GCP031: Knowing you are in God’s Family

Apr 17

GCP031: Knowing you are in God’s Family

On the Growing in Christ Podcast today we talk about a quote from A.W. Tozer, Athanasius’ mentor, Abortion Dr Gosnell, Atheist Churches, and Part II of 1 John.

Theological Quotes

A.W. Tozer “The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.”

This Week in Church History

APRIL 17, 326: Alexandria Lost Notable Alexander – Dan Graves, MSL

The whole Christian world honors Athanasius as its champion because of his battles against Arianism. But behind Athanasius was a great bishop–the man who set Athanasius’ feet on the path to fame. Alexander not only selected Athanasius to be his successor, but took open action against the heresy of Arius, the priest who insisted Jesus was a created being rather than an eternal member of the Godhead.

Alexander was born around 250. An upright man, he survived as a priest through the persecutions that raged under Galerius and Maximinus. He became Patriarch of Alexandria in 313. It was well that the post was given him, for Arius was conniving to get the job and would undoubtedly have used the position to disseminate his heresy even more widely than he did.

Arius began to teach his views around 300. Peter, the Patriarch of Alexandria at that time excommunicated him. While Peter was on death row for his faith, Alexander joined with Achillas (who took Peter’s place as patriarch) to plead for the restoration of Arius. Peter refused in strong terms, declaring that Arius was eternally damned. Nonetheless, when Achillas took power, he made Arius a priest.

Alexander was slow to recognize the danger of Arius’ false teaching. In fact, he moved so slowly against the renegade priest that his clergy grew restive.

Finally Alexander excommunicated Arius. A council held in Alexandria upheld this decision and declared Arius’ views heretical. The Egyptian bishop wrote to Patriarch Alexander of Constantinople that Arius and his buddies had “constructed a workshop for contending against Christ, denying the Godhead of our Savior, and preaching that He is only the equal of all others. And having collected all the passages which speak of His plan of salvation and His humiliation for our sakes, they endeavor from these to collect the preaching of their impiety, ignoring altogether the passages in which His eternal Godhead and unutterable glory with the Father is set forth.”

But Arius would not disappear. In fact, his ideas led to riots. Arians clashed with Trinitarians until Constantine feared for the empire. In 325 the emperor called the first general council, which met at Nicea. Alexander drew up its acts. At that council, his young protege, Athanasius, offered a stalwart defense of the doctrine of Christ’s full divinity.

On his deathbed, Alexander summoned Athanasius to his side and named him his successor. Alexander died on this day, April 17, 326. Athanasius carried on the fight for orthodoxy until his own death, suffering serious harassment and five episodes of exile.

Theological News

CULTURE DIGEST: Gosnell’s abortion clinic horrors described – Posted on Apr 12, 2013 | by Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) — Testimony to the horrors inside Kermit Gosnell’s clinic continues to mount in the Philadelphia abortion doctor’s murder trial.

In a trial that began in March, Gosnell faces seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of viable children who were killed after delivery and a count of third-degree murder in the death of a Virginia woman during a 2009 abortion.

Those seven babies were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at Gosnell’s clinic, a grand jury reported in 2011. After delivery, Gosnell — or another staff member in his absence — would jab scissors into the back of a baby’s neck and cut the spinal cord, according to the grand jury. Gosnell called the killing of these children “snipping.”

SIDEBAR: Atheists embrace Sunday-morning music – Kimberly Winston  | Apr 16, 2013

HOUSTON (RNS) Atheists may not have hymns, but that doesn’t mean they ain’t got the beat.

In the so-called “atheist churches” that have popped up across the globe in the last year — there are Sunday morning gatherings for nonbelievers in London, Houston, Boston and Calgary, Canada, with more planned for New York and Melbourne, Australia — music plays as central a role as it does in many churches and synagogues.

The intention of the music is similar: to uplift the mind and the spirit of listeners and prepare them for the meaningful message at the heart of the gathering.

At London’s Sunday Assembly, which attracts as many as 300 people and frequently turns people away at the door, the music has included songs by Queen and Stevie Wonder. At Houston Oasis, a community of nonbelievers established last fall, there are covers of popular songs, rewritten renditions of old songs and original music as well.

“We say we are a community grounded in reason, and music is a part of that,” said Mike Aus, Houston Oasis’ founder, leader and a former Lutheran pastor. “The music we include is intended to inspire and improve your life somehow.”

A recent Houston Oasis gathering that drew 80 people featured the singing of Smythe and Taylor, a Texas-based award-winning musical duo who performed John Waite’s “Missing You,” James Taylor’s “The Frozen Man” and their own “Heaven’s Not the Great Beyond,” about an encounter with a homeless man who may — or may not — be Jesus.

“‘Hey, Man, what’s the secret,’ I yelled as he faded from my view,” sang TC Smythe, the female half of the pair. “He said, ‘Treat a stranger like a friend, my friend, just do what you can do. And live your life full every day, and one more thing before I fly, If you want to get to heaven, don’t wait until you die.’”

Smythe, who books musical performers for each of Houston Oasis’ Sunday morning gatherings, said she looks for music that “fits the mission of the organization” and she always tells the guest musicians that they will be playing to a crowd of atheists, humanists and agnostics.

“I don’t tell them what to play, but I do try to make sure they leave the hymnal at home because it would not be as well-received,” she said. “I say, ‘Sing a love song, a good story or something that you are proud of.’ We are not here to give glory to God; that’s not our purpose.”

Which is not to say that the music at Oasis doesn’t have a purpose, she said. In fact, it’s not much different than traditional church music.

“The value of the music is to add punctuation to the flow of events,” Smythe said. “It does prepare the room to listen to something. It makes the room very respectful, and that is what we are after.”

BIBLE STUDY

How to Know if You are in the Family (1 John 1:5-2:17)

  • Agreement with God over Sin (1:5-2:2)

  • Being Christ-Like (2:3-6)

  • Godly Relationships (2:7-11)

  • Traits of Family Members (2:12-14)

  • Love that does not come from the Father (2:15-17)

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