The Hypocrisy of transplanted schismatic United Methodists #umc


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of you know my story. I was raised a fundamentalist. I was educated, indoctrinated, and carbonated. Well, not that last bit. However, the time came for a needed change. So, when I went looking for a place where I could find the same God I saw family members worship and serve, the same God who spoke about justice, and the same God who created this world I found the United Methodist Church. I could actually go anywhere I wanted. I could go somewhere that was about me, but in the end, I wanted to experience God free of baggage. Yes, there are (theological) differences I have with the United Methodist Church, but I am not attempting to force a change or force people out who are different than I. I have no need to re-create the United Methodist Church in my image, believing that it is part of the Church universal and thus is part of the Body of Christ. I seek rather to do my part in the UMC.

Now, let’s meet Chad. Chad is a current pastor in the United Methodist Church but is only a pastor in the UMC because he could not be a pastor in other places due to his divorce.1

I quickly discovered that there were several denominations that were not options for me because I have a divorce in my former life.

This is a rather selfish use of the United Methodist Church, in my opinion, and hides much of Chad’s previous theological stances. Further, he demonstrates that he, not wanting to change himself, is more than willing to attempt to force others to change. If Chad was called to be a pastor (and I am not challenging that) and then suffered a divorced, maybe he shouldn’t be a pastor. That’s actually my former belief system.2 Instead, he decided to leave to go find a place a little bit more liberal so he could become a pastor and now because he meets others who are a bit more “liberal” than he, he wants them to leave. Note that Chad wants those who believe (simply believe!) in inclusion to leave the UMC. While he can pretend to admire our integrity, his comments say otherwise.

Let me quote my friend Chad,

We who are calling for church law to be upheld and who defend the biblical and traditional view of marriage do not want to rid our churches of gay people.   We only want you to either repent of calling what God calls sin a blessing or to leave.   Period. 

Let me, from the position once held by Methodists and still held by those who rejected Chad’s call to ministry rewrite that:

We who are calling for church law to be upheld and who defend the biblical and traditional view of marriage do not want to rid our churches of divorced people.   We only want you to either repent of calling what God calls sin a blessing or to leave.   Period. 

You get it, don’t you? Not only is Chad attempting to reject others like he was once rejected, but he is not suggesting they amend themselves according to his vision as well as those who support inclusion. Chad was welcomed into the UMC not because they thought him a rockstar, but because of the history of inclusion and theological reflection. Now, he wants to insure that others do not enjoy that same benefit, even for simply believing a different way.

Let’s break this down a bit further. Did you know that Chad may not be welcomed in some annual conferences as a pastor? Annual conferences are allowed to restrict divorced people from serving as pastors. There are many United Methodists who would not view Chad as capable of serving as a pastor because he has broken “God’s law.” (I do not support that position.)

He then attempts to give something of a send-off to the “progressives” (I find that funny, because in many congregations, Chad is a progressive) by looking to the women who fled other denominations in order to answer the call to ministry and to be accepted as full and equal members in the Church. Chad doesn’t seem to remember the time when women could not be ministers in the United Methodist Church (or, rather, its predecessors).3 What happened? They worked on it. Yes, it took a long time, but eventually the “biblical position” of a male-only clergy was changed to a “biblical position” of a gender inclusive clergy.4 Of course, he politely calls this “biblical obedience” whereas in so many churches and congregations, Chad or an ordained woman serving as pastors are signs of biblical disobedience.

Finally, Chad’s often used analogy of marriage and divorce as schism continues to fall flat. We are not married to one another but to Christ. His use of this, I believe, betrays more about him than he realizes. His misuse of Scripture doesn’t speak well of the Duke education he tries to hide, either. If, as he points out, the disciples were commanded to leave if people didn’t receive the words of Jesus… then I guess rather than a schism, there needs to be a lot of transfers out of the United Methodist Church from both sides.

By the way, it is the United Methodist Church, and not simply the Methodist Church. That hasn’t exist since 1968.

Chad, I’m praying for you. Come home.

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  1. Chad is attempting to respond to a post by Jeremy here. Unfortunately, Chad disparages Jeremy and attempts to hide what he is actually saying by ridicule. For recent posts by Jeremy worth reading, see here, here and here.
  2. In one former congregation, it was recommended that divorced and re-married people divorce again to avoid sin.
  3. Note, Wesley had no issue giving licenses to women to preach. The Anglican Church did. I believe the history of Christianity shows a historic connection for women clergy.
  4. There are still problems in some UMC congregations with women in ministry. I’ve asked on a public forum how long would a “conservative” UMC allow women ordination, citing the example of the Anglican Church in North America retreating from ordaining women.

Caesar, Christ, Crucifixion

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m finalizing my AAR regional paper and it is going as well as any paper has previously. I found it. Maybe you don’t know what I mean. There is this moment in writing some projects where everything just seems to click. I found that moment the other day.

In 2 Co 13.4, Christ is said to have died in weakness upon the Cross. Some commentators suggest this means in human flesh. I disagree. Rather, like C.K. Barrett, I see it as a choice to surrender:

It was of his grace, of his primary characteristic, that he became poor (8:9), and the weakness shown in his crucifixion, being a mark of his grace, is not an unfortunate lapse from strength but one aspect of the action God intended in his Son. Historically, he preferred crucifixion to the exercise of some kinds of power1

I note Caesar‘s remark about the crucifixion his men would suffer if he lost the battle.

“Today we’ll earn the wages or the penalty of this war. Imagine the chains, the crucifixions of Caesar’s men, my head stuck on the Rostrum, my body cast aside,[2. Lucan, Civil War 7.359-58]

Ultimately, I believe it is better to picture the crucifixion as “suicide by cop” if that cop was, say, God abandoning Israel to Rome, and further if that “cop” was the need to do something to get God to act.

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  1. C. K. Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Black’s New Testament Commentary; London: Continuum, 1973), 336.

In the (e)Mail from @KregelBooks: Zombie Church

From Kregel,

There are Zombies among us

Liars. Hypocrites. Men, women, and children who attend church because it’s what they are supposed to do. Just going through the motions. These are the undead–people who are disconnected from the Spirit of God–who are spreading a virus of passivity, or worse. No one is completely immune.

Zombies can live. But they will have to fight. Fight for their lives.

zombie churchIn this challenging, culturally relevant book, Tyler Edwards spotlights the very real but often ignored lackluster attitude of today’s believers. An attitude that can infect an entire church. Using examples from popular zombie movies, Edwards will help you recognize the symptoms and show what you can do to awaken the undead. Your mission is to take life to a dying world by demonstrating what it means to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 niv).

The bride of Christ isn’t dead. But she is terribly sick. Zombie Church offers the keys to survival.

Tyler Edwards graduated from Ozark Christian College in Missouri and is now the senior pastor at Cornerstone Christian Church. He speaks at various campus ministry events and has served overseas. This is his first book.

Expect a review soon…

Is the internet Killing the Book Review?

Adrianna W. posted this (her post is public, so if you are on FB, join in), so, you know… HT to her:

But the democratizing of book reviews, such that even self-published and low print-run books published by small presses can garner dozens of reviews by promoting “blog tours” or sending copies to readers with the expectation that they will post an Amazon review, has led not to better information for readers, but to a preponderance of inaccurate gushing.

How the Internet is Killing the Book Review.

John Hobbins spoke about this issue at the 2012 SBL Online Media and Publications section. You can read his paper here. I had hoped to see a follow-up section on this very topic, as his was a call rather than a diagram of what to expect. That section has yet to materialize.

Given the rise of online review platforms, such as Marginalia and Syndicate, not to mention the droves of bloggers who review, I have to agree that we need something of a standard. Of course, this will have to go both ways. Publishers have to be less willing to give out review copies if the reviewer doesn’t do a good job.

There is little doubt I have my favorite publishers, and not just because they give me books to review. I trust IVP, Kregel, Eerdmans, Baker, Fortress, and Energion because of their standards. I do not trust other publishers, and no I will not mention them. buT Y kNow, Don’t you, the not-ALE HOUSE i’m talking about? And likewise, I want them to trust me to give an honest review. Also, there are times I do my best to let some publishers, even passively, know that I do not need to be considered for some books. Seriously, I cannot handle much more of the inerrancy debate.

Some other thoughts…

I try to give good reviews based on the goal of the book and how effectively the author reaches it. For instance, in a recent review, I disagree with some of the author’s conclusions on X — however, that was not the goal of the book. I did mention that I disagreed with it, but I moved on. Sometimes, the goal of the book is simply not met and/or met in such a way as to cause some concern with the author’s cognitive capacity. American Patriot’s Bible, anyone?

Even with Kruger’s book about the canon, I tried to give an honest review and not because of the publisher and the awesome people there.

Sometimes, I end my reviews with “buy/read this book if X” so as to tell who would like the book.

The author of the above piece notes that she had received negative feedback from authors, publishers, and fans of those books she didn’t like. To be honest, unless the review needs a response (as a review of Chris Keith’s book did, once) authors and publishers should sort of mind their own business about reviews. Fans will follow you around. That’s the nature of the game. If you are perceived as bad mouthing a hero and you will be attacked. This is where the “block” feature comes in handy.

Further, the author notes “I recall one first-time author whose friends penned lavish review after lavish review.” This is not going to be fixed, except by ethical authors. I mean, friends aren’t going to always read the book as an unbiased observer — but because they are familiar with the author may more often than not hear the voice of the author while they are reading the book. Yes, friends may simply pen a review because of friendship, but I would suspect that lavish reviews are in part due to knowing the author. Publishers should work to not send authors’ friends copies. Authors will, however, do so. 

Again, the ethical considerations for and in book reviewing needs to go both ways, or three ways.

But to the blogger’s point. I do not think the internet is killing the book review. I think it is helping to further knowledge, advance the Kingdom, and to serve the intellectual appetites of many. Just because you get some garbage with the gold doesn’t mean the book review is dead, in the server room, with the space bar.

Review of @FortressPress’s Introduction to the History of Christianity (on @inkling)

Fortress Press is moving Christian education in the classroom beyond the four walls, the dry erase boards, and the dead trees of textbooks to something rich and vibrant, something that is going to grasp the imagination of the student. Tim Dowley’s (editor) Introduction to the History of Christianity is not simply an “e-book” but a multi-media experience. It moves beyond the portability offered by Kindle and iBook to something the teacher and student can both use to share and in many ways reimagine the words on the virtual page.

I cannot strictly limit this review to the contents of the book; however, as this is something of a book review, I want to speak, albeit ever so briefly, about what is before us. This is the second edition of the book, enhanced from the previous one by additions to the narrative of Jesus (in the form of contributions from well-known critical scholars such as Richard Burridge). There are plenty of color charts, maps, and pictures to stimulate you as well as small helps along the way. Further, as I explore certain topics that are dear to me, I find these topics are often presented with an acute sense of fairness. For instance, the topic on Methodism. Here, Dowley correctly situations Wesley and his people in the proper time frame, proper theological dialogues, and helps to draw out their influence on (American) Christianity. Likewise, Dowley’s even-handedness doesn’t end with Methodism, but continues on with such things as Vatican II. I must note that this is the first such book to spend even a brief moment on the rise of mythicism (p25). Also, Dowley doesn’t just pay lip-service to the East, but brings them into the picture equally with the West. The skill of the editor and the contributors can be seen throughout the 43 chapters. No doubt, this is one of the more extensive and important church history introductions available to student and autodidact alike.

But, the Inkling platform avails us of something more. It gives us an interactive experience. Not only can I take the books wherever I go, but they are linked to other internet sources including Youtube and CCEL. Thus, what was once one book has now become a virtual library of resources and a wealth of information on a multi-media rostrum. Yes, like Kindle and other platforms, there is the synchronization of notes and highlights, but unlike Kindle, there is a social aspect to it. In a classroom, you can actually utilize this book to aid in discussion by sharing notes, thoughts, and other items via the Inkling system. Thus,  students and the teacher(s) can dialogue even in the comfort of their own home. It’s like social media, but helpful.

Inkling also provides for a multimedia experience when it comes to maps. They boast, and rightly so, of a “guided tour” when it comes to the maps. Honestly, the best part of a bible were the maps when I was growing up. Now — now! Fortress Press gives me maps (and charts) in stereo! There is the ability to zoom in, to open pop-ups, and they even throw in thematic material. For example, on the chart “Beginnings,” I get a neat timeline between 0 and 325, complete with Roman figures, evens from the New Testament, and early Christian writings. There are 5 pop ups, each with added material. I’ve taken a screenshot below:



At the end of each section (each section has several chapters), there is an assessment. These will not supplement a rigorous testing but will help the student to retain something of where things are in the book.

I have spent some time with this book, introducing it to others and in use in a classroom setting. It is beyond helpful for survey courses, small group studies, and even larger group studies. I have the Inkling iOS app. There are plenty of times, when I stream it to my tv via Apple TV. Further, pastors should be able to set it up via projector for larger gatherings.

There has to be an evolution of learning tools. Books, while they will forever remain with us, will never be the complete resource they once were. By combining technology, the information age, and the conceptual age, Fortress Press and Inkling have given teachers, students, and autodidacts something that will push the classroom experience to new heights.

{Insert Catchy Title} Adam Winn, Vespasian, and @garetrobinson

The Two Source hypothesis solution to the Syno...

Has no bearing on this article, but it must be said. Again. And again.

Adam Winn has made a decisive turn from the search for the literary sources of the Gospel of Mark to discovering the Roman ideology, or rather the counter to Roman ideology, buried in it. His new article in JSNT can be found here:

Tyrant or Servant? Roman Political Ideology and Mark 10.42-45 - Journal for the Study of the New Testament, first published on April 11, 2014 (Here).

Long time readers know that it was Winn’s 2008 volume, The Purpose of Mark’s Gospel, that got me going on Markan literary sources and in many ways, Roman imperial ideology. While others may not see what is plainly there, I believe Mark is written to do several things, but it is written because of Vespasian and the changes he wrought in the κόσμος. (<—yes, that is on purpose.)

Before we go further, let me call attention to my friend Garet’s post, wherein he states he disagrees with such enterprises. He is honest about his paper, that it is a “critical inquiry for apologetic purposes.” But, I do not think we can dismiss those who see anti- imperial ideology in the New Testament as somehow anti-apologetic. To understand what I mean, read pp23–24 in Winn’s article.

Winn examines Mark 10.42–45 as if it were read by a Roman audience. To introduce his readers to this worldview, Winn first lays out the groundwork necessary for “Mark as a ‘Roman Gospel,’” giving clear reasons for such a statement. He focuses largely on his work and one by Brian Incigneri, although he doesn’t fail to bring in other sources (even sources considered somewhat conservative – Evans). The reader must pay attention at this point, because the object rightly raised to any Roman understanding of Mark 10.42–45 is that it contains no directly related imperial language. Later, Winn can draw his readers back to this point to show them that Mark does not have speak the language consistently in order for his audience to understand him — after all, the sum of the Gospel is subversion of the imperial order.

Following this, Winn gives his reader a crash-course on the political ideology of Roman rulers and the recusatio. Without this section (and you may need to read it first before the article and then once more within the article), Winn’s arguments would falter. We are simply given what it meant to be a Roman prince.

Finally, the author exegetes Mark 10.42–45 section by section, drawing together his arguments thus far. Unlike previous volumes by Winn, he has little to no trouble offering a solid interpretation of his work and what it might mean, theologically. It is here that the genius of the thesis comes into play — one can actually hear how this section is read in the forum magnum next to Tacitus and Suetonius.

My concerns are tangential. I would like to have seen more developed in the narrative/Christological interpretation section. What sort of ruler, besides the self-sacrificing kind, is Jesus? Divine, or otherwise.[1 I am presenting a paper at AAR-EIS in a few weeks that I believe points to something of a high Christology in Mark, although different than John. It is higher than adoptionism, but not binitarianism.] Of course, this may be a theological bridge too far for such an article. Further, I feel 10.45 could be developed to show the “ransom” language is somewhat imperial (especially if you connect it to the Triumph – something Winn has already connected (in the article and elsewhere) to the Passion). Beyond that, his arguments are sound, if not near airtight.

Note, this is an article — not a book. I recognize that.

Winn does a masterful job of filling the void of reading this section of Mark as might have been read against the backdrop of political ideology. I rather appreciate the fact that the pericope’s interpretation is not because of language directly in the pericope, but taken as a whole from the Gospel. He also doesn’t date the Gospel of Mark, so we can take the article as a broad reaction against Roman imperial ideology. Further, he gives due attention to the author and the audience, rather than focusing on literary sources. Because of this new focus, Winn brings out the message as heard by the audience rather than any latent construction used by the author. He is careful to note Mark’s turning (he labels it “radicalizing”) of certain words and phrases and is equally anxious to let his readers know that what he is proposing is not emulation, but subversion. (Note, Garet misses this difference, as do many). In other words, even with his firm stance, he allows his audience some room in applying certain aspects of his thesis to their own stances.

A fantastic piece!

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the Church is not ours

John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism

John Wesley sees you trying to schism and he’s not happy.

With all of this talk of schism from both sides in the LGBT debate, I once again returned to something I once overheard in seminary: The Church is not ours. I wrote about this several years ago and I want to revisit this for a moment.

A trust is something, perhaps a financial benefit, established by one act of grace and forethought for later generations. The trust is governed in such a way as to benefit some future beneficiary, with little or no advantage to those administering it. I cannot shake this as a proper description of the Church. How so? Because through the act of grace, Christ has himself established the Church universal in such a manner that it is always for future generations.

For Wesley, the Church is not merely an early organization. He writes, “Here, then, is a clear unexceptionable answer to that question, “What is the Church?” The catholic or universal Church is, all the persons in the universe whom God hath so called out of the world as to entitle them to the preceding character; as to be “one body,” united by “one spirit;” having “one faith, one hope, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all.””[1]

Note the words, “all the persons in the universe whom God hath so called…” Perhaps, Wesley has something more cosmic in mind.

I would be remiss if I did not note Wesley’s challenge here to Article 19, the one where the “real church” is limited to those with the pure doctrine and the administration of sacraments. Wesley challenges then-current assumptions by preaching, “I will not undertake to defend the accuracy of this definition. I dare not exclude from the Church catholic all those congregations in which any unscriptural doctrines, which cannot be affirmed to be “the pure word of God,” are sometimes, yea, frequently preached; neither all those congregations, in which the sacraments are not “duly administered.””[2]

For Wesley, he cannot enforce separation based on our notions of doctrine, or the lack thereof. Further, he goes on to say that even non-members who defend the Church zealously are to be left along because this is God’s wisdom! Oh, how precious the words of Wesley are to everyone but the United Methodist schismatic!

John Wesley thought forward. He knew something we seemed to have lost today.

The Church is not ours, but Christ’s. It contains not just us, but all believers in Christ — past and present. Again, I cannot help but place into Wesley’s words here the proper veneration of the Saints.

How then are we to behave? While I am not so sure the “Romish Church” does not have “the pure Word of God” taught and the sacraments properly administered as the founder of Methodism believed, nevertheless the schism remains between Rome and the Anglican Communion. And while the Anglican Communion has accomplished much in resurrecting the Gospel to the poor, there still exists a separation between it and the people called Methodists. Of course, some of this is in the process of reconciliation. When schism is accomplished, ancient writers and others important to us suggest it opens the doors to all types of heresy.

Might we suggest, in however a nuanced way we find fashionable, that schism not only separates brother from sister, but so too the body from the head, if even for a moment — and it is in this crevice the demons play and from this fissure the demons escape! Schisms billow heresy like hell billows smoke.

If the Church is not ours, but Christ’s, then we but administer and do not control; if the Church is not for us, but for all future generations (since we are present, we must not count ourselves in this lot), then we must be weary of schism for the long-range damage it will do for future generations.

We are cast as administrators, as ministers, but never as rulers.

How might the world be different today if the wound between Canterbury and Wesley had not ruptured — between Rome and the Reformed, between East and the West, if the lesion had healed rather than have the body disassembled? How might the people called Methodists further fracture and face extinction if a schism within our ranks occurs once more?

American Methodism has started to heal from the great fracture over slavery. Reconciliation has gone further – English and Germans have combined! What might we accomplish if we further heal previous wrongs, such as with the Evangelical Methodists? Or even with larger, older communions?

What if we began to think of the Church as something we must leave for future generations rather than let our squabbles, differences, and divides take center stage? What if we simply serve as each position of the church is called to do rather than attempt to control as if we are the rules?  If we are truly one body, under one Lord, with one baptism with one mission, then we must remain in connection with not only our past but so too our future. Our concern should never be over something we cannot control, but about that which is given to us.

The Church is established by Christ, but not for us here and now. Rather, while we are a part of the Church, we do not rule it. We benefit from those before us and we seek to leave it to those after us. We are but tenders of a field that is not ours, but the Father’s.

[1] John Wesley, Sermons, on Several Occasions, Sermon 74 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1999).

[2] John Wesley, Sermons, on Several Occasions, Sermon 74

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the soon coming of… a “Christian” China?

National emblem of the People's Republic of China

National emblem of the People’s Republic of China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

via China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years – Telegraph.

A few years ago, China made a pronouncement that it was easing some religious restrictions, but only for as an aid for social morality and ethics. They’d still like to avoid the superstition (their words).

By way of anecdotal evidence, when I was in Beijing a few years ago, I attended a state church which was filled to the brim and was fortunate enough to see a street preach in mid-conversion for a passer-by. Both very beautiful sights.

I think this is overstated, however. In a country of 1billion+ people, the number of Christians can easily outpace American Christians without ever making China a Christian nation.

It will be interesting to watch, however.

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John Chrysostom’s Easter Homily

Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and praises the effort.

Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.

When Isaias foresaw all this, he cried out: “O Grave, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world.” The Grave is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and, lo! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.

O death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Melito of Sardis – Deliverance of Mankind through Christ

In studying Melito of Sardis, I happened upon his preaching on the Passover (which I am reposting for this Easter). This is the oldest surviving sermons outside of the New Testament, and as such provides much insight into the heart and mind of this little know Preacher. From time to time, I will offer segments of his Passover Sermon.

The entire sermon is laced with Doctrine, but the central point of it is the Gospel message, that Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day to provide Salvation for humanity. This is the Gospel. In drawing out the connection between the Passover of the Jews and the Passover of the Church, he brings to the mind the connectivity between the Old Testament and the New, of Israel and the Church, of the union of the Body of Christ.

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death.

67. For this one, who was led away as a lamb, and who was sacrificed as a sheep, by himself delivered us from servitude to the world as from the land of Egypt, and released us from bondage to the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls by his own spirit and the members of our bodies by his own blood.

68. This is the one who covered death with shame and who plunged the devil into mourning as Moses did Pharaoh. This is the one who smote lawlessness and deprived injustice of its offspring, as Moses deprived Egypt. This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom, and who made us a new priesthood, and a special people forever.

69. This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets.

70. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

71. This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent. This is the one who was born of Mary, that beautiful ewe-lamb. This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice, and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night; the one who was not broken while on the tree, who did not see dissolution while in the earth, who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below.

The Descension into Hades – The Orthodox Liturgical Response

16th century Russian icon of the Descent into ...

Image via Wikipedia

Today Hades tearfully sighs: “Would that I had not received him who was born of Mary, for he came to me and destroyed my power; he broke my bronze gates, and being God, delivered the souls I had been holding captive.”

O Lord, glory to your cross and to your holy resurrection!

Today Hades groans: “My power has vanished. I received one who died as mortals die, but I could not hold him; with him and through him I lost those over which I had ruled. I had held control over the dead since the world began, and lo, he raises them all up with him!”

O Lord, glory to your cross and to your holy resurrection!

• Holy Saturday Orthodox Liturgy
A Triddum Sourcebook, p. 66


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