Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Eternal Romance

Here is a quick historical survey of the EARLY CHURCH regarding their beliefs about HELL:

THE FIRST 500 YEARS: In the first five centuries there were six known theological schools. Four of them taught that all men would EVENTUALLY be rescued from Hell after a remedial time of purgation: these being the theological schools at Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea and Edessa/Nisbis. One school, Ephesus, taught Annihilationism (that sinners are totally incinerated into nothingness in Hell). Only one theological school, Rome/Carthage taught eternal punishment. Source: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Universalism entry, p. 96, Baker Book House.

"The main Patristic supporters of the apokatastasis theory, such as Bardaisan, Clement, Origen, Didymus, St. Anthony, St. Pamphilus Martyr, Methodius, St. Macrina, St. Gregory of Nyssa (and probably the two other Cappadocians), St. Evagrius Ponticus, Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. John of Jerusalem, Rufinus, St. Jerome and St. Augustine (at least initially [However, even after abandoning the doctrine of apokatastasis himself, Augustine very interestingly recognised that a great deal of Christians in his day did embrace it, 'indeed the vast majority' (immo quam plurimi). These very numerous Christians, 'albeit not denying the Holy Scripture, do not believe in eternal torments' (Ench. ad Laur. 29) page 683]), Cassian, St.Isaac of Nineveh, St.John of Dalyatha, Ps. Dionysius the Areopagite, probably St. Maximus the Confessor, up to John the Scot Eriugena,28 and many others, grounded their Christian doctrine of apokatastasis first of all in the Bible." Page 11, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena, by Ilaria L.E. Ramelli (2013). Ramelli's work is comprehensive (800 pages) on this and her credentials beyond reproach. I daresay its the most comprehensive and scholarly book on the subject ever written. She is working on a shorter user friendly version soon to be published.

1ST CENTURY: PAUL. It is interesting to note that Paul never used the word Hell in any of his writings, though he was considered the theologian of the New Testament. He spoke of God's post-mortem purging fire in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, but never of Hell per se. The Gospel of John, the disciple perhaps closest to Jesus' heart, never used the word Hell in his Gospel. It is also interesting to note that the Book of Acts never mentions the word Hell, except to speak of Jesus' liberation FROM it. Acts NEVER uses the word Hell to describe any part of the Christian message which established the Church. The following passages suggests Paul's seminal thinking on the eventual and ultimate salvation of all men: Romans 5:17,18; 10:9-17; 11:25-33; 14:11; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 15:22-28; 1 Tim. 2:1-6; 4:10; Eph. 1:10; 4:1-10; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:20, 23.

2ND CENTURY: CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. Clement was the first to speak of God's fire as a "wise fire" which purges the sinner unto salvation. "God's punishments are saving and disciplinary (in Hades) leading to conversions, and choosing rather the repentance than the death of the sinner, and especially since souls, although darkened by passions, when released from their bodies, are able to perceive more clearly because of their being no longer obstructed by the paltry flesh. We can set no limits to the agency of the Redeemer to redeem, to rescue, to discipline, is His work, and so will he continue to operate after this life." Clem. str. 5:14.90.4-91.2; see also 5.1.9.4; and hyp. (frg. In Stahlin, Clemens Alexandrians, 3:211).

3RD CENTURY: ORIGEN: "When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole creation is signified, so also, when enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood to consist." Origen, De Principiis, Book III, Chapter 5, Section 7, Anf, Vol. 4. Origen was the first Christian Systematic Theologian. A fundamental and essential element of his theology was the doctrine of the universal restoration of all fallen beings to their original holiness and union with God. Gods mercy and goodness are all-inclusive and ultimately irresistible. Hellfire is corrective and purgative, not punitive and eternal. This doctrine was called Apocatastasis, "the restitution of all things" per Acts 3:21. Origen was the greatest enemy of Gnosticism (per his Against Celsus) and is considered the greatest theologian of the early Eastern Church. "There is hardly a major thinker who is not deeply indebted to Origen. From the middle of the Twentieth Century, focused scholarly symposia of the Greek and Latin Church have once again begun to study and critically expound the rich Origenian legacy." The Westminister Handbook of Patristic Theology, WJK.

4TH CENTURY: GREGORY OF NYSSA: "What therefore is the scope of Pauls argument in this place [1 Cor. 15:28]? That the nature of evil, at length, be wholly exterminated, and divine, immortal goodness embrace within itself every rational creature; so that of all who were made by God, not one shall be excluded from his Kingdom. All the viciousness, that like a corrupt matter is mingled in things, shall be dissolved and consumed in the furnace of purgatorial fire; and every thing that had its origin from God, shall be restored to its pristine state of purity." Tract, in Dictum Apostoli, Tunc etiam ipse Filius subjicietur, and c.p. 137, and seqq. Gregory was one of the three great Cappodadocean Fathers who protected the doctrine of the Trinity from the Arians at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople.

5TH CENTURY: Theodore of Mopsuestia. "They who have chosen the good, shall, in the future world, be blessed and honored. But the wicked, who have committed evil the whole period of their lives, shall be punished till they learn, that, by continuing in sin, they only continue in misery. And when, by this means, they shall have been brought to fear God, and to regard Him with good-will, they shall obtain the enjoyment of His grace." Assemani Biblioth. Orient. Tom. iii. Par. i. p.323.

Church history is fairly clear that this view of Hell was not just the view of a few, but rather was the majority view of the Church.

Basil the Great (329-379) said that, "The MASS of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished." De Ascetics.

Saint Jerome (347-420) said, "I know that MOST persons understand the story of Nineveh and its king, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures." Homily on Jonah.

Lastly, even Augustine (354-430), who vehemently opposed Universalism, acknowledged, "There are VERY MANY in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments." Enchirdion cxii. (The Latin for "very many" is imo quam plurimi, which can be translated majority).

When the Church rejected this high view of God's goodness and replaced it with a view of God as an eternal torturer, the dark ages began, almost to the day. Ever since, there has remained a small, constant and stubborn strand of those imbedded in the Church who believe Hell is not an eternal torture chamber, but rather God's final crisis-center, a cosmic ER station where God performs complicated, intense and painful surgery on our souls in order to remove all our false sin-identies accumulated over our lifetime.

With no permission from Richard Murray

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Begininning Of A Beginning

In 1998 just outside of Belfast Ireland there was a revival, and in the midst of it I fell in love.  I had been involved in music for my whole life, but there was an expression that I had never really heard that was featured, that of the drums.
The drums were playing as one of the speakers commissioned me as a warrior, and as I fell to the floor, I opened my heart and asked God for the drums, and He gave them to me.
I didn’t have any idea what that was going to mean, only that I would have a new weapon in my little arsenal (and I really didn't actually know that  I had n arsenal).  I went out and bought an Irish bodhran (boe-run) and began to fiddle with it and eventually got the sounds out of it, now to get the rhythms out.
The challenge was to playing in 4/4 time when it is designed to play in 6/8 rhythm, but the ingenuity of someone who plays intuitively can overcome pretty much anything. 
Having been a musician most of my life I had certain sensibilities to overcome, and there was a bit of a struggle; including the pastor not feelin’ it, so to speak.  In those times you hope for an intervention.  Someone who has the vote of confidence from those whom you see yourselves under and someone who has you respect as well.
Enter Georgian Banov of a band called Silverwind back in the 1970’s.  And he had his eye on my drum…  that I was having trouble playing in 4/4 time.  He asked if he could play and then should me how to play within the worship setting.  He handed it back to me and I was set free.  Before long it was congas, udu, djembe, quika, ocean drum and so many others- each has a sound, a voice to speak into the atmosphere and change things.

So that was me, breaking loose.  Then on line I ran across a group called Psalm Drummers.  Powerful concept, drum intercession.  Founded by Teryl Bryant, a studio musician from London.  He put together a drum circle that as held at Penn State that had over 400 drummers participating made up of Christian drummers from across the nations that chartered local psalm drummer groups.  I never belonged to one of them, but I saw the strength in the concept.

I have played since that time, breaking through brass heavens and hard hearts and closed minds.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Find Your Voice

I was talking with an old friend of mine the other day and he again talked with me about my need, as I have no progeny, to write a book to hand down the knowledge that I have gathered in my lifetime.
The important knowledge that needs to be be furthered in research and in deed, so I am tasked with writing yet another book (add to two) and the topic is about finding a voice in the world. And what a voice is for. And what difference it makes where you find it. And whether or not you can use someone else voice as your own.
There has been subtle revelation about this topic throughout my life as I have been on spiritual junkets for the visions of others as well as for myself, freeing angels, cutting off Jezebel powers from resources and cracking brass heavens.
I have been both tourist and warrior, assaulting formally and covertly affecting nations, regions and individuals toward freedom and in truth beyond what most Christians perceive as being part of the Great Commission, and I have watched the decline and fall of a major move of God. I live with my eyes open watching for revelation of my Father as well as revelation the effects of the hand of man in the affairs of the heavens and the world.
So finding a voice, your own or borrowing from the land that you find yourself in affects it all. Knowing which to use is a calling that divines the level of success you will have in your task.
Let's walk this path together while we can.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Catchers Frame of Mind

The guests have arrived.
The party's begun.
The Bride and the Groom are about to meet.
The servant of the groom looks around the room confidently knowing that he has had his master's best interest at heart in dealing with the bride.
The Servant enters the room and quietly takes his place behind the bride to keep her safe from being overwhelmed by the majesty of his Master. The Master comes and takes his Bride’s chin in his hand and lifts her head to gaze deeply into her eyes, a look of passion and gentleness, kindness and purpose,
Adoration and compassion
and pure purpose of love.
She is intoxicated. Her hands begin to shake, her knees begin to buckle, she begins to faint, falling to the floor and the servant catches her carefully, skillfully, gracefully and supports her as she falls to the floor.
The servants see that no harm comes to the bride of his master. That no offense is given to her on this auspicious occasion.
This scenario happens over and over again in churches around the world. Call it Revival. 
Call it renewal.
Call it Reformation, 
but understand it is an overwhelming occasion and great care must be taken to keep the bride’s mind stayed on the groom without unnecessary distraction. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Yoke's on Us

I'm not very good at listening to podcast and I'm not very good at reading blogs or writing blogs I'm far too inconsistent, but yesterday I happened to listen to Praying Medics podcast with Matthew Payne and I was convicted on a number of levels.
Another funny thing is PM had told me about this guy on podcast before, and on his radio show, and his ability to hear from God. Actually on the radio show they had people calling in and he was giving accurate words for people who called in and I became jealous for a word from him.
I wanted one because it had been a while (which is not true) since God has spoken to me through someone else. I listen to this podcast and he was banging away on me like an alarm clocks hammer on those two little bells bouncing back and forth, but I'm not going to share all of that. This is about a particular thing that he mentioned in passing.
"when Jesus spoke of a yoke as in 'take my yoke upon you' he was speaking of his teaching".
I always thought that this meant "my burden is light"
I always thought that this had to do with preaching his message.
I thought it had to do with the work of True Religion.
In fact it had to do with the message of his kingdom "at hand"
It had to do with the message of Grace it had to do with the message of forgiving people of their sins. That was his yoke. That was the Yoke of Christ. To forgive people of their sins.
The teaching of the rabbi's, the teaching of the Pharisees was the law straight forward and every time that came at Jesus it was the law they used. They used it to try to get him stoned eventually used it to crucify Him.
They used it for its purpose which is to bring about death. 
Jesus said don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers. So it comes to my attention that unequally yoked can still be two Christians very easily. One Christian who assigns the law and one Christian who assigns Grace. The Pharisees could not function in the Kingdom that Christ was speaking of because they found comfort and solace in the "milk" of the law.
I say the milk of the law because one purpose of the law is to teach us how to live.
The Ten Commandments were 10 very basic rules to live by, the Pharisees extrapolated the very edge of the law to be sure that you didn't go over the edge and find yourself in line for judgement. They lined out just how far you could go, thus inspiring the words of Jesus who said that they strain at a gnat.
So as I listened to Matthew talk about a great many things many of which convicted me because I'm not very mature for my age (I have a very good view of what I expected to look like at this juncture), but when he mentioned the yoke in this context  my ears really perked up.
Peter who was accused of being double-minded was finding it difficult to marry the teaching that he grew up with, the teaching of the vast majority of his Nation, with the teaching of the Christ. At one point the disciples said these teachings are hard and the reason that they were hard is because Jesus would preach in the synagogue "you have heard it said this scripture means this but I'm telling you it means something else, it means THIS"
Peter was yoked to two masters and it was his passions fault-
But you can't have two. You will love the one and hate the other you will cleave to one and hate the other and look around us look around and see there are people who cleave with great desire to be snatched out of the grasp of the devil. To be snatched out of out of the jaws of hell and for others to be snatched from the jaws of hell rather than to preach the Kingdom at hand they would rather preach to people that they're going to hell if they continue doing what they're doing rather than do what Jesus did which was show people a better way.
I believe this is a thing they were speaking of when they spoke of being unequally yoked. For two people to be married and be unequally yoked there would be nothing but strife and a household where one partner believed in Grace and the other partner believed in the law is the stuff of the book of proverbs.
Like Peter I grew up under the law. I grew up under some strict rules and it has taken me a very long time to get out from under the law.
 Matthew has a very interesting and I believe very likely understanding of Peter that I won't go into but it gives me great comfort to hear Peter spoken of in such a way because I have identified with Peter for so long.
So there are two trees one tree is the knowledge of Good and Evil let's call that tree the law. And the other tree is the Tree of Life for the fruit is sweet but like any other sweet fruit if you make it your complete diet you will not be healthy. You must use common sense. Common Sense doesn't grow on trees and to be equally yoked means to be yoked with someone who Cleaves to what you cleave to. So be wise in your choosing for you will be known in the context of your associations. I choose to love Love

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A Model Coming Out of the Pacific North West

So you hang around with the "prophetic" crowd and you hear all kinds of things. You SEE all kinds of things.  And you pray that you might get to be involved in what's coming...
Nearing 20 years ago I heard someone say that there was going to be a movement that would originate in the PNW and go around the world.
I got excited.
Then I got involved in worship, each team showing a higher skill level as well as a higher tolerance for...  the out of the ordinary, which was good for me, because I detest the ordinary.
Even in high school, if my choir director handed us a sheet of music that wasn't hand written I was kind of miffed.
Through the years I began to find myself in positions where I was invited as a guest, of sorts, to play at a few native american reconciliation events, a party  collecting bicycles to give to a village in Africa so that the kids could get to school safer and quicker.
I began to see the value of rhythmic intercession and was mc at a few drum circles that gathered folks together for purposes of intercession for unity in our city, evangelism, some were initiated to explore the possibilities.
We started a circle of musicians, meeting in a barn for the express purpose of stretching ourselves into playing for an audience of one, although we all played together and fought to protect the sanctity of our offering. (It's hard to get people on board with "No Agenda" when they have always been part of the machine and can't find the clasps holding their garments on)
Now let me tell you about this region- hang onto your hats...
New Age. Not just New Age, but a 300 year old warrior spirit who channeled (until recently) through a woman in a small town that had the world come to visit... and just New Age.  Mountains will do that to you.

Buddhism- Buddhist monks aren't all sunshine and goodness, nor do they all respect YOUR belief systems when they are engaging in their own satisfactions.
Islam- They aren't militant, but they are represented.
Progressives- they don't do anything remarkable except fix things that aren't broken... and sometimes break things so they have something to fix.
Wicca, Pagan, Animism- Hindu's, well, why not, everyone else is here.
All that to say that all the world is here.
And why does that make a difference?
How else do you reach every tribe and tongue- you must become relevant to them. You make room for the sound of their voices.
I have not learned to play tabla with any skill whatsoever, but I am ready for someone who has- I have room for them.
I HAVE learned to play a native american flute on a very basic level.
I am LEARNING to throat sing.
I have some proficiency on a djembe
I keep a watchful eye out for those who are proficient where I lack, and I make room for those whose sounds are beyond my scope.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear mixtures of cultural melodies, rhythms and instruments that are proving unity in the earth, making room for a unity that goes beyond doctrines and fears.
This region begat Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones and Nirvana, it is fraught with diversity (there is actually a band from Vancouver Canada called Delhi to Dublin- can you guess what they are mixing?)
Why would it not come from here?
Why would just such a movement be born here?
And why would it not be borne from where ever you are sitting?
Let's DO this!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gethsemane


Much of what I am invited to do is a novelty for those around around it. My driving abilities are less than stellar until the anointing is on them. My abilities as a flautistare seriously in question from the standpoint of brilliant musicianship but I do what I hear to do I try to repeat what I'm hearing in spirit.
On this particular evening I had been invited as a drummer and hopefully to attract other drummers to the venue but that didn't happen. The man who led continued to lead that night and as he ventured chasing what ever was leading him he began to sing a song from Willy want to and the chocolate factory. The lyrics of the song are something to the effect that,"we don't know where we are going". 
As he saying this I heard the lyrics to be we don't know when we are going and I saw you in my minds eye a clock and the hour hand and the minute hand we're going in opposite directions and I could sense the boat that Willy Wonka was riding on. 
Then I heard the words "will you not sit with me for one hour?"
I recognized the plea Jesus had with Peter and the plea to come and spend an hour with him and his moment of need that of the greatest trial. It was at this point that I realize that I had an invitation to spend that hour with Jesus at Gethsemane. 
I myself didn't trust what I was seeing I didn't throw myself into it like I might if that experience or to be offered to me now but I knew the devil was there he stepped out from behind a tree I couldn't hear his words I couldn't hear his voice but I knew that he was taunting Jesus my friend. 
At this point I was very near Jesus and I told him that what he was hearing your lies and I I wanted to encourage him and I told him that I was a result of his death on the cross that my life the blessing in my life the blessing in the lives of many many others all came from the death and resurrection.
I have shared the story with a few people and the only one that I know of took the story and ran with it and they were extremely intentional about how their experience. Just a teeny weeny bit of jealousy here