Episode #13: Utes beat Cougars 3 times in one night, “What Joy?”

Sep 19

We can receive happiness from a myriad of places/situations, but where do we receive joy?

This Week in Church History

Baptist Union in Russia September 18, 1965,  Dan Graves, MSL

“Baptists are particularly dangerous,” noted a Russian newspaper in 1972. “Every Russian Baptist tries to win adherents to his faith.” Indeed there was some truth to this, for Johann Gerhardt Oncken, one of the first German Baptists, taught that “every Baptist is a missionary” and it was through the testimony of German artisans sent by Oncken to Russia that the Baptist faith took hold in that nation. However, the real growth of Baptists in Russia came after World War I. Russian prisoners were taught by German missionaries and returned home to convert others. By 1950 there were an estimated 2,000,000 Russian Baptists. The largest proportion were in the Ukraine. The communists forced all evangelicals into a single union, the AUCECB.

Nikita Krushchev launched a major crackdown, accompanied by heavy propaganda, against all churches, especially the Baptists. This lasted from 1959-1964. The Communists urged that baptism be discouraged, that young people no longer be taught religion, and that ministers no longer try to win new converts but merely maintain the congregations they already had. When Metropolitan Nikolai of the Orthodox Church died, the leadership of the Evangelical-Baptist union began to give ground to the government. Nikolai had strengthened them by resisting Soviet demands; his death looked like murder.

Many Baptists were unwilling to capitulate. The held to their convictions that faith cannot be compromised and the gospel must be preached to others. In 1961 Baptists leaders formed a committee which challenged the union leadership. They called for sanctification of the church and urged local churches to discipline leaders who cooperated with the state. These Reform Baptists were largely descendants of the original Oncken Baptists. Their brave leader, A. F. Prokofiev, soon found himself in prison with 100 other evangelical leaders. Georgi Vins, who had worked beside him, stepped into the breach. A number of women formed a Council of Prisoner’s Relatives to make the world aware of the plight of their godly men.

On this date, September 18, 1965, the Baptists broke from their forced union with other evangelicals, forming their own organization, the CCECB–the Council of Churches of Evangelical Believers, Baptists. Georgi Vins was secretary.

Vins had no illusions about what it would cost him to take this stand. His father had been imprisoned and beaten before him. Vins was forced underground in 1970. Captured in 1974, he faced the same treatment as his father. Eventually a letter campaign won his release to the United States.

By their tough stand, Baptists forced concessions from the Soviet government. Much of the Krushchev legislation was rescinded. Restrictions were lifted from the AUCECB but left on the CCECB as the government tried to force the Baptist churches back into the all-faiths union.

This Week in LDS Church History

50 years ago today – Sep 19, 1962
First Presidency rules that prominent Egyptian polygamist can be baptized because polygamy is legal in Egypt. This is in reference to “an earlier ruling in the matter of Indians who had married more than one wife and it was decided that they may be baptized, if they were legally married according to their tribal customs.” First Presidency agrees that such legal polygamists cannot be sealed in temples, to avoid confusing LDS policy toward Mormon Fundamentalists. With regard to black Africa, President David O. McKay says it “is a cruel thing” to require Nigerian polygamists to cease their legally polygamous marriages, yet Presidency decides to forbid baptism of black African polygamists (who are also denied priesthood ordination by LDS policy for all persons of black African descent). By contrast, the Egyptian polygamist, a Coptic Christian, is baptized in London in February 1963 and ordained elder.

[Source: Advent Adam website (defunct) – based on http://amzn.to/originsofpower]

Theological Quotes

Albert Schweitzer, OM was a German and then French theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire.

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” [Site]

Theological News

New Christian gospel indicates Jesus may have had a wife
Compiled by Matthew Brown , Deseret News Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19 2012 7:35 a.m. MDT
A fourth century fragment of papyrus that contains the statement: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,’” suggests some early Christians believed Jesus was married.

But the author of a paper on the new find says the ancient document about the size of a business card does not validate the marital status of Jesus.

“This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we’re in the same position we were before it was found. We don’t know if he was married or not,” said Harvard divinity professor Karen L. King in a conference call with reporters.

King told Harvard Magazine this new “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” is too old — like others dated to the second century that make the claim Jesus was celibate — to provide reliable historical evidence of Jesus’ marital status.

“But the fragment does suggest that 150 years or so after Jesus’s birth, Christians were already taking positions on such questions. Significantly, this new text pushes the date at which some Christians were asserting that Jesus was married back to a time contemporaneous with the earliest assertions that he was celibate,” the magazine stated.

The provenance of the papyrus is unclear. Huffington Post reported that the owner who showed it to King found it in 1997 in a collection of papyri that he acquired from the previous owner, who was German. The papyri included a handwritten German description that had the name of a now-deceased professor of Egyptology in Berlin who called the fragment a “sole example” of a document that claims Jesus was married.

King was skeptical of its authenticity when the anonymous collector first approached her in 2010. The next year, King put the papyrus, sandwiched between two pieces of glass, in her purse and took it to New York City where she and AnneMarie Luijendijk, a papyrologist and scholar of New Testament and Early Christianity at Princeton, met with Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, and one of the world’s two or three leading papyrologists.

“She and Luijendijk left Bagnall’s office believing the fragment was real. Rather than taking the subway as she had planned, they hailed a taxi. (‘The fragment deserves a cab,’” she recalls thinking.),” Harvard Magazine reported.

Ariel Shisha-Halevy, professor of Linguistics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, also examined high-resolution photographs of the fragments and said the text appeared authentic based on its grammar and language.

King said further tests will be made on the chemical composition of the ink. King’s research paper will be published in the January 2013 issue of the Harvard Theological Review, a peer-reviewed journal.

King, a scholar of early Christianity, presented her paper on the “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” on Tuesday at the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome, across the street from the Vatican.

Other writings about the life of Jesus from antiquity suggest Jesus may have been married to Mary Magdalene, a disciple who was close to Jesus, CNN reported. But Christian denominations largely accept that Jesus was unmarried and chaste and that position is a reason for the practice of celibacy among Roman Catholic priests.

King’s own analysis of the papyrus is concerned with interpretation, which is extremely difficult due to the fragmentary nature of the text, according to Harvard Magazine. The first line reads, “My mother gave to me,” and what follows is probably the word “life.” Line two reads “the disciples said to Jesus.” The third line reads “deny. Mary is worthy of it.” It is the fourth line, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,’” that is most clear. “Those words can mean nothing else,” says King. Line five reads “She will be able to be my disciple,” but it is unclear whether Jesus is referring to Mary, to his wife, or to someone else.

“The discovery of this new gospel,” King said, “offers an occasion to rethink what we thought we knew by asking what role (the) claims about Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. Christian tradition preserved only those voices that claimed Jesus never married. The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife now shows that some Christians thought otherwise.”

In rural Missouri, Mormons see Adam’s fall after Garden of Eden and Jesus’ return  Tim Townsend / The Post-Dispatch | Sep 18, 2012

DAVIESS COUNTY, Mo. (RNS) Jose Rangel got out of his minivan and stretched before helping his elderly mother from the passenger seat. Rangel’s wife and children spilled out of the side door into the manicured parking lot. What could be a scene from any American family’s summer visit to a state park was actually a spiritual pilgrimage. The Rangels were at Adam-ondi-Ahman, a mysterious plot of land 70 miles north of Kansas City that is owned and maintained as a sacred site by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“This place is very important to the church,” said Rangel, who had brought his mother to the site while she was visiting from Mexico. “When Jesus Christ comes for the second time, this is where he’s going to come.”

“And,” Rangel’s daughter Nefertiti, 15, added, “this is where it all started.”

To non-Mormons it sounds odd that a bluff in northwestern Missouri, on a bend 124 feet above the Grand River, represents to 15 million faithful both the beginning and end of human time. It may also be a surprise to some Mormons.

Adam-ondi-Ahman (adam-on-die-AH-min) is a part of the faith that most Mormons don’t encounter in their everyday lives or incorporate into their regular worship.

Yet, for believers such as the Rangel family, Adam-ondi-Ahman also fits in a small but significant way into their faith’s broader theology.

Mormons believe that in June 1838, Smith received a revelation from God that this Mormon farming settlement of between 500 and 1,000 was to be called Adam-ondi-Ahman — a translation from “the original language spoken by Adam,” according to the church, that means “Valley of God, where Adam dwelt.”

Church doctrine makes reference to the place as the site where Adam and Eve went after God banished them from the Garden of Eden. It’s also regarded as a gathering place for the faithful at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Author Brook Wilensky-Lanford said Smith’s prophecy was best understood in the context of history. Mormons had repeatedly been pushed out of their settlements, and longed for a gathering place.

“The Garden of Eden sounded to Smith like a perfect refuge,” said Wilensky-Lanford, who wrote “Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden.”

“It was about finding the perfect place, and about exile from that place.”

Today, many Mormons say they give Adam-ondi-Ahman little thought. Columbia University scholar and practicing Mormon Richard Bushman even calls it “Mormon lore.”

And yet, many Mormons believe this plot of land has been used by outsiders to cast Mormonism as weird. There’s even a Missouri Garden of Eden reference in the hit Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon,” which pokes gentle fun at elements of the faith.

Portrayals of Mormonism that gravitate toward the edges of the faith’s doctrine are rooted in human nature, some scholars say. We are more drawn to the unusual and exotic than to the normal and bland. A Missouri Garden of Eden is more interesting than traditional belief in Jesus Christ.

“Such a focus distorts, by replacing what is essential to the faith with what is tangential,” said Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond and a Mormon. “And by distorting, you discredit.”

Adam-ondi-Ahman is in such a remote part of northwestern Missouri that getting there requires GPS coordinates. Past Nalle’s Feed & Grain, MFA Agri Services and Gallatin Truck & Tractor, a tiny country road leads to a white picket gate. Inside, the grounds are meticulously groomed — neat gravel roads with symmetrically planted trees on both sides lead to an overlook of the valley below.

The site’s plaques mention Adam and Eve, only to say that Smith named the place after Adam. The church leaves it up to Mormons to teach their own children that it is in this valley that a future gathering of Adam and his righteous descendants will meet with Jesus Christ during the last days.

There are no missionaries or guides at Adam-ondi-Ahman. On a typical summer afternoon, hours can pass with no visitors. But Mormon families do trickle through, often as part of a pilgrimage to a host of nearby sites that mark the significance of western Missouri in Smith’s cosmology, or historical sites of interest in Mormonism’s bloody history here.

For families such as the Rangels, the prophecies of Adam-ondi-Ahman, while abstract, are valid. They speak to the faith’s foundational claim that Smith was the first of many modern prophets, who reopened communication with God, with visions of angelic messengers and new scripture such as the Book of Mormon.

For Mormons, this early period of the church — from Smith’s first visions in New York to Brigham Young’s trek to Utah — is sacred history, taught in Sunday school alongside biblical stories of Moses and the Exodus.

“It is the founding narrative of our faith, and it’s used to shape lessons, to teach virtues and values, the same way Scriptures are used,” said Matthew Bowman, a religion professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. “And Adam-ondi-Ahman really does fit into that.”

(Tim Townsend writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Bible Study Tech / Web Resources

David T: To go along with your new series on Joy, I have a fairly new app for you this week from Desiring God, John Piper’s ministry.

The app is called “Solid Joys” and is a small app that provides a daily devotional centered on excerpts from Dr. Piper’s long-time faithful ministry of being a pastor/teacher/author there at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota.  The app is a simple one with a couple interface customizations available (light/dark background preference) as well as a way to mark certain day’s text as a ‘favorite’ for easy recall later and a way to send a day’s content to someone via email.  Other than that, it is just a clean app with strong biblical content excerpted from Piper’s books.

From the DesiringGod.org website:

“Solid Joys is a free application available from Desiring God (for iPhone and iPad) which provides a short daily devotional excerpt from the ministry of John Piper.

We’ve identified 365 of the best excerpts from Piper’s printed books and online content which are able to stand well on their own when removed from their original context, and we’ve made sure to keep the excerpts relatively short.

The goal is that you’ll be able to dive in for just a moment each day and come away with something solid to feed your joy in God. It’s a fresh effort to apply the best of over 30 years of Piper’s teaching to your everyday life and satisfaction in Jesus.”

As far as I know it is available only for iOS currently, but there is a promise of an Android version to come soon.


Joy Received

“But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” (Luke 2:10–11 HCSB)


  • Why would the angel have to say “Don’t be afraid”?

News of Great Joy

  1. A Savior was born in the City of David
    1. Savior Prophesied
      1. “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 HCSB)
    2. City of David
      1. “And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David,” (Luke 2:4 HCSB)
  2. What is a Savior?
    1. Savior = One who saves by delivering, preserving, healing, or providing (Holman Dictionary)
  3. Who is this Savior?
    1. Jesus
      1. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.””  (Matthew 1:21 HCSB)
      2. ““For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 HCSB)
  4. Why did the Savior come? (to save sinners)
    1. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.””  (Matthew 1:21 HCSB)
    2. “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.” (1 Timothy 1:15 HCSB)
  5. Why did a Savior come for Us?
    1. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 HCSB)
    2. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 HCSB)
    3. Love: “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8 HCSB)

Jesus talking: ““As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9–11 HCSB)


  1. “Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”” (John 6:29 HCSB)

That My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete?

  1. Jesus’ Joy is so much more than our Joy
    1. Jesus’ joy is a perfect God joy because he is God.
  2. “Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” (Psalms 34:5 HCSB)

This is Good News of Great Joy, because:

  1. God sent a Savior as He said He would (Gen 3.15)
  2. God sent a Savior to the place He said He would (Isaiah 11.1, 10)
  3. God Sent a Savior to save us from our sins as He said He would (Gen 3.15)
  4. God sent His JOY, so that He may become our Joy.

How does God’s Joy become our Joy?

One comment

  1. Dave Teague /

    Here’s a quick tip that may help your listeners get more listening time for podcasts (and audiobooks) on their iOS devices. Sometimes people ask something like “Where do you find the time to listen to all those podcasts or audiobooks?” Well, one way to get more ‘time’ is to listen to the podcasts FASTER. Within the music app (or podcast app if that is what you use to listen) there is a switch that speeds up the playback of the audio file. The speeds shown are 1x, which is the default, 2x and 1/2x. In my experience, the 2x is not really two times faster that 1x, but it is faster. The cool thing is, that the pitch of the speaker’s voice is not really raised (think the ‘Chipmunks’), it is just faster. Some speakers are more difficult to listen to at 2x than others…but for the most part, I find that this is a good way to listen to more in the same amount of time. As an example, a podcast that I frequently listen to is always listed as a 26 minutes and 25 second audio file. Listening to it on ‘2x’ takes just 14 minutes. Enjoy!

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