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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

In the gospel of Luke we read of the genealogy of  Jesus. Adam was the son of God. (Lk.3:38). God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living soul. God is a Spirit. (Jn4:23). The significance of God in endowing man with his breath is a kind of regeneration. Man’s innate ability to access the spirit within is a faculty whereby he can take measure of the times as well as his kind. “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (1 Co.2:11-NIV)”. We are to honor him in spirit as well as in truth. Fall of Adam lay in that he let neither his faculty to know spirit of God or truth of God override his own will. In one sense he was of God but by his action ie disobedience he let the spirit of Satan beguile him.. In one passage we read how Peter offended his master and he rebuked  by calling him Satan. What is he but a liar and false accuser. In not acknowledging truth that Jesus represented and by obstructing his mission with misplaced sympathy he was letting Satan get the better of him. Anyone who refuses truth and truth from being made manifest is of Satan   ‘..For thou savourest not the things that be of God but those that be of men (Mt.16:23). When Calvin say salvation is not for everyone to hope for but for some, is it from reading of the Word with the spirit of man or with the spirit of God?

We need to remember that the selfsame apostle of Jesus astonished him by correctly referencing him from where he came. What did Jesus say then?Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven (Mt.16-17-NIV). Peter’s confession affixed his faith when he uttered it. Tongue is a small member but what you say and how you say it brings your whole being, -body, soul and spirit is put on the line. Tongue is a symbol serving as a sign for believer. With this we confess unto salvation. By same token unto damnation. Why Satan is a great deceiver or a Liar? It is by mouth he gives a false slant to holy things. Remember how concerned he was for Jesus after he fasted 40 days? He quoted from the Psalms and he wanted to make Jesus fall. But no, Jesus would have none of it. It was the same false solicitude that prompted Peter to tell Jesus “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!(Mt.16-22-NIV)”

God is a Spirit and when God sent his Son the spirit that worked in him was the spirit of Christ (that of the overcomer). It is with such spirit he could remain his beloved Son, true to  the voice from heaven that testified it. He was indeed the beloved one. Spirit provides for every child of God the selfsame spirit with which to overcome the world. If Peter could confess the truth he also stands in danger of being beguiled by Satan. Indwelling spirit is our guarantee that we shall draw strength from study of the Word. It is part of the armory of God our Redeemer Lord has put at our disposal. It is with which we overcome the world. Instead what do we see in a phenomenon of modern times? Prosperity theology is a sign of it. This feel-good Christianity in which having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof reveals what spirit is working in them. Gift of God is indeed provided for the whole world (whosoever believes in him Jn.3:16) but we are to make sure we are indeed the elect. The over-comers are the saints foreordained for glory and it is what St Paul qualifies as ‘mystery of his will’. This is the efficacy of the atoning work of Jesus Christ whose fulness stamps us as such. We are through him part of Alpha and Omega.

Benny

(text a reprint from Guide to His Word)

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DL Moody (1837-1899)  USA

evangelist

In his time he was a well known evangelist whose indefatigable life mission to bring Christ to folks was a milestone in the American social history. While the Gilded Age burnished the materialism at end of a spectrum his fundamentalism was as plain as a hair-shirt. Moody often spoke to audiences of ten thousand to twenty thousand people. He presented the plan of Salvation, by voice or pen, to at least one hundred million people. One historian, obviously critical of both the excesses of the Gilded Age and evangelists like Moody, wrote: “There was revivalist Moody, bearded and reckless, with his two hundred and eighty pounds of Adam’s flesh, every ounce of which belonged to God.”

 

Moody was born in 1837, a few months before Queen Victoria began her reign, and he died in December, 1899, just nine days before the turn of the century.

Moody was not only a product of his age, but also a herald of a new one. He pioneered techniques of evangelism that remain largely unchanged today. He proclaimed a new eschatology of *pre-millennialism and fostered a new ecumenical spirit.

As one ponders Moody’s deprived, rural boyhood, his career as an evangelist and educator, and his role as a father, he was a man of the people for the people and it was their salvation was all that mattered.

Moody had no formal theological training and only the doubtful equivalent of a fourth- or fifth-grade education. Although he said he read the works of the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Moody did not read widely. What he learned from others he learned in conversation. At age 18, when he attempted to join a Congregational Church, he failed a simple test of Bible knowledge administered by the deacons. Moody’s education was, by most standards, inadequate: he never went to college or seminary, nor was he ever ordained as a clergyman. He spelled phonetically, so his adult letters and sermon outlines abounded in spelling errors, as well as grammatical ones.

If Moody’s education was inadequate, other aspects of his childhood did equip him for his future career. His humble beginnings meant that as an adult he never lost touch with common folk; he disliked pretense or deference toward those of higher social position. From his mother’s heroic efforts to hold the family together, Moody learned the virtues of thrift, hard work, and close family ties. From her he also acquired tenderheartedness. As an adult he repeatedly broke into tears upon realizing that he had unwittingly hurt or offended someone. His public apologies to the offended person were profuse and sincere.

“I want to be frank with you, Mr. Moody,” one of his listeners once told him. “I want you to know that I do not believe in your theology.”

“My theology!” Moody exclaimed. “I didn’t know that I had any. I wish you would tell me what my theology is.” (Christianity Today, Stanley N. Gundry)

*pre-millennialism is the doctrine that the prophesied millennium of blessedness will begin with the imminent Second Coming of Christ.

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St. Augustine And The Heretic.

Aurelius Augustinus of Tagaste, North Africa was won over from his dissolute ways when he and a friend of his were holidaying and they heard a neighbor child singing a refrain,’ Tolle Lige, Tolle Lige,”(Take up and read, Take up and read). He took it up as divine guidance and read from the book of Romans wherein St. Paul’s admonition,” make not provision for the flesh,” made a deep impact to win him over from his hedonistic way of life. At that moment his friend who also heard the child did not think it anything special.
That moment nevertheless was a turning point: one going on to become the father of medieval Roman Catholicism and the other, a heretic. When the latter was at the death- bed the saint went to see him. The heretic resisted a last minute conversion saying that while Aurelius found God whose grace was irresistible he found quite something else. When the venerable Bishop asked him to spell out what he meant he merely quoted his friend’s dictum:” In essentials, unity; in non- essentials, liberty and in all things charity.” When pressed further he said, ” Allow me to die as a heretic; we both were searching for the same- we both, so I believe, found what we searched for. Heresy or liberty? Neither you nor I have time to convince the other as to the opposite. So I shall not, either in this life or in any other.”
Time presses us to shape our belief-systems in the indistinct runoff of certainties and what seem coincidences. These also switch roles. Thus what seeemed a sure thing proves to be flash in the pan. History is replete with such paradoxes.
benny

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“We’re going to show you how to get wealth and use it for the building of his kingdom,” Ephren Taylor shouted to the congregation one morning in 2009. It was all part of what he called his “Building Wealth Tour,” which crisscrossed the country touting his investments and financial advice.
But according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, what Taylor was actually peddling was a giant Ponzi scheme, one aimed to “swindle over $11 million, primarily from African-American churchgoers,” that reached into churches nationwide, from Atlanta to Houston.
But Taylor has disappeared, hiding out from lawsuits, federal charges and angry, mostly African-American, investors in at least 40 states.
I mentioned Atlanta first. This is where Pastor Eddy Long was introducing Ephren Taylor to the congregation at the New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was Pastor Eddie Long’s home turf and he was selling him.
“Everything he says is based on the word of God,” Long pledged to the members of his megachurch. But Taylor wasn’t a visiting minister. He was a financial adviser, one who claimed to have made his first million before he turned 18. And he promised he could do the same for his fellow Christians.It would seem Pastor Long was an interested party either to fleece his own congregation or trying to make them all multimillionaires. Is the pulpit the place for hawking Mammon’s goons or goods? In the New Testament Jesus made whipcords and drove moneychangers out of the temple. Now that wealth has got into the hearts and mind of pastors they even hobnob with scammers and scalpers. I wonder what makes them think if one lays hands on the Word one ought not think anything less than the language of billions? How can they build a congregation? Here we see they have led their flock astray and driven them into desperate situations.

Taylor was busy in Houston where Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was another hunting ground and there also he found souls whose life savings were for taking.
“He quoted scriptures,” said Lillian Wells, who met privately with Taylor in 2009 after hearing him speak at New Birth.
Wells said Taylor convinced her to invest her entire life savings in a North Carolina-based real estate venture called City Capital Corporation, which he claimed was turning around homes in inner cities. In exchange, she was promised a 20 percent return on her money.
But, Wells said, when she wanted to recoup her initial investment, Taylor disappeared. “I couldn’t get a hold of anybody,” Wells said. “You just can’t get them. That’s it. You just couldn’t get anybody.”
With her retirement savings gone, Wells is now trying to save her home from foreclosure. She said she’s not sure if she will ever get her money back, but she wants to see Taylor held accountable.
“We’re suffering because of what he did.
In God we trust. But don’t ever trust those who speak of building wealth in His name. God doesn’t need fools to create wealth for His children, least of all pastors who are not qualified for it.
benny

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Roman road system

Via Appia is the crowning achievement among transportation network of the ancient Mediterranean world, extending from Britain to the Tigris-Euphrates river system and from the Danube River to Spain and northern Africa. In all, the Romans built 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of hard-surfaced highway, primarily for military reasons.
The first of the great Roman roads, the Via Appia (Appian Way), begun in 312 bce, originally ran southeast from Rome 162 miles (261 km) to Tarentum (now Taranto) and was later extended to the Adriatic coast at Brundisium (now Brindisi).
Their numerous feeder roads extending far into the Roman provinces led to the proverb “All roads lead to Rome.”

Via Appia today
The Roman roads were notable for their straightness, solid foundations, cambered surfaces facilitating drainage, and use of concrete made from pozzolana (volcanic ash) and lime. Though adapting their technique to materials locally available, the Roman engineers followed basically the same principles in building abroad as they had in Italy..
The Roman road system made possible Roman conquest and administration and later provided highways for the great migrations into the empire and a means for the diffusion of Christianity. (Of this I shall come to by and by.)
In 73 BC, a slave revolt (known as the Third Servile War) under the ex-gladiator of Capua, Spartacus, began against the Romans. Slavery accounted for roughly every third person in Italy.
Spartacus defeated many Roman armies in a conflict that lasted for over two years. While trying to escape from Italy at Brundisium he unwittingly moved his forces into the historic trap in Apulia/Calabria. The Romans were well acquainted with the region. Legions were brought home from abroad and Spartacus was pinned between armies. Many men escaped into the mountains. Only a thousand Romans died. Six thousand of the fleeing slaves were captured by Pompey’s troops and crucified along the Appian Way, from Capua to Rome. Spartacus’ body was not found.
It was Rome’s brutal message to any one who thought of overstepping the limit.
The road that the Romans built like the Silk Road will lose its importance in time. But what it carried across endures long after these physical,geographical realities.
Note:
In 1919 the Spartacists took their inspiration from Spartacus. Spartacus was an idea.
The Spartacist’s had extreme left wing political views. This group split from the SPD (Independent Socialists) in frustration at the SPD’s role within Government. The leaders of the Communist party were Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht. The aims of the Spartacist’s were outlined in their Manifesto:
The Spartacist Manifesto 1918
The question today is not democracy or dictatorship… Rather, it means using all instruments of political power to achieve socialism, to expropriate the capitalist class, through and in accordance with the will of the revolutionary majority of the proletariat.
On January 1st, 1919, members of the Spartacist movement rose in an attempted revolution. Initially this move was opposed by both Liebnecht and Luxemburg, the leaders of the movement. The newly formed Weimar Government reacted promptly, and brutally. The army was deployed to bring the revolution to an end, and these were aided by the Frei Corps, a paramilitary group consisting of former servicemen. Order had been restored to the streets of Berlin by the 13th of January. Both Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht were killed whilst in police custody.( http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk-spartacistuprising)
To recap:
Like real people roads also carry their significance. The Silk Road was a highway for exchange of ideas, transfusion of cultures between east and the west. In the concluding post I shall write about via Appia as a facilitator of European history.
(To be concluded)

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II
trade carried ideas,culture route-religions,Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

This region along the Silk Road was taken over by Alexander the Great of Macedon, who finally conquered the Iranian empire, and colonised the area in about 330 B.C., superimposing the culture of the Greeks. Although he only ruled the area until 325 B.C., the effect of the Greek invasion was quite considerable.

By the third century B.C., the area had already become a crossroads of Asia, where Persian, Indian and Greek ideas met. This `crossroads’ region, covering the area to the south of the Hindu Kush and Karakorum ranges, now Pakistan and Afghanistan, was overrun by a number of different peoples. After the Greeks, the tribes from Palmyra, in Syria, and then Parthia, to the east of the Mediterranean, took over the region. They had adopted the Greek language and coin system in this region, introducing their own influences in the fields of sculpture and art.
The most significant commodity carried along this route was not silk, but religion. Buddhism came to China from India this way, along the northern branch of the route. The Eastern Han emperor Mingdi is thought to have sent a representative to India to discover more about this strange faith, and further missions returned bearing scriptures, and bringing with them monks and it is pertinent to note that the Himalayan Massif, an effective barrier between China and India made Buddhism in China more derived from the Gandhara culture by the bend in the Indus river, rather than directly from India.
Christianity also made an early appearance on the scene. The Nestorian sect was outlawed in Europe by the Roman church in 432 A.D., and its followers were driven eastwards. From their foothold in Northern Iran, merchants brought the faith along the Silk Road, and the first Nestorian church was consecrated at Changan in 638 A.D. This sect took root on the Silk Road, and survived many later attempts to wipe them out, lasting into the fourteenth century.
The height of the importance of the Silk Road was during the Tang dynasty, with relative internal stability in China after the divisions of the earlier dynasties since the Han. The 754 A.D. census showed that five thousand foreigners lived in the city; Turks, Iranians, Indians and others from along the Road, as well as Japanese, Koreans and Malays from the east. Many were missionaries, merchants or pilgrims, but every other occupation was also represented. Rare plants, medicines, spices and other goods from the west were to be found in the bazaars of the city. After the Tang, however, the traffic along the road subsided.
It was at this time that the rise of Islam started to affect Asia, with the Moslems playing the part of middlemen. The sea route to China was explored at this time, and the `Sea Silk Route’ was opened, eventually holding a more important place than the land route itself.
But the final shake-up that occurred was to come from a different direction; the hoards from the grasslands of Mongolia.
(to be continued)

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Rise of humans on the earth is a chronicle of mass migrations. Among these a road is surely a consequence of choices people make to reach their destination. In times of famine they sought places where food was in abundance. Later trade between peoples connected by roads. Road is the straight line between two points where geography has a say. In terms of geography we consider unfordable rivers, lakes and insurmountable mountains as features that stretch roads about. Of these we shall look at two roads in particular. These serve as locus for entire history of Europe and Asia to fan out. It brought about changes that none could have realized. Silk Road is one and the other is Appian Way which includes Roman road system as one whole.

The region separating China from Europe and Western Asia has Taklimakan desert, known as `Land of Death’; caravans throughout history have skirted its edges, from one isolated oasis to the next. The land surrounding the Taklimakan is equally hostile. To the northeast lies the Gobi desert, almost as harsh in climate as the Taklimakan itself; on the remaining three sides lie some of the highest mountains in the world. To the South are the Himalaya, Karakorum and Kunlun ranges, which provide an effective barrier separating Central Asia from the Indian sub-continent. Only a few icy passes cross these. Coming from the west or south, the only way in is over the passes.
On the eastern and western sides of the continent, the civilisations of China and the West developed. The western end of the trade route appears to have developed earlier than the eastern end, principally because of the development of the empires in the west, and the easier terrain of Persia and Syria.
In the west, the Greek empire was taken over by the Roman Empire. It is often thought that the Romans had first encountered silk in one of their campaigns against the Parthians in 53 B.C, and realised that it could not have been produced by this relatively unsophisticated people. The Romans obtained samples of this new material, and it quickly became very popular in Rome, for its soft texture and attractiveness. They reputedly learnt from Parthian prisoners that it came from a mysterious tribe in the east, who they came to refer to as the silk people, `Seres’. The Parthians quickly realised that there was money to be made from trading the material, and sent trade missions towards the east just as Rome sent their own agents out to explore the route, and to try to obtain silk at a lower price. In short this trade route to the East was seen by the Romans, as a route for silk rather than the other goods that were traded.

The name `Silk Road’ itself does not originate from the Romans, however, but is a nineteenth century term, coined by the German scholar, von Richthofen. The description of this route to the west as the `Silk Road’ is somewhat misleading. Firstly, no single route was taken; crossing Central Asia several different branches developed, passing through different oasis settlements. The routes all started from the capital in Changan, headed up the Gansu corridor, and reached Dunhuang on the edge of the Taklimakan.
In addition to silk, the route carried many other precious commodities. Caravans heading towards China carried gold and other precious metals, ivory, precious stones, and glass, which was not manufactured in China until the fifth century. In the opposite direction furs, ceramics, jade, bronze objects, lacquer and iron were carried. Many of these goods were bartered for others along the way, and objects often changed hands several times. There are no records of Roman traders being seen in Changan, nor Chinese merchants in Rome, though their goods were appreciated in both places. ( To be Cont’d)

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