justification, Mammon to minister (v.),
patristic, pneumatology, to remember,
the River, seed faith
What Is Christian Spirituality? > Church-Speak 101 > Incarnation and patristic.
concupiscence : [ < Latin co(m)- (intensifying prefix) + cupere (to desire)] intense desire.
In Christian theology, concupiscence refers to the intense desire each person has for 'sinful' things (especially sex and power) and 'carnal' things (especially wealth and 'ear-tickling' ideas). In popular belief, the word "concupiscence" isn't used because it's way too long. But the idea behind it gets shrunk down to sexual lust, as happens with all talk of sin. These desires are no mere joneses. They act as gods to us, and thus take the place where only the Almighty belongs. They are the engine that propels us headlong into doing things that oppose what God wants us to do. These urges impel us and can drive our actions. Because no one is able to be truly holy under our own power, these intense desires take over. It's here that Christ's work on the cross and the Holy Spirit's work in the believer have their effect: Christ covers the cost of sin, and the Spirit brings us Christ's righteousness and with it the strength not to be ruled by the fervor of these cravings. The Spirit gives the spiritual fruit of self-control and the spiritual virtue of temperance. The Spirit harnesses the urges of concupiscence, which in some form remain a challenge for us as long as we live.
You can also check the dictionary.
covenant : A contract, pact or agreement. For Jews, it is a contract between God and a specific people, originally made with Abraham, and later expanded with Moses to include God's Law for the people, and then to cover them as a nation under David. This covenant is what created the identity of the Jewish people. Christians have a covenant, too, which is seen as the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant but meant for the whole human race. This covenant was marked by Christ's execution on the cross where our sin was taken away, and by His return from death. This covenant creates the identity of the Christian church. In both cases, the covenant includes promises and responsibilities.
You can also check the dictionary.
incarnation : [ < in- + Latin carn- (flesh) + -ation (to become, transform into).] When a divine being or spirit becomes human or takes on an animal form of life.
For Christians, incarnation refers to God loving us so much that God chose to become a certain earthly being, Jesus of Nazareth. In doing that, God chose to be born, to live, to die in the manner of human beings, and to experience the good and bad that makes up human life. By incarnating, God gave a new holiness to all that exists, to the earth Jesus walked on, the world of nature he had all around him, in, the ethnic/religious group he was a member of, the wood he cut and pieced together, the temple he hung out at, the boat he spoke from, the crowds he spoke to, the nation and empire he lived in, the garden he prayed in, the city he was executed in, and the tomb he walked out of. Jesus' incarnation doesn't make created things into God, but makes all created things blessed by God, and re-activates the image of God we were created in.
'Incarnational' refers to the act of actually entering into a people, series of events, nation, or culture. It's a mode of operation, which breeds methods but it's not about method. Being 'incarnational' is the way God operates in the world around us, and in us, the ultimate example being Christ Himself. God does not wait for us to move Godward, because we won't, or if we do we won't stay there. Christ's followers have operated incarnationally when they sought to introduce the faith to new lands and peoples. They use the culture to teach about the true God; they teach by way of living among the people, building trust, living as disciples of Christ. Then, once they have succeeded, they generally stop doing things like God does them, and start trying to draw people to an institution or a set of ideas or rules. This has sometimes worked in the short run, dramatically reshaping many of the world's great cultures. But eventually, the institutions, ideas, and rules fail, because they are not God but the work of humans. People drift away, or even rebel. And the church starts to die.
You yourself are 'incarnate' just by being alive, but your faith might be so abstracted or bound by rules or ideology that it no longer breathes. In order to bear witness in a culture that no longer believes, or is even in open rebellion against God, Christ's followers must start the incarnational process again. This means actually going into the people and the culture, not calling them to come to us. It means learning where the people suffer, and why, and what Christians may have done to help cause it (without guilt-tripping). And then, going face-to-face, taking action alongside them that really address those people in their lives. It is more than just serving them, it is being a part of the Spirit's revealing work among them. This is how God works. Your role is not so much to consciously imitate the method as to live and breathe the faith.
You can also check the dictionary.
Justification [ < Late Latin iûstificare (to act justly toward).] the act of rendering someone / something just, that there was no wrong done in their action(s). Related to 'justice' and 'to be just'.
For Christians, justification is God's act of declaring sinners forgiven, or 'not guilty'. A related word: exoneration. This is the key word in the "juridical" or "courtroom" approach to what Jesus did. A related term in that view is 'substitutionary atonement'. All people break God's Law, which is a deadly thing to do. God declares us 'not guilty', by declaring Jesus 'guilty' in our place. Why would God do it? Because God loves us, even though we keep showing that we are not otherwise worthy of it. Jesus carries out this divine purpose. Jesus takes on your unrighteousness; God grants Jesus' righteousness to those who put their trust in Jesus. Nothing you or I did caused this act of grace. Justification from our wrongs is strictly something God does. It is never partially done, any more than an inmate on death row can be partially pardoned so that the soft organs and several vertebrae are still to be executed.
You can also check the dictionary.
Mammon [ < Aramaic mamônâ (riches)] Material wealth. In English, as in Jesus' use, it bears the connotation of evil influence or ill-gotten gain. The poor classes of Jesus' day probably used it in such a way, as poor classes all over the world often use words of wealth.
Mammon is not so much 'money' as it is 'wealth'. And it's not so much 'wealth' as it is the state of spirit where wealth becomes the reason you do what you do with your life, an idol for whom you warp everything about yourself. Some preachers have covered up for this false god by saying that in using the word 'Mammon' Jesus was referring to anything worldly that draws one away from following God. They've got a point, but it misses Jesus' main point. When Jesus spoke of 'Mammon', he was talking specifically about the one thing that's more likely to be an idol than anything else: material wealth. Wealth preoccupies our lives the way that God should. When something else gets what only God should get, it is an idol, and thus it was appropriate to use the Aramaic idol-like name of Mammon for wealth as an idol.
to minister [ Latin minister (servant, one who performs a service)]. To serve or help another.
In the Christian context, to minister is to serve or help in the name of Christ, through the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. ( 2 Corinthians 3:5-6). Anyone who does this is a 'minister', though most people use the word to describe the 'ordained minister' who an organization sets apart to take care of the sacraments, preach sermons, and devote themselves to the spiritual care of the members of the local church. (The root meaning tells us why in most governments, cabinet members are called 'ministers' and their offices are called 'ministries' -- they're supposedly there to serve the nation.)
The Hebrew word for ministring is sharath, which means 'to attend to or wait on'. The New Testament uses several Greek words for this, including hierourgeo (to serve in a priestly or cultic way); huperetes (a subordinate); and the primary word for Christian thought about service, diakonos (one who does another's bidding).
You can also check the dictionary for 'minister'.
patristic [ < Greek patriarkhês < patria (lineage; < pater (father)) + arkhos (ruler)]. That which comes from the leaders of the early centuries of the church, ca. 100-451 AD, between the last of the Apostles and the Council of Chalcedon. The leaders of this period are known as the 'Church Fathers' or the 'Patristic Writers'. Many of them were not just theologians, but also bishops. Patristic-era bishops were much more personally involved than now, since their dioceses had fewer members, little bureaucracy, and much less of a clear separation of bishop from ordinary worshipper. These early patristic leaders built much of the base for the theologies, worship, and church practice the Church has treasured (and sometimes regretted) since then.
Pneumatology can be mistaken for:
To wit: what sounds like the study of the Spirit quite often isn't.
One of the trends in recent church practice is that pneumatology has become more 'practical' and 'experiential' - that is, more about what we do, live through, and take part in than about thinking about the Spirit. That's a good counter-punch against the rather extreme over-theologizing of many theologians. But a lack of clear thinking creates very serious discernment problems, and discernment is even more important now than it ever was, in this era of the Big Lie and the Web of Little Lies.
Here's some really sharp blogging on today's lack of a real 'pneumatology' in most circles of the church, from Dan Edelen. The replies are good, too.
to remember: to keep in mind; to not be held hostage to the now. To be able to follow through on the greatness of past times, or to reject the sins of old when they are repeated today. To draw on the emotional impact of past love to help you through the dry times. If you do not remember, you cannot learn, and you are left unable to use the knowledge you might already have had. Remembering is how pivotal moments and dear people continue to impact your life. When Jesus broke the bread on that last supper with his disciples, he is reported to have said to do this "in remembrance of me". You can't follow a Christ you forget in your daily life.
Other related verbs include: to recall, reenact, bethink, bear in mind, treasure, reminisce, relive.
You can also check the meaning of 'remember' in the dictionary. (Remember to click the link.)
'the River' : The current wave of Pentecostal revivalism, which first swept out from Toronto and later from the Pensacola FL area. It's characterized by emotional experiences and some rather vigorous manifestations : falling to the floor, body gyrations, laughter, and in the early going even animal sounds. The term 'The River' was chosen by many of those involved because it gives a word-picture of what this wave feels like, rather than refer to it (as the press has) as 'Toronto Blessing' or 'Brownsville Revival'. It also catches its character -- it flows along from one place to another, and just as it seems to be petering out another flood rolls into it from somewhere else. It's characterized by emotional experiences and some rather vigorous manifestations: falling to the floor, body gyrations, laughter, etc.
The 'river' imagery is ere old, going back to pre-Christian Middle Eastern baptisms for ritual cleanness. These were originally done in streams and springs, in moving water, but later was shifted to pools in or near places of worship. John the Baptist recast the river imagery in a daring new way in his ministry, as did Jesus. The song 'Shine Jesus Shine' calls on the Spirit to flow as a river in us; the song 'Peace Like A River' sings of the settled soul God gives us, flowing in us and going outward.
'seed faith' : to entrust money or goods or time to a ministry so you can receive God's special benefit in return : a financial surrendering will give you financial gain. If you are to believe the 'prosperity preachers', seed faith giving, and especially the 'hundredfold blessing', is the key to human happiness. They speak of it as if it slices, dices, splices and spices, and if you give now you'll also get a full set of screwdrivers and a 12-volume CD package of the greatest hits of 1982. In truth, it grinds and blinds and binds the minds. 'Seed faith' is not a biblical idea nor a biblical term, though many pentecostalists act like it is. Its everyday-language translation is 'gimme'. If a preacher says 'Build me up', pray that the Spirit grasps them, but don't send money. (By the way: 'this ministry' = 'me').
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|ver.: 20 July 2012.|
Incarnation. Copyright © 1996-2012 by Robert Longman.