Friday, December 23, 2016

And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

I promise you, that if you read this post on NZ productivity figures, you will get to Christmas, and the source of the lovely title to this post.

POSTSCRIPT: For something a little different, pointed and provocative about how we think about the spiritual dynamic of Christmas, read this post (H/T Josh Taylor, Spanky Moore)

POSTSCRIPT 2: Yes, terrorism is closer to home Down Under, once again, including a Melbourne church as a target.

18 comments:

Shawn Herles said...

The article by Josh and Spanky is outstanding. The Anglican Church desperately needs to recover the language and theology of spiritual warfare.

Well done guys!

Father Ron said...

I'm not too sure that the 'Dungeons and Dragons' theology is appropriate for a younger generation that has turned this into a cult following. Give me the Gospels' understanding of the Incarnation every time. it can't be beaten.

Shawn Herles said...

"I'm not too sure that the 'Dungeons and Dragons' theology is appropriate for a younger generation"

It's actually the theology of the New Testament. grounded in the teaching and practice of Jesus. And no, spiritual warfare is not a "cult" nor does it have a "cult" following. It is an example of Christians rejecting modernist/enlightenment ideology and getting back to a Biblical world view.

Josh and Spanky's article is very much the Gospel's understanding of the incarnation.

Your view that the incarnation was Jesus coming to destroy modern conservatism is not Biblical, let alone based on the Gospels.

Shawn Herles said...

Nope, having just re-read the Gospels' on the birth of Jesus, and the first chapter of John, I can't find where they say that Jesus was incarnated to destroy evangelical Christians and 21st century cultural conservatives.

I have however found three articles about the reality of spiritual warfare from:

A Greek Orthodox perspective;

http://saintandrewgoc.org/home/2014/10/30/satan-the-great-deceiver-and-evil-spirits-according-to-the-h.html

A Roman Catholic perspective;

http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=823

And a Protestant perspective, in this case John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard;

http://holyworldwide.com/dustinhedrick/?page_id=1831

What is telling is how much common ground there between those three perspectives.

It would seem that Josh and Spanky are very much grounded in the catholic-apostolic Faith.

Perhaps the real cult are those TEC style Liberals who have swallowed the enlightenment/modernist world view, and are out of touch with the real catholic and apostolic faith?

Peter Carrell said...

Two comments, Ron and Shawn

(1) The article comes via the hat tipping of Spanky and Josh - but they did not write it.

(2) I think it a fair take on an important (if difficult to decipher) chapter in Revelation. We are involved in a reality which is more than flesh and blood ...!

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Peter,

thanks for the clarification. Still good to see our younger Anglicans embracing a Biblical worldview on the subject of spiritual warfare.

If we look at younger Anglicans, both ministers and lay, around the global communion, we can easily see a profound shift away from TEC style Liberalism and it's embrace of a enlightenment/modernist world view.

On this Christmas eve, that is a good sign that Christ the King is moving powerfully in the Anglican church through His Word and Spirit, and raising up a new generation of spiritual warriors.

Merry Christmas all!

Father Ron said...

Jesus did say this, to his disciples: "rejoice not that devils flee in my name. Rejoice. rather the YOUR names are written in the Book of Life. The emphasis, on the Feast of Christ's Incarnation must always be on HIM and His Light, remembering Saint John's Gospel which says that "the darkness can never overcome it".

Veni Emmanuel!

Bryden Black said...

Mmmm. I do like the odd Biblical quote myself folks. Yet perhaps the wider context (omitted?) is telling ...:


Luke 10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Perhaps we'd better integrate all this more carefully ...

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I will just remove a phrase or two from your comment below, lest your comment be taken in a way which, let's say, builds the kingdom less constructively than one might like ...

"But; do remember, Bryden, that Jesus gave this warning []: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the 'learned and clever' and have revealed them to infants - for such was your gracious will'.

Perhaps the 'learned and the clever' should take note of this warning! I think this may be why St. Francis d'Assisi had problems with the intellectuals among his friars. Francis' spiritual nous was based on humility. (Don't think of yourselves more highly than you should! - Biblical)

A Happy and uncomplicated Christmas "Never was God so great as when He became so small" (Simple Wisdom).
"

Bryden Black said...

Thank you Ron for repeating one component of the fuller quote I cited.

I'm also reminded of another divine who began his Meditation, "Immensity cloistered." This too I have incorporated in a published book:

"Immensity cloistered in a cradle of straw,
Its prickles anticipating sharper points to come." is how it begins ...

But then who's to say John Donne or Martin Luther may be comparable to one ... Francis of Assisi?! Or that the Magi are comparable to a shepherd lad?!

Happy Feast of John the Divine ...!

Anonymous said...

"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in [Bethlehem] tonight."

Peter,

I've preached Revelations 12 for Christmas myself in a way closer to this--

http://www.postost.net/2015/11/woman-dragon

I think that doing so has several salient advantages today, and I hope that you will devote an OP to exploring and evaluating them as Lent approaches.

(a) It completes many themes of the Advent tradition, and ties the season to the saga of the return of YHWH to Zion (cf N. T. Wright).

(b) It counters sugary sentimental observances that counterproductively soothe and anaesthetise with something more helpful than placeholders like *Jesus is the reason for the season* or impotent whining about a *War on Christmas*.

(c) It sounds the note of danger that is prominent in the birth and infancy narratives of the gospels.

(d) It also frames Lent as a season of spiritual warfare, which otherwise can be liturgically earnest (purple gloom without alleluias) yet ascetically cheap (read a book or give up something silly) Pelagianism (do it just to prove you can). In the earliest Lents, ancient catechumens were exorcised daily.

(e) It points forward to a Christus Victor atonement theology, and in that way ties Christmas to the Paschal triduum to come.

(f) For those who have experienced actual persecution, it does what apocalyptic has always done-- it offers hope.

(g) Generally, it helps those on the Way today to get their heads around the apocalyptic tradition from which faith in Christ emerged (cf J. Louis Martyn, Douglas Campbell, Beverly Gaventa) and from which later Judaism diverged over the Third Throne in heaven (cf Alan F. Segal, Daniel Boyarin, Peter Schaefer).

Now I will cheerfully acknowledge that for some (Father Ron?) such apocalyptic notes mainly point backward to the superstitions of Halloween and the infernalism of evangelistic *fire insurance.* But I think that it is just because Anglicans so de-emphasised apocalyptic themes in the bygone Modern era that we still have only crude associations with them today. Postmodernity has opened the way to a serious retrieval and development of better associations from scripture, and we should seize that opportunity.

As is often the case, I cannot see much connection between the link in your OP and most comments here. A robust incarnational theology does not require that God have no competition in the cosmos. St John's relatively non-competitive incarnation theology substitutes for that competition a no less disturbing theme of the world rejecting the Light. Because there are liberals who like apocalyptic and conservatives who are squeamish about it, that collision of temperaments seems irrelevant to this matter, as it is to so many others.

Enjoy your rest from blogging!

Blessings,

Bowman Walton









Shawn Herles said...

I don't think my understanding is dissimilar to Bowman's.

The whole world is under the domination of Satan. Creation experiences the consequences and effects of Adam's original sin; Human beings are born in sin, subject to God's judgement of death, and captive to Satan's kingdom of darkness.

The incarnation is cosmic warfare. God has invaded enemy held territory, as C.S. Lewis put it, to liberate His people, inaugurating the end times which the prophets longed to see; “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Whenever God's kingdom breaks into this world, it experiences conflict with Satan's rule. In the infancy narratives this comes in the form of Herod's attempt to kill the new born Messiah-King. In the passage quoted in full by Bryden it comes in the form of the demons being subject to the power of the world's rightful King, which the disciples marvel at, and which Jesus affirms, saying: "“I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning." This pre-figures Jesus' victory on the cross, in which He will disarm the powers and principalities in full, gaining victory over Satan and death.

Jesus then affirms that His followers will, through the victory of the cross, have power "to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy."

Jesus' caution to the disciples, if it can be called that, is not a repudiation of this theme of cosmic warfare, or of the Church's task of engaging in spiritual warfare, but a call for them to glory in the unearned grace of their salvation, not in their works. That does not mean He does not want them to "do the works of Jesus", part of which is liberating people from the oppression of Satan's false kingdom.

Jesus celebrates that it is to the uneducated that all of this has been revealed, and not to the learned, perhaps because the learned and those wise in the ways of the world, are too cynical too see the truth of the world, or the things of God. This is particularly relevant in these modern/hyper- modern times when the learned see things like spiritual warfare, deliverance and miraculous healing, signs and wonders, and the whole Gospel itself as backwards superstition.

Anyway, that will be my last post while you're on holiday. Have a good one Peter!

Father Ron said...

"The whole world is under the domination of Satan." - Shawn Herles -

Not a very encouraging Christmas Message, If I may be allowed to say so.
Where is the deeper message of 'Christus Vincit'?

I am fully aware that Christ reigns in my life, and my mission is to promulgate that Gospel Message to others. Peace and Joy!

Shawn Herles said...

Heh, so much for that being my last post.

"Where is the deeper message of 'Christus Vincit'?"

Here: "This pre-figures Jesus' victory on the cross, in which He will disarm the powers and principalities in full, gaining victory over Satan and death."

And here: "Jesus then affirms that His followers will, through the victory of the cross, have power "to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy."

The whole post was about Christus Victor, you just had to keep reading Ron.

Father Ron said...

I think, Shawn, that you and I just have to agree that we have radically different views on what is meant by the 'Propagation of the Gospel" - a word that means 'Good News'. Have a peaceful Christmas, trusting in God's power to redeem ALL who look for redemption. No hard feelings!

Brian Kelly said...

"I think, Shawn, that you and I just have to agree that we have radically different views on what is meant by the 'Propagation of the Gospel"

- Different roots (Lat. radices) means different plants. Remember that Paul warns there is "no other gospel" (Gal. 1.6). As for 'propagation', this simply means 'spreading', and there is, au fond, only one way that the Gospel is spread. 'Faith comes from gearing and hearing by the word of God'. It is never less than the verbal communication of a message. (Note the words 'never less than'. We are all Christians of many years' standing here and don't need to be told like children in Sunday school to be loving, kind etc.)

Shawn Herles said...

"a word that means 'Good News'."

I have studied theology for over twenty years now Ron, so I know what the word Gospel means, and I pointed out that my post, which you have either not understood or simply misrepresented, i in facts good news. It is the good news that Christ saves us from our bondage to death, sin and Satan. What is better news than that?

I quite clearly point out that God is mighty to redeem ALL who seek redemption, as I said, right here: "This pre-figures Jesus' victory on the cross, in which He will disarm the powers and principalities in full, gaining victory over Satan and death." It is Christ's victory over Satan on the cross which makes redemption for all who seek it possible.

Seriously, I cannot see what your point here is. You are claiming something about my theology which is not remotely true, though sadly that is not a new experience for me. Taking one sentence out of an entire post, ignoring the rest of the post, and then claiming that I am not preaching good news, is just outright deception and misrepresentation.

The Bible calls this bearing false witness.

Anyway, I'm leaving it that, and taking a break from reading ADU while Peter is on holiday.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Revelations and roots, I often suspect (but cannot prove) that the tension between Shawn's views and Father Ron's is less that between Latin infernalism and some non-infernalism than the one between premillennialism and postmillennialism.

Bowman Walton