My personal reformation by the Word and Spirit

How do we experience a personal reformation? By hearing the teaching, the preaching and by experiencing the sacrament of the living word who is Jesus Christ. This has been my personal experience. As one hears the living active word, the Holy Spirit awakens faith within a person’s spiritual inner being. The Holy Spirit arouses our inner spirit-being to be regenerated, bringing new life. One will never be the same again. This is what Martin Luther calls regeneration; today’s evangelicals call it being “born again”. Luther actually said: “It was like I was born again.” Though some Lutherans will deny that regeneration is not the same as being “born again”, it really is the same thing but using different words. It is all semantics; however, the evangelical definition of “born again” has connotations of evangelicalism. Thus, Lutherans seem to want to keep the definition of “regeneration” distinct–but it is actually the same thing. Evangelicals have an easier time pointing back to an experience they can remember; whereas, Lutherans are called to “remember their baptism” as a continual everyday thing. (see my posting on Dec. 28, 2006) [photo: Watchman Nee who in 1952 was imprisoned for his faith, tortured and beaten black & blue; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and supply to Christians throughout the world.]

Which Radical Reformation is coming?

The “Coming Radical Reformation” that was supposed to put Christianity on its knees has not come in this age and probably won’t in future ages either. I believe there is a personal God external to human beings as opposed to Robert Funk’s “God of the metaphysical age is dead” idea. Sure the de-literalization of the creation story might be agreeable to many…even to some evangelicals but most of Funk’s “21 Theses” are considered too radical and unorthodox biblicalto most Christians, even to liberal scholars. Does God still interfere with the order of nature from time to time? Sure. Miracles are not so unbelievable given the amount of testimonials out there by ordinary people around the world, especially from Christians in developing countries. What causes our unbelief is our lack of contact with the ordinary folks who experience the supernatural. Perhaps we should not be so quick to judge those who have experienced God in a real and tangible way. One’s subjective opinion cannot invalidate one’s personal experience of the Holy Spirit; nor can one’s lack of experience of God’s supernatural essence validate the non-existence of God. The fact that we live and move and have our being is a miracle in itself. Funk’s christology of Jesus as non-divine human being is an attempt to demote Jesus to the status of a demi-god or mere prophet. This would certainly please the Jehovah Witnesses and Muslims but the onus is still on R. Funk and the nontraditionalists to prove that Jesus is not divine. It will take much more proof to disprove the traditional beliefs of historic Christianity, which has been handed down to us through the centuries. Funk’s disbelief in the virgin birth of Jesus doesn’t cause as big of a stir to traditional Christian theology. I don’t think traditionalists should have much to fear even with a change of wording of Isa. 7:14 from “virgin” to “young woman”. Things like these are really the non-essentials of the faith. It will take a much greater pardigmatic shift in theological opinion to subvert the traditional wording of the Creed. (The Good News bible and N/RSV translations switched to “young woman” rather than “virgin”; but the NIV, TNIV, ESV, and modern translations have remained the same.)

Zippori: important place not mentioned in the bible

It is curious that a very important city of Sepphoris (or Zippori) was never mentioned in the bible. Located only four miles northwest of Nazareth, it was the leading city and capital of the Galilee district at the time of Jesus. It is not mentioned in the Bible so it gives archaeologists intriguing insights into life in the Galilee, particularly at the time of Jesus’ childhood. It is a big center of business that Jesus would have walked and talked in, and where his disciples would have ventured through. It is the main cosmopolitan center that far outweighs Nazareth in importance. Jesus would have gone to this city nearby to go about his daily business where there was a large ampitheatre, businesses, and even a suburb. Odd it was not mentioned even once in the gospels…but then, there were probably a lot of other things not mentioned in the gospels too. (photo: colonnaded main street, and sidewalk of Zippori on other side of colannades; on-going excavation since 1996; ampitheatre)