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The Challenge and Opportunity of Christian Unity (Part 2)

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The Challenge and Oppotunity of Christian Unity
The Challenge and Oppotunity of Christian Unity

A recent article proclaims, that in the US the “Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” (link). I do not buy into doomsday scenarios. The church has often faced decline. She has also often experienced reformation and revival. Together Scripture and Church History hold out a light by which we can see our modern faults. By this same light they show us the path forward.

This is part two of my series on the Challenge and Opportunity fo Christian Unity (part one). In my first post I argued:

Many today are concerned that the church seems to be a spent force in the West. The cultural battle seems to have been all but lost. And yet Jesus said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18).

Jesus cannot fail. His church is being built. So what is happening in the West? Could it have to do with division and factionalism?

Spiritual Help and Hope in a Time of Crises

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Spiritual Help and Hope in the Age of the Virus
Spiritual Help and Hope in the Age of the Virus

What can we do when we feel anxiety in light of this COVID19 crises? Or where can we find spiritual help and hope in such a time when even the churches are closed for the duration?  First, you should all follow your local health authority’s instructions. Second, join many today in rediscovered a priceless Christian resource!

Many Christians today are rediscovering the Treasures of their history, which speak powerfully into today’s crises. One such treasure is the Book of Common Prayer (Amazon; .ca; .co.uk). For a modern and online edition, which will guide you in the life shaping experience of daily devotions from this resource try (The Daily Office). For those who may want an audible experience I recommend the Trinity Mission. This resource has both text and accompanying MP3 recording. It lasts 15-18 minutes and is a great option for your daily commute.

What is the Book of Common Prayer all about? Is it a collection of someone’s prayers? No. The Book of Common Prayer (commonly referred to as the “BCP”) is a spiritual treasure chest of resources, building our faith in Almighty God to keep us in any uncertain time and now in this age of COVID19.

The Challenge and Opportunity of Christian Unity (Part 1)

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The Challenge and Oppotunity of Christian Unity
The Challenge and Oppotunity of Christian Unity

Oh, how good and how pleasant it is, the Psalmist declares, to dwell together in unity. Of course, to be unified, you have to dwell!  Many today are concerned that the church seems to be a spent force in the West. The cultural battle seems to have been all but lost. And yet Jesus said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18).

Could there be a link between survival and unity? Part of the failure of the church to thrive maybe because we have forgotten Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where our Lord asks the Father to protect his people, and to sanctify them, and to unite them as one. But, if that is the case, we must understand what Jesus is really asking for in this prayer, and look at how the church has understood it throughout her history.

A Philosophy of Life and the Big Quesitons in Life

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The Life of Faith is a Philosophy of Life
The Life of Faith is a Philosophy of Life

The big questions in life can have a tremendous impact on the small ones. While we may not even realize consciously that we have asked them, our answers can change our whole outlook. The question of the meaning of life is like that. We might not ask this question philosophically, but we all answer it practically. We ask it when we wonder, what is the point of going to work today? It orients our views of the world and our goals, our education and careers, our relationships and family objectives. Is the meaning of life to make lots of money; To maximize pleasure; To have lots of friends; to make a difference in the world? Choosing one or more of these answers will set us in different directions than if we have picked other ones.

This is just one of the questions that a Philosophy of Life seeks to answer. The Christian philosophy of life is rooted in the Faith (the summary of which is found in the Nicene Creed – see my previous post introducing this subject). For a brief restatement continue below.

012 According to the Scripture

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012 According to Scripture
012 According to Scripture

How do we know that we know what we know? Its the great question today. Some say that faith is passé, that believers should become enlightened and move on. Others say that they are right and Christians are wrong.

The Christian faith welcomes these challenges. The Apostle Peter urges all Christians, “always be ready to give a reasoned defence for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Many today suffer from an easily curable problem. They believe that being faithful to the Scriptures means figuring out the ancient text personally. The challenges of time, culture, and language separate us from Scripture, making this difficult. Christianity, however, teaches we know truth when it is, “evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors” (Anglican Ordinal).

According to the Scriptures

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures

Find out what this means in todays episode from the GoodFaith Podcast series on the Nicene Creed.

The GoodFaith Podcast

The GoodFaith podcast takes the wisdom of collective church history and apply it to the problems and concerns we have today. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or your favourite feed by copying the following into your client (http://chadwgraham.com/feed/podcast), or by clicking on the RSS feed links on the home page of ChadWGraham.com

011 The Crucified and Risen Lord

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011 The Crucified and Rise
011 Hope Through The Crucified and Risen Lord

Gandhi is credited with saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” But what if I cannot change what I want to see in the world?

According to the United Nations, conflict and persecution has forced some 30 million refugees  from their homes. Every nation and every community, and even every family shows forth some level of injustice (try being a middle child!). The longer we live the more we see that all the collective efforts of humanity (although they do some good) have not ended poverty, or restored justice in the world.

We begin to see the unchangeable in ourselves and cannot rid ourselves of every bad habit. Our bodies cannot be stopped from the decay of aging. Though we can delay, we cannot escape the inevitable decline.

And we see a want in society. We do not live in a perfect city, a perfect nation, or a perfect world. We need to change so many things. But we begin to see that what stands in the way is not systems, but people. It has been said, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. We vote in the change candidate, to see them become part of the establishment.

Is real change possible? The Chistian Faith says, unequivicolly, yes! True change is possible. There is hope for Jutice, hope for individuals, and hope for society through the death of death in the death of Christ, and the resurrection of hope, in the resurection of the crucified and risen Lord.

The Crucified and Risen Lord

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

Find out what this means in todays episode from the GoodFaith Podcast series on the Nicene Creed.

The GoodFaith Podcast

The GoodFaith podcast takes the wisdom of collective church history and apply it to the problems and concerns we have today. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or your favourite feed by copying the following into your client (http://chadwgraham.com/feed/podcast), or by clicking on the RSS feed links on the home page of ChadWGraham.com

 

The Nicene Creed as a Philosophy of Life

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Creed and Philosophy of Life
The Creed and Philosophy of Life

What do you know about the Nicene Creed?  The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was received by the whole undivided Church as the symbol or summary of the Christian Faith (the “Nicene Creed” – learn more here). The Nicene Creed begins with the words “I Believe” or “we Believe.” The original language of the Nicene Creed was in Greek and employed the plural form of the word, πιστεύω (pistevo). This is the same word that we find in the New Testament to speak of belief or faith. We find it as a participle, for example, in John 3:16: “that whoever believes (same word) should not perish but have eternal life.” It occurs also as a noun translated “faith” in Jude 3, “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”; and as a verb in Mark 9:24, where a man answers Jesus’ question, “I believe.”

Paul reminds Christians that we ought to share one Philosophy of life. We are to have “be eager to preserve the unity of the Spirit.” See how he describes out unity:

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:3-6).

010 One Lord Jesus Christ

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011 The Crucified and Rise
011 Hope Through The Crucified and Risen Lord

What is the purpose of life? To whom, or to what do we owe loyalty? Do we owe loyalty first and foremost to our nation (patriotism)? Or to our family (Marriage)? To our society (social welfare/environmentalism)? Or to ourselves? Christians profess one ultimate loyalty to one Lord Jesus Christ.

This does not mean that Christians are not patriots (loving country). It does not mean that they are not great parents, spouses or children. It does not preclude participating in the welfare of the society. Christian theology demands that those who follow Christ ought to be the very best citizens and the most loving family members. Christians love their neighbours and do good to all men. But they do all these things, because, not despite their ultimate loyalty to Jesus Christ.

One Lord Jesus Christ

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

Find out what this means in todays episode from the GoodFaith Podcast series on the Nicene Creed.

The GoodFaith Podcast

The GoodFaith podcast is intended to take the wisdom of collective church history and apply it to the problems and concerns we have today. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or your favourite feed by copying the following into your client (http://chadwgraham.com/feed/podcast), or by clicking on the RSS feed links on the home page of ChadWGraham.com

009 We Believe in God

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009 We Believe in God
009 We Believe in God

Why is there something, rather than nothing? From where did that something come? For Christians the answer is found in the foundational statement of faith: We Believe in God.

We Believe in God

The Nicene Creed (AD 325/381) records the first, great, global, consensus of what Christian’s believe. For nearly two thousand years it has described what it means to be a Christian. It explains what Christians believe about the most important of all questions.

This Creed is presented in three articles of belief. The first, describes God as follows:

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, visible and invisible.

We Believe God is the Creator

We believe that God created all things, visible, and invisible. What are things invisible? Could the world we live in be more mysterious and more wondrous than we can imagine?

Find out in todays episode from the GoodFaith Podcast series on the Nicene Creed.

The GoodFaith Podcast

The GoodFaith podcast is intended to take the wisdom of collective church history and apply it to the problems and concerns we have today. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or your favourite feed by copying the following into your client (http://chadwgraham.com/feed/podcast), or by clicking on the RSS feed links on the home page of ChadWGraham.com

008 Do Christians Need a Creed?

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009 We Believe in God
009 We Believe in God

The English word Creed derives from a Latin term meaning “to believe”. When the Church quotes a Creed is quoting what “We believe.” Certain statements of Christian belief have come to be known as universal creeds, such as the Apostle’s Creed, or the Nicene Creed. What are these statements, what authority do they have? What is their value? Do we need them?

Creed and Scripture

The simple answer is, yes. Why? We only need these creeds to the extent that we need to have and understand the New Testament. The universal creeds are summaries of the standard of teaching, the form of doctrine, or the rule of the faith delivered by the Lord Jesus to the Apostles. They, in turn, delivered these traditions to the Churches. By this rule of faith, the Churches knew what was to be received as Scripture, and so the New Testament formed around it. “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

The GoodFaith Podcast

The GoodFaith podcast is intended to take the wisdom of collective church history and apply it to the problems and concerns we have today. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or your favourite feed by copying the following into your client (http://chadwgraham.com/feed/podcast), or by clicking on the RSS feed links on the home page of ChadWGraham.com