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What is "the Way"? Part 2: Rediscovering the "Ancient Way" of Hebrew Hope

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on July 18, 2018 at 2:20 PM

In order to grasp the deep roots of "the Way" in Israel’s past, I will ask you to sequentially follow a series of clues in Scripture. By following these hints and allusions, we will peel back the temporal onion to reveal the core significance of the early Christian’s self-description as "the Way." So, returning to Paul’s words in Acts 24:14–16, we find the language of ancient philosophic practice overlapping with unmistakably Hebraic emphases.

 

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Discipleship, The Way

The Story Behind Psalm 61, “God Enthroned Forever”

Posted by Dr. Mark Shipp on June 7, 2018 at 10:52 AM

This is the fourth in the series of stories behind some of the songs from Timeless: Ancient Psalms for the Church Today Psalter/Commentary. Ruth Ann Somervell describes in some detail the process she goes through in composing and the inspiration she felt from psalm 61 and Sarah Shipp’s lyrics.

Timeless is a commentary set of all new translations and commentaries on the psalms by established Old Testament scholars for the layperson. Timeless also includes 2–3 new musical settings following each psalm to enhance worship and reflection, study and devotion. Timeless books may be purchased through acupressbooks.com, Amazon.com, or timelesspsalter.com. Professionally recorded CDs and booklets of the music may be purchased through CDBaby.com and timelesspsalter.com.

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Topics: Psalms, Timeless

Postman Still Delivers: Amusing Ourselves to Death

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on May 8, 2018 at 10:22 AM

Back in January, I had the privilege of speaking at the Northwest Expositor’s Seminar just outside of Portland, Oregon.  In addition to the main topic that I was invited to address, I was also asked to be prepared to recommend and briefly summarize a few books that are outside my field of scholarship.  In reality, almost nothing that is non-fiction is really irrelevant to a historical theologian.  But I get the idea—something not directly about church history or Christian theology.  

In fact, I quite enjoyed the preparation and came ready to talk about some of my favorite books.  Sadly, and for no apparent reason, I became violently ill and was prevented from speaking for only that one session.  The next day, after my recovery, I even offered to abbreviate my final session in order to make room for some book recommendations, but no one took me up on the offer.  So here I provide something that I would not have done in the limited time I had there—a selective summary of and then brief riff on themes related to Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business(1985).

(If you have never read this book, please, don’t delay, open a new browser window right now and go purchase this book.  Then come back and continue reading.)

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Topics: Technology, Neil Postman, Television, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Brave New World

Where Are We? A Brief Reflection on the Death of Alfie Evans

Posted by Dr. Jeff Peterson on May 1, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Alfie Evans was a British citizen who died last Saturday, April 28, at just under two years of age, after an extended period of treatment for a neurological condition afflicting his brain. What do the events of his brief life tell us about the world we live in and how Christians should engage it?

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Ethics, Christ and Culture, Alfie Evans, Contemporary Culture

What is "the Way"? Part 1: Fulfillment of Philosophical Aspirations

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on April 26, 2018 at 10:04 AM

Three hundred years before Christianity was a religion, Jesus taught his disciples to walk in “the Way.” Alongside the simple term “students,” his earliest followers most common self-description was "the Way.” But what's that?

Categories can help us narrow in on the target. When asked by their Greco-Roman contemporaries to plug themselves into an existing category, early Christians had only one answer.

“Although we gather to worship, we are not a religion – much less a mere superstition.” (Superstition was the derisive term the Romans’ used to designate various religions of foreign extraction.)

“Although we provide, from our own pocket, decent burials for our members and others, we are not a burial society.”

“Though we are called Christians, and this follows the linguistic form for naming a political party (like Caesarians for those of Caesar’s party), we are not a political group.”

“Nor are we a guild – indeed we welcome people from every trade and every stratum of society.”

If you were to press this person, the Jesus follower would eventually offer a category. According to the early Christians, only one category comes near to working. “We are a philosophy. We follow the Way – the philosophy of Jesus.”

This self-categorization is full of significance. “If you want to understand our life and teachings,” the early Christians said, “you must compare us to your schools of philosophy.” Thus, they asked their neighbors and critics to form a judgment with one eye fixed on Christian behavior and the other eye fixed on the life and teachings of the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Cynics and the Academy, new and old.

May I ask you to take this testimony seriously?

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Discipleship, The Way

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