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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walter Rauschenbusch -and challenge of social gospel

According to Henry Pitney Van Dusen, "Probably the three most influential men in American church history upon the thought of the church have been Jonathan Edward, Horace Bushnell, and Walter Rauschenbusch."

He (Walter) wished to go as a missionary to India, but one of the professors to the theological seminary objected to his 'liberal' views on the Old Testament, and the Baptist Board refused to appoint him.

He holds a high regard on (John) Ruskin (1819-1900) whom he described as the most christlike tinker in all literature.

He (framed the theology of the social gospel) in the context of the Kingdom of God, namely: 1) The kingdom of God was a social hope for Jesus...which involved not only a redemption of individuals, but also a redemption of society; 2) Jesus repudiated the idea of bloodshed and violence as a means of ushering in the Kingdom; 3) He taught that it would come by organic growth rather than by divine catastrophe; 4) He made it not a Jewish but a universal Kingdom; and 5) He taught that it was a present reality, and not merely a future hope.

[Water's] main departure from the traditional formulation was in its center of gravity, its organizing principle. Not justification by faith as in the Lutheran theology, and not the sovereignty of God as in the Reformed theology, but the kingdom of God was the center to which all else must be related.

Christianity stresses both - salvation for the little personality of man and for the great collective personality of mankind.

According to Walter, the underlying causes of present crisis were the industrial revolution, the rise of capitalism, and the private ownership of land.

Christianity and the Social Crisis ... was written "with the learning of the scholar, the vision of the poet, and the passion of the prophet.

As he meditated on the life problems of the people, he wrote many of the prayers on railway trains.

Let the church of Christ fling in, not the sword, but the cross, not against the weak, but for them.

He says, "Create a ganglion of redeemed personalities in a commonwealth and all things become possible."

The traditional theology is inclined to emphasize the "Fall" of our first parents and to neglect the contribution which our more recent forefathers have made to the sin and misery of mankind.

Salvation is not  complete unless it commits a man to the ideals of the Kingdom, unless in some germinal and rudimentary form he has turned from a life centered on self toward a life going out toward God and his purpose for mankind. Conversion has usually been conceived as a break with our sinful past, but in many cases it is also a break with the sinful past of a social group.

Sin ruins, righteousness establishes, and love consolidates.

An outlook toward the future in which the spiritual life is saved and the economic life is left unsaved is both unchristian and  stupid.

Belief in a future life is not essential to religious faith.

He endeavored to answer three questions: 1) How did Jesus bear sins which he did not commit? Answer: he  bore the weight and suffered the consequences of public sins...2) How did Christ's death affect God? Answer: Christ has begun to lift men to a new basis of spiritual existence...; 3) How does Christ's death affect man? Answer: among many, 1) it [demonstrates] the power of sin in humanity; 2) [power of] love... 3) ...inspires Christ's followers to carry on the work which he has begun.

Comments: in my opinion what Walter advocates is found all in the believers' fellowship as seen in Acts 2:42-47, 1 John 1:1-11, Revelation 4; and the (social meaning of the) Lord's prayer, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven, give  us our daily bread, forgive us of our sins as we have forgiven our debtors, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Problem with transcendentalism

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
Psalm 66
Transcendentalism is a religious and philosophical movement that developed during the late 1820s and '30s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School.
Among the transcendentalists' core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. They believe that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual. They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed. (Source - Wikipedia as edited by ClueBot NG)
The problem with this ism is this: no one is truly sufficient in of and by himself, just as is written: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Here is the solution to the problem: the righteous shall live by his faith in the Lord Jesus the Savior who saves sinners from their sins and puts them back to the living relationship with the Living God!
The deficient you can be sufficient not by being self reliant but through faith in Him by being reliant upon Him who in turn blesses you to be truly independent. The psalter who felt insufficient became truly sufficient through being God-sufficient so he praises The Lord saying Come and see what God has done!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bible Central America World Campus Mission

Subject:Central America and Caribbean conference (4.2-5)
Dear world mission prayer coworkers:
Here we have no internet access. But I try to send this by faith borrowing an access usb. The pictures are conference place, messengers, dancing, LT speakers, second gene chorus, GBS, soccer etc with around 120 participants from 7 nations(Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize of central america and Caribbean and 3 from Korea, 1 NY, 6 Chicago, 1 DC, 1 brazil Tks for your prayers. Pray for Sunday messengers: Dimas (Guatemala), Jorge Antonio (Dominican Rep)
The name of the Conference place is Adulam, the name from David’s hiding cave. Our conference fee is $75 for 3 nights and 4 days but this place was so beautiful with flowers better than any environment in US big city hotels, and food was good for Korean taste too. More than 100 members form 7 nations of Central America and Caribbean and 3 from Korea, 7 from Chicago, 1 from NY, 1 from Brazil. Dillon (Belize)’s opening message form Matt 11:26 was “Come to Jesus!” our conference title. We were happy for Jesus’ invitation to give us true rest from all our problems and struggles in our pilgrimage as heavenly citizens on Satan dominated world. Jose Ahn delivered “For the work of God!” from John 9:1-7. If a born blind man was created with a clear purpose to manifest the glory of God if he obeyed Jesus’ words “go and wash in Siloam”, how much more we can and should glorify God with our given situations much better than this born blind. The programs were very packed with sing along, Introducing all members from seven nations, dramas from el Salvador, video presentation of central America work of God and folk dances. Second day we had morning devotion with “daily bread” Exodus16 by Genly, Jonathan from Jonathan delivered John 4 about how he was like the Samaritan woman having several worship objects. But when he met Jesus and received the grace of sin, he became like the Samaritan woman and came even to Guatemala to deliver this message. He prayed to be able to proclaiming the grace of Jesus throughout his life time. After GBS, testimony writing and sharing we have a tournament game among 6 teams. Mariano from Nicaragua gave a message about the prodigal son. (Lk 15:11-36) on Second night followed by 2 LTs and mission reports of Dominican Republic, Belize, Nicaragua, after dancing of Nicaragua and Belize.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Washington Gladden, the beginner of social gospel

The rest of mankind, had by the fall "lost communion with God" and was "under (God's) wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever." "Of the exact truth of this statement I had not the shadow of doubt," he says. "But I understood that there was a way by which I could escape from this curse and regain this lost communion. that was the one thing, above all others, that I wanted. I would gladly have exchanged for it not only every sinful pleasure, but all the pleasures that were not sinful."

Gladden had been persuaded by Bushnell "that there could be no such thing as judicial transfer of blame or penalty from a guilty to an innocent person; that the entire transaction was within the ethical rather than the forensic realm."

[According to Gladden] heaven and hell are not primarily places; they are states of character. They are figures of speech; they are present realities of human experience. Death works no miraculous change in the human heart. Probably, says Gladden, we shall go as the Scripture says, each to his sown place...

God "is doing all that infinite love can do to fill the world with righteousness and peace," he said in a sermon on Worlds in the Making. "The one thing that infinite love cannot do is to take away from men the chance to be men.... This world will be Paradise as soon as men want Paradise enough to pay the price of it in labor and patience. God is always doing his part, but he will never do ours."