’t have the presence of mind to make notes at the time. And I’m happy to discuss this with you afterwards, but really it hinges on how you define the category of religion,

The way in which you’ve defined religion. Obviously secularism doesn’t count as a religion because you’ve defined it in a way that precludes the possibility of including secularism Islam as religion. But I’ve brought into question in the course of my talk, and this is, you’re not the only person who does it,

Plenty of scholars have done that. I brought into question, that approach to the definition of religion. And I think that there are cogent reasons to bring that approach into question, but this will be hopefully a conversation we can take on after the session. – I would just like t thank Dr. Usaama al-Azami

For a really fascinating, stimulating evening. – Thank you all. Thank you all very much.

#Religion #Rethinking #Religion #Secularism

Why You Need Jesus As Your Substitutionary Atonement — @MyNameIsJackieHill

How are you saints i heard about 1200 of you i said how are you  saints okay because i’ve seen about 50 of y’all   getting starbucks all day so i know you’re woke  uh i i i say this every tgc conference that i  

Have the opportunity to teach it i i need to let  you know i’m from a country called black church   okay you might have heard me say that before  what that means is when someone is speaking or   teaching it’s not a monologue it’s a conversation  okay so when when i say something that moves  

You in your spirit you have the right and  the authority and the permission to talk   back to me you can clap you can speak in the  tongue just find a translator but don’t throw don’t throw no shoes though okay you can do  everything else but don’t throw your shoes  

Up here unless i like them throw the other  one and i’m gonna take it take it back home   please turn in your bibles to genesis chapter 22. say amen when you got it sorry to get verse one it says after these things  god tested abraham and said to him abraham and he  

Said here i am he said take your son your only  son isaac whom you love and go to the land of   moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering  on one of the mountains of which i shall tell you  

So abraham rose early in the morning  saddled his donkey and took two of his   young men with him and his son isaac and he  cut the wood for the burnt offering and rose   and went to the place of which god had told  him on the third day abraham lifted up his eyes  

And saw the place from afar then abraham said  to his young men stay here with the donkey i   and the boy will go over there and worship and  come again to you and abraham took the wood of  

The burnt offering and laid it on isaac his son  and he took in his hand the fire and the knife so   they went both of them together and isaac said to  his father abraham my father and he said here i am  

My son he said behold the fire and the wood  but where is the lamb for a burnt offering   abraham said god will provide for himself the lamb  for a burnt offering my son so they went both of  

Them together when they came to the place of which  god had told him abraham built the altar there   and laid the wood in order and bound isaac his son  and laid him on the altar on top of the wood then  

Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to  slaughter his son but the angel of the lord called   to him from heaven and said abraham abraham and  he said here i am he said do not lay your hand on  

The boy or do anything to him for now i know that  you fear god seeing you have not withheld your son   your only son from me and abraham lifted up his  eyes and looked and behold behind him was a ram  

Caught in a thicket by his thorns horns and  abraham went and took the ram and offered it   up as a burnt offering instead of his son so  abraham called the name of that place the lord  

Will provide as it is said to this day on the  mount of the lord it shall be provided let’s   pray lord i thank you for this moment thank  you for your word i thank you for your spirit  

I thank you for your church i thank you for our  feelings and our emotions and how they are so   involved in the way we read your scriptures i pray  that you would do whatever it is that you want to  

Do with us in this moment i pray that you would  help me that you would use me that you would speak   in jesus name amen this narrative opens up  with the words after these things god tested  

Abraham i think before we even get to the nature  of the test we need to know something about the   one being tested we are introduced to abram his  original name in genesis 12. when out of nowhere  

God calls abram an idol worshiper to leave his  home leave his family leave his country and then   god gives abram a promise he tells them that he  will make him a great nation and that all the   families of the earth shall be blessed through  him we also learn some about his wife’s arrive  

And how she is barren they have no children which  makes god’s promise a smidge complicated because   if abram is going to be a nation then abram needs  a child in genesis 15 god speaks to abram again  

This time he expands on his original promise he  made he tells abram he’s going to give him a son   but not only that god gets all built now the  science guy on him and tells him to head outside  

Look at the stars and that the amount of stars  he sees is the amount of offspring abram will   have this is a big promise because remember abram  ain’t got no kids sarah’s womb is bearing barren  

So abraham is like god how i know that’s going  to happen this is the jhp version by the way so god backs up his promise by entering into  a covenant with abel a covenant is a promise   made between two parties to perform certain duties  one party might promise to share their resources  

Their strength and protection while the other  party promises their loyalty if abram were one   of us hypothetically speaking and he wanted  to buy a house in 2022. he would have to get   a realtor get on zillow redfin whatever’s  your your thing find a house hopefully his  

Credit score is in order that’s a word for some of  y’all know some of y’all in the 500s god is able   he’s able to do exceedingly and abundantly  above all we can never ask i think his lender  

Would then have to give him a decent loan to  purchase the house when it’s time to close on   the house he would sit down with a lawyer with  a realtor they would give him a big old stack of  

Papers for him to sign these papers and contracts  between him and the bank he’s getting the loan   from the contracts have a bunch of words but the  bank is basically saying hey we promise to give  

You this money you promise to give us the money  back if you don’t you’re going to be homeless so   when you purchase a home then you are entering  into a loose kind of covenant both parties  

Are making a promise to do a certain thing and  if one party fails to keep that promise there’s a   consequence in abram’s cultural context covenants  weren’t ratified by signing a bunch of contracts   they were a little bit more dramatic than that  what would happen is that uh they would get  

Some particular animals who would be killed sliced  in half laid side by side creating a path for both   parties to walk through the bodies by making a  covenant this way the parties were reenacting what  

Would happen to them if they didn’t do what they  said they would do is them saying if i don’t keep   my promise to you let me be put to death like  these dead animals that i just walked through   to establish his covenant with abram  then god has abram get a heifer  

A goat a ram two birds basically the whole  meat section of the grocery store and abram   cuts the animals in half except the birds because  that’s odd and lays them side by side usually both   parties that are ratifying the covenant would walk  through the animals but this time shockingly abram  

Isn’t awake for the ceremony abram goes into a  deep sleep similar to the one that adam went into   in genesis 3 and the bible says that a great and  dreadful darkness came over him but what i don’t  

Want you to do is take this as a abram laying  down and taking a nap taking going to bed it’s   probable as some commentators say that he is made  unconscious by god’s presence and as that happens   god manifests himself as a smoking  fire pot and a flaming torch and god  

Himself walks in between the dead animals  god himself all alone walks in between   their bodies walks in between their blood and  by doing so god is saying that he is putting   his very own nature on the line so as to make  sure that this covenant is maintained remember  

Abram asked god to give him evidence that god  was going to do what he said he would do and god   responded by saying if i don’t give you what  i promised you the blood will be on my hands  

Now that didn’t convince abram that god was worthy  to be trusted i don’t know what else god could do   moving forward you might be thinking okay now god  then showed up as a pot in the torch and walked  

Through some heifer blood sari is definitely  going to get pregnant next week but nope abram   and sarah just get old and older and older making  god’s promise seem that much more impossible   in genesis 17 when abram is 99 and sarai is 90  god shows up again adding even more specificity to  

His promise he tells abram that sarah will have a  son from her own womb whose name will be isaac in   genesis 18 god shows up again and tells abram now  named abraham that this time next year god will  

Give him a son sarai now called sarah was being a  little nosy don’t know if you remember the story   she heard what the lord had said and the text  says that by this time the way of women had  

Ceased with sarah what does that mean it means  sis ain’t got no time in the month no more okay her uterine lining ain’t shedding  nothing but dust she ain’t used always she ain’t had kotex in her cabinet in decades and now god is saying it’s a  women’s conference i can say that

Now god is saying she’s going to give birth  to a son which is absolutely crazy so sarah   laughs she like god must don’t know how old i am  how in the world am i going to have a whole baby  

This is one of my favorite parts of the bible  the lord says to abraham because sarah had   laughed when god said what he has said uh  god says why does sarah laugh is anything   too hard for the lord to which sarah responds  like she ain’t talking to god i didn’t laugh

Then god was like no but you did  let’s be clear but in all seriousness i think we all need to remember the reality of  god and that there is nothing too hard for him   all of us have something in our life  where this truth needs to be applied  

It may be the salvation of a family  member the restoration of a marriage   deliverance from addiction the opening of a  barren womb the resources to adopt the power   to forgive the ability to put to death your  favorite sins whatever it is god can do it  

Because this is the thing god is not like anyone  you have or will ever know he has no limitations   he is the one that made the heavens and the earth  he is the one who has all power he is completely  

Sovereign always strong and never tired but  unbelief will move you to construct a god in   your own image and therefore you will start  to believe that either god has a weakness and   cannot do the impossible or that god isn’t good  and therefore he won’t do the impossible for you  

Which isn’t to say though everything  we ask of god he is obligated to do   god is god so he has the right to move however  and whenever and wherever he pleases but the   challenge is this to believe that god is god  which means god can answer my impossible prayers  

And god can give me an impossible  faith to still trust him if he doesn’t   is anything too hard for the lord in genesis 22  or 21 the impossible happens it says the lord   visited sarah as he had said and the lord did  to sarah as he had promised and sarah conceived  

And bore abraham a son in his old age at the  time of which god had spoken god is not a liar   so by quickly walking through genesis chapter  12 to genesis 21 we are clear on three things  

God has promised to make a nation out of  abraham that all families of the earth will   be blessed through him and that god will do this  through abraham seed isaac with that in mind now   when we get to genesis 22 the first two verses  should be shocking it says after these things god  

Tested abraham and said to him take your son  your only son isaac whom you love and offer him   there as a burnt offering if you’re like me the  first time i read this passage i was like now god  

You promised this man that all nations of  the earth will be blessed through his seed   isaac you don’t make covenants you don’t walk  through blood and became pots and stuff and now   you’re telling him to sacrifice the son he done  waited decades for not only that god’s promise  

To abraham hinges on isaac being alive it’s  crazy but what helps us to give us some pause is   the beginning of this verse and how it begins by  saying that this is a test the concept of testing  

Is all throughout scripture usually it’s explicit  like in exodus when god said he allowed israel to   be in the wilderness for 40 years to test them or  in luke 4 when it says that the holy spirit led  

Jesus in the wilderness to be tested god tests for  two reasons usually to reveal and to refine when a   test is used to reveal something what is exposed  is whatever is in your heart testing reveals  

What you really believe if you really have faith  if there are a few idols hiding in a corner   somewhere a little pride that you didn’t know you  had which is such a merciful thing for god to do   because i don’t know if you know this we  tend to think really highly of ourselves  

The natural state of the sinner as described in  romans 1 is that we think we are wise when we are   full so we may have a self-conception that has  nothing to do with reality but also we can get  

Therapy we can take enneagram tests enneagram  three wing four and b as be as self-aware as   possible and even then it is impossible for you  to discern everything about yourself so in god’s   sovereign compassion he will allow your kids  to act up so you can see how impatient you are  

He’ll let your money get funny so you can discern  your greed or your distrust in god’s provision   tests reveal but tests also refine peter  said in first peter 1 6 though now for   a little while if necessary you have been  grieved by various trials so that the tested  

Genuineness of your faith more precious than gold  that perishes though it is tested by fire imagine   who you’d be if you didn’t go through anything if  your faith was never challenged if life never got   hard intense if you never had any angst or  confusion or anxiety about what to do or where  

To go and and who to trust without the refiners  fire what would the quality of your life look like   i can bet that it might be easier but  would it be fruitful why because tests   purify your faith it is only fire that refines  gold and it is only trials that will refine  

You and yes i know trust me no discipline seems  enjoyable at the time but it will yield the   peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who  are trained by it circling back to genesis 22   since this narrative is fr as a test we can know  that whatever god is doing with abraham it will  

Reveal something to him and reveal something out  of him and what greater test is there for abraham   than for god to tell him to sacrifice his son the  son he loves note that this is the first mention  

Of the word love in the bible which is really  fascinating to me that it’s set in the context of   sacrifice and not self-centeredness but that’s a  completely different conversation anyone one thing   about this test is that if you’re  familiar with abraham’s story at all  

If you followed his life up until this point you  know that this test actually isn’t unfamiliar   do you remember when god commanded abraham in  the beginning in genesis 14 what he commanded   him to do he told him to leave his country leave  his family leave his home and go where god wanted  

Him to go abraham then is well acquainted with  god telling him to sacrifice stuff that he loves   since abraham was called he was repeatedly tested  so even though sacrificing isaac is an extreme   test god didn’t start there he has been readying  abraham’s faith so as the test got more intense he  

Had the stamina to endure it charles spurgeon said  this he said the lord knows how to educate you up   to such a point that you can endure in your  years to come what you could not endure today  

Just as today he may make you stand firm under a  burden which ten years ago would have crushed you   into dust perhaps this is the reason you don’t he  read anything about abraham pushing back or asking  

Questions he just he just gets up and obeys verse  three abraham rose early in the morning saddled   his donkey and took two of his men with him and  his son isaac and they cut the wood for the burnt  

Offering and arose and went to the place of which  god had told him in other words abraham obeyed   immediately why because he had faith the writer  of hebrews says that faith is the assurance of  

Things hoped for the conviction of things not seen  another way to see it is that faith is an inner   certainty regarding things you cannot see that  engages your will leading you to act in relation   to what you believe i’ll say it again because  y’all taking notes faith is an inner certainty  

Regarding things you cannot see that engages your  will leading you to act in relation to what you   believe for example you ever seen one of those  team-building exercises called the trust fall   it’s weird basically one person stands on  a platform with their eyes clock closed and  

Their arms folded looks like they’re  about to die beneath them behind them   are co-workers or their team standing in the line  with their arms out ready to catch not the bouquet   but the person the reason it’s a trust fall is  that the person on the platform can’t see nobody  

Can’t see the people behind them so they have  to trust what they cannot see but it wouldn’t   be enough for them to just say they trusted their  team like yeah i trust you and stay there that’s   not good enough words are easy trust is actually  realized when the person chooses to fall backwards  

The inner certainty gave them confidence that  their team would catch them even though they   couldn’t see them and that certainty engaged  their will which was why they chose to fall i   use this example because faith cannot be separated  from behavior faith is at work in abraham because  

Remember god has made him a promise and isaac  is a pivotal piece of that promise is isaac dies   the promise does too the irrationality of it all  doesn’t seem to hinder abraham though i think any  

Rational person would be like um god this test  ain’t it there has to be another way tell people   to steal my donkeys and burn down my tents but  don’t make me sacrifice my son but the thing  

Is abraham isn’t like me he doesn’t barter with  god he is certain that god is going to do what   he said he would do because he is god so because  he believes and trusts god he behaves accordingly  

It says that he woke up early in the morning  cut the wood that he would sacrifice his son on   and he goes to the place that god told him to  go to then we finally get an idea of what’s in  

Abraham’s mind in verses five and six look at  it it says on the third day abraham lifted up   his eyes and saw the place from afar then abraham  said to his young men stay here with the donkey  

I and the boy will go over there and worship  and come again to you do you hear his faith   somewhere in between god telling him to sacrifice  isaac and him getting the wood he has concluded   that after he has killed his son isaac is  going to come back how does he know that  

Who or what is he trusting to make  him so certain it’s simple he believes   god not merely the promise of god but the person  of god because the promise is only trustworthy   because the one who made the promise cannot lie  so so it’s the very nature of god that abraham has  

Considered and in so doing he has reckoned that  because god cannot lie he is obviously going to do   something to ensure that isaac ultimately doesn’t  die the writer of hebrews said this by faith   abraham when he was tested offered up isaac  and he who had received the promises was in  

The act of offering up his only son of whom it was  said through isaac shall your offspring be named   he considered that god was able even to raise  him from the dead wait we are in genesis 22 right  

Amen no yes okay so we are centuries before  elijah raises a widow’s son from the dead   we are we are centuries more for when jesus  raised lazarus easter ain’t on abraham’s radar   he don’t got a clue about pastel outfits and shiny  white shoes there has yet there has yet to be an  

Empty tomb for him to base his faith on so how  is it then that abraham knew the very concept of   resurrection was even possible i think that before  abraham rose early in the morning while he thought  

About what god was calling him to do and that it  meant that he have to put his son to death i think   i think abraham remembered his own body and  how god had brought life from death before  

So surely he could do it again unless you think  i’m just making up stuff i want you to remind   your romans 4 19 which says this he abraham did  not weaken in faith when he considered his own  

Body which was as good as dead or when he  considered the barrenness of life or lifelessness   of sarah’s womb the word dead here literally  means corpse-like so then god had to resurrect   their bodies in a real sense so as to give  them the power to create life in the form of  

Isaac abraham had the audacity to say that  he and isaac would go worship and return   because he remembered that god had did it before  in 1953 this guy by the name of henry malaysian   went in for brain surgery to treat his  epilepsy during the procedure the doctor  

Removed a piece of henry’s brain affected  his memory especially his short-term memory   and one recording a doctor doing a study this  on netflix by the way i ain’t making it up a doctor doing a study on the brain in  memory asked henry if he remembered what  

He did yesterday henry said i don’t know the  doctor asked him again what he did that morning   henry said i don’t remember that either then they  asked him if he knew what he’d do tomorrow to   which henry responded whatever is beneficial you’d  expect henry to have some kind of loose schedule  

I’m gonna wake up i’m gonna get some coffee  i’ma watch the news but he didn’t because   henry couldn’t tell you what he would do tomorrow  because he couldn’t remember what he did yesterday   he answered the question the way that he did  because the portion of henry’s brain that was  

Removed affected henry’s ability to make new  memories and since henry couldn’t remember the   past he had no context for how to imagine  his future without his memories henry had   no expectation when abraham thought about the  sacrifice that he had to make in the future  

He remembered the resurrection in the past and  that if god could do a miracle then then god   could do a miracle now almost all of us have  a hard time trusting god to do what he said  

He would do in his word through his son and  it might be because we have a memory problem   how quickly we forget that he made the heavens and  the earth that he split the sea and delivered his  

People out of bondage how he brought life from a  dead womb we forget how faithful he’s been to us   and our family how he’s provided for us when we  didn’t even ask how he’s protected us from all  

Kinds of mess but when trials show up now all of  a sudden is i don’t know if god is going to come   through i don’t know if god is going to do this  i don’t know if god is going to do that i don’t  

Know if god is going to show up hasn’t god always  showed up hasn’t god always been good hasn’t god   always been faithful just because you change your  mind every six seconds doesn’t mean that god does  

He is the same god today as he was yesterday  some of us don’t need to fast we need to remember   and it isn’t isn’t this true that the word  of god has provided for us 66 books worth  

Of memories of who god is and how god works which  will inform our faith so that we can obey without   hesitation because abraham has faith in his  god he is willing to sacrifice his only son the text says abraham took  the word of the burnt offering  

And laid it on his son isaac he took in his hand  the fire and the knife and they went both of them   together to the place that god had told  him i want to be clear about something   a burnt offering was a total sacrifice there  were other offerings that would allow you  

To sacrifice an animal and the priest  could take a portion of it home to eat   but a burnt offering was the one offering where  the whole animal was totally consumed the process   went something like this as described in leviticus  1 a male animal without blemish was taken  

The offerer would lay his hand on the animal which  was symbolic of the transferring of the offer   ascends onto the sacrifice an act of atonement  then they’d kill the animal blood would be   collected and thrown on the altar then the animal  would be cut into pieces and arranged on the wood  

Then the animal would be burned and totally  consumed and as the smoke of the animal   rose towards heaven it was said to be a pleasing  aroma to the lord and god told abraham to do that  

To his son the son he loved if this were not a  test god’s character would be questionable at best   seeing that god himself said that human sacrifice  was detestable in deuteronomy 12 and 18.   but since it is a test sacrificing isaac or at  least being willing to do it resolves god of any  

Guilt and refines abraham of any potential sin  this test solidifies abraham’s loyalty to god   over and above love for his son it is clear  that abraham has a deep affection for isaac   god even acknowledges it by saying take  your son your only son isaac whom you love  

And this love is natural this love is good  we should love our children they are good   gifts from a creative god but how easy it is  to take these good gifts and make them god   isaac was special he was the promised  child the seed through whom the whole world  

Would be blessed abraham had parted ways with  his son ishmael years earlier so this was the   only son he had and maybe god knew abraham’s  potential abraham was an idol worshiper before   he was called so it wouldn’t have been out of  character for him to worship something other than  

God maybe god knew that the son he loved could  become the lord he worshiped so to set him free   from any inkling of idolatry god had to put him in  a position to choose and he did he built the altar

He laid the wood he took some rope and wrapped  it around his son’s body so he couldn’t move   and i can only imagine the pain because it  wouldn’t be a sacrifice if it didn’t hurt   a sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice  if it doesn’t cost you something  

This body on this altar is his boy who  he saw every day ate dinner with every   night on the altar he probably looked at  him and saw his own features in his face   alongside fear but either way even with all the  faith in the world sacrificing what you love is  

Devastating but even then god must be worthy of it  all and abraham knows that so with inner certainty   engaging his will leading him to act in a way that  is relative to what he believes he takes the knife  

Ready to slaughter his son then he hears his  name verse 11 abraham abraham and he said   here i am he said do not lay your hand on  the boy or do anything to him for now i know   that you fear god seeing you have not  withheld your son your only son from me  

If there was any doubt who abraham’s god was  this moment made it clear god had refined   abraham’s heart removing any other allegiances  and now he’d revealed it to for god to say   i know that you fear god this anthropomorphic  language god knows everything so it doesn’t  

Mean that god didn’t know it it means that  god is affirming that abraham’s faith is real   and isn’t that what we all want the affirmation  that our faith is authentic because there are   those who will present themselves before jesus  with a bunch of evidence for why they deserve  

Glory did not prophesy in your name did not cast  out demons and perform miracles on your name i   think some of us in this room we would say god  did not preach and expose at the passage correctly  

Did not tithe didn’t i go to seminary and  lead worship and go on mission trips and   vote though certain ways surely that’s proof  of my faith all of which looks impressive   it looks like power it looks like the fruit of  faith but jesus turns to these kinds of people  

And calls them workers of lawlessness god forbid  you have to wait till judgment to find out who   you really are but the irony of it is this the  very act of looking to what you’ve done for jesus  

As evidence of that you know jesus might be the  proof that you don’t because the truly faithful   ones know that they have never done anything  apart from jesus so when they stand before god   they stand before him like the men and the parable  of the talent saying this is what i’ve done with  

What you have given me and do you know what  the master will say to them he’ll say well done   my good and faithful servant and that  is the point of everything my friends   when all the tests and all the trials and all  the pain and all the angst and all the discipline  

And all the suffering is over the point of it  all is that the god of the glory the judge of   the universe the one who cannot lie seated on the  judgment say will say i know that you fear god  

Verse 13 and abraham lifted up his eyes and  looked and behold behind him was a ram caught   in a thicket by his stars and abraham went and  took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering   instead of his son so abraham called the  name of that place the lord will provide  

This moment right here is an  act of substitutionary atonement   instead of isaac being sacrificed  the ram is killed in his place   with substitution one person takes the place of  another bearing the penalty that we reserved for   someone else if isaac was killed as a burnt  offering a few things would have happened  

He would have experienced the death and thus  he would have been separated from his father   he also would have experienced the desecration  of his body as it burned in the fire   and all of this would have happened at  the hands of his father it is because  

God provided the ram that saved isaac from death  separation and destruction but there’s a problem   with all of this sacrificing the burnt offering  functioned as atonement abram and isaac were both   sinners and the wages of sin is dead god’s  justice had to be satisfied by virtue of blood  

Being spilled a life being taken either their  own life or somebody else’s life so the realm   was not only sacrificed instead of isaac before  isaac but even then the ram wasn’t good enough   why because hebrew 10 4 says it is impossible  for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin  

Meaning that this ram though it was a sacrifice it  wasn’t a sufficient one if anything this ram was a   shadow pointing forward to a better sacrifice  one that would not be accomplished by jehovah  

Providing a ram in a bush but by jehovah jireh  providing his son in the flesh and who is this son   i’ll tell you first of all the son was  born to a woman by virtue of a miracle  

His mother wasn’t barren but she was a virgin  named mary who by all accounts should not have   been able to get pregnant seeing as though she  had not been with a man but because nothing is   too hard for the lord she conceived by  the power of the spirit the son grew up  

Learned obedience through what he suffered  being tested by the devil to turn stones   into bread and to worship and thus love  anything more than god but he resisted   every single time to which god publicly affirmed  that his son’s faith was real by saying that this  

Is my beloved son with whom i am well pleased by  then or but then the scenario for which the son   habit was born came to pass the night before the  son had prayed to his daddy prayed to his father  

Said that he wanted this cup to pass from him  he was in a position where he had to choose he   had to choose either his will or his father’s will  and he did this son was made to carry his own wood  

On his own back as he walked toward the top of  a mountain and while up there this son’s body   was secured to the woods so that he couldn’t  move the people said if you are the son of god  

Come down the cross what they didn’t understand  is if he came down they would have had to go up   in his place not dying for them but receiving  the penalty of death that belonged to us because  

It’s easy to forget that since i was born a sinner  and the wages of sin is death that if jesus did my   sins i would have had to pay for my own that even  if i sinned once that meant i deserve the judgment  

That through this death i would be eternally  separated from the life of the father that i would   endure the the pain and the desecration of eternal  destruction and that all of this would happen   at the hands of god the father but for these  people to tell jesus to come down the cross  

They clearly didn’t realize that if he came down  there would be no substitution and that the reason   he stayed is because he loved them to death maybe  they didn’t remember that day when abraham was   asleep and god himself walked through a line  of death walked through blood making it known  

That he was going to keep his promise and do you  know what on the cross god got blood on his hands   god became man so that he could die so as to  maintain a covenant relationship with his people  

There he was god in the flesh being killed like  an animal being slaughtered like the animals   that he walked through becoming a lamb that he  promised to be and there were no rams this time   there was no voice to cry out from heaven to  stop it there was only silence and then those  

Three hours and the dreadful darkness of god’s  presence was the only begotten son whose very own   father was pleased to crush him jesus became  sin so that you could be declared righteous   jesus died so that you could have life jesus  was bruised so you could be healed jesus rose  

From the dead so that you could too that is  the beauty of substitution jesus is the ram   and the bush and jesus is the son who returned  from the dead to worship with his daddy and now   it is through this son jesus that all  who have faith in his name are called  

The sons and daughters of abraham and look at us a  people from every tribe and every tongue and every   nation a church that has lasted for centuries  with millions of saints that have gone before  

Us and who will come after us and if you just look  into the crowd don’t we look like stars what god   promised to abraham in genesis 12  has been realized in us the children   of the promise is there anything too hard for  the lord lord we thank you for this day we thank  

You for your faithfulness we thank you for your  nature and how you have revealed it through christ   by the spirit in the scriptures we pray god that  this would be more than words that this would be  

More than knowledge that it would actually inform  the way we do life the way we love people the way   we engage on social media the way we engage with  our families and our friends in our local churches  

I pray that it even changes the way we pray that  we would pray with power that we will pray with   confidence knowing that we are praying to a good  and a faithful god we love you in jesus name amen

#Jesus #Substitutionary #Atonement #MyNameIsJackieHill

Biblical diversity vs. secular diversity

– Greetings, I’m Dr. Harold D. Lewis Sr., Vice President of Biblical Diversity, servin’ outta the national office in Orlando, Florida of the Converge movement. One of the questions I get asked often as I go around the Converge community facilitating biblical diversity workshops and seminars, Dr. Lewis, what’s the difference between biblical diversity

And secular diversity? Let that question sink in. What’s the difference between biblical diversity and secular diversity? Very good question and I’m goin’ to try and unpack it for you right now. Let’s start with the premise, first and foremost, that biblical diversity is a God idea.

Ah, let me say that again, biblical diversity is a God idea. Man did not concoct this idea about biblical diversity, however, they did co-opt it and went into a general kind of diversity, played with that diversity. God’s love letter, his word, the scripture, are littered with a number of texts

That talks about biblical diversity and God’s eternal expectation on how we should get along on the planet, not just as baptized and born again believers, but humanity in general. So let’s answer the question. What’s the difference between biblical diversity and secular diversity? Here it is, I’m afraid a mess up someone’s theology,

But it is what it is. Biblical diversity is predicated upon the word of God. Secular diversity is predicated upon the ways of the world. Biblical diversity submits only to God’s theocracy. Theocracy, yes, see God has a kingdom and in his kingdom he is a king and is not subject

To popular opinion or polls. Whereas secular diversity submits to government democracy. All you have to do is put a bill in place and folks vote on the bill and then whether or not God’s word commands it or not, people go contradiction towards it. Biblical diversity yields only to the commandments of God

Where secular diversity yields to polls, politician, and popular opinion. Case and point, in our world, we have all these different laws that are bein’ legislated how we should govern ourselves as, not only, general constituents in the country as citizens, but also regulatin’ the church. But God’s word specifically defines

How we should treat each other. God’s word specifically defines how we should not trespass against each other’s property, each other’s families. God’s word is distinct, the divinely distinguished, between biblical diversity and secular diversity. And so when we look into the world, the church is supposed and is called to be counter culture.

Counter culture, whatever racial tension that’s goin’ on in the world, we shouldn’t have that same racial tension in the church. We oughta come together on the Matthew chapter number 18 we talked about if you have ought against a brother or sister, go to that brother, one on one.

If that doesn’t work, take another disciple with you. If that doesn’t work, bring them before the council or the body and if that doesn’t work, bring them before the congregation. Biblical diversity, again, is predicated upon God’s word. Secular diversity is predicated upon the ways of the world. Until the next time.

#Biblical #diversity #secular #diversity

Biblical Interpretation and Offense in Church — Dean Taylor — Ep. 176

Are Anabaptists guilty of a cultish  approach to theology? Do we all have   to be historical scholars to understand the Bible? As we did in the last episode, we’ve been  responding to some of the comments that we   got on the very first episode we ever did with  Anabaptist Perspectives, and that was with Dean,  

And on this one we’re going to be diving  in specifically about how we interpret   scripture. Again referring – and we talk  about this in a previous episode with Dean,   but the Anabaptist hermeneutic – an uncomplicated  view of scripture. So Dean, I’m going to start  

With a comment that we got on YouTube from someone  who saw that first episode we did with you, and   I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, and the  name of that episode is The Essence of Anabaptism  

Which you can find on our channel. So this person  comments and says, “I recommend that pastors have   an extensive course on textual criticism, learn  Hebrew, Greek and understand the cosmology of   a Jew living in the late second temple period.  Without understanding the textual history of how  

The Bible and Canon came to be we are putting the  cart before the horse. Having a philosophy that   takes the scripture fundamentally and literally is  not good. When reading Genesis 6:2 what exegesis   do you apply? Fallen angels or the line of Seth?  Whichever one you choose how can you prove it?  

How does one reconcile the translation source  text variances between Byzantine, Alexandrian,   Textus Receptus, Septuagint, a Masoretic text,  Sumerian Pentateuch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls?”   Sorry that was a bit of a mouthful. “The fact  is that every single Christian Bible out there   today is an eclectic text. Translators  had to cherry-pick between manuscripts  

To finalize their translation.” So yeah.  This is an interesting perspective coming   in on your episode there, Dean. It’s  not a specific question so to speak,   but yeah. What do you think of this?  How would you respond to this person?

It’s an incredibly packed question with lots of  different pieces to it, but it’s a good question,   and it kind of all represents a concept of maybe  a lower biblical criticism – not higher criticism,   but textual criticism which is valid. I think  these are good arguments that need to be made,  

And they’re good questions that we all need  to ask. We don’t all need to, but at least   it’s healthy to ask. We have a class up here at  Sattler where Finny goes into a lot of details on  

Some of those things, but I’ll try to give you  just a little bit of where I come out on this.   The bottom line is that it is good for  us to know our Bible and to know what   some of the critics are saying about the  Bible. As I said in the other question  

No argument that has lasted more than 500 years is  stupid, and these questions on textual criticism   and higher criticism maybe they’re not 500 years  old – well, some of them are – but they’re still   very old, and they’re still very valid. A lot of  your line of reasoning with the question that was  

Asked goes down the line of a sort of a  critical text model. He used the word eclectic.   This is the Alexandrian idea that the  ancient text and that kind of a trajectory,   and I used to be there. You know me. I’m a  historical theologian, so the older the better  

Was something that I kind of hung on to, and you  do kind of end up in a bit of a ditch where I   think it sounds like maybe our question is coming  from that ditch. Where do you ever end? You’ve  

Got this eclectic Bible that has this piece and  that piece and that piece, and you’re using all   these methods together, and you end up with the  Alexandrian text, the critical text which makes up   a lot of like New American Standard, NIV, and some  of those types. Revised Standard Version. Some  

Of those. It’s not a bad argument, but in general  we would reject that based upon what’s called the   Majority Text or the Byzantine text and for good  reasons. It’s for very good reasons. Is that the   arguments that are behind the eclectic approach,  they’re just putting together all these pieces.  

It never ends, and it begins to just be circular  reasoning that just – well it comes to a point   that I just don’t follow the hermeneutic or  the method they’re using, so for instance.   What is the oldest should be the best. Well,  the place where they were the oldest were mainly  

Around in Alexandria. Well, Alexandria is also  one of the driest climates. They’re also the   place where you had the most place where there  was Gnosticism and that kind of a thing, and   sometimes because something is preserved doesn’t  mean it was the thing that was most used,  

So for instance I’ve got some Bibles – some  eclectic Bibles that I hardly ever touch, but   I have them for a different version and different  type of thing, and I put them here on my shelf,  

But my Bibles were much more worn out. I  write in it, and all that kind of a thing,   and so just to say because they found this in some  monastery more of these more ancient texts then  

Usurps the other more Majority Text group. I don’t  follow. Also some of the reasoning is like if it’s   shorter than it should be used, and so like the  woman caught in adultery is left out of some of   the Alexandrian eclectic texts where the Majority  Text has that. Again the argument just doesn’t  

Follow, and if you look at that, it really comes  down to a lot of times where I think if you look   at areas that has to do with Christology or the  divinity of Christ or particularly even the human  

Aspect of Christ, you can almost – well you can  many times see within these Alexandrian texts and   some of these critical texts a Gnostic influence.  I’m not saying they all are that way, or say that  

This is all just a Gnostic Bible or something, but  I came to the point where I just don’t trust it,   so what I’ve received is the Majority Text which  is based – you usually get like the King James,  

The New King James. I’m not a King James only per  se, but using this Majority Text is that we find   in all different places separated by countries  and cultures and different things this Majority   Text. I will grant you it is much later of what  we have from that textual type than the critical  

Alexandrian text, but the Byzantine text gives  us a more complete picture. It’s what I read in   the early church when I read through the different  early Christian writers. I see their references to   the things that I find in the Majority Text, and  this also gives a credence back to using that text  

Type, so I don’t take it lightly, but I have found  that that is something that I’ve used if that   helps. I also use this hermeneutic. I don’t know  if I’ve talked about this before. I use an acronym   called SCAR. I’ve used the term “an apostolic  quadrilateral” and the image I get is Thomas  

Asking Jesus, I don’t believe you until I see the  scar, so you know see the scar, and so I use an   acronym. I know it’s bad writing. SCAR. So it goes  like this. Here’s the way my interpretation goes:  

Scripture is number one. Nothing. No doctrine from  anybody. I don’t care if they’re Justin Martyr,   Origin or anyone can be held as required for  the faith if it’s not written in scripture, and   I would define that scripture more specifically  in the Majority Text, but in scripture. The next  

Is “C” for Christocentric. I read the Bible and  Anabaptists do in a Christocentric fashion. In   other words if I have to choose between something  that’s written by Paul or Jesus I will always take   both of them. I never will explain away Paul  or the Old Testament, but a Christocentric  

Puts Christ as the top. It’s just the interpretive  tool, the way I would read Christ through all of   the scriptures. The last two I put on a different  plane. “A” and “R” are antiquity and real.  

Antiquity is where I would say that I try to in my  interpretation of the scripture to find something   in antiquity – the early church – and because of  the belief that as in Jude 3 would say we should  

“contend for the faith that was once for all  delivered to the saints” and that keeping to   this faith. Why I read the ancients, and why I’m  a passionate historical theologian is because   I’m trying to look at the antiquity to see what’s  there, and that weighs a lot into my hermeneutic  

Of how I interpret scripture, and then finally  the most fluffy of these is real. In other words   is this a practice that has gone on through the  church through the course of 2000 years or is this  

Just something that’s made up in the 21st century,  and so I’m usually suspicious if some new guy says   you know what? I’ve got a new way to translate the  scripture that no one has ever done before, and  

I’m like, yeah. I’d probably say – I’m not going  to necessarily doubt him. If it’s scriptural,   I’ll look at it. If it’s Christocentric, I’ll look  at it, but I’m going to bring up a big amount of  

Doubt, so I also give the benefit of the doubt  to the Holy Spirit working through the church,   but not at the level that I put scripture  and Christology, so that’s my SCAR,   and that’s the way it’s an  interpretive tool that I use often.

Thank you, Dean, for giving that a little more  context, and I guess a bit more nuance to what   you were saying in that original interview. I find  that helpful to understand okay, here’s a little   more where you’re coming from, and I understand  you in that original interview too. We were just  

Kind of hitting the high points, and this is good  to go in a little deeper with this, so in that   vein, I’m going to read another comment that we  got here from someone named Donald, and he’s had   some disappointments with Anabaptism which you’ll  see in this comment, so this is what Donald says:  

“I am drawn to much of the Anabaptist  theology, and yet totally repulsed by   its profound implosions in practice. Having  been ‘Anabaptist’ for over 40 years, it at   its best has a solid core biblical theology yet  somehow this theology seems encased with cultish  

Feel that seems unwilling to critically analyze  its own theology. The last 15 years has left me   very disillusioned with the ‘vision.’ ” Harold  Bender he’s saying. “The movement of peace has   more fractures than less ‘peaceful’ movements. The  movement of ‘scripture alone’ has moved from the  

Gospel that brings peace to a gospel that equals  peace. The movement that stood resolutely with the   word of God and against society now redefines  the word of God through the lens of society,   but of course mentioning such things makes one  disloyal and out of fellowship just like any good  

Cult would do. Overall it seems like Anabaptism  has more in common with pipe dreams than working   theology.” So, he’s got a lot of pushback here  for you. So yeah, I’d be curious what would you   have to say to someone like Donald who sees  this and is like this doesn’t work for me.

I guess I’d say “ouch” first of all. I mean he’s  talking about his 40 years of experience, so who   am I to say that it’s not real? He’s talking about  his pain. He’s talking about what he’s experienced  

In his church, so wow, I’m sorry. I will say  this, Donald. I will say this first of all.   There’s nothing, nothing harder  to do in my life than church.   I was working over in Lesvos, and I’m so  excited to bring some of these Muslims through  

To Christ and try to get them  into the church, and then I see   them getting offended by very little things.  I’m like “wow” if you got offended by that,   you’ve got a lot to go through, and I don’t know  how to say this. I’ll say this that God uses the  

Church in a sanctifying way that is just a cross.  I mean it really is, and if we go into the church,   and I didn’t get from his letter. I got from his  letter more of personal pain. I mean it didn’t  

Seem just accusations. I mean it sounded like  someone who’s trying and like I’ll be disloyal and   that type of a thing. I have found that with most  circles that I’m surprised is when I’m charitable,   but honest people will actually want to sit and  talk, and that bubbling all this up inside and  

Having these objections and having these things  I want to believe that you would find that your   ministry and your church would be more receptive  than you think they would be. You’re not a young   man. You’ve been in this at least 40 years,  and so you’re going to say back ‘You don’t know  

My church.’ Maybe, but I do think we got to be  honest. I do think we got to be transparent. And   God I think does call us to what the Anabaptists  calls a gelassenheit. It’s the emptying that Jesus  

Talks about. This have this mind within you that  was also in Christ Jesus, Paul says. This kenosis.   This only way to survive in one of these kind of  churches. On the other hand I don’t think we’re   supposed to be empty-minded and just you know  go through this because you know some things are  

Wrong, and we’re human beings, and we make a lot  of mistakes, and we’ve done a lot of dumb things,   and I’ve been in a lot of situations myself that  have been toxic, but I do think that talking  

Through those things and being really honest is  the way to go, and then allowing yourself to hear   and say reason, and so I’m challenged about this  way we’re looking at peace that’s we just end   up becoming. Peace is the gospel. I totally  agree with you. When I was first becoming a  

Conscientious objector liberal pacifism, and it’s  sort of peace gospel stuff almost derailed me.   I believe that the factions and the things  that are bad too, so yeah. John the Baptist.   He’s in jail, and you know he would have heard  maybe I guess, or he would have at least heard  

Of the Luke 4 passage that Jesus said that I come  to set the captives free. John the Baptist sitting   in jail now who would have known more than anyone.  “Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the  

Sins of the world” is setting in jail, and he’s  like, so where’s the setting the captive free   part? I’m in jail and about to lose my head,  and that’s when he sends his own disciples   to go ask Jesus, ‘Are you the one?’ What Jesus  says there I think is really profound. You know,  

Firstly tell him I did these things, and then he  says, ‘Blessed is he who is not offended in me.’   Blessed is he who is not offended. Offense. Being  offended is the way Satan works in the church,  

And we’ve got to go past that, and Jesus is  somehow saying, I’m there with you. This is   part of it. I’ll walk through this with you.  Be honest. Be real and don’t get offended   and don’t lose the faith. Jesus is with you  there just like he was with John the Baptist,  

And he’ll see you through it, but yeah. Thank  you for that honest pushback. I think it’s good. Yeah, thanks for tackling that. These are hard  things. You know, Donald, if you’re watching this,   we’d love to hear back from you a follow-up  comment, and yeah, I think you had a really  

Good point there, Dean. I mean human beings can  be a bit messy and complicated and inconsistent   and sometimes not very nice to each other, and  there’s a lot going on there, and I think Donald  

Is pointing out this is an area that all of us  can – we can always be growing in this where we   can say one thing, and it sounds all nice and  idealistic, but then when it’s walked out day  

To day there’s some real gaps there. Yeah, I know  that is definitely the case for my own life. Yeah,   it can look really good, but then sometimes it’s  not 100% of what it should be. Well, thank you for  

Taking the time to come in here, Dean, and answer  some of this feedback from that very first episode   we did. What was that? Four years ago I would say  about now. Wow! Time moves on, but yeah, would  

You have anything else you would like to share  with our audience before we end this episode? Just one last thing. I was thinking as  I just answered the one question there,   and I was giving my SCAR, and all that  about the hermeneutic. All that to say  

The question was back about the simplistic reading  of scripture. I believe the Word of God without   complicated interpretation, and the words of  our Lord is meant to be put into practice.   You don’t need a SCAR or a hermeneutic. You don’t  need to understand the Byzantine and Alexandrian  

Text. I mean I think it’s good for us. I don’t  hide from those questions like he was asking.   I like for us, our students up here to ask those  questions and come up with sound answers to the   postmodern liberal world that we’re fighting  against. However the scriptures do tell us to  

Receive it as a child, and so taking the Word  of God and just making it applicable in your   life and using it as a blueprint I really think  is the genius of Anabaptism. It’s the genius of   Christianity. It’s the genius of the early church.  Is just that simplistic and beautiful keeping of  

Jesus, and I honestly can’t imagine anything  that we would do that we’re just honestly   obeying the Word of God. On Judgment Day I think  that’s what’s really going to matter. Lord,   I did this because this is what you said, and  holding on to that and doing that and being real  

With that is the emphasis that I really want to  leave not the being able to explain our way out   of the Alexandrian text. That’s good to know, but  just taking it as a child and obeying Jesus like a  

Child is beautiful, and I encourage us all to keep  doing that. It’s a journey. Let’s keep doing that. Thank you for joining us for this episode. We  invite you to join our monthly partner program.   Monthly partners are key to the financial  sustainability of Anabaptist Perspectives.  

Partners also gain access to bonus content  including our exclusive podcast where we   respond to audience questions and comments.  Sign up at anabaptistperspectives.org.

#Biblical #Interpretation #Offense #Church #Dean #Taylor

What The Devil ACTUALLY Looks Like

Lucifer, Satan, Father of Lies, Prince of Darkness…the Devil goes by many names, and almost all of them sound like Scandinavian heavy metal bands. In Christian religious writings, the Devil is a fallen angel that rules over hell. So what does the Devil actually look like?

And is it even possible to make a video about Satan and Christianity without offending a whole bunch of people? Well, we sent our world-class team of researchers through a portal to hell to find out. [Said as an aside:] We expect them back any day now.

Most Christians today have an image of the Devil as a red, horned creature. But what does the Bible actually say about the fallen angel that became Satan? Well, surprisingly, not a whole lot. In fact, the Bible alludes to the fact that the Devil doesn’t have a specific physical form at all.

In essence, the Bible describes the Devil as a spirit being with no physical form. When the book refers to angels – of which the Devil is a fallen one – it refers to them as spirits. Furthermore, since Satan is depicted as a master of deception and manipulation, he,

She, or them – we will use the traditional historical “he” for the purposes of this video – can apparently take many forms. And what better disguise is there for manipulation purposes than appearing as a beautiful angelic being? In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the passage reads “and no marvel; for even Satan fashions

Himself into an angel of light.” Many Christians believe that the first time the Devil appears in the Bible is early on, in Genesis 3. According to your one aunt who disapproves of you living with your girlfriend, the serpent

That tricks Adam and Eve into falling from grace is the Devil, or at least possessed by the Devil. This is taken from a line in Revelation 20:2 that says, “he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

This unfortunate reference would go on to give a bad reputation to snakes everywhere. Well…the poison doesn’t help either. Nor does the movie “Anaconda”. However, some modern scholars dispute that the Devil took the shape of a snake. Or, again, even that the Devil was that important in the Bible at all.

Henry Ansgar Kelly, a UCLA professor who published “Satan: A Biography”, believes our current interpretation and image of Satan is all wrong. According to Kelly, not only is Satan not nearly as important or ubiquitous in the Bible as most Christians currently believe, but he’s also not such a uniformly evil character,

And certainly not the antithesis of God. In the 45 books that make up the pre-Christian scriptures, Kelly only counts three direct references to Satan. That’s about as often as you’d mention the weird barista at your local coffee shop in a biography of your life.

Furthermore, in these books, Satan’s job “is to test people’s virtue and to report their failures”, according to Kelly. Even when the word Lucifer appears in the bible, Kelly explains that Lucifer was latin for “light-bearer”, and is unlikely to be a reference to Satan.

Rather, it’s the name the book gives to various other entities, such as Venus and the morning star. So any description of Lucifer can’t be used as an accurate assessment of the Devil’s appearance. Going back to Adam and Eve, Kelly believes the Revelations passage that casts Satan as a serpent is mistranslated and misunderstood.

“Nobody in the Old Testament – or, for that matter, in the New Testament either – ever identifies the serpent of Eden with Satan.” Christian philosophers of the second and third centuries were the ones who originally attributed all these references to Satan, as they considered him a figure of great importance.

If all that is true, then where did our ugly, horned, horrifying vision of the Devil come from? Turns out, a lot of it was due to one pissed off Italian literary genius named Dante Alighieri. Dante, as those who were at least partially awake in World Literature classes know, wrote

“The Divine Comedy” between 1308 and 1320. The narrative poem, now considered one of the best works of literature in history, was divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. Because a lot of Italian really is just about adding O’s to English words, these mean, as you may have guessed: hell, purgatory, and paradise.

Therefore, the book included a lot of descriptions of the Devil. In Dante’s “Inferno”, the Devil is grotesque. He is a giant, winged demon, frozen in ice up to his chest, trapped in the center of hell. In Dante’s disturbing vision, Satan has three heads, each with a pair of bat wings under each chin.

To top it all off, his three mouths are always chewing on the following historical figures: Judas Iscariot, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Judas was, of course, the disciple that betrayed Jesus, Marcus Junius Brutus was of “et tu, Brutus?” Caesar-killing fame, and Cassius was the guy that started the Caesar-killing plot along

With him. As gross as this vision of the Devil sounds, Dante’s version of the Father of Lies was a little more pathetic than in other descriptions. Dante envisions Satan as a slobbering, wordless demon subject to the same terrifying punishments of hell he is doling out.

Furthermore, Dante emphasizes that Satan once used to be beautiful until he rebelled against God. A line from the poem states, “Were he as fair once, as he now is foul”. Another medieval book, the Codex Gigas, also has very detailed images of the Devil.

Codex Gigas, which means “Giant Book”, is also nicknamed “The Devil’s Bible”. Given that the tome weighs a staggering 165 pounds, we actually think that “Giant Book” is the more accurate of the two names. We have also never been so grateful for Kindles.

Throughout the several, several, hundred pages of the book, the devil is depicted with a greenish face bearing red horns, eyes, and claws. This comes closer to our modern image of the Devil. But according to some scholars, it turns out Christianity also borrowed bits and pieces

From other religions and belief systems to fill in the Bible’s blanks. Bernard Barryte has curated an exhibit titled “Sympathy for the Devil” at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, which somehow escaped the notice of Mick Jagger’s legal team. Barryte says, “bits and pieces from lots of now-defunct religions got synthesized:

The cloven feet from Pan, the horns from the gods of various cults in the near east.” This image was highly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, which depicted the Devil as the sworn enemy of Christianity and of all mankind. A horned, furry beast, barely human in appearance.

As we dive further in, the research shows that the image of the Devil, besides being influenced by important literary and artistic works of each era, changed along with the interpretation of what the Devil symbolized. For example, John Milton’s work “Paradise Lost” drew Satan as a sad figure deserving of pity.

This depiction, combined with the effects of the French and American Revolution, led to images of the Devil as a more human character. As Barryte says, “people interpreted the figure less as a demonic creature and more as a heroic rebel against the oppression of the paternal god.”

At this point in time, many Christians wanted to remove the superstitious elements of their religion altogether, considering them a bit backwards. Therefore, this new more human look for the Devil suited them just fine. By the 19th century, Goethe’s “Faust” leaned into the image of the Devil as a sly, cunning manipulator.

At this point, the image of Satan switches to a more weasley-looking trickster. Many bronze statues of this era depict him as a thin, drawn, frequently hunched over man with pointed features One thing many depictions share in common is the color red.

That’s usually a theme for images of Satan, which makes sense as he rules over a place where fire is eternally burning and people are bleeding from being tortured. Some Christians believe that the Devil still occasionally walks the Earth, presenting himself in the form of demonic possessions.

Popular shows and cartoons show him carrying a trident and wearing a red cape. A few last-minute, ahem, “sexy” Halloween costumes depict him in a red bodysuit and horns, wearing nothing much else at all, and prone to being fined for public intoxication.

Nowadays, many works of art depict the Devil as embodied by a person, or institution, right here on Earth. The Devil has been depicted as a tailor sewing Nazi uniforms in Jerome Witkin’s “The Devil as Tailor”, or even as a red-clad papal figure next to a bloody woman in “Heaven and Hell”.

We will not be showing that second image in this video, and trust us, your brain cells will thank us for that. In fact, as corruption and sex scandals came to light regarding the Catholic Church, it became common to depict the Devil as existing within the church itself, or at least its important figureheads.

Whether drawn by religious Christians or non-religious artists, as society moves more towards addressing issues and injustices right here on Earth, the concept of the Devil appears more and more in human form. Brutal dictators, genocidal psychopaths, and serial predators are all seen as evil to the point of non-comprehension.

Aka…”they have the Devil inside them.” However, the concept of an evil spirit, religious or otherwise, is hardly unique to Christianity. Most cultures and religions around the globe have a being similar to “the Devil”, and each has its unique take on what this spirit may look like.

Islamic mythology speaks of a demonic creature below the level of angels and devils called the Jinn, a spirit that can take human or animal form. They live in inanimate objects and are responsible for mental illnesses, destruction, accidents, and other maladies. In English we know them as…genies.

Clearly, Disney sanitized this creature a bit for its movies. In many Caribbean countries, their folklore speaks of evil spirits known as Jumbees. These Jumbees come in all different shapes and sizes, and carry different intentions as well. In Guyana, native people speak of the Massacooramanis, a large, excessively hairy man-like creature

That boasts a sharp set of teeth protruding from its mouth. He always lives in rivers, where he drags boats into the water and feasts on the men inside. The Moongazer, on the other hand, comes out only during the full moon.

He looks like an extremely tall, slim, muscular man who straddles a road and stares at the moon. Anyone who tries to pass the road underneath him instantly gets crushed to death. And really, if you see a naked 8-foot tall creature straddling a road and try to pass

It anyway, your death might be a little bit on you. The most terrifying spirit of all is the Dutchman Jumbee. It unfortunately makes sense that indigenous and Black Caribbeans would name the most horrifying demon after the colonizers that enslaved and slaughtered them.

These Jumbees are said to be the spirits of Dutchmen who killed and buried slaves. They reside in Dutchman trees, and if anyone climbs these trees, the Dutchman will make them horribly ill, break their bones, or even kill them. Some of the strangest looking devils in the world might be the Baku of Japan.

According to Japanese legends, the gods created the Baku with all the leftover parts they had after completing the rest of the animal kingdom. In one manuscript, the Baku is said to have an elephant’s trunk, rhinoceros’ eyes, an ox’s tail, and a tiger’s paws.

Other illustrations show it with an elephant’s head and tusks, claws, a hairy body, and horns. The Baku isn’t necessarily all bad. Children in Japan would call on the Baku to come eat their nightmares. However, the legends warned that people who called on the Baku too often would make the

Creature too hungry, and it would end up eating their dreams, hopes, and desires, leaving their life empty and miserable. So the next time you dream that you are naked in class and forgot to study for the past four years of school while your crush points and laughs at you…maybe just deal with it

On your own. The Devil has taken many shapes throughout both Christian history, and in whatever analogous demonic form he takes in cultures around the world. Frequently, the Devil changes appearance depending on beliefs of the time, holding a mirror to

What role religion is playing in society during each era rather than having one fixed appearance. Now that you hopefully have a good grasp on how to identify the Devil and various other demons, as well as several images to fill your nightmares tonight – remember, don’t

Call on the Baku unless you really need it – check out some of our other stories and legends on The Infographics Show!


Episode 26: Recognizing Movements in Narrative Interpretation.

Foreign [Music]   to you this is all things Apostolic I’m Dr  Nathaniel Wilson I’m glad to be with you and   I have with me again our good friend and Scholar  Pastor Jeremy Wilbanks from Cullman Alabama   welcome Pastor Will Banks good to be here thanks  for letting me come back yes sir we are continuing  

A discussion that we are having uh from time  to time here you have to if you’re going to go   through the archives you’ll have to go back and  find where we are talking on this subject uh so  

Far I think we’ve done some of it at least every  week this is going to be today a discussion that   we’re going to have again about how the Bible’s  written and and when you read it what are you  

Really reading in terms of the kind of reading  there are different kinds of literature and so the   Bible has all kinds of literature but what is the  predominant scope of it so we talked about this  

A little bit before and then uh when we finish  this on Monday we’re going to break new ground so   we’re excited about that um anyway so when you  read the Bible when we uh where we stopped on  

This was that the primary uh uh method of Bible  writing is narrative yes it’s it’s it’s story   and um uh Pastor Wilbanks talked about that  and explained a little bit about that to us   and when we talk about narrative we know that in  the Bible there are portions of it that are not  

Narrative there’s all kinds of literary devices  used in the Bible but narrative is the underlying   a way that we read our Bible and that causes  us to have to interpret it because narrative   has to be interpreted and so every reader is  also an interpreter so when we talk about this  

Uh Pastor Wilbanks we we immediately run into  well there’s big sections of the Bible that are   not narrative like the Epistles and the Psalms  and so forth maybe you can address that for us   yeah all all the the as you said the primary  uh scope of scripture the way scriptural truth  

Is conveyed is in a story or narrative uh and  even the parts that are not narrative such as um   Psalms in the Old Testament uh prophecy uh in the  New Testament Epistles all of those things even   though they are not narrative they all function  around narrative or elements in a narrative  

Uh for example Psalms good a good portion of  the Psalms fit inside the scope of first and   second Samuel or first and second Kings uh some  of them uh fit inside the scope of The Exodus   um and all of these things uh they all revolve  around narrative in the New Testament if you’re  

Reading Epistles a lot of those fit in the  scope of the book of Acts uh so unless you   know the narratives uh or the elements that are in  a narrative uh you can’t understand Isaiah unless   you understand covenants that fit those are major  elements inside of the narrative if you don’t  

Understand covenants if you don’t understand  the narrative you’re not going to have any any   code and understanding of Isaiah or any of the  other prophets but this is how scripture Our God   chose to give us truth was in a narrative and  as you’ve said uh already in this recording  

That makes everybody who’s reading scripture not  just a reader but it makes them an interpreter   so I once had um it was a young man came to  me and he asked me if you were to tell me  

A place to start studying scripture he was new  really getting into digging into the word of God   where would you tell somebody to start and I said  well um I would say the first thing that you need  

To do is you need to learn the stories you need to  learn the narratives and you need to learn how to   pull the truth out of them how to find locate the  truth in them and find them and part of uh part of  

Understanding a narrative is understanding that a  narrative has parts to it I don’t know if sections   is a good word but it has it has different  movements different components of it that yes   different components that break a uh a narrative  or a story down by the way if you’re preaching  

There’s tons of good preaching in just breaking  a narrative down into we’re going to break it   down into four parts just for ease there’s tons  of good preaching in just breaking a narrative   down uh do we have just a moment uh Dr Wilson  for me no that’s very interesting okay so if  

You’re going to interpret a narrative this  is important because this is how scripture   um this is how scripture relates truth  to us number one if you go so if you’re   going to break down a narrative if you’re  going to interpret a narrative you have to  

Recognize these at least these four parts  the four elements or characteristics of   interpreting a narrative are this number one is  the exposition Exposition is the the status quo   um it shows what’s Norm what are what the norm  is I’m using the word norm and not normative and  

That’s a different discussion but so the first  thing you have to recognize is what the norm is   it’s that it’s what’s been going on for a long  time and then the second part that you have to   recognize and interpreting a narrative is the  complications and it’s the it’s that which that  

Sounds negative but it’s not always negative the  complication is not always negative but it’s that   which disrupts or Alters the norm in such a way  that it in most cases it blows everybody’s mind   um so that’s the second part first part is  exposition second part is the complications the  

Norm and that which disrupts the norm the third  part is the climax which is the resolution of   the complications uh how were the complications  resolved what fixed it um was there something   introduced that changed everything what how what  resolved the complications that were introduced uh  

Earlier in the narrative and then the fourth part  is a French word which is called uh the denouement   uh and that is a return to normal but it’s  not really a return to normal it’s really  

The establishment of a new normal so a narrative  uh every narrative that you read by the way this   isn’t just scripture this is uh classic literature  this is you can be reading a cowboy novel by Louis   Lamour and you’re going to see these things uh  the exposition or the norm the complications that  

Would disrupt disrupts the norm the climax which  is the resolution to the complications and then   fourth is the denouement which is the return to  normal but it’s really a new normal uh one of the   great examples of this that’s kind of humorous  in the in the New Testament the Bible says the  

Apostle Paul was preaching one night and he said  there was lamps burning in the room and it must   have been on in an upper level room and it was  warm in there and there was a man sitting in a  

Window seal named eudicus and Paul preached for  a long time that’s the norm this is just a this   is just a small little thing a lot of places  where that’s the norm Paul preached for a long  

Time so this is the norm and somewhere in the  course of his preaching uh eudicus falls out of   that window and the complications are introduced  to the story he’s dead he’s dead on the ground   outside and everybody goes out and you can imagine  the scene Somebody’s Crying 15 people are in Shock  

And Paul goes down and the climax is introduced  this is a great example the climax is introduced   the resolution to that to those complications  is a miracle Paul raises him from the dead and   then the Bible says they go back and Paul keeps  preaching they go back to normal but it’s not  

Can you imagine the riveted attention that Paul  had from that point forward because he’s not just   preaching he’s just performed a miracle so just  in that small little segment you can see the norm   that which disrupts the norm the resolution to the  norm and then the return to normal okay well this  

This goes across the expanse of scripture this  goes across the expanses of scripture we can talk   about the creation and the norm that God created  the the normality that God wanted was a garden   then we see the complications that are introduced  with the fall of humanity and then we see all the  

Way up to Calvary we see the resolution of  those complications and we’re going to see   that all the way up to the Book of Revelation  when a new Norm is introduced but it’s not   just a new Norm uh it’s or it’s not just  a return to the normal it’s really a new  

Normal that we’re all going to live in  so part of what we have to recognize   is so we talked we gave an example of a  narrative that small narrative in the book of   Acts where Paul resurrects uticus but then all of  scripture can be seen with those movements in it  

So the question is and maybe this is one brother  Wilson that you can jump in on the question is   it’s not just recognizing those four things  but God has different uh different portions of   those even of those four elements of a narrative  are administered or stewarded if that’s a word  

They they’re they are they’re administered by  different people with different elements involved   and we have to recognize those so we have to  recognize those the elements of interpreting   a narrative when it’s a small narrative but more  important in interpreting the meta-narrative uh  

And I’m curious as to what you would have to say  when it comes to interpreting yes so so uh I mean   I think it goes without much discussion that the  Bible is a book of narratives that when they are  

Combined they’re not just a group of stories but  they create or form metanarrative an overarching   narrative and that all of them are moving towards  the the big culmination uh which is the Redemption   and in the Bible’s case it’s the Redemption of the  earth and the universe through the death Veil and  

Resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ uh  and that is the that is the that’s what creates   the new norm and uh he has exalted even in his  Humanity to a role that uh supersedes any other   role of anything created so that’s the ultimate  culmination of the metanarrative that all of these  

Narratives play a party and now we also mentioned  classic literature we’re not going to spend a   lot of time here on this today but uh there are  books in a in the world there’s a group of books   that are called the classics and they’re called  Classics because number one they deal with issues  

That are forever important demand issues of life  and death issues of the these are books that this   the stories will uh will deal with what you talk  talked about there is a normal there is a covenant   made and um there are promises promises of big  in every story promise plays a tremendous role  

Um and then there is guidance and protection  uh that is the um ages a part of the story some   of the individuals in the story and then there’s  always uh subject matter about failure and about   mercy and about hope and then your your final  discussion there about a new Norm includes the  

Idea also of a new start and so when you when you  look in the Bible these these elements are so easy   to see as the stories layer and build up and mount  towards a culmination where they all coalesce  

Uh where the in colloquial language where the  planets align they all coalesce in in the grand   finale that is outlined for us with the with the  final result in the Book of Revelation especially  

In the the final result in chapters uh 19 uh  on so so this is uh uh this is important for   us to understand and I appreciate your discussion  there about about the the role of narrative and   particularly the role that those narratives have  to be interpreted now if you if you’re preaching  

To a church it shows the importance of having  teachers of having a pastor of having leadership   um um they’re not just they’re not just spewing  stuff out but they are taking these stories and   on deep levels interpreting what God is telling  us through these stories some things are obvious  

In the stories and other things are layered in  uh and a little more obscurity or complexity and   so we need teachers we we need leaders but at the  same time anybody can read the Bible and they can   receive uh spiritual and uh emotional and mental  nutrition from the reading of these stories so  

Let’s talk a little bit about uh we have a few  minutes here let’s talk a little bit about the   uh overarching narrative the the general narrative  when when we get to that uh maybe maybe that’s a  

Little premature but when we get to that where we  will see that there is a kind of story in all the   narratives that in the Bible for uh and and and  perhaps other books but definitely the Bible there  

Is a certain kind of narrative all the narratives  in the Bible in general I’m not talking about   trying to find some little exception somewhere  but the general flow of all the narratives in   the Bible pivot around the Greek word oikonomia  and they are uh maybe I’m creating a word here  

But they are economic in in English in English we  would say what what is what does that translate   into economic okay economic so um so but I can  normally tells us more than economic in English is is Greek for house

Like like like home and so when you uh when you  look at these stories all revolving around home   and later we’re going to take time to really  get into the fact that it revolves around home  

When you when you look at that you see that  you’re going to see that all the way back with   uh Adam and Eve uh the garden was was home  and God is Daddy and in the home there are  

Uh always elements that would be disruptive to  the home this is all part of the story right and   um and those elements do disrupt the home in a  dramatic and catastrophic way uh what we call the  

Fall that we all still live with with elements of  that many elements of that in our world today it’s   why we call it existence instead of uh Perfection  or Essence and so uh without getting off in all  

That you can see that that oikonomia um is  a warm word it’s it’s a it’s a domestic word   or economia is not a a jungle word it’s not  a Wilderness word it’s not a wild word it’s  

Not a scientific uh sterile kind of word the very  fact that that that word characterizes the stories   in the bible let you know that this is a this is  about affections and God presents himself way back  

In the Old Testament as father and uh even with  Israel he he identifies them repeatedly as his son   and uh even in Deuteronomy that we often think of  with with laws and some of them very harsh laws  

But he says um as an eagle hovers or flutters  over her Young and the word flutter there is a   is a feminine word it’s talking about a a mother  eagle and so this whole idea this whole concept of  

God’s relationship with his people is encompassed  in this oykanomia word it’s it’s a household and   so you see this not only there but uh you see  it with the Call of Abraham it’s a household   you and your family Isaac Jacob there’s stories  about their wives the growth of their children  

The challenges in their home life and how that  all interprets in bringing you the great story   that’s going to literally become the universal  story of the ages now we want to talk about that  

Some more later but I think that’s important the  irony of it is when we look at like anomia that it   is this warm and gentle and gentle and loving  and parental uh relational word uh no matter   what else we get into in this discussion about  the movements and progressions of the word of  

God we need to remember that that is the pivotal  word now we’ll spend some more time talking about   and showing how that is a pivotal word uh in the  gospels and how it is in the Old Testament and how  

It is in in the Epistles and and so forth but I  think that um uh well I think we’ve made some good   progress today well give us a little added thought  there before we go uh on a preaching level this is  

Not detached from an interpretive level but the  things that you just brought up the fact that house and then nomia government law government  uh the way the household is governed that you   talked about it being warm uh this kind of Harkens  back a little bit to what we recorded in one of  

The previous recordings dealing with narrative and  that is this is not a story that you can just read   you actually have to enter the story and  I think that those that feeling part of it   that you just mentioned that is that is  inextricably linked to borrower brother  

Wilson word uh to interpreting the story gives  us a way because this is what has to happen we   all have to realize that we have entered that  story in fact have never been detached from it   um so when we look for meaning we’re not  just looking for what does this story mean  

We’re actually looking for how it what what our  meaning what our role in that story is so uh the   The Narrative and the metanarrative uh both  of them open doorways for us to enter when we  

Read about Jacob we don’t just read about him uh  we’re if we are connected to this through the Holy   Ghost we’re supposed to feel something of what he  felt understand something of what he understood   participate in some way with what he participated  with all through the power of the Holy Ghost this  

Is this is what’s in this is what’s important to  understand about the narrative number one number   one yes we can interpret it number two and this is  probably more critical and I think this is what we   touched on today and in previous uh recordings  number two we are involved in that narrative the  

Way this narrative breaks down is not just for  interpretive purposes it’s for living purposes   we are living the breakdown of this story so  it’s important for us to understand how it’s   been broken down uh theologically how it’s been  broken down hermeneutically and then it has an  

Applicable sense those breakdowns affect the way  that we live so this is important for us when it   comes to interpreting narrative and when it comes  to interpreting Med narrative that is really   beautiful because we’re not just talking  about sterile buildings in a city somewhere  

We are talking about homes which the primary thing  is it’s where people live yes thank you for being   with us today we want you to be with us next  week we will be talking about this uh some more  

Sometimes we have so many things report on Monday  we actually don’t get started on until Tuesday or   Wednesday but but we’re working through it and  uh we’re not going anywhere by the grace of God  

We’re here to uh to work through and to enjoy uh  being a part of the household of God we will be   talking more about the household of God yes next  time God bless you for being with us God bless

#Episode #Recognizing #Movements #Narrative #Interpretation