It’s Just a Symbol . . .: 'What does "symbol" mean in the New Testament?'

In our world, the word “symbol” means something that represents or points to something else that is the real thing. This would be thought by many to be a self-evident no-brainer. We then proceed to bring that understanding to the Scriptures and we think “that’s that.” Well it’s not. “Symbol” does not mean that in Scripture. This has great importance when considering the matter of the Eucharist, or in some places called Communion or the “Lord’s Supper.” If someone is telling you: “It’s just a symbol, or just a that, or just a this . . .” your warning alarm needs to go off.  In many so-called “organic” church environments the centrality of the Eucharist in both Church history and practice is ignored. It is, at best, an afterthought. 

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

The Long War Against Thinking in Pentecostalism/Charismatic Churches: 'Monday Morning Musings 9-21-2020 - "What . . . . IF?"'

There is a prevalent strain of anti-intellectualism that has infected some forms of Western Protestantism for one hundred years, particularly some Pentecostal and Charismatic brands. It goes like this: “I don’t need any one to teach me what the Bible says. The Holy Spirit gives me ‘downloads.” All that education just gets in the way of the ‘anointing’ and ‘revelation'”. In this episode, I use the simple English word “if” to demonstrate how foolish that paradigm truly is.

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

 

The Eucharist: In Adam and In Christ: 'Seminar: October 16-17, 2020: Wylie, Texas (Suburb of Dallas)'

Eucharist - An Anthropological perspective

How the Eucharist relates to our being in Adam and in Christ.

It has been my experience within Protestantism that for many, the Eucharist is a meaningless ritual. It is often done in a perfunctory way out of sheer obedience, if at all. Teaching, if there is any, can be pretty stale. Rehashing familiar views of the relevant scriptures and debating 16th century metaphysical arguments is normal fare.  Over the years when I pastored traditionally, we tried different things to bring more meaningful experience to folks. There were occasionally moments of wonder, but generally it was a wholly dissatisfying experience.  What has it been like for you?  What if there is more to it than many of us have been taught in our traditions? This seminar is designed to provoke primarily those from Protestant backgrounds to reconsider some things regarding the Eucharist, communion, or the so-called “Lord’s Supper.”

 

 

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So You Think You are an Apostle: 'Reflections on Modern Day Claims of Apostleship'

Apostle or Poser?

Reflections on being an apostle of Christ

Many today (especially in Charismatic and non-denomination circles) claim for themselves the title and ministry of apostle. Most I have met do not claim equivalency with the twelve disciples of the Lamb. Yet they seem to invariably claim for themselves rights, privileges, primacy of place, and “positional governmental authority in the church” to which others must yield. The phenomenon is sometimes couched in language of “spiritual covering.” What they espouse and claim for themselves as apostles has no biblical legitimacy.

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Gentleness, Humility, and Meekness: 'They're Not What You Might Think'

They’re Not What We Might Think They Are

When simple terms like gentleness, humility, and meekness take on modern cultural definitions rather than culturally sensitive biblical ones, we will end up creating God in our own image. We will also likely create faith communities that reflect cultural values rather than biblical ones. We do not have to become Jewish nor import their culture into our world. But neither should we export our culture into the text and think we are being “Biblically faithful.” Jesus and the apostles were not white Americans from Nebraska in 1954. Gentleness, humility, and meekness can become grossly distorted in our day if we do not at least understand what the terms meant to the people of the day, before we try to live out an ethic that may have no biblical foundation at all.

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Matthew 18: Misunderstanding and Misuse in Conflict Resolution

Misusing Matthew 18

The Misuse and Abuse of Matthew 18

The heavy-handed application of Matthew 18:15-20 leaves a trail of pain, broken relationships, and human carnage among God’s people. Controlling authoritarians use Matthew 18 to silence dissenting speech, prophetic criticism, and to label people as trouble makers–sources of contamination in the assembly that must be purged.

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Confessions of a Christian Idiot: 'Reprinted from Christianity Without the Religion Magazine - February 2019'

Christian Stupidity

Confessions of a Christian Idiot

Have you ever known someone who is a zealous reforming advocate for some cause that they were once part of themselves, like alcoholism or drug addiction? In their newly found zeal they are often overbearing. I was that person in the early days of my Christian experience. I had a hard case of Christian idiocy. It is a relationally toxic and unsafe mix of sincerity, ignorance, zeal, and self-righteousness.

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It’s 2019 and God is Not Taking You to New Levels

Manipulating People wioth New Levels Language

God is Not taking you to New Levels in 2019

Every year about this time, social media is saturated with naïve and manipulative Christian “blessings” and “predictions” like this:  “In 2019 God is going to take you to new levels!”

That kind of language is not just associated with New Year promises, but it is also stock and trade language in many churches. Well it is 2019, and here is my prediction: God is not going to take you to new levels. Why? Because there is no such thing.

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The Hidden Idolatry in Charismatic Worship: 'Feeding the "Worship Experience" Beast'

Prophets of Baal

Prophets of Baal Worship Their God – J.J. Tissot

I have been a Charismatic believer for forty-two years. I was a weekly “worship leader” in Charismatic, “prophetic and apostolic” environments for thirty-five of those years. I get the picture as someone who has been on the inside for a very long time. I thoroughly understand the history, theology, values, beliefs, and practices behind Charismatic praise and worship expression. I also have had serious concerns and uneasiness about the theology and practice for a very long time. 

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City-Wide Unity: Reality or Romanticism

Unity – What the Real Thing Looks Like: 'Romanticism or Reality at a City-Wide Level'

So you believe in “city-wide” Church unity?

Saying you believe in unity is like saying you believe in gravity: It is self-evident and doesn’t mean much. It is in the making of unity where the real work lies. Programmatic and event-based attempts at church unity are at best temporary relief for our nagging conscience. They rarely produce lasting results. Why? As long as leaders and churches cling to their right to these things there will never be John 17-type unity:

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