Monday, March 2, 2009

Wired For Service?

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:1-7

συσχηματίζεσθε - I am never certain of how to pronounce this word. I believe its’ root is pronounced as ‘su-ska-ma-tede-zo’.
My reason for wanting to share the pronunciation, other than to validate the word for you, is, suskamatidzo is the ancient Koinean Greek word from which we get our word, schematic from.
"figure of speech," from M.L. schema "shape, figure, form, figure of speech," from Gk. skhema (gen. skhematos) "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get,"

The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament by William D. Mounce, Zondervan, 1993; number 5372, says of suskamatidzo

-to fasion in accordance with; to conform or assimilate one’s self to.


Paul is suggesting these people to be a part of a schematic diagram . The imagery is as if one were a part of an electrical wiring diagram (modern analogy, of course). The diagram would illustrate how the components of a machine are wired into the power source and are able to function. If a switch is turned on, then power travels from that switch to a component that performs a specific task as a part of one machine.

Now, incase I have misrepresented my intentions, please understand, I am not suggesting that Paul knew anything of electricity or technology.
By using an illustration involving a diagram, we see Paul use this idea of a practical member of the body, assisting in the entire, healthy functionality of the body. And then Paul goes on to discuss the gifts a person has as being important to the body of Christ. And, that these gifts should not be stifled, but encouraged for use as the body of Christ works among the people of the world.

What is very unfortunate is many ministers who have developed their gifts in seminary do not believe there is any value in a person’s gifts if they have not also invested in study at an institution. A very hard pill for these men and woman to swallow is the truth that the church was not born nor raised in seminary. In fact, there are few ministers for whom I have respect concerning their diplomas. Many of these institutions will not allow any deviation from the institution’s syllabus or curriculum. I know this from experience. Having a note written on the work I turned in saying, “I agree”, with a piece of paper, cut from the syllabus and pasted below the handwritten acknowledgment, containing the answer I was expected to give, I found that I was not permitted to freely think and attempt to understand aside from someone’s opinion.

If I sound like ‘bitter apples’, well, maybe most of us should adopt the part. Because, the gifts that God have given are being shelved without cultivation and mentoring. And, we need to begin getting back to the basics of Christianity.

Many of us will never teach or be ordained. We have not spent countless hours of condensed discipline to labor over what someone else has stated. That does not make us wrong, just wrong according to the criteria that has become the status quo.

How many of us feel we even have a spiritual gift? Many of us do not consider it because we are taught by the status quo that we have not developed them. But what does the scripture say?

If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


We may not gain exposure to many people whom we will be able to share the results of our studies with. If you are like me, we can say, ‘ I am happy to have spent the last twenty years, slowly digesting the word of God in order that I have found confidence in my salvation, know who I am and what God’s entire effort has been from Genesis to Revelation'.

28 comments:

Gigi said...

Good post Jim. I have met some (quite a few, actually) Catholic priests who fall into the category you describe...that attitude is what distances people from the Lord in many areas.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"The imagery is as if one were a part of an electrical wiring diagram (modern analogy, of course)."

Nice analogy, Jim. I've never thought of it that way before.

I wholeheartedly agree that each member of the Body is gifted in order to minister to the Body. The Body causes the growth of the Body as each member abides in the Vine ("power source"?) gaining nourishment for service to one another. I think of the Body causing the growth of the Body as the Spirit ministering Christ through us to one another. And of course, that won't happen unless we purpose to "walk in the Spirit".

"What is very unfortunate is many ministers who have developed their gifts in seminary do not believe there is any value in a person’s gifts if they have not also invested in study at an institution."

As you suggest, this kind of thinking is not biblical Christianity. The Apostles were not taught at Seminary...though they were taught by the greatest "Seminarian" there ever was! But the Bible tells us that all of God's Children are "all taught of God". This is what Jesus means when He says that when He sends the Spirit, He will lead us into all truth because the Spirit will take what is Jesus' and give it to us! That's a promise for all Believers, not just "seminarians".

I agree that we should all be encouraged to develop and use our gifts for the edification of the Body.

GGM

jeleasure said...

Thanks Gigi,
God gives gifts for the edification of the Body of Christ. I see so many times that those who have a hand in controlling anything abuse their authority.

I look forward to possibly seeing the church actually involve the church and not just play administration games.

Vicki said...

Studying can be a wonderful gift, but it can, like any other good gift, be misused or take the place of the leading of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit leads, that is more important than any other crieria.
Our first test is to love one another.
Blessings to you, Beloved.
Vicki

jeleasure said...

GGM,
Thanks for the compliment on the analogy. It was really The Apostle Paul's idea. I just used a more modern example.

When will there be a day when the church gets back to the basics.

The twelve apostles were taught by Christ, as you say. But, many more were added to their number. And, I believe the Holy Spirit does teach.
Thanks for the comments.
I don't know when I'll be around to your blog. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. We were under an abnormal winter storm created by a Nor Easter. When the weather warms, there will be plenty of bursted pipes to fix. I was to be at the Coliseum to do work today, but could not get the truck out of the drive way.
However, I will be checking in with you later.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Thanks Hun,
You always understand what I am attempting to say.

Tamela's Place said...

hello Jim,

yes sadly, knowledge can puff a person up to the point that they begin leaning more upon their own understanding instead of depending upon the Holy Spirit to teach and lead them!

Yes indeed we are given the gifts so as to work as a body and in so doing God is glorified so may we tune in and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and never quench Him!

Great post Jim! :)

thekingpin68 said...

Hi Jim.

(Please note as I told Jeff, with comment mod., sometimes comments do not come to Outlook. I check comment at Dashboard as well):)

Strong's Number 4964 (συσχηματίζομαι: conform to, fashion self according to)

'In fact, there are few ministers for whom I have respect concerning their diplomas. Many of these institutions will not allow any deviation from the institution’s syllabus or curriculum. I know this from experience. Having a note written on the work I turned in saying, “I agree”, with a piece of paper, cut from the syllabus and pasted below the handwritten acknowledgment, containing the answer I was expected to give, I found that I was not permitted to freely think and attempt to understand aside from someone’s opinion.'

Yes, this is a problem with academics. I am going through this presently. To deal with it I ask the Lord for assistance and study the Bible and as many quality scholars as possible in order to understand various positions and defend positions that I come to as the years go by.

Even still, without formal education, I reason there would be far more error in my theology and writing. So, education is good but one must trust in God and look at the work of others critically but with an open-mind.

'We may not gain exposure to many people whom we will be able to share the results of our studies with. If you are like me, we can say, ‘ I am happy to have spent the last twenty years, slowly digesting the word of God in order that I have found confidence in my salvation, know who I am and what God’s entire effort has been from Genesis to Revelation'.'

My service is theological in many ways, but as my pastor stated the other week, I am also doing ministry. Although my work is by nature often controversial I am glad to say I am reaching people on Facebook, Blogger and in person. Some will not support me, but I move on Christ.

It is nice to know there are some 'secret' blog readers out there too.

Russ;)

jeleasure said...

Hi Russ,
Today is going to be a busy day for me. I will be going out in about an half hour to clear snow and slowly make my way to the coliseum, where I will be doing some plumbing. Then, I will probably have to be on hand to repair rutured pipes.

I say all of this, to inform you that I intend to visit your blog. I just don't know when.

Thanks for the comments.
I am a difficult person, at times. If I study and come to a conclussion, I must be shown, with out any wiggle room that my assessment is wrong. Otherwise, it just comes down to opinion. Therefore, I stopped my formal education as I saw it as a waste of time. I saw it as confusion and frustration.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Thanks, T.
Hopefully, this will not be a long day, and I will be back to have more discussion with you and some others later.
Jim

Jody said...

Dear Jim,
Praising God that you've had to study for yourself "slowly digesting the Word of God, having confidence in your salvation." One of these days all this will pass away and we will stand before God knowing who we have believed. Stand firm in God's Word.

satire and theology said...

'Thanks for the comments.
I am a difficult person, at times. If I study and come to a conclussion, I must be shown, with out any wiggle room that my assessment is wrong. Otherwise, it just comes down to opinion. Therefore, I stopped my formal education as I saw it as a waste of time. I saw it as confusion and frustration.
Jim'

Jim, some opinions are more credible than others. My opinions on certain subjects twenty years ago are not as credible as ones now, and I am sure the same will be stated legitimately twenty years from now again on some subjects and topics.

If I come to an initial assessment on a view with rather limited knowledge and understanding I should see it as such. Once I gain more knowledge I can change my view when necessary, as I let the Lord lead. As a Christian I realize that spiritual growth and guidance in Christ also includes learning more about Christian faith and philosophy over time.

I would suggest that without a lot of education and knowledge on a given subject one should come to careful and often tentative assessments and conclusions and again let God lead. This still includes faith and belief as one seeks reasonable understanding.

Cheers.

Randi Jo :) said...

thanks for the read. :) hope you're having a great day!

jeleasure said...

Thank you Jody.
I take great pleasure in what The Lord has helped me to achieve in my studying. It truly feels like an honor.
Also, I know you understand how exciting it can be to feel as if you've just been given a gem from the scripture.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ,
I do favor what you have written, here. Believe me, I kept Journals for quite a long time. I found it surprising that I often do not agree with what I have written as my very own opinion in the past.

Also, I do understand that it is necessary to participate in a class or two, here and there. In fact, Vicki and I do this often.
We do it because we want to learn. And, indeed we do.

jeleasure said...

Hi Randi Jo,
Thanks for stopping in.
I did not have too bad a day. The morning hours involved digging out from the Nor Easter in order to go to work.

The first part of the afternoon was all about trying to track down some plumbing parts. Then, I was off to the coliseum, where I spent my day and arrived home just over an hour ago.

I have to appologize for not being available to read and comment on your blog and others. I promise to make this up. For now, I am exhausted and need to go down to the bedroom and settle in for some rest.

Farrah said...

This is an excellent post, Jim. And I really like your wife's reply. She is exactly right.

You expressed very well something that I feel strongly. I got my degree at a Catholic university, and we were required to take three religious courses and four philosophy as part of the core curriculum. Some worried that I would be indocrinated and lost. It was quite the opposite. I regurgitated what I learned and got A's in those classes, but it didn't influence me one bit. In fact, I was made me even more aware of the problems in that religion.

I have gone most of my life believing that most of the people, if not all of the people who "study" to be pastors, or study religion are far away from God. Whenever someone said their child went off to some bible school or seminary, I took that to be a negative thing, a sign of no real relationship with Christ. Recently however, I realized that perhaps there is a place for some of those people. They might be able to reach some I can't reach, and some of the things they learn are quite enlightening.

Unfortunately, many are prideful about their education and look down their noses at others. As we know, pride goeth before a fall.

Personally, I am most drawn to sincere Christians with some humility, lots of love, and those who speak a language that I can understand. Lol! I've seen the debates that some of these "learned men" have, and I can't even understand many of the terms they use! Yikes! Good thing Jesus didn't talk like that! I'm not sure how effective he would have been in ministry if the masses couldn't understand what he was saying. :-)

jeleasure said...

Hi Farrah!

First, tell Greg I have been wondering how he has been.

My wife is a gem. She often brings tears to my eyes when I listen to her pray. I don't think she knows it. I often listen to her and find myself impressed with what wisdom God has given her.

I understand what you mean by having made it through Catholic education. I am not subject to brain washing. However, I may latch on to something that sounds good for a short time. But, one thing I do, is always consult the scriptures, Biblical history and customs of those people groups I am studying. In other words, I eventually get around to checking false info out (Bar any info I spread concerning Obama).

Farrah, I still do view many pastors as not having a real relationship with the Lord. And, yes, many do look down their noses at those who do not have degrees.

My thoughts on ministers with high degrees, is they should be helping to mentor and guide those who want to express their gifts. But, what I see more than anything is, "I'm right and your wrong and we are going to do this my way attitudes". And, if you can't be manipulated you are not in the circle.

Yes, I know what you are talking about when you say you have witnessed debates, but could not understand what the people were saying. You are exactly right. Jesus did not use terms such as "soft determinism".

That is what I mean by the church needing to get back to the basics. I have found, that I had a "soft deterministic" view before I knew what it was. But, then, I did not fit neatly into the catagories available, anyway. So, what is the point?

The Bible says, "Study to show yourself approved, a workman unto God, being not ashamed of the Gospel but correctly dividing the word of truth". (paraphrase, I think). The Bible also says, the mouth speaks the overflow of the heart. So, I'm sure I can get along with out confusing all those I am speaking to with words such as 'veritologically' or 'self actuate'.

I have been prayerful for the two of you. Please be prayerful of my job situation.

As you know, I am a plumber. To just put it mildly and get to the point, my boss has been taking advantage of me in not paying me for travel time and demanding that I do things, such as lay under a house in standing water in 40 degree weather to fix, not one, but two ruptured pipes. I need a new place of employment and it will be tough to find a job for me just as it is for everyone else.

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Jim,

It looks as though you were able to dialogue with some. May you and Vicki have a great weekend!


God bless you :)

Farrah said...

I absolutely agree that your wife is a gem. I have been very impressed at her graceful words of wisdom. :-)

I have been thinking of you and your job at times. We will certainly keep you in prayer about that.

Greg wants to do a post soon, perhaps tonight. :-)

Blessings!

jeleasure said...

Hi T.,
Yes, but, I have not had the time I would like to have to visit other's blogs. I will try and do that this evening.
Thanks

jeleasure said...

Hi Farrah,
Thanks to the two of you.
I will try and visit some blogs this evening. Your blog is on my list of things to do for today.
Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Jim,

I hope this doesn't mean that you will block comments that happen to disagree with you. We've had discussions in the past and in no way have I ever been rude or "argumentative" in my approach. Even in our personal e-mail exchange there was no hint of "unfairness" or "argumentative" behavior on my part. In fact, I've gone out of my way to make sure that my comments were free from pejorative language, when in disagreement with certain aspects of what you have to say.

If any of the readers have had a problem with what I've said in any of the posts here on "Journaling For Growth", they are free to e-mail me directly for explanation. But as I've followed your blog, the only recent comments that could even remotely resemble what you've written above under "Leave your Comment" would be mine (though again, in truth they do not describe my comments at all) and that's because I'm the only one who has taken issue with some of your salvific language. And these things are important...don't you think? The Gospel is too important for ambiguity and equivocation...isn't it? If not, then it really doesn't matter what anyone believes.

If disagreement and to-the-point refutation of things you may say constitutes "unfairness" and/or "argumentative" comments, then real dialogue is impossible here. I for one would never want to limit "comments" to only those that agree with everything I say; there is no "growth" in that kind of exhange...either for me or the other person. Seeking clarity and precision in thought is not "unfair" and I've never been "argumentative".

Whether or not you post this comment is, of course, up to you. I strongly disagree with you concerning a crucial aspect of redemption...but that disagreement never resulted in unloving or unchristian behavior on my part. If I cannot disagree with you in any way, then I'll peacefully remove myself from the world of "Journaling For Growth".

In Christ,

GGM

jeleasure said...

Hi Jason,
First, I would like to know that you will read every word of this reply to your comment.

You won't find me blocking comments that do not agree with my understanding of scripture.

However, what I am attempting to do, is to promote a proper perspective on the command (new law, by virtue of the Greek word, entolane and the command in Leviticus 19:18 already having been given) to 'Love one another'.

If Jesus gave this as a new law, it is in the way of telling His disciples to fulfill the one aspect of the law (Leviticus 19:18) that Jesus can not fulfill on anyone's behalf.

The Law must be fulfilled for atonement to be granted and a relationship with God made available. So, Jesus fulfilled the entire law. But, Leviticus 19:18 can only be fulfilled on His account, not yours or mine. If you disagree with that, then you need to answer why.

If Jesus does not intend for this command to be fulfilled, then there is no reason for anyone to acknowledge the work He did to be an atonement offering. Because, as Jesus said, "All of the Law and the prophets hang on this (Lev. 19:18) command.

If we fail to keep this command, do you suppose there will be consequences? Jesus says there will be. He lays it out pretty simply in Matthew 25: 31-4?. Those who called Jesus Lord were saved (as Paul declares in Romans, saying, "Whoever confesses with their mouth's and believes in their heart, Jesus is Lord and was raised from the grave, shall be saved") from being judged according to the Law. Those in Matthew 25 (sheep and goats) do call Jesus Lord. In Matthew 7, Jesus says, "not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In looking at the people in Matthew 25 to find the difference, the difference is between the two groups of believers, that those compared to sheep, did works that reflected love and those compared to the selfish goats did not do works and did not offer love.

Jesus said, 'what ever you did or did not do for the least of these brothers... You did or did not do for Him'.

I've read all of your arguments in opposition to what I want to say about the command to love (on my blog). I don't come to your blog attempting to cause people to not believe in a command that Jesus clearly gave. My grievance toward your comments, here, is that you are coming to my blog for the purpose of telling people to not believe in a healthy concept that agrees with scripture.

My second attempt in my blog is to explain to people what the few applications of the word "saved" refer to.

One salvation is to be saved from the condemnation that would come via the standard of the Law. The other salvation is a continueing process that occurs throughout our Christian life. It is by living a life of holiness. For the author of Hebrews says in 12:14 "live peacably with all men. For, without holiness, no one shall see the Lord".

Holiness is to live a life that is separate from the natural man's life. The natural man is selfish and does not live in community. Jesus taught to live a life of love, walking in the Spirit by God's grace. If we do not live a life of love, we are not living a life of holiness, and therefore, will not see the Kingdom of Heaven (Hebrews 12:14).

Why do you continue to come to my blog for the purpose of attempting to tell everyone who visits that we do not need to love in order to live eternally with God?

If you must disagree with that very important law, of which Paul says is the fulfillment of the Law and James calls a "royal law", then please email your argument to me. Because, I will not post something that is antithetical to something so important that just confuses people.

Jason, you have never understood the differences between the words "righteous", "justified", "holy" (sanctified) or the two uses of the word saved.

Did you know that there are three different uses of our English word, "judge" in the Bible? Just as there are four different uses of the word, "love" in the Bible.

Thank you for reading this reply. I will continue to interact with you on any issue accept your disagreeable comments of my understanding of the command to love. It is my blog. If you would like to post something that opposes my views on your blog and invite those who read my blog to read it, you are welcome.
Jim

Andrew Clarke said...

You raise an important point here. Sticking to a rigid orthodoxy is what led to the legalism of the pharisees. Since we all have an individual relationship with God what is needed is that we read the Word and pray for the Spirit to give us the insight to see the truth properly. When human teachers
take too large a role in teaching, their human imperfections can get in the way and then you get this dogged insistence that you have to agree with their view of everything. Blessings.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Andrew,
I make it no secret to the ministers of the church I have membership with, when I have a problem with them. Some of them read my blog, which is an honor since there are a few thousand people in attendance there.

Blogging is one way we can be heard. So, I appreciate your comments on issues such as this.
Thank you.
Jim

Arlene Kasselman said...

Jim
I can only speak from my seminary experience and it was an overwhelmingly positive one. The goal of seminary education where I attended was for scholarship and ministry to live side by side. Personally I have not experienced the type of teaching or education where one had to follow a line of correct thinking. I think good graduate level theological training is about asking good questions and allowing the discomfort of having difficult, clumsy answers just be.

I also wonder how such one dimensional training can exist when the sources and resources for such education are so wide and varied. One can hardly gain concensus from the texts assigned for one class, nevermind a train of thought. Personally this is one of the aspects I love.

I do believe God gifts us all regardless of education, but something significant happens in good theological education that prepares the body to hear and reframe and adjust belief. And not for one minute is this about the ability of the one being prepared, it is about the actual preparation.

jeleasure said...

Hi Arlene,

"Personally I have not experienced the type of teaching or education where one had to follow a line of correct thinking. I think good graduate level theological training is about asking good questions and allowing the discomfort of having difficult, clumsy answers"

I understand there are 'places' of accedamia that allow people to grow and cultivate a mature understanding, as well as to teach one how to learn. And, so, maybe I should have been more specific. However, the problem for me was that I was stuck with an educator who was young and impressionable. Maybe, the he did not really believe he was free to think and perhaps wanted to be careful as a teacher. So, stick to the curriculum.

I've been talking quite a bit to Russ over the last year. And, what I have noted in many of his writings is, he has a habbit for noting what others have said on his topics. This is the challenge of accedamia. It wants you to know what others have developed as an opinion. However, Russ, is being forced to revise his PhD. defense. And, there you have it. His work, not incorrect, but not to the liking of those whom he is defending his disertation.

So, will Russ come out of this, allowing those students he will guide to think for themselves? Or, will he be as rigid as my instructor was? And, what will his motive for teaching be? To aid the student, or to manage the opinions of his students.

And, there is the problem we have, even in the church, today. If we do not fit the 'mold', then our spiritual gifts must be invalid.

Thanks for the discussion.
Jim