Leave a comment

Come to the Table – A Communion Hymn

Click for the Score

COME TO THE TABLE

Chorus :
COME TO THE TABLE
HE’S WAITING FOR YOU
THE BREAD IS PREPARED
AND THE WINE IS THERE TOO

COME TO THE TABLE
IT’S WAITING FOR YOU
LET YOUR SINS BE FORGIVEN,
YOUR LIFE BE RENEWED

Verses:
FOR THE SAVIOR SPREADS OUT HIS ARMS OPEN WIDE
AND IN LOVE HE BIDS YOU TO COME
TASTE OF FORGIVENESS,
HE’S POURED OUT HIS BLOOD:
HIS LIFE IN THE FRUIT OF THE VINE

Chorus

SEE HIS BODY: IT’S COVERED WITH SCARS
IT’S THE PRICE HE’S PAID FOR YOUR SINS!
TASTE OF HIS HEALING
HE’S GIVEN US BREAD:
HIS BODY IS WOUNDED FOR OURS

Chorus

SEE HIS BODY: IT’S BATTERED AND MARRED
IT’S THE PRICE HE WAS WILLING TO PAY
SEE HOW HE LOVES YOU –
HE STETCHED OUT HIS ARMS
SAYING “COME UNTO ME TODAY “

©1996 Jefferis Kent Peterson, UBP

Leave a comment

Our God is Able – A Hymn

Our God Is Able – Score

Click on Score above for PDF file. Hear it by clicking the arrow below.

Our God is Able
Ps. 37:16; Eph. 3:20
©1997 Jefferis Kent Peterson, I
_____________________________

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do all we ask Him to do
His hand is mighty and He is fighting
For His dreams to come true

Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do what He’s promised for you
If you will trust Him, take delight in Him,
He’ll give His blessing to you.

(chorus)
O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do all you ask Him to do
If you will serve Him and not desert Him,
He’ll fight the fight for you!

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do more ‘n we ask Him to do
Don’t be uncertain where things concern Him,
He’ll be faithful to you

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do what we ask Him to do
Give your life to Him, be renewed in Him,
He has the best for you.

Leave a comment

Invention #1 in Fm

I am working to upgrade my musical composition audio and print output.  I’m using Finale to re-score, and Music-to-XML to scan in old pieces.

Invention #1 in Fm

In the Name of the Father,  Composed at Conn College, Dec. 1973-Jan1974

Fm Invention – Score

Click on  Score above for PDF file.  Hear it by clicking the arrow below.

Leave a comment

The Problem with Fundamentalism

Enlightenment Rationalism and the Problem of Fundamentalism

Or, How Misreading the Scriptures’ Intent Has Damaged The Christian Witness to the Modern Age.

from The Scholar’s Corner

 “As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom! Hear now my argument and listen to the pleadings of my lips. Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?” – Job 13:4-7

We are all products of our age. Assumptions we make about reality and truth are called our Worldview. The problem for us is that we cannot always see the prejudices of our assumptions, and when we interpret everything through the lens of our own understanding we often create misunderstandings without realizing it. This is also true of how we apply our assumptions to the interpretation of Scripture.

The Bible has faced many challenges throughout the ages. No one now questions whether the earth revolves around the sun, or the fact that the earth is not the physical center of the universe. However, that notion created a great challenge to the integrity, authority, and reliability of the Scriptures for the Church of Galileo’s day. In the late 18th Century, new challenges to Scripture arose largely due to the advent of Enlightenment Rationalism. A field of study, called the Historical-Critical Method, began to challenge the reliability of the historical nature of the Bible. One problem was the conflicting timelines in the Gospels themselves, with slight variations of the sequences of the stories. Since it was assumed by the interpreters that biblical, historical literature would follow a strict chronology, as any modern historian would, then the various timelines of the Gospels could be reconciled. A project called the Synoptic Gospels attempted to align historical events in Matthew, Mark, and Luke into parallel columns. Because of the apparent contradictions in the timelines of the Scriptures, it was then assumed by critics that the Scriptures were not reliable or historical. Because of these apparent contradictions, many critics jumped on the texts in an effort to attack or disprove Christianity, the Bible, and religion in general.

This critical line of thinking came to its inevitable conclusion within Christian Theology in the works of Rudolph Bultmann, who denied the possibility of the miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ because they were not scientific and the result of primative thinking of people in a pre-scientific age. We can see here that Bultmann was clearly imposing his own Newtonian Worldview upon the text. Is it possible that only what we can prove through repeatable experiment is true? Or is God, if he exists, bigger than our microscope? Can God abridge what we call “reality” and do whatever He wants?

Fundamentalism and EvolutionAt the same time as Historical Critism was gaining popularity, Darwinianism and the Theory of Evolution  provided a second significant challenge to Biblical accounts of creation and sacred history. Darwin’s works in 1858 and 1871 provided religion’s antagonists with more ammunition, and again the Church felt threatened and cornered by these events.

As a reaction to these attacks, a branch of theology known as Fundamentalism began in Princeton in the late 1800’s. It’s goal was to preserve faith in the veracity of the Scriptures. Fundamentalism’s principal tenant is that the bible is “inerrant”:

Biblical inerrancy, as formulated in the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy“, is the doctrine that the Protestant Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching”;[1] or, at least, that “Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact”.[2]

In layman’s terms, the idea of the Bible being inerrant is that whatever it teaches is literally true. While not the same as Fundamentalism, Literalism is an extension of the attempt to prove the faithfulness of the Scripture in all that it teaches.

The Problem with Fundamentalism

The problem with Fundamentalism is not the fact the Scriptures are true, but in understanding the way they are true. Fundamentalism’s weakness is that it is playing on the same field and by the same rules set up for it by Enlightenment Rationalism. A fundamental approach to the Bible assumes that that the record of the Scriptures, specifically the Gospels, is meant to be be taken in a strict chronological manner, when chronology was not the concern of the writers at all. In other words, Fundamentalism is imposing an Enlightenment Rationalist framework on the Scriptures as an historical record, but does not understand the intent, the method, and literary purpose of the Gospel writers. In the end, fundamentalists fight for truth but lose the battle because the Scripture itself contradicts their understanding.

What do I mean by this statement?
I think is rather naive to think that just because someone has found in the Bible apparent conflicts and passages which offend modern sensibilities, that someone has somehow been able to disprove the value and validity of the Scriptures. It is naive to think one has discovered the “gotcha” – without having spent years investigating the historical and cultural context of the writers and weighing the arguments fairly on either side.

Both fundamentalists who defend the scriptures and atheists who attack the chronological inconsistencies, and minor reporting errors, in the New Testament have made a significant cultural mistake. They are treating the writers of the New Testament as if they were the product of the age of Enlightenment Rationalism and were trying to create an exact, journalistic report of events in sequence. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Gospel writers were not writing down facts in order of occurrence, they were using historical events to show how the life of Jesus fulfilled the prophetic typology of the Scriptures. In other words, while being faithful to the events, they were not very concerned to live up to our historical methodology. The writers were creative theologians, using the life of Jesus to show how his life fulfilled the scripture’s predictions about the Messiah.

We have an historical attestation to this effect from the 2nd Century Papias, who said,

“Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely…So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”

So, to my mind, minor divergences of reportage on small details does not destroy the credibility on the widespread agreement of the authors on the major points. Jesus was crucified, Jesus died, Jesus was astoundingly raised from the dead. In fact, without his resurrection, they would have had no motivation to write anything, since immediately after his death they were all running for their lives afraid the same fate was to befall them…

Just to sum up the point: how can you know the meaning and validity of the scriptures if you don’t know the authors’ purpose, literary method, and intent? There is a literary form and structure of the Gospels, which most people miss. They were publicists, not simply historians. The Gospels are a literary genre called typologies. They wanted to show how Jesus is the fulfillment of the types revealed in the Old Testament books. They organized and arranged the events of Jesus’ life to fit the literary pattern of the first 6 books of the Bible. Matthew, Luke, and John, all use a different books of the Tanakh to reveal how the events of Jesus’ life are the fulfillment of the First Covenant. Matthew records Jesus’ 40 days and nights in the wilderness and his subsequent Sermon on the Mount. This part of Jesus’ life fulfills the paradigm of Exodus, where Moses is on the Mount for 40 days and nights and brings down the 10 Commandments and teaches the people from the mountain. Jesus is the new Moses, according to Matthew. Luke, however records Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain which follows the book of Deuteronomy where Moses recounts the history of the Law on the Plain outside the promised Land. Again, to Luke, Jesus is the new Moses. John uses the book of Joshua {Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus} to reveal how Jesus’ crossing the Jordan river corresponds to Joshua’s crossing the river when the people of Israel entered the Promised Land. Jesus is the new Joshua, bringing the people of God into the New Promised Land of the Spirit by his death and resurrection…

My point is this: if you don’t understand what the authors’ intent and purpose were, you cannot impose upon them modern, journalistic forms and expect the results you want, either for or against. You are arguing apples against oranges. Fundamentalism, by imposing a modern day historian’s method upon the texts of the Bible, is unconsciously assuming an Enlightenment Rationalist’s Worldview, and does not understand the purpose and intent of the writers. And critics of the truthfulness of Scripture have proven nothing by pointing out such inconsistencies, because they are “proving” false what the writers never intended to be true in the first place. They are, however, scoring points against a Fundamentalist’s interpretation of the Scriptures, but they are not disproving that the Bible. Atheists and antagonists may be reacting to the defensiveness of Christians, who insist on setting up arguments that can clearly be shown to be false in defense of their God, but they have not disproven the Scriptures at all. The Bible’s truth is infallible. Its moral teaching inviolate and timeless. But to understand its truth, you need to know what the writer actually intended.

For example, while the sun does not actually rise in the East, but the earth rotates towards the dawn, as we now know, the truthfulness of the Psalmists’ declaration does not change: all Creation declares the Glory of God. It is still God’s Word to humanity. You just need to understand how and in what way. It is worthy to be believed and followed. We just have to trust that God inspired the writers to use the liberty of a creative theological purpose in assembling the events of Jesus’ life.

Leave a comment

The Humanity of Jesus

from the Scholars Corner

The Humanity of Jesus

Why did Jesus have to be baptized by John?  He said, “it is necessary to fulfill all righteousness…”   What did Jesus mean by that?

Why are there no records of miracles by Jesus as a child?

What did it mean for Jesus to be fully human?

What does it mean when it says that Jesus “emptied himself… being born in human likeness”?

Philippians 2:5-11 “Let the same mind be in you that was  in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus was not omniscient. As a child, it says of him: 

Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

How can you grow in wisdom if you are all knowing?

He was not all powerful: 

John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

John 12:48-50 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.

He had to suffer as we do: 

Hebrews 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 5:7-9 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…

Example:  A Cross of Wills

It would have been no challenge for God in his omniscience and omnipotence to resist temptation. There would have been no redemption for us in that, but Jesus had to face temptation as a human being and be as tempted as we are, but not sin, for there to be any redemption for us. 

Adam and Eve failed in temptation:

Genesis 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,   she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

John calls these “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, ” 1 John 2:16

Jesus faced this temptation and passed it, unlike Adam and Eve: 

Matthew 4:1-10 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’’(LUST OF THE FLESH) But he answered, ‘‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (PRIDE OF LIFE) Jesus said to him, ‘‘Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’’’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.(LUST OF THE EYES) And he said to him, ‘‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’’’

But he was tempted as we are, and even more so in the Garden before he went to the Cross.

In Order for Jesus to fulfill his ministry as prophet, priest and king, he had to be anointed with power, wisdom, and strength by the Holy Spirit, which he received at baptism.

John, the last in the long line of prophets, but also the son of a priest, anointed Jesus both as prophet and as the high priest. 

Zachariah is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in Luke 1:67–79, and the husband of Elizabeth who is a cousin of the Virgin Mary. Elizabeth, was also of the priestly family of Aaron.

The point is: Jesus had to rely completely on the Father and upon the Holy Spirit to do his miracles and to fulfill his ministry, just as we must. It was in his humanity that he did these things, giving us an example of what perfect trust in and obedience to the Father looks like in a human being.  If Adam had not have sinned, this is what we would have been able to do! 

When he emptied himself, he gave up his glory and power to become weak and as human as we are. It says that he became physically weary after walking to Samaria (John 4:6)

Hebrews 2:14-18 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for  the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

He was completely dependent

So the reason he did not do miracles as a child, was because he was not yet anointed with power from the Holy Spirit which was given to him at his baptism by John.

You too can be anointed!

Leave a comment

God’s Sovereignty in Salvation

The Sovereignty Of God – 

from The Scholars Corner

Ephesians 1:1-6 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful  in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Paul was Called and Chosen. He did not choose God. He fought against him.

Struck down on the Road to Damascus on his way to kill Christians.

Did You Choose God?  No, God chose you, if indeed you are in Christ…

There is Great Peace in knowing God has chosen you, not because of your good deeds, but because of his Love for you and his Mercy towards you. You did not earn his favor any more than Paul did by his murderous rage and rebellion; yet God has mercy on him. In fact Paul says that because he was the “chief of sinners”

1 Timothy 1:12-17 “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

What then, are we free to receive God?

What does it say:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,  not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What about sin? If God is in control, why is there sin in the world?

God is indeed sovereign, but in his sovereignty, he allows us freedom to resist his will and to sin.  It is not what he desires, but what in his sovereign power he allows.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

We are his ambassadors of peace.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling  the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

But what of those who refuse?

Even Judas had an opportunity to repent. While Jesus got down on his knees and washed Judas’ feet, even then he made an appeal for his repentance:

John 13:11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.”

Yet He gives faith to whom he chooses.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Is God unjust to give faith to some and not to others?  Does God decide on a whim? No!

In our effort to make God friendly towards us, we forget that he is the sovereign judge of human souls and he knows what is in man’s heart.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

God revealed his judgment of the Pharisees in their judgment of Jesus!

Those who rejected saw JESUS and Refused HIM… they saw the face of God and wanted no part of him. For Jesus said, “he who has seen me has seen the Father,” and “I and the Father are One.”

But He has mercy towards all who want Him and are broken!

He knows if there is a longing for righteousness and for love, where there is compassion or hate… what’s more he knows if there are wounds or circumstance that drive one to sin and rebellion.  The abused child, the loss of a spouse, the victim of rape or war or disease or disaster.

To one on the cross next to him, he gave grace, but to the other who despised him, he went to hell in his own hatred.  To the prostitute he has mercy, but to the religious in their pride he sent empty away.

Luke 23:39-43  One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,  saying, ‘‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’’ And he said, ‘‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’’ And he said to him, ‘‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’’

One saw an innocent man being killed for a crime he didn’t deserve, but saw his own guilt;  the other mocked his suffering and had no compassion on the innocent…

Which one are you?   If you have not received Jesus, will you continue to hold off?

2 Comments

Meryl Streep and Hollywood vs. The Rest of Us.

There is a good reason that actors and journalists are not respected, liked, or believed by the rest of middle America. They delegitimize the values of everyone who disagrees with them, and then have the audacity to claim the moral high ground and pretend that the ONLY good beliefs are their own. All the while, they claim to be tolerant and open, and especially more tolerant and open than anyone who holds different views than their politically correct and accepted ones.  Yet they can’t imagine that anyone else might have a legitimate point. So, they end up talking among themselves and never actually hear the beliefs of anyone who disagrees.

That is one of the major reasons the press and the pollsters got it so wrong.  They were talking to themselves in an echo chamber.  Everyone they talked to agreed with them.

It isn’t the fact that they disagree with the rest of us that is so annoying. It is the fact that they assume that because we disagree, that we are deplorable. That just makes us mad. It is so disrespectful, they just do see how to us they come across as so arrogant. It makes us disgusted.

Then Ms. Streep shows how completely she has imbibed of the Kool-Aid:  she repeats the meme from the Democrat/News Media outlets, a pure slam piece, as if it is fact and true, when it is clearly not:  Donald Trump did not mock a reporter’s disability.  But to repeat fake news as fact shows how and why the media’s slavish service to Democrat talking points causes such mistrust among the rest of us.

The media are not unbiased seekers of truth, but shills for leftist political causes. All the brouhaha and outrage over “fake news” is only by the left, which doesn’t realize or won’t admit that its own outlets are so biased that they are  also fake news.

So, the Russians released fake news… all that did was balance out the fake news from the major media: the Clinton News Network (CNN), All Barak Channel (ABC), National Barak Channel (NBC), etc…    And so what if the Russians tried to influence the election?  China funneled lots of money into the Bill Clinton campaign through its intermediaries. They all have an interest in influencing our democracy. It is nothing new.

And finally, as Americans, we are not worried about “foreigners.”  We are worried about foreigners with bombs, who are gang members and rapists and murderers (like the notorious M-13 from Mexico). We are worried about ISIS fighters being smuggled in over our borders with dirty bombs. We are not worried about immigrants. And yes, we are worried about Muslims from chaos areas that are using our compassion as a way to sneak in terrorists (just as they have already done in Europe).mrz122216-color_orig

So, yes, Hollywood, and yes, Ms Streep,  we would rather be considered deplorable than eat at the same pig trough that fills your palette. You think we only voted for Donald Trump because we hate the disabled and have no compassion for anyone but ourselves? Think again. You make your living by pretending to be other people, and you make lots of money doing it – more than most. And you want to tell us what to think and what to believe? Just whom do you think you are???

To the rest of us, you come across as smug, self-satisfied, judgmental, condescending, and self-righteous.  Everything you used to accuse of the religious conservatives, you yourself have become.  And that is the difference between us. Unlike you, we know we are not good. We are sinners and only God is Good, only God is right and only God is righteous. That means  we know that you are not good either. You are just pretending to be… just like you do in the movies.

#MerylStreep #Hollywood #Journalists #Media #Trump #FakeNews #RussianHacks #foreigners #muslims #terrorists #dirtybomb #M-13

%d bloggers like this: