Thursday, June 9, 2016

Week 4 not complete

Conservative Christian Tow Truck Driver Abandons Disabled Woman

Chaplain Chat with Pastor Dave Colvis, Jan.2013 - YouTube
Jan 25, 2013 - Uploaded by Chaplain John


  • Review/Preview: Kingdom Count
  • Service or Church Stories: Early Adopters and Acting Out
  • Quiz Signs: Core Message, Recurrence, Inclusio
  • Party Work: Left Behind , Least Of These, Don't Seek First, and Other Misundertakings
  • Parables and Acted Parables: Mathew 18, Luke 11
  • Exercise: Party Impersonations
  • Kraybill prep
  • Funkklesia
  • Gates of Hell and Gated Community: Metallica Rocks
  • Palm Sunday and Temple Tantrum
  • Intro: Christus Victor/God's Devil in the World: Religious Leaders
Pastor D.J. Criner
Sometimes in a Bible class, I will leave the room for five minutes,
and challenge the students to practice presenting anything they've learned.
It's totally up to them: they can tea- teach it, one person can present etc.

Sometimes I am even brave/dumb enough to say they can choose someone to impersonate (roast/toast( me and my style.

I should have known that with  the delightful and daring Pastor D.J. Criner (of Saint Rest Baptist Church) in class, that  the class would choose him for that impersonation option (:

It was caught on video ...
I guess I say ":awesome" a lot.

Be sure to catch his whiteboard artwork of me. as well:

Great discussion on the "Kingdom" count on your TV shows. Interesting that Peter Popoff a landslide:
Which of these two churches do you like the best and why?
Is one more bounded and one more centered?

Pastor Jim of Immanuel Baptist Church of Skiatook ?:

Pastor Craig and XXX Church and Strip Church?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kingdom parables and the poor: Chiastic help

A helpful section on chiasm from a longer David R. Bickle article on the KingdomL

The parables that complement the parables surrounding the discourse on anxiety expand on the idea that seeking the treasure of the kingdom leads to sharing with the poor (Luke 12:31-33). The parables of Luke 10:25-18:14 are arranged as a chiasmus (ABC...CBA), so that the first parable is parallel to the last parable, the second to the next-to-last, etc. This structure can be seen by listing each group of parallels with the same degree of indention and color:

The good Samaritan (10:25-37)____The friend at midnight (11:5-8)________The good Father, beginning with "Who of you...?" (11:11-13)____________The rich fool (12:13-21)________________The demands of stewardship (12:35-48)____________________Three warnings to repent (13:1-9)________________________The mustard seed and yeast (13:18-22)____________________________The lower place at the banquet (14:7-10)________________________________The proud will be humbled (14:11a)
________________________________The humble will be exalted (14:11b)
____________________________The banquet invitations (14:15-24)________________________Considering the cost of discipleship (14:25-33)____________________Three parables of the lost coming to repentance (15:1-32)________________The dishonest steward (16:1-13)____________The rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31)________The unworthy slaves, beginning with "Who of you...?" (17:7-10)____The persistent widow (18:1-8)The Pharisee and the tax collector (18:9-14).
Thus, the parables just before and just after the discourse on anxiety (12:22-34), the parable of the rich fool and the parables of stewardship demands, complement the parable of the dishonest steward and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The parallel stewardship parables illustrate different truths: that servants of the Son of Man must be found faithful when he returns (12:35-48) and that they must shrewdly distribute their unrighteous money to others if they are to have true, eternal wealth since the use of money reveals whether they serve it or God (16:1-13). The implication is that using one's wealth to help the poor is necessary to being found faithful at the coming of the Son of Man. In both the parable of the rich fool and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a rich man loses everything when he dies. Reading the parables together, failure to be "rich toward God" is manifested in failure to give generously to the poor. Those who are overly concerned about providing for themselves in this life do not tend to think they can afford to provide much for others. Between the parable of the dishonest steward and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a brief exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees (16:14-15). In loving money to the point of scoffing at Jesus' parable of the dishonest steward and in their self-justification before men, they embodied seeking treasure on earth, like the nations of the world, rather than seeking the kingdom of God (12:30-33; 22:23-30). Jesus contrasted the worldly values of men with the values of God, who knows the heart: "what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (16:15). The conclusion of the chiasmus of parables (18:14) also condemns the self-righteousness of the Pharisees, echoing the center of the chiasmus (14:11): "every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." In other words, those who proudly seek earthly wealth or recognition will eventually lose everything, but those who humbly seek the kingdom of God will enter it when the Son of Man comes in his glory....
-David R. Bickle

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kraybill calls Jesus IRREVERENT
The pastor whose church who histed the concert called Jesus SCANDALOUS
Peterson says his parables are a LOUD FART in the salon....
Jesus (almost) uses the B-word??  
But he saves that term for  Herod...a religious leader...HMmm..
see this and this  
and this

( Bonus:"St Paul (sorta) uses the S-word??
See this)

Remember  "brood of vipers?"
Who are the only types Jesus seems to be angry at?  Who does he lament and vent about??



worship = singing?

image borrowed from the post, "Cavinism as 'The Big Tent?'"

Not long ago, our church had some documents to fill out for the IRS  (Why in the world is church connecting with IRS?..  But that's another post and topic for another day).  So I said to one of our leadership team, "can we have you sign a form after worship?"

Later, as we were signing, she said "I wondered wbat happened.  You said we should sign  after worship, so when we didn't sign after worship, I figured you forgot."

I had ansolutely no idea what she meant.

Then it hit me.  In many circles (and in her previous chiurch, the songs that are sung early in the gatherings  are called "worship" or the "worship time" or "worship songs."  So she thought i meant "after the music," and I meant "after the gathering (Of course, my definition was ecen more problematic)..

It is unbelievable that so few ever even notice, let alone challenge, this common practice in contemporary church.  As I blogged a few years ago:

A strange shift began about fifteen years ago,

Ask most evangelical or charismatic Christians in USAmerica about the place of "worship"
in a gathering. For some strange reason, the word has come to be synonymous with "the songs sung early in the meeting."

"Good morning! After the worship, the children will be dismissed, and Pastor Steve will share from God's word"

We even call the person leading the singing the "worship leader."
Whazzup with that?

Of course, this definition is foreign to Scripture, and to the church in all history and places..until our lifetime in the ... continued

So I was thrilled to catch Dan Kimball's post below (the "worship=music" reference is so accepted and entrenched that in spite of this post below, Kimball has another post called new worship music "Radiant")
I would love to get this topic on the table. It's not just semantics.  Well, actually it IS..but semantics matters.


Should the church accountant be the one called the "worship pastor"?

AccountantThe title of this blog post and question that I ask is not one I am totally serious about - and not really suggesting we actually do call the accountant the worship pastor. But I do have the question of how we have overwhelmingly defined "worship" to primarily be music and singing.
I have become very aware of the power of words—and the power of defining words. In the Christian culture we have created I don't believe we can ever assume anymore when we say the terms "gospel", "Jesus", "salvation", "inspired",  "evangelical", "evangelism", "missional" etc. we all mean the same thing. I have learned (and sometimes the hard way) that you need to be asking definitions of terms with specific meaning to understand how someone else uses a term that may differ from your definition. 

One of these terms is "worship". 

If you were to ask most teenagers and young adults what comes to their minds when they hear the word "worship" it will likely be singing. I understand why they do, as we have pretty much defined worship to them over the past 20 years or more as worship = singing. Now it is totally true that we worship as we sing. But that is only one aspect of worship. We have subtly taught (in my opinion) a reductionist view of worship limiting it primarily to music and singing as what defines the word and practice.

I try to pay attention to reasons why we define worship mainly as music these days. And it is not too difficult to discover. What do we call the person in a church who leads the band or singing? It is normally the "worship pastor" or "worship leader". When our music leaders say, "Let's now worship," that is when the singing begins. When a sermon begins or when the offering is received we often don't say ""Let's now worship" like we do when the singing starts. When we think of Sunday gatherings of the church and when does worship happen, we generally think of the singing - not the teaching or the sacrifice of people who are worshiping by volunteering time in the children's ministry or other things happening. You look the Christian albums and as we call them "Best of Worship" or "Worship Greatest Hits"  that reinforce the idea that music is the primary—or even only—form of worship. I just read on a Facebook post how a group was bringing in a guest person to "lead worship" and of course this guest person was a musician.We constantly, constantly reinforce by how we use that word casually all the time that it primarily means music and singing.  
"Should the church accountant be the one called the "worship pastor"? " »

I Love what St. Mark Thomas posted on my original post:

Mark Thomas said... 

I teach a lot of younger people about worship and what it means. I usually start in the Old Testament and end somewhere in Revelation (chapter 4 or 5) are great examples of crazy and wild "throne room" worship. One thing that I always stress is that worship is not exclusively music. That worship can happen anywhere and not just the first 20-40 minutes of a Sunday/Saturday/Wednesday church service. In fact, there is no such thing as a "worship song"! A song is simply a song, a tool. One must be in the attitude and in the Spirit for the song to be even used in worship. Otherwise it's nothing different than what we might hear on our top 40 radio stations on any given Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday. Does anyone still listen to FM radio? Worship (and revelation) happens when we're in a place of incomprehension, bedazzlement, and transformation. It has to. What do you expect after meeting God face to face and giving Him all the glory? -Mark Thomas
Church visit.

the Devil is God's Devil

the devil is God's devil..
excerpt from 
this rant 
just in time for my Christmas message, based on the classic Ray Van Der Laan "In the Shadow of Herod" video we'll show..
I occasionally enjoy playing devil's (uh, I should say "angel's") advocate when I preach and teach. I often ask a group "shock-value" questions as a wake-up and shake-up call to the necessity and validity of the vertiginous (yes, it's a word!) encounter; the test of temptation. In light of the fact that "sometimes we can't make it on our own, " and need to go with Jesus to hear, and experience, a challenging and dizzying "Sermon Way Up the Mount," disciples need to remember to remember that in those disequilibrating times when elevation gives birth to vertigo, let the Spirit be midwife, and what will mercifully be born again and again in you is untold freedom and hilarious strengthening. Here, then is the first question I might cast out: "How many ever pray the Lord's Prayer, including the line 'Lead us not into temptation?'"

And since all answers are a nodding "yes and amen," the subsequent question has earned a hearing: "Would, or could, GOD ever lead anyone, then, into temptation?; especially since we have been taught by Jesus Himself to pray it would never happen?" Since most have detected that, by my mischevious inflection and sly smile the expected right answer is "Of course!," it's an appropriate time to take holy advantage of the stunned to silence room and have them turn from their shock to either Matthew 4:1 or Luke 4:1. Either verse reads right on the lines that "God, the Holy Spirit" is without apology recognized; indicted as the Agent leading someone into a very real and literally demonic temptation. And just who that Someone is, is telling and is troublesome: "Then the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Granted, and important to highlight: God does not do the tempting; the tempter is clearly the devil, but in God's stunning sovereignty, he has personally arranged the time and place of the temptation; He Himself has set the boundaries and parameters of the boxing ring; He himself is out in front ushering Jesus..and often us..right into a head-on . What in heaven's name and hell's court is going on?


"The devil is God's devil!," a much better theologian than me, but one also famous/infamous for "shock value sound bytes" quipped a few hundred years ago. By that biting byte, Martin Luther has not more than he could chew in, mouth. He meant simply that God is so supernaturally and sovereignly 'in charge' that he is even in charge of, Superintendent of; in fact he created, "Ol' Scratch."..Satan himself. Which is why the Spirit can risk, allow, even set-up our wilderness temptations with Satan. He can trust, that like Jesus, who "at the end of this satanic temptation, came out of the wilderness stronger and more full of the power of the Spirit, and more prepared to minister than ever, " (Luke 4:13-14). We who follow in the footsteps of Christ, even and especially when they lead to the devil's door, we pass the test! And the joke is on the dumb devil, Ol Scratch scratching his damned head as we..the eternally undamned and newly undammed…come out stronger in Spirit. And if Romans 8:28's al- inclusive sweeping claim that "God works all things together for good for those who love God, and are the called according to his purpose" is taken at face and faith value, that "all things" includes "all" all things, including satanic temptation, and Satan himself. With that Romans verse in mind, a more modern theologian, one who is in league with Luther (and U2) in that she was also earthy in a heavenly way, one tested and tempted in the evil vileness and extreme vertigo of Ravenbsruck concentration camp, one Corrie Ten Boom, offered this prescription, "When the devil sticks his gun of accusation or condemnation in your face, just stuff Romans 8:28 in the barrel of that gun, and turn things around by stuffing it back in his face."


Let's take the test. Only two possible answers for each question below: A)God or B)Devil. Choose only one each time. Sounds easy, so take the test, without looking up the accompanying Scriptures until you have turned in your exam. (Number two pencil only, please):

1.)Who sent an evil spirit to terrorize Saul? (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10)
2.)Who sent a deceiving and lying spirit? (1 Kings 22:22)
3)Who authorizes satanic harassment of Job (Job 1:12)
4)Who can destroy both body and soul in hell? (Matthew 10:28)
5)Who sent a deceiving influence, so that wicked people are damned? (2 Thess. 2:11)

How did you do? Isn't it obvious that the only correct answer to each of the above is..God!?
Huh? Is that the good news or the bad news, you ask? Whose side are you on, anyway? Cool down, mama! Now you can look up the Scriptures, and triple check that I am not just making this up, or nuts. I think the lesson, though so much more should be said to be sure our theology is biblical and balanced, is: God is so sovereign that he uses..and even though we are not as comfortable as these Scriptures sometimes are in saying so, He is some sense "sends"…. evil, and wrings good purposes out of them. He is not evil, nor the author of evil; and does not enjoy our suffering and evil; he does not want AIDS, cancer, rape, slavery, etc…...but the devil is God's devil. God is either good and sovereign or not. These Scriptures, stretching and shocking as they are, actually steer us towards his radical "in charge-ness," He is ridiculously sovereign. The devil is active, but he is on a leash…a long one, granted..but God's grabbing the other end.
OK, four more questions. Ready? Of course not! Same two possible answers, God or the devil, for these below:

1)Who sees to it that a sinner is saved? (1 Cor. 5:5)
2)Who is the god of this world? (2 Cor 4:4)
3)Who helps keep Paul humble? (2 Cor, 12:7)
4)Who teaches Paul not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20)

All done? You got an "A" of course, if every answer above is, as verified by the verses, .the devil! Don't get me wrong, the devil ain't good, but he works for God at the end of the day. Church folks don't get this. Bono gets it. As much as he hates, and campaigns against the devil's evil (and he and we should) …God uses evil. He wins. Satan is trumped and checkmated in the End. This is the full-orbed gospel.
Yes, these are the other shocking questions I love to ask at church gatherings. Did they work?


"This generation will be remembered for three things: the Internet, the war on terror, and how we let an entire continent go up in flames while we stood around with watering cans. Or not," Bono preached to evangelical congregations on his Africa awareness tour, hoping for crumbs from our generous spread and table. "Let me share with you a conviction," he often challenged a hushed church, " God is on his knees to the church on this one. God Almighty is on his knees to us, begging us to turn around the super tanker of indifference on the subject of AIDS."

He is right. Even though we can lean back on the lavish and wild sovereignty of God to work good out of evil, nowhere does that justify us doing nothing so that evil (temporarily) prevails because we know that it will (at the End) be vanquished. And there is enough evil and suffering in the world..and in us; we don't need to ask for any additional of either, even if we know they force us to grow....


C. S. Lewis, as previously mentioned, is such a lamppost...
Lewis was at his best at reminding us of eveything we should've known: there are not two gods, God and the devil, who have always existed and are opposites in the all-American "good guy, bad guy" scenario. This ridiculous theology, though, is often our default, unconscious understanding. Many evangelicals will actually suggest that the devil has always existed, and always been bad; forgetting that "Evil is only fallen good," and God made Lucifer; made him good; he simply chose to fall and attempt to claim God's throne.

That is Christianity; the "good and bad eternal opposite" jive is dualism, related to the hell of extreme Hellenism. But the radical monotheism of Christianity, by design is a one-God deal; and He so big that the buck stops with Him, meaning laments like "Jesus.. I know You're looking out for us..but "sometimes Your hands aren't free?" are doubts cased in honest faith, which can stand up in Gethsemane, Vertigo or hell-on-earth

mighty deeds

 Note: Matthew doesn't call them "miracles" or "signs"   

en Mighty Deeds

 In all JCC classes, we call these "mighty deeds"  In this article below, you'll see David Bauer calls them "mighty acts"/  What's interesting is Matthew calls them this, and not "miracles" (as some other writers do, or "signs" as (John's gospel does.)  This is in one sense a "drop-down box," but also is on purpose.  Any thoughts on why?

And what do the deeds witness to?  How is Jesus able to do these deeds?  What are they "signs" of/to?
From FPU faculty Camp/Robets:

It is time to consider one aspect of Jesus’ public ministry: the wonders & mighty deeds. This section in chapters 8-9 of Matthew comes immediately after the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5-7.  Traditionally, these acts have been called “miracles,” which potentially predisposes the reader toward a particular understanding that is not necessarily represented in the gospel.  Mark calls them “deeds of power.”  Luke calls them “deeds of power” and “paradoxes.”  John calls them “signs.”  Matthew calls them “wonders” and “mighty deeds.”  Each gospel differs in the number of stories they tell.  Matthew, Mark and Luke all have around 20, John only 7.  All have some which are unique to their gospel and some which appear in others.  As we learned this morning, each gospel is different.  Even in talking about the same event, the writers will emphasize different things.  By Matthew’s characteristic description of these actions as “wonders” or “mighty deeds,” one question to keep in mind is cui bono? or for whose benefit?  On one level, Jesus is serving and ministering to people.  On another level, throughout the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is constantly locked in a power struggle.  With whom is the conflict in these chapters?

Discussion: LOOK AT PAGE 9 at this link.

1.   What kind of mighty deed?

a.    Healing. Most are healings of physical disability (in all gospels around half of miracles are healings!)  The ailments are permanent and limiting; these are not healings of a common cold.

b.   Exorcisms.

c.    Resuscitations. (Explain not a resurrection, keep same body and will die again.)

d.    Other, misc., ‘nature’

2.   What is the context for the mighty deed?

A quick survey of settings should show there is no predictable place, person, or situation.

3.   How does Jesus perform the mighty deeds? (method)

Jesus’ method is difficult to categorize - sometimes touches, sometimes not, sometimes because asked, sometimes he seeks out, sometimes because of faith, (sometimes faith seems to result, but usually not in Matthew or other Synoptics). Jesus’ method is not formulaic. In thinking of healings and exorcisms today we often seem concerned over having the right formula, saying the right words. But there is no one formula or method that Jesus uses. At points it is hard to categorize or generalize about the mighty deeds, but Jesus has this enigmatic quality in general, so no real surprise.

4.   What is the response? (limit to recorded response in text)

a.    Varied

General reactions of the crowd are amazement, wonder, fear and glorifying God. Response of persons healed is to tell everyone they can find, even when Jesus has told them not to do so. After Jesus turns the water to wine John records “and his disciples believed in him.” What does this mean? Some of the mighty deeds involve demons, and upon their immediate recognition of Jesus as the Holy One of God Jesus silences them. The Pharisees, either when they see or hear about the mighty deeds, are incensed and counsel against him.

b.    Raise questions about who Jesus is (his identity)

What they reveal about his identity is that he has power from God—that is how he explains how he can do what he is doing, and that is why he is such a problem for the religious leaders (doing things only God or the power of God can do). Be careful, mighty deeds do NOT reveal Jesus’ divinity. Other people in the Bible do miracles and they are not divine (Moses, Elijah). And many would say mighty deeds and wonders happen today, but the person who God uses to make them happen is not thought divine, but is simply thought to have God’s power, being used by God.

5.   Why does Jesus perform this mighty deed? (Limit to purpose recorded in text, if any)

Jesus’ motivation is often left unassigned. We draw our own conclusions. Jesus responds to people who come to him and ask for healing, either verbally or by virtue of their being where he is. People are always bringing the sick and possessed to Jesus. It is NOT to draw crowds. Mighty deeds do bring the attention of the public, but this cannot be the primary reason, if it is a reason at all, because Jesus does some in private, silences some recipients, refuses to do them on command. The feeding of the 5000 happens because the crowd has gathered while listening to his teaching, not because he was doing mighty deeds. In general, Jesus does not seem overly concerned with PR. The relationship between faith and mighty deeds is complicated. That Jesus did these solely to generate faith is not an adequate answer when we look at these stories in Matthew—more often faith is a precondition rather than a result (in Synoptics).

6.  What does Matthew emphasize in the stories of Jesus’ “mighty deeds”?    

It is best to try to make sense of purpose in the broader context of each Gospel. Jesus’ mighty deeds are closely connected to the kingdom of heaven and to Jesus’ teaching/proclamation in Matthew. We mostly see Jesus teaching/preaching and doing mighty deeds together. They are presented as a manifestation of the kingdom. The kingdom is present in Jesus’ words and deeds. Faith is usually a precondition (vs. result) for miracles in the Synoptics. The connection between faith and struggle appears frequently in these stories. Faith is demonstrated when one who is seeking a mighty deed encounters a barrier and overcomes it.


Earlier in this course, the case was made that the miracles are connected with the first temptation that addresses whether the definition of wholeness in God’s kingdom is limited to physical well-being. The miracle narratives demonstrate clearly that Jesus responds to physical needs and that these are important. But it is also important to note that these accounts move beyond being limited to physical well-being to a fuller-orbed sense of wholeness (restored hand, can work; leper can be around people). Also, these reflect the limits of the Roman peace, the realities of malnutrition, difficult working settings which may lead to injury, no’ social services’ etc.

Why does Matthew tell us miracle stories about Jesus?

a. Jesus’ miracles are closely connected to Jesus’ teaching/proclamation in Matthew. We see Jesus teaching/preaching and doing miracles together mostly (summary statements that Jesus taught, preached, healed in 4.23-25, 9.35-38).

b. Faith is usually a precondition (vs. result) for miracles in Mt. 

c. Mt’s concern to show Jesus asfulfilling scripture is evident in the way he handles the miracle stories. Jesus’ healing ministry is underscored in Mt’s gospel (4.23; 9.35; 10.1, 7-8;  12.15-16; 14.14; 15.30; 10.2; 21.14-15), as healing is one of the most striking aspects of the prophcied messiah’s ministry.  Mt identifies specific prophecies as fulfilled via miracle in his gospel:  Mt 1:22-23 explains the virgin conception fulfills Is 7.14.  Mt 8.17 explains Jesus’ exorcisms and healings fulfill Is 53.4.  Jesus’ miracles in Mt 11.5 correspond to the miracles described in Is 29.18-19, 35.4-5, 61.1.

d. Miracles show God’s power and God’s kingdom

They show that Jesus is God’s anointed, that he has been anointed with God’s power/Spirit.

Jesus’miracles are one mode of God's assertion of the power of the kingdom.  The kingdom in fullness still future, but has become reality in J's words and works. 

What is striking about Jesus as a miracle worker is its de-emphasis.  It is debatable that we ever see Jesus perform a mighty deed to demonstrate his power for his own sake.  Miracles are performed for the restoration of the person and to the glory of God, rather than as proof of anything.  Jesus miracles are in fact generally recognized as glorifying God not Jesus, just as Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God not of himself.  The deeds are signs of the in-breaking of the kingdom, it is true, but they are not the only or "best" sign.  Striking is the restraint of the gospel writers in recording the miracles.  There is little made of them (they simply describe them and go on), and so one must conclude that while these deeds were one aspect of Jesus' ministry they were not its essence or climax.  The miracles are done as a sign of the kingdom of God breaking in, the reality of God's kingly rule present.

Jesus' miracles show God's power and God's kingdom.  How, in relationship to the 4 kinds of miracles we've identified in the gospels? 

i. resurrections show God's power over life and death.             

            ii. healings and exorcisms show God's power as well, and beyond that are unquestionably tied to the coming of the kingdom.  Isaiah talks about coming age of healing when kingdom comes in fullness all will have full healing.  Jesus heals some but not all--genuine manifestation of kingdom, of power of God, but not fullness.  J's mighty works aimed at restoration and release: leper was unclean, unable to mingle. body is healed but person also restored to fellowship with people. (J's table fellowship restores those who are outcast) woman with flow of blood is ritually unclean, cut off from all that is important in Judaism.  Demoniac is unable to relate, uncontainable.  Exorcism restores him to a state of mind which allows him to relate to people, relate to the community.  The kinds of cures in J's healing miracles  are restorative.  They heal conditions which were debilitating, limiting, marginalizing.  People are often made whole in a way that allows them back into the community, so that they are no longer unclean or no longer have to beg but may work and contribute.  The healings and exorcisms reveal the kingdom as an whole, inclusive community.

iii. The last category, of "misc" miracles is where the teaching connection is the most clear I think.  There is symbolic meaning in Jesus' miracles too--they are signs which reveal something about who Jesus is (the one who brings the kingdom) and about the shape of the kingdom itself.  These misc miracles have an "object lesson" quality I think.  Feeding of 5000, J is bread of life.  There is this symbolic thing in the miracles too, the place where the teaching of the kingdom is most visibly a part of what the miracles are accomplishing--Jesus teaching in word and deed, sometimes in these mighty miraculous works.
-by Camp/Roberts


kenosis (Greek word for self-emptying):


In thinking about  living selflessly like Jesus did...

fill in this blank:
The Scripture suggests that Jesus was able to do miracles, and have 

supernatural knowledge, because he was ___________.

Here are some answers students have given:

If you answered "God" ...
and not 'human (trusting in God)" on:

Some theologians call this "Spirit Christology" or "kenosis",  whether or not  this proposed theology is consistently true. If it is, it would almost move this question into the realm of "essential" doctrines, because it then provides the very key to how we are to live in relation to daily Christian life, walking in the power and possibilities of the Spirit; doing the "greater works than Jesus" that Jesus flatly and unapologetically predicted we would do. Now, not every proponent of "Spirit Christology" or "kenosis theology" is biblical or orthodox, so hear me when I say that I know I don't agree with everyone using these categories. The basic argument would be this; to put it bluntly, as one preacher did for shock value:

"Jesus did nothing on earth as God! "

Wow, better unpack that! Now, that statement doesn't have to imply He was not God.. He was, is and always will be fully God in my Book! It's just that He didn't. during His earthly ministry, anything out of His innate, inherent and intrinsic Godhood. He voluntarily surrendered the rights to use and access His God hood's attributes... such as omniscience, or power to do mighty miracles. Several
Scriptures come into play: John 5:19 and 30 offer that Jesus did nothing in and of Himself, but only did what the Father and Spirit told/led/empowered Him to do. Philippians 2:6-11 asserts that Jesus didn't take advantage of, or even access of the rights and power of His Godhood, which would be "robbery," and a violation of the whole point of His incarnation; His coming to earth. Instead of functioning out of His eternal power and prerogative as Almighty God, He "emptied Himself". A by-product of this, is as Hebrews affirms "Jesus know every temptation we have endured by His own experience" (2:18 and 4:15). I also love to shock congregations by asking "When Jesus did miracles on earth, how was He able to do those miracles?" Well-trained evangelicals of course automatically answer, "Because He was God!" When actually, that may be the wrong answer all together. Of course He was God, no debate. But the only Scriptural answer to "How did He do those miracles?" is "in the power of the Spirit". And witness Matt. 12:28: He cast out demons; not because He was God and could do so, but as a human "by the power of the Spirit." Thus, that is the "key" key, crucial catch, and ancient but overlooked secret as to how we, mere humans, are to do the same works He did, even greater. (Jesus said that, not me. Blame Him: John 14:12) 

Answer: We do them through "checking in" with the same Father Jesus checked in with while on earth; and trusting,...radically; to the point where the supernatural almost becomes natural and norm... the same Spirit Jesus trusted. (Note Jesus, a few sentences later, suggests that is His secret, and ours. He simply passes the torch to us, but not without the sharing the same equipping Holy Spirit: verses 16-17).Such deep trust and dependency doesn't make us Jesus, of course, but they do position us to trust the timing and voice of the Father, and prompting and power of the Spirit, as radically as Jesus did...with similar and "even greater" results! If JESUS never did anything in and of Himself (John 5:19 and 30), who do we think WE are?

When Jesus asked, in Mark 5:30, "Who touched me?," did He mean it, or was this a test? If "Spirit Christology" is true, one could answer the former, without sacrificing an iota of essential, foundational evangelical theology. When Jesus said even He (Matthew 24:36) did not know the day or hour of His return, was that a lie?. No, and this "lack of knowledge" on the part of a member of the all-knowing Trinity poses no problem. I would propose that He knows now, but He chose not to know on earth. This was all part of His modeling a complete self-emptying. This, though, is core to my third question:" How consistent and complete is this theology.? Did Jesus ever do anything 'on earth as God', even though He was God? And Lord, is this profound truth so profound that to miss it allows us to miss the 'normal' life you have intended for us?"

Whatever the ultimate answer to this question the Lord would give me, the bottom line question I keep hearing in the meantime. and "real time" is haunting: "Have I yet trusted as completely and recklessly as I could in the leading of the Father and the power of the Sprit? I almost don't even care if I do a greater work or not, I just want to be found faithful, and be an answer to Jesus' wild and waiting prophecy of John 14:12. 

I love Dwight Edwards' penetrating, "must-be- wrestled- with" self-questions :

1. What have I done recently that could not be duplicated by an unbeliever, no matter how hard they tried?

2.What blatant evidence of the supernatural God has leaked out of my life?

Questions indeed!

Craig Keener on miracles:  


Extra credit?

Remember, when we talk about tHE Kingdom in the Bible

the Kingdom that

  • Kingdom of     God
  • Kingdom of     heaven

is itself a drop-down-box.

Both refer to the same reality.

You  may remember from your reading why the two terms, and why only Matthew uses the first.

In fact, the first person to post in the comments below this post the reason why wins a prize,


Luke 11: not "be shameless in prayer," but "God is shameless, so pray!"

On the "friend at midnight" parable in Luke 11:

  ....The next phrase carries all the weight of the story.  The neighbor will rise because of his anaideia.  Two mysteries must be solved.  First, who does "his" refer to--the neighbor or the host?  Traditional interpretations point to the surprised host--but the Greek text is ambiguous.  Second, what is the meaning of anaideia? This is undoubtedly what motivates someone in the story to act.

Notice how the NIV interprets the passage for us:  "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness,  he will surely get up and give him as much as he needs."  The NIV inserts the words "the man's" to point to the host as the subject of "his."  The TNIV barely improves this by inserting the word "your"...but this is not in  the original text either.  Furthermore, the NIV translates anaideia  as "boldness"--the host is bold in his request--as the key to gaining needed bread...(Fortunately the TNIV provides a footnote that straightens this out).  Many scholars today believe that "his" does not refer to the host but to the neighbor in bed...

...Added to this...traditional translators have said that anaideia   means "shameless" or "persistent" (hence "bold") and that it is the virtue belonging to the surprised host.  But this sense of the word only comes much later than the first century.  In Greek,  anaideia       (or its adjective   aidos   ) means "shame" and the prefix   an  negates it.  Thus   anaideia   means "shameless" or "without shame."

In the Middle Eastern cultural context shame is the very thing you sought  to avoid with all your life.  Honor--the absence of shame--was the attribute for which you wished to be known.....Therefore we might easily say that someone in the story is a person in whom there is no shame, someone of honor, someone who recognizes and protects his good name.

Now suddenly Jesus' story takes on new meaning. "Yet because of his lack of shame he will rise and give him..."  The parable is focused entirely on the neighbor in bed!...Let's attempt a paraphrase: 

I tell you, the sleeping neighbor will not get up and give his friend the bread because they are friends.  The neighbor will get up and give fresh bread because he is a man of honor--a man who will not bring shame to himself or his village
Suddenly Jesus' story takes on a new theme.  Fresh bread for a surprise visitor will come through the door not because of the nature of the request or the relationship with the neighbor.  This confident request is anchored to the honor of the neighbor in bed...

In Jesus' view,  prayer (as requests from God) may be made confidently not because of who we are--but because of who he is..

Our confidence that this is the correct interpretation is if we keep reading Luke 11:9-13.  Jesus is still explaining his view about prayer.

Jesus encourages us to ask, seek and knock because these requests will be met by a God who is good.  pp 38-40,   Gary M. Burge, Jesus, The Middle Eastern Storyteller

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