1 John P2R, Week 13

This week’s passage for memorization, 1 John 3:23-4:3, includes the end of one train of thought and the beginning of another. By now you may have noticed that the weekly passages aren’t arranged into tidy little segments of a single theological concept. Instead, they are tidy little segments that fit onto the pages of our moleskine journals. That said, they are still in the order which the Holy Spirit inspired John to write, and once memorized as a whole, the page segments will fade into the background and the units of thought will come to the fore.

Our first two verses this week wrap up the flow of thought which began in 3:11: John’s elaboration of the social test that we should love one another. In verse 23, John shows how loving one another goes hand-in-hand with believing in Jesus (the doctrine test), and both fulfill the keeping of God’s commandments (the moral test). In fact, loving one another and believing in Jesus are so mutually dependent that they are essentially a single commandment. John then states that “whoever keeps [these] commandments abides in God and God in him” (3:24). The way that we know that God abides in us is “by the Holy Spirit, whom [God] has given to us.”

Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 13”

Church History Lesson 4

 

 

The seeds of change had already been sown by others. Politically, the power of the papacy was being challenged. In Portugal, Spain, France, and England, national states were seeking to rise. Emperors felt the restrictions of religion on their decisions, and they wanted more freedom from the Church. Elsewhere, the followers of Mohammed continued to move against the borders of the Holy Roman Empire. After conquering Constantinople and the Eastern Empire in 1453, Islamic armies marched across Eastern Europe until they arrived at the gates of Vienna in 1529. The world was rapidly changing. Religion was not exempted. When Constantinople was conquered by the Mohammedan Turks, the central power of the Eastern Orthodox Church was lost, and national churches soon emerged. Other important things were happening. Christopher (literal meaning: Christ-like) Columbus made his valiant voyage which led to the discovery of the New World.

Also during this period, advances were being made in knowledge. The scientific legacy of the Middle Ages includes the Hindu numerals, the decimal system, the discovery of gunpowder, and the inventions of the eyeglass, the mariner’s compass, and the pendulum clock. The invention of moveable type at Mayence on the Rhine, in 1456 by Johann

Gutenberg, ensured that learning would be widely encouraged and new ideas would be spread. It is significant that the first book printed by Gutenberg was 200 copies of Jerome’s Vulgate Bible. Later, the printing press would be used to bring the Scriptures to the common person in a clear translation that all could read. Once people were able to read the Bible for themselves, many would realize that the Catholic Church had become far removed from the ideals of the New Testament.

According to the Church in medieval times, entrance into heaven was based upon merit. In order to merit eternal life in the presence of God, there first had to be a cleansing by fire after death in a place called purgatory. In addition, there had to be evidence of having lived a worthy life. In order to help professing Christians live a worthy life of merit, which would reduce time spent in purgatory, the Church developed a system of sacraments.  Continue reading “Church History Lesson 4”

1 John P2R, Week 12

Last week’s passage for our memorization covered some hard ground. John contrasted the love which comes from God and is shared among believers—proving that we have passed out of death into life— against the murderous hatred of the world for believers, which shows that they abide in death.

In this week’s passage we find an appeal to live out our love for one another in tangible, life-sustaining ways, loving in deed and in truth. We also encounter the deeply reassuring truth that this kind of love is another proof that we are in Christ, or, as John writes, “of the truth.” And this proof reassures our hearts whenever our hearts condemn us. When doubt creeps in and the enemy whispers in our heart that we don’t really belong to Christ, “God is greater than our heart.” When we reassure our hearts by the truth to which our one-another love testifies, we have confidence before God and may approach him in prayer, in full assurance that we are his children because the love that we have for one another and our obedience to his commandments. Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 12”

Church History Lesson 3

 

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

 

A MAN NAMED MOHAMMED

With the passing of time, many of the Arabs had forsaken the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to embrace many gods. In this idolatrous country of Arabia, there was born in the city of Mecca a boy named Mahomet, who came to be known as Mohammed.

At the age of 25, Mohammed was employed by Kajijah, a rich widow. He carried on her husband’s business and prospered. He also married Kajijah, who was fourteen years older than himself. Continue reading “Church History Lesson 3”