Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Total Man: Jesus Christ

We study the life of Christ to understand Jesus' behavior as a man, and what we find is that a man keeps on growing in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. He keeps on developing mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Christian success is developing into a person of godly character, and satisfaction comes from being yourself while not disrespecting others. Manhood is not having or doing, but being Christ-like through developing your unique personality and skills.

Favor does not mean being well-liked, or popular. Rather it is that which cannot be successfully condemned (John 8:46). 

By the American standard, Christ was a failure. However, appearances and expectations can be deceptive. It is substance that matters. Because He was a man of substance, Christ had an inner peace and so can we regardless how it appears or what others expectations are.

In his book, The Total Man: The Way to Confidence and Fulfillment (1980), 

Dan Benson asks:

"How do we as men find and keep the important balance in personal fulfillment, family life and work? How do we distinguish between godly manhood & pseudo-masculinity?

Freedom in being a man is separating one's self from society's false standards of masculinity to a more relaxed, confident manhood."

He continues by contrasting society's standard of manhood with a more Christ like standard:

"It was a perceptive ad agency that conceived the Marlboro Man. There he stands, rugged and free. The sun glints off the ruddy crevices of his face. Behind him, a herd of galloping mustangs symbolize his strength, daring and hard masculinity."

"Those who created him knew that he would portray America's masculine dream—our subconscious symbol of the brooding, rugged independence that spells maleness."

"His image sums up what we strive for: freedom, success, and the ability to handle any situation that comes along--the strong, silent disposition that expresses nothing short of total manhood."

"Men. Look around. The American masculine dream is killing us."

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Follow Jesus (Up To A Point)

"I follow Jesus up to a point."

"Could that point by any chance be--the cross?"

"That's right. I follow Him to the cross, but not on the cross. I'm not getting myself crucified."

"Then I don't believe you're a disciple. You're an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of His. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you're an admirer, not a disciple."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Being Examples: Government-Style Legal Authority is Not Christian Authority

Alan Knox writes:

"In each case, we see that elders/leaders are not over or separated from the church and given positions of authority. Instead, they are those among the church who are doing the things that all believers should be doing. And, in doing what all believers should be doing, they become good examples for others to follow."

My purpose in this blog post is to persuade you that we have been culturally conditioned to believe that there is only one kind of authority (top-down) and that the Bible teaches this 'only kind' of authority.

I suggest that it is our lack of being taught and therefore lack of understanding that there is more than one kind of authority--and that Christian authority is NOT the type we have been taught.

If we can refrain from projecting the "worship assembly" as the most important, compartmentalized example, for a moment, then I would like to examine 1 Peter 5:1ff without this projection which may cause us to dismiss what I have highlighted in bold.

Notice that there is no church hierarchy/oligarchy in the following passage:
"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."

"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world."--1 Peter 5:1-9.
If we can refrain from forcing a military definition on the word "charge," notice that "shepherding" in the passage is defined by Peter. The last description is "not domineering" but "being examples." It baffles me how we can still read "charge" in a domineering fashion when Peter specifically says, "not domineering." Especially note, that the "younger" are told "likewise" be subject to the elders.