Posts Tagged ‘Foundations Course’

How does true heart faith contrast with faith based on religious and cultural traditions and assumptions? What are the differing results in individual lives as well as societies?

February 15, 2010

True heart faith contrasts greatly with faith based on religious and cultural traditions and assumptions.  The hard thing is, from the outside, one person can’t readily distinguish between the two by observation alone.  It is true that both of these cases a person can be acting in the same manner and doing the same things.  The root of the difference is the heart matter.  True heart faith (in Christ) is not about self or appearance but for the purpose of glorifying God, spreading His name and fighting evil.  It is not routine, out of duty alone or self-interest reasons that the person is participating in the action.  The motivation of the person is a primary distinction in the classification of their faith.

While individual scenarios can be difficult to distinguish without direct contact, society level differences are more obvious.  Communities of “God fearers” are difference makers.  They passionately engage in the kingdom of God taking active steps at relieving the root and results of evil in the world.  They energetically point others to the source of healing and redemption, Christ, both locally and globally.  Society level nominal believers again may engage in some community development activity, but it is with compassion (human driven) rather than God driven passion.  Often times those communities based on religious tradition fight change, while God fearing communities embrace change.

Why are local households so effective for God’s work in the book of Acts?

July 9, 2009

Local households are very effective means of communicating the truth of the Gospel and expanding the Kingdom of God in the book of Acts.  Multiple reasons exist, but I should give a few: 1) small group discipling made modeling the gospel real 2) leaders were chosen by communities and those leaders applied skills immediately 3) households were natural networks of families connected in communities and neighborhoods 4) households were inconspicuous to outside persecution, they did not have “church” or “Christian” written all over them. 5) Households were geographically dispersed, widening the physical capacity for Gospel influence (as opposed to a centralized church with influence in only immediate surroundings.

What parallels do you see in mission work today to the shift from Jewish to Greek culture?

July 6, 2009

There are many parallels in mission work today we get from the lateral shift of Jewish to Greek culture.  In many ways this one shift that was seen in the Bible validates and gives Biblical backing for the basic mission practice of contextualization.  The principle is that no one culture is better than another, and no one culture has the complete picture of scripture, different truths are more apparent in different cultures.  Another parallel is that in both cultures of “Christianity” (a looser term of the cultural religion), there are honoring and devout “God-fears” and strict law abiding nominal believers.  Similarly, it is true that people on both sides of the coin struggle with the interpretations and applications of the same biblical truths on either side.  Acts 15 shares the struggle they had with this issue; today we see it in the syncretism/insider movement debate.

Explain the lasting influence of Greek and Roman roots in Western civilization and Western Christianity.

July 3, 2009

The Greek roots of the Jewish people (notably the Septuagint) dominated Western Christianity and Western Civilization until the Protestant Reformation.  The original Hebrew text and culture were not valued or seen as relevant until Luther’s days.  In a reversal of sorts, modern Protestants do not affirm the prominence of the Septuagint in the early days of the church.  Alexander the Great created tremendous change in this time period that we can trace much of Western Civilization back to this era.  The prominence of philosophers Aristotle, Plato, Socrates grew out of Alexander the Great’s connection to these individuals.  Again, much of the way of life in Western Civilization derives its roots from these scholars and philosophers.

What is the meaning of the ancient role of the Septuagint (LXX) for modern missionary strategy?

June 30, 2009

The meaning of the ancient role of the Septuagint for modern missionary strategy concerns the language and culture of the people being served.  The Septuagint was seen as attractive to the Romans because they could go and hear Greek being read and learn the language.  It was a felt need that the early church and synagogues used.  Usually the Jews made these “God fearers” sit in the back because of their ethnocentricity (a practice we should not repeat), but nevertheless Roman citizens were exposed to the truth.  I think there is a missiological correlation with using the Bible to teach English.  This strategy has been widely used in China and other such closed countries where “English teachers” will come into to Universities, schools, or just neighborhoods and teach English using the truth.  While I have not participated myself, from reports it seems like this strategy helps open people to receive the truth and use one on one mentor relationships to challenge individuals/families to faith and further disciple them (in both English and God’s word).