Jeans’ Gospel: The Light Shines In the Darkness

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43 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Reasonable Christianity is what we find prevalent in America today:

    Osteen is the epitome. Hence his new title: “Think Better, Live Better: A Victorious Life Begins in Your Mind” If Christianity could deliver that, wouldn’t becoming a disciple of Christ be very reasonable even wise?

    But, Osteen’s success (and others) have spawned more subtle forms of Reasonable Christianity:

    Super natural gifts
    Freedom from addiction
    Prosperous and safe nation
    Good kids
    Great marriages
    Political constituencies

    Some call reasonable Christianity the “prosperity gospel”, others “theology of glory”. But what they all have in common is doing the reasonable thing. Many in America have fashioned Christianity into a good deal; a religion with rewards commensurate with sacrifice.

    But, would people in America become Christians if the only thing God promises us in this life is His forgiveness of our sins, His joy and peace, and His suffering and cross? If this is in fact what Christ promises, then what is the impact on His Church of the way reasonable Christianity is being marketed in America?

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – very good article. Many folks do not understand the darkness or the darkness. All of us were in the darkness, because at the fall we no longer had the ‘image of God’ – we had no light. Jesus came to be that light and to restore that ‘image of God.’

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    One other thing to highlight the magnitude of Jesus’ coming. You quote John 1:11-13 – here we see the end to the Abrahamic Covenant. Boom – done!

  4. Jean says:

    Thanks MLD. The gospels and epistles do present a very bleak picture of the human race.

    One thing Romans 1 brings out quite well, is that the darkness of the human heart is so fallen that we actually (in our natural state) call good evil and evil good. So our wisdom is foolishness. This makes it quite impossible for us unaided by His grace to honor God or order His creation

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Many say we have not lost the image of God, but that it has only been damaged. They hold out for some individual goodness that can be appealed to to repent and choose Jesus.

  6. Jean says:


    Notice the all caps clause:

    “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, but of God.”

  7. John 20:29 says:

    “Therefore, the Gospel cannot save us by a decision or assent according to [human] reason, but only by faith which is above [human] reason. For in no other way can the light of the Word illumine a darkened human heart.”

    insert “human” and i can pretty much agree, but i do not find/have not found the walk as a Believer (insert born-again, perhaps) UNreasonable at all… unfathomable and beyond comprehension in some areas, but this walk is not at all UNreasonable… we are not – and i’m pretty sure that is not what is meant – we are not puppets

    ahhh, the reasoning of the Lutheran mind… but i find Jean’s questions at comment #1 well worth pondering… 🙂

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    There is only one kind of reason … just plain old reason.
    Isaiah 1 = “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: ”

    There is no ‘human’ reason and then separately a ‘god’ reason.

  9. Jean says:

    There is faith and reason, which correspond to Spirit and flesh.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I feel sorry for churches that do not use the lectionary and / or the Church Calendar. No telling where most will be this coming Sunday.

    Sunday is the 8th day after Christmas and it is the day of the circumcision and the naming of our Lord (Luke 2:21) – followed on the 6th with Epiphany and the coming of the Magi followed by Sunday the 8th with the Baptism of Jesus — all proclaiming that the Light has come into the world.

    Here is a good article on the circumcision of Jesus and shedding his blood.

  11. Jean says:

    Bror’s article is beautiful. MLD, thank you for sharing.

  12. Xenia says:

    Many say we have not lost the image of God, but that it has only been damaged. <<<

    This is correct.

  13. dusty says:

    Amen! Good teaching Jean. Thank you. Love your prayer

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Which is why the EO denies Original Sin – that it was not passed down and you can fix the problem..

    Xenia, what do you do with this passage from Genesis 5? “This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

    It would seem that after the fall there no longer is an image of God – but now only man’s own image.

  15. Jean says:

    Thank you. I wish I could take credit for the prayer at the end, but it is an ancient hymn. One we sing at my church virtually every week.

  16. Linnea says:

    Jean…great article. MLD, great analysis. Please pray for my family as grace and forgiveness is sorted out this holiday season.

  17. Steve Wright says:

    I agree with Xenia. Or better, she and I agree with James (and theologians from all sorts of denominations).

    But Marty always did have a problem with the book of James, right?

  18. Xenia says:

    MLD, I do not think you have a good grasp on the EO doctrine of sin.

    We differentiate between “image” and “likeness.”

  19. Steve Wright says:

    Without necessarily disagreeing with Jean’s commentary about light and darkness in terms of the opposition from the world to the Gospel, or the sinful human heart in its depravity, all of which I affirm, may I just point out that the verb in the text, translated “has not overcome it” from verse five of John One is in fact an aorist tense, and highly doubtful to be the rare use of a gnomic aorist.

    Jean’s commentary is all about an ongoing, present tense, battle. (Note: The Evangelist tells us concerning the Light that the “darkness has not overcome it…..the opposition that the Word FACES from the world. On the one hand, the darkened heart DOES not comprehend the Word. We DO not comprehend…On the other hand, the world, which would like to silence the Word, CANNOT overcome or extinguish Him because He is divine.)

    May I humbly suggest that this is more eisegesis than exegesis, and rather that verse five should better be understood as speaking to a point in the past when the darkness did not overcome the light.

    May I suggest, it is a reference to the resurrection, when the “the hour of darkness” at Christ’s betrayal, trial, scourging and crucifixion was conquered by the Light.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, once again you amaze me – the denial of original sin? Come now – crack open a book.
    Denying that we have lost the image of God renders the cross useless. Is that just God bridging the gap between what we can accomplish with a damaged image – that gap where we fall short? You are correct, others do believe this – mainly Mormons.

    James is speaking to believers who have had the image restores. So what do you make of Genesis 5?

  21. Steve Wright says:

    My seminary anthropology class had as its textbook a work from the late Dr. Anthony Hoekema – who was in fact a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary for 20 years and a Dutch Reformed pastor for more than a decade prior.

    This staunch Cavinist (and his book) agrees with Xenia and me.

    You see MLD, sometimes you can’t just dismiss stuff as “well that is what the EO says” and of course nobody in CC circles has a grasp on theology…..

    Sometimes you Lutherans need to look in the mirror… 🙂

  22. Steve Wright says:

    Nowhere have I stated (or ever taught) a denial of original sin, man’s fallen depravity, or any such thing.

    This is why I need to stay out of the Lutheran theology class on this blog…..

    Lesson learned (again)

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you said you agreed with Xenia – the reason that the EO does not believe in original sin – in the way protestants do is because they believe that the image of God has been marred and the original sin although affecting the world stayed with Adam & Eve.

    But you didn’t cough up anything about Gen 5.

  24. Xenia says:

    Which is why the EO denies Original Sin – that it was not passed down and you can fix the problem<<<

    See, this is an ignorant statement. Forgive me for saying so, but it is. We absolutely do not believe "we can fix the problem."

    Some versions of the original sin doctrine (maybe not yours) says that we inherit not only death and an inclination towards sin but we also inherit Adam's guilt. The Orthodox believe we inherit the results of Adam's sin but not his guilt: we are guilty of our own sins, not his. Nevertheless, we will sin and we will die, as we are his children.

    All people are created in the image of God. That is one of the main reasons we are to show respect to all humans as they bear His Image, even if it is marred beyond recognition. When we are baptized (and this is where Steve will disagree) the image is restored.

    "Likeness" has to do with Theosis (Union w/ God).

  25. Xenia says:

    And I am also not inclined to follow MLD down this rabbit hole.

    Anyone interested in this topic, Google is your friend. Search “Theosis” or “Ancestral Sin.”

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    the Genesis 5 passages says both likeness and image together – so what are you going to do with that?

    Xenia – remember, I did not say anything about the EO and their position until you jumped into my statement. I was trying to stay neutral in my comments to Jean.

    So… the rabbit hole is yours.

  27. Jean says:

    Xenia and MLD,

    I don’t think it would be fruitful to debate original sin or the image of God, because it would be an undertaking just to agree on a common set of definitions. The real issue in John 1 is whether Jesus encounters a world (whether in 30 AD or 2016) which neither understands Him nor desires Him for the reasons Paul lays out quite nicely in the first 2-1/2 chapters of Romans. John calls it darkness. I think he does because notice what John rules out in verse 13:

    “he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    John rules out ancestry, works and free will. Thus, whatever you might call it (and John calls it “darkness”) it is opposed to Christ.

  28. Scooter Jones says:

    “you shock me with the most vile theology, which astonishes, vexes and saddens me beyond belief.”

    Wow, what could of been a beautiful thread turns into a theological food fight. Smh.

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, re #28
    Except that what I brought up originally about the lost image of God defines the darkness of the darkness that needs (still present tense) to be overcome by the light. Some seem to hold that the darkness is really more light twilight.

  30. dusty says:

    Linnea, praying for your family

  31. Jean says:

    Scooter Jones,

    I apologize to you, Steve Wright, and anyone else who was offended by my comment #27.

    Michael, if you have the capability, please delete my #27.

    I will leave it to the reader to decide for whom John is speaking in the Prologue.

  32. dusty says:

    Jean, it’s all good. This is a give and take discussion. This is how we learn from each other.

    MLD can be hard sometimes but it comes from a good place.

  33. Jean says:

    Thanks Dusty. I’m very happy whenever you pop in. And you’re welcome any time. 🙂

  34. dusty says:

    That goes for you to steve , it’s all good . We learn fr each other with the back and forth…sometimes it is one word that you may be thinking of definition 1 and the other person is thinking of definition 3 and the two of you see it from a different angle. You know tthe three blind men descibing an elephant but from three different angles.

  35. dusty says:

    Why thank you Jean! 🙂 I’m happy to be welcome here

  36. dusty says:

    MLD, “light twilight” what do you think of that? Isn’t darkness just that….darkness?

  37. dusty says:

    You all are bringing a lot to the table. MLD, steve,xenia and Jean. Thank you

  38. Xenia says:

    You are such a great encourager, Dusty! God bless you. 🙂

  39. John 20:29 says:

    i am reading here tonight and wondering how light and darkness need to be debated… all the ramifications and applications are wonderful… light illumines both good and evil and leaves us without excuse, if we close our eyes and refuse what we don’t like to see

    agreeing with Xenia, dusty IS a great encourager here… and wise 🙂

  40. Linnea says:

    dusty @30….thank you. It’s been a rough week.

  41. dusty says:

    Father, bless MLD, Jean, Xenia, John 20:29, and Linnea today. Lighten their load and give them peace. Continue to be with them in wisdom and knowledge. Bless them today i pray.

  42. dusty says:

    Lord add steve to my list. Bless him today as well.

  43. Muff Potter says:

    Xenia wrote @ #24:
    “The Orthodox believe we inherit the results of Adam’s sin but not his guilt: we are guilty of our own sins, not his. Nevertheless, we will sin and we will die, as we are his children.

    Even though I’m not EO, I believe this too, in direct opposition to Augustinian theology.
    Don’t get me wrong, Augustine wrote other things that I do agree with, but at day’s end, not this (original sin).
    Theologians and holy men have written vast tracts of stuff and I’ll give it a listen, but ultimately, I’ll do my own homework, use critical thought, and keep my own counsel on what I sign onto or don’t sign onto.
    I trust in Messiah’s very person and nothing more.

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