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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

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

New Summer Course - Don't Miss Out!

Posted by Dawn Bond on March 7, 2018 at 1:13 PM



You won't want to miss this exciting new course

with Dr. Jim Reynolds!

Pastoring in an Age of Spiritual Anarchy

July 16-20, 23-27, 6pm-9:40pm

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Topics: Discipleship

Ring Around the Collar and the Gospel: What's Your Story?

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on January 4, 2018 at 11:39 AM

 

Human beings are “enstoried” creatures. We find ourselves inundated, moment by moment, with data of various kinds that must be interpreted, and the stories that we live within form the framework for our interpretation of the world around us. This can be true at the simplest level of life—I recognize and understand the different functions of a fork and a knife because of the narrative surrounding such implements (especially around proper table etiquette)—to the most profound of social difficulties—see, for example, the highly charged competing narratives on either side of various race issues in the United States. The stories we tell ourselves and that we live by thus have powerful implications for every facet of life, from ethics to epistemology to ontology. So what stories are we living by? (e.g., a grammarian lives by the story that this is an improperly built sentence in English; here, I am a deconstructionist: Down with the Binaries!)

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Topics: Discipleship, On-Topic Today, Technology, Teaching Moment

The Prince of Peace: Life in an A.D. World

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on December 23, 2017 at 9:41 AM

I have always been taken by stories of mercy and reconciliation in the midst of conflict. These moments stand out like beacons of light in great darkness; they are often stark reminders of ways in which the proclamation of the gospel calls disciples of Jesus to act as agents of hope and peace in the midst of horror. The so-called “Christmas Truce” of 1914 is one such example, and in many ways the impulse toward peace and fraternal unity stands as a powerful example of how a Christian’s life should be lived in the fractured and contentious age in which we find ourselves. If we really are disciples—students—of Jesus, we must never forget that the child born in that dark age so many years ago reigns forever as the Prince of Peace.

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Topics: Christmas, Prince of Peace, Discipleship, Christmas Truce

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