A Review of the Christian Mission in the Modern World
The Christian Mission in the Modern World book is a captivating work that pursues to redefine contemporary evangelism. Through an explorative use of biblical scripture, Stott zeroes on the five major ideological terms, namely mission, dialogue, evangelism, conversion and salvation. This essay explores the major definitions and arguments as illustrated by John Stott in his classicbook: the Christian Mission in the Modern World.
Chapter 1: Analyzing the Major definitions and Arguments
- Mission, Evangelism, Conversion and Salvation
According to Stott, mission is the church’s service to the world, including evangelicalism and social action (48). Basing his argument on the biblical verse, John 20:21, Stott argues that Jesus has commissioned the church to further the work that the Father had sent him to do in the world. He, therefore, clarifies that mission is not what God is doing in the world but what the church has been sent to accomplish.
Stott defines evangelism as the announcement and proclamation of the gospel messages of Jesus (87). He explains that it is wrong to define evangelism in terms of the method of delivering good news, the recipient of the news or the impact of the news on the recipient (69). In his understanding, evangelism involves affirmation that Jesus is lord and savior based on the biblical evidence of his death and resurrection.
According to Stott (142), Salvation is the deliverance from decay to glory, marked by the personal freedom from political and economic yokes. While Stott acknowledges seeking justice for the oppressed, he points out that salvation is not the liberation from social injustices (148).
Conversion is, as defined by Stott, the response that the gospel aims to receive from the recipients of the good news. Conversion and salvation goes hand in hand that without conversion, salvation cannot be received. Stott links conversion to denouncing some cultural practices, being a responsible and active church member and total dependence on the power of Holy Spirit.
- Weaknesses in Evangelical and Ecumenical thinking
Although Stott upholds that both the evangelical and ecumenical are right in their interpretation of the roles of the church, he notes that they both are incomprehensive (22). While the evangelical advocates for evangelistic outreach, the ecumenical thinkers are concerned on the social action. Stott believes that both views should be intertwined to enable the church accomplish its intended mission.
- Apocalyptic Imagery
Apocalyptic imagery, as portrayed in Stott’s book, is the revelation of an indirect meaning of a scripture. According to Stott (27), Christians should be guided by the biblical teachings in their response to the social and political actions of the world. He criticizes Christian practices in which the church is influenced by the worldly views, that is, allowing the world to set agenda for the church.
Scott describes the profound peace among the Christian community as shalom (30). He explains that Christians should live at peace with their neighbors, regardless of the differences in faith. They should always engage others in peaceful dialogue, whether fellow Christians or otherwise.
- Great Commission
According to Stott, great commission refers to the idea that Jesus has sent the church to go and make disciples. It is derived from Mathew 28:19 in which Jesus tells the church to reach out to the nations, baptizing the new converts in the name of the father, son and the Holy Spirit. Stott insists that the call for great commission should not be isolated from the overall mission of Christ to the world (37).
- Great commandment
Stott defines the great commandment as the superior demand from the church by the bible that requires Christians to love their neighbors. Stott states the biblical command does not discriminate Christians from non-Christians and requires that they all be loved equally.
Chapter 2: Analyzing the Major definitions and Arguments
- The most destructive thing to Human dignity
According to Stott (56), alienation from God is the most destructive thing to human dignity. People may be alienated from God as a result of ignorance or through their free-will rejection. In Concurrence with the Stott’s finding, alienation from God is indeed destructive to both human soul and body. It restores human beings to the evil status that Jesus Christ rescued them.
- Ideas that should not be Included in the definition of Evangelism
In defining evangelism, Stott warns against including the three concepts, namely; defining it in terms the recipients of the gospel, the method used in expressing the gospel or the results of the gospel. Stott also disputes social action as a means of evangelism but rather as a partner to evangelism (57).
- Gospel does not change with Time or Cultural Context
Stott states that there is no other Gospel other that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it should neither change with time nor cultural context (65). However, Christians are influenced by social and political cultures, which should not be the case. Stott notes that as time changes, words changes in meaning and thus the ‘gospel’ of yesterday may not be same as todays, even so, there is only one gospel and thus both yesterdays and todays gospels are the same (66).
- Gospel Event
According to Stott, the apostles of Jesus used various elements to spread the gospel. Among the elements were the gospel events, which he proposes that Christian should also apply today. Stott (68) identifies four gospel events, which include the death, burial, resurrection and appearance of Jesus Christ. Stott explains that Gospel events should be the foundation of Christian faith and a proof that indeed Jesus is Christ (70).
- Witnesses identified by the Apostles
The apostles authenticated their messages by identifying the gospel witnesses. Gospel witness includes the apostles who were with Jesus and listened to his teachings. Scott also explains that the scripture serves as the witness of the great works of Jesus Christ. He calls upon the modern Christians to be witnesses of the gospel through faith and actions.
Although the book was written over three decades ago, its major arguments have remained relevant to date. It serves as an eye opener to the modern and postmodern Christians. Despite the changing time and culture, Christians are reminded that there is only one gospel that was introduced by Jesus Christ. Believers should not be influenced by the worldly economic and political changes, but should remain steadfast as per the biblical teachings. Contemporary Christians should up hold Stott’s teachings by integrating both the evangelical and ecumenical views in the Christian life.
Stott, John R. W. Christian mission in the modern world. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1975. Print.
Exegesis of Hebrews and the General Epistles
The four gospel books aside, Hebrews and the general epistles form another significant part of the New Testament. These epistles form the backbone of what the present day Christians often use for sermons, devotions and encouragement. The tradition stems from the ancient practice of the church that involved the circulation of the letters in different churches for reading and admonition purposes.
The Book of Hebrews
The date of the authorship of this book falls around A.D 70. This is because the author referred to issues such as the imprisonment of Timothy and other Christians, which became common from A.D 64 during the reign of Emperor Nero. The authorship of this epistle falls among the most disputed in bible books history. Scholars have argued out possibilities of such authors as Peter, Barnabas and Luke with Paul cited as the most probable author. However, most scholars and Christian fathers such as Origen prefer to settle on finding out the truth in heaven.
The title and body of the epistle only reveals the recipients as Jewish Christians without indicating their exact location. This uncertainty further reflects on the exact location of the author at the time of the writing of the epistle. Nevertheless, most scholars believe that the author was somewhere outside of Italy. The epistle of Hebrews receives the wide view by both scholars and Christians as a written sermon insofar as genre is concerned. In fact, the author refers to the epistle as an exhortation therefore making it more of a speech like letter. However, the letter has other parts that come out as expositions instead of exhortations. Concerning style, this letter combines a wide range spanning from repetition of key terms to the linking of words.
The main purpose of Hebrews harbored on pleading with the Jews to embrace Christianity as the divine replacement for Judaism. The author in many occasions refers to the Old Testament moments and practices then contrasts them to Jesus. The themes occurring in this letter therefore include the greatness of Jesus Christ, faith and eternal reward of believers. The author constantly urged the believers to focus on Christ and avoid going back to the old ways of Judaism. This justifies the numerous illustrations the author used from the Old Testament to explain the fact that Jesus Christ was the greatest revelation that God made to humankind.
Epistle of James
Christian scholars and fathers, after much disputes, canonized the letter of James, the earliest of the general epistles. This is because all the events described in the letter end at Acts 9. Therefore, the most agreeable date for the epistle falls between 43 and 35 A.D. The letter begins with the self-identification of the author as James. Scholars have settled on his identity as the brother of Jesus. This stems from the similarities in authoritativeness of voice in this epistle and his speech at the Jerusalem council.
The intended recipients points towards the Christian Jews who had spread out due to persecution. Furthermore, it reveals that though they had scattered, they still had the custom of meeting in synagogues. The location of James during the writing of this epistle remains a speculation. However, Jerusalem remains the most probable location given the tonality and descriptions in the epistle. The genre of this epistle displays interplay between admonition and exposition. In addition, some scholars have categorized it as a commentary of the sermons on the mount.
Admonition remains the main purpose of this epistle. His admonition, full of rebuke and counsel, encourages the believers to live the Christian life practically. He points out the worldliness among the people and authoritatively tells them to return to the right Christian path. The main theme in this epistle concerns endurance of trials and temptations. This finds parallelism with the book of Job, which also tackles the issue of suffering especially for a believer. The book finds relevance with the questions of the modern day Christian who might want to know why God allows suffering and temptations to encroach believers.
The Epistle of Jude
This brief but powerful epistle has uncertainty in terms of its date of writing. This is because of little knowledge available on Jude. Therefore, scholars rely on the little information on contents of the epistle to date the work. However, the similarities found between the language use in this epistle and that of 2 Peter helps in dating the work. Despite the ambiguity involved, scholars have managed to date it between AD 64 and 70. Jude, the self-identified author of the epistle also undergoes speculation as to his exact identity. Nevertheless, following rigorous research the identity falls on the Jude the brother of Jesus.
Scholars only suggest that the most probable location of writing this last epistle of the general epistles would fall on Palestine. This is because the tone of the epistle has traces of the Jewish Christian traditions. This epistle has no specific audience or destination but rather goes out to all the people that responded to the love and call of God. Therefore, it equally circulated in synagogues and congregations of Jewish Christians. The epistle also assumes the tone of admonition with the occasional use of similes.
The epistle underscored its purpose to the recipients as a warning and wake up call for believers on the encroachment of godless men in the body of Christ. He confessed that he decided to change his intended topic of discussion just to alert them of the encroaching adversaries. He, in the same manner as Paul, goes to the extent of using apocryphal references with the intent of driving this point home. He ends his plea by calling on the believers to remain steadfast in the love of God. This epistle also has many relationships with the present day occurrences in the church. Christians therefore find a lot to relate with from this epistle including cult style of worship, idolatry in church and adultery among others.
The Letters of John
The letters run in a trilogy. Scholars and church fathers favor John the beloved for authoring the letters. This stems from the parallelism that exists between the letters and the book of John. In addition, the author refers to the things written in the gospel book with the assumption that the recipients had already read it. The date of this letter tends to fall around the close of the first century. This means that the epistles came after the romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.
Scholars agree on the fact that John wrote all the three epistles while in Ephesus. The first epistle assumes the aura of a letter from a father to his loving children. He wrote it to disapprove the duality concept that philosophers used to deny Jesus as God incarnate. His second letter had the beloved lady as its recipient. The identity of the beloved lady also experiences ambiguity. Interpretations of this have ranged from a real person to possibilities of a church. He addressed the last epistle to Gaius whose personality also faces uncertainty.
John wrote the epistles for the purposes of admonition and encouragement. He emphasizes on subjects such as staying away from sin and avoiding deceivers. In addition, he talks about having confidence in Jesus in connection to a guarantee of eternal life. All the letters contrasts between good and faithful coworkers in the vineyard and those swayed by the deception of the world. This contrast helps him to drive home the theme of staying truthful and faithful to the course of salvation despite the prevailing circumstances. Finally, the epistles all have the tone of a deep and true love that John expresses towards the recipients. This is evident in his reference of them as friends instead of using the normal word brethren.
The Epistles of Peter
These two epistles commonly referred to as the Petrines; owe their authorship to Peter, the most vocal of the disciples of Jesus Christ. This is because of both internal and external evidences the epistles enjoy. Insofar as the dating of the epistles is concerned, the first one falls between A.D 62 and 69. Unfortunately, the dating of the second letter faces uncertainty.
The first epistle of Peter directly indicates that the recipients, though scattered, lived in the Asia Minor. The author evidently intended to reach out to the scattered population of believers through the circulation of the letters. Rome remains the most probable location of Peter when he wrote and sent the letter. The letter bears a lot of resemblance of thought with the epistle that Paul wrote to the Romans. The epistles are all presented in the form of a letter insofar as genre is concerned.
Addressing the Christians as Israelites, Peter makes it plain that the Gentiles who received Christ had joined the family of the chosen of God through the work of Christ on the cross. He wrote them as a way of preparing them for the persecution that they would undergo given his understanding of the times of persecution of the Jewish Christians. The second epistle, whose authenticity as an epistle of Peter faced disputes in both ancient and modern church, talks of the importance of remaining faithful in the face of falsehood. Both epistles relate to the present day Christian in such ways as remaining truthful despite the increase in secularism and godlessness.
Christians’ Beliefs and How They Influence Their Decisions
Basically, human beings have demonstrated to perceive things depending on where their attention is focused and the expectations connected with that source of attention. This perception has entirely been referred to as a belief and everything a human being does can be traced to what he or she beliefs. A belief is a psychological attitude that a certain proposition is factual, even without requiring justification. Theology scholars have argued that there is a strong relationship that links humans’ beliefs and their behavior. In light of this, Christians have a strong belief that their lives are endowed in accordance of Jesus Christ’s teachings. The word Christian means a follower or a person who is associated with Christ and he or she is justified to live in line with Jesus Christ’s teachings. The predominant belief among all Christians is that Jesus is God who incarnated into manhood to salvage human afflictions and manifest the spiritual significance. Therefore, Christian beliefs relate to Jesus Christ and those beliefs usually help Christian in confronting societal challenges affecting them. In connection to this, Christians are reported to accommodate every individual in the society in spite of their morality in accordance with Jesus Christ’s teachings. Therefore, this paper explores how Christians’ beliefs of Jesus Christ influence or impact their general perception about the equality issue especially their take on gays and lesbians.
The 21st century has been bombarded with an issue that is posing mixed reactions among various individuals in the society. The issue of gays and lesbians has taken the world by storm and each group in the society has raised its own views concerning the matter. Clergy people and politicians have been put on the spotlight regarding this issue, generating vague attitudes of people towards one another. Consequently, each religion has aired its take on the issue and provided reasons for its argument. Christians have not been left behind, but they seem to have different interpretations and perceptions. Christians in the developed world have supported this issue and moved to the extent of allowing gays in the church and even overseeing their marriages. On the contrary, Christians from the developing world have strongly opposed this matter, citing that the bible only sanctified the marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, the big question is why Christians in the western world allow gays and lesbians in their churches. This question takes us back to the prior discussion of human beliefs and their source of attention. In their defense, Christians argue that Jesus Christ did not prejudice those who were considered as sinners and outcasts in the society. In reference, Jesus is quoted in the bible, Luke 19:1-10, visiting a tax collector, Zacchaeus, who was believed to take poor people’s property for his self interests and benefits. Additionally, Jesus was ordained by a woman who was believed to be a commercial sex worker. These two people that Jesus had an encounter with were treated as sinners and people chose not to associate with them. The belief that Christians adopt from those teachings is that, a Christian should accommodate and portray positivity to every person in the society. To the western world Christians, that is a sufficient justification for their position on the issue of gays and lesbians. If their mentor Jesus Christ accepted to dine with an evil tax collector, then they have no option other than accepting each person in the society.
Although the western world has generally supported gays and lesbians, but the developing countries remain adamant in accepting the issue. Similarly, they have bible reference to support their position about gays and lesbians. In the bible, Jesus Christ was born to a family comprising a man and a woman. In addition, God ordered two cities, namely Sodom and Gomorra to be destroyed because the residents committed numerous evil deeds homosexuality being one of them. Therefore, in their understanding homosexuality is a sinful practice which should not be entertained in the society. This is a contagious issue, not only in Christianity, but also in other religions. The overall impact of beliefs that Christians decipher from Jesus is felt in both of their arguments. These arguments affirm how each individual understands biblical teachings and how they influence people’s lives. Christians in general have a strong connection with Christ’s teachings decoded in the bible, but they sometimes differ in interpretation. These differences exhibit their various resonate understanding of handling issues in the society based on their beliefs about Jesus Christ. The Christian communities’ behavior can be categorized further into their awareness about Christ and how they envision his teachings. For instance, there are two distinct understandings about gays and lesbians among the Christians as discussed in this paper. Each belief has a biblical reference and justification often referring to Jesus Christ. Although those beliefs exhibit differences in understanding societal challenges, but they do not display any dispute among Christians. In conclusion, it is evident that Christian perceptions and mode of handling society challenges is dependent to the belief they cling to Jesus Christ.
An Outline of the Bible Context
The bible is a holy book from where Christians derive morals and reflect on their lives based on its teachings. It is written chronologically starting with an explanation of the beginning of human existence onwards to the spread of mankind in the entire world. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible presents a commentary on the bible history and readings compiling them according to their mutual relationship. The Holy Scripture has been composed by human authors in the ancient Greek context, however; it contains a distinctive mode of presently (Micklesen 134). The literature employed in the entire book is quite different and it encompasses the historical- critical method.
Genesis is the first book in the bible that explains the beginning of life and the creation of the whole world. Petersen and Roberts identify that there are two creation stories in Genesis chapter one and two in the Bible (6). The first creation story found in Genesis chapter one, describes the earth as a dark and formless void that is suspended over primeval waters. On the contrary, the second version states that the world began as a dry desert that had no single source of water. The two versions contradict but Petersen and Roberts assert that the second version was recorded before the first theory of creation was recorded (9). In a critical thinking context, the two theories do not correlate because the first version describes the earth as a habitable environment that promised happiness to mankind. But the second version presents earth as a wilderness and it is evident that a desert has been associated with adverse effects. It is in this way that an individual accounts for a critical view for different stages in biblical revelation.
The second critical biblical approach lies in the figurative language employed in the bible. It tries very much to avoid a full description of a character; for example, Joseph is only defined as a handsome man and no further description is presented (Petersen and Roberts 45). Personal description is avoided and readers are left to figure out; for instance, a reader will decipher that Jacob is a cunning character because he is constantly seen deceiving his brother and Laban his brother-in-law. Similarly, the suspense is employed in the bible; for example, it singles out the history of Abraham and excludes other families. In addition, the Bible uses narrative exegesis to explain the events and occurrences recorded in it (Micklesen 124). This method is still used up to date and it helps the reader to distinguish between the persona, the author and other related characters. Narrative exegesis helps in facilitating the identification of the characters (Petersen and Roberts 47). Additionally, the Bible gives the reader an opportunity to evaluate and reflect his life according to its teachings. Evaluation is a method of literary analysis where the reader can comprehend and learn from the message being portrayed. On the hand, the Holy Scripture includes personal biographies where the authors are still the persona.
The history presented in the book of Genesis aligns with the critical analysis of literature reading. First of all, it involves narration, it employs figurative language and also it creates suspense (Petersen and Roberts 121). In addition, the bible has personal biographies that have individual people lives illustrated in it. Therefore, the bible utilizes stylistic methods and historical and critical writing methods.
Mickelsen, A B. Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1966. Print.
Petersen, David and Roberts, Beverly. The new interpreter’s bible one-volume commentary. (2010). Abingdon press. Web.
The Irenaean Theodicy
For many individuals of the Christian faith, the delinquent of evil and the existence of a supreme and whole compassionate God, present difficult accounts to reconcile. Despite the existence of numerous volumes of publications by atheist on how irreconcilable the reality of God and that of evil can be, it would be important to note that atheistic philosophers especially those undertaking the project of theodicy need to provide this because it seems it is much needed today than ever. John Hick is one of the contributors to this project by presenting theodicies, which justify the existence of evil in the world despite the presence of an almighty and holy God. Of all his three theodicies, the Irenaean theodicy serves as the best placed to defend God for permitting evil in the world.
Hick believes that God formed man in his likeness and put him in the world for spiritual growth. According to Hick if diseases like cancer or atrocities resulting from human actions did not exist, then man would have no means of developing spiritually. The Irenaean theodicy, from Hick’s perspective, involves the fight by every man to attain religious faith. This is made possible by what Hick calls an epistemic distance between man and God. This separation helps distinguish a finite human being from an all-powerful God. Man is born without the knowledge of the reality of God. However, as he grows and encounters different problems in the world, he finds reason to seek help from an all-powerful being.
Hick identifies that one of the challenges that the theodicy may face is that some human beings do not get the chance to develop spiritually. In such situations, Hick suggest the introduction of an afterlife into the balance to ensure that such individuals, for instance infants who die at birth, receive heavenly awards. He further observes that since there are numerous instances of wickedness in the world that seem unfair for the human perspective, man must acknowledge that he cannot fully understand God’s reason or his plan.
Irenaean theodicy stands out as the best to explain the co-existence between God and evil because it provides a proper justification as to how to learn the difference between right and wrong. This theodicy recognizes that a world where humans cannot go wrong is also a world where humans cannot know that which is right. The capability of man to know right and wrong must have a basis and this, according to Hick, gives man proper reason to act in any of the two ways. By arguing from this theodicy, human beings have been able to develop great moral virtues that define relationships in the society. Virtues such as audacity, charity and benevolence all require the existence of challenges and complications that man has to overcome. To be able to develop spiritually, man cannot live in a static environment that demands no exertions or choices. This means that the existence of agony, natural wickedness and misery in the world are necessary occurrences. If God, for instance, was to keep ethically malevolent acts from ensuing in maltreatment to any man, then they would stop being evil and man would never progress the kind of ethical disposition that is devoted to overcoming this kind of wickedness.
When compared to the Augustinian theodicy of the original sin, which is provided as one way of reuniting the presence of evil and that of God, the Irenaean theodicy still stands out as the better one. This is because the Augustinian theodicy contends that evil exists as a form of punishment for engaging in sin at the Garden of Eden. Such a theodicy fails since it blames man who is considered as finite for the reality of evil. The Irenaean theodicy also edges out the process theodicy. The latter argues that God created man and gave him authority to make choices and accept the consequences of his actions. God according to this theodicy is not unlimited in power but interacts with the universe which he is not the creator but has some influence over it. This school of thought argues that God is not an all-powerful being and creator of the universe. He forms part of the universe and is therefore unable to perform any direct interventions in its dynamic details. There is no justification for God on permitting evil since he has no powers to prevent its happening. The main criticism of this the process theodicy is on its violation of Christian love for an all-powerful God. This makes the theodicy more aesthetic rather than moral. Despite the fact that it may be problematic for some Christians to accept God’s role in the existence of evil in the world, it would be important to acknowledge that when weighed against Augustinian notion of original sin and the process theodicy, the Irenaean theodicy serves to provide an almost perfect explanation.
In conclusion, the delinquent of evil and its possible reconciliation with the presence of an all-knowing and all-powerful God forms the basis of arguments for theorists of religion. Hick uses the Irenaean theodicy to explain how God uses a world full of evil to initiate some form of reconciliation with man. This brings Christians much nearer to an understanding of the presence of evil. Unlike the two other theodicies, that lay the blame for the reality of wickedness on man, and the inability of God to eradicate evil, the Irenaean theodicy claims that God, as the supreme and all powerful being, is solely responsible for the presence of evil.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN THE BOOK OF ROMAN
The word faith is used with at least five different particular technicalities in the New Testament. Paul uses the phrase to mean easy perception or psychological approval of ‘historical facts’ as well as trust or dependency upon another.However, it is identified that the apostle had a particular concept in consideration when he created the announcement that man is validated by his belief.
Paul shows from the scriptures of Old Testament through the cases of David and Abraham that validation is God’s gift, appropriated by believing in Christ. In addition, he portrays that a person cannot justify based on his or her deeds. Paul has dedicated the first three sections to confirm that the whole globe is accountable before God. He has most lately created the factor that “by Law’s work, no skin will be validated,” that “none are righteous” and that “all are unsuccessful of the wonder of God”.However, God in his graciousness, offered validation through Christ. Therefore, by believing in Christ, an individual can be validated in the vision of God. To confirm his factor, Paul reveals that there are no exclusions. In addition, he indicates that this is not a new concept by providing spiritual illustrations from the lifestyles of David and Abraham.
The book of romance points out that Abraham was the fist man to be justified by God in the early days. Paul knows that in the Judaism thoughts, Abraham was the only individual who was justified by his work. However, his discussion confirms that no man can be justified by his work but by his faith in Christ. Therefore, Paul reveals that even for Abraham, who lived an exceptional lifestyle and for whom there is no spiritual history of heinous sins, his validation was still by believing in Jesus Christ. Paul’s sensible argument realizes an offering concept. At first, Paul beats his discussion by directing that even though one might boast before other men, it is impossible that one would boast before God.
In addition, Paul’s argument can be identified as a theoretical discussion. For instance, Paul is not actually accepting that Abraham could even boast before men. However, he is saying that, even if Abraham was validated by his work (but he was not), he still could not boast before God. However, Paul’s spiritual discussion is directed from Gen. 15:6.This further validates Paul’s factor that we are validated by believing in Christ because Old Testament sacred Bible says that Abraham was also validated by believing in Christ. However, one must identify that the spiritual discussion would not be effective to Judaism viewers because they generally saw Abraham’s belief in Christ as just another work. Consequently, Paul changes his argument to discuss the distinction between work and faith to confirm his spiritual discussion.
Paul also continues to describe what the scriptures of Genesis indicate. The main key to Paul’s information is in conditions “believed” and “reckoned”. The phrase reckoned is used in this book to mean taking something in to consideration or justifying an individual. Growing on the declaration that validation is caused by elegance, Paul factors out that if validation were dependent on work, it would not be entirely free. The phrase “gift” is vital because it reveals that righteousness “credited” for “belief” is a gift. It associates returning to the most crucial that validation is caused by elegance. Abraham’s validation was for his belief in Christ alone.
The factor of Paul’s representation is to demonstrate that a man could not take a position up under the analysis of God. If men were to get what they well deserved, they would not be acknowledged with righteousness. Nevertheless, they could be criticized to hell which is destined for those who fail to follow Gods’ guidelines. That is what is intended when David says that blessed are men against whom the Master will not consider their sins. The only protection for sin comes through believing in Christ Jesus.
Paul has confirmed rationally and scripturally that men are validated by believing in Jesus Christ. The primary problem in this area focuses on the first three sections, which educate that the work of an individual cannot take a position up under the analysis of God. If men want God to forgive their sins according to their works, they can be criticized. A man is validated before God only when he allows God’s undeserved presence of righteousness through belief. Therefore, the congregation needs to be cautious not to slide into the organic propensity to pressure believers to work more and hard as a way to obtain benefit with God.
The phrase “righteousness of God” is comparative to the lord’s plan of justifying people; his plan of announcing them just in the vision of the Law; or of acquitting them from penalties, and acknowledging them to benefit.However, majority of individuals understands righteousness to mean hard work. On the other hand, God expects righteous people to have a strong faith in Jesus Christ. The item regarded to be done is to consider individuals as if they were righteous. However, some people have been trying to achieve it by obeying the law. Nevertheless, God’s strategy was to achieve it by believing in Christ. Thus, this book indicates that human interpretation of the word righteousness differs from the real meaning intended by God. Therefore, it points out that human beings cannot be justified by God using their own strategy or understanding. Hence, the strategy of God is the sensible, fantastic and the only method that can be used to make man justified before God. The apostle reveals that it only by believes in Christ but not in a person’s work that an individual can be justified. Thus, this is what is considered as “righteousness of God”, and which is exposed in the gospel.
To understand the implication of believing in Christ, the congregation can look at the connection as well as the regular significance of the conditions. The phrase to “justify”, indicates effectively “to be just, simple, and righteous”. It is then used as a method to “declare”, as righteous when a man is billed with an offence. If the criminal activity claimed is not shown against him, the states laws pronounce him innocent. It does not mean that the man did not make the offence; or that the Law might not have declared him responsible for it. However, it implies that the offender is forgiven and justified by the law. Nevertheless, only an individual with the capacity to pardon can do this. Therefore, God is the only one with the powers to forgive and pronounce an individual innocent. Moreover, he does it through naming and granting the gift. The style of Paul in this epistle is to demonstrate how this is done or to demonstrate that it is done by believing in Christ.
Paul’s epistle to the Romans is indeed a theological work of art that has been used for hundreds of years to determine what appropriate cathedral doctrine is. By using discussion stories like that of David and Abraham, Paul demonstrates justification by faith in contrast to justification by work. Paul’s primary dissertation is justification by faith as the only indication of approval by God. It is by God’s righteousness contrary to our self-righteousness that Christ provides us his favor. This righteousness comes to us in regards to a person’s belief in God. However, Paul clarifies that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only righteousness gift.
In describing the important factors of Spiritual Christianity, Paul states that every individual is a sinner ruined to everlasting penalties. In God’s vision, every man, woman and kid is “guilty” before him. From Adam to Jesus, all men are limited by sin. God cannot save individuals out of their sins because of excellent actions or via spiritual observance. In the second section, Paul describes that maintaining law rather than believing in Christ promotes hypocrisy. Even the Jewish people, who have an exclusive position in the programs and reasons of God as their selected individuals, will be cursed because of not believing in Jesus. Paul demonstrates that, if we keep out of our lives, then we will be under his anger. Furthermore, no one can declare that God works unjustly or badly regarding justification of the righteous. Because it is clear that no one can come to God or receive God’s benefits but by through believing in Jesus Christ. Moreover, righteousness can only be granted to an individual through individual belief in God’s Son. In fact, Abraham obeyed God, and because of that, he was considered as righteous before God.
A righteous person always gets favors from God and justification. Moreover, such righteousness is supposed to change individuals’ lifestyles. By dwelling in the Holy Spirit, we are motivated to be righteous in our everyday lifestyle. In addition, righteousness changes our mindset, performance, and perspective. For instance, Paul talks of dedicating our lifestyles to God and not to laws and regulations, rules and spiritual observances.
In the book of Romans, we discover ideal information that is important to Christians. We learn that a person’s lifestyle is God’s work. Moreover, a person’s present style of living determines his justification by God. Through Paul’s argument, it is clear that God wants all individuals to be justified by their faith in Christ so that they can enter the kingdom of heaven. He further clarifies that no one can see the kingdom through his excellent work on earth or by obeying the doctrines and the law set by the church. Therefore, what Christians should do is to believe the Gospel of Christ instead of depending on religious beliefs. With Paul, we must independently take a position and announce that we are not embarrassed of the gospel of Christ: for it only the power of God that can save sinners.
When the apostle Paul had written to the religious believers, he desired them to comprehend the gospel he preached everywhere he went. That gospel reveals the righteousness of God, both individual righteousness in staying trustworthy to his commandments and the supply of righteousness to those who believe in God’s son.Nevertheless, authentic belief in Christ is known by the dedication that comes with it and the modern sanctification, which emerges from it. However, it is only by believing in Jesus Christ that an individual can get salvation from God. If we believe in Christ, our lifestyles will confirm it. Nevertheless, God does not rationalize those who perform to win his benefit. Finally, it is so unfortunate that any person who does not believe in Christ is not considered righteous no matter how hard he works or obeys the church law. Therefore, for any one to be saved, he or she must believe in the gospel of God and repent his or her sins.
Bauer, Walter and others, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
Cranfield, C. E. B., The Epistle to the Romans Vol. 1. (Edinburg, T. & T. Clark LTD, 2005).
Godet, F., Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 2006).
Josephus, The Works of Josephus, Trans. by William Whiston (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).
Lenski, R. C. H., The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Columbus, Ohio: Wartburg Press, 2005).
Metzger, Bruce, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stutgart: United Bible Societies, 2001).
Oden, Thomas C. Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology. New York: Harper One,2004.
Olson, Roger E. Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity, 2006.
Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans.Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand
Rapids: Baker, 1998.
Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of
Old and New Testament Words. Nashville: Nelson, 2006.
Westerholm, Stephen. Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
 Metzger, Bruce, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stutgart: United Bible Societies, 2001).
 Bauer, Walter and others, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
 Westerholm, Stephen. Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
 Bauer, Walter and others, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
 Bauer, Walter and others, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
 Godet, F., Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 2006).
 Josephus, The Works of Josephus, Trans. by William Whiston (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).
 Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans.Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand
Rapids: Baker, 1998.
The prophet Muhammad and his life before and during Islam
Prophet Mohammad who, the Muslim fraternity view and regard as a messenger and a prophet is believed to have been sent by Allah (God) to guide the humanity towards the right way (Rogerson, 2003). Among the prophets sent by God to mankind, he is believed to be the last among them, though the Muslims believe of the possibility of later subordinate’sprophets (Ahmadiyya) within Islam after Mohammad (Haddad& Smith, 2014). This being the case, the prophet is highly regarded among the different Muslim groups as a prophet. In fact, there is no disagreement as to the existence, calling, and undertakings among the Sunni and Shia groups. The Shia and Sunni Muslim groups emerged as a result of the split of Islam after the death of Mohamed in relation who would take over the leadership of Islam. This being the case, Mohammed has been generally accepted by the Muslims as the founder of Islam (Melton& Baumann, 2010). In the seventh century, he was the most unveiled significant figure in the west, and is also considered to be one of the most influential figures of all times in the globe. This is depicted by his life, deeds, thoughts, and ideologies that have been debated and followed by opponents, followers, and supporters over the century. This condition complicates his biography. Philosophers regarded him as a positivist, while the Christians regarded him as an apostate. The brief introduction creates a leeway to examine the featured life and achievements of Prophet Muhammad before and during Islam.
Mohammad, whose name is taken to mean “highly praised” was born in 571AD during the Christian era of Rabi Iwhich occurred on the twelfth lunar month (Tapper& Tapper, 1987).His father had died shortly before he was born, while his mother died when he was only a kid at six years. He was therefore raised as an orphan by his uncle, who gave him the work of a shepherd. At the age of 9, (though some texts indicates that this was at age 12), he joined his uncle who was aiding a caravan to Syria (Rogerson, 2003). He was from a noble family (Quraish), who were the guardians of a spiritual centre that served the whole of Arabia –the Ka’ba. ADuring those times, the place-Arabia, was deep in idolatry with every household keeping idols. By then, the Arabians had no faith in the afterlife and therefore exhibited no responsibility on their actions. They however allegedthat demons and diseases existed and were as a result of evil spirits. Like the fellow country peoples, Mohammad was not taught on how to read and write, though his youth was occupied in trade, but despite this fact, he had high morals which distinguished him from the rest of his compatriots. Since he lived a reserved life, he only kept for himself men/friends whose morals were admitted by all (Ali, 2011). This fact describes his purity as well as the undestroyed character and the love for verity and honesty (Ali, 2011).
History has it that he never tasted wine, and so was his friend Abu Bakr. The society was full of gambling, yet he didn’t participate in any of these. The life that he lived was a complete opposite of the society’s way. Above all, his life was remarkably rare case, as evidenced by his love for the poor, the widowed, orphans, the slaves, and the weak in the society among others helpless groups (Spencer, 2007). It is indicated that he even at one time took an oath to help the oppressed. At twenty five, He married a wealthy lady whom he had worked for, but despite this fact, he spent freely to aid the poor. Any slave who came to his house was set free and this angered Quraish, who ordered Abu Talib who ordered his execution because of the fame that he had gained from people, but the person mandated to execute him refused citing his goodness to the people. It ought to be recorded here that the window that he married was 15years older and he stayed on with her without remarrying for the next 24 years that he lived. This was despite the fact that the communitys culture allowed for polygamy.
When he was about 40 years at around 610c.e. He began going in a solitude place in a cave at mount Hira, which surroundsMecca. He used to stay long in this place for hours and sometimes days meditating. It is in this placewhen the he received the first revelations from God. The revelations received were inform of a Quran (which means recitation). It is believed that, while in the cave, an imposing figure suddenly appeared and commanded him to recite (read) a scroll (Quran) that was laid before him (Egan, 2002). He was terrified by the sudden appearance and the command to read. He stammered telling the figure that he did not know how to read, but the figure who was Gabriel, the angel of the lord (Egan, 2002). These therefore, formed the first revelations of God to man and acted as the last testament to mankind. Since that revelation, the meditation of the prophet at the cave ended, and he began preaching Islam, guided by the revelation.
Transforming the nation
Before he began preaching the good news of Allah, the nation (Arab) was full of superstitious and ignorance. They even used to burry baby girls alive as they adhered to their idolatry practices. It is indicated that by the end of his mission, when he was 63 years old, the nation had become transformed and no longer relied on superstitions, nor were they ignorance. Indeed, the whole nation had become a cultured people who were willing to sacrifice for the sake of their fellow brothers. Through his teachings, he taught the people even the basics in life including how to wash oneself, as well as the important affairs that governs the human society (Barise, 2005). It is important to note that the revelations brought in the Arabic verses in an intermittent manner, any time God wanted to reveal anything to the human race including the important issues, how to worship, salvation, death and resurrection among other things. Three years after the divine revelation, the prophet had only gained 40 followers, and since his teachings distracted the Meccan mode of living, both in morals and economic perspective, he together with his followers faced may rejections and persecutions. In fact, it initially took the direction of mockery, but sooner violence erupted and members of smaller movements were harassed and stoned as they prayed. Others were even thrown into jail, and even denied service by merchants (Baram, 2008).
Hijira and the Persecution
Theincreasedpersecution did not deter the prophet from preaching. This led to the transformation of followers from Yathrib city. The city needed a strong leader and Mohammad was proposed as the best beneficiary to take up the job, and as a condition, they covenanted to worship Allah only and obey Mohammad as well as come to his defence and that of his followers. This was revealed to Mohammad by god and he planned to escape to the city. The Meccans tried to prevent it, but he, Abu Bakr and others managed to escape, thus arriving safe at Yathrib. There was Hijira celebration, and it denoted the start of the Muslim year. The city was later renamed medina al Nabi, or simply medina. The prophet established himself here proving to be a capable politician, a prophet and a statesman
Battle for Mecca and the spread of Islam
After Mohammad had established the job which he had been called to do at medina, the people encouraged him to engage in battles with the people from Mecca. This went on for a long time, but in 627, the medina people overpowered the Meccans. In 630 after the defeat of mecca, Mohammadrededicated the Kaba temple to Allah and also witnessed the conversion of almost all the Meccan population to Islam (Donner, 2010). The prophet then returned to medina where he died having conquered almost the whole part of Arabia for Islam (Renn, 2012). By 634, the entire Arabian Peninsula had been converted to Islam as well as far and wide countries. This was attributed to the military might and the politicalcapability that the prophet’s successors had.
Barise, A. (2005). Social work with Muslims: Insights from the teachings of Islam. Critical Social Work, 6(2), 114-32.
Baram, A. (2008). Who are the insurgents?: Sunni Arab rebels in Iraq. DIANE Publishing.
Donner, F. M. (2010). Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Harvard University Press.
Egan, A. (2002). Islam: Pupil book core. Oxford: Heinemann Educational.
Haddad, Y. Y., & Smith, J. I. (2015). The Oxford handbook of American Islam
Melton, J. G., & Baumann, M. (2010). Religions of the world: A comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Muir, W. (1858). The life of Mahomet and history of Islam to the era of the Hegira: With introductory chapters on the original sources for the biography of Mahomet and on the pre-Islamite history of Arabia. London: Smith, Elder.
Renn, J. (2012). The Globalization of Knowledge in History. Berlin: epubli GmbH.
Rogerson, B. (2003). The Prophet Muhammad: A biography. Mahwah, N.J: HiddenSpring.
Spencer, R. (2007). The truth about Muhammad: Founder of the world’s most intolerant religion. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub.
Introduction to Religious Studies
Religion is a set of beliefs, personal views and cultures that are systematized to relate to human beings order of existence. It is however through religious studies where people get to learn and understand the different cultures, behaviors and beliefs that are related to different religious movements that are meant to be followed or abided to by the followers of the movement. In most cases, different religions have traits that require human beings to follow, in order for them to be said as accepted by the society due to their moral ethics.
According to the philosopher Marx, he believes that religion does not make a man who he is but the man makes the religion. He argues that the only thing that religion does to human beings is to understand them partially. The reason why the philosopher criticizes religion is because he found the institution of religion as delusional of appearances that created obstacles to reality. He also argued that religion was also misleading human beings, through the services they offer to humans. Moreover, religion was believed by Karl Marx to be an institution that hypocritical, since most of the people following them, will not do as it is expected of them, but they will undertake tasks to benefit themselves (Kalu, 2011, p. 191).
For instance, in Buddhism followers of the religious denomination are expected to believe and accept fully the system of believing in that religion as well as memorizing the doctrines of the religion. The real thing about this religion is that, if you want to be a Buddhist, one only needs to practice Buddhism. Therefore, understanding what the religion is all about and all that the religious practices should be the major consideration before joining the religion. Firstly a new believer of the religion needs first to have an information on the rituals of the religion, liturgy and other religious practices associated with the religion. However, after one becomes a Buddhist, one will need to make vows on committing oneself to making daily meditation practices as well as following the teachings of Buddhism. In relation to Marx believe in religion, we are able to see that religion should only help one understand oneself as well as understand what they should engage themselves in according to the religion and what not to be engaged with. In this case, believers of Buddhism are made to make vows on having meditation on a daily basis and committing themselves to following the teaching the religion. Marx argues that religion creates a platform of disguising reality, just like any person who would engage in ‘Unreligious’ practice and still make their daily meditations.
According to Buddhists teachings, they are required to treat the people around them with care, love, patience, compassion and kindness. In relation to Marx, who says that religion is hypocritical and those following different religions, will not follow what is expected of them due to the sense of nature. For instance, in this case, the believers are required to live in Dharma which could be a difficult situation living in a world full of disappointing a disrespectful person and it becomes for one to ‘live the Dharma’ due to these natural incidences (O’Brien, 2014, n.d).
However, due to the different believed and laws associated with different religions, Marx therefore is able to argue that religions and hypocritical. For instance, Buddhism follows Precepts, which are not necessarily a list of rules or commandments, but are mostly in relation to morality. Unlike the Buddhist religion, a number of other religions have laws and rules that are said to come from God, and these laws are in subject to morality. Therefore, the contradiction in this case comes where, both religions have values that they have to follow, but it becomes hard to understand which are generally ethical to follow, yet they are from different sources. Therefore, a mistake in one religion could be a correct move in another religion (O’Brien, 2014, n.d). It is therefore clear to Marx argued that, religion is supposed to help one recognize themselves fully and understand for themselves what is right and not dictate on what people should strictly follow and abide to.
However, Buddhism also has different Precepts that different Buddhists abide to. Buddhism has major differences, and that is the Normative Buddhism and the ‘actual’ Buddhism. Both of the Buddhism groups, have a great similarity to their beliefs and also they have differences in some of the set Precepts they are supposed to follow. However, there are Buddhists who are believed to follow the both teaching of the groups of Buddhism and those are the Buddhists who speak Buddhism (Smith, 1976, p. 105).
However, the creation of the Buddhism is currently seen as a mode of disrespecting others, most headed by leaders in the denomination. The religion, according to their teachings, is supposed to be an institution that helps the needy, the poor, teach its congregation on the right moral values according to the Precepts, and protect the society when it tends to go astray. Recently, Buddhism religion has potraying to help the poor and being kind and loving to others but, most of these institutions have failed to follow what they are expected. Some of them actually discriminate others from their background such that they have to have some certain qualification to join the religious group. However, in relation to Marx believe in religion, we are able to see that the religion is truly an obstacle to reality, where the leaders who are meant to teach the Precepts are humans and are facing the same economic effect that has hit the area, and therefore, it would not be impossible to use the funds they collect from their congregation to better and fulfill their economic wants. Therefore, by Marx describing religion as hypocritical could be a right argument, since the Buddhist followers and believers are not supposed to follow the Dharma and the major Precepts, such as not killing, not stealing among others. In the recent times, a number of criminal incidences Buddhist believers would be mentioned and that makes it clear that religion should only help people discover what is right and what is wrong. The different people found in different situations that are contrary to their beliefs, could have undertaken such practices due to different natural influences that are not easy to evade. For instance, when and economies, inflation goes up, the chances of more people losing their jobs and more criminal activities will increase. Moreover, the religions could be major positive institutions, if the followers understand the teachings of the religions, and not only knowing them because they are for their religion.
Kalu, H. (2011). Essays on World Religious Thoughts: A Comparative Study. Bloomington: Indiana.
O’Brien, B. (2014).Every Moment, Every Step: The Practice of Buddhism. U.S. Retrieved from http://buddhism.about.com/od/becomingabuddhist/u/practicepath.htm
Smith, Bardwell L. 1976. Religion and social conflict in South Asia. Leiden: Brill.
Teaching Children about Allah
Religious education about the Muslim faith to children in Australia entails the enlightenment of the basic principles, beliefs and practices of Islam. The Muslim community enjoys the right to educate the children about their own religion. The Muslim education they pass on to the children entails various aspects such as: the concept of prayer, the five pillars of Islam just to mention but a few. The five pillars of Islam entail the basic principles which include Faith, Salat. Fasting, Zakat and Hajj. The concepts involve the beliefs of Islam as contained in the Quran.
This paper will analyze aspects involved in the teaching children about Allah by bringing out the nature of the schools and the roles of the teachers in Australia. It will also evaluate the use of the Western methodology in a Turkish context. This will be accompanied by perspectives about Fowler and El Kind’s ideas in terms of their suitability for Muslim children and the reasons. The final part of the paper will analyze the ethics procedures in managing potential conflicts that may arise.
To start with, the nature of the schools that teach Muslim religious studies entail an educational approach that involves learning and teaching of religion for all students regardless of their background or level of belief. The schools teach religious education like any other subject to ensure that it is accessed equally by all the students. This gives the students the opportunity to reflect, think, pray and consider. Hence, religious education acquires an outcome approach which can be considered as the formalization of Islam. That means that teaching Islam to children through a religious educational curriculum with a set of outcomes to achieve is similar to other curriculum subjects. This way, students are given an accurate and consistent mode of assessing their learning and achievements. Schools apply two systems that focus on instilling religious education the children. These methods include: the cognitive aspect which focuses on the knowledge content and the affective aspect which focuses on the student’s personal interaction with the knowledge.
My role within the schools is ensuring that the student learn about religion based processes on specific outcomes. The cognitive approach in Muslim schools narrows down to the objectives and systematic learning about outcome based content for instance, religion, beliefs, ritual practices, social structure, history, ethical positions, symbols, stories and texts. The affective approach helps students to make sense of the things they learn and relate it to personal levels.
The Western methodology in the Turkish context restricted the Muslims from migrating to Australia. The White Australia Policy that existed between 1901 and 1973 restricted immigration to Australia to those of Anglo-Saxon descent. This policy was partisan and biased due to the fact that it restricted a certain group of people from one descent. The policy had lasted for many years but was only lifted after the Muslims started arriving. It would have continued unless the two governments, Turkish and Australian, engaged in negotiations. It side-lined people who did not have original descent in Australia whereas majority, of the immigrants or rather Muslims in Australia were foreigners.
Fowler and El Kind’s ideas are not suitable for Muslim children. The reason behind this is that, Fowler adopted a methodology that did not adequately define the meaning of religion. His definition is restricted to the cognitive approach which apparently ignores other perspectives of faith. Fowler ignores aspects of faith such as forgiveness which is very vital in the Muslim religion. The methodology was also inappropriate in that it could not be applied at a normative level due because the sample group was white and Christian. This is coupled with the belief that moral development was considered a stage of faith development which Fowler disapproves. Most of the aspects obtained in Fowler’s methodology were only prevalent in adults but not in children. El Kind on the other hand, classifies children into three categories depending on their faith, personal sensations, ideas and behavior. He claimed that cognitive requires positions which develop and convert into features of different stages of children’s development. El Kind’s classification would not be suitable for Muslim children as it would divide them into groups and their beliefs. This would create disparity in terms of what they believe in at any stage of their development.
Textbooks have a wide array of content which plays a very key role in religious education. They provide useful resources for students and teachers and lay the foundation for them. Textbooks give new teachers powerful resources in the content area. Similarly textbooks give implicit content which reflects ideological meanings and a thorough reading which is necessary to bring out the meaning. Quality textbooks in religious education are at times compared to the effectiveness of placing good materials in students’ hands. This reflects their learning on religion.
The ethics procedures in this case offer rationalistic and instinctive solutions that can be justified by integrating strong points in the study. It helps in collecting data simultaneously. In the research I managed to maintain impartiality and observed the cogency of the information gathered. To manage potential conflicts, I utilized the basic researching skills of ensuring that the research was not direct to the respondents or even personal. I also ensured that the research was majorly based on the topic without taking sides or criticizing any aspect.
Focused Study of the Old Testament: Prophets _08
The book of Nahum relates to the book of Jonah in that it (Nahum) sounds the death-knell for Nineveh. Conversely, the book of Jonah brought God’s message to the people of Nineveh about its destruction, and this saw them repent (Hays and Tremper 320). In both books, the major argument is that God detests nations that do not worship Him.
As articulated in Habakkuk, “the righteous will live by his faith” means that despite all the troubles and suffering that human beings will endure, those who are righteous will be kept strong by the faith they have in God (Snyman 422). Paul underscores the statement in Romans 1:17 by saying that God’s righteousness is exhibited in the faith of people and that righteous people will live by the faith of God.
In Zephaniah 2:3, it is articulated that people who have upheld God’s justice and who are meek of the earth seek the Lord, righteousness, and humility. These would help human beings evade God’s anger in the end times. The relationship between humility, obedience, and righteousness is that the qualities connect human beings to God. Apparently, God cannot bring destruction to people with righteousness, humility, and obedience (Hays and Tremper 334). The verse relates to Habakkuk 2:4-5 because it condemns pride and instead insists on humility, obedience, and righteousness (Snyman 422).
Zephaniah 3:17 talks about the righteous people of Israel who God will save, rejoice over them with gladness, and rejoice over them with singing. This means that God gives preference to righteous people who respect Him, and protects them from enemies. In this case, the singing of Yahweh is figurative because it brings the notion that the righteous people of Israel are made happy by God. God does not sing, and this is supported by the fact that no verse in the Bible tells us about God singing.
Zechariah 4:6 is about the talk between Zechariah the prophet and an angel of God. The angel said that God had sent word to Zerubbabel discouraging his use of might, and power to lead his people (Hays and Tremper 348). In this verse, it comes out clearly that God prefers leaders who embrace His Spirit when leading others and disowns those who embrace power and might. The verse is applicable today because the modern-day leaders are urged to embrace the spirit of God for effective leadership to be seen.
Malachi 4:5 talks about Elijah the prophet being sent to the Israelites before the coming of the Lord (Hays and Tremper 365). The opinion is that that Elijah would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and vice versa. This prophecy is fulfilled in the Gospel books as John the Baptist is seen preparing and making people aware and ready for the coming of the Son of God. John the Baptist baptizes people and makes them righteous in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament confirms the fact that God blesses people with material blessings if they are obedient to Him. First, in the Gospel books, the relationship between obedience and material blessings is evident when the Jews thought that by obeying God, they would receive His blessings in primarily physical and material terms. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 also illustrates that the material blessings of the rich man was because he was obedient to God and that Lazarus’ suffering was because of his lack of obedience to God.
Hays, J D, and Tremper Longman. Message of the Prophets: A Survey of the Prophetic and Apocalyptic Books of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010. Internet resource.
Snyman, S. D. “Non-violent prophet and violent God in the book of Habakkuk.” Old Testament Essays 16.2, 2003: p-422.
The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in early America is perhaps one of the greatest historical and religious book ever written. The events of the time are organized in a chronological manner making it easy for the reader to follow them. It then informs the reader of historical, cultural, and religious colonization and an awakening of the Indian community living in the pre-historic America (Fisher 24). The Euro American missionaries invaded the culture of the native Indians with Christianity, which they eventually adopted despite initially retaliating. This review looks at the historical and social contexts described in the text. It also analyses the writing of the book and how the author captures the attention of the readers to make them understand the various concepts explained in the book. The text also raises various questions about religion and other thoughts which will be described in the review. The review further shows its connection with the course and other religious phenomena described in class.
Fisher Linford wrote and published The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America in 2012. His story is based on the events of the 17th Century lasting to the 18th Century when the euro American religious converts were going round evangelizing and trying to convert people to Christianity. Fisher describes how the Indians were adamant to abandon their traditional religious practices to adopt Christianity (28). In the book, Fisher also notes that the Indians were fearful of the colonialists whom they perceived as using a different approach to Christianity to continue colonizing them.
The Indian natives were out to protect their land, traditional religion, and politics, which they saw as under threat from the perceived colonialists. Local tribal politics takes center stage in the book as it shaped the various resolutions taken by the community (Fisher 31). Despite the seemingly hostile resistance from the natives, the missionaries went on with their teachings and preaching. The natives, therefore, chose to affiliate with the Christian missionaries to protect the sovereignty of their land, culture, and traditions even though it was evident that they had started enjoying the work of the missionaries.
Fisher gives a chronological survey of the events of interaction between the natives and the missionaries in eight chapters. In each chapter, he presents a description of different processes. The first chapter, Rainmaking, makes a general observation of the lives of the colonialists and the natives (Fisher 16). The second chapter highlights the evangelizing process whereby the colonialists and the natives interact. In the third chapter, the natives begin embracing the activities of the missionaries and are awakened.
Fisher describes the affiliation and the conversion process in chapter four whereby the colonialists begin to assimilate the natives and separate them with their traditional cultures and beliefs in chapter five. Chapter six is the education section of the book whereby the colonialists challenge the natives to take up formal forms of education. Massive migration from the traditional to the modern practices are discussed in chapter seven, while chapter eight concludes the text by examining the reasons why some remained after the migration.
Style of Writing of the Book
Fisher makes the description of his events vividly and uses simple language that can be understood by both native and non-native English speakers. Fisher discusses the themes of the book clearly and extensively making it easy for the readers to understand and follow the events (18). The chronological description of the events from the 1700s to 1820 allows the reader to reflect on the contexts therein. Fisher makes a comparison of the two parties in the book. The natives and the missionaries-cum-colonialists differed significantly, and the author describes these factors of variation to show how the times and practices of these groups had changed considerably over time. Fisher makes use of references to show the origin of his works (56). Even though he does not rely directly on eyewitnesses, he makes a thorough review of the existing literature on these subjects and reflects this in his book.
How the Context Impacts On Understanding of the Book
The social and the historical contexts of the book play a significant role in understanding the book and its purpose. The context introduces and moves the reader to the historical times when colonization was still evident in many parts of the world (Fisher 42). The reader is taken through the period of colonization and the introduction of various modern factors such as changes in religion, culture, and education. This context enables the reader to follow up on the events of that period, while also making them feel the reaction of the natives who were being invaded.
The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America prompts the reader to ask questions such as how the natives and the world as a whole existed without Christianity. Before the introduction of Christianity, native communities had varying religions. Therefore, why did the missionaries assume that these traditional religions were unworthy? Besides, why and how did the missionaries come up with Christianity? Another question relates to the ease of acceptance of the native Indians (Holloway 88). The natives were easily influenced by the missionaries to abandon their religious and cultural practices and adopt the practices of the missionaries. What was the motivation for this sudden move? Lastly, religion seems to be changing or improving over time. What are the possible religious changes that may be expected in the world since each religious group such as Islam is trying to gain popularity and influence?
Connections between the Book and Other Religious Books and Information
Most books on religion and history are written in the same style using the chronological form of analysis of events (Holloway 67). They also give descriptions of the context of the events discussed in the book for the readers to understand the various concepts outlined in religious studies. These events would, however, be complex without the descriptions. It is evident that missionaries had a powerful influence over other religions since they easily ventured into other communities and altered their religious affiliations. According to Holloway, the missionaries used the same strategy to approach different communities (103). They conducted their evangelic activities, as well as educating communities on different issues. Eventually, they converted a lot of followers in the community.
The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America is a well-written book that enables students of religion and other interested parties to understand the subject well. It presents a good overview of events and uses a very simple language that is easy to understand. The book can be used to teach religion to different levels of students without any difficulty. It challenges both learners and teachers of religion to teach widely and rationally on these subjects by presenting different views for thought by the readers.
Fisher, Linford D. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Holloway, Richard. A Little History of Religion.2016.