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What I Read Online – 03/20/2013 (a.m.)

20 Mar
    • In the beginning, the church in Rome was just one church among many in the Roman empire but natural events conspired to change this.
    • In November of 2011 CSNTM traveled to the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (BML) in Florence Italy. This is a phenomenal library founded by the Medici family. Here, the old library, which was designed by none other than Michelangelo himself, can be seen in all of its glory. It now holds over 2500 papyri, 11,000 manuscripts, and 128,000 printed texts. Because of this trip, CSNTM is proud to announce the addition of new images of 28 manuscripts from the BML. This excellent collection contains papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. Among the many treasures we digitized was an eleventh-century lectionary, written entirely in gold letters (GA Lect 117). Another manuscript had Paul’s epistles after the book of Revelation—a very rare phenomenon GA 620). And we photographed a complete Greek New Testament manuscript—one of only sixty known to exist (GA 367). We thank the library and their staff for their graciousness and willingness to digitally preserve these manuscripts. The following manuscripts may now be found HERE.
    • Notice that right from the beginning these apocryphal writings are described as “lost scriptures.”  Thus, it is already assumed from the outset that these books are scripture, but somehow they have been left out of the canon (no doubt by those pesky, narrow orthodox folks).

       

    • Although some communities no doubt where influenced by some of these books, they were not nearly as influential as the books of the New Testament.  I have argued elsewhere (see here), that apocryphal writings are not nearly as popular within early Christianity as often claimed
    • Again, this is simply not true.  None of these “new” documents were written in the first century.  None have any claim to be original or early.  And none were written by apostles.   And yes they were shunned.
    • Notice that such language entirely skips the issue of the historical merits of these books.  What matters is not so much the books themselves, but the principle that no books should be privileged over any other.  This is 21st century relativism at its best.
    • We live in an age in which the very word doctrine, or worse, dogma, is a negative term. And yet it is simply impossible to live without doctrinal beliefs
    • many of our most personal and practical problems are doctrinal ones
    • I’ve always been impressed by the contrast between contemporary strategies for coping with stress and Paul’s counsel for how to get inner peace. Modern approaches tell you to take time off, to get a better work-leisure balance, to block negative and guilty thoughts, to exercise and to learn relaxation techniques. Modern books never tell stressed people: “Think about the big questions of life. Where are we from? Where are we going? What is the meaning of life?”
    • But Paul says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable . . . think about such things. . . . And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). In effect he is saying: “Think!
    • So think. If you are discouraged, think about and take hold of Christian doctrine until it puts some health and peace into you.
    • In short, the world tells you to get peace by not thinking too hard; Christianity tells you that you get peace by thinking very hard—learning, grasping, rejoicing, and resting in the truths of the Word of God.

       

      So learn biblical doctrine—for your health.

       

    • Every Christian needs the care and compassion of the body of Christ. Pastors knows this better than anyone. But we can be slow to accept it for ourselves.
    • When my elder suggested I ask the congregation to pray for me, he argued that a church learns to truly love her pastor by praying for him, comforting him, seeing him in need, and exercising their pent up desire to minister to him as he has ministered to them. If we aren’t careful as pastors, we can fall into the bad habit of thinking we must always be Christ to others and no one can ever be Christ to us. We get comfortable as the grace-dispensers, without recognizing our greater need to be grace-receivers. Such an attitude has the appearance of humility, but is actually the hardening of pride.
    • First and foremost, model what it’s like to be in touch with where you really need God’s mercies, strength, and wisdom.

       

      Second, help God’s people to study what the Bible shows and tells about prayer. Learning to pray is not mainly about how often we pray, or the techniques and elements that go into prayer. It is about how to need the right things, and how look in the right direction for what you need. What is the Lord’s Prayer asking for?  What are the Psalms asking for? What about God comes into view in the Lord’s Prayer and the Psalms? This is what we ought to be asking for from others, and how we ought to be praying for each other.

    • I suppose many Catholics see evangelicals as a pack of “Left Behind” watching fanatics who imagine the Antichrist as a futuristic horned monster who runs around eating children and slapping barcodes on everyone’s forehead.  Goodness knows too many evangelicals are exactly that; maybe this accounts for some of the concern that we are being a little unfair with the Pope.

       

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              I guess it had to happen.  A United Methodist Church has decided to ban straight marriage.   Must be the ‘yuck factor’, I guess.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 20/03/2013 in Current Issues

 

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