When we speak of awakening, we’re not talking about new age enlightenment, political upheaval, or social activism.
We’re talking about a daily alignment of our life to the light and love of Jesus, as we read in Ephesians:
Our work is anchored in helping dissatisfied and passionate believers follow that ancient hymn. If that resonates with you, we invite you to join us.
Advent is the time of year we must sink down into the ancient story of God’s people and remember what it means to hope. Join us this year as we see how Jesus steps in, and becomes the protagonist in the redemptive story being written for humanity.
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Every year we gather together to be restored, refreshed, and reignited by the Holy Spirit. We invite you and your family or team to join us!
A Discipleship Band is a group of 3 to 5 people who read together, pray together, and meet together to become the love of God for one another and the world.
A series of short talks on theological topics from a wide variety of Christian professors, pastors, speakers, and theologians.
In the Follow the Healer on-demand course Stephen Seamands draws upon four decades of teaching theology and active involvement in healing ministry to help us grasp the “why-to” of healing that comes before the “how-to.”
During the course, Steve lays out the essential theological foundations for healing ministry in a way that is simple and accessible. This course is the perfect partner resource to his book of the same name, Follow the Healer.
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What is the Apostles’ Creed? What is its historical context? Why does it matter to the Church? Dr. Charles Gutenson shares with us today.
View our growing playlist of Seven Minute Seminary here.
Check out Dr. Timothy Tennent’s resources on catechism and the creeds.
What I notice immediately is the line “HE descended into Hell.” as the reader skipped over it.
“He descended into hell (Hades, the place of the dead)” ought not to have been skipped over in this exposition of the Creed. It’s a point crucially important in the Church’s understanding of Christ’s Lordship over all things, especially humanity’s greatest enemy: death.
In view of the resurgence of Gnosticism today, the history behind this creed is of extreme relevance. Some scholars believe it was designed to keep Gnostics out of the church. During the days when an outdoor, three-fold, nude baptism was officially prescribed by the early church (see Chapter 21 of The Apostolic Tradition by Hippolytus of Rome [c. 215 AD] at http://www.pastordavidrn.com/files/HippolytusNudeBaptism.pdf or the complete work at http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html), portions from its three Trinitarian divisions were required as a spoken baptismal confession by all catechumens. No Gnostic believer could honestly pronounce The Apostle’s Creed, because it clearly contradicted their beliefs about the body and the material world.
Gnosticism taught that God created the world of spirits, but that an evil demigod had created the material world, attaching human spirits to it in corrupted bodies of flesh. Salvation was defined as detachment of the spiritual from the physical via progressive steps of learning revelations of secret “knowledge” (gnosis) from a variety of “mystery cult” teachers. Because Gnostics were infiltrating churches, the nature of these baptismal affirmations put a stop to it. They could not say, that God the Father was “Maker of heaven and earth” nor that Jesus was physically a real human “born of the Virgin Mary” nor that there would be a “resurrection of the body.” To them, fleshly embodiment was a curse to escape, not a blessing to affirm.
Christians desperately need the orthodoxy this Creed provides. Unfortunately, church tradition often took a rather “Gnostic” stance toward the body and the material world. The Creed kept the Gnostics out, but poor theological thinking allowed some of Gnosticism’s attitudes about flesh and matter to persist. Gnostic-friendly elements in our popular preaching, our worship songs, our evangelistic message, and our hope for the afterlife, need reformation. Paying closer attention to what we are affirming in the Creed will expose any double standards or double-mindedness that requires correction.
Every Christian on earth should know this Creed by heart. IT BEARS REPEATING! Shame on all Wesleyans pastors who are not making it a part of the spiritual heritage embedded in the memory of the next generation of believers!
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