Sunday, October 29, 2006

Who said Body Piercing was a Sin?

Discipleship and Faith

Lately I've been really challenged on how I live as a christian. I beleive that Jesus Christ is lord of my life and that he died for my sin and I want to live a life that puts him in the drivers seat of my life. For me this means a number of important things.

1) I want to reach out to those around me. Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel with my words and my actions.

2) I want to see people catching the fire that I have for the Gospel.

Both points are important for me, and frankly at times I'm crap at both these thing.

In my cell group tonight, one person asked why people did not seem to be doing anything in thier lives. I became very self-righteous in my thought and thought to my-self "Maybe they should think about whether they are a christian or not".

I then realised that maybe this wasn't the right response. Considering how lacking I can be on this point myself. I can be rather timid at times in how I share the Gospel.

We were talking about this and it occured to me that there was a solution for this plight I was having. It is that instead of sitting on my ass, being Judgemental, it is better to solve the problem. When we someone struggling along in thier faith we should be there to help our brother or sister out. We should be willing to pray, to listen, offer guidance and if when suitable rebuke.

God wants us to be teaching one another, sharing in the lives of those around us. We are not individuals on the journey. We are a community of beleivers, sharing in the same goal, to see people come to know Jesus.

I know when I've shared my struggles with others and they have offered me advice I have seen change in growth. The challenge for me in the comming while is to be proactive and available for those around me who are struggling. I want to see people grow closer to God, to love him more passionately, to come into deeper relationship with Jesus, and live for him with enthusaism. This can only be done by spending time with people, praying for them, and being an example of christ to those God gives me spiritual responsibility for. This is a challenging road and one that can not be taken lightly.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fossilized CD Release Party

My Brother Joshua's Band (Fossilized) is having a CD Release Party
It is on the 28 October 2006 at 7.30 PM
@ the Wesley Church Old Hall Taranamki St
Tickets are $4 for entry and $15 for entry and CD
They also have an EP for sale for $5

Come, They are a great band with awesome talent!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Parachute Artists 2006

The Last Artists for 2006 have just been released

They are
Thousand Foot Krutch.

Followed By
Third Day, Falling Up. Rebecca St James, Hawk Nelson, Shawn McDonald. Also kiwi bands Detour180 & The Lads, Nesian Mystic and Spacifix

Sounds like an ok lineup. But I'm dissappointed neither Switchfoot or Pillar are coming

The Petition just keeps growing

Since I blogged Yesterday the online petition agianst labours validating legislation has increased to 27683 people and is the fastest growing online petition in the world which is truly astounding for a country of only four million people!

This again shows how arrogant labour was for passing this legislation without going through the right channels.

It also shows how democratic New Zealanders, and the desire they have to see the democratic system of New Zealand upheld

Paul Jesus and Christian Ethics

This Is an essay I wrote for my Pauline Theology Paper. Tell me what you think.

Living an ethical or ‘good’ life is an important issue for Christians today. Many Christians look to the life and death of Jesus to find an example of how they live their life, but often in churches, it is not Jesus’ teaching that Christians are being taught, but the writings of Paul and his interpretation of Jesus’ teaching. An important question needs to be asked: are Christians following the teaching of Jesus or are Christians inadvertently following Paul’s Christian beliefs and practice, which could be completely different from what Jesus originally intended? In my essay I discuss this issue making reference to both the maximalist and minimalist readings of Paul’s epistles and come to the conclusion that Paul knows of Jesus Christ’s life and teachings. I then discuss possible allusions to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ in the writing of Paul, with reference to Paul’s ethical teaching in Romans 12:9-21 and the hymnal material in Philippians 2:6-11. I then discuss how Paul deals with the issue of the law and how he uses the Christ Event to show that this fulfils the requirements of the law, and argue that for Paul the will of God is fulfilled by living a life that conforms to the image of Christ – it is a life which is cruciform – self sacrificial and loving. I argue then that the only way that a Christian can live an ethical life is by the saving love of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit working in their life to conform them to the image of Christ.

The range of opinion on whether or not Jesus’ teaching influenced Paul’s thought falls across a massive continuum. Some scholars have tended towards maximising Paul’s knowledge of Jesus, while others have tended towards minimising Paul’s knowledge of Jesus. Rudolf Bultman in particular has argued that Paul knew little about the historical Jesus.[1] Bultman argues that Paul was more concerned with the fact that Jesus actually existed rather than what Jesus actually said and did.[2] Bultman bases his argument on the fact that Paul hardly ever refers to the historical life of Jesus and there is hardly any mention of the pre-Easter teaching of Jesus in Paul’s writing. Paul refers directly to Jesus’ teaching only six times, three of which are not mentioned in the Gospels (1 Cor 7:25; 14:37; 1 Thess 4:15-17). Another is concerned with the words of the Lord’s Supper and was probably learned from a Eucharist tradition of the church (1 Cor 11:23-25). The other two concern Christian divorce and payment of Christian ministers (1 Cor 7:1-11; 9:14), which could have come from early church ethical teaching rather than Paul’s personal knowledge of Jesus’ teaching.[3] Paul also fails to use direct references to Jesus’ teaching in many cases where it could have been used to persuade people to his point of view. Because Paul doesn’t make reference to Jesus in these arguments it has been argued that Paul was ignorant of Jesus’ teaching. The third argument is that in the light of the event on the road to Damascus, Paul did not need to know about the historical Jesus as he had received the gospel “through a revelation of Jesus Christ”, and as a result Paul did not need to consult with human beings about the revelation of Jesus Christ.[4]
In light of the minimalists’ claims that Paul knew little about the historical Jesus, the maximalists have argued with evidence from Paul’s epistles and Luke’s Acts of the Apostles that Paul was concerned with knowing Christ and living the example set by Christ and he wanted his own church members to follow Christ’s example. In several passages, Paul claims to “imitate the Lord.” (1 Cor 11:1; 1 Thess 1:6, 2 Thess 3:7-9) To imitate someone was the highest form of praise in antiquity. When Paul was a Pharisee, he would have strove to imitate his master, Gamaliel. After his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul strove to imitate his Lord, Jesus Christ[5] – it is hard to imitate someone if you know nothing about them. Paul’s knowledge of Jesus’ teaching is hard to pin down, but we can glean some points from his own epistles and from Acts. As a Pharisee, he knew enough of Jesus’ life and teaching to conclude that Jesus was an apostate and his followers needed to be suppressed (Gal 1:13-14; Phil 3:5; 1 Cor 15:9, Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 23:6; 25:5). After his conversion, Paul spent a considerable amount of time in the Church at Damascus (Gal 1:17-18, Acts 9:19-25), presumably spending time learning from other Christians about their beliefs and faith and soaking up their traditions. Later Paul became a member of the community in Antioch, which was founded by refugees from the Hellenistic wing of the Jerusalem church, who would have brought knowledge of Jesus’ teaching. Three years after his conversion Paul had a fifteen day visit with Peter, the lead disciple of Jesus, and Jesus’ brother James (Gal 1:18-19). The conversation would have involved Paul trying find out about the historical Jesus.[6] Paul then used the tradition that he had learned about Jesus and interpreted it for the situation that he was writing to. Paul lived in a different situation than Jesus; he taught to a mainly Hellenistic cosmopolitan community made up of people from all social classes, while Jesus taught to a Jewish audience and his ministry was mostly focused on those based on the social margins. As a result, Paul had to interpret Jesus’ life and teaching in a way that was relevant to the community of believers he taught. [7]

There are a number of places in the writing of Paul where we can read between the lines and see allusions or echoes to the ethical teaching of Jesus. One in particular is Romans 12:9-21. In Romans 12:9-21, Paul explains in a set of short, concise phrases what types of attitudes a Christian should expound.[8] Paul’s teaching and exhortations are not only influenced by the Old Testament and other Jewish teachings, but also the life and teaching of Jesus. Paul believes that the best way to deal with the disunity in the Roman church is to appeal to Jewish scriptures as his foundation, but also to show how the actions of Jesus fulfil the requirements of the Jewish scriptures and the will of God.
Throughout Romans 12:9-21 the ideal of Agape (sacrificial love) is central to Paul’s teaching and ethics (cf. Gal 5:6; Rom 13:10; 1 Cor 13).[9] It was also central to Jesus’ teaching as can be seen by Jesus’ infamous reiteration of Lev. 19:18. Paul himself believed that the death of Jesus on the cross was the supreme example of Jesus’ love for humanity (Gal.2:20).[10] Paul believed that sacrificial love is central to Jesus’ teaching because it fulfils the law and is also the solution to pride and hypocrisy. In Jesus’ teaching, he told his opponents to stop looking at their outward appearance as a sign of their holiness, but to look at the inward condition of their hearts.[11] In Matthew 7:5 and Luke 6:42, the hypocrite condemns his neighbour and their shortcomings, but fails to notice his own shortcomings or do anything about them.[12] Paul did not want the Roman Christians arguing between one another about who was the most holy but wanted them to realise their dependence on each other, serving and showing the love of God in their actions (Mk. 3:35//Mt. 12:50//Lk. 8:21). The believer is to be a humble servant to their fellow followers in the body of Christ.[13] Paul’s teaching can be linked to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 23:12 and Luke 14:11, for example.[14]
Romans 12:12 and its call to persevere in suffering can also be closely linked to Jesus’ life and teaching. For example it is closely linked to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:12, as well as in Matthew 10:22; 24:13 and Mark 13:13. This teaching is rooted in the story of Jesus life (Mt. 5:12) and his death on the cross, and the experiences of early Christian apostles who took joy in their suffering because it was the will of God (cf. Acts 6:17-42).[15] Paul’s final comments in this section on ethical teaching deal with Christians participating in the needs of the saints and being hospitable to strangers. This can be echoed in Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:35: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Hospitality was an important virtue in antiquity: Jesus himself had relied on it in his itinerant mission, and he had commended hospitality and a model of divine generosity that his followers should follow (Mk. 2:15-17; Mt. 11:19//Lk.7:34; Lk.14:1-24). Christians are to be kind to neighbours and to strangers, showing them the love of Christ, and providing for their needs.
Loving one’s enemies is also linked to Jesus’ ethical teaching being deeply imbedded in the synoptic tradition (Lk. 6:27; Mt. 5:44). But Paul bases his teaching as much on the Old Testament tradition as on Jesus’ teaching, quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 and Proverbs 12:20 in Romans 12:19. This is because the idea of loving one’s enemies as a common theme throughout the Old Testament scriptures (Ex 23:4-5, 1 Kgs 3:11; Prov. 7:14; 34;17-18,19, Lev. 19:17-18,34; Deut. 10:18-19 and Jonah). The main reason for doing this is to show the reliance of Christian ethics on the Old Testament and that their fulfilment is found in Jesus’ life and death.[16] However, the verses Romans 15-16 particularly take a radical step further than the Old Testament. Paul tells the Roman believers that it is their obligation to bless and show love and compassion for their enemies, and share in their joys and in their sorrows[17] – they are to repay evil with good, and in the process show God’s righteous, loving, merciful character in their actions.
Paul’s teaching on Christian behaviour does not make explicit reference to Jesus. But it could be that Jesus’ example is implied in these scripture, and there is evidence that Jesus’ teaching influenced Paul’s thought and teaching in Romans. Indeed, David Wenham has found Romans 12:17-20 and Matthew 5:38-43 to be very similar, showing that Paul is interpreting Jesus’ ‘new Pentateuch’ in a way that would fit the situation of the Roman believers. Wenham has argued that these passages are both dependent on a pre-synoptic dominical tradition that is also found in Mathew and Luke.[18] James Dunn argues that the fact that it is later followed by the command in Romans 13:14 to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” confirms that Paul is referring to the life example and teaching of Jesus Christ and that Paul wants the Roman Christians to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.[19] The solution to the Romans’ division is to “put on” the characteristics of Christ, showing love to one another.
Another example of Paul linking his ethical teaching to the example of Christ is in the hymnal material of Philippians 2:6-11. Paul uses Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as an example of how to live an ethical life in a hostile environment, and also to encourage the Philippian community. Paul explains that when Jesus took on human form, he did not hold onto his rights, but gave up his exalted place in heaven and took on the image of a servant when he came to earth.[20] Jesus humbled himself, and rather than believing that he had the right to give orders he took orders and became obedient to the will of God while he was on earth. For Paul, death is not a personalised power that Christ is subject to, but is the extent to which Christ went to be obedient to God.[21] The example of Christ is used to explain the way the Philippians should act toward their persecutors and toward one another. The believers should be unified, not fighting within each other, and should be of one mind living together in selfless unity.[22] Paul urges the Philippian Christians to put on the virtue of humility – shown by the precedent set by Christ (cf. 2:5). The Philippians should give up all partisanship and conceit, and become humble servants, not obedient to their own will, but conforming to the will and image of Christ. [23] In Philippians 2:12 Paul then reminds the Philippians of their past obedience, and asks them to continue to obey. Through their obedience the Philippian community will fulfil the will of God, and will be vindicated from their suffering, just as Christ was, and bring glory to God.[24]

For Paul, humans can not become righteous through their own efforts; it is only through Christ’s saving act on the cross that humanity can begin the process of being transformed to the image of Christ. Humanity is totally reliant on Christ and the cross to change. This can be seen in Romans, where there is a significant link between Romans 6, which talks about the importance of the saving act of Christ, and Romans 12, Paul’s ethical teaching.[25] Paul holds a pessimistic view of humanity. In Romans 3:9 he concludes that 'all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are under the power of sin’. (cf. 6:6,20; 7:14). The way of Adam – and all humanity – is bondage to the power of sin and thus living in disobedience to God.[26] Paul had realised from his own life as a Pharisee that the law does not ensure freedom from sin. Paul’s zeal to follow the law led him to become a persecutor of the church (Phil. 3:6; Gal. 1:13) and thus led him to act against the will of God.[27] For Paul, liberation from sin and fulfilment of the will of God is only made possible through the Christ Event. The coming of Christ proves to be a turning point in history; Christians are no longer slaves to the old order of sin and the flesh, but live in the new era of relationship with Christ in the Spirit, living a life of love and conforming to the image of Christ. (Rom. 8:4; 12:8-10; Gal. 5:14).[28] The heart of Romans 12:1-2 is to see the Roman Christians not conformed to the image in the present world and their old life, but transformed by the renewal of their minds to the image of Christ, so that they might fulfil God’s perfect will.[29]

Dealing with the question of the law and its relation to Christian ethics is vital to Paul. Paul’s main concern is to make Gentile inclusion in the Christian community possible and free Jews from the bondage of the law (1 Cor 9:20-21).[30] Paul’s view is that the law of God that was given by Moses was an expression of the will of God. The problem with the law is that it was never given to produce righteousness, but was given to reveal humanity’s reliance on God, and convict them of their sin.[31] But with the death and resurrection of Christ, and the coming of Spirit – which produces love and obedience in the heart of the believer – there is no need to live according to the Mosaic law, but a call to live a life in accordance with the ‘Law of Christ’ (Gal 6:2). The Christian no longer lives by the letter of the Mosaic law, but by the fruit of the Spirit.[32] The fruits are given to Christians by the spirit of God, and their purpose is the edification and service of others (1 Cor 12:7; 14:1-5).[33] The Spirit to Paul is the Spirit of Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit is above all love.[34] The law of Christ is fulfilled by living a life in which the Christian serves and loves his neighbour self-sacrificially – conforming to the image of Christ.[35] The law implies that for a person to be declared righteous they need only to fulfil the standard - but this is not love. Love is an action, not a formula that must be fulfilled and achieved.[36] The question is not how well you fulfil a set of standards, but how your heart responds to God’s righteousness. The heart of the Christian responds to the love shown to them by God, giving themselves and living their life in obedience to God and conformity with Christ, guided by the Spirit, it is not a grudging acceptance of a set of moral precepts.[37]

For Paul, Christian ethics and Christian spirituality are ultimately linked as it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that Christians can be transformed. Calling oneself a Christian does not rely on one’s theological positions or ritual initiation such as baptism, but the manifest presence of the Spirit of God (Gal. 3:1-5).[38] Everyone who is in Christ is possessed by the Spirit and life in Christ is only possible by the Spirit (1 Cor 23:1-7; Rom.8:9b).[39] In Galatians Paul tells the congregation that they are to “walk by the Spirit” and through this action it is promised that they “will not fulfil the desires of the Flesh” (Gal 5:16). The Holy Spirit is given to be the power to live differently from living under the power of the flesh. Through the Spirit, the Christian lives a life where they “put on Christ” and by doing so conform to his image and the will of God.[40] Dunn argues that the ethical standards that Paul wants Christians to live by were not new ideas. Ideas such as “brotherly love” (Romans 12:10) were widely commended by other moral philosophers, so was the obligation to provide hospitality to the stranger – which was deeply rooted in Greaco-Roman Antiquity (Roman 12:13). Paul believed that through Christ, living an ethical life could become possible. As Marshall points out, “it is not so much that Christians live by entirely different standards of conduct as that they live by a new and different power that enables them to put into practice those standards which even pagan wisdom recognised to be virtuous.”[41] It must also be understood that Paul understands and appreciates the continued weakness of the flesh, and that the Spirit and flesh are at constant war with one another, in the “overlap of the ages.” But the Christ Event and the coming of the Spirit is the beginning of the salvation act.[42]

In my essay I have argued that Paul knew of the teaching of Jesus Christ and applied them to the situation that he was living in. In Romans 12:9-21, Paul’s ethical teaching alludes to the words and life of Jesus Christ. In Philippians, Paul uses the story of Jesus Christ to teach the Christians of Philippians how to deal with the situation they live in. In all his writing Paul appeals to love: a love which is sacrificial, humble and gives everything. Paul believes that living a life that loves others and is conformed to the image of Christ fulfils the spirit of the Mosaic Law and as a result fulfils the will of God. Paul believes that it is only through the saving love of Christ that we can fulfil the will of God, and that to be saved, the human must live in obedience to the will of God, as made apparent in the life of Jesus. It is through the Spirit of God that humans are given the power to live a life which conforms to the image of Christ. Jesus’ life and teaching are central to Paul, and Jesus gives the ultimate example of how humanity should act towards one another so that God’s righteousness can be established on earth.
[1] Chris Marshall, ‘Paul and Jesus: Continuity or Discontinuity, Stimulus, Vol 5, No.4, p33
[2] Ibid, p33
[3] Ibid, p.34
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid, p.39
[6] Ibid
[7] Marshall, ‘Paul and Jesus’,.pp35-36, N.T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective,(Minneapolis Fortress Press, 2005), p155,
[8] Michael Thompson, Clothed with Christ: The example and teaching of Jesus in Romans 12:1-15:13, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), p.90
[9] Ibid
[10] Ibid, p.91
[11] Ibid, p.92
[12] Ibid, p.93
[13] Ibid, p.94
[14] Ibid, pp.94-95
[15] Ibid, pp.94-95
[16] Ibid, p.100
[17] Ibid
[18] Ibid, pp.109-111
[19]James D.G Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998), p.677
[20] Stephen E.Fowl, The Story of Christ in the Ethics of Paul, An Analysis of the Function of the Hymnic Material in the Pauline Corpus, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990), pp.56-57
[21] Ibid, p.63
[22] Ibid, p.88
[23] Ibid
[24] Ibid, 1990, p.96
[25] Thompson, p.79
[26]John Ziesler, Pauline Christianity, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. pp.76-77
[27]Ibid, p.77
[28]Wenham, p.227
[29] Wright, p.165
[30] Stephen Barton, ‘Was Paul a Relativist?’, Interchange ,No.19. p.166
[31] David Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity, (WM.B. Erdmanns Publishing Co: Michigan, 1995),p.227
[32] Ibid, pp.226-227
[33] Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord. A Theological Introduction to Paul and his Letters,( Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004), p.126
[34] Wenham, p.231
[35] Ibid, p.224
[36] Michael Winger, ‘The Law of Christ’, New Testament Studies, Vol 46, p.539
[37] Dunn, p.644
[38] Ibid
[39] Gorman,, p.124
[40] Ibid, p.121
[41] Marshall, ‘For Me to Live is Christ’, p.107
[42] Dunn, p.630

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Zealanders are not happy!

There is a online petition that is being taken over the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill which was pushed through parliament yesterday. The amazing thing about this petition is the number of people signing the petition. It has already been signed by 8,300 people since yesterday and is the second most active online petition in the world.

The Petition has a number of flaws to it, but shows that many people are concerned with the legislation that was passed yesterday.

It will be interesting to see whether the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill and Labours misspending will continue to be an issue in the New Zealand Political scene. The Issue will probrably die and not be important in the coming elections. But we shall see.

Woop Woop!

Yeah I have finished my last 300 level Political science paper. So I have unofficially finished my degree. Time to celebrate, then figure out what I'm going to do in the coming year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Christian Ethics - Christ Centred, Cross Focused and Missional

I read an article by academic Stephen Barton a few weeks ago asking the question "was Paul a relatavist. It caught my interest and got me thinking. Stephen Barton argues that Paul was a “principled Situationalist”, and that the problem is that contemporary evangelical Christianity has become so caught up with the law that it has forgotten the freedom of the Gospel. Christianity in itself has become obsessed with morality and legal precepts, rather than the flexibility and freedom of the Gospel, and that the issue for Christians today as it has always been is to find ways not to compromise the Gospel, but express it in a way that is free of cultural and legalistic baggage. The challenge for Christians thus is to both be evangelical, and also to be missional.

Paul’s ethics and ethical teaching are linked to his mission, to pronounce the Gospel to both Jew and Gentile, while showing them how to live as Christians. His ethics are based on the primacy of self-sacrificial love which is set by the Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:1-3 and the primacy of the weak brothers rights over the strong (1 Cor 8:1-3; 10:23-30). These principles inform his ethics and the way he conducts his ministry. Paul’s main aim is the unhindered proclamation of the gospel of Christ, particularly to the Gentiles.

Paul believes that he is free from all men (1 Cor 9:19) due to his being in Christ (1 cor. 1:30; cf. Gal 2:4) and his mission. Paul sees himself as ultimately responsible to Christ. (1 Cor 4;4) Paul is a slave to the mission that Christ has given to him. He can do nothing else!

His mission can be shown in the fact that he adapts to the situation. “To the Jew he becomes as a Jew” (1 Cor 9:20) so that he can gain their acceptance and attention. He does this through his circumcision of Timothy in Jerusalem (Acts 16:1-5). To those who are under the Law he becomes like one under the law. When surrounded by weaker Christians he would take on the behavioural norms that they followed so to not to lead them into temptation and sin. He would do this out of sacrificial love. And to the Gentiles Paul would become like one of those outside the law, to show the love of Jesus in a way that was relative to them.

Paul saw the Laws role as primarily negative, its aim was to convict people of their sin, and show them the way to live, (Rom 7) but it was not the means to Salvation, It shows people that they rely on the mercy and righteousness of God, and that they can only be given salvation through the saving act of Jesus on the cross. Pauls allegiance was not to the law, or the Jews, but to his Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul believed that Christ has ushered in a new order, which superseded the old order. For Paul the law that superseded the Mosaic Law was the law of Christ. This holds that freedom is held in constant tension with love. The aim of Paul’s teaching was that new Christians would neither fall into following their own selfish and sinful desires (Gal 3:13), but directed towards love and service to one another(Gal 3:13b). The works of the Law are replaced by the ‘Fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 22) which are outward expression of the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in the believer’s life. Paul believes that “against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:23) Instead of being guided and restricted by the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law but that the Christian will walk by the spirit and give each other in sacrificial service to one another and to their Lord, Jesus Christ, in this way they will fulfil the law and the will of God. Paul’s aim was to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, So Paul became a to those who were outside the law. Paul’s aim was to be uncompromising to the Gospel message, but he wanted it to believed that the message needed to be opened to the Gentiles.

Pauls ethics are principled situationalist ethics because they are not set by a strict set of moral precepts, but are guided by the spirit and the law of loving one another. Paul, also will not compromise his quest to see the gospel of Christ spread. Paul believes that Christians are to be sacrificial, Christ centred and Cross centred believers and he plans to teach the churches that he has planted how to do this; relevant to the situations they are in. Paul accommodates to the needs of non-Christians, he adapts his message to the culture that he teaches to, and in this he is truly missional, but he does not compromise the message and his theological convictions. The Gospel is centre. Paul is not a legalist, but is committed to Christ and his mission to the Gentiles, and does not want to compromise the saving message of the Gospel. I believe that this important for the Christian these days, the Christian needs to share the gospel in a way that is relevant to the culture that they live in, without compromising the reality of the Gospel. The Christian should not be constrained by moral convictions, but rather for their love for their neighbour, they should be aiming to serve, rather than to judging people for not following ‘the rules’ which might not actually be the ‘law of Christ’ (It should be said also that when Paul’s churches didn’t follow the law of Christ he explicitly told them to repent and change). Their aim should be to show Gods love and mercy through their actions, not saying look at me, but look to Christ because only through him can you be changed, saved and have new life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Radical Jesus I Follow

Oh Yeah!

I Love this Portrayal of Jesus!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Underoath - Define the Great Line

This album is probably the hardest sounding album in my music collection. I don’t listen to much scremo or hardcore so I’m probably out of my depth writing this review.

This is an awesome record. I have been listening to this album on high volume since I got it. It has got me dancing and my head banging constantly for the last few days. There is something that is highly addictive in Underoaths latest project that I can’t pin down. This album is definitely a lot harder than their last release They’re Only Chasing Safety, but it is a brilliant record, and I think that this is probably one of the best screamo releases and one of the best Christian releases to come out in the last year. The thing is my brother was listening to the songs off it, and he isn’t a big scremo fan. He’s more into the Britpop music and bands such as oasis, coldplay and U2, but he found it really catchy and was nearly dancing to the music as well. You know the music is good when my Brother starts enjoying the music as well.

The album is classic Underoath, but with a more intensity and energy. You can hear a lot of really punky sounding. The vocals are a lot more intense on this album than on They’re Only Chasing Safety. There is a lot more screaming on this album from the main vocalist, and less of the melodic harmonies that come from the drummer. The album continues with hard-hitting rifts and fast drumming. What you find is that in this album the intensity is nearly overwhelming at times but is brilliantly cohesive and channelled well in the music. I find throughout underoaths music that they have quite strong punk roots, so it makes it quite easy to dance to, while also quite and intense listening experience.

My favourite track on this album isn’t really a track at all. Its an instrumental, and in the middle of it there is a Russian who starts praying. Then it mixes with a American evangelical conference where this hyped up preacher is speaking. I found it cool because to me it seemed to have a really cool mission focus. That there is a bigger plan outside of our own country, there is something going on throughout the world which is changing lives and we can play a part of it. I thought this was a really cool message! I found it even cooler because it had someone speaking in Russian!

I won’t recommend this album to everyone, because it is a very hard album. Its not like P.O.D or Pillar. It is a lot harder, even though scremo has become quite popularised with the Emo kid crowd. Like I say, this is not really the type of music that I usually listen to myself, but it is certainly really really good.

Underoath have made an album which is highly relevant to the Non-christian emo scene. It is highly positive in a music scene that I to be find to be both very dark and also very selfish as well (if you’ve heard much of the emo music around its all about look at me, look at how bad everything is, look at how crappy my life is – people don’t understand me in my comfortable middle class life). They shine out hope to this scene. Asking people to look and find the and true, but challenging people to realise that God wants us to change. They put God at God who is loving the centre, and tell the emo generation that God can take you out of your pain, hurt and suffering and wants to focus your life on a different purpose around giving hope, acting out in love and kindness. It is hard and challenging, and a bit daunting, put alot more fulfilling than navel gazing about life. and how bad life is.

For many Emos they see a superficial world that doesn’t care. Underoath tells these misunderstood youth that there is a new way to be human, that there is hope and good in a world which seems contradictory .Underoath aim to show that there is someone different, loving caring, kind, will never lie, and offers hope in the hopeless world of the emo generation. That that person is Jesus Christ, and he understands the pain and suffering they feel, but we can’t be selfish and prideful as well. Jesus offers a new way to be human, but we need to drop out selfish actions and lifestyle. Its not all about us. Its about a greater plan. Instead of been angry and focused on ourselves and our needs, it is about showing love to our friends, family, and the most radical of all, showing love to our enemies.

Underoath have a hope that they want to share with the world in a relevant way to a hurting group of young adults, and they do this by offering a totally different lifestyle and a totally different set of beliefs than those fostered in the world. Jesus is offered as the solution to the hole found in peoples lives, and it is Jesus who offers the model of the New way to live and guides people in a relationship with him. It is positive and aims to share the gospel in a way that is relevent to this group of youth.