a christmas of revelation!

Published by Miles Vincent Grimes under on 11:28 PM

FIRST off, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas season with your family or whoever you celebrated this season of Christ's birth with.

SECONDLY, get ready for a long post. Don't be discouraged by the length! Please read on! If you've clicked on a link to get here, then you might as well spend at least a couple minutes reading what's been on my mind, no?
A couple of Sundays ago, Ryan Paulson - college pastor at Emmanuel Faith Community Church - referenced the Christmas story as mentioned by John in Revelation 12; The Woman and the Beast. I had never heard of this account of Jesus' birth and loved his lecture on it. If you haven't read that chapter, I encourage you to read it from this perspective sometime; HOWEVER, this is not the topic of my post! Tricked-cha!!!

The topic of my post is actually about this man:
This is N. T. Wright.

Who is he?? Here is a small excerpt from his site:

He is one of today's best know and respected New Testament scholars. Born in 1948, he studied for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and was ordained as Junior Research Fellow and Junior Chaplain at Merton College, Oxford. From 1978 to 1981 he was Fellow and Chaplain at Downing College, Cambridge, and then moved to Montreal as Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies at McGill University. He returned in 1986 to Oxford as University Lecturer in New Testament, and Fellow and Chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford. He became Dean of Lichfield in 1994, and Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey in 2000.

In other words, this guy knows his New Testament (N. T. Wright). He is, at the current time, probably the most reliable source of New Testament history, culture, and background information in the world. His intricate knowledge of how Greeks, Romans, and Jews thought, wrote, and behaved during this time period is unrivaled in theological circles. Having been exposed to him in my Christian, Life, Faith and Ministries class through the book Simply Christian, and having been referred by my cousin, Matthew Grimes (who is currently working towards his doctorate in organizational studies at Vanderbilt), to read some material of his, I picked up one of Wright's books at the Family Christian Store to gain an idea of who this guy was and where he was coming from.

The book is called Surprised by HOPE: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. Boy, does he have some interesting things to say, and I'm only half way through the book! If I believed everything this wise scholar had to say, there would be no basis for my desire to become a missionary! That's pretty radical stuff. I agree with the general thesis of his book, which I'll explain later, but some of the explanations and reasoning behind this thesis of his come out of nowhere and I must disagree with him.

From what I've gleaned thus far from reading it, the basic outline follows the message of Jesus' resurrection. He makes the claim that the emerging church is so heavily insistent upon a disembodied "soul" that will one day spend eternity in heaven. This hope, according to Wright, is a false one. Instead, the hope that should be the excitement of the church is the hope that one day all believers in Christ will be resurrected in BODILY form with Him and rule and reign on earth...the new earth that is. This is just an oversimplified version of his thesis, but you get the idea.

Well, truth be told, I agree with this theology! HOWEVER, little bits and pieces of his doctrine began surfacing as I read it that made me question his validity. He is a "Kingdom of God" preacher, so he will tell you that "the Kingdom of God is at hand" and we must be a part of God's kingdom here on earth by taking care of it, feeding the hungry, caring for the needy, giving money to the poor. These types of acts are even mentioned in James 1:27.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

What is the definition of religion? I was told that religion is man's best way to get to God. So what was the first organized religion? Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin before God by covering themselves with fig leaves once they realized they were naked = first religion.
SO visiting orphans and widows is the most pure and undefiled way of man's best efforts to get to God. BUT IT DOES NOT SAVE YOU. Nor is this salvation. This idea is not Biblical. What happened to the "grace as a gift of God, not by works lest any man should boast," mentality?
Now that is not to say that we shouldn't care for the sick, feed the hungry, and give money to the poor. This was a part of Jesus' ministry...but it didn't end there. Jesus did not come to provide temporary comfort. He came to die so that all might have the reach to grasp eternal joy in Him and with Him!
So I was wondering where in the world these ideas of Wright came from...he gave no explanation of why he believed this. No background. No nothing.
Well, I had the privilege of talking about this with my dad and Phil de Martimprey tonight and gained some important insight about N. T. Wright: he is an Amillenialist (I highly disagree with this notion). In other words, he believes that Christ's reign will not be an actual 1000 year reign after the tribulation. Instead, we are now experiencing the thousand years in the church age. This information is the key to understanding some of the weird theology that I have never heard of in this book, but now it all makes sense, I just disagree with some parts of it.
That means that, yes, the Kingdom of God has come already. That means that those who will be saved are saved and those who are not will not be saved. That means missions is no longer necessary, but rather WORKS WORKS WORKS!!! Political justice is what the church should focus on! Sure, we should strive for political justice, but this is NOT what we are working towards.
What happened to Jesus' ministry of seeking and saving the lost...the spiritually lost?
So the conclusion that I came to is a quite broad one: There are some excellent authors, theologians, pastors, and teachers that are backed by all sorts of ethnos that have some excellent things to say about God's Word, but that does not mean they are undeniably right about everything they might have to say, nor do I have to agree with them. For instance, N. T. Wright has some incredible commentaries on the culture of the Jews and how they viewed resurrection before and after Christ. I agree with him! Just not concerning the Kingdom of God philosophy. John Piper is probably one of the most amazing pastors I have ever heard speak. He is so in tune with God's Word that you can feel his passion flowing out of his sermons, but I do not agree with his complete supremecy of God theology. God is supreme alright, but I don't agree with predestination. Rob Bell has some great things to say as well, but I don't have to agree with everything he says either.
The important things to keep in mind are this:
  • God was and is forever
  • He created the universe
  • Man became inherently sinful after the fall and needs a Savior
  • God sent His son in human form (fully God, fully man) born of a virgin to redeem the world
  • Jesus lived a perfect sinless life and died and rose again, defeating death and providing a way to the Father for those who would repent and be forgiven

    anymore?? let me know if I forgot something =]

    Without these beliefs, one cannot call themself Christian. Within the boundaries of these doctrine, the extemporaneous beliefs about how long it took God to create the universe, post-millenial vs. pre-millenial, and all arguments concerning the book of Revelation (sarcasm) are not extremely important, or rather "life and death" important.Lord, gives us an ear for wisdom and a heart of understanding! You give freely to those who ask for discernment. Let us not ask in vain Lord.

preparing for the future

Published by Miles Vincent Grimes under on 11:58 AM
One of the greatest triumphs of "growing up" is watching the friends around us grow into and become the leaders of our generation. Some of my upperclassmen friends have mentioned how bizarre it is to be bridesmaids or groomsmen in their best friend's wedding. Not bizarre in a negative sense, but bizarre as in, "Where did the time go?"

Well, Justin Ross, a good childhood friend of mine, just got his solo pilot license about a month ago and his trying to attain his private license now. A solo license means you can fly by yourself within a restricted area and with other passengers under the supervision of a flight instructor. The next license would be private, meaning he could fly whenever he wanted for an extended period of time without limitations as to where he can fly. His ultimate goal, as of now, is to get his commercial pilot license which allows you to fly passengers whenever and wherever you want, analogous to a driving permit versus a driving license.
One of the requirements of a private license is a cross-country trip, which basically is flying a certain distance x-country, not necessarily flying 'across the country'. Justin's trip was scheduled for a Friday and he called me the Friday before: "Wanna go flying with me on my x-country trip?" The event was scheduled and I had a blast! So here is the video that I made as a result of the trip. It was so much fun and I'm glad I was asked to go.

I asked him what his goals in getting his commercial license were, and he didn't really give me a straight answer. The future is a mystery, but when asked, he did express interest in missions! I think that the most exciting facet of growing up with your peers is seeing them grow into Christ and watching Him mold and shape their lives alongside yours. There is such a need for mission-minded aviators! Justin said it would be a long process, but he does hope that one day he will be able to assist missionaries by flying them into remote locations, delivering essential supplies including mail, food, and providing medical help by assisting nationals and missionaries out of tribes if needed. The need of missionary pilots is a large one, but God's Kingdom is being built and He is raising up some amazing workers for His purpose.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist o one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20

the shack

Published by Miles Vincent Grimes under on 1:39 AM
About a year ago, I developed a unique passion for reading "make you think" books.  The reason I say unique is because before this, I HATED to read. Now I love it. God has some great things to say through His Word,  and through some wonderful authors God can be understood more clearly and I can't get enough!
I often struggle to get all the way through books. I'm not sure why.  For instance, I am in the middle of several books right now: Spirit of the Rainforest, Bruchko, Lillith, Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and finally Let the Nations Be Glad.  I usually don't like to read novels, but the novels I'm reading now are interesting to read and have a substance too them, so I'm giving them a try.
So, the topic of my post: Harold Clousing, of APU Man Choir Directorial fame, gave us a book called The Shack by William P. Young as a Christmas gift to every guy in the choir. I started reading it two days ago. I don't often read the forwards in books because they are usually dull and take more than enough time to read, but I thought "Eh, why not." Hooked. Immediately. I can't wait to read this over break! I have only heard positive feedback from those who have read it. I will try and post what goes through my head while I'm reading this heralded (no pun intended) book.
I think that will be a good motivator. Yep =]