Month: April 2016

Faulkner on the Fifth: The Spoof Edition

By Bradly Taylor.

Every week I get to ask Jonathan David Faulkner 5 questions, some of them come from you, others come from me. This week, we decided to spoof this series. Unlike most weeks, Jonathan has not seen these questions, they are a bit off-the-wall (my doing) and I have challenged him to answer with a serious response. The result, could be hilarious.

 

Q. So Jonathan, Photo evidence recently surfaced (See below) on Facebook of you dressed as a clown. Now that your sorted past as a clown has been revealed, how do you think it will affect your positon here at God’s Heart?

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A. Yes Bradly, I served as a Clown for Christ at Albany Baptist Church for three years. I played a clown named Denim Jeams and started with what is known as The Hobo. After a clown who never smiled, which I could not do, because I smiled a lot. Then I switched to a White Face, which is the picture I believe you are referring to. I painted faces, participated in parades, attempted to juggle scarves and even went on a Clown Show called The Buffo Show where I participated in a fire juggling act. I think all the video footage of that was destroyed. I think.

Q. We recently learned you will be taking some trips this summer to see friends new and old and…um…someone else. Is this not in fact a cover for the fact that you have joined a small circus and will be traveling to meet up with them?

A. No, I only feel I have joined a circus, with all the crazy stuff that is going on in this world right now on both sides of the political spectrum, all we need is a big top. I am taking some trips this summer though, and I look forward to them and to the people I am going to get to see, some of them for the first time.

Q. Back to Facebook photos: One appeared recently of you with no beard. Are you now concerned that people will take your theology less seriously now that you have lost your beard?

A. I think people will take me less seriously after this article comes out.

Q. Do you think God’s Heart for Those needs a private Jet?

A. I think that I would not know what to do with a Private Jet, nor am I interested in trying to biblically justify owning one. The amount of Eisegesis that must take would be incredible.

Q. With the end of the semester looming, how much are you looking forward to your first summer with sharks nearby?

A. I have never been to the ocean in the summer, I have lived in Kansas for six years and despite what Chris Meyers (Fox Sports Analyst) tries to tell us there is no ocean property there. I…hadn’t thought about the sharks though.

 

Have a Question for Jonathan?

Ask it here!

 

Bradly Taylor is the Content Editor for God’s Heart. 

How I the Bullied, became the Bully:

By Jonathan David Faulkner

 

I can remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in the Principles office, where I had been so many times before (it had been a like a second classroom to me in 4th and 5th grade) for disciplinary problems. Here I was, in sixth grade, across from the middle school principle that had showed me so much grace and patience that it was almost unbelievable was once again going to teach me a life lesson I would never forget.

“You know, you of all people should understand what it is like to be bullied.” She said (I think) “So why would you do it to this person?”

What had happened was this, there was a new girl at school, she came from a broken family and had spent the last few years going from foster home to foster home. I cannot remember her name, but I remember some of the nasty things I said to her. Still on a quest to fit in and having just been told I would need another eye-surgery I had joined in with the other boys making fun of her. She was a sweet kid, probably just needed a friend and instead of being that, I was a jerk.

You would think that sitting in the office, again, would have woken me up, but I remained a bully for better part of the next decade. I just figured out how to do it and not get caught. The fact that I was taking Tae Quan Dou gave me an outlet for physical violence. After coming out of ABC as a full-blown fundamentalist, hateful and spiteful of everyone, I had gone from the bullied, to the bully.

After Denver I was radically different, those who knew me before made sure I knew that, of course, it was also after Denver that the close relationships that have defined the last five years started to form. Looking back on it, it is hard for me to believe that was, now I get called “A teddy bear” then I was more like a Monster.

Do not hear me wrong, I can still be a bear if you mess with the people I love, I will still protect those that I love against those who would seem to harm them. I still pack a mean roundhouse kick, but I promise, I only use my powers for good these days.

I remember one night, my sophomore year of college, I was angry about something, I do not even remember what it was. One of my friends tried to comfort me and I punched him in the face. Had another friend not been there, the other guy would have killed me, and believe me, he could have. Later I apologized to him and to this day we are still great friends.

I destroyed a lot of lives back them, people who I will probably never get to apologize to. All I can do is repent before God and know that I have been extended grace for those years.

It was so easy though, to tear down, rather than build up. I was as much a grace killer as those who emotionally abused me. It became okay for me to do the same. I thought I had no value, so I treated others like they had no value.

Sadly, this is the reality for many kids who are victims of bullying. They begin to see themselves as the bullies tell them they are, with no value, no reason for living. Sharp words like the ones I heard many times, words like: “You will never amount to anything, you should just kill yourself.” Tend to stick with a person, for a very long time. When you have no sense of value, when that has been stripped away from you by others then it is easy to strip that away from someone else. You have learned how to do it, it becomes second nature, and you justify it as payback, as normative behavior. Though the person who chose to bully has done nothing to you, you want to pay those that did back, but you can’t, so you take it out on the next person.

You know; an eye for an eye, except the person whose eye you are taking isn’t the one who took yours.

I suppose one of the reasons that God’s Heart has chosen to be an organization that builds up and encourages the flock is because of this past of mine. I have done a lot of work in the last few years to educate others on the effects of bullying, including a section on it when I would give presentations to Special Education Teachers, or classrooms of future Special Education Teachers at colleges and local high schools. It is a sad reality that kids who are bullied will either become bullies themselves or attempt to commit suicide, most of them before the age of sixteen.

As a believer, I do believe that man is depraved, and that this issue stems from an issue of the heart, and it is hard to change a heart with mere words. But I have also seen the power of prayer and of positive action and encouragement in the life of a child. Showing someone the love of God through living a Gospel Centric Life is transformational because it allows the Spirit to speak through you as a vessel of encouragement.

When I got to Junior High I had someone like that, his name was Mr. Kostival, we called him K-Dog. I met him in seventh grade and he followed me up to eighth. His constant encouragement and exhortation gave me the strength to survive those years when I lived between those who bullied me and those who I bullied. Looking back on it, it may have saved the life of that once angry kid who sat in the Principles office.

 

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Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree inChristian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry

“Be Strong and Very Courageous:” Joshua 1:9 and the current Political Climate.

By Jonathan David Faulkner

 

One of my favorite Bible Passages is found in Joshua 1:9 which says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”(ESV). It has been on my mind a lot lately as I have been mediating and praying through Joshua as part of my Lectio Divina. It has also been on my mind as I am preparing to enter a new season of life and has come to mind several times while watching the recent election coverage.

It is the latter that I wish to discuss in this article because it is so prevalent in our current culture. I mean, watch the news. Fear of Terrorists, fear of refugee’s, fear of oppression of religion or by religion, fear of each other, fear of the government, fear of Donald Trump. We have been fed, or force fed, a culture of fear. But instead of coming out against such a culture with the positive message of the Gospel the message of certain popular evangelist is to continue to feed that fear. They do it seemingly in a well-meaning article share, the result is the same, people become chained to fear.

The result is a lot of people doing highly irrational things (like voting for Trump) because they are afraid and that thing seems to promise them safety from that fear, which in time has been allowed to fest and turn to anger and hatred. Master Yoda was right on when he said: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to the Dark Side.”

So Christians riot in the streets, demanding a return to a perceived power touted by revisionists and Christian Constitutionalists. Out of fear they say things like: “I’m moving to Canada” or “I fear what will happen if so and so is elected president.” And sometimes this even comes from our own pulpits.

In an age of high biblical ill-literacy I suppose we should not be surprised, it is hard to know passages like Joshua 1 and 2 Timothy 1 exist when one has not read their bibles. It is hard to read about Peter stepping out on the waves to greet Jesus, or all the times Jesus or an Angel of the Lord said “Do not be afraid.” Again, it is hard to know those things are there if we never read it.

But in an evangelical world where people are culturally evangelical and not traditionally evangelical I suppose we should not be surprised. When church attendance is seen as salvific and used as an avenue to power. When you are raised in a place where the church is still clinging to an unhealthy idea of power that it sees slipping away, what else are we going to fall back upon if we do not have the biblical basis. We can call out to God to return us to power, as if we were entitled to political and cultural influence, and then get angry when we do not see him returning us to prominence. Like the Disciples, asking Jesus if he will restore the Kingdom of Israel.

I pray for those cultural evangelicals, that God would soften the blow when the Post-Christian Mindsets of the Northeast and other places start to creep in. What are they going to do when it actually becomes unpopular to become a Christian? How can they stand up to the type of persecution that comes with that? Subtle though it may be, hint, it has nothing to do with Red Cups.

Honestly it baffles me, how do we so justify this blatant ignorance of the word and those who know it, how do we justify ignoring it? If you are Christian, in any way, you should know the Word of God. And if you know the Word of GOD then you know that Donald Trump is not the answer, (neither are Kasich, Cruz, Sanders or Clinton). You know that for you to be afraid of what is going to happen in America, or what is going to happen in the world, is absurd in the light of Scripture. If you have read the text then you know that God’s promises are true.

If you do not know what that means, let me tell you.

It means that God will do what is right and just and we can trust that in the end all the wicked will be thrown down and the righteous will be lifted up. It means that God is the good shepherd and that no one can take us out of his hand. That regardless of what our circumstance, God has and will continue to provide for us daily bread and by his providence fill every need of His creation. It means that regardless of who is president, your eternal security is secure by the blood of Christ. It means that you have nothing to fear in any situation whatsoever because God is always with you no matter what and because of that you can now be strong and courageous.

If, as Romans says “The righteous shall live by Faith (1:15), then the righteous must have their faith placed where it belongs, in Jesus Christ. If the Christian wants power and boldness for chance, he should remember the power that comes from the Holy Spirit, that boldness that once shook a society to the core and saw thousands being added by the day. If the Christian wants comfort and rest, he should remember and rest in the promises of GOD that are revealed in Scripture.

We have nothing to fear. Not ISIS, not refugees, not a presidential candidate, not man, not beast. We are divinely plugged into the savior of the universe, we have communion with the God who made all these things and who is sovereign over all of these things. So be strong and courageous Christian, for your hope does not lie in man, but the creator of man. Be bold you Saint, for your eternity is secure in the blood of Christ. Be joyful son and daughter of GOD, your life is eternally hidden in Christ. Thought you may face death, and though you may face persecution and though you may face pain and loss and though the world tells you to fear. You can stand firm in the foundation of Christ our Lord and Savior who died on the Cross for our sins, was dead and buried and rose again on the third day, thus defeating death and bringing us a new, secure and eternal life and eternity in Heaven.

If you want to fear something, show that reverent and upright fear of GOD, for as Proverbs says, it is the beginning of wisdom.

 

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Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree inChristian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry

Faulkner on the Fifth: “Maybe a little Positivity is what we need.”

By Bradley Tucker:

 

Every Other Week Jonathan answers questions from you and Bradley on Ministry, Theology and Popular Evens and gives us an update on his life.

Q: So we know you are fresh off your mini-monastic retreat, what was one of the biggest takeaways other than what you talked about in Monday’s article: A Protestant Goes to a Monastery?

A. Boy, what a trip, the brothers were extremely hospitable to us, it was not my first time at a Monastery and it certainly will not be my last. I think my other big takeaway though was rest. We are nearing the end of a long semester, coming off of a long year in 2015 and I had not had the chance to attend one of the school’s Soul Care retreats that take place over reading weeks. I have been so busy of late that rest has not been a high priority, though it should be in the throws of a busy season of Ministry, so it was good to get away from everything.

Q. How is the end of the semester looking for you

A. So far so good, I turned in two of my three major papers today and am nearly done with the third. I do have this math course to finish out and it looks like I am going to pass that thing. It will be nice to only be enrolled in one school again.

Q. I wanted to point out that there has been a shift in some of our conversations, we have focused lately on less of the heavy topics God’s Heart deals with, to more of a focus on Joy. Can you elaborate on why that has happened?

A. Well, God’s Heart has always been positive, part of our aim is to edify and build up the flock of Jesus Christ. It’s true that we have been focusing more on the Joy aspect of late and I think the reason for that is because I get on the internet and I see so much negativity and anger and fear-mongering, even amongst my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and I think: “This isn’t what Christianity is about, it’s not about negativity, if anyone should have a positive outlook on life, it’s the Christian.” Even in the face of increased persecution, we have the joy of redemption and the hope of eternal life. Maybe that kind of positive reinforcement is what we need in a world that continues to feed us with supposed reasons to fear. I even stopped following Joshua for the time being.
I think it also has to do with the season I am in. This is a season of celebration and great joy in my life, the hardships of the last years are coming to a close and I can see how God has brought me through each one. Two major hospitalizations, the loss of some very dear people, financial struggles> He has preserved me and sustained me and brought me out on the other side not as a stronger person, but as one more reliant on Him for all things, I want to testify to that, so that the person who is going through that right now can know that there is rest from the struggle and to rejoice in the Lord.

Q. Jonathan, it’s been a year since 10:31 Life Ministries shut down, I know you are quite sentimental, what do you miss most about working with those men and women?

A. The men and woman themselves, of course I talk to Jared and David almost everyday, the three of us being in seminary (different places) or about to be in Seminary, that is a good connection to maintain. The disadvantage to no longer living in Kansas is not seeing the majority of the brothers and sisters who wrote for 10:31 for all those years. I will get to see Hannah in May as she gets ready to graduate from Kent. Alexandria, Isaac, Rosemary and Evan I hear from on occasion. I miss them all, and look forward to a time when we can all reconnect. Maybe I’ll take a trip to Kansas next fall, I miss that extension of my spiritual family.

Q. People may have noticed that we set the Domain name, we are now officially godsheartforthose.com. Can you dish on what may be coming with the upgrade?

A. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will tell you that with the new upgrade we now have audio and video capabilities, so we plan on doing more with the music on the God’s Heart website. It is nice to have a domain name that does not have .wordpress.com in it and it should make us easier to find. We are also hoping to do more interviews when it comes to current issues. But I can’t tell you too much, you have to be surprised, that’s the fun part of running a website, you can hold the reader in suspense.

 

Have a question for Jonathan? Submit it below and you could see it in the next edition:

 

Bradly Tucker is the Content Editor for God’s Heart for Those. 

 

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A Protestant Goes to a Monastery:

 

By Jonathan David Faulkner

 

I once considered Cloistered life, no joke, as I studied Church History I found the flow and practice of Monastic life quite appealing. Eventually I began visiting a little Benedictine Monastery and conversing with the brothers. As I prayed about the decision I found God was not calling me to Holy Orders, he wanted me in the Local Church and while one can do that in a Monastery, but it is not the primary purpose. Also, I am not Catholic, as you know I was raised Presbyterian, served as a Baptist Pastor and am working on Ordination in the 4C’s. I am aware there are Protestant Monasteries, even Protestant order of Franciscans, I consider myself a student of the Little Saint from Assisi, (I now own the Omnibus of Sources on him), but the more I prayed about it, the more the Lord called me back to His mission for my life. I still enjoy going to Monasteries, they are quiet places, great for study, praying and listening and resting.

It was the last three reasons that I went. If you live here at the Seminary you know that my life has been a bit crazy lately, between leading worship for Chapels, God’s Heart, Paper Writing and all those other things associated with Seminary Life I had been running a bit low on energy, I needed a rest, since I missed the Soul Care retreat in February because of Mentored Ministry I had not had a proper break and since I load my semesters to get a lot done early on I found myself in need of a break.

So I saw the opportunity and took it, a day trip down to the Monastery with one of my fellow Seminarians.

The Monastery is set in the hills, next to the little towns of Still River and Harvard (Not the school). Its white buildings were built in the 1600’s with the exception of a barn that was built when the Benedictine’s first moved out to the Monastery in the 70’s and took up Dairy Farming. Now it is the multi-purpose facility for the use of the many retreat groups that come through their each year. Benedictine Monks are called to perform some task per The Rule of St. Benedict and this particular Monastery’s good was hospitality.

We arrived for 8AM mass, it was modeled after the Old Mass so everything was spoken and sung in Latin with the exception of Holy Scripture, which was read in English. We of course could not take Communion since we were not Baptized Catholics, but it was interesting to see the Host Elevated and hear the prayers and songs of the Monks as they joyously participated. After that we met with Father Augustine and toured the Monastery, visiting the guest house and learning about the History of the Abbey. After that we were on our own for awhile, we ended up going down to a little stone chapel (My room here on campus is bigger) and spending time in silent prayer and scripture meditation. I also wrote a poem while we were there. Then we trekked back up to the Monastery (about a mile) in the rain so we could meet with Father Augustine to ask questions about Monastic Life. We then went to Sext, one of the divine offices, which was again in Latin, though this time we had English translations, and after that lunch. The rest of the time was spent reading and praying and being quiet before the Lord. I spent the afternoon in the guest house, watching the storm clouds pass by outside, occasionally feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulders.

It was a quiet and peaceful day, just the day I needed as I drank in the much needed prolonged scripture reading. Meditating specifically on Psalms 130 all morning while sitting in that tiny stone chapel, listening to the birds sing and the rain fall, it was, what my Protestant Soul needed.

I know my readers are going to ask “Why did you go to Mass? Aren’t you a protestant?” The answer to the second question is “Yes, I am a Protestant,” Reformed as the next Reformed Theologian, but does that mean I can reject all that came before Calvin and Luther? We have discussed before how Church History did not start at the Reformation, Catholicism is our roots, and we are all part of the catholic (universal) church, which includes Catholics. There are also some very beautiful and life-giving practices given us by the Catholic Church that even Calvin upheld as good things (i.e Monastic devotion to study of scripture, praying the psalms). I may not agree with Transubstantiation, preferring the Reformed Doctrine of Real Presence and the explanation of Divine Mystery to answer the “How?” But there are many beautiful practices given us by the Early Church and then the Catholic Church that should never have been left behind.

The truth is, I went because it was good for my soul to experience God in another context, to be with Him in a place that was unfamiliar, yet quiet. The Mass was the best place to start, focusing my heart on God and preparing me for a day spent mostly in silence. The beauty of the Latin Service helped me meditate on the beauty of God. The reading of Scripture help prepare my heart to receive more Scripture. By the time we reached the Little Stone Chapel my heart was ready to listen to God.

As I opened my Bible to the Psalms I opened directly to 130. A psalm I long ago memorized and have spent time praying and meditating on. I decided to that this was a good time to pray through it again. As I did verse 7 kept repeating in my head: “Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is Steadfast Love and with the Lord is plentiful Redemption.” With these words came the Joy of the knowledge of that Plentiful Redemption. As I thought through the verses over and over again, the forgiveness of Iniquities, waiting for the Lord, Hoping in him, I could not help but think about how these aspects of the Gospel. Hope, Love, forgiveness of sins, all of those things that this Psalm reminds us of that we now have through the cross of Christ. How do we not come to him in gratitude and seek His will out of gratitude and with tears of Joy as we consider what He has done for us.

Do you know how big God’s Heart for you is? Or do you never get the chance to see it, is your life so full of activity that you never had time to simply retreat into Him. Do you ever sit back and consider what He has done for you by His great work of redemption on the cross. Or is your relationship with Him distant, you being unaware of His indwelling Spirit and Him reaching out to you, but you not knowing?

Oh dear brother, dear sister, I pray you know the Joy of your redemption so fully that it inspires you to sporadic praise of Him who gave it.  That you might be spurred to greater love and good works for those around you. That is might encourage you to encourage others, that it might exhort you to love God more deeply and to walk more closely with Him. That it might encourage you to righteous living and through that you might become an instrument of Justice, peace and mercy.

This is what I took from being with the community of Benedictine Monks. That there is so much Joy in our redemption that to deny that Joy is to deny part of its very core.

Oh brothers and sisters, hope in the Lord, always, hope in the Lord.\

 

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Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree inChristian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry

Untwisting, Twisted Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:15

 

By Jonathan David Faulkner

Untwisting Twisted Scripture looks at popular teachings and their use of Scripture.

I have heard a lot of popular Fundamentalist Evangelists respond to critics by using 1 Corinthians 2:15 to justify maliciously condemning others. The verse says: “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” (ESV). Pulling this verse out of context it is easy to say, as they do, that no one can judge them and that they are the final authority on all things. This verse has been twisted by Authoritarians, it has nothing to do with malicious condemning someone and then justifying yourself.

Let’s look at the immediate context of the passage:

            The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)\

It is interesting here, as you can see, that this is a comparison between the man who does not know Christ and the one who does. The Greater context talks about the Spirit’s working in our lives, giving us the ability to understand the teachings of Scripture, specifically giving the Corinthians the ability to understand Paul’s words, this of course comes through the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling of God inside of us. If we did not have the spirit we would not have the ability to determine or discern the things of God. But because we have the Spirit of God, because we can learn to grow in and learn to listen to and be led by that Spirit, we can have the ability to judge those things that we come across.

Paul is also commenting, starting back in verse 4 about how the Corinthians received the Gospel in general, by the wisdom of the Spirit, and not by the wisdom of man. Noting a desired progression in the Corinthians own life from the world’s wisdom to the Spirit’s wisdom, because it was by the Spirit’s wisdom that the Gospel was seen and understood. Again noting a progression or growth from the World’s Wisdom towards the Wisdom of God because through the Spirit we have “The Mind of Christ.”

John Calvin, writing on verse 13 says this in his Commentary on 1 Corinthians:

Because they are spiritually discerned. That is, the Spirir of God from whom the doctrine of the Gospel Comes, is the only true interpreter, to open it up to us. Hence in judging of it, men’s minds must of necessity be in blindness until they are enlightened by the Spirit of God.

But what of the verse in question? How then does the Spiritual Man “Judge all things?” What does it mean for him to do so? Well, if you asked Feuerstien, he might tell you it means he can be prosecutor judge and jury and no one, not even other Christians, can question him. But if you look at the Greek word used here, you find a different story unfolding. The word is “Anakrino” which means to judge, discern, question, investigate, sift through or to scrutinize. Yes, it has a legal ramification, but only in the investigative sense. It is the same word used by Pilot when turns Jesus back over to the Jews in Luke 23:14 saying “I have examined him and found no guilt in him.” Yes, it does involve a verdict, but a verdict in the Christian sense requires a graceful dealing on any subject and with anyone.

Christians who practice an authoritarian interpretation end up looking more like the Prosecutor in God’s Not Dead 2 rather than images of the Living God. Such an interpretation invites and “Us against them” mentality that is driven by fear of opposition. Instead of a fair judgement or the proper discernment of a situation, instead of judging the idea, or the fruit of a ministry we become judge, jury and executioner of anyone who disagrees with us. This is Pharisaic at best, demanding that everyone stand in line and be judged by us. If we continue in this we should tremble on the day we stand before God (we will anyway) knowing that the measure we judged others with was so very hard that we ourselves could not stand up against it.

True and genuine Christian Maturity is being able to look at a thing and examine it with the help of the Holy Spirit. To be able to say about an idea, a thought or the fruit of a person’s life and say “This is good” or “This is bad.” And then be able to either encourage or exhort that person in a right manner that will either spur them on to more love and good works or lead them to restoration through repentance.

True and genuine Christian Maturity does grant us the ability to judge all things, but that is not a judgement that ends in condemnation of the individual person, but if there must be condemnation than it must be of an ideology or group mindset because it bears bad fruit. As I have said before, every single thing we come across, every teaching, every politician’s platform, every doctrine must be thoroughly examined and held up against the standard of Scripture. The only way we have the ability to do such a thing is by the power of the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to understand as we study Scripture. There can be no proper exegesis or interpretation without the Spirit’s guidance, it is not a work of man, but of God himself, incarnate in us through the Holy Spirit. Like the Eunuch in the book of Acts, reading the scrolls of Isaiah, it took Phillip, a man filled with the Spirit of God, to help him understand what he was reading.

The word of God is life-giving, even David’s lament in Psalms 51 can be used to bring life to the lost soul. When someone uses this Word to bring about more bondage or put down other believers who disagree with them that is not a Holy Spirit led reading of the Text. We must learn to discern a teaching, like the Berean Christians, always studying, always searching the scriptures. So that the living and active Word of God can be used by the Spirit to do that transformative and life giving work. We were not called to go from one cruel master to another, but to become Children of God, with all the rights and promises thereof.

 

 

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Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in
Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry

Faulkner on The Fifth:

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By Bradley Tucker:

 

It’s Friday and Jonathan is answering questions from Bradley, talks about his Easter Sunday Experience, The Sense of the Sacred and more.  

Q: So, after last Monday’s article on the Fruit of Joshua Feuerstein’s ministry there was a comment left by Josh that suggested you were a liar, what are your thoughts on this?

A: First of all, I want to make it clear that Joshua is not always wrong, there are some points where he does hold to essential doctrine. But the 55% truth does not negate the 45% lie and you do not have to read the article to figure out that we were not off-base, just watch the comment sections of his videos and posts. Many of his followers agreed with us and some even shared the article. It’s a very divided group and a very angry one. That’s far from the fruit of the spirit and Josh does nothing to intervene. Instead he openly insults other pastors and tears them down. Participates in Link-Baiting and Fearmongering, stirring up the people to anger against their own brothers and sisters in Christ and trolls people who do not agree with him. That is not the mark of a Christian Pastor, based on these observations we can make a logical conclusion, this is bad fruit. If making such an observation makes me a liar then that’s fine. I will continue to try to address this issue in as loving and compassionate way as possible. He is still my brother and I can forgive him for the implication. In the end, Joshua needs grace as much as the rest of us, I am no better than he in that category.

Q: But that was not the biggest issue with the comment?

A: No, the biggest issue was that the commenter promoted an Anti-Trinitarian viewpoint, saying we do not need “Father, Son and Holy Ghost cannot save we must call on the name of Jesus.” You can call me a liar all you want, but the moment you profess a heretical and blasphemous doctrine, that is, it is directly in opposition to the teachings of Scripture and thousands of years of Orthodox, Trinitarian Teaching, you are going to spark in me anger. Especially if you then use that doctrine to oppress viewpoints that might disagree with yours or to promote oppression. We would not have the son without the father and we would not have true and genuine Christian Freedom without the death of the Son. The Holy Spirit confirms these truths for us and comes and dwells within us. They are three in one and one in three. It’s a divine mystery. What we do have now is free access to the father, sonship, freedom from sin, total washing and purifying by the blood of Christ and the ongoing work of Sanctification. We do have joy and love.

Q: What does Church History teach us about our response to Authoritarianism in the Church?

A: Yesterday we talked about Julian of Norwich in our Medieval Spirituality Class. She was an Anchoress at the little parish church in Norwich during the late Medieval Period (1360’s-1416). This was the time right before the Reformation where a similar kind of authoritarianism as to what we have in America today had popped up. Julian was a mystic who one day had 16 visions in 24 hours and recorded them in her memoir. Each vision focused on the deep love of God for the people which was and is quite opposite to the Hellfire and Brimstone of Authoritarianism. I could go on for hours, but I will not for the sake of the reader and your hands. The Bottom line is, God shows Perfect Love, Love is at the very center of God’s Heart for His people, it is out of love that we can even exist and the bible tells us that it was out of love that God sent His one and only son (John 3:16). That is, God loves sinners because we are all sinners and fall short of God’s standard and glory (Romans 3:23). God also desires that the whole world come to salvation in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). And that we are instruments to take that message to the world and make disciples of all nations. So the solution to Authoritarianism then is to daily show a Gospel centered love for everyone we encounter. Acknowledging that person’s identity and potential identity as created by God, son or daughter and loving and encouraging that so they might come to know Christ more deeply, or come to know Him as Lord and Savior.

Q: I have heard you talk a lot about Rediscovering the Arts, and we have talked about Art and the Church before here, but what is the idea behind rediscovery of the Arts in the Church?

A: As I said last time this came up, we have done ourselves a huge disservice by rejecting the use of any art form that is not music. In the Medieval Church art was a discussion starter, the Laity did not have Scripture and so their way of expressing the Doctrines they were being taught by the Clergy was to create art or to consider it. The Medieval Church was covered in Art, depictions and Icons lined the walls. It was impossible to walk into a church and not see an image of the crucified savior, the risen savior, The Apostles, the Church Fathers, The Saints. Now, it did become abused, to the point that people were worshiping the artwork itself and even worshiping the Saints depicted in the art. And we have to guard against that, but art can be a means of discussion, a way to start a conversation with an unbeliever or even stir up the religious affections of young and older believers. I heard a story once of someone showing a Medieval Painting that showed all of the things Jesus went through on his way to the Cross. All of it biblically sound, the person leading the study said that Christians who had read the story a million times were saying “I had no idea that he went through that, and I’ve read the story a thousand times.” It puts an image to the words we read and can help us understand Theology.

Q: What did you do for Easter?

Well, woke up at about 4:30 and got ready for the Sunrise service my church did here on the Hill, then we headed over to Gordon College for a combined service with both services (our church would not fit that many people in one service). Then my sister and I headed over to a church members house for Lunch and then we hiked up to one of the many points looking out at the Ocean down in Glouster. It was a beautiful and relaxing day of celebrating the Risen Lord. I felt energized for the rest of the week!

 

 

Bradley Taylor is the Content Editor for God’s Heart for Those

 

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