Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Journey Home

I was watching the latest episode of The Journey Home (and for you Protestants who read my blog, there are episodes out there for just about every denomination under the sun, including several former CoC ministers who have been on) and Marcus Grodi, the host, did a special where he shared 10 verses that he came across during his Spiritual Journey that just stuck out in his mind and made him think deeply about himself as an evangelical Presbyterian. I encourage you to listen to the whole program, but I just wanted to share the verses, encourage you to read them, and maybe share a reflection or two of my own. I'll use the NAB version. My comments in red.

Prov. 3:5,6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.

This passage struck both he and I because as "sola scriptura" Christians, we had both relied on our own understanding and knowledge of scriptures and our personal interpretations (informed of course by our own traditions, but we wouldn't admit that).

I Tim 3:15: But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. .

Again, what is the pillar and foundation of truth? Not the Bible alone, but rather the Church, the guardian of sacred scripture. This also ties in a lot with my discoveries concerning the Canon of scripture and its development when I was in my "conversion" process.

II Tim 3:14-17: But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The fact that Paul is talking about the Old Testament scriptures is kind of mind blowing when you think of the context this scripture is generally used in.

II Thes 2:15: Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

The two parts of Sacred Tradition stand here in this verse side by side - Oral Tradition and Sacred Scripture, both intrusted to the Church as the Pillar and Foundation of Truth.

Matt 16:13-19: Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

I always wondered later why I fought so hard against Jesus saying this was Peter he was founding the Church on since 1) He names him Rock and says he will build his Church on the rock (in his native tongue there is no masculine/feminine distinction btw, and the Greek would be proper to use both in that sentence structure even when talking about the same person) 2) Other scriptures show us the Church is founded on the Apostles and Prophets with Christ being the chief cornerstone, and 3) Ever wonder what he could bind and loose and why it happened on Earth before it happened in Heaven?

John 14:15,16: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

Interesting that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church always! It didn't leave after the first century and stop guiding the Church.

Rev 14:13: I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," said the Spirit, "let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.

Our works accompany us to Heaven?! BTW, Marcus points out that this is part of the Presbyterian Funeral liturgy. I had no idea but that is interesting.

John 15:4: Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

The same word remain is sometimes translated "abide". This same word is used in John 6:56 where he tells us how to abide in him: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

Col 1:24: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

I'm still meditating on this one myself. Not sure what I have comprehended so far.

Luke 1:46-49: And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

On a more personal level, I've sometimes thought about how in the CoC Mary was so disregarded and ignored. I wonder if that might be why so many women feel disrespected who have left or are still in the CoC. I think a relationship with our Blessed Mother is a key step towards understanding the wonders of women and a true love for their suffering and work for God.

Now go listen to the whole show because he's a lot better than I am !


mel said...

Glad to see you posting again. Life is busy here; man, is it busy.

I haven't watched this in many months, but I caught about half of it last night when he started with the verses. I've read the books, the conversion stories, and watch TJH plus others, but forgive me, I didn't think he did that great of a job describing them. Not that holy Scripture needs us to defend it or even agree with it. Its integrity and character stand apart from our approval or even consensus in a canon. It is what it is, just as the Father answered I AM. The Word of God.

I could either write my own post or try to comment on a few of these here. Don't want to hog all the posting space.

Even though the written Scriptures are my ultimate authority, that doesn't mean we don't have pastors, elders, deacons, creeds, confessions, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, etc. But all we do should have as its filter the truths of Scripture.
And I do believe there is freedom in the Body of Christ for us all to not have to look alike or act exactly alike. A body full of toes or eyes or elbows? Silly looking and not very productive.

Pillar and foundation -- yes, a great verse. But it's again the difference in definitions -- big C, little c -- what does church mean? Augustine even said it was a spiritual body (i.e., invisible church). The visible body exists as the local churches around the world, even denominations or fellowships of likeminded Believers. A group. A place to meet. An earthly spiritual family. But not a structural organization as we see in Rome. I just don't see it. So we as Christians guard the Scriptures from being abused, from being mocked and changed and disregarded as less than perfect and inspired from God, we as the people of God (the ekklesia) have what's necessary for our faith in the Bible. Anything on an equal footing with the Scriptures He left us is out of balance. There is no equal or co-source of truth. The interpretation is from the Holy Spirit, using the different parts of the body analogy as a simple way to explain the differences.

I can see how someone from CoC or any other non-dems. or baptistic "traditions" (dare I?) would shudder at the use of the OT as the basis for the NT (New Covenant). I've heard all that "we want to be New Testament Christians." But Jesus was Jewish. And so was His world. The brilliance is that the Gentiles all through the Scriptural record were being brought in, hallelujah; that's how we're here in His Body.
The Old Covenant prophecies were all fulfilled in Yeshua, so of course the OT is God-breathed.

There are more comments. And I hope they're taken in the context of ecumenical Christianity as I'm just making my own comments. We all have our own perspective, and I thank you for the floor for just a minute.

I actually had 2 of my teens watch TJH with me last night. They saw it, too, his lack of confidence in what he was saying. All I could think about was how poorly catechized he must have been as a Presbyterian, even as a seminarian and as a minister of the Word and Sacrament. He has seemed stronger when he's doing the interviewing. He didn't seem to state his case strong enough last night to convince us. And so I've rambled on long enough. It's still good to dialogue with the brethren.

Peace. Thanks for posting it; I know it meant a lot to you, and that's cool.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw Bruce Sullivan on The Journey Home once, when I had satellite for a while (until they started ripping us off...never get satellite if you're wise).

"Prov. 3:5,6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path."

Nice quote. I think a lot of people don't interpret these kinds of passages to mean you shouldn't think you know everything. Everybody's about being independent these days, from their parents or whoever. We need to realize there's other people in the world, and I think the Catholic culture, especially in Central and South America, understands this better.

Anyway, that's my compliment of Catholicism for the day :-)

The Catholic Journeyman said...

John 15:4: Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

He uses the word "remain" 4 times there. Behind your take of the Eucharist tie - in is Confession/Reconciliation as a vehicle to "remain" in his grace as well (obviously...right?) Conscience driven maintenance!?!
yeah thats the thing.

Bravo Joseph for a JH post.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Thanks for the comments guys. And, Mel, I won't say too much in response to your comment but I would say if Marcus was unimpressive to you or seemed poorly catechized (something I really didn't get the same feeling at all as you from), you should check out Scott Hahn a little more. He's also a former Presbyterian minister, and I don't think anyone would question how well he was catechized or how comfortable he is :)