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Category: The Spirit

Who Has Believed Our Report?

  “Who Has Believed Our Report?” (Isaiah 51:3) On the list of things that might discourage us, we can scratch these off: 1. That no one believes. The implied answer to Isaiah’s question is “no one.” When the Messiah appeared, no one got him right – including his own disciples and family. The only reason anyone believed is the Father drew their heart. (John 6:44) Small numbers are not to scandalize us. 2. That our circumstances are unpromising. God’s promises have always gone forward amidst unpromising circumstances — from Abraham, to Jesus, to Paul, to today. We are the early Church to someone. Stop complaining about the decline of the West and take up some useful work. Darkness is a great time…

Saint Values

Gregory of Nanzianzus (330 – 389 A.D.) was a temperamental saint — melancholy and reclusive, yet right up there with Luther on the short list of great theologians with a great sense of humor. He laughs at those things that make God laugh (Psalm 2). His Oration 33 (380 A.D.) — is especially rich in “nothing new under the sun” perspectives.  He, struggled, as we do, with the announcement, “oh no! (or yippee! — as the case may be), the Church’s numbers are declining”, as though something tragically unusual has happened.  Gregory provides a view through a wider lens. Throughout most of his life, Arian heretics vastly outnumbered the Orthodox – the Emperor was Arian, as well as most of the bishops.…

The Spirit Initiates

Genesis 1:2 tells us that when, “the earth was without form and void, and darkness” prevailed, that the “Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Darkness precedes light. It is, in a sense, more basic than light. And, there remains a positive side to it. We never really see the stars in the big city due to the artificial human lights that never go out. Our own lights have to be put out to really see the stars. The same is true in life. Our own lights must go out before we can see the uncreated light that is God. We have some Roman Catholic friends whose severely handicapped child loves to go to mass. She prefers dark…

The Shadow of the Holy Spirit

God’s sovereignty is such that all things further his purposes. Acts 8:1–8 tells us how Saul “ravaged the Church” committing many to prison. But this only caused the Church to spread via the refugees that Saul produced. He was spreading the church even as a persecutor. One of those refugees, Philip, went to the despised Samaritans who “with one accord, paid attention.” Philip also evangelized the Ethiopian eunuch, from whom the Ethiopian Orthodox Church today traces its origins. What a blessed exile. The same Holy Spirit that had overshadowed Mary at the beginning, overshadowed the Church. Our darkness is the shadow of that same Holy Spirit.

Whatever Spirituality = Spirituality? Whatever!

Years ago I listened to the new president of a church-founded college extol its virtues in terms of buildings, bodies, bucks, and spirituality. “We encourage spirituality,” said he. “We have support groups for Protestants, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, whatever”. I knew that school enough to know that only those had a place at the table who subscribed to the credo of sloppy universalism. Any Protestant, Jew, Catholic, or Muslim bold enough to hold the historic tenets of their faith to be true was bullied into silence or found the welcome mat removed. Anti-dogma dogma excludes all but its own. Whatever spirituality is twin sister to apathy. Judah was rich in whatever spirituality when Jeremiah delivered to her God’s death sentence. Highly…