Juan 19: Sufrido, Crucificado, Muerto, Enterrado


Holy Spirit Cross at First Presbyterian Church of Annandale in Annandale, VirginiaPor Stephen W. Hiemstra

Maltratado y humillado, ni siquiera abrió su boca; como cordero, fue llevado al matadero; como oveja, enmudeció ante su trasquilador; y ni siquiera abrió su boca (Isaias 53:7 NVI)

Historia de la vida de Jesús es una parte importante del Apóstol Creed que dice: Padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato, fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado, descendió al infierno1. Mientras que la muerte de Jesús plantea muchas preguntas, ¿por qué es importante recordar la brutalidad de su sufrimiento?

La respuesta a esta pregunta depende de la experiencia del sufrimiento de uno. Una vez, me pasé un fin de semana en Princeton Theological Seminary. De Mel Gibson La Pasión de Cristo (2004) acababa de ser puesto en libertad y yo asistimos a la película con algunos estudiantes del seminario, uno de los cuales era afroamericano. La película a ampollado mi mente y me dejó sin habla sentado en un teatro vacío después. El propósito de la brutalidad gráfica se me escapaba. La resurrección de Cristo, no la muerte de Cristo, siempre había sido mi enfoque teológico. Mi colega afroamericano, por el contrario, entiende implícitamente. El vínculo entre el sufrimiento y el de ella de Cristo fue real. Las personas que sufren oyen y sienten los clavos que latía en los relatos evangélicos. Así es como ellos saben que Dios siente su dolor.

Una medida de la brutalidad aquí es la palabra usada para los azotes. Derecho romano distinguió tres tipos de flagelación: fustigatio (golpes), flagellatio (flagelación), y verberatio (azotes)2. Juan 19:01 registra una flagellatio flagelación (ἐμαστίγωσεν)3. Una paliza fustigatio (παιδεύσας – literalmente enseñar a un niño)4 se registra en Lucas 23:16 que sería simplemente una advertencia. Marcos 15:15 registra una verberatio (φραγελλώσας)5, donde estarían expuestos los huesos y los órganos internos, lo que sería el preludio a la crucifixión ya menudo matado al prisionero. Debido a la flagelación crucifixión generalmente precedido, como el único escritor que también fue un testigo ocular de la real John flagelación está grabando un relato más matizado. Esto se presta a su credibilidad. La elección de Juan de la palabra, la flagelación, según sugiere que Pilato realmente no se había tomado la decisión de crucificar a Jesús en ese punto.

Por supuesto , el sufrimiento de Jesús no terminó con la flagelación.

Uno de los principios de Alcohólicos Anónimos es que se necesita un alcohólico para entender un alcohólico6. El sufrimiento humano funciona de la misma manera. El sufrimiento de Cristo le da credibilidad a acercarse a nosotros en nuestro sufrimiento. La naturaleza extrema de su sufrimiento implica que ningún ser humano podría sufrir más, por lo que nadie está excluido de la relación con Cristo. En efecto, el sufrimiento y muerte de Cristo es lo que nos asegura que Jesús era verdaderamente humano.

El English Standard Version divide el capítulo 19 en estas secciones: Jesús entregó para ser crucificado (vv. 1-16), La crucifixión (vv 17-27), La muerte de Jesús (vv 28-30), se atravesó el costado de Jesús (vv 31-37), y Jesús es sepultado (vv 38-42). … Sufrió , crucificado, muerto , sepultado …

La crucifixión de Cristo, la muerte, la perforación, y el entierro nos preparan para la realidad de la resurrección. Hay que ser realmente muerto con el fin de ser resucitado.

[1]Question 23 of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Faith Alive Christian Resources.  2013. The Heidelberg Catechism.   Online:  https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=372.  Date:  30 August, 2013.

[2]Gary M. Burge.  2000.  The NIV Application Commentary:  John.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan. Pages 502-503.  Also:  Craig S. Keener.  2003.  The Gospel of John:  A Commentary.  Vol 2.  Peabody:  Hendrickson.  Pages 1118-1119.

[3]μαστιγόω (BDAG 4729): to beat with a whip or lash, whip, flog, scourge (of flogging as a punishment decreed by the synagogue).

[4]παιδεύω (BDAD 5489.2): to assist in the development of a person’s ability to make appropriate choices, practice discipline.

[5]φραγελλόω (BDAG 7809): flog, scourge, a punishment inflicted on slaves and provincials after a sentence of death had been pronounced on them.

[6]From the alcoholic’s perspective, of course.  Howard J. Clinebell, Jr.  1978.  Understanding and Counseling the Alcoholic Through Religion and Psychology.  Nashville:  Abingdon.  Page 128.

Juan 19: Sufrido, Crucificado, Muerto, Enterrado

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Books, Films, and Ministry

Books reviewed

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

For years, I divided the world into three kinds of people:  those who never learn, those who learn from their mistakes, and those who learn from other people’s mistakes. Book ministry helps move people into this latter category by connecting them with books they can use.

Book Ministry and Reviews

One way to undertake a book ministry is to give away good books.  Years ago in my office, a colleague started a book drive where he encouraged employees to bring in old, unwanted books that would be set out for display.  People could choose any book, pay what they thought it was worth, and the money raised was donated to charity.  Most of the books donated were steamy romance and murder novels.  I thought, why not throw in a few good Christian titles?

Another way to undertake a book ministry is to give people books that focus on the issues they are struggling with.  My favorite wedding gift for many years, for example, has been Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s Boundaries. Another frequent gift for inactive, older friends and family was Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge’s Younger Next Year, which explains in detail why exercise will extend and enrich your life. After gifting a book, I would check up later to see what they thought of it.

Another variation on the book ministry theme is to give relatives the same book or inspirational DVD as a Christmas gift.  The idea is to generate buzz in the family about a helpful topic and to move conversation away from the weather, sports highlights, and the latest tragedy on television.  While this may be akin to mission impossible, inspirational DVDs accomplish the same objective.  A modestly priced example is:  The Star of Bethlehem (2009) by Frederick A. Larson and Stephen Vidano.

Speaking of Christmas, why not wrap up your favorite inspirational titles and DVDs and bring them as gifts when you go caroling at the local retirement center, jail, or psyche ward?  People in these places have a lot of time on their hands and the cable channels are unfortunately a major part of their entertainment.  DVDs are also useful in reaching young people.

Summary

Over time, my book ministry evolved into blogging reviews of good books and writing books of my own.  While I have reviewed a few newly published books, most books that I review are more than a couple years old.  The reason is simple: I am trying to introduce readers to books that have changed my life in some way.  Hopefully, my books and reviews will help readers learn from my experience.

References

Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. 1992.  Boundaries:  When to Say YES; When to Say NO; To Take Control of Your Life. Grand Rapids:  Zondervan.

Crowley, Chris and Henry S. Lodge. 2007. Younger Next Year:  Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond. New York:  Workman Publishing.

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Ganssle Exposes Innuendo; Defends Faith

Reasonable_God_12042013

Gregory E. Ganssle. 2009. A Reasonable God: Engaging the New Face of Atheism. Waco: Baylor University Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

One God + One set of physical laws in the universe = One objective truth.  Apologetics.  It must be written on my forehead (Revelation 22:4).  At a conference last month, a representative of the publisher handed me A Reasonable God by Gregory Ganssle and said—you will love this book.  She was right.

Ganssle is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and a Senior Fellow of the Rivendell Institute at Yale University. Ganssle could be described as Christian philosopher (http://rivendellinstitute.org/gregganssle).

For anyone familiar with the story of David Brainerd (1718-1747), Ganssle’s location at Yale appears most ironic.  Brainerd was expelled from Yale for questioning the faith of a Yale faculty member in a private conversation.  His expulsion led later to the establishment of Princeton University.  Unable to be ordained without an ivory league degree, Brainerd became an early missionary to the American Indians and a major inspiration to American missionaries in the nineteenth century[1].  Ironic.

In this book, Ganssle reminds us that the term, New Atheist, applies primarily to books by four authors:  Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens.  Their work shares three things in common:  passion, belief not only in atheism but the danger of believing in God, and their status as public intellectuals speaking outside their fields of experience (1-2).  Apparently, if one practices medicine without certification, then one ends up in jail; if one attempts to destroy the faith of a generation, then one ends up on the evening news.

Ganssle organizes his book into seven chapters introduced with an introduction and followed by a brief conclusion.  The titles of the seven chapters are informative: 1. Science, religion, and the claim that God exists; 2. Faith, reason, and evidence; 3. Three arguments for God; 4. The design argument; 5. Darwinian stories of religion; 6. Three arguments for atheism; and 7. The fittingness argument.

Surprisingly, the word, proof, appears nowhere in these chapter titles.  The arguments here are modest, more nuanced[2].  The book title, for example, is: A Reasonable God.  What is reasonable?  Ganssle uses the word in his last sentence in the book but never directly defines the term.  Alvin Pantinga articulated a similar concept, warrant, and wrote an entire book to define it[3].  When the idea of proof is abandoned and the debate centers on what is reasonable, the strength of the argument lies, in part, on the craft of the writer.  Is my story better than your story?

I learned a lot reading Ganssler.  For example, Darwin’s theory can be applied outside biology provided two conditions are met.  First, one needs to demonstrate a benefit.  Natural selection assists a species to survive better than competing species.  Second, one needs to show a transmission method.  Genes record favorable variations (116-117).

The New Atheists speculate that religion is the product of a Darwinian process.  The Darwinian benefit arises with improved survival through a natural group selection process and the transmission mechanism is a meme—a cultural analogue to a gene (122-124).  What is unique about this speculation is that the New Atheists do not bother to valid the hypothesis. This suggests a deliberate strategy of innuendo[4] which Ganssle describes as a Nietzschean genealogy—a genealogy given not to prove that one’s family includes royalty, but to discredit the family (136-137)[5].

Ganssle writes with surprising clarity.  While some apologetic texts read like a bad mathematics text, I found Ganssle’s book readable and engaging.  I would enjoy reading more of Ganssle’s work.


[1]See:  Jonathan Edwards [Editor].  2006.  The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (orig pub 1749).  Peabody:  Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.

[2] Alister McGrath (Why God Won’t Go Away, 2010, Nashville:  Thomas Nelson,107) sees modest objectives as one of the strengths of scientific inquiry.

[3]Alvin Plantinga.  2000.  Warranted Christian Belief.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

[4]McGrath (2010, 138) sees the New Atheists as resorting to ridicule when their arguments are questioned.

[5]A familiar voice looms in this line of argumentation—Did God actually say… (Genesis 3:1 ESV).

Ganssle Exposes Innuendo; Defends Faith

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JOHN 18: The Arrest and Trials of Jesus

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Photograph of Boxing Gloves
Stephen W. Hiemstra 1983

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Whom do you seek?  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am he… they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6 ESV).

Jesus is full of surprises.

If a crowd of angry, armed men came up to you on a dark night and asked for you by name, then the expected answer is something like:  sorry, I have no idea who you are looking for!!!  What does Jesus do?  Jesus asks who they are looking for and volunteers—that’s me.  Actually, Jesus says–I am—which is the same expression in Greek that God uses to respond to Moses in the burning bush (ἐγώ εἰμι (Exodus 3:14).

The soldiers and officials of the chief priests (v 3) sense the presence of God—a theophany—and they draw back falling to the ground (v 6).  They are so confused that Jesus has to repeat the question—who are you looking for? (v 7)  Having focused their attention on himself, he asks them to let his disciples go and they comply. This response fulfills Jesus’ own prophecy in John 10:28 (vv 8-9).

Jesus is taken away and undergoes three interrogations:  before Annas (vv 13-23), Caiaphas (vv 24-28), and Pontius Pilate (vv 29-38).  In these three interrogations, Jesus is clearly in control in conversations with powerful leaders;  by contrast, the Apostle Peter is shaken by conversations with mere no bodies and denies his relationship with Jesus three times.

Annas is the previous high priest and father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the presiding high priest.  Annas asked Jesus about his disciples and his teaching (v 19) to which Jesus replied:  why are you asking me? (v 21)  Because Jesus is being tried for sedition (being king of the Jews), Annas has to prove that a conspiracy exists–one man’s confession does not suggest a conspiracy.  As a capital case, Jewish law requires at least two witnesses(Deuteronomy 17:6).  Annas has none!

So Jesus is sent to Caiaphas.  John’s Gospel records no discussion from this interrogation, but a lengthy proceeding is recorded in Matthew.  Caiaphas asks Jesus if he is the Son of God (Matthew 26:63).  Jesus answers the question and Caiaphas accuses him of blasphemy—a charge punishable by stoning (Leviticus 24:16).  Pushing the Romans to crucify Jesus (hung on a tree) implies that they wanted him cursed by God—discredited as well as killed (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

Jesus is then sent to Pilate who asks:  are you the king of the Jews (v 33).  Jesus’ question—did someone ask you to pose this question—begs clarification because the Jewish and Roman interests in the question differ (v 34).  A Jew would ask—are you the Messiah?  But the Romans only wanted to know if Jesus were a revival king—a political threat.  Jesus responds to Pilate’s concern about political opposition by reminding Pilate that his disciples did not put up a fight when he was arrested (v 36).  At this point, Jesus’ innocence is obvious.  Pilate then concludes that Jesus is no threat (v 38).

In some sense, each of us put Jesus on trial in our own hearts and minds.  Do we scorn the truth just to get what we want?  Do we prefer the Son of God or Barabbas?

Jesus is full of surprises.

QUESTIONS

  1. Where was Jesus and the disciples at the beginning of this chapter? (vv 1-2).Where did Jesus not pray in chapter 17? (Matthew 26:30, 36; Mark 14:26, 32; Luke 22:39)  How do you resolve the discrepancy?
  2. What role does Judas play in Jesus’ arrest here? (vv 2-3).  What role does he play in Matthew 26:47-48 (also Mark 14:43-45; Luke 22:47-48)?  Who takes the initiative in John?
  3. What happens when Jesus asks the crowd, who do you seek? Why? (vv 4-8) Why did he ask twice? (v 9)
  4. Why are Jesus’ instructions to Peter about sword-play important? (vv 10-12, also 36)
  5. Who interrogates Jesus? (vv 13-23, 24-28, and 29-38)  Who is really in charge of the case against Jesus?
  6. What is the charge? (v 33; Matthew 26:63-65)
  7. What is the penalty for blasphemy under Jewish law? (Leviticus 24:16).  Why do they want Jesus crucified?  (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
  8. Why does Jesus ask Pilate to clarify his question? (v 33)  How might Jesus answer the question differently to a Jew as opposed to a Roman?
  9. How does Peter’s denial three times (vv 15-18, 25-27) compare with Jesus’ response to his accusers? (vv 4-8, 11, 20-23, 34-37) Who questions Jesus?  Who questions Peter?  Is Jesus portrayed as a victim?
  10. What is Pilate’s relationship with the Jewish leaders? (vv 28-31)
  11. What kind of king is Jesus? (vv 33-39)
  12. What does the crowd ask for Barabbas instead of Jesus? (v 40)

 

JOHN 18: The Arrest and Trials of Jesus

Also see:

JOHN 19: Suffered, Crucified, Died, Buried

Vanhoozer: How Do We Understand the Bible? Part 1 

Roadmap of Simple Faith

Bothersome Gaps: Life in Tension

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at:http://bit.ly/2018_Trans

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Juan 18: La Detención y Juicios de Jesús

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Photograph of Boxing GlovesPor Stephen W. Hiemstra

¿A quién buscan? —les preguntó. A Jesús de Nazaret contestaron. —Yo soy … dieron un paso atrás y se desplomaron. (Juan 18:4-6 NVI).

Jesús está llena de sorpresas.

Si un grupo de hombres furiosos y armados se acercó a usted en una noche oscura y le preguntó por su nombre, entonces la respuesta esperada es algo así como: lo siento, no tengo ni idea de quién usted está buscando! ¿Qué hace Jesús? Jesús pregunta quién están buscando y voluntarios—que soy yo. En realidad, Jesús dice: – Yo soy, que es la misma expresión en griego que Dios usa para responder a Moisés en la zarza ardiente (ἐγώ εἰμι (Éxodo 3:14).

Los soldados y oficiales de los jefes de los sacerdotes ( v 3 ) detectan la presencia de Dios – una teofanía – y se retraen de caer al suelo ( v 6 ) . Ellos están tan confundidos que Jesús tiene que repetir la pregunta que es lo que buscas ? ( v 7 ) Después de haber centrado su atención en sí mismo, se les pide que deje que sus discípulos vayan y cumplan . Esta respuesta satisface propia profecía de Jesús en Juan 10:28 (vv 8-9).

Jesús se quita y se somete a tres interrogatorios: ante Anás (vv 13-23), Caifás (vv 24-28), y el poder de Poncio Pilato (vv 29-38). En estos tres interrogatorios, Jesús está claramente en control en las conversaciones con los líderes de gran alcance; por el contrario, el apóstol Pedro es sacudida por las conversaciones con personas common y niega su relación con Jesús tres veces.

Anás el sumo sacerdote anterior y el padre-en-ley de Caifás , que era sumo sacerdote presidente . Anás le preguntó a Jesús acerca de sus discípulos y de su doctrina ( v 19 ) a la cual Jesús respondió : ¿Por qué me lo preguntas ? ( v 21 ) Debido a que Jesús es juzgado por sedición (siendo el rey de los Judios ) , Anás tiene que demostrar que existe una conspiración – la confesión de un hombre no sugiere una conspiración. Como caso de pena capital , la ley judía requiere por lo menos dos testigos ( Deuteronomio 17:06 ) . Anás tiene ninguno!

Así que Jesús es enviado a Caifás. El Evangelio de Juan registra ninguna discusión de este interrogatorio, pero un largo proceso se registra en Mateo. Caifás le pregunta a Jesús si él es el Hijo de Dios (Mateo 26:63). Jesús responde a la pregunta y Caifás le acusa de blasfemia— un cargo penado por lapidación (Levítico 24:16). Empujar los romanos para crucificar a Jesús (colgado en un madero) implica que ellos querían lo maldijo por Dios desacreditada, así como muertos (Deuteronomio 21:22-23).

Jesús es entonces enviado a Pilato que le pide : ¿eres tú el rey de los Judios ( v 33 )?  Jesús pregunta–alguien te pidió que plantear esta aclaración–pregunta plantea porque los intereses judíos y romanos en la cuestión difieren ( v 34 ) . Un Judio preguntaba – ¿eres tú el Mesías? Pero los romanos sólo quería saber si Jesús fuera un renacimiento rey – una amenaza política . Jesús responde a la preocupación de Pilato sobre la oposición política al recordarles a Pilato que sus discípulos no ofrecieron resistencia cuando fue detenido ( v 36 ) . En este punto, la inocencia de Jesús es evidente. Pilato entonces concluye que Jesús no es una amenaza ( v 38 ) .

En cierto sentido, cada uno de nosotros poner a Jesús a juicio en nuestros propios corazones y mentes. ¿Nos despreciamos la verdad sólo para conseguir lo que queremos? ¿Preferimos el Hijo de Dios o Barrabás?

Jesús está llena de sorpresas.

Juan 18: La Detención y Juicios de Jesús

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Lucado Calls Out Fear; Instills Peace

Max Lucado, Fearless

Max Lucado.  2009.  Fearless:  Imagine Your Life Without Fear.   Nashville:  Thomas Nelson.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Do you believe in divine intervention?  I do.  Let me give an example.

In 2010, I signed up for a small group discussion at church.  A couple days later the small group coordinator called to ask me:  because the group that I have signed up for was over-subscribed, would I be willing to join another group?  No problem, I said reluctantly thinking to myself–why would I want to join a group proposing to talk about fear?  So I bought the book.  As I started reading, I found my life jumping off the pages–not only had fear crept into my life; it was quietly dictating a lot of my decisions.  Through almost no effort on my part, God had directed me to a major stronghold in my life and helped me deal with it (Psalm 18:2).

What was the book? It was Max Lucado’s  Fearless:  Imagining Your Life Without Fear.

Introduction

Lucado observes that:  ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s (5).  He goes on to observe that fear displaces happiness; fear is unproductive; fear is self-defeating.  Jesus spoke out against fear, for example, after the storm on the Galilee saying:  why were you afraid? (Matthew 8:26; 6)  In suggesting the destructive potential of fear, Lucado (9) cites Martin Niemoeller’s observation in 1933 that the tyrant that Adolf Hilter became was born in fear.  Is it any wonder that Christ is famous for bringing peace:  Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14:1 NLT;  11)?

Organization

Lucado’s book is organized in 15 chapters.  The first chapter, partially summarized above, poses the question:  why are we afraid?  The next 13 chapters focus on case studies of fears that we commonly confront–fear of not mattering, of disappointing God, of running out, of not protecting our kids, of overwhelming challenges, of worst-case scenarios, of violence, of the coming winter, of life’s final moments, of what’s next, that God is not real, of global calamity, of God getting out of my box.  The final chapter concludes with stories reiterating the problems caused merely by fear and with people’s responses to tragedy.  The final of these is the story of a young missionary who, as he watched his home burned the ground, recited a psalm and found solace in God (178-180).  After the conclusions, Lucado provides a discussion guide with questions for small groups.  In my own small group, we also viewed a related DVD based video.

Fears Need to Be Named

When Jesus cast the unclean spirit out of the man in the Gerasenes, he started by asking: What is your name? (Mark 5:9 ESV).  Lucado approaches our fears in a similar matter.  By naming our fears, he deprives them of their power.  He then redirects us to God where the power of the Holy Spirit may be found.

Parental Fear

Perhaps one of the most insidious fears is the fear of parents that they will be powerless to protect their kids.  This is especially true of your first child because you feel totally unprepared for the job of parenting and terribly vulnerable.  Lucado (57) notes that: fear distilleries concoct a high-octane brew for parents–a primal gut-wrenching, pulse-stilling dose.  When our children have teachable moments, Lucado (60) observes that out of fear we often become both paranoid and permissive when we should be trusting God and modeling trust to our children.

He recommends that we pour our fears out to God, not to our children, and pray with them about the issues that they confront (61).  The principle here is that:  we cannot protect our children from every threat in life, but we can take them to the Source of Life (61).   Remember that young children often look at their parents before they decide to cry–even when badly injured–and, when they see we are afraid, they cry.  Throughout his discussion, Lucado looks to scripture for guidance.  In this chapter, he reviews stories of Abraham (Genesis 22), Jairus (Luke 8), the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15), and the father with the epileptic son (Matthew 17), but lingers longest on the story of Jairus.  He concludes that clearly: God has a heart for hurting parents (63).

Assessment

Max Lucado’s Fearless is a book to read and pass around.  His writing contains numerous stories which makes his writing both accessible and interesting.  After 9-11, after so many years of the Great Recession and war, Fearless is clearly a book for our times.

Lucado Calls Out Fear; Instills Peace

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Rice Reclaims Reformed Spirituality

Howard Rice, Reformed Spirituality

Howard L. Rice.  1991.  Reformed Spirituality: Introduction for Believers. Louisville:  Westminster/ John Knox Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

As a lifelong Calvinist and seminary graduate, Howard L. Rice’s Book, Reformed Spirituality: Introduction for Believers, came as a surprising find. The term, spirituality, has a New-Age ring to it. In reading about spiritual practices, I  accordingly assumed that I was straying from the reformed tradition. Thanks to Rice, I no longer feel that way.

Introduction

Rice organizes his book into eight chapters, starting with an introduction and followed by seven topical chapters.  The topics addressed are informative:  The experience of God, problems and possibilities, prayer, study, consultation, the practice of discipleship, and discipline in the Christian life.  None of these topics come as a surprise.  The introduction starts with the Heidelberg Catechism: What is your only comfort in life and in death?  (7).  At the time of publication, Rice was chaplain of the Seminary and a professor of ministry at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Spirituality Defined

Rice defines spirituality as:  the pattern by which we shape our lives in response to our experience of God as a very real presence in and around us (45).  He notes that:  spirituality demands letting go of control, taking emotions seriously, and emphasizing being as of equal value with doing (49).

Rice highlights the Puritan experience in explaining the reformed tradition (12). For Puritans, the preferred term is piety, not spirituality, reflecting the reformed suspicion of private revelation and guarded attention to the more colorful spiritual gifts. In worship, Reformed spirituality focuses more on scripture and the sermon while, in individual practice, it focuses more on prayer and meditation.

Importance of Theology in Reformed Spirituality

Rice emphasizes the importance of theology in the reformed approach to spirituality. For example, Richard Baxtor (1615-1691; 37) sought renewal of his congregation through personal instruction in the catechisms.  While this terribly un-modern technique sounds dated, I know of at least one pastor who successfully used it to energize a youth group.  The catechisms help church members to appreciate the doctrines of the church and to relate them to life.  Theology is not the only lens that Rice employs.  He observes that we encounter God in experiences of conversion, ecstasy, visions and spoken words, intuition, transcendence, and incarnation (30-35).  These observations normally qualify one as a charismatic in reformed circles!

Rice clarifies the role of small groups and church committees in the reformed spiritual life.  Reformed theology is systemic, complex, and complete–small groups and committees help maintain spiritual balance.  For the Calvinist, the spiritual life requires walking with a community of faith.  Rice writes:  that is why corporate worship, hearing the word preached, and sharing in common administration of the sacraments are so central for any Reformed understanding of the spiritual life (53).

Assessment

As a text on reformed spiritually, Rice’s book was unique in helping me understand my own faith practices.  Clearly, I might have benefited from Rice’s systemic presentation at a younger age.  Rice deserves to be studied more than once and is suitable for small group discussion.

Reference

Baxtor, Richard 2007. The Reformed Pastor.  Carlisle:  Banner of Truth Trust.

Rice Reclaims Reformed Spirituality

Also see:

Why is Spirituality Important? 

Books, Films, and Ministry

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JOHN 17: Intercessory Prayer

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Albrecht Durer, 1508
Albrecht Durer, 1508

Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours…I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word (John 17:1,9,20 ESV).

Jesus is our role model for prayer.

The Gospel of Luke records the most verses in which Jesus prays.  The first incidence of prayer is during his baptism when Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove (3:21-22).  When crowds gathered following miracles of healing, Jesus retreated to a desolate place to pray (5:15).  When the Pharisee attacked him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus climbed a mountain and prayed all night—the following day he chose the twelve apostles (6:12).  Jesus, when praying alone among the disciples, posed the question:  “who do the crowds say that I am?” (9:18). While praying with Peter, John, and James on a mountain top, Jesus is transfigured (9:28).  Jesus was praying when the disciples asked him:  “Lord, teach us to pray…” (11:1). On the night before his death, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (22:41).

The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is not found in the Gospel of John.  Instead, in the same time slot in the passion narrative records the prayer in John 17 which is often referred to as Jesus’ high priestly prayer.  Although Jesus is best known for the Lord’s Prayer[1], chapter 17 records Jesus’ longest prayer—true intercessory prayers tend to be long.  In the Luke passage, Jesus prays his passion:  Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done (Luke 22:42 ESV) which is paraphrased in Mark 14 and Mathew 26.  The focus in John’s prayer is on Jesus’ ministry[2].

The prayer in John 17 has three main sections:  an introduction (vv 1-8), prayer for the disciples (vv 10-19), and prayer for the rest of us (vv 20-26).

Introduction.  Verse one begins the prayer with these words:  he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father (v 1). This phrasing reminds us of the Lord’s Prayer which begins:  Our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:9 ESV).  Interestingly, the introduction begins with Jesus speaking about himself in the third person and then moves into the first person.  For example in verse 1 it reads—glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you—while verse 4 reads:  I glorified you on earth (v 4).  The two statements both underscore the close relationship between God the Father and God the Son—they glorify each other.  Verse 3 reminds us that eternal life consists in knowing the Father and the Son.

Prayer for the Disciples.  This section of the prayer reads like an ordination service.  Who are the disciples; what is their mission; and how they need protection in the world are all topics addressed.  Interestingly, their sanctification consisted of receiving the word—in other words, scripture! (v 17)

Prayer for the rest of us.  We are identified with these words:  those who will believe in me through their word (v 20).  Our appearance in this prayer is likewise a function of scripture—the word of God written down by the Apostles.

Two themes in Jesus’ prayer are praise (note the repeated use of the word glorify) and focus on the role of scripture.

What themes are found in your prayers?

Footnotes

[1] Matthew 6:9-15 and Luke 11:2-24.

[2] Gary M. Burge. 2000. The NIV Application Commentary:  John.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, page 461.

QUESTIONS

  1. John 17 is a prayer. What is it about?  (Hint: Three parts:  vv 1-8, 10-19, 20-26)
  2. Where does this prayer take place? What is our expectation from the other Gospels?  (Hint:  Luke 22:39; Mark 14:32)
  3. How is Jesus described as approaching prayer? (v 1)
  4. What does this verse remind you of? (Hint: Matthew 6:9)
  5. What seems different? (Hint: Matthew 6:5-7)
  6. What claims does Jesus make in verse 2?
  7. What is eternal life? (v 3)
  8. What is glory? (ἐδόξασα; v 4) What does Jesus say about it? (vv 4-6).
  9. What does Jesus say about “the name”? (v 6) Who is addressed?
  10. What did Jesus teach? What did it consist of?  Where did it come from?  (vv 6-8)
  11. Who does Jesus pray for? Who not? (v 9)
  12. What does Jesus pray? (vv 11-12, 26) What does he mean by “in the name”?
  13. What is the petition in verse 13?
  14. What brings on hate? (v 14)
  15. What do you understand from Jesus’ references to the world? (κόσμος; vv 14-16, 18, 25)
  16. What is truth? (ἀλήθειά; v 17)
  17. Who sent Jesus? Who sends us? (v 18)
  18. What does Jesus mean by to consecrate? (ἁγιάζω; v 19)
  19. Notice the parallel between verses 18 and 19. What is not parallel?
  20. Who is Jesus praying for in verse 20?
  21. What is his petition? (v 21)
  22. Where does love come from? (v 26)

 

JOHN 17: Intercessory Prayer

Also see:

JOHN 18: The Arrest and Trials of Jesus 

Vanhoozer: How Do We Understand the Bible? Part 1 

Roadmap of Simple Faith

Bothersome Gaps: Life in Tension

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at:http://bit.ly/2018_Trans

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Juan 17: La Oración de Intercesión

Albrecht Durer praying hands 1508
Albrecht Durer, 1508

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Después de que Jesús dijo esto, dirigió la mirada al cielo y oró así … Ruego por ellos. No ruego por el mundo, sino por los que me has dado, porque son tuyos No ruego sólo por éstos. Ruego también por los que han de creer en mí por el mensaje de ellos, (Juan 17:1, 9, 20 NVI).

Jesús es nuestro modelo de oración.

El Evangelio de Lucas registra el mayor número de versos en los que Jesús ora. La primera incidencia de la oración es durante su bautismo, cuando Jesús es ungido por el Espíritu Santo en forma de paloma (3:21-22). Cuando las multitudes se reunieron después de milagros de sanidad, Jesús se retiró a un lugar solitario para orar (5:15). Cuando el fariseo le atacó por sanar en el día de reposo, Jesús subió a una montaña y oró toda la noche—al día siguiente él escogió a los doce apóstoles (6:12). Jesús, al rezar el único de los discípulos, que plantea la pregunta: ¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo? (9:18). Mientras oraba con Pedro, Juan y Santiago en la cima de la montaña, Jesús se transfigura (9:28). Jesús estaba orando cuando los discípulos le preguntaron: Señor, enséñanos a orar (11:1). En la noche antes de su muerte, Jesús oró en el huerto de Getsemaní (22:41).

La oración en el huerto de Getsemaní no se encuentra en el Evangelio de Juan. En cambio, en el mismo intervalo de tiempo en el relato de la pasión registra la oración de Juan 17 que se refiere a menudo como la oración sacerdotal de Jesús. Aunque Jesús es mejor conocido por la oración del Señor[1], más largas oraciones de intercesión–oración verdadera capítulo 17 registros de Jesús tienden a ser largos. En el pasaje de Lucas, Jesús ora su pasión: Padre, si quieres, no me hagas beber este trago amargo; pero no se cumpla mi voluntad, sino la tuya (Lucas 22:42 NVI) que se parafrasea en Marcos 14 y Mateo 26. El enfoque en la oración de Juan es el ministerio de Jesús[2].

La oración en Juan 17 tiene tres secciones principales: una introducción (vv. 1-8), la oración de los discípulos (vv. 10-19), y la oración para el resto de nosotros (vv 20-26).

Introducción. Verso uno comienza la oración con estas palabras: y alzando los ojos al cielo, dijo: Padre (v 1). La redacción del texto nos recuerda de la Oración del Señor, que comienza así: Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos (Mateo 6:9 NVI). Curiosamente, la introducción comienza con Jesús habla de sí mismo en tercera persona, y luego, pasa a la primera persona. Por ejemplo, en el versículo 1 se lee–glorifica a tu Hijo, para que tu Hijo te glorifique a ti, mientras que el versículo 4 dice: Yo te he glorificado en la tierra. Las dos declaraciones tanto de relieve la estrecha relación entre Dios el Padre y Dios el Hijo–glorifican unos a otros. El versículo 3 nos recuerda que la vida eterna consiste en conocer al Padre y al Hijo.

Oración por los Discípulos. Esta sección de la oración se lee como un servicio de ordenación. ¿Quiénes son los discípulos, ¿cuál es su misión y cómo necesitan protección en el mundo se tratan todos los temas. Curiosamente, su santificación consiste en la recepción de la palabra, es decir, de la escritura ! ( v 17 )

Oración para el resto de nosotros. Nos identificamos con estas palabras: los que han de creer en mí por la palabra (v 20). Nuestra aparición en esta oración es también una función de la escritura – la palabra de Dios escrita por los Apóstoles.

Dos temas en la oración de Jesús son la alabanza (nótese el uso repetido de la palabra glorificar a) y se centran en el papel de la escritura.

¿Qué temas se encuentran en sus oraciones?


[1]Matthew 6:9-15 and Luke 11:2-24.

[2] Gary M. Burge. 2000. The NIV Application Commentary:  John.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, page 461.

Juan 17: La Oración de Intercesión

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Maxwell Wins by Learning; Inspires Hope

Learn_11222013John Maxwell. 2013.  Sometimes You Win; Sometimes You Learn:  Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses.  New York:  Center Street.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Working in enterprise risk management in the early years of the housing crisis, I observed that firms with good risk management cultures invested heavily in learning from their mistakes[1].  Consequently, John Maxwell’s title, Sometimes You Win; Sometimes You Learn, was obviously of interest.

Maxwell is not a new face.  Maxwell is a prolific writer well-known for books on management and leadership.  When I went looking in 2008 for a book on leadership, for example, I settled on his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007).  Maxwell’s background as a successful pastor in San Diego, California (47) is intriguing.  Because pastors lead by example and primarily manage volunteers, they need to be experts at motivating people.  Maxwell is no exception.

Maxwell states his purpose in writing as:  to help you learn how to learn—from your losses, failures, mistakes, challenges, and bad experiences (213-214).  He observes that:  A loss isn’t totally a loss if you learn something as a result (16).  He organizes his book around a list of virtues and other attributes:  humility, reality, responsibility, improvement, hope, teachability, adversity, problems, bad experiences, change, and maturity (18).  He also employs lists in each of his chapters to organize his thoughts.

For example, Maxwell reports that teachability is a key attitude of a learner.  He defines teachability as:  possessing the intentional attitude and behavior to keep learning and growing throughout life (108).  Maxwell breaks teachability down into 5 traits of a teachable person and 3 daily practices.  The 5 traits of a teachable person are:  (1) an attitude conductive to learning, (2) a beginner’s mind-set, (3) someone who takes, long hard looks in the mirror, (4) someone who encourages others to speak into their lives, and (5) someone who learns something new every day (109-118).  The 3 daily practices required to become more teachable are:  (1) preparation, (2) contemplation, and (3) application (119-122).  Because teachability is an attitude, it is something that we can clearly embrace in our personal and business lives.

Like a good pastor, Maxwell peppers his writing with stories about and quotes from people who illustrate his points.  One of his first and favorite is UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden (ix).  Maxwell likes to quote coaches, but he also quotes business leaders, pastors, presidents, authors, and personal acquaintances.  The use of stories makes his writing accessible; the citing of particular individuals makes his writing memorable.

Maxwell inspires hope. The continuing high level of unemployment six years after the onset of the Great Recession has left a lot of American in despair, not knowing how to find work or, if they have work, how to improve the quality and pay of the work they have.  Maxwell’s book speaks into this despair.  Each of us can learn from our losses and bad experiences–the essence of hope is to see how our daily lives contribute to our plans for the future.  I found Sometimes You Win; Sometimes You Learn hard to put down.  I suspect that you will too.


[1]This was a major insight gained in a series of articles that I published a few years ago under the title: Can Bad Culture Kill a firm? (e.g. http://bit.ly/1i2zfGD).

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