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  1. Jean says:

    A Clash of Two Worldviews
    Does the Bible teach us how to go to heaven, or about how the heavens go?

    Early in the 16th Century, an emerging cosmology coined “heliocentrism” developed by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) ran headlong into the traditional “geocentric” cosmology defended by the Church universal. While Rome, Luther, Calvin and their followers did not agree on many things during this period, one thing that united all of them was their rejection of Copernican Heliocentrism.

    At the beginning of the 16th Century, the universal Church dogma concerning the cosmos was geocentrism: the belief, predicated on a literal interpretation of Scripture, that the Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies. Copernicus, an astronomer, physician and doctor of canon law, challenged that dogma with his hypothesis of heliocentrism: the belief, predicated on mathematics, that the Earth and planets revolve around a relatively stationary Sun at the center of the Solar System.

    For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to describe the details of Rome’s rejection of Heliocentrism, except to report that Copernicus’ major publication on his hypothesis was eventually banned by Rome, and one of his defenders, Galileo Galilei, was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life by an Inquisition for, among other things, holding and defending an opinion which had been declared contrary to Scripture.

    The Reformers also rejected heliocentrism based on Scripture:

    “There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked] “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.” – From Table Talk.

    “The eyes are witnesses that the heavens revolve in the space of twenty-four hours. But certain men, either from the love of novelty, or to make a display of ingenuity, have concluded that the earth moves; and they maintain that neither the eighth sphere nor the sun revolves…. Now, it is want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly, and the example is pernicious. It is part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in it.” – Philipp Melanchthon

    “We will see some who are so deranged, not only in religion but who in all things reveal their monstrous nature, that they will say that the sun does not move, and that it is the earth which shifts and turns. When we see such minds we must indeed confess that the devil posses them, and that God sets them before us as mirrors, in order to keep us in his fear. So it is with all who argue out of pure malice, and who happily make a show of their imprudence. When they are told: ‘That is hot,’ they will reply: ‘No, it is plainly cold.’ When they are shown an object that is black, they will say that it is white, or vice versa. Just like the man who said that snow is black; for although it is perceived and known by all to be white, yet he clearly wished to contradict the fact. And so it is that they are madmen who would try to change the natural order, and even to dazzle eyes and benumb their senses.” – John Calvin

    “A simple survey of the world should of itself suffice to attest a Divine Providence. The heavens revolve daily, and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion — no disturbance in the harmony of their motion. The sun, though varying its course every diurnal revolution, returns annually to the same point. The planets, in all their wanderings, maintain their respective positions. How could the earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God’s hand? By what means could it maintain itself unmoved, while the heavens above are in constant rapid motion, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?” – Calvin

    What this controversy reveals, should we care to learn from it, is that when science and Scripture clashed in the 16th century, the Church did not have a satisfactory response. It didn’t have (or use) the interpretive tools to deal with scientific discovery. What did the Church learn from that controversy? How will the Church deal with the next controversy that pits science against apparently contradictory accounts provided in Scripture?

    There are two interpretive tools which Christians might consider using when confronting Scripture accounts of the natural world which on a strictly literal reading might contradict science based evidence.

    1) “Accommodation” (a/k/a condescension) is a principle of interpretation which holds that God revealed his word to human authors in a manner that may be understood by the authors’ original audience and accommodated that revelation to the common understanding of the hearers, even if that meant communicating His word through the flawed hearers’ historical, scientific, theological, and cosmological errors.

    2) “Phenomenological perspective” is the principle of interpretation which holds that statements about nature in the Bible are from the perspective of what they look like to the natural senses (e.g., naked eye). For example, to the unaided physical senses, the sun appears to actually move across the sky daily. However, aided by scientific instruments, movement of the sun across the sky is only a visual effect due to rotation of the earth.

    Here is a slightly more complex application: Genesis 1 states that on the 6th day, God created land animals, including cattle and wild animals. Using the above interpretive principles, one might postulate as follows: The OT Hebrews observed that animals begat other animals only according to their kinds; based on their experience, cattle begat only other cattle; if one were to trace the ancestry of cattle far enough back in time, one would expect to find that all cattle share a common ancestor. This could explain why cattle are mentioned among the land animals created on day 6. However, based on the evidence of modern scientific inquiry, it is accepted that cattle were domesticated from wild animals sometime in the past, but apparently before the creation account was written. From the author’s phenomenological perspective and God’s accommodation of the author and his hearers’ common understanding, one might choose to apply a non-literal interpretation to the this particular description in the creation account. One might conclude that the ancient science included in the creation account was incidental to the inerrant theological truths which God revealed through the author.

  2. JTK says:

    What percentage of first time church guests never return to church?

    Would YOUR church know that number?
    Would you be willing to share?

    I’d appreciate some PP help

  3. Xenia says:

    Well I don’t know…

    Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service.
    In many EO parishes people are expected to give each other a kiss. It’s biblical!

    Unfriendly church members.
    My parish was not friendly at all until they realized I intended to join, then they treated me like a long lost cousin.

    No place to get information.
    There’s an elderly lady at the candle stand who will answer your questions.

    Bad church website.
    We barely have one, just a few pages, often out of date.

    Poor signage
    We just have one small sign on the side of the building.

    Insider church language.
    Most of the services are conducted in Church Slavonic

    Boring or bad service.
    It’s the same every week. It is glorious, though.

    Members telling guests that they were in their seat or pew.
    We have no seats or pews.

    Dirty facilities
    Our church is nice and clean.

    So, out the the ten, my parish only gets one, maybe one-and-a-half right, according to this article.

    Yet my parish had grown 500 percent in the last decade.

    It’s the theology, not the superficials.

  4. Jean,
    “Does the Bible teach us how to go to heaven, or about how the heavens go?”

    Neither, the Bible teaches us what Jesus has done for us. Everything else is like the scenery background at a Broadway play.

  5. Jean says:

    Ah, MLD, if only people believed that.

  6. Steve Wright says:

    It sure relieves the burden to let the Lord build His church. To guide His sheep. Obviously the overseers need to oversee (you don’t let the bathrooms get messy in the name of trusting the Lord)…

    But the simple fact that this survey lists both the existence of a meet and greet, plus the complaint about members being unfriendly tells you the futility of trying to please people.

    And anyone who can judge that people are being “fake-friendly” is someone who likely would not be happy if Jesus gave the message and Paul and Peter were the ushers.

  7. Nonnie says:

    I don’t care for the obligatory “stand up and say hello to those around you.” It would mean a lot more, if folks would greet those around them before the service. I try to do that, even if I am a visitor.

  8. We have a time called ‘passing the peace’ – it is a time, going back to village days where you saw everyone everyday and if you had a difference, you took care of it at this time, offering peace to your adversary brother before the Lord’s Supper.

    But today most don’t see each other between Sundays so it probably serves as a meet and greet.

    But I don’t find newbies to be upset or take offense to the ‘meet & greet’ – hey, if a newbie doesn’t run when we all hit our knees and confess our sin in public before a holy God- they can handle a “Howdy” later. 🙂

  9. Nonnie says:

    Peace be unto you, MLD.

  10. Jtk says:

    Thanks Xenia and Steve Wright.

    The book “Jim and Casper Go To Church” helped in similar ways–an atheist and a Christian visit a bunch o different types of churches.

    The fakery is obnoxious in several locations.

  11. Jim and Casper should stop faking it when they go visit churches.

  12. brian says:

    I found this out dont know how good it is but I am looking at retirement but I will still need to work to pay for medical care some of the jobs here seem really good. Just wanted to share it with all of you. As usual please be careful with listings etc.

  13. Your right Brian,

    Some of the sites have invalid security certificates which usually are untrusted connections. Firefox browser will usually popup an alert to warn when attempting to access a questionable link.

    I used to attend Jack Hayford’s Church On The Way back in the early 90’s. He would have everyone meet and greet each other at the start of the service, and declare a blessing over one another in Jesus name.

    Which has significant value because of that wonderful name.


    I am going to have to attend your church services one of these days. (Your a fine teacher of the Word.)

    And then as a mystery church shopper, so to speak, observe how my experience there turns out.

    Pastor Tilson Shumate and my self do this now and then just for the fun of it.

    We overwhelmingly have found that we are treated as outsiders with suspicion in most churches we have surveyed.

    We had one fellow in one of the bigger Vineyard Association Of Churches follow us around as though we were criminal suspects of a sort.

    We absolutely did not feel welcomed in any way shape or form that visit.

    On another note, we have also visited with individuals to observe how they conduct themselves in Christ while entertaining strangers.

    You would be surprised how many people are not open to strangers, and even out right reject them…

    I found that in CCCM that there were groups and subgroups of people who associated with one another to the exclusion of other groups. This first hand observation after decades of attendance there.

    Human nature I guess.

    But on the plus side there were older individuals who glowed in the Love of Christ and reached out to others sincerely as “master of guests.”

    They overwhelmingly made up for the cold shoulder coming from others.

    So far Jack Hayfords Church tops any for their treatment of new faces in the crowd. His church is super friendly and very inviting!

    O, there is also Oden Fong’s Poeima Church. They rate up there with Jack’s Church.

  14. Jean says:

    “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh.”

    The Church uses this verse today for current issues and we read how Jesus and Paul riffed on it the NT, but lately the Spirit has been hitting me upside the head with it as I selfishly lament the progression of my younger son’s relationship with his girlfriend which is increasingly drawing him into a new family of his own. I really am happy for him though.

  15. Jean,

    First the empty nest syndrome and now this.

    There are a few painful moments when our sons grow up.

    But the grandchildren erase all pain in due season…

  16. Jean says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words David! Hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. 🙂

  17. brian says:

    looks like Driscoll may be getting ready to get back in the saddle he has some backing and texas or southern cal will be the place, dont know how accurate the tip is but this is about as fast as I thought it would happen. Maybe a bit slower than expected. My prediction he will make it and he will be back to his regular salary in less than a year. Good for him, thats the way to work the business.

  18. Texas is too hot and dry. My guess is Orange County Califorina Brian.

    Better climate with bigger fish who have deep pockets to tap into.

  19. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Orange County was where Mars Hill got evicted and it turned out the executive eldership presumed the eviction of a church couldn’t/wouldn’t happen. There’s some history to live down there and now that it’s become clear from the MH bylaws the executive eldership had active oversight Mark’s going to have to explain why he said he “didn’t know” why the eviction happened. Might just be able to blame Turner, maybe? TX could make more sense in terms of it being a haven for people with debts or legal pasts. A Texan friend once told me that Texas doesn’t recognize debts or other legal issues from other states, which is why people go there when they have debt problems. Driscoll may want to lay low in Texas long enough to get re-sent from there. Going straight to California in the wake of Firstenberg’s revelations this year about what the executive leaders knew about the likelihood of eviction would be a bit reckless even for Mark Driscoll, wouldn’t it?

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