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Later the French sent a party to kill the Spaniards. There was an Inquisition in the New World. It was established in and lasted until the s. Yet the Inquisition was relatively lenient toward Indians, saving most of its ire for Spaniards. San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the rest of the famous 21 missions of California, most founded by Franciscan Junipero Serra, were not the most successful North American enterprise of the Spaniards.

They established 25 missions in New Mexico and 44 in Florida. Usually, native Americans could serve in churches as interpreters, acolytes, and even teachers, but they were not allowed to become priests or friars. Conquistador Hernando Cortes was greedy and violent, yet deeply religious. He sometimes preached the gospel, and he allowed himself to be publicly whipped for neglecting to attend worship. He once cried upon seeing a cross beside the road. Formally founded in , St. Augustine remains the oldest continuing settlement in the U. Click here for reprint information on Christian History.

Sections Home. Prayer Abortion Fatherhood. Subscribe Subscriber Benefits Give a Gift. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. Home Featured Holidays. Home Featured People. Columbus and Christianity: Did You Know? Some people will never understand what its like to be on the other side of the fence and know how it feels to be ridiculed and oppressed for being what God made us!

Thanks for your thoughtful and loving letter. Thank you for sharing Mr. Your letter was so touching and moved me to tears. The love and forgiveness that you show gives me hope that we live in a world that may be able to someday show the same love and peace to all regardless of our many differences. May God bless you and your family.

Yes the new website is working but I would suggest limiting the number of lines in responses — some responses are very long — if people want to post large amounts of text verbatim they should have to use a link or in the case of scripture, the citation. Also I think full names which correspond to an email address should be required — no pseudonyms or just first names.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! Thank you so much for sharing your story — a journey of faith and integrity. May we learn as you have to follow the spirit of the Scriptures instead of the letter of the law. Thank you for following truth that is beyond the simplistic interpretation of scripture that we have grown up with. The four verses in the Bible that bring up homosexuality need to be read and studied in their context and with the intent that they were written.

What was God really talking about? God has so much more to say about promiscuity, gossip, stealing etc. God is so holy and loving. He will direct our understanding when we prayerfully and humbly seek His truth. Thank you for opening this crack to let the light shine a little brighter. It has been such a previlage to get to know you these last few years. Amen and Amen! God grant us all light and love for these days.

To Mr. Chester Wenger. I watched the news then read what you wrote. Thank You. I wish more parents were as understanding as you were. The world would be a better place. A son could not have a better mom and dad then yourself and your wife. Bless you and your family. Penguins etc…. Thank you so much for telling your story and offering these words. As it seems, it has served you well over the years, teaching you love and compassion and a great respect for family and humanity.

I know there are plenty of things in the Bible you continually guilty of. Just start in Leviticus and start reading and if you follow all these rules then start casting stones. Be honest. If you are not yet among the more than No matter what your view of homosexuality the compassionate letter from this 96 year old brother […]. Degradation and hate by the church as a whole is a huge injustice displayed by the church! As such whether you are someone who cheats on their spouse, murders, lies or lives a homosexual life style the Bible refers to them as sin.

When we promote these sins within the church through marriage or giving them places of authority are we not promoting the sinful behavior. For example if a pastor who cheats on his wife and is allowed to remain the head of his church are we not saying this is acceptable behavior.

Are we not called to repent of our sins and strive to be like Christ. There is room for healing and change though the help of the Holy Spirit. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. The wide gate and broad way in this world is to embrace the ways of the world and the values of the sin-filled world.

The world at least in Western culture is telling us that practicing homosexuality should be tolerated…out of love, out of respect, out of mutuality. Surrendering to sinful desires of this flesh is sin…repent and turn away and sin no more. Laying aside interpretation of scripture — lying, stealing, murder, unforgiveness, hatred, strife, fear, faithlessness, fornication, adultery, deception, worry……..

Why is it that so many people set themselves up as judges and are so quick to condemn. Is your world so cut and dried, so black and white. If you are going to follow old testament law, then you better do so. That would put all hog farmers in the US out of business because that meat was unclean. However if you look at the life of Christ, you see a different picture of the way that God relates to his people. Who did Christ condemn?

Why is it that our churches are so concerned with sexual issues, but cannot deal with the fact that the church is more or less silent when church members get wealthy by exploiting fellow humans; in fact we make heroes out of them. Is your God really that small, that there is no room for gays in the Kingdom? If we hold ourselves up to be so morally pure, why are you not treating persons that divorce and remarry the same as you are treating gays? After all there is biblical justification for that as well. Thank you for your loving letter and deep faith.

I am sorry for the suffering you and your family endured and pray for peace for each of you. I believe the transformation of your suffering into love is exactly what Christ calls us to do. Your children are fortunate to have loving, committed parents who live out their faith courageously. Congratulations and blessings to you both, your son, and his partner! Thank you Chester and Sara Jane; not just for your letter but for your life long ministry to and for the church!

Though as a gay man I understand where you are coming from as regards your position on the Mennonite church and your gay son and though I appreciate where your struggle has lead you, it was nonetheless insulting to me as a Jew to read your comment regarding circumcision. The Jewish covenant of circumcision and Christianity in any of its forms are absolutely unrelated, just as Christianity and Judaism are unrelated theologically.

There was no reason to bring it up at all. Christianity is wholly unrelated to and not at all theologically derived from Judaism. To refer to circumcision as if it has some relevance to your discussion is to stray perilously close to antisemitism, and at best is a misunderstanding of who we are. Jesus was circumcised, and proudly so;because he was born, lived and died as a Jew. That he was declared a God, and part of a trinity a few hundred years after his death gives you no right to discuss my customs as if they are a minor part of, or historical predecessors to yours!

When you denigrate the culture of others to make a point about your own, regardless of how ethical that point may be, you diminish yourself. I hope that the Mennonite church can come to terms with homosexuality, but the covenant of Brit Milah is not yours to denigrate, dismiss or use as an analogy for exclusion! We are likely allied politically and ethically, but I nonetheless cannot allow the insult to go un-addressed.

I have deep respect for you as a person and as a gay person and Jewish. But why all the over-reacting to the circumcision issue! It blows me away reflecting on your passion and aggressiveness regarding the subject. Since when is Judaism and Christianity unrelated theologically? This over-reacting comment reminds me of the aggressiveness received recently from a Jewish man from Brooklyn after I suggested to him that the present Israeli government may have committed internationally considered war crimes in Gaza in the past 6 months.

Perhaps your view of Christianity in its historical, cultural, and theological dimensions needs more thorough study and reflective thinking outside the box you seem to put it in. With that we could have some diaologue. This gathering was deciding whether Gentile Christians had to be circumcised before they could become Christians.

I am sure Brother Wenger meant absolutely no disrespect to the Jewish covenant of circumcision by his comments. He claimed to be God while with His disciples, please educate yourself before you toss insults to God in this blog. Read the gospels, particularly the Book of John. Well stated, Diane…along the lines of what I was trying to get across in my comments above 60, reply to 58 , but more simply and clearly! To me, this thinking is indicative of a closed heart and mind. God has revelations to show us every day but we have to be open to receiving them!

Excellent and heart-deep testimony of a vibrant faith. Thanks so much for sharing! Keep the faith! I am not an active Mennonite, but was brought up Mennonite and am still very interested in the Church. I am a retired music professor, singer and conductor. I first met a gay man, my beloved voice teacher and mentor, in I have, since, met many wonderful gay people. So, I soon learn he had married a woman. Six months later, I learned he was divorced from her, because he discovered he really was gay.

What a trauma to have to endure! I have relatives who are gay, I have many colleagues who are gay. Would he deny it? Would he believe that God goofed? Sometimes the answers lay beyond the Scriptures—yes, sometimes in love, in reason, in science, in compassion. To those who are singing his praises, stop and think for a minute. Johnny, I stopped to think and realized that of course it can be painful for some members of his family because family members rarely agree on everything. But the way that Chester and Sara Jane presented their letter was wonderfully done and will help thousands and thousands to think much more thoroughly regarding sexuality issues and especially homosexuality and the church.

The Mennonite Church will be largely blessed by this letter. Ask me five years from now; ask me 10 years from now and we will know that it is one of the best messages to ever to have been given to the Mennonite Church worldwide. This is potentially historical. The leaders were shocked, distraught, stunned, and disturbed to see on the mission field such disregard for conference regulations that required the wearing of plain coats. According to one source, the delegates retreated to a hotel room and wept. Wenger and colleagues explained that a plain coat in Ethiopia was a detriment to their witness; Mennonite missionaries, when wearing the plain coat, were mistaken for Orthodox priests, not a happy affiliation.

Can this retrospective be useful in our current conversation? Whatever position we take, Chester is our brother and Sara Jane is our sister. His 96 years of life and long and faithful ministry, with or without credentials, call for our respect. With my fallibility ever before me, let me be the last person to condemn this patriarch and this matriarch.

Thank you for sharing this story, John! Historical memory is always appreciated. Chester and Sara Jane: What a wonderful gift you have provided the church at a painfully divisive time in its history. Thank you for telling your story in such a humble and non-judgmental manner. If your family can hold differing views on this topic and continue to sing, play and pray together and have good times with each other, then surely the larger church can do this too. As for repentance: many are the testimonies of persons who prayed fervently for countless years that God would change their same-gender attraction into a heterosexual one — repentance, indeed.

What shall the church say when God does not bring about that change despite the faithful, desperate, prayerful pleading? A father tending to the spiritual needs of his son and marrying his son to his beloved…. Yeah, someone understands the message about love and acceptance and its a beautiful thing to behold. Hey Genevieve, can he also marry me to my adult daughter? It would be a beautiful thing to behold. God is Love. Love is Truth, outside of which is nothing. Truth needs no defense. It stands secure, encompassing All of Creation. When we defend our point of view, remember we are defending our opinion of Truth.

This is never Truth. See your brother as Love sees him: beloved, radiant, valuable beyond measure and guiltless as he was created. If Truth has set you and him free, both are free indeed. In condemning your brother you cannot escape the judgment you are choosing to lay at your own door. That is why we are constrained to love and forgive and fear not. Our heritage is to stand together embracing with Joy in His Presence. What keeps us from experiencing that today? I want to express regret for my comments. I also want apologize to Phil if I have offended him.

My thoughts came not just from my views on same-sex unions but from concern for a young member of the Wenger family who has been close to us for the last 19 years, however I acknowledge I may have over stepped my bounds. What a brave and loving stand you have taken on behalf of your son and your church. Your thoughtful words show the caring and regard you hold for both. Thank you, Chester. In the kindest way possible, I can only be sad. This action is wrong according to the Holy Word of God. I want to be silent only out of respect for many that think this action is acceptable. I can only say that silence on this matter does not honor God.

I have many that I love that this issue affects but I am willing, in a kind way, to say this is sin. I was a Meno while growing up and a number of years thereafter. However, when I found myself living in a non-meno area one without a Mennonite Church , we attended another strong bible-believing denomination. Now I am on the outside looking in and have to say that I have a lot of concerns about my beloved Mennonite church. The non-meno congregations I have attended in the past 26 years while living in 3 different states fed me the word of God, pointed me toward understanding and let the Lord speak to me through His word.

Meanwhile, on the occasions I have visited Mennonite churches, a number of them seem to start with an issue, quote a few verses that may appear to be somewhat related, then go off down some other road leaving me to wonder if the foundation is crumbling. Several issues have apparently consumed the Mennonite Churches in liberal controversy. Issues such as the one discussed in this thread are one of MANY scriptural signs of the times, and time is limited.

Even though I just moved back to an area where the Mennonite Churches are many, for now we are drawn to where the word is taught. Phil remains in my heart along with a sincere love for the Mennonite Church of which I am no longer a part. My son, unlike my daughter, was born very selfish. For so long I would break out the bible and correct, rebuke, admonish, etc, on his selfish-nature.. He recently asked me if I would help him lie, white lie really, on a business loan he desperately needs, and because I love him, I did it! People raise selfish children and that is very different than being born gay.

The lack of compassion or empathy or even love shown by some of you supposed Christians is amazing. All your supposed to do is love your neighbor and God. Keep your dark ages mentality to yourself. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.

Proverbs 1, 18, 19 The Words of Agur the son of Jakeh…There be three things which be too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not. The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; the way of a man with a maid. In the mind of Agur the son of Jakeh The way was unknown of the man with the maid.

The passion the purpose of this drama divine Makes all other riddles take second in line. From Adam and Eve to the Shulamite girl Romance has captured the heart of the world. A bachelor once lonely began a new life By trading a rib in exchange for a wife.

This story outstretches the sky in its span How a woman was formed to complete the man, From Eden this saga was launched to soar Through time and space till time be no more, How a man was humbled and cut in his side To supply from himself the needs of his bride.

The first and Last Adam were looking for one Who would share in their dreams and leave them for none. The mystery is great but the intention is clear Of the man and maid in the parable here. The great deficit staged is a man alone Who waits to be joined to bone of his bone. The wonder of waiting can only be beat By the time when the woman is finally complete. The goodness and favor that a wife does bring Makes the pleasure of waiting a rewarding thing. There are three, said Agur, too wondrous to me, The eagle, the snake and the ship on the sea. The first couple flew high like an eagle in flight As they watched with their God arrayed in His Light Until the serpent so sly came to deceive The mother of life, the woman named Eve.

That serpent of old will meet his demise And the man of the maid will break through the skies To rescue the bride whose garments were purged As she came through the fire and spotless emerged. But till that day we are reminded well By the parable your lives live to tell, So as you go from here your ship to guide Hang on tight and enjoy the ride. The journey will really begin at that call For that romance will be the Crowning of all.

Well I hope you follow Leviticus to the letter of the law, and to the rest I hope you find your way to compassion and empathy for everyone. The main point of it all is to love with an open heart, free of judgment and petty fears. As for your other comment, are you the current cheerleader for sin? Dan I see more goats up in arms about this than sheep. I think maybe you need to revisit the text. My point is just love everyone and reserve judgment for no man.

I side with Jesus, not the Pharisees. I believe this man more than eloquently stated his peace and I believe Jesus is pleased with it. Jesus reaffirms that sin is sin. If we choose, we can rise above it an follow Him or we can wallow in our sin and claim sin is not in us. IF you are claiming to be Christian, you are raised to a higher standard and are NOT to willingingly promote, agree with or live in sin. As we seek to hear the other, to continue love and to cherish each other, in the midst of disagreement, and too often, at least for me, the desire to let others know that I am right, I value highly this quote from Matthew Tiscareno.

Consider The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. And yet somehow there seems to be this sheepish adherence to a double standard for Gay and Straight people. Lesbians and Gay men are precluded from any hope for romance or commitment. Tough luck, kid. Fortunately, the reason increasing numbers of Americans support marriage equality is because they have learned to make better value judgments.

Those friends and family members will subsequently act as a force of encouragement for that couple to hold fast to their vows. Your argument could be used to support Grampa marrying his 18 year old loving grand-daughter. Paul describes marriage as a crutch for the weak who are helpless to prevent themselves from burning with passion. It seems like something rather shameful, not honorable. Why are straight people never admonished to resist their burning passions and remain celibate as Paul recommended? For this reason a man will leave his father and be united unto his wife, and rhe two will become one flesh, they are no longer two, but one.

Ach du lieber! I do not agree with his reasoning. The Bible is clear homosexuality is an abomination and is sin. We have to go to what the Bible says. Marriage is between one man and one woman and represents Christ and church. The fact that he approved of, blessed and officiated that ceremony means he was in full agreement with what his son and partner were doing. This is wrong! He may say is conscience is clear, but scripture says otherwise. Actually, the Bible says the unmarried should remain that way.

I Corinthians The only people who should marry are those who are so weak that they cannot control their passions. But with God all things are possible, so anyone should be able to control their passions. Hence, no need for marriage at all. Thank you, Brother Chester, for a compassionate and courageous statement. It is an inspiration to all of us to find opportunities to speak our convictions concerning the importance of being an inclusive, welcoming church.

Thank you, Chester, for your letter providing your story. Over the years I have come to change my earlier view about homosexuality. I have seen too many examples of gays and lesbians faithfully following Jesus in their lives. While those few verses can be understood on the surface as condemnation, it is important to look at the verses in context of the culture in which they were written and in the broader context of the whole of scripture.

I am not promoting the idea of accepting sin. I am challenging the belief that people living in a committed relationship, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are sinning. They held so tightly to their interpretations that they could not recognize Jesus in their very midst. I think we need some humility that we might be wrong about our interpretations. Looking back, we were clearly wrong about slavery. I also think we were wrong about keeping women out of leadership roles, condemning people who were divorced, and condemning those with same-gender attraction.

I guess the same argument can be used for polygamy satisfying the needs of the bisexual and incest grampa and adult grandson truly love each other. Dan, your comment regarding polygamy makes no sense to me. I have never heard that polygamy involved bisexuality. Do you even know the definition of the word? I choose to abide by science; and refrain from engaging in such activity. Anyone with a God-given brain and a little dash of education figured that out a long time ago.

That is my bisexual opinion, and I stand by it. Homosexuals, heterosexuals, and bisexuals can be monogamous. What is wrong with that? Romans for it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in gods sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. I want to be a God pleaser, not a man pleaser. The ways that seem right to a man will only bring him death, I want to go the way that leads to life, Jesus is the only way and he commands us to be holy as the Father is holy. Dan, Thank you for inviting my honest and God-centered response rather than assuming that my response would not be God-centered since it may differ from your understanding.

I do not see any Mennonites in the USA following this command! It seems that perhaps our current prohibition against polygomy is more cultural than biblical. This was a point of controversy with the Mennonite Church in Africa a number of years ago. Again, we seem to be following our cultural prohibitions regarding who may be married as much as biblical mandates.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating for polygomy or incest! Rather than bringing out all the extreme possible ramifications of my logical, let me go back to the core. I do not think the scriptural references against homosexual practices are addressing the issue of a committed same gender relationship. That seems to be the crux of our difference.

It is not a matter of one of us being concerned about being a God pleaser and the other a people pleaser, or one of us proposing that anything goes while the other remains faithful. We have a different view of biblical interpretation on some texts. Let us seek to faithfully follow our understanding of what God is calling us to be. I do not believe we are at liberty to pick and choose what we like or agrees with in our thinking. The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword; it does the discerning. Still seeking any Scripture in support of Wengers position.

Also seeking any reference in the early church era of this sort of notion coming forth from the Holy Spirit to man. Has God changed? The Dark Ages should suffice to convince us, that when the church and the world agree on something and try to change it, God is not moved. Also seeking any issue, currently, in history, or Scripture, where the disciples of Christ were proven wrong, and needed to turn and follow a culture who hates God.

God never changes — He is my God of love. He who does not believe and follow the God of love follows the prince of darkness. Darkness does not make lite neither can darkness remain in lite. Darkness can not put out lite but lite removes darkness. If there is darkness it for the lack of lite. Dear Chester Wenger, Thank you for your courage to publish this letter which exudes love of Jesus, love of family, love of the church and love of the scriptures and a long life giving witness to that love.

Thank God for your witness. We know what Paul thought past tense. And HOW will we know? Like you, I think the Bible can help: John tells us to test the spirits in 1 John 4 and that the test is love. But, I get into trouble when I worship the written word rather than the living word, Jesus [who used scripture yet at times seemed in tension with then, e. My congregation is about to embark on a discernment process regarding LBGT matters, so I have been doing a lot of reading.

I am not Mennonite, nor am I Anabaptist, but I am in theology, in general. Let us talk about Paul and Romans for a moment, because I believe that it is very important to discuss the back story, that you will most likely not know unless you are a graduate from seminary. First of all it is very important to know that Paul was a Hellenistic Jew, and very highly educated one. In his day there would have never been words used such as homosexual or same sex, nor would there be usage of any words that we, today, now use to describe being gay.

The man known to be the husband would have been looked up quite favorably among his Roman peers. The other partner in the relationship who was known to be the wife, so to speak, would have all but been shunned by his Roman peers. Because a man in a submissive role would have been looked upon as weak, at best. Hence, this person would have dressed more feminine in order to be accepted by his fellow Roman citizens. What is more important is that the story of men leaving their natural affections…. Paul was disgusted with what he was witnessing in general.

Paul had noted that while he, and his fellow worshipers, were in engaged in converting many from paganism, many of those same persons were still attending pagan temples and engaging in sexual orgies with the temple prostitutes. These new converts were fearful that their old gods would exact punishment upon them for forsaking them in favor of a new god.

Hence they would be caught entering or exiting such temples after leaving church on the sabbath. Hence Paul writes to discourage the behavior of orgies in the temples. These orgies were more likely than not to include sexual intercourse with both men and woman who had dedicated their lives to the particular pagan temple. Perhaps this will make Roman chapter 1 more clear.

The parallels with Paul in Philippians are striking! In these many responses, there are a number of references to Romans I am convinced that most people change their minds about LGBT people once they experience it with family or friends rather than through reading scripture I include myself.

However, I think we can better dialogue with each other if we know how to read and interpret relevant texts in their larger literary and historical contexts. At the risk of length, let me try this on Romans Here is the literary context:. Thesis: —the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every Jew or Gentile who has faith or is faithful. This also includes Jews who may have different sins, but they are just as bad. Conclusion: —all can be saved equally, through the righteousness of God and the faithfulness of Messiah Jesus.

Conclusions for today: Throughout Romans, Paul is seeking to unify quarreling Jewish and gentile Christians. He does not approve of people judging other people unless they also judge themselves as equally sinful. Historical context. Paul is writing to small house churches composed of both Jews and gentiles, generally of the lower classes. They could not marry and were sexually available to their owners or had to work as prostitutes, both boys and girls, men and women.

At a time of short life expectancy and high child mortality, every free, able-bodied person was expected to get married to have children to pass on their line. Hence, biblical texts always assume marriage between one man and one woman. Men and probably some high-class women who were sexually unfulfilled in such a marriage would seek sex from their own slaves or other prostitutes. Paul uses many negative words to describe this practice: lust, impurity, degrading, etc.

Therefore, this text cannot be appropriately used to condemn those in a committed same-sex marriage. You each have given us much to think about. Reta, you seem to hold nearly the same view, while adding some references to a more metaphysical salvation. So we can all agree, it seems, that same-sex genital activity is manifested culturally and will look different from time to time and from culture to culture and from environment to environment. And that the gay and lesbian manifestations of today are unprecedented in human history.

Still, I find it astonishing that you both seem to regard the assumptions and views of Paul, a widely travelled urbanite who knew many more people engaged in same-sex genital activity than any hundred of us will ever know, as irrelevant to our discussion of same-sex, committed relationships. I am terribly grieved at the condition of the Mennonite Church and so very thankful to no longer be a part of it.

How long will the Lord tolerate the wicked depravity of our nation and, even worse, a church denomination that is following the world rather than Scripture and not only tolerating sin but indeed condoning it? True love calls sinners to repentance Ps. Those who claim to know Him and yet so drastically distort His Word face an even greater judgment than those who have never called on His name. Thank you for letting the light shine. Too many keep hiding it under a bushel. You give me hope for my own future.

Thank you for giving me faith. It seems to me that Mr. Wenger has caved in to societal pressure. Throughout the last years Christians have frequently held minority views on human sexuality. Recent American history is no different. They rejected these in the face of sometimes sincere and sometimes cynical opposition from the broader American society.

Christians are now facing yet one more assertion of the sexual revolution: God approves of same sex union or at least some forms of it. The Scriptures are clear enough; we must lovingly but resolutely disagree. The church will continue, but Christians of the future and indeed God himself will judge our choices. Hold fast! As a defence of my faith — if you will allow me to paraphrase the words of the Apostle Paul from Philippians ff.

An additional note on the frequency of historical presents in the Fourth Gospel:. Perhaps this is the reason for the large number of historical presents in the Fourth Gospel. Extensive use of the historical present is a characteristic mark of Johannine style. Westcott, The Gospel According to St.

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John ; rpt. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Feine, J. Behm, and W. Mattill, Jr. AD 97 using an AD 30 date for the crucifixion, or ca. AD if AD 33 is used. AD by Regul, Die antimarcionitischen Evangelienprologe. John mentions no examples of Jesus casting out demons. John also includes a considerable amount of material not found in the synoptics. Prior visits of Jesus to Jerusalem before the passion week are mentioned in John but not found in the synoptics. The seventh sign-miracle, the resurrection of Lazarus John 11 is not mentioned in the synoptics. The extended Farewell Discourse John 13—17 is not found in the synoptic Gospels.

The synoptics are written from a third person point of view, describing the events as if the authors had personally observed all of them and were reporting what they saw at the time. Thus they are basically descriptive in their approach. The author of the Fourth Gospel very carefully separates himself from the events he describes cf. However clear it is that he was an eyewitness of the life of Jesus, it is no less clear that he looks back upon it from a temporal distance.

We understand more of the significance of the events described from the position the writer now holds than an eyewitness could have understood at the time the events took place. He looks back on the events and emphasizes the inability of the apostles to understand the things that were happening in their true perspective at the time they occurred. Goppelt observed:. The Gospel of John passed on the words of Jesus predominantly in another genre than the synoptics; it did not do so in sayings, parables, and controversy dialogues, but in connected or dialogical discourses.

John makes more frequent use of these literary techniques than the synoptics. Much of this antithetical dualism is also found in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls texts. See J. Charlesworth New York: Crossroad, Jesus says something to someone which is misunderstood, thus giving Jesus a further opportunity to clarify what he really meant.

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Dodd can be seen in microcosm in John b There is an obvious tension between these statements that must be reconciled; judgment cannot be both present and future at the same time. The Gospel of John is written in a style of Greek quite different from the synoptics. The range of vocabulary is smaller. There is frequent parataxis use of coordinate clauses rather than subordinate clauses. Asyndeton frequently occurs. Related to paragraph 7 above, there is little difference between the words that are ascribed to Jesus and the words of the Evangelist.

Example: try to determine in John where the words of Jesus to Nicodemus end and the interpretive comments of the Evangelist begin. Alsup Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , Some have thought that the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel was composed separately by someone other than the Evangelist. The usual reasons given for seeing the Prologue as a separate composition involve the unique vocabulary it employs: lovgo" referring to the preincarnate Logos only in , ; plhvrh" , plhvrwma in , ; and cavri" in , , and For example, R. But it is more likely that it is original, because it fits so well with what follows.

Some have thought it should be understood as poetry. True, it can be arranged to look like verse. But I have seen no two arrangements which agree, nor any one arrangement which I find particularly convincing. I think it is better to regard the prologue as elevated prose , with a meditative or reflective air about it like much of the rest of the Fourth Gospel. But this does not make it poetry. On the use of oJ lovgo" : It is not proven beyond doubt whether the term, as John uses it, is to be derived from Jewish or Greek backgrounds or some other source.

Nor is it precisely plain what the author meant by it. He does not tell us, and we are left to work out the precise allusion and significance for ourselves. At every important point he has not only two thoughts instead of one, but two sets of allusions in mind. This was an all-pervading principle, the rational principle of the universe.

It was a creative energy. In one sense, all things came from it; in another, men derived their wisdom from it. These concepts are at least as old as Heraclitus 6th cent. Later Hellenistic thought : Philo of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher of the early 1st century, frequently mentions the lovgo" it appears over times in his writings , but he is really concerned with his Platonic distinction between this material world and the real, heavenly world of ideas.

It was the Stoics who actually developed the concept of lovgo". They were convinced of the ultimate rationality of the universe, and used the term lovgo" to express this conviction. It was the supreme governing principle of the universe. But the Stoics did not think of the lovgo" as personal, nor did they understand it as we would understand God i. The Evangelist, then, is using a term that would be widely recognized among the Greeks.

But he would know it meant something very important. The rest of the Fourth Gospel, however, shows little trace of acquaintance with Greek philosophy, and even less of dependence on it. John, in his use of lovgo" , is cutting across the fundamental Greek concept of the gods: they were detached, they regarded the struggles and heartaches and joys and fears of the world with serene, divine lack of feeling. John uses lovgo" to portray a God so involved, so caring, so loving and giving that he becomes incarnate within his creation. John spoke to a world which thought of the gods in terms of passionless apatheia and serene detachment.

And men were confronted with a God who cared so passionately and who loved so sacrificially that His expression was Jesus Christ and His emblem a cross. Some say this is not significant because Memra does not refer to a being distinct from God. It is just a way of referring to God himself. John does not use the term the way the Targums do, but to those familiar with the Targums it must have aroused these associations, which John would be in agreement with.

In summary : William Temple states that the lovgo". Both will agree that this Logos is the starting-point of all things. John was using a term which, with various shades of meaning, was in common use everywhere. He could count on all men catching his essential meaning. But for John, the Word was not a principle, but a living Being, the source of life; not a personification, but a Person, and that Person divine.

Note: John never uses the absolute, specific, unrelated term lovgo" outside of the prologue. Elsewhere it is always modified or clarified, and does not occur in the Gospel again in the sense of the lovgo". Why not? Probably because in the Prologue we are looking at pre-existence.

Therefore, he is called Jesus from this point on, no longer oJ lovgo". Jesus and the lovgo" are an identity; the lovgo" is the pre-existent Christ. That is to say, what the philosophers had grasped about the lovgo" had some elements of truth, but these were only dim and distant reflections of the pre-incarnate Christ himself. There really was a rational principle behind the universe, but until the coming of this lovgo" as Jesus of Nazareth there was no way to know anything about him except by natural revelation with all its limitations.

Cook, W. Edwards, Ruth B. Fennema, D. Green, H. King, J. Miller, E. Parker, J. Trudinger, L. Genesis 1 describes the first physical creation; John 1 describes the new spiritual creation. The new creation is really a re-creation, of the spiritual first but also the physical. Before the created order as we know it existed, the Word already existed. And h can certainly convey eternal pre-existence, in contrast to ejgevneto It means more than metav or parav , and is regularly employed in expressing the presence of one person with another.

Many of the later manuscripts which do have punctuation place it before the phrase, thus putting it with verse 4 [ 75c, C, D, L, Q , et al. Nestle-Aland 25th ed. In a detailed article Kurt Aland defends the change. This came out of the Arian controversy, and was intended as a safeguard for doctrine. The change was unknown in the West. It appears to me Aland is correct in affirming that the phrase was attached to v. But this does not rule out the possibility that by moving the words from v.

Understanding the words as part of v. Conclusion: The phrase is best taken with verse 3. The arguments of R. Schnackenburg are particularly persuasive.

The Main Reason People Leave a Church

Life, especially eternal life, will become one of the major themes of the gospel. Up till now John has used past tenses imperfect , aorist ; now he switches to a present. The light continually shines. Even as the evangelist writes, it is shining. The present here has gnomic force; it expresses the timeless truth that the light of the world cf. The question of whether John has in mind here the pre-incarnate Christ or the incarnate Christ is probably too specific.

The incarnation is not really introduced till , but here the point is more general: it is of the very nature of light, that it shines. The antithesis is a natural one, widespread in antiquity. Genesis 1 gives considerable emphasis to it in the account of the creation, and so do the writings of Qumran. It is the major theme of one of the most important extra-biblical documents found at Qumran, the so-called War Scroll , properly titled The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness.

Connections between John and Qumran are still an area of scholarly debate and a consensus has not yet emerged. They loved darkness rather than light Those who follow Jesus do not walk in darkness But they did not succeed. John the Baptist was a created being; there was a time when he was not. The verb marturevw occurs 33 times compare to 1 time in Matthew, 1 time in Luke, 0 in Mark and the noun marturiva 14 times 0 in Matthew, 1 time in Luke, 3 times in Mark.

Leviticus Rabbah In this verse we are introduced to the kovsmo" for the first time. This is another important theme word for John. Generally, kovsmo" as a Johannine concept does not refer to the totality of creation the universe, das All although there are exceptions at Even in the world created through the lovgo" is a world capable of knowing or reprehensibly not knowing its Maker.

Sometimes oJ kovsmo" is further qualified as oJ kovsmo" ou to" , , , , 31; , , For John it is also contrasted to a world other than this one, already existing ; this is the lower world, corresponding to which there is a world above see esp. Jesus appears not only as the Messiah by means of whom an eschatological future is anticipated as in the Synoptics but also as an envoy from the heavenly world to oJ kovsmo" ou to". The idea is one not of mere recognition, but of acceptance and welcome. One of the unsolved mysteries is why the corresponding noun form pivsti" is never used at all.

Many have held the noun was in use in some pre-Gnostic sects and this rendered it suspect for John. It might also be that for John, faith was an activity, something that men do. Some have argued that this points to a Hebrew more likely Aramaic original behind the Fourth Gospel. But it probably indicates something else, as C. The plural aiJmavtwn has seemed a problem to many interpreters. BAGD s. The next phrase, oujdeV ejk qelhvmato" sarkoV" , is more clearly a reference to sexual desire, but we should note that savrx in John does not convey the evil sense common in Pauline usage.

For John it refers to the physical nature in its weakness rather than in its sinfulness. I think there is no clearer confirmation of this than the immediately following verse, where the lovgo" became savrx. The third phrase, oujdeV ejk qelhvmato" ajndroV" , means much the same as the second one. The word here ajnhr is often used for a husband. On the contrary, the way the tevknon Qeou' is begotten is by supernatural divine miracle.

The imagery is bold because the verb gennavw is commonly used of the action of the male parent in the reproductive process. A Docetic interpretation is completely ruled out. Note: Here for the first time the lovgo" of ff. Thus this is the last time the word lovgo" is used in the Fourth Gospel to refer to the second Person of the Trinity. Henceforth it is Jesus who becomes the focus of the Gospel. Parallels with Exodus 33 are especially numerous:. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud Some would say that John is here presenting Jesus as the new and greater Moses.

More likely the allusions here are to Jesus being presented as Yahweh : it was Yahweh who dwelt in the Tabernacle; in the lovgo" tabernacled among men. The word in Greek was used of an only child a son [Luke , ] or a daughter [Luke ]. It was also used of something unique only one of its kind such as the mythological Phoenix 1 Clement In this case it would become more or less equivalent to prwtovtoko" Rom , Col John the Baptist may be referring back to a previous occasion when he had witnessed about Jesus; but it is also possible that this is a deliberate allusion back to and the eternal pre existence of the Lovgo" —this is supported also by the case in the final clause in verse Most modern commentators take them as the words of the writer of the Gospel.

Hodges took as the words of the Baptist. In addition to the arguments in favor of this interpretation given by Hodges in his article, it seems to me that several other things favor it:. Knowledge of such sayings by the Baptist on the part of the gospel writer is more believable if John the Apostle were originally a follower of the Baptist; and many think he is in fact the unnamed associate of Andrew mentioned in and ;. There is the 2nd plural ejqeasavmeqa of which are undoubtedly the words of the Evangelist which fits with hJmei'" pavnte" ejlavbomen of The repetition of monogenhv" in and , as a description of Jesus, would seem to argue that the Evangelist was responsible for both —otherwise the Evangelist would have had to have written as a deliberate introduction to the quoted words of the Baptist—not impossible, but less likely in my judgment.

Perhaps most significant, if there are deliberate allusions to Exod 33 in as we have already discussed and if M.

Hooker is right that is an allusion to Exod see below then it seems more likely, on the whole, that the Evangelist wrote both and and was deliberately alluding to Exod 33 in both , than that it is merely coincidental that and both go back to Exod As for the difficult phrase cavrin ajntiV cavrito" , the sense could be:. Probably the most commonly held view is 2 in one sense or another, and I would think this is probably the preferred explanation.

The compound title with Crivsto" occurs elsewhere in John only in though see John uses Crivsto" alone 19 times compared with 17 times in Matthew, 7 times in Mark, and 12 times in Luke. What about the Old Testament passages like Exod that seem to state explicitly that some men have seen God? What John probably means here is that, in his essential being, God has never yet been seen by men. He means that, since God dwells in inaccessible light, he cannot be known except in Christ, his living image. Internally, uiJov" fits the immediate context more readily; Qeov" is much more difficult, but also explains the origin of the other reading uiJov" more readily, because it is difficult to see why a scribe who found uiJov" in the text he was copying would alter it to Qeov".

On the whole I do not think either reading seriously alters the meaning of the text. But I have a preference for Qeov" as the older and more difficult reading. As for translation, I think it makes the most sense to see the word Qeov" as in apposition to monogenhv" , and the participle oJ w]n as in apposition to qeov" , giving in effect three descriptions of Jesus rather than only two.

The only one, himself God, who is in the presence of the Father, has made God known. Furthermore, Qeov" is anarthrous. In this final verse of the Prologue, the climactic and ultimate statement of the earthly career of the Lovgo" , Jesus of Nazareth, is reached. The Unique One cf. Casey, Journal of Theological Studies 9 : Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John , 2d ed. Philadelphia: Westminster, , John , trans. Smyth New York: Seabury, , Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel , 2d ed.

John , Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel London Note L. Day 4 —Andrew brings Peter to Jesus [Presumably on the next day]. It suggests creative activity— Jesus is about to engage in a new creation, just as he was active in the original creation Nevertheless, the point should not be pressed too far, because of the omission of recorded events for day 6 and because John himself does not enumerate the days in this way cf.

Day 2 —John gives positive testimony about who Jesus is Dodd observed a triadic parallel between the above arrangement and the Prologue which is probably the expansion of the Prologue we would expect if our theory about its nature is correct: Bratcher, R. Dodd, C. Morris, L.

Westcott, B. The Baptist is the first witness brought forward by the Evangelist to give testimony as to who Jesus is. Note again the triadic pattern of the roles proposed for the Baptist by the emissaries of the Pharisees:. Are you the Messiah? Apparently, no uniform Jewish expectation of a single eschatological figure existed. A majority expected the Messiah. Essenes at Qumran seem to have expected three figures: a prophet , a priestly messiah , and a royal messiah. In baptizing , John was performing an eschatological action.

It also seems to be part of his proclamation , Crowds were beginning to follow him. He was operating in an area not too far from the Essene center on the Dead Sea. No wonder the authorites were curious about who he was. We have no clear evidence that they did so in the 1st century, however—but Luke indicates some wondered. In Mal it is said that Elijah would be the precursor of Messiah. Some have attempted to remove the difficulty by a construction in the Gospel of John which makes the Baptist say that he was Elijah. But surely this is playing fast and loose with the text!

According to Gregory the Great, John was not Elijah, but exercised toward Jesus the function of Elijah by preparing his way. But this avoids the real difficulty, since the question of the Jewish authorities to the Baptist concerns precisely his function.

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It has been suggested that the author of the Gospel here preserves a historically correct reminiscence—that John the Baptist did not think of himself as Elijah, although Jesus said otherwise. Mark and Mark indicate the people and Herod both distinguished between John and Elijah— probably because he did not see himself as Elijah. The Synoptists represent Jesus as identifying, or comparing, the Baptist with Elijah, while John represents the Baptist as rejecting the identification when it is offered him by his interviewers.

Now these two, so far from being incompatible, are psychologically complementary. The Baptist humbly rejects the exalted title, but Jesus, on the contrary, bestows it on him. Why should not the two both be correct? Acts identifies Jesus as this prophet. John the Baptist, who has been so reluctant to elaborate his own role, now more than willingly gives his testimony about Jesus. For the Evangelist, the emphasis is totally on John the Baptist as a witness to Jesus. Everything is focused on what he has to say about Jesus.

Testament of Joseph Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs tells of the lamb ajmno" who overcomes the evil beasts and crushes them underfoot [although there may be Christian interpolations here, or the entire work may have Christian influence]. Enoch —At the end comes a horned bull who turns into a lamb with black horns. Jesus is condemned at noon on the day before the Passover John at the very time the priests began to slay the lambs in the Temple. Exod — no bone of the passover lamb was to be broken. But the other concepts, the Suffering Servant and the Passover Lamb, are probably both there.

I think the Passover Lamb symbolism is foremost, but there is no reason why John could not also wish to bring to mind for his readers the rich imagery of the suffering Servant in Isaiah The other important passage to consider is Gen In Jewish thought this was held to be a supremely important sacrifice. Geza Vermes states:. Note: The similarity to [cf. This is based on the idea that priority in time equals priority in dignity. According to the author, priority does indicate superiority, but despite appearances Jesus really was prior to John the Baptist because Jesus pre-existed.

This is further supported by verse Jesus, of course, had no need for repentence. John says the Spirit came to rest on e[meinen Jesus. Mevnw is a favorite Johannine word, used 40 times in the Gospel and 27 times in the Epistles 67 together against times total in the New Testament. The significance of mevnw for John is that this term is used to express the permanency of relationship between Father and Son and Son and believer. Here the use of the word implies that Jesus permanently possesses the Holy Spirit , and because he does, he will dispense the Holy Spirit to others in baptism.

Other notes on the dispensation of the Spirit occur at John ff. In these verses, the Evangelist mentions 5 disciples: Andrew , an unnamed disciple , Peter , Philip , and Nathanael. In the larger section there is a gradual deepening of insight and a profounder realization of who it is the disciples are following. In the verb hjkolouvqhsan hints that the disciples of the Baptist are about to become disciples of Jesus —the Baptist, his mission complete, disappears from the scene, and his followers become followers of Jesus.

Westcott thought John, unlike the Synoptics, was using Roman time, which starts at midnight. This would make the time in to be 4 p. The Roman reckoning which started at midnight was only used by authorities as legal time for contracts, official documents, etc. Otherwise, the Romans too reckoned time from 6 a. Apparently he learned this during his short stay with Jesus, which according to our understanding would have been the evening of the day before.

Neither Pevtro" in Greek nor Qph in Aramaic is a normal proper name; it is more like a nickname. No explanation is given for why Jesus wanted to leave, but probably he wanted to go to the wedding at Cana about a 2-day trip. There may have been 2 places called Bethsaida, or this may merely reflect popular imprecision —locally it was considered part of Galilee, even though it was just east of the Jordan river. This territory was heavily Gentile which may explain why Andrew and Philip both have Gentile names.

He appears here after Philip, while in all lists of the 12 except in Acts , Bartholomew follows Philip. Supernatural insight? Many have speculated about what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree. Meditating on the Messiah who was to come? A good possibility, since the fig tree was used as shade for teaching or studying by the later rabbis Midrash Rabbah on Eccles.

Also, the fig tree was symbolic for messianic peace and plenty —Mic , Zech In any case, it seems to me that what impressed Nathanael was that Jesus was aware that he had been there. Perhaps there was some special experience he had had with God there, and what Jesus said implied that Jesus was [supernaturally] aware of it. Seemingly, only something as striking as this would be sufficient to evoke the confession of What is the significance of the confession Nathanael makes?

It has strong allusions to Ps , a well-known Messianic Psalm.

In the narrative this forms an excellent foreshadowing of the sign-miracles which begin at Cana of Galilee. But this is consummated in the Word become Flesh. Jesus himself is the point of contact between heaven and earth. It is probably better to understand the phrase as a figurative way of saying that Jesus will be the revealer of heavenly things to men. It is associated especially with the themes of crucifixion ; , revelation ; , and eschatological authority ; This ground-breaking article argued conclusively for a nuanced translation of the phrase into English, a practice now followed by a number of newer translations e.

Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel , The Tamid is the continual burnt offering, a male lamb morning and evening see Exod Buse, I. Derrett, J. Epstein, V. Hodges, Z. Howard, W. Lightfoot, R. We should probably not push the symbolism of the 7th day too far, but it is worth considering. In later rabbinic thought [post-NT] the age of the world was divided up into 6 millennia. The 7th millennium was to be the Age of Messiah. KanaV th'" Galilaiva" This was not a very well-known place.

It is mentioned only here, in , and , and nowhere else in the New Testament. Josephus Life 86 says he once had his quarters there. Note: Mary, the mother of Jesus, is never mentioned by name in the Fourth Gospel. Derrett, an expert in Oriental law, points out among other things the strong element of reciprocity about weddings in the Ancient Near East: it was possible in certain circumstances to take legal action against the man who failed to provide an appropriate wedding gift.

Was Mary asking for a miracle? There is no evidence that Jesus had worked any miracles prior to this although this amounts to an argument from silence. But the words, and the reply of Jesus in verse 4, seem to imply more. In short, she had good reason to believe Jesus to be the Messiah, and now his public ministry had begun. In this kind of context, her request does seem more significant. But it is unusual for a son to address his mother with this term. The custom in both Hebrew or Aramaic and Greek would be for a son to use a qualifying adjective or title.

Most likely. It probably indicates that a new relationship exists between Jesus and his mother once he has embarked on his public ministry. The Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings:. Meaning 1 implies hostility, meaning 2 merely disengagement. Meaning 2 is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary; I feel such a rebuke is unlikely. This is accomplished through his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension—though this is not emphasized by John.

The water of Jewish ritual purification becomes the wine of the new Messianic Age on the Messianic Age, cf. A number have suggested this, but there does not seem to me to be anything in the immediate context which compels this; it seems more related to the frequency of references to the sacraments which a given exegete sees in the gospel as a whole.

Each of the pots held 2 or 3 metrhtai. Westcott have insisted that the water taken to the chief steward was drawn not from the water-pots but from a well. Therefore, there is no linguistic reason for insisting on a well as the source of this water. Brown thinks those who advance this suggestion are really uncomfortable with such a large quantity of water see being changed to wine; perhaps he is right. Many questions are unanswered in the account as John presents it. The conversation between Jesus and his mother appears incomplete.

Did she persist in her request in spite of his initial refusal? What did she expect Jesus to do? But this is certainly not the point intended by the author of the Gospel as the reason he includes the account in the narrative. The author gives the point of the story, as far as he is concerned, in Thus, the first sign has the same purpose that all the following signs will have: revelation about the person of Jesus. Scholarly interpretations to the contrary, John does not put primary emphasis on the replacing of the water for Jewish purification, or on the change from water to wine, or even on the resulting wine.

John does not focus on the reaction of the master of the feast or the bridegroom. The primary focus, as for all the Johannine stories, is on Jesus as the One sent by the Father to bring salvation to the world. What shines through is his dovxa , and the only reaction emphasized is that of his disciples when they believed in him. But this raises one major interpretive question which we need to attempt to answer: how did the miracle at Cana reveal the dovxa of Jesus?

As for 1 , the Evangelist informs his readers in that this was the beginning of signs, and by this indicates that the incident at Cana is to be connected with what follows in the Book of the Seven Signs For a listing of the signs, see the outline at the beginning of this chapter.

Break The Barriers Holding You Back

Jesus is the real Temple; the Spirit he gives will replace the necessity of worshiping at Jerusalem; his doctrine and his flesh and blood will give life in a way that the manna associated with the exodus from Egypt did not; at Tabernacles, not the rain-making ceremony but Jesus himself supplies the living water; not the illumination in the temple court but Jesus himself is the real light; on the feast of Dedication, not the temple altar but Jesus himself is consecrated by God. In view of this consistent theme of replacement, it seems obvious that, in introducing Cana as the first in a series of signs to follow, the evangelist intends to call attention to the replacement of the water prescribed for Jewish purification by the choicest of wines.

This replacement is a sign of who Jesus is , namely the one sent by the Father who is now the only way to the Father. All previous religious institutions, customs and feasts lose meaning in his presence. The dramatic action is set in the context of a wedding ; in the OT Isa liv , lxii this is used to symbolize the messianic days , and both the wedding and the banquet are symbols on which Jesus drew Matt viii 11, xxxii ; Luke xxii The wedding appears as a symbol of messianic fulfillment in another Johannine work, Rev xix 9.

Another symbol at Cana is the replacement of water with choice wine, better than the wine the guests had been drinking. In the Synoptic tradition, seemingly in the context of a wedding feast Mark ii 19 , we find Jesus using the symbolism of new wine in old wineskins in order to compare his new teaching with the customs of the Pharisees.