Saturday 26 March 2016

The End of the End by Kay Fairchild EASTER CLARIFIED

The BIRTH of death was the fall of Adam (at least in our minds). The DEATH of death was Christ's resurrection. We do not normally rejoice in a death, but this is a death in which we do rejoice. The reason for saying that is because death is not a friend but the Scriptures say that it is an enemy. Yes, God receives the spirit of a person who dies, but God is not the One who brings death. I Corinthians 15:26 says that the last ENEMY that shall be destroyed is death. The word 'destroyed' means, to render useless and powerless. Many today believe that this is only relevant after one dies physically, that the spirit of the person lives on; and of course I agree, but there is so much more to the truth of the matter at hand. What we fail to understand is that our Father sees us as one. He does not view us as spirit, and soul, and body. He has declared the end from the beginning. He sees heaven (our spirit) and earth (our body) as one. I Thessalonians 5:23 in the Amp says that we have been redeemed through and through. We are the Body of Christ through and through. I John 3:8 says that 'for this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy (render useless and powerless) the works of the devil'.
Death thought it had Jesus beaten, but death was only on life-support and on death row until the resurrection.

The works being, sin, sickness, poverty and death. If Jesus destroyed all manner of sin, then He destroyed all manner of death. When we see people raising the dead in the O.T. as well as in the N. T. that is a picture to us that death has NO POWER! If death has any power, no one, including Jesus, could have raised anyone from the dead. We are commissioned in the Gospel to go forth and raise the dead as well. Until we realize that death and sickness have no power we will never be able to fulfill that commission. Hebrews 2:9 says that by the grace of God Jesus tasted (experienced and became) death for EVERY man. Philippians 2:8 says that Jesus was found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Death thought it had Jesus beaten, but death was only on life-support and on death row until the resurrection. Why? Because death has never had any power! Jesus came to reveal that fact to us in His resurrection. Everything that Jesus did in all of His incarnational events revealed what was already true about every man.
Romans 6:9-11 says, "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: BUT in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. LIKEWISE (just like Jesus) RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." So since He defeated death once and then was raised with a glorified, immortal, indestructible, imperishable body, and since Romans 6:11 said that the same thing happened to US, we must begin to discern the body and see that our bodies are spirit slowed down to visibility, and it always was. Jesus came to reveal that reality in all of His incarnational events including His death, burial and resurrection! Most people are waiting to experience this AFTER they die in their body, but Romans 8:17 says that when He was glorified in His body at the resurrection we also were glorified TOGETHER WITH Him! Why do we put off until a future date what we have today? Hope deferred makes the heart sick the Word tells us. Our hope is not in our future, but we have and are (because He is as us) the living hope according to I Peter 1:3.

The resurrection of Christ reveals to us that we have always been SPIRIT slowed down to visibility or tangibility. I look at my body as being just as spirit (sorry if that offends some) as my spirit is. The resurrection also shows us that He has always been the health of our bodies. The stripes Jesus bore on His back was to remind us of that reality. In the resurrection I hear the words: "Who told you that you were a sinner, who told you that death has power, who told you that you were ever perishing, who told you that you were naked and ever unrighteous--who told you all of those lies about yourself?" Colossians 1:21 says that we were alienated (had a sense of separation) and enemies (sinners) IN OUT MIND! Jesus' death and resurrection reveals something totally different unto us. It reveals to us that we were NEVER separate, nor sinners, nor perishing, nor unrighteous, nor unholy; only in our minds were we that, and therefore we lived out of the SENSE of the adamic life. Several years ago after my husband passed away I had an inner vision of people who died in their physical bodies, and when they came in contact with the full-blown light and life of God they had the thought: "Wow, my body was redeemed all along, but no one ever told me that!" How sad it is that most are waiting for something ELSE to happen, when the resurrection was the most powerful event that ever happened, or ever will happen, revealing the greatest reality of all about all mankind! HE IS RISEN, AS US!

Tuesday 22 March 2016


From John's blogpost which he then posted in Church of Brotherly Love , a group on Facebook particularly for recovering addicts:

The words I write are not words that are made up to encourage thinking. I wish them to be words that pick a person up and hurl that person into the spiritual realm. That person is me and that person is you. I see God as being my friend. I see Him as someone who visits with me. He is in my heart as a son is in the heart of a father and a father is in the heart of his son. God shows up in my life. And it is in the strangest ways. He is not on my time clock either. He shows up when He wants to. Through the laughter and joy of others. Through nature. Through my need. I often wonder "Why are things the way they are?" And then I think "Why wouldn't life be the way that it is?" Within the craziness of this world I do believe in God and I know that He is love. It is a privilege just to wait on Him. To wait upon His presence. I need to learn more of waiting on Him
My life experiences have been both good and bad. I can relate to the illnesses of others ad I can relate to their highest achievements as well. Through the years I have slept on the doorsteps of death and life. God has engulfed me on both ends. And I have thanked Him on both fronts. I have been given the opportunity to call on Him and have I learned the true joy that comes through Him. I long for His sweetness. I wait for the opening of my eyes to the glimpses of His glory. It is the meaningful moments I live for. The moments that God hands His goodness over to me so that I may share it with others.

A radical change has happened in the heart of the man that has accepted God. We have a change in perspective because we have been born again. We are a “new man”. This new man is nothing like the "old man" that we have become so acquainted with. I have grown to understand the fact that many aspects of dysfunction end on God's terms. Dysfunction has lost its power when squared up against His truth. We have been gifted with the knowledge of who we are in God as a member of His family.
I am sharing my discoveries with you in the words I write. They are not merely words. You would share yours with me if given a chance as well. When we share with one another God moves through us. When good energy is passed back and forth it is of God. God is moving among us. We will find ourselves sharing and growing with one another. My suggestion is that you keep your mind wide open for things that sound different and even ridiculous to the natural mind. To love mankind by way of the Jesus Christ and His cross is different because it focuses on the truth of what really changes a person. And we are human BEings . Accepting the death and resurrection of Christ is our baseline. It breaks the power of our own thinking and gives us the love of God.
I believe that we are always on the verge of new and great awakenings. We are awakened by the touch of God. But we fall into deep sleep at times. And we are in need of another touch. Like a gentle mother, He rubs our cheeks awaiting opening eyes and a smile. God is bringing us to the place of eternal expression where the moments of life all blend into forever, where we are surrounded by our family, and where the deepest pain in our hearts is soothed by His unspeakable love.

Monday 21 March 2016

The Last Reformation Movie

In August 2014, Torben Søndergaard and filmmaker Lebo Akatio were traveling to the USA for a discipleship training weekend. On the way, they felt God spoke to them to make a movie. Not just a short movie that would simply show the trip – but a big, feature-length movie. A movie that would show how the church is in need for a new reformation. When they arrived in the USA, they bought the necessary equipment and started the work. During that trip and the trips that followed, they were able to capture impressive miracles and things that had never been shown in any movie before. The message is also quite different from similar movies that are out there. This movie will be part one of a series of three and the work for the second movie has already begun.

Friday 18 March 2016

Meditation under scrutiny

I believe meditation is spiritual.
Should we do it?
God's Word commands us to meditate on His Word.
We are to meditate on God through the Holy Spirit.
When we gather in the Name of Jesus, this actually means very little in the leftbrain frontal cortex, or a critical mind, but in the other parts of our mind, like love itself it means an awful lot.
For this is how we keep in step with our Living Lord.

I do not advocate blanking your mind.
But Jesus talks about us "shutting our door" and going into our inner room to meet with our father in secret. And what better way to describe the process of meditation within the safe confines of God's Presence..

There are some alarming manifestations in this radio piece on TM.

I think as Christians it is too easy to just say......AHA.....that means it's the devil then.

But the Dark Night of the Soul is mentioned, and also a death experience.

I know in a Christian context these are different forms of death to self experiences, or death to control, or death to the delusion that we are self run beings, self run gods.   All very real. I do not know enough about the other contexts.

But clearly Western people should know a lot more, and not least the health professionals.

I believe this radio programme is vital listening to readers of this blog, and have made it available to those outside the listening window of the UK.

Monday 14 March 2016

Move in the Three Self Churches of China

State-Controlled Churches
George Thomas
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CHINA -- You're about to hear first-hand testimony  of an unprecedented Christian revival happening in parts of China. What is unique about this story is how God is moving among communist-controlled government churches.

CBN News traveled to southern China and obtained exclusive, never-before-seen images, from inside these churches.

When God Shows Up in a Communist Church

It's Thursday evening in Fujian Province, southeast China. Scores of men and women are dancing, waving flags, blowing shofars, singing and worshipping God.

You might think these images come from a charismatic service in the United States. But they're not. This is communist, and officially still atheist China.

And what Duan Huilai says is remarkable about this scene is that it's happening in an officially government-controlled congregation known as Three-Self Church.

"Dramatic changes are happening," Duan told CBN News. "God is moving in a powerful way inside these Three-Self Churches."

Duan and his wife have witnessed this move first-hand. Both are evangelists and have for several years crisscrossed the Chinese countryside documenting the Holy Spirit's move among Three-Self Churches.

"The most amazing thing is that the Lord is raising up God-loving people in these churches -- so many brothers and sisters who love God deeply and want to serve Him," Duan said.

Signs and Wonders Now Allowed

Pastor Duan says what is happening today in Beijing and in other parts of China as it relates to the powerful move of God amongst the Three-Self Churches is quite remarkable considering where the church has been in the last 30 years.

"Every sermon that the pastor preached back then had to be vetted by the government authorities. Young people were never allowed to attend these churches so you'd only see old people, mostly women," Duan said. "Preaching about the power of the Holy Spirit was forbidden. You couldn't talk about end times or preach repentance."

Topics on healings, miracles, signs and wonders were out of the question. Not anymore.

"Nowadays people have accepted these topics," Duan said.

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Check out the original article
Two main types of churches exist in China: registered and unregistered. Registered congregations, also known as Three-Self Churches, are government-approved.

Unregistered, sometimes called underground or house churches, operate outside government control, and for decades faced intense persecution. And with that persecution came tremendous growth.

Three-Self Churches on the other hand never experienced that kind of explosive growth. Until now.

"Now there's big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches," Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China's capital city.

Communist Encounters Christ

Zhao is one of China's foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.

"If you go to Haidian Church, you'll find yourself in a more than 100-meter line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there are usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!" he shared.

Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years.

"There's an increasing proportion of them in churches now -- more young male believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended."

Love Camp

Back at the Thursday night meeting in Fujian Province, folks have gathered for a four-day event affectionately called "Love Camp"

"Love Camp aims to help the believer grow in their faith walk and get closer to God," Sun Rengui told CBN News one evening.

Sun is a pastor and leads the camp. He says the idea came 12 years ago when he says the Holy Spirit one day showed up while he was preaching at the Three-Self Church he pastors here.

"We were in the middle of the service; suddenly everyone at the church felt the Holy Spirit anointing fall. Some couldn't stand straight, others fell down. Some were dizzy and nauseous. When the worship began, people started crying. After the service, some were being healed. I saw demons being chased away from people's bodies."

Pastor Sun says his church had never experienced anything like it.

"We were seeing something unprecedented. We had no theological training in the move of the Holy Spirit. This was completely new for us," he said.

Word quickly spread.

"We were one of the first churches to experience this in the area. Soon, leaders from other churches came to us and were eager to receive the Holy Spirit. Later they also started witnessing the Holy Spirit's move as well," Pastor Sun said.

But it wasn't without controversy.

"People doubted if this was real. There was even conflict among my church staff," Sun said. "But as time passed, more people accepted the power of the Holy Spirit."

Transformed Lives

Twelve years later, Pastor Sun says the impact of the Holy Spirit's move is seen in the transformed lives of church members.

"Our cell groups are expanding, more people are attending church, and more people are going outside the church walls into society to share the Gospel."

The church runs two orphanages and two elderly care centers, and twice a year puts on the Love Camp.

"We have four goals in this camp: to evangelize people, strengthen the family, disciple believers and encourage other Three-Self Churches to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit."

For Pastor Duan and his wife, this is evidence that God is doing something special in the world's most populous nation.

"I was speaking in Shandong, Henan and Zhejiang recently. Around 8,000 people joined the meeting. Last Christmas, I was speaking at a Three-Self Church in Yuhuan and I was amazed there were 12,000 people," Duan exclaimed with joy.

They, Dr. Zhao and countless others say they feel honored to play a part in helping more Chinese turn to Jesus Christ.

"The number of Christians in China is growing rapidly. It means Christ is starting to play an active role in China's society and that's good in many ways," Zhao said.

Saturday 12 March 2016

The next big transition

In the last big transition coming out of the devastation of 60s modern denominationalism....God never organised a forum to answer each and every question....but it was a movement of those who had recently been baptised in the Spirit. We had a linear relationship with this new.level and within our current churches bunches of Spiritfilled people would meet/share together/ pray/share daily lives as friends....but it took the apostolic Word to.say.....yes.....but what are you? Little subfellowships or the Church of the Living God? Jesus had always been clear these are the sons of God those who follow the Spirit of God. So like the Pentecostals some 50 years beforehand we trekked out to discover life as churches of Spiritfilled believers.....or the nature of some.churches that had been denominational changed quite radically like.for.example Old Town Baptist church and Farnham Baptist.....And Chorleywood and Holy Brompton Anglican churches. Many Catholic churches too. Ruth Heflin adopted and frequently visited the Nutborne Catholic Bible School here nearby. Now I am aware those with insight into Catholicism and Rome will be horrified.......but you know what......????? At whatever level of infrastructure you may have noticed God kind of winks while.we are in Romans 3 to 5 in our walk. You see while in our day to day walk we continue in the independent self it doesn't make a whole hill of beans difference what infrastructure surrounds us.....we are.still in that whole realm of inner seeing that Jesus says is.......if the Light within you is Darkness then imagine how.great is the Darkness. And we.can even change our leftbrain theology somewhat as the new churches have done, but the fruit of our inner believing seaps out. And it's the same fruit as ever. Catholics and Baptists both divorce. Kids both grow up jaded by their.parents Christianity and leave all form of religion.Whether or.old. Actually you can even be a thirdleveller like Jesus and don't immediately recognise you. But they weren't driven away by his sin at least!!!! And yes I know in Christian families it's difficult working out always why people.are.offended. Because Jesus also offended people and His heart was pure. But generally offended people.cite actual sinful behaviour.....And as long as we still don't know the internal dynamic of the single eye.....we may have external anointing.....which means we.make.ourselves available in certain 2 hours of meetings.....but the rest of the time we still.walk in Genesis 3 independence and bear bad fruit frequently.
My first sentence opened with the first transition. It wasn't galvanised by a central forum where all our ideas.were.sorted out we were.galvanised by the move of God where all of us had experienced the baptism in the Spirit. So in this next's not one of's one more Psalm.120 stage of being pig sick of how things are in charismatic and Pentecostal.churches and just crying out for the total answer inside ourselves. Then we are joined from within at this new level of.walking and believing.....And we are.either experiencing or.have already walked the Romans 6 and 7 path, the path of separation and division within ourselves.....the path that gives us our total answer....the Holiest Place walk of Christ now as us in our form....Galatians 2.20.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Spirit On All Flesh - John Crowder

Why do I like John?
I like John because he opens his heart to every Bible verse....he's not even trying to carry everything in his noddle in total coherence, but if the Bible says it he quotes it. I am looking for expanded guys, and you only get expanded by meditation on the Word, by revelation downloads, by a willingness to be simple like Mary and say "Be it unto me according to your Word."
I DON'T LIKE Jeff Turner's stuff, Michael Hardin's stuff and Brad Jersak's stuff because if they can't fit something in their noddle, they say things like....oh....that's what people thousands of years ago wrote in their alien simple minded belief systems. Really they are coming from a hubris that says Western civilisation knows what it is talking about....sorry about you guys who lived in the wrong time period. When in MANY cases the very reverse is true...
there's a slickness, (and I use that word in both senses...the one word related to grease and an oilslick) a callous, a lack of holiness and purity and simplicity and awe......basically all the things we are NOT doing with our kids these days because there is so little genuine worship of God for everybody grows up missing out. Now listen I am not saying these writers swear or do bad things.....but just growing up in a society that regularly swears Christ and God....creates this callous over people's hearts without them realising when they minister or write.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Another Tabernacles Read through

Some months ago this Facebook group waded through George H Warnock's booklet
The Feast of Tabernacles.

I think it would be great for the group to read and fellowship around Daniel Yordy's Book on Tabernacles, also available on Amazon as book or download.

This is NOT being run as a series here currently but in this post I whet your appetite to read from Daniel's site, to purchase his book or download from Amazon in the completed form, or to share with us  in the Facebook group.

The Introduction

Feast of Tabernacles by Daniel Yordy
Available as a fully published version also on Amazon
This book is the heart of what I teach, and being able, finally, to write it, was one of the great joys of my life. I wrote these letters through 2014. Part of that joy was to find the wondrous word of Christ our only life in every line of the Old Testament concerning the journey of Israel and the great Feasts of the Lord. Although the title is of the third feast, yet all the elements of the other feasts must find their place first, along with Israel's journey and the lives of three extraordinary men: Moses, David, and Paul.

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what Jesus meant in John 14 when He said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him”?

This verse caught my heart years ago, and I have believed for many years that God will make it real to me. But here is my problem. I am not interested in understanding what Jesus meant only, but rather, I desire to live sealed in the experience of it now and forever.

I am finished living a life without the knowledge of the Father filling me full with all of Himself. I must know God in Person inside of me.

How, then, does that happen for us?

Do we come to know this experience of the Father filling us full by some achievement of our own? Or do we know it by faith?

Do we “prove” to God how much we love Him so that, some day, He will deign to live in us? Or does He live in us now, waiting for us to know Him by faith alone?

God has not left us alone. He has given us a map of the journey before us. That map is the journey of Israel, the journey of the Ark of the Covenant and the seven great feasts of Israel’s religious year, culminating in the Feast of Tabernacles.

I am finished living a life without the knowledge of the Father filling me full with all of Himself. I must know God in Person inside of me.

In seeking Christ by the anointing of the Holy Spirit inside these feasts, using the journey of Israel as our map, we are well able to enter into all the exprience of God through us.

However, what are we looking for?

What do you want?

Many define God as external power to cause things to change that are “not right.” But is that really what being filled with all of God is?

There is only one picture of God given to the entire universe, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ: He who has seen Me has seen the Father.

And there is only one way we can know Him: We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

It is this Man, then, who said, “I am meek and lowly of heart.”

Is God something different from what we have known?

And can knowing that we are filled with all of God right now, just as we find ourselves to be, fill our hearts with all the joy we have ever desired?

Come on this journey with me, following the Ark of the Covenant into all the fullness of Almighty God.

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Know all that you desire.

Monday 7 March 2016

The Shortchange of Existentialism, Bono on Bowie, and why Box 2 is only a transition stage

I liked Bono's comments below, not just because they were about Bowie, but as we get more distance from what seemed too fragmented and random as we lived through it as youth, people are beginning to sum up the internal framework of what it was really about.

As I have commented before and more so in statuses on Facebook, to me now the 60s was a detonation of all that was "fixed" about Box 1 linear thinking and living, into a fuzzier edged more colourful world, quite literally of flower power, and even OBNOXIOUS quite gary use of colour.

Box 2 is however a transition world and in the end we can't sing questioning songs like
"Blowing in the wind" and
Moody Blues "Question" from Question of Balance   for too long without coming up with some answers.

So the main purpose of this post is to question Existentialism  itself and define its shortcomings.

"He called me a friend but in truth, I was a fan and happy with that” Bono U2 on Bowie- just one  excerpt from the celebrity memories of Bowie in Q magazine this month
Pretentious, portentous.
I know.. but I'm probably not the only one to have or share high-flown thoughts after the passing of a man who laughed out loud at such accusations. I allowed my mind to travel back to David's actual birthday on 8 January 1947, just over a year on from the war ending. David was a lad quite sane, (me :good one Bono) who is born into a M.A.D. planet where we for the first time possessed the ability, and not just the will,
to blow up the world. NUCLEAR WEAPONS. POW! London, still in ruins from. fascist bombing, saw young boys playing in the rubble of male aggression.
"David was also born at the same time the world was developing an antidote to all that
hate and war. The radio was about to get interesting and the generation that was born in the 1940s became, to me, as great a generation as the ones that saved us from fascism. Psychic warriors 'whose strength is not to fight', as Bob Dylan whispered into David's ear. The renaissance that was the'60s was brought into being by this post-war generation, led by the bard of Minnesota and the four horsemen of the Liverpool docks, but followed through by David Bowie and punk rock. This also put a flag into the
The Bonos!!!!  Like the Corrs, the Irish make their women dangerous to allow out on the streets!!!!Maeve who led Bono to the Lord was just the same, and in one of my rasher moments I proposed to her.(Blogeditor ACW)
ground for anarchism as a not-insane response to the authoritarianism that had the world spinning off its axis. As we needed them they appeared, to make a noise louder than the bombs that heralded their birth.
with that." Music of the 60s and 70s became the retort to the cruelty, of the war and
Cosmologies that followed in China and the Soviet Union
, Vietnam and Cambodia. It's easier to place The Beatles at the centre of this love and peace generation. But we should not forget the femininising Day-Glo
glamour of 70s and the u nisexed-up role it would play in challenging ideas of gender,
behaviour and identity.
Cosmic Cosmonauts... David Bowie floating in a tin can, far above the world' was for me, as a teenage boy in Dublin, not just a story song but a call to otherness. David
Bowie turned your bedroom into the cosmos. Is there life on Mars?' read to me, aged 13, as Is there life on Earth?', i.e. how can we find our other selves, the ones that are not locked behind gloss paint doors in the suburbs and boring jobs and working in supermarkets and missing the bus to school. Our metaphorical selves at a time when God is officially dead! The science fiction writers of the age also helped with this -- Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K Dick, Robert Anton Wilson. Diamond dogs were chasing the young Bowie around Bromley that's for sure.

Much has been written about Blackstar, and Bowie's
requiem for hinself but so much of his songs feel like communications
from another world. Listening to Space Oddity after he passed brought us all to tears,
especially if you had a sense of his love for Iman. Ali and I were at their wedding and tell . fill and tell my wife I love her very much, she knows' was the hardest for us to bear on the radio when myself and my family fell to earth after the news. My daughter Jordan and I had been listening a lot to the song Blackstar over Christmas and the New Year. We shared a single set of headphones walking over the hill near our house in Dublin and we played it again and again, laughing at its audacious structure. We were delightfully surprised and moved when that classic'70s Bowie voice returns after four minutes 40 seconds into the song: "Sornething happened on on the day he died." I was so moved
I wrote a long email for his birthday explaining my
gratitude for his birth and the life-giving gifts he bestowed on so many of us...
69 years and two days very much alive
"As well as the, Michael Leunig poem Love And Fear, I attached a fun picture of myself
and Jordan in the moment toasting him as he'd known her since she was two years old
and indeed christened her Pixie. David and I were not always close, we could be critical of each other's lesser work but he was always funny with it (a withering analysis of myself and Edge's spider-based musical activities . He called me a friend but in truth, I was a fan and happy with that. My last communication with him ended with him referring to me as `old sock'. He was never a comfortable shoe, more of a platform. He made us bigger.




M Scott Peck's book Different Drum and David Tomlinson's book Post Evangelical  paved the way for many voting with their feet regarding the rather twee, staid fellowship meeting pattern of the charismatics. But in these books they refer to the 4 psychological stages of development which are not quite the same as the 4 box image above.
They include as their box 1 what I would call box zero. or our default cluelessness before anyform of enlightenment.  We arrive here unsocialised and ego centric.  Gradually we are weaned and external infrastructure, such as parents schools and authority figures show us there are lines to be drawn to our absolute realm of freewill!!!!

Now what I am calling socialisation, or our introduction to external laws are all well and good, but a healthy sociological being will start to develop their own inner frameworks of seeing and behaving.

I wrote the other day that when i went to Exeter University I only saw the University President once......ever.  On the first day.  Not helped ofcourse by the fact that I heard God's voice to leave at the end of the first year, which meant i was in the right place at the right time to receive input fron Robert Edward Miller senior and Robert Miller later on, the son.

But my point is.....unlike school University is free enough for a President to involve himself purely with the direction, adminsitration , funding and publicity of the University, since by then students must have self initative.

So we enter the "fuzzy world" of existentialism.
What I FEEL and THINK subjectively.
How I relate to the global   "out there".

Broadly speaking as both Bono and then myself elsewhere in this blog have written  is that Bob Dylan and the Beatles were the flags being dropped, as our generation raced out of
our stalls of patronism, into the race thoroughfare of existential truth....

Except while it was going on everybody but everybody was bewildered with what on earth was going on.

Box 2 freedoms lead to internal decisions.....I maintain, ultimately between God and the devil. Between progressing via the Cross into a Box 3 maturity of learning and functioning from our new redeemed identity, or  keeping a default of a self for self identity,allbeit tarted up in quite a mature way outwardly.

Here is where existentialism shortchanges.
Now i had no idea that as a student of German and French in 1977, I was at the very tale end of a movement at the centre of  world culture. Sartre,Camus and existentialist thinking was so massive, no small numbers of people were selfishly taking things to the nth degree and choosing suicide.  Many many had thrown themselves off buildings by this time, some under the effect of drugs, some just choosing their own end "existentially".

Laws and robotic living are not the answer.  But actually self for self, now unleashed, is no more of an answer either.
The Caribbean or French or English paramour who just says....hey....what flows man???? Just go with the flow!!!!   Can just as easily by that mean impregnate a girl, and leave when the baby is born. "It don't flow starts to take over my whole's not right."

Here's a thing about existentialist truth.
Ezekiel 8 describes our innards, our temple walls.
What we have up on our Temple walls negative or positive....
manifests. Either draws good things to us or draws our fears and loathings to us.

This is the point by the way of the Parable of the Sower and the seed.  SEED always grows....but they can just as easily be weeds.

By Box 2 we are starting to put our toes in the water with steering our own destinies from the inside.
The point of making Jesus Lord, is to ensure that Jesus by us, in our forms, (Galatians 2.20) is doing the faithing, and the drawing in. In other words that we are building on the ROCK.  Yet another Jesus concept lost in the mists of Sunday school teaching.

Existentialism doesn't make everything right.  It just manoevres us into the freedom whereby we can really begin to steer internally.
If we are too stuck in other people's it friends family or national or educational...or our ideas of what a job should be.....then sometimes we are not free enough to grow.

This is why Jesus talks of leaving things.
Leaving and or hating family.....
these are spirtual shorthand terms for  hating that which is of the independent it in others, in family , in friends, in our job....etc etc.

Jesus comes as a knife to all our fact to everything that is self for self living.   This is the Cross...saying NO to the Genesis 3 condition and YES to the God of other love.
God is unconditional love, and by severing self loves, we can at last be free to let God's agape flow.

The thirdlevel is learning flow....but not just any flow.

"The mature have trained their senses according to righteousness to be able to discern the difference between (the spirit of) good and evil.

Related music track on the Lefthand side of the blog. Mark Knopfler  On the Rock.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Books that Reveal how the World System operates

In the 1500s -1700s God's Word was re establishing the only Divine means by which we come into relationship with God....that definitely NOT BEING our own works, but faith in the completed work of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection. The seed of religion intermingled with the free gospel that had snuck in from Judaism and crystallised in Catholicism was allowed to fall into the earth and die. All new moves from hereon in were by direct revelation and experience of the heavenlies, and the heavenly Tabernacle.
The baptism of the Spirit and the work of the Spirit came in waves from the Lollards who spoke in other tongues, through Quakers/Shakers then it became a corporate wave in Pentecostalism. But stronger still, the charismatic wave contained a whole strong vision of the Body of Christ, although to this day it is amazing how mancentered meetings remain.
Any Spirit analysis of subjects covered by the Spirit will map out pretty much the content of the Church Letter Preeminent....Ephesians.
And Rees Howells Intercessor maps out for us the kind of training that takes us into the realm of Ephesians 6, and full on warfare.
IN a prototype form God used him over nations to paralyse the three dictator's activities and keep the nations open for the biggest expansion of the Spirit into the earth ever in the history of the world.
But we notice so clearly, that Rees only moved at one level, and the very instigators of the wars behind the scenes were left untouched. Immediately they carried on regardless....creating the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Cambodia, wars in Africa and South America.
In these last years through the Body voices of Grant Jeffrey, Barry Smith, Chuck Missler, and others, plus the more general "sons of Issachar" who may not even be born again yet....yet see so clearly how the world is manipulated.....these have all combined on the net and in published books to provide our best knowledge yet of how the Enemy truly is working everything as prophesied in Psalm 2.
This is why there is a buildup that is beyond evangelicalism and beyond the charismatic, to a THIRD FEAST or THIRD LEVEL of authority that is Jesus being birthed in us as us. And such a Gideon's 300 are being set the task of bringing down world rulers in the spiritual realms and behind the scenes on earth. This is truly the time of Ephesians 6 as we have never known.....not at least corporately. There have been many pioneer individuals, but this is a BODY JOB. I have prepared a list of books that help people to open their eyes.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Why I don't agree with the Two teacher thesis in Romans

This article was sent through to me on my Facebook Timeline.
In the last two days I have had this and yesterday some sort of comment about Paul's being the only " up to date" gospel. That was through Don Keathley.
I do not address Don's second issue below in the article Leon sent me, so in brief my comment is, the gospels are a record of God in Christ reacting in real time to the Jewish Old Covenant environment.....and reacting very much "the Father as Him".   Acts and the New Testament letters are the apostles and Paul reacting in real time to how you go beyond the boundaries of Israel to spread the gospel message  without reference to an Old Covenant, but to people "stuck in the independent self" , as indeed Jews also are, but here, in a totally Gentile context.

So here is today's article

Leon Pieter Loots
6 hrs ·
A New Way to Read Romans -- and All of Scripture?
guided by Douglas Campbell in The Deliverance of God
A Rendering of Romans 1:1-4:3 in Dialog Form

Overview/Explanation: I offer the following rendering of Romans 1:1-4:3 based on Douglas Campbell's revolutionary hypotheses for rereading Romans, from his book The Deliverance of God (see my review on the page). The core translation provided here is from the NRSV, with key modifications based on Campbell's many suggestions (and several of my own from the Greek). The sectioning I've provided renders Campbell's main idea that Romans is an example of the Roman rhetorical convention known as Diatribe, which included an opponent's views within the text. In the First Century, it was not commonly part of the text, however, to clearly mark the opponent's views in the text itself. Since these were primarily oral performances of texts, those who performed the text would have had the information needed to properly read it as a dialog. (The oral performer was most often the author himself -- the text being essentially a script for a speech -- but in Paul's case with Romans the oral performer would have been the letter-bearer.)
Centuries later we are not so fortunate as the original listening audience. We have these dialog texts without any markings as to which portions of the text represent whose views. If Campbell's thesis is correct, obviously this means that our misreading of Paul's text of Romans has been colossal for almost twenty centuries! We have tried to read two opposing views as Paul's view alone!

I offer the following rendering as an early attempt at making corrections to our colossal misreadings. Making my own decisions based on Campbell's book, I have sharply divided Paul's text into sections that represent Paul's views and sections that represent the Opposing Teacher's views, except for 3:1-8 and 3:27-4:3 which are rendered as back-and-forth dialog between Paul and his opponent. I give headings that indicate what I think is happening in that portion of the text.
I invite the reader to judge for herself whether or not this provides a more faithful and fruitful way to read Paul's Letter to the Romans.

Paul's Greeting
1 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, 10 asking that by God's will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-- 12 or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.

Paul's Introduction of Theme
14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish 15 -- hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 The deliverance of God is revealed through the gospel by means of faithfulness for faithfulness; as it is written, "The Righteous One, by means of faithfulness, will live." (1)

The Opposing Teacher's Introduction of Theme
18"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (2)

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29 They were filled with every kind of

wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice.
Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness,
they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful,
inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 They know God's decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die -- yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them."

Paul's First Rebuttal: The Teacher's 'Wrath of God' Seen Instead as the Human Wrath of Judging
2 1 Therefore you have no excuse, Every Person, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2 You say, 'we know that God's judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.' 3 How do you think about it when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself: that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you disregard the riches of God's kindness and forbearance and patience -- unaware that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 So by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. (3)

The Opposing Teacher's Restatement of the Standard View of God's Judgment
6 ...Who will repay according to each one's deeds: (4) 7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God does not respect mere appearance. 12 All who have sinned lawlessly will also perish lawlessly, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who will be righteous in God's sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Paul's Next Rebuttal: Gentiles Who Live by the Law Vs. Jews Who Don't
14 But when Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves; (5) 15 they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on the day when God will judge the secret thoughts of all, according to my gospel, through Jesus Christ.

17But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart -- it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

First Dialogue of Paul and the Teacher -- Paul as Questioner
3 Paul: 1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?

Teacher: 2 Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Paul: 3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Teacher: 4 By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written, "So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging."

Paul: 5 But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) (6)

Teacher: 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

Paul: 7 But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), "Let us do evil so that good may come"?

Teacher: Their condemnation is deserved!

Paul Marshals Scripture Citations Before Climaxing His Argument
Paul: 9 What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10 as it is written:

"There is no one who is righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God.
12All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one."
13"Their throats are opened graves;
they use their tongues to deceive."

"The venom of vipers is under their lips."

14"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16ruin and misery are in their paths,
17and the way of peace they have not known."

18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

The Core of Paul's Argument Against the Teacher: Universal Sinfulness Prompted Not Wrathful Judgment Under the Law but God's Unilaterally Saving Act in Jesus Christ
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now, apart from law, the saving act of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the saving act of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who trust. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God intended to be a singular act of atonement effective through that faithfulness in his blood. He did this to show his justice, because in his divine forbearance he granted amnesty for sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that God's justice is itself just in the very act of declaring everyone just from the faithfulness of Jesus.(7)

Second Dialogue of Paul and Teacher -- Teacher as Questioner
Teacher: 27 Then what becomes of boasting?

Paul: It is excluded.

Teacher: By what teaching? By that of works?

Paul: No, but by the teaching of faith. 28 For we hold that a person is delivered by faithfulness apart from works of law.

Teacher: 29 Or is God the God of Jews only?

Paul: Is he not the God of Gentiles also?

Teacher: Yes, of Gentiles also.

Paul: 30 If God is one -- the God who will deliver the circumcised through fidelity -- then he will deliver the uncircumcised through that same fidelity.

Teacher: 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?

Paul: By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

4 Teacher: 1 What then are we to say was found out in relation to Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about.

Paul: But not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? "Abraham trusted in God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

Reflections: In the popular way of naming the Bible as "God's Word," it is common to see the entire text as all one category of truth. God is still seen in the philosophical categories of unchanging and eternal, so it is assumed that the Bible in its entirety contains an unchanging and eternal truth.
The beginning of an alternative to that position is that Jesus gave us another way to see God: not in Greek philosophical categories but rather as "Our Father." Loving parents do not deal with their children in timeless, unchanging, and eternal ways. They deal with them in age-appropriate ways. The rule of never going into the street without holding the hand of an adult is not an eternal rule. It stays in place until the child demonstrates being able to go safely into the street on her own.

The second step is to take an anthropological perspective on our species, homo sapiens. If God is like a loving parent to us, are there age-appropriate rules for human beings as a species? For eons, for example, God allowed human beings to order themselves around religions centered on killing living creatures on altars. Slowly, gradually, we have moved to other ways of ordering ourselves, using armed police, courts of law, armies, etc. The Bible was written over a vast number of years. In this perspective, should all of "God's Word" to us be timelessly true? Or age-appropriately true, so to speak, to our species? The laws in Leviticus, for example, were written during the time that human community was ordered by blood sacrifice. We no longer see them as applying to us in the same way.

The Hebrew Scriptures themselves bear witness to this development: earlier ways of ordering community are criticized at later times by the prophets. The core view of law, sometimes named as Deuteronomic, is also questioned and criticized, especially in the central poetry of the Book of Job. In short, the Bible itself seems to witness to the kind of dialog that Paul models in the Letter to the Romans. The Opponent represents a standard view of God's wrathful and just judgment -- a standard view of Retributive Justice. Paul represents an alternative view in Jesus Christ based on God's grace. We all deserve God's wrathful punishment but instead we get God's unconditionally loving and unilaterally saving action in the cross and resurrection. It is a view of Restorative Justice that invites us to begin moving beyond the standard view of justice as retributive.
And we can interpret that as Paul being faithful and consistent with the message of Jesus. Briefly considering the testimony of the Gospels, Jesus himself seemed to have this bigger anthropological picture in mind for his teaching on the law. The Sermon on the Mount gives us a series of "You've heard it said . . . but I say to you." His giving of the law as fulfilled in love seems to be for human beings come-of-age -- for human beings living in God's Spirit as we were meant to from the beginning. In Jesus Christ and the coming of his Spirit on all people, we are being invited into growing up as a species, of more fully maturing into the creatures that God created us to be. And, from Paul's perspective, that teaching was incarnated and became a real possibility through the events of cross and resurrection.
I believe that this resonates with Campbell's contention of what Paul's core salvation is all about. Read Romans 5-8 (Campbell's choice for the core of Paul's theology) in your favorite translation to see if it makes sense in terms of God saving us through the Second Adam to truly be who we were created to be -- an anthropological salvation in the sense of God's redeeming our way of being human. God's saving act through Jesus Christ, his faithfulness as the true Son, has made it possible for the rest of us to fully mature as God's children. We are now able to live in his Spirit rather than in "the flesh" of the First Adam. This is decidedly anthropological talk and not just theological. It is about our growing up as a species for the sake of the rest of Creation which "waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God."

Campbell also is translating the language of "righteousness" (dikaiosyne in Greek) -- very dominant in Romans 1-4 and not as much in the rest of Romans -- into language of "deliverance" or "saving acts." In other words, I would suggest that he is arguing that Paul is making the translation akin to our contemporary terms from Retributive Justice to Restorative Justice. Dikaiosyne can (and perhaps should) simply be translated as "justice." But what kind of justice is the issue: our typical Retributive Justice that God has allowed us in the early millennia of our species, or the Restorative Justice that God has always had planned for an incomplete Creation on its way to completion. We show our thinking in terms of Retributive Justice by translating the word for "justice" as "righteousness," a word used primarily in the context of retributive thinking, of dividing between the righteous and unrighteous in our judging. Campbell argues that, in the context of Paul's theology, it should be translated as "deliverance."

In short, our choice for translating Paul's dikaiosyne, "justice," belies our own thinking about justice. The choice laid out by Paul himself in Romans is between (1) his opponent's standard thinking of Retributive Justice: God righteously judging between the righteous and unrighteous according to their just deserts; or (2) Paul's own interpretation of what God actually does in the cross and resurrection of Christ, namely, deliver us from the powers of sin and death for a new life lived in his Spirit -- a Restorative (and Reconciling) Justice that begins to restore all our broken and incomplete relationships. Because the Law seems to be about wrathful judgment, or retribution, our salvation is now apart from the Law in that sense. It is based instead on faith, trust, in the new thing that God is doing in Jesus Christ. God is inviting us to move from Retributive Justice to Restorative Justice as an act of our own faithfulness in following Jesus.

So what does that mean as we consider our current system of Criminal Justice? How can we as followers of Christ invite our fellow citizens into shaping our justice system beyond the Retributive to the Restorative? Again, it is helpful to also think along with the bigger anthropological picture before us. As a species, I suggest we are probably still in our teenage or young adult years. We are not mature enough to entirely forgo Retributive Justice. (Is that Paul's concession in Romans 13:1-7?) We are thankful for Retributive Justice that keeps us relatively safe. Yet, as followers of Christ, there are three very important factors that urge us to be reformers of our human justice.

First, anthropology in Christ (especially through the renewed understanding of the Gospels and Paul made possible via the work of René Girard) helps us to better understand the challenge of sin that we are rescued from (truly a "deliverance" in Campbell's terms) because it is impossible for us to solve on our own. We come to see how the powers of sin have themselves tainted and distorted our human systems of Retributive Justice. (Is this the picture of the Law enslaved to sin we have in Rom. 5-7?) The very origin of our species witnesses an original sin of our turning the imitated violence of everyone against everyone into a relative peace of a violence of everyone against one, or a majority against a minority -- which is the beginning of basing our human ordering on the division between righteous and unrighteous.

In our time and place, for example, our system is still very Racist and Classist. It works much better for white people and rich people, those who are justified by the majority as righteous. (Is that akin to Paul's argument against the Teacher, that the Law shouldn't be slanted in favor of Jews because they aren't in reality more deserving?) We have debunked the racist justifications (though not by any means universally accepted), but the racist formations of our institutions over the last four hundred years are still far from being dismantled.(8) Meanwhile, the Classist justifications seem to still be under debate. Candidates for President in 2012, and their supporters, are occasionally framing the election as being a struggle between the Lower and Middle Classes and the Upper Classes -- or as accusing the opponent of framing it that way (while they themselves presumably are not). This very way of framing things, on whichever 'side' one finds oneself, seems to me to be dangerously trapped in the divisiveness of the dualistic thinking of Retributive Justice. I would offer that the thinking of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and Paul, which urges us forward to Restorative Justice, seeks to transcend the divisions in favor of seeing humanity as one family. And justice in a family is most properly centered on helping the least in the family (e.g., Matt. 25:31-46).

Second, anthropology in Christ more positively calls us to discipleship such that we follow the true Son, our Elder Brother. We are called to grow up in Christ and move beyond lives lived solely by externally imposed rules ("the flesh"), to lives lived in the Spirit of God's love in Jesus Christ. We are invited to live by faithfulness to God's Restorative Justice. In this context, I would suggest an alternate title of Campbell's book, The Deliverance of God, which is his suggested translation of Paul's dikaiosyne theou (most often translated as "the righteousness of God," e.g., Rom. 3:22). We might alternatively title it The Restorative Justice of God. Dikaiosyne definitely conveys Justice; adding the word Restorative makes it clear what brand of justice is God's. Thus, we might ask: being disciples of Jesus and citizens in a democracy, does that mean that we advocate in our democratic process of human justice to move beyond the current orientation, which is largely toward Retributive Justice only, to increasingly finding ways of enacting Restorative Justice?

Finally, there is the "apocalyptic" element, a very significant element in the New Testament. For Paul, who represents the earliest writing in the NT, we may perhaps see a development from an urgency to be ready for the second coming of Christ to an urgency increasingly based on the consequences of not undergoing the transformation God offers us in Christ's first coming. What are the consequences of us not growing up as a species? In Romans 8 the whole creation is waiting for us to grow up, for "the revealing [apocalypsis in Greek] of the children of God." We have tended to think in terms of a divine revealing or apocalypse, when God will enact Retributive Justice. But I contend that Paul and the New Testament came to think in terms of an anthropological revealing or apocalypse. Will we grow up as a species into the love of God's Spirit such that we avoid the ongoing and continual consequences of our "storing up wrath for ourselves" (Rom. 2:5) and then unleashing it on each other? In a time when we now have Weapons of Mass Destruction, can there even come a time that it becomes too late for us to grow up before we destroy ourselves? Isn't this the urgency we need to be citizens of the world community in ways that advocate for Restorative or Reconciling Justice? Within our own nation, what are the consequences for our democratic society of focusing too much on prisons and not enough on preventive measures that work to heal persons, especially children and youth, from the traumas and hurts which have the potential to lead one into crime? Are those programs of healing and restoration more or less expensive (in whatever ways we want to measure cost) than warehousing large numbers of people in prisons for years? Could the ultimate cost of not 'growing up' increasingly into Restorative Justice be the eventual collapse of our nation -- its end as so many others before it in history?

One final word since the apocalyptic in the NT is the penultimate word and not the ultimate word. The last word in the New Testament is always Resurrection and New Creation.(9) Even if extinction or near-extinction is possible for the species homo sapiens in history, God will seemingly not let that be the Last Word. Jesus' own resurrection is the first fruits of a greater resurrection someday, a day when God's power of love and life will be "all in all" (1 Cor 15:19-28). History matters a great deal, since it is the unfolding of God's heavenly purposes for Creation. But no matter what happens in history we have God's promise that there is nothing that can separate us from God's love in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31-39). Thus, we are called to work in the kingdom without fear -- neither fear of our own failure, since this is ultimately God's project of Restoration; nor even fear of death, since God in Jesus Christ has defeated that last enemy. We are called to fearlessly do justice (of God's own Restorative variety!), love compassion, and walk humbly with God (knowing that this is God's project to lead and not ours).

1. Campbell argues (see The Deliverance of God, especially pp. 377-380 and 613-616), and I agree, that Paul reads Habakkuk 2:4 as referring to Christ as the Righteous One whose faithfulness in going to the cross meant the life he received in the Resurrection -- a faithfulness that now gives life to those who trust in and are faithful to Christ. Hab 2:4 is not in the first instance about any and all persons who believe in Jesus Christ. It is not really even about belief as a mental state; it is about faithfulness in relationship. And it is first of all about Jesus Christ himself, "the Righteous One," and then only derivatively about those who follow him in faithfulness and trust. Paul is much more radical in emphasizing the grace of God's acting through the faithfulness of Christ than the Reformation has tended to be, where the emphasis shifted to our faith in Jesus, as a mental state of belief. Campbell is another of the modern interpreters who translates Paul's pisteos Iesou Christou (e.g., Rom. 3:22) as "the faithfulness of Jesus Christ" rather than the typical "faith in Jesus Christ." Paul is emphasizing Jesus' faithfulness, not our works of belief.
2. That these verses which are so key to current arguments about GLBTQ persons might not even represent Paul's views but his opponent's views obviously has the potential to drastically change that discussion, too. Campbell does have a very brief mention of this issue on pp. 206-207, where he concludes with wonderful understatement: "The terms of this significant debate are significantly altered."
3. I have written in many places about what I think is at stake in these verses, namely, Paul's transformation of his opponent's views of the "wrath of God" into an anthropological understanding of wrath as our thing, as something we regularly "store up for ourselves" that is then unleashed on a day of wrath -- think something like D-Day or Gettysburg. And "God's righteous judgment" for Paul is God's unilaterally gracious saving act in Jesus. For more on this transformation of the "God of wrath" in Romans see the following portion of "My Core Convictions" essay:…
4. The Opponent comes right back with the conventional view of the Day of Judgment as God unleashing wrath on sinners.

5. Paul begins his counter-argument to the conventional view of God's judgment -- which involves not being able to, in the end, judge anyone not guilty of the wrath we store up for ourselves and regularly unleash on one another. We all sin. But Paul begins by muddying the waters with instances of Gentiles who appear relatively righteous and Jews who don't appear righteous at all.The italics emphasis in verse 16 are mine in order to highlight the clue that "my" gives us. Why would Paul specify this Gospel with the word "my" unless he was also laying out someone else's version?
6. Paul, for the sake of argument, himself voices the conventional view of God's judgment here, while also immediately making it clear that this is the human way to see things, as opposed, presumably, to God's own way to see things.
7. This is primarily my translation of verse 26, which in Greek is: en tē anochē tou theou pros tēn endeixin tēs dikaiosynēs autou en tō nun kairō, eis to einai auton dikaion kai dikaiounta ton ek pisteōs Iēsou. Paul piles up his use of the dikai- word-group, using it in three forms: a noun, dikaiosynēs - "justice"; an adjectve, dikaion - "just"; and a participial verb, dikaiounta - "declaring just." The NRSV translates it: "it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus" -- compared to my translation which, I maintain, is more literal to the Greek: "it was to prove at the present time that God's justice is itself just in the very act of declaring everyone just from the faithfulness of Jesus." Paul is telling us explicitly in what God's justice consists. Rather than a retributive punishment, God's justice simply declares all sinners to be just through the faithfulness of Jesus in going to the cross.
8. Three recent books that give us a portrait of race and the Criminal Justice system today are: Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010); Michael Tonry, Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma (Oxford University Press, 2011); Samuel Walker, Cassia Spohn, and Miriam DeLone, The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America, 5th ed. (Wadsworth Publishing, 2011).

9. On apocalyptic as penultimate and resurrection as ultimate: In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we see the prominence of apocalyptic sayings since they are the very last teachings of Jesus before his Passion: Mark 13, Luke 21, and one could argue that Matthew in chapters 21-25 has shaped the entire last week to be apocalyptic in tenor. Yet Resurrection does most assuredly come last.
John is quite different in seemingly replacing the apocalyptic of the Synoptics with the Farewell Discourse of John 13-17. But can we see the Discourse as a more positively framed way of making the same point, namely, that we are invited to grow up into full humanity? The apocalyptic of the Synoptics emphasize the consequences of not growing up. John's Farewell Discourse emphasizes the process of actually growing up by living in the Spirit (Paraclete) that Jesus will send us through his lifting up on the cross which simply continues in the raising on Easter and the Ascension.
The Book of Revelation is obviously mostly about apocalyptic, the terribly violent consequences of our choosing the way of Satan (whose power of Accusation represents Retributive Justice) rather than the way of the Lamb Slaughtered (whose nonviolent power of life-giving love represents Restorative Justice). The terrifying drama in chapters 18-20 might even represent a human self-destruction, a picture of extinction of homo sapiens in history, the "end of the world" as we know it. But the Last Word in Revelation 21-22 represents the poetically beautiful description of New Creation.


The problem I have with Rene Girard, Michael Hardin ,Brad Jersak and Jeff Turner.....and anybody who is expressing this stuff...I haven't any idea whether this is Don Keathley's view....things he was saying yesterday imply that it might be....
is something like this.
If your theology is rooted entirely in Romans 3 to 5, you know enough to "have your sins covered"....but you don't know yet the dire nature of the human condition.
2. Everything is still "out there" at one remove. The problems of "the world"....or "other people"...of "mass ignorance..." it hasn't all come home to roost yet.
3. Sylvia's phrase of in Two Deliverances makes it clear that if you are still unsure you just haven't tried your hardest yet. A whole bunch of us KNOW firsthand we are failures, because we have tried exceedingly hard and crashed mightily.
4. It may seem strange to base theology on firsthand real experience....but as loony as this sounds ....actually that is what the apostles did and is the true meaning behind the phrase
That which we have heard touched tasted and handled of this Word of Life we now pass on to you.....
5. We also KNOW from the gospels and Acts exactly HOW this looked in the apostle's lives.....and quite frankly it is much the same in our own.
6. So when I am assessing a man's writings such as this one..... I am asking HOW did the person come to this understanding, and to me this is a man who has not left his own linear thinkling once in examining Romans, and because he himself is not yet at the point of utter failure, he is trying to reconcile one set of writings of Paul....the depths of the human condition.....with the glory of the Divine grace being given as a gift.
7. To anyone who sees the truth of the independent self (ie there IS NO INDEPENDENT SELF....we are either walking Satan as us or Jesus as us...there being NO MIDDLE MAN....NO the greeks mythologise....since EGO in hubris terms is the spiritual character, presence or power that best describes Satan's own person... anyone really seeing this properly and inwardly....there is absolutely no need to divide up PAUL into Paul and another "Teacher".
It's a clever ruse. It's what the New Testament calls "guile"....even if Rene Girard or the others mean it all in honesty....because it does not include a deep enough self knowledge it is instead a workround.
Some of us call it a "cheap work round"
because it is a shorthand version of the gospel to try and get you on the preaching circuit sooner than you perhaps should be. Sadly, this category of preaching is still called by the New Testament and Paul himself "pedlars of the word of truth."
Because if you don't MINE the depths and get the answer internally, you stay in the itching ear realm, where people gladly pay you to speak, because you are salving their ego and letting them off the hook.
8. If points 1 to 7 sound negative, here's the turnround. The point he makes about "setting creation free" is good....but unless you are familiar with consciousness and the quantum idea of our innards affecting the outer world, you might still have a rather naive Western view as to what those verses mean. We enter the WAY of Jesus, to open up the TRUTH as consciousness on our insides , both as to where we have come from and where we are going to....which leads to Rivers of Life and SPOKEN words of Faith issuing from out of our now "connected" insides.

John Stevens reply

John Stevens

7:20 PM (15 hours ago)

to me
Quick reply and not one after studying the whole text closely.

There is, of course, much that anyone of us can say about Romans having read it perhaps many times. But a couple of things jump out from the article.

The word set righteousness/justice/deliverance/acquittal and so on are exhaustively discussed by those who know their Greek as is the proportion of diatribe exercised by Paul in writing the letter. Some see more some see less. My hunch is that the author sees more than he needs to to get to the heart of Paul's letter.

Some (like me) see no shortage of apostolic tongue in apostolic cheek first taking down exclusive Jews then arrogant Gentiles.

But the current topical debate around the alternative translation (pisteos Iesou Christou (e.g., Rom. 3:22) as "the faithfulness of Jesus Christ" rather than the typical "faith in Jesus Christ." Paul is emphasizing Jesus' faithfulness, not our works of belief) and the adherents of the alternative quite often it seem to me misunderstand the polar opposites of faith and works.

The author, in stringing these terms together 'not our works of belief',is a walking-talking contradiction of terms almost on a par with Dr Seuss except Dr Seuss knew what he was doing!

The whole introductory point of the gospel is the doh! realisation that no man can achieve for himself or herself salvation. It is an utter impossibility stuck as he/she is in Adam. Or to use Paul's wonderful Rom 7 analogy married to Law.

The only solution is to die. But, darn it, we can't even do this. But Rom 4 starts us off.

'...but to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly...'

And then in Rom 6

'...knowing this that our old man was crucified with him...' (You can't crucify yourself you are dependent on someone else achieving this for you!)

We can then chuckle with the revelation given to Paul (I can see him laughing a lot as this dawned on him, especially as an ex-Pharisee) in Rom 7:

There are three players in this scene:

Husband - Law
Wife - us in Adam married to Law
Christ - living His life nearby

Wife sees Christ and rather longs to be shot of Law and loved by Christ but she can't as long as the Law lives....there's no way out is there as the Law is eternal? The husband just won't die. She would be an adulteress if she abandons Mr Law for Mr Christ.

Paul continues: ' have become dead to the Law through the body of Christ so that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead , that we should bear fruit to God.'

So instead of the husband dying, unexpectedly, the wife dies - through faith in Christ. In His death is hers and in His resurrection she suddenly has found life and a new husband thrown in! And she is squeaky squeaky clean and no adulteress, no condemnation...

So, coming full circle, whilst the grammatical arguments can support 'the faithfulness of Christ' as a translation at times in Paul's epistles, the context is so often Paul pitching faith against works, that it runs easier to translate pisteos Iesou Christou as 'faith in Christ' as it emphasises and reinforces the stark choice - either continued faith in our ability to find righteousness/deliverance/salvation/glory/life or abandoning all that self-effort in favour of ceasing from our own works an placing our faith in Him.

Revelation is a business that God seems to work in each of His own in different ways and times.

I don't really know whether the collectibe revelation(s) that occur to us in the body of Christ in each generation or culture are progressive and are leading us on to greater and greater exhibitions of the liberty of the sons of God such that justice, for example, as practiced in the world, can attain a greater similarity to the mercy and grace shown to us in Christ.

But whatever fruit we can bear to God will come from the intimate and close union 'marriage' to use Paul's picture, between us and Christ.

It is that intimate. There's no getting around this. The Song of Solomon is an outrageous love song that has no place in the bible!! O but it really really does

There's little doubt in my mind that if Paul was going to travel to Spain after vsiting Rome he wanted to form a an apostolic band with him who were enjoying being married to Christ, were one with Him....believers who had really eradicated any notion that the 'old man' could hitch a ride to Madrid.