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Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

MT5:38 “You heard it said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’[1] [Exodus 21:24] MT5:39 But, I tell you: Do not resist[2] wicked authority. But, whoever slaps your right cheek,[3] turn to him the other. MT5:40 And, the one with a legal settlement against you for your inner garment, let him have the outer. MT5:41 And, whoever impresses you to go one mile,[4] go two. MT5:42 Give to those asking[5] and do not turn away from the one wanting to borrow.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (portret omstreeks de late jaren 1930)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence from Great Britain, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

[1] Eye for eye and tooth for tooth: Ghandi commented that all this Law did was make a world of blind persons. There is no case of this ever being done literally in the Hebrew Bible. The subject is “revenge” which the Nazarene discourages.

[2] Do not resist: The principle behind the Civil Rights Movement. Compare Romans 12:17 and 1 Peter 2:23: yielding. Most do not see the Nazarene teaching pacifism, others do. NJB ftn:

“The gospel does not forbid reasonable defense against unjust aggression.”

Though we do not find the Nazarene making use of this (John 18:22, 36).

The subject may be “wicked authority” represented in either the Roman occupiers or the harsh religious hierarchy. There are three examples within this context of “wicked authority”: a) an insult; b) legal matters; and, c) forced civil service. Here are the sources for “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile.” (Note Mark 15:21: authority)

Large outdoor gathering

World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, 2011

[3] Slaps your right cheek: An open-handed insult. The Nazarene experiences this (John 18:22).

[4] Impresses you to go one mile: Such rights by the State are current in most countries. For example, in the United States the police may command one’s vehicle or the fire department may impress one into fire-fighting.

[5] Give to those asking: A hallmark of the Nazarene’s teachings. Various renderings: MOF: the man who begs; WMS: keeps on begging. Compare Acts 20:35 in a rare allusion or quotation of the Nazarene by Paul. These include interest free loans (See Deuteronomy 23:19 and Luke 6:32-34: loans). Luke the Physician is stronger on this matter than Matthew the Tax-collector, the former discouraging loans completely and stressing giving. A real test on the Nazarene Saint is the pocketbook and is demonstrated in being ‘liberal’ (Romans 12:8, 13; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). The Nazarene Saint who refuses to share that good bounty God has given is in serious danger (James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

Luke includes the giving nearer the context of love for enemies. The Good Doctor includes interest free loans and not expecting any repayment (See Deuteronomy 15:7; Proverbs 21:26; Matthew 5:42: giving).

Does all of this suggest a commandment for all Friends of the Nazarene to divest themselves of their possessions or property? Judging from the descriptions in the Book of Acts this was not a command but a voluntary matter. Peter tells Ananias,

‘When it was unsold, did it not remain your property; and after it was sold, did not the value remain in your control?’ (Acts 5:4)

Peter nowhere argues:

“Did not the Nazarene teach you to sell everything and give to the poor.”

It was completely voluntary, though one can sense a degree of peer pressure from the Nazarene Community of Saints. Later when Paul argues these matters with the Corinthians and then with Timothy, he never resorts to the authority of the Nazarene about selling all. He merely tells Timothy, ‘To command the rich’ and then gives a list of strongly suggested items (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Certainly the Nazarene, and also God, encourage a “simple eye” on “guard against covetousness” (Luke 12:15), always remembering that the Father is paying close attention to how the Nazarene Saint uses material possessions.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

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Additional reading

  1. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  2. A man who cannot forgive others
  3. When discouraged facing opposition
  4. God should be your hope
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  6. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ
  7. When having taken a new direction in life, having become a Christian
  8. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  9. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  10. Church sent into the world
  11. Fellowship
  12. Love is like playing the piano
  13. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  14. How do you keep people from stealing your joy?
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. What Does Love Look Like?
  17. Overcome division with core values
  18. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  19. A true sermon is a real deed.
  20. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Further related reading

  1. City on a Hill
  2. Psalms 13: Has God Forgotten Me?
  3. 10 Biblical Passages That Radically Shape My Worldview
  4. Christians, It’s Time to Stop Saying “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”
  5. Chiseled for Change: Part 2
  6. Jesus interprets the Law through love
  7. Letting the Bible study you – Part three
  8. The point is…do you know Love?
  9. The hermeneutics of love – part two
  10. Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom – Part Four
  11. Give me dove’s eyes
  12. It’s Not About Chick-fil-A–It’s About You Standing For Christian Values
  13. Be Strong Be Courageous
  14. There is more to life than meets the eye.
  15. The heart has an ” inner eye ” …..
  16. With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony…

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Soon after the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) had started his public life and had chosen some disciples, he found them following him and receiving more followers who wanted to hear him talking about many things which concerned them or which where about the general customs and religious life of the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee and used open as well as covered spaces, like synagogues but also planes and mountain slopes. Jesus knew his divine task, having placed in a special way on this earth to show people the Way to God. Jesus knew very well Who that One True God is all people should come to know.  He very well knew his own place, being lower than angels and being a son of God, the Most High without Jesus could do nothing.

He must have been special. Though the religious leaders despised him but the people wondered who this man could be and where curious for what they could hear from others about miracles he could perform.

Sites of Christianity in the Galillee - Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel.jpg

Capernaum synagogue

Jesus went from one place to an other telling about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel. He taught people the truth of God and God’s kingdom was his theme. He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Those actions he did, got many curious about this personage and word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Mount of Beatitudes, seen from Capernaum

When he was in the region of Capernaum again there were a lot of people who had come to see him and who where eager to hear what he had to tell.  Jesus saw all those crowds, coming from different places, following him and went up the mountain or hill (the Greek word can mean either) the Mount of Beatitudes.

Some commentators see here an intended contrast to Sinai, where the Law was given. However, there are no grounds, implicit or explicit, for identifying the mountain as a “New Sinai.” {Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 103). New York: United Bible Societies.}

From Matthew’s choice of verbs we can imagine that the situation was all about a moment of teaching, Jesus tutoring. It does not matter so much if Matthew and Luke wrote about the same or of a different occasion where Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Mt and Lk as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.
The prevailing opinion among NT scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Mt bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

In any case even when it is a summary it is a teaching every Christian should seriously take at heart. Jesus was not afraid to talk at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5–7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Mt, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Lk. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Because there is written that the disciples came to sit by Jesus many think Jesus was mainly addressing them. Even when this is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists, the separation from the multitudes and the direction of Jesus his words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked; being the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of his disciples and a great number of people from Judaea, Jerus and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words,

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,”

is that his address was intended especially for the latter.

This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Today we should look at those texts also as a lesson to all those who want to call themselves “Christian” which means “to be a follower of Christ“. Christians too should be disciples of Christ Jesus and should follow the words of the Nazarene master teacher. Not especially being a digest of Christ his teaching the account in Matthew 5 delivers a short of the attitudes a Christian should take.

Today because so many people calling themselves Christian, but more following human doctrines instead of keeping to the Biblical doctrines, may find Jesus’ words very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches that happiness or luck comes from material wealth, absence of sorrow, and which teaches revenge or retaliation and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. Lots of people do find it right to punish wrongdoers and even would not mind if their life was taken away, though on other occasions they are totally against women taking contraceptives considering this murder or killing an unborn life.

The writer who records the most challenging command Jesus ever gave his followers:

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

looks at the teaching of Jesus on our behaviour and living and presents an ethic code for his disciples and a measure for the behaviour of all believers.

Each time Jesus opens with the word, which is recorded in Greek as “makarioi”, “blessed” or “happy”, which occurs nine times in verses 3–12. Many also call it “beatitudes”. Each beatitude having three parts: an ascription of blessing (happiness), a specific virtue to be cultivated (the practice of each produces a positive result), and a promise relating to the kingdom (reward or special comfort as a reason for the promised happiness).

In the sermon we find that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who receive insults, are falsely accused and are persecuted on account of the Messiah may count on it that they are all blessed.

Certainly in Christendom we can find many true believers in Christ, those who accept Jesus for whom he really is, a man of flesh and blood who put his will aside to do the Will of the One God Who sent him to this world. Very often those real Christians are spit at and very often it are the trinitarian Christians who take on a very un-christian attitude to those believers. Those name Christians who prefer to keep to human doctrines and want to keep to the pagan rites and festivals, are often the worst in their attitude to the real or non-trinitarian Christians. Look around you and hear how your surroundings react to such Christians as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians or others who spread the Good News by giving pamphlets and by talking to people on the streets or by going from door to door. Often those who laugh at such Christians are not the gentle, and often they have more interest in the looks of people and the material wealth of themselves and others, instead of looking for the spiritual wealth.

In the world we can see many who sincerely love God and want to prefer to worship Him alone, who are therefore being harassed or molested. Be them Jews, Christians or Muslims, those who not like to take part in the pagan rituals, like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, are often looked at with a bad eye, or even spit on. They are laughed at, being considered compliant meek, soft ones and not by the time. To be meek does not mean to be weak. Jesus with his words concerning the meek ones looks at “meekness” meaning gentle restraint. it  Holds in a person can be showing gentlenessmildness, forbearance, submissiveness, humility or humbleness, modesty, submission and trying to bring peacefulness, sometimes even with acquiescence. We should remember that there it is about those who dare to take on an attitude which does not insist on one’s own rights but is giving itself for others, always ready to waive its privileges in the interests of others. “The meek” person is willing to wait for God’s timing being sure that God’s promises will become a reality and that God shall provide better times for all those who live according to God His commandments. That is our sacred hope we may find in Christ his offering, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God.

As Christian we should be taking every effort to follow Christ, to become in unity with him and his teaching, doing our utmost best to obey our heavenly Father. Living according to God’s commandments we can live with the promise to be able to live in the kingdom here on earth (“inherit the earth”). Though we should be well aware that this is not promised to the pushy, proud, ambitious, and domineering and to scourge those who do not believe in God or those who prefer to live differently than us.

Those who are humble and willing to undergo all the suffering in name of Christ or those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, may look forward for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They or we may rejoice, and be glad, for our reward in heaven shall be great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Jesus Christ in Capernaum

Jesus Christ in Capernaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus knew or knows we are not perfect, but that does not mean we should be happy with who we are at a certain moment. Every day we should work at ourselves and strive to become better. It is quite ready to love those who love us, but what about loving those who hate us? Concerning doing good, many unbelievers are doing good, so what would be the difference between a non-believer and a Christian? How many name Christian today we do hear speaking low about other coloured people or about people of an other religion? How many so called Christians do not despise other Christians and other believers or atheists and want them away from their community or surroundings. Lots of name Christians do not welcome others.

So many people consider them higher than others or more special. Often they consider themselves perfect or faultless and are not interested in changing their own world view, their mindset, their inclination or habit, their ethos and their assumptions. Lots of them even do not want to challenge themselves in any way and do not want to see that nobody is foolproof. Today we do find lots of so called Christians who are against the refugees and who wrong or oppress strangers, though they should know that is against the Will of God (Exodus 22:20-21). They are not interested in the war victims, the orphans and widow, though a lover of God should stand up for them and defend them (Isaiah 1:16-17). Several people who call themselves Christian should better ask themselves what this really should mean and should check if they can come under that denominator.

Christianity is all a matter of “love“.

Jesus asks his followers to consider the aspects of real love and of the will to work at the inner self, the way how to react to others and daring to put your own will aside to be there for others. Looking at the habits that have entered our life, Jesus requires to examine ourself and to become aware of our attitude we should take on in life.

God requires of us to worship Him as the Only One True God of gods and to keep His commandments, doing justice and to offer loving kindness or mercy to others, walk humbly with God. Jesus requires of us also to honour his heavenly Father and to worship Him alone. He also requires us to become like him and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, work for peace, and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted; to be merciful and comfort mourners; to be humble in spirit, meek, and pure in heart.

So let us listen very carefully to the Bible text in “Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries” and work at ourselves to become more like Christ fulfilling the Wish of God.

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

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Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. A season of gifts
  5. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  6. Are you being swept along by the world
  7. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  8. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  9. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  10. The meek one riding on an ass
  11. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

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Further reading

  1. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  2. Sermon from Matthew 5
  3. What Love Says and Does
  4. Loved Are We
  5. Beatitudes
  6. Beatitudes / Blessed are: (Matthew 5:3-12)
  7. Blessed Are… – Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
  8. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  9. What does the Lord require…?
  10. Blessed are the merciful: 4 Epiphany A
  11. Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)
  12. Sermon for January 29, 2017
  13. Sermon for 29 January 2017 on Matthew 5:1-12
  14. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/15/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Being Salt and Light”
  15. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/22/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Jesus and The Law”
  16. NBFMC Sermon Review (2/05/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Lust and Relationships”
  17. 4th Sunday, Year A | Being peacemakers in a divided society
  18. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2017)
  19. 4th Sunday After Epiphany, January 29, 2017
  20. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 2017
  21. Sermon on the Mount: Part 1
  22. Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Beatitudes
  23. Sermon on the Mount: Part 2
  24. 2017.01.15 Sermon On The Mount Part 1
  25. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1
  26. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2
  27. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 3
  28. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Light
  29. True Worship: Justice, Kindness, Walk Humbly
  30. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  31. Blocking your own witness
  32. How to deal with others
  33. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  34. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  35. Reconciling Jesus
  36. Be Perfect
  37. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  38. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  39. Giving and Getting It All
  40. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
  41. Be Nice to Me
  42. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  43. Our Relationship to the World
  44. The Love Question
  45. Love?
  46. A Life Well-Lived
  47. “No & Yes”
  48. Truth, love, and justice
  49. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
  50. We’re Salt & Light: But are we?
  51. Anger and murder
  52. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  53. Blessed are the Refugees
  54. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
  55. The Joy of Mercy
  56. “You are God’s field, God’s building”
  57. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
  58. …I’m gonna let it shine
  59. A toddler’s tale
  60. The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt
  61. Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?
  62. An Accurate Measurement for Your Life
  63. Authentic Christianity

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Not having enough background of the Jewish Koine Greek, or Jewish Hellenistic Greek, the variety of Koine Greek (hē koinē dialektos ‘the common language’) or “common Attic”  found in a number of Alexandrian dialect texts of Hellenistic Judaism, most notably the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible which at the time of the King James Bible‘s first edition was not yet available, as well as Greek Jewish texts from Palestine. This made that lots of words for previous Bible translations and the Authorised Version, where not yet understood properly and of some words they thought it were persons (names) instead of things (nouns) and situations.

Hellenistic Judaism: historical sites

Important historical sites of Hellenistic and medieval Judaism. – Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Words and word elements were adopted and adapted into Latin over c.1,500 years, and passed through Latin into many European and other languages, being used in the main for scholarly and technical purposes. The flow into English was at first very limited and largely religious, such as Old English cirice and its descendant church (from kūriakón dôma the Lord’s house).

Katharina-von-Bora-05.jpg

Katharina von Bora (1499–1552) one of the most important participants of the Reformation because of her role in helping to define Protestant family life and setting the tone for clergy marriages.

At the beginning this knowledge of languages was a man’s job, but from the 19th century women began to have their say as well. Lots of Christians have the wrong idea that women in the ancient times had nothing to say. Many also think that in Christianity women played no role at all. they should know that the Set Apart or Holy Scriptures  acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).

Whilst by the Jews there where not so many women teachers or rabbi’s, from the beginning the master teacher Jeshua had a big heart for them and had many women around him, following him everywhere they could and talking about his actions. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honour (1 Peter 3:7). Jeshua also knew how in the past the the priceless value of a virtuous woman was celebrated and insisted those around him to respect the woman also. (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).  Not only did the master teacher encourage their discipleship by portraying it as something more needful than domestic service and always treated women with the utmost dignity — even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27).

“1  After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3 NIV)

“38  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Clearly the listening to Jesus’ teaching was for the rabbi important, because he would not be long with them. for him it was also important that they would know what they had to talk about when he would be gone, because they had to go out into the world and witness about what he had done, and for telling others about the coming Kingdom of God. All those who wanted to be called a disciple or follower of Christ had to witness for him.

“You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15 NIV)

Already from the start women where there with Jesus.  Christ’s first recorded, explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). When he was gone there were also women present in the room when the Spirit came over the apostles.  From then onwards they too were not afraid any more to come out with their beliefs. Soon they too took also their role in the preaching and some of them even became renowned.

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36 NIV)

Often it were women who opened up their house for followers of Christ coming together and to lead the meetings.

“When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.” (Acts 12:12 NIV)

Also when things where not so clear for some they dared to call them with them and explain it so they could better understand the truth. Also women who talked about Jesus but did not know everything well, were helped by the apostles so that they could do a better job.

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15 NIV)

Throughout history there have always been faithful women spreading the Word of God.

It might well be that the energetic monk and young theologian Martin Luther, who felt himself to be “a sinner with an unquiet conscience,” was stimulated by the former Benedictine and Cistercian nun Katharina von Bora, who had fled her convent with several other nuns or ‘vestal virgins’, to Wittenberg, and who became, at the age of 26,  his  wife in 1525 (him being 41) and became known as “die Lutherin”.  She became the “boss of Zulsdorf,” after the name of the farm they owned, and the “morning star of Wittenberg” for her habit of rising at 4 a.m. to take care of her various responsibilities, administering and managing the vast holdings of the monastery, breeding and selling cattle, and running a brewery in order to provide for their family and the steady stream of students who boarded with them and visitors seeking audiences with her husband. It can well be that her being at the site of the prosecuted Luther, made him to continue his translation work of the Bible and not giving up his ideas.

In the two following centuries it were women who often took care that the children got to hear the Word of God at home, whilst they were able to hide this sacred book for the persecutors. Those who fled from the European continent to look for a New World also carried with them the Holy Bible in their language or in Latin.

In the 17th century religious groups found their way to the New World and at certain places founded their own colonies so that they could perfectly practice their own faith. Religious liberty for others — a concept Americans would later take for granted — was not part of the Puritans‘ plan. Instead, founding Governor John Winthrop envisioned a model “Citty [sic] upon a hill,” an example of Christian unity and order. Not incidentally, women were expected to play a submissive and supporting role in this society.

Anne Hutchinson, née Anne Marbury

At the Massachusetts Bay Colony a skilled midwife and herbal healer with her own interpretation of Puritan doctrine, challenged the leaders of this “wilderness theocracy,” as Barbara Ritter Dailey describes it.
Anne Hutchinson  [Anne Marbury Hutchinson (1591-1643)] eldest daughter of a strong-willed Anglican priest who had been imprisoned and removed from office because of his demand for a better-educated clergy, had probably inherited the strong will of her father, taking with her a legacy of biblical scholarship and religious independence.

When the Anglican Church silenced one of her favourite teachers, John Cotton, one of England’s outstanding Puritan ministers, one of New England’s first generation, leader in civil and religious affairs, and a persuasive writer on the theory and practice of Congregationalism, left for the colony of Massachusetts in America, Hutchinson became extremely distraught. She finally persuaded her husband to leave for America, so that she could follow her religious mentor.

William Hutchinson was granted a desirable house lot in Boston, and both husband and wife quickly became church members.
When she was criticized for failing to attend weekly prayer meetings in the homes of parishioners, she responded by holding meetings in her own home. She began by reiterating and explaining the sermons of John Cotton but later added some of her own interpretations, a practice that was to be her undoing. As her meetings became more popular, Hutchinson drew some of Boston’s most influential citizens to her home. Many of these were town merchants and artisans who had been severely criticized for profiteering in prices and wages; they saw in Hutchinson’s stress on grace a greater freedom regarding morality and therefore more certainty of their own salvation. But others came in search of a more meaningful and personal relationship with their God. As she attracted followers and defenders, the orthodox Puritans organized to oppose her doctrines and her advocates.

Cotton was chiefly responsible for the exile of Anne Hutchinson, because of her antinomian doctrines, and for the expulsion of Roger Williams.They continued to preach and used their own words. Quoting from the Bible in a non literal way became common practice and would be later taken up in presenting fragments or stories from the Bible. This free telling of Bible stories was also taken up in other languages and was breeding ground for children’s Bibles and freely quoted or paraphrased Bible translations.

The Ritual Dance of the Shakers, Shaker Historical Society

The priests and male clerics mostly kept the bible in their hand and sometimes read some phrases out of it. They still were in the majority, though some ladies walked to the forefront and got followers. It had not all to be literate women who took charge.
An unlettered daughter of a blacksmith who was probably named Lees joined at the age of 22 joined the faith group Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of the shaking and dancing that characterized their worship (It originally derived from a small branch of English Quakers founded by Jane and James Wardley in 1747). Ann Lee married in 1762, a union that tradition holds was unhappy and may have influenced her later doctrinal insistence on celibacy. She became the group their accepted leader and was known as Ann the Word or Mother Ann. Although illiterate, she claimed the gift of tongues and the ability to discern spirits and work miracles. She was also convinced of the holiness of celibacy, an idea stemming from her own experience of losing four children at or soon after their birth. In 1774 she led a band of eight to America, where, two years later, at Watervliet, N.Y., the first Shaker settlement in America was founded. The Shaker communities flourished in the mid-19th century and contributed a distinctive style of architecture, furniture, and handicraft to American culture. The communities declined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The two American converts who followed Mother Ann as Lead Elder — Joseph Meacham (1787–1796) and Lucy Wright (1796–1821) — developed an institutional structure for less antagonistic relations with society.

At that time, a woman’s leadership of a religious group was considered to be a ‘sect leader’ and as a radical departure from Protestant Christianity. Living apart from her husband Elizur Goodrich, she like him committed herself fully to Shakerism and within a decade rose to leadership within the Shakers movement, with the power and authority which women were not allowed in other religions.

Wright was fully aware of our task of witnessing and sent missionaries to preach across New England and upstate New York as well as into the western wilderness, where those preachers recruited proselytes and established new Shaker villages in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
Under Wright’s administration, Shakers standardized and increased book and tract publishing for the widely-scattered religious society. Their first statement of beliefs was Testimony of Christ’s Second Appearing in 1810, followed by a hymnal which served much the same purpose in 1813. This way the bible-fragments were brought to the general public in ordinary simple words.

In the early nineteenth century the movement expanded into Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. By the mid-1820s about 4,000 believers lived in sixteen communal villages, usually with residential “Great Houses” surrounded by meetinghouses, barns, mills, workshops, and smaller residences for children and probationary members. A hierarchy of elders and eldresses who had completely abandoned the sinful world were in charge.

Charles g finney.jpg

Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875) American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States.

In the New World several Female Missionary Societies saw the light and invited men as well as women to proclaim the Word of God.  The Female Missionary Society of the Western District hired in this way Charles Grandison Finney who came to promote social reforms, such as abolition of slavery and equal education for women and African Americans. From 1835 he taught at Oberlin College of Ohio, which accepted all genders and races, opening the way for more women able to read the Bible.

The Christians who believed only in One God and wanted others also to know the biblical truth, saw with dismay how Finney used scare tactics to gain converts.

Across the board, many thought that his habitual use of the words you and hell “let down the dignity of the pulpit.” {Charles Finney Father of American revivalism}

During the 16th and 17th century Anabaptists were heavily prosecuted in Europe because of their view of Jesus his position and man’s position in this world. By the many searchers for the truth lots of them found they could not take on the human doctrines like the Trinity and found that people had to be fully aware of what believing meant and when to commit themselves to the Only One God. From the Low countries many went to America. On the boat-trip they had a very good opportunity to speak about the biblical truth to others form different denominations. also the English doctor John Thomas who as ship’s surgeon on the Marquis of Wellesley, took the occasion to share his ideas with many people on board. When this boat docked in New York, Thomas travelled on to Cincinnati, Ohio where he became convinced by the Restoration Movement (also known as the or the Stone-Campbell Movement) of the need for baptism and joined them in October 1832. Looking for the “church within” we can imagine that people tried also to express themselves freely to show others how they understood the Word of God.

The Restoration Movement developed from several independent strands of religious revival that idealized apostolic Christianity. They were united in the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. After his bad experience fearing for his life when the boat had nearly sunk, Thomas took his vow to God seriously and went going from one place to another, preaching the Word of God. Many of his followers came to “the Brotherhood”, and started to have meetings in their houses or barns to study the Word of God. For them it was clear that human doctrines and church creeds divide and that real Christians should be under Christ. for them God’s Word was clearly given to all people and the Bible was not to be the matter only for clergy. For them all Christians should take the Bible as their guide and leader and should suppress all divisive doctrines and practices.

One of Thomas his disciples would find enough people interested to print pamphlets and tracts. He also started as a Christian restorationist minister and became better known as Pastor Russell, being the instigator of Russellism or founder of the Russellites, opposite the Thomasites or followers of Dr. Thomas who founded the Christadelphians, Brothers in Christ who took studying the bible as one of their priorities (hence the other name Bible Students).

Dr Thomas also wrote for and was editor of the Apostolic Advocate which first appeared in May 1834, whilst Charles Taze Russell started only in July 1879 with publishing his monthly religious journal, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. In 1881 he co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society with William Henry Conley as president, providing the establishment of an international Bible Student movement. In 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president. From then onwards those Bible Students tried to bring Bible fragments in the common language of the day. For them women had also their say and were worthy co-operators to produce articles and to bring bible texts in contemporary American English.

It was his successor as society president, Joseph Rutherford who brought a wide division in the Bible student movement and created the Jehovah’s Witnesses who would work at translating the Word of God, doing a marvellous job, presenting bibles in many languages all over the world, so that nobody would have an excuse he or she could not find a Bible in a language he or she understands.

10MaryPatterson1862.jpeg

Mary Jane Patterson (1840–1894)

In 1862 Mary Jane Patterson became the first African-American woman to receive a B.A degree in the New World. She received a recommendation for an “appointment from the American missionary Association as a … teacher among freedmen.” In 1865 Patterson became an assistant to Fanny Jackson Coppin at the Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). In 1869 to 1871 Patterson taught in Washington, D. C., at the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth known today as Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.). She served as the school’s first Black principal, from 1871 to 1872. She was reappointed from 1873 to 1884. During her administration, the school grew from less than 50 to 172 students, the name “Preparatory High School” was dropped, high school commencements were initiated, and a teacher-training department was added to the school. Patterson’s commitment to thoroughness as well as her “forceful” and “vivacious” personality helped her establish the school’s strong intellectual standards.
We can imagine by those standards being a Christian life style and good moral where essence.

Already around the turn of the 18th to 19th century women had started wanting to have a stronger voice in the education of children. Also parents started looking more at how to bring up children together in a community. They had seen the public school system starting to develop going away from certain ways of life preferred by them. The spiritual aspect was important and could not be forgotten. Discontented with the new public school system more alternative education developed in part as a reaction to perceived limitations and failings of traditional education. In many of such schools at that time the Bible and Christian life formed an important element of educational basic training. A broad range of educational approaches emerged, including alternative schools, self learning, homeschooling and unschooling.

Benjamin Wilson (1817–1900)

In 1840 the English family Wilson though originally Baptists, joined the growing Campbellite movement and moved to the New World four years later. In Geneva, Illinois the family began to distance themselves from the Campbellites. In 1846 Benjamin Wilson wrote his first letter to the other ex-Campbellite John Thomas, as recorded in the latter’s magazine The Herald of the Future Age, agreeing with the Thomas’ views on the immortal soul – the initial cause of his break with Campbell. There is considerable correspondence in Thomas’ magazines from various members of the Wilson family over the next several years.

Just as John Thomas had been re-baptised in 1847, Benjamin Wilson was rebaptised in 1851, marking off a new start from the Campbellites.

The first page of the Complutensian Polyglot

From 1855 to 1869 Benjamin Wilson published a monthly religious magazine, the Gospel Banner, which merged with John Thomas’s magazine, Herald of the Coming Kingdom.

In 1857 the autodidact Biblical scholar Benjamin Wilson presented a first section of a side-by-side two-language New Testament version like the New Testament in Greek and Latin, had been completed in 1514 with the Complutensian printed by Axnaldus Guilielmus de Brocario at the expense of Cardinal Ximenes at the university at Alcalá de Henares (Complutum) and the Antwerp Polyglot, printed by Christopher Plantin (1569-1572, in eight volumes folio). Polyglot means, literally poly or multi tongue or multi lingual, “through tongue” or “many / several languages” and is understood to signify “interlinear.”

In England there had also been a polyglot translation by Brian Walton who was aided by able scholars and used much new manuscript material (London, 1657). It included the Ethiopic Psalter, Canticle of Canticles, and New Testament, the Arabic New Testament, and the Gospels in Persian. His prolegomena and collections of various readings mark an important advance in biblical criticism.

It was in connection with this polyglot that Edmund Castell produced his famous Heptaglott Lexicon (two volumes folio, London, 1669), a monument of industry and erudition even when allowance is made for the fact that for the Arabic he had the great manuscript lexicon compiled and left to the University of Cambridge by William Bedwell. {Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia}

The Emphatic Diaglott.jpgThe Bible was also published in several languages by Elias Hutter (Nuremberg, 1599-1602), and by Christianus Reineccius (Leipsic, 1713-51). Ten years before the “Polyglot Bible in eight languages” (2 vols., London, 2nd ed. 1874) the Christadelphians produced the complete two-language Emphatic Diaglott translation, of the New Testament by Benjamin Wilson. For the Greek text he based it on the various Readings of the Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209; the text used by the German rationalist Protestant theologian Johann Jakob Griesbach, who was the earliest biblical critic to subject the Gospels to systematic literary analysis. In this translation the name of God is also restored, so that readers could clearly see about whom was spoke and who said something, the lord Jeshua (Jesus Christ) or the Lord of lords”Jehovah“.

In this Interlineary literal Word for Word English translation ‘Signs of Emphasis’ were given; whilst under each Greek word the English equivalent is printed. In the slim right-hand column of each page is presented a modern English translation as made by Benjamin Wilson. Also a copious selection of ‘References’; many appropriate, illustrative, and exegetical ‘Foot-notes’; and a valuable ‘Alphabetical Appendix’ are given. This combination of important items could not be found in any other book at that time.

Such literal translations made many bible Students to see much things more clearly. Also Charles T. Russell, learned that the inspired Greek Scriptures speak of the second “presence” of Christ, for the Diaglott translated the Greek word “parousía” correctly as “presence,” and not as “coming” like the King James Version Bible. Accordingly when C. T. Russell began publishing his new Bible magazine in July of 1879, he called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The Christadelphians allowed also the Millenial Dawn Bible Students (later the Watchtower Society) to distribute Wilson’s work widely around the world from 1902. Also the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith and the Church of the Blessed Hope which he founded are still part of the Christadelphian movement which still print this Bible translation.

Bible students form the Zion’s Watchtower suggested that,

Every student of God’s plan, as presented in the Tower, ought to have the aid which the Diaglott affords.

As such this translation became a useful attribute for the later standard Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The New World Translation.

In 2004, the Abrahamic Faith Beacon Publishing Society brought home The Emphatic Diaglott and re-published a new version of it, working in partnership with The Christadelphian Advancement Trust.

In the homeschooling opposite to traditional Christian schools it were mostly women who took up the job as teacher. Having only bibles in Old English they wanted books in a more contemporary language and put pressure on the existing clergy. From the congregations also came a louder cry to provide them with modern language bibles.

King James Version of the Bible

King James Version of the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Answering that cry from the housewives and teachers in 1870 an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the revision of the Authorized Version/King James Bible of 1611. In 1871, thirty scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented on the American committee were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian.

In England also there was a request to have a revision and by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 two companies were formed, one each for the Old and New Testaments to revise the King James Version. Parallel companies in the United States received the work of the English scholars to return their comments. For those at work it was made clear only a revision and not a new translation was contemplated.

The New Testament was published in England on May 17, 1881, and three days later in the United States, after 11 years of labour. Over 30,000 changes were made, of which more than 5,000 represent differences in the Greek text from that used as the basis of the King James Version. Most of the others were made in the interests of consistency or modernization.

In the traditional churches there was not much interest in the Old Testament, this not fitting in with the accent of their teaching on Jesus, instead of God.

On certain points the English and Americans did not agree. At that time the Americans still gave in to the British revisers and published preferred readings and renderings in an appendix to the Revised Version. In 1900 the American edition of the New Testament, which incorporated the American scholars’ preferences into the body of the text, was produced. A year later the Old Testament was added, but not the Apocrypha. The alterations covered a large number of obsolete words and expressions and replaced Anglicisms by the diction then in vogue in the United States.

As shown above women and the general American public made use to talk about the Bible and to use it at home. The publishers could not ignore their wishes and provided them with some official version which could offer an alternative for the partly published Bible books and for the unofficial translations into modern speech made from 1885 which had gained popularity. Their appeal reinforced by the discovery that the Greek of the New Testament used the common non-literary variety of the language spoken throughout the Roman Empire when Christianity was in its formative stage.

The notion that a nonliterary modern rendering of the New Testament best expressed the form and spirit of the original was hard to refute. This, plus a new maturity of classical, Hebraic, and theological scholarship in the United States, led to a desire to produce a native American version of the English Bible. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Next: Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Codex Sinaiticus available for perusal on the Web
  2. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  5. Rare original King James Bible discovered
  6. King James Bible Coming into being
  7. Celebrating the Bible in English
  8. TheBible4Life KJV Jubileum
  9. What English Bible do you use?
  10. The Most Reliable English Bible
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  13. New American Bible Revised Edition
  14. The NIV and the Name of God
  15. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. iPod & Android Bibles
  21. Missed opportunity for North Korea
  22. What are Brothers in Christ
  23. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  24. Around C.T.Russell

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Further reading

  1. Jennifer Strauss, ‘The Anabaptist Cages, Münster’
  2. The Bible: Kept Pure in All Ages
  3. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  4. AV1611: England’s Greatest Achievement
  5. Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found
  6. Ye King Iames Bible
  7. King James Version
  8. Thees, Thous, and Wot Nots
  9. The King James Bible
  10. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  11. King James Only? (Ethernal Christ)
  12. KJV Only? (Lynn Thaler)
  13. KJV Onlyism: What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
  14. King James XV
  15. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  16. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  17. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  18. The King James AV 1611 Bible vs. The New International Version
  19. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  20. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  21. The Attack on the Bible
  22. John 3:16 isn’t the gospel that saves men’s souls today
  23. New Age Deism
  24. New Age Deism: Part Two
  25. Inside Orthodox Judaism: A Critical Perspective On Its Theology
  26. Mailbox Monday August 29: on Katharina von Bora
  27. 11th April 1612. Dangerous Heresy.
  28. Book Review: The Reformers and Their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin
  29. women.born.before | 05 feb 1760
  30. Settler Colonialism and the Freedom of Religion
  31. Searching for Religious Freedom
  32. Freedom From and For Religion
  33. This Week in History – Kicked to the Curb by a Pilgrim
  34. King Survey: Women and Other Puritans
  35. The Puritans: Church and State
  36. Midweek Blog: Anne Hutchinson, the “Unnatural Woman”
  37. Paddling the Hutch: Ned P. Rauch takes the plunge
  38. Great Information Wrapped Inside This Human Struggle
  39. The Puritan identification with the Bible
  40. Despite Roger Williams’ Efforts, Providence Burns in 1676
  41. Williams
  42. Roger Williams in Art
  43. Mass Moments: Roger Williams Banished
  44. Research Reading IV
  45. Research Reading V
  46. History Weekend: The Shakers, pt. 1
  47. Quakers
  48. Commonwealth – Part Two
  49. A Catalogue of Severall Sects & Opinions
  50. History of the Anabaptist Head Covering
  51. Faith in the Head Covering
  52. Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers
  53. Half an hour in James Watt’s Workshop
  54. The Advices & Queries project
  55. The Violent Seduction of Thomas Paine by Rocket Kirchner
  56. The Last Runaway Review
  57. Stantons in America
  58. Eber Sherman, ,7th Great-Grandfather
  59. Birmingham Quakers and the Spanish Civil War
  60. Hidden Nearby: Charles Grandison Finney’s Birthplace
  61. Free Charles Finney Book!
  62. The reward of fervent prayer, Charle G. Finney
  63. Midweek Blog: Charles Finney, Staring at You Until You Join His Revival
  64. “Could God Forgive A Man Like That?”
  65. Joseph Logan land, 127 acres, Ninety Six District, South Carolina, 1785
  66. Alexander Campbell & the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
  67. Restoration
  68. The Restoration Movement, Acapella & the Trinity
  69. The Future of the Restoration Movement, Part 2
  70. Charles Taze Russell – “Don’t read your Bible”
  71. Apocalyptic Forecasts
  72. Women’s History: Mary Jane Patterson
  73. Some Notes on Bible Translations
  74. What is Wrong with Evangelicals in America?
  75. For Us or Against Us: The Politics of the Christian Right & the Shutdown
  76. Icon: Tacy Cooper
  77. The Secret of Powerful Revivals Are the Intercessors Praying Behind the Scenes
  78. Les origines de nos traditions dans l’Eglise : Partie 1
  79. Edifying Christian Biographies That Will Bless Every True Christian!
  80. A Visit to Pembroke College
  81. Hospitality
  82. ‘Tis a Gift
  83. A weekend away
  84. Simple gifts
  85. Becoming Visible: Quaker Outreach at Colleges
  86. Turbulent Londoners: Ada Salter, 1866-1942
  87. A Spicy Letter to Preachers
  88. On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.1: “The First Button”
  89. My way is the best
  90. ELCA Repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery, Next Up: Mennonite Church USA
  91. A glimpse of Missouri’s Amish
  92. Freedom of religion
  93. Book Review – Recovering the Margins of American Religious History: The Legacy of David Edwin Harrell, Jr. (Waldrop and Billingsley, eds.)
  94. Book Review: The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith (David Edwin Harrell, Jr.)
  95. Churches of Christ – The Road Ahead
  96. Some Notes on Bible Translations

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Christians, secularism, morals and values

Our western society has been under much pressure lately. Many could see that humans are hard- and soft-wired towards co-operation as much as competition. One may wonder if there is such a thing as the common good of society, shared morals and values, and that individuals need common rules for living together and contributing to the overall health of their society. {A relentlessly upbeat take on citizenship: My Review of Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship}

After a long time that people had it very easy, they now come tested again. They once again have to become aware that

Nothing is easy, all goes slowly, we carry time as a very heavy burden, but little by little we see clearly and advance… Living spiritual life — as opposed to religious life — is very difficult because spiritual life happens within whereas religion comes from outside oneself. {Advancing in spiritual life}

Though today many seem to forget that the religious life, coming from outside, when forced to some some one has no value and is just an empty box. Religion has to be chosen by the person himself or herself. For adults it is the own choice to belong to a certain religion. For an adult it is also the own choice how they live that religion. The best can this be seen in West Europe were lots of people say they are Catholic but where the majority does not live up to Catholic rules, and where even more than 90% even does not belief all the Catholic dogma‘s and do not affirm to the Catholic sacraments. they have come to an age where they made themselves a religion for their own. But they also should come to see that there are others who sincerely belief in God and want to serve that God (Allah, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah) to their best efforts.

Several people have lots of questions of life and death and want to have something to hold an and look for some spirituality. This spirituality is different than the religiosity.

Spiritual life, although it has a unique goal throughout the world which is the Union of All that is the Creator and all creatures, takes place in a wide variation of form and thought, because there is a constant rapport between spiritual life which is unique with the variable environment of the moment. {Advancing in spiritual life}

People have looked for different ways to come to see, meet and have a relationship with each other and with that Creator of the universe. Thousands of forms have been found to bring themselves to higher spheres and to try to make contact with the inner self and with creation and Creator. Lots of techniques found day light for humans to find ways to bring their body and soul in unison.  Many techniques are daily used by people all over the world to keep their body and soul healthy and to become a human which is in balance.

That balance is brought in danger by many factors and mostly by the impacts from outside world.

Man and woman in swimsuits, ca. 1910; she is exiting a bathing machine

At the beginning of the 21st century man in the West clearly has a troubled mind about tohorah or ritual purity, modesty, personality, self-expression, freedom or liberty, morals and values. Living in a place where the population in previous years was brought up under Judeo Christian values, those values seem long forgotten, and some, like the French some have chosen to oblige totally different moral values.

France’s Burkini Ban

Under the pressure of Islamic terrorists, people in the West have gotten such a fear which seems to trouble their mind so much they can not think straight any more. So, many suddenly start looking to see danger everywhere, even in women wearing certain clothes.

Normally you would think we are living in a multicultural society where it should be possible that

We do not need to like or love our fellow citizens. But we have to respect them and engage with them. {A relentlessly upbeat take on citizenship: My Review of Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship}

At the moment the world shows that respect is totally gone. There does seem to be no respect at all for people who have chosen an other way of thinking and living than theirs. It looks like today everybody has to agree with the same and has to be cut from the same cloth or has to be the same buffoon.

Lots of people are not willing any more to think about certain matters or to do some more research about certain things, to come to know more about it. Everything seems to be of the same cut and everybody is tarred with the same brush.

Take for example Islamic people living here in the West. Lots of people consider them a danger for our society because they hear a lot about those Islamic terrorists and have recently seen that those fundamentalist Muslims created havoc in our own regions killing many citizens.  Lots of people do forget they also killed many Muslims, Jews, atheists, Christians and other believers and that they really have nothing to do with the real Islam. They also do not seem to know that in the East even Sunni‘s came to fight against those so called Sunni Muslims of Daesh.

Women wearing hijab

In Europe we may find today a very big issue about Muslim faith, they way those people cloth, namely the hijab (headscarf) or turban, burka (full body cloak) or burqa and burkini or burqini becoming the symbol of Islam and all that there is about Islam. It has come so far that we see that a garment now defines Islam. But only a name could make them afraid to and have them saying a bukhara (Bukhoro or Bokhara) should be forbidden though then we shall not be able to eat any Bukhara Chutney (Plum Sauce) any more.

A cloth, has become Islam. The issue is that modesty and virtue have been reduced to the abundance or lack of abundance of a garment. And that indeed is a shame. {Tell me I’m wrong about the hijab  + Maniza Naqvi is wrong on so many levels about the hijab}

For us still the idea exist that the Ummah or Muslim community is still much too silent and does not show enough the world that those terrorists are misusing the name of Allah and are not real Islam.

It does not help when we in the West hear about maltreated women in the East. A Saudi 17-year old teenager making the decision to leave her family during a vacation in Turkey this summer; a 20-year old Muslim woman ran away from her family in Saudi in 2014; Hind Al-Otaibi escaping her abusive father who raped and injured her; Sahar Al-Sharif, attempting to escape domestic violence and her abusive brothers by getting married; all Saudi women who are not criminals, but people who have simply made a conscious decision to live! Who can blame them and who can say they have caused any harm? But why should they, when coming to the West put their faith aside and come to cloth themselves like Western people, who in their eyes do have low morals and not good ethics?

Strangely enough it are on those aspects they and western Muslim women become judged, as so called being without good morals and without good values. Today those values in France seem of a totally different sort as the ones in the previous century when they made a fuss when a short or skirt was not long enough or when too much bare skin was visible. Today several French people want to see as much as naked skin as possible though they forbid full nudity because than the excitement is taken away. For them clothing has to be spicy and seducing, otherwise it is not acceptable. That seems to be the moral and ethic attitude of the majority of French people today.

That modesty and virtue have been reduced to the abundance or lack of abundance of a garment for many does not seem to be a problem, but they want to see in the way women prefer to cloth, their inability to make their own proper choice. When women are not clothed like some of the youngsters prefer today they are considered not old fashioned, but are considered to being oppressed.

People also have becoming very narrow-minded thinkers (or would we not better say non-thinkers) limiting their own thoughts not wanting to go against the mainstream.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when talking about Muslim women, rather than talking to Muslim women, is to assume that Muslim women are all the same, think the same, to ignore the diversity of thought, experience, opinion. {Tell me I’m Wrong About the Hijab by Maniza Naqvi}

All Muslims are lumped. For the majority of Europeans they are all the same, from the same wet jar. Many of French or other Europeans, even do not come to see the difference between hijab, burka and burkini. They condemn and reject it without logic thinking and without good fundamental thought.

In case those people, who call themselves Christian, but adhere a trinity, do not want to come up for those women who love God more than man, real Christians, who love only One True God, should speak for those other lovers of God (Allah) and who have chosen to cover their body for God.

Real Christians should show that world which thinks it has good morals, that her morals have become polluted and reprehensible. They should show the world that it are not such good morals when man wants to exploit women as a sex object.

We as Christians should show the world that lovers of God should follow the rules of God and should respect each others and their own body. In the same way we should know that we have to be careful not to tempt others or to bring others to wrong thoughts about our body. We also should consider our body to be holy, i.e. set apart for God and for the one who intensely love and want to share our life with. This means that we should have the right to keep our own body to that person or persons who we want to share our body with or would not mind being seen in our natural skin.

We also should respect those women who want to go so far to cover a lot of their body. We also should show the world that we ought to respect those women for their choice of reserving their bodies just for their beloved.

For some it may look like those women are oppressed by their husband, but did they ever thought it might be the strong women their own choice to believe in certain values which may be much higher than the present values of the world?

Jews, Christians and Muslims should be lovers of God and as such prefer to keep to the Law of God much more than to the preferences of the majority of the world, who have abandoned God. Real lovers of God should know that the world its secularism, does not have to mean they have to follow in all the world their liberties.

Real lovers of God should always have in mind that the Law of God should be on the first place. That Divine Law is part or should be part of the Judeo Christian values our Western world should be keeping to, but many have gotten wrong ideas about those values, because they do not know their Scriptures any more.

It is up to lovers of God to come up for other lovers of God and to show those who have gone astray or do not know God to show the Way to God.

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Preceding article: Secularism in France becoming dangerous for freedom of religion

++

Find also to read about the burqini or burkini:

  1. Women’s Groups Say Gender Equality is a Must for Sustainable Development
  2. Gender connections
  3. Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda
  4. What is Racism??
  5. Is Europe going to become a dictatorial bastion
  6. On French beach French police forces woman to undress in public
  7. Women in France running with naked bosom all right but with covered bosom penalised
  8. France and the Burkini
  9. French showing to the whole world their fear and weaknesses
  10. Pew Research: How People in Muslim Countries Believe Women Should Dress
  11. Allowing dress code according liberty of religion
  12. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran
  13. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  14. Coverings Worn by Muslim Women
  15. Does Banning Face Veils Help Us Fight Terrorism?
  16. Islamism Rises from Europe’s Secularism
  17. You are what you wear
  18. Where’s the Outrage Over Nun Beachwear? – The Daily Beast
  19. Not limiting others but sharing peace with all
  20. What we don’t say about the refugee crisis?
  21. A charter for a truly free world and why we need it
  22. When will it stop
  23. ‘I try to keep my hate in check. If you can’t hate, you can’t love.’
  24. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  25. Silence, devotion, Salafists, quietists, weaponry, bombings, books, writers and terrorists
  26. Are people willing to take the responsibility for others
  27. Colour-blindness and road code
  28. Man’s own fault and the choice to flee from fear
  29. Lovers of God, seekers and lovers of truth

+++

Further of interest

  1. Religious Dress in Catholicism
  2. ISIS is Islamic, but most of Islam is not ISIS
  3. What if this existence is not real?
  4. The Dark Side is Strong with this One
  5. The More Things Change . . .
  6. What not to wear
  7. How Much Cover is Too Much, or Too Little? The French bathing suit controversy as represented in original source material
  8. What Not To Wear: A Short History Of Regulating Female Dress From Ancient Sparta To The Burkini
  9. Tell me what you wear
  10. Burkini Ban: Nice
  11. France’s Burkini Ban
  12. The reason you aren’t succeeding as a woman? Thats because you bleed apparently.
  13. Reviewing Channel 4’s Investigation into ISIS Sympathisers
  14. Should France launch air strikes against ISIS after Friday’s attack?
  15. The Islamic State responds to Pope Francis: “We are making a religious war, and we hate you
  16. ISIS tells the Socialist Pope that the Islamic State is in a war against the infidels approved by Allah.
  17. ISIS Responds to Pope Francis: This IS a Religious War and WE HATE YOU
  18. I Stand with Humanity ! I Stand against Terrorism #PrayforParis
  19. The Written Stuff vs.The Not Written Stuff: Sex Education From An Islamic Perspective Part I
  20. Is the Woman in Hijab oppressed? Who is a free woman ?
  21. What Hijab Means to me, Hashtag #Hijabtome
  22. Why I never wore a Hijab so far?
  23. At what point does a ban become a chance to publicly humiliate?
  24. And the Debate about Burkini Ban continues #burkiniban
  25. The Swimsuit Issue
  26. Stripped Down Make-up and Full Cover Suits.
  27. Nawaz: Both Sides Are Wrong in the Burkini Wars – The Daily Beast
  28. Burkini ban overturned
  29. What a lot of Berk(a)s
  30. I got 99 problems and the burkini is one of them…really?
  31. Bombs in a burkini?
  32. Bretons bathe fully clothed as Muslim asked to leave beach
  33. My Burkini and I
  34. This is why.
  35. The Story In A Rug
  36. You’ve Got to BurKining Me!
  37. Ramadan Kareem!
  38. Requiem
  39. What Can You Learn Through Someone Or Something Shivered? — Michael J. Fite
  40. Finding yourself
  41. Beauty Eclipsed: Day 8 – Focus inward
  42. Beauty Eclipsed #9: Surface vs Core
  43. A Journey From Being Alone To Alone
  44. Own, Apologize, Repair: Coming Back to Integrity
  45. Counter-Activism…or… Subverting Democracy
  46. The world in trouble
  47. i know why the caged bird shrieks…
  48. Darkness
  49. What do we do?
  50. The New Testament Church Part 2
  51. Peace
  52. De-Stress Your Mind & Body
  53. Let a young woman accept as a life companion only one who posseses pure,manly traits of character,one who is diligent,aspiring,one who loves and fear God.
  54. Why I wear the iron maiden: One woman on dressing modestly in everyday life
  55. Turn away from companions who will lead you in wrong paths.
  56. How legitimate is Christian Head-covering?
  57. Misnomer
  58. Why We Are Not Meant To Live Our Lives Naked
  59. There Is No Biblical Reason Why Women Can’t Go Topless?
  60. Power Of Happiness
  61. Being Grateful and Being Sorry—Are You Humble Enough To Do Both?
  62. …make this gift count.

+++

Lifting up hands towards the Most High

 

 

Psalms 28:2  Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands towards your Most Holy Place.
Psalms 63:4  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalms 134:1   A song of ascents. Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Psalms 134:2  Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
Psalms 141:1   A psalm of David. O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.
Psalms 141:2  May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Psalms 47:1   For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
Psalms 47:2  How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!
Lamentations 3:40  Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
Lamentations 3:41  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:
2 Chronicles 5:13  The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures for ever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud,
Nehemiah 8:6  Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Ezra 9:5   Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God
1 Kings 8:22   Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands towards heaven
1 Kings 8:23  and said: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
1 Kings 8:54   When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out towards heaven.
1 Kings 8:55  He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
1 Timothy 2:8  I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
Ephesians 5:18  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
John 4:24  God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

*

Quotes from the NIV

Psalm 1 in 1628 printing with tune, metrical v...

Psalm 1 in 1628 printing with tune, metrical version by Thomas Sternhold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Preceding articles

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

Our views on Christian Worship Music

Lifted Hands During Worship… Wait Is That Even Biblical?

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Geklap in de handen en gejuich voor God

++

Additional reading

  1. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  2. On the Affirmation of Scripture
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  4. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  5. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  6. What Jesus sang
  7. What is important?
  8. Music and young people in Christadelphia
  9. A small rant…music, young people and Christadelphia
  10. Art and other taboos
  11. Performing music

+++

Further reading

  1. Let Joy take temptation’s place
  2. From Picking to Performing Sunday Morning Music
  3. We Plow the Fields and Scatter
  4. 7 tips for those who play melody instruments in a church band.
  5. Back to the Future at TMC!
  6. His praises resound in us – the new temple!
  7. I owe no one an apology for kneeling down to worship God — Ooni Of Ife tells critics
  8. Kneeling, Humility, & Lost Reverence
  9. Stuff I Use in Sacred Practice
  10. Sermon: Learning to Kneel
  11. He Who Kneels
  12. Your Strength Begins on your Knees.

+++

Our views on Christian Worship Music

So far as the Christian Church is concerned, the Lord has left her entirely without restrictions in such matters — to praise the Lord with heart and voice, according to her love and zeal and judgment.

It is not, therefore, for one to judge another respecting the use of his love, zeal and judgment in offering the Lord worship in songs of praise, whether with instrumental accompaniment or without: it is for each individual and each church to exercise the liberty which the Lord has granted.

However, we do urge that all remember that it is not the excellence of our music that will make it acceptable to our Lord. For we may well suppose that the harmonies of the heavenly choirs quite outmeasure the best efforts of earthly choirs, and hence could not hope that the Lord will receive our songs of praise because of their intrinsic merit. Their acceptance at all will be because they are expressions of the heart sentiments; and this being true all who have heart sentiments of thankfulness and gratitude should be encouraged to make “a joyful noise unto the Lord,” as acceptable and pleasing to him through the merit of our Redeemer.

“Let all his children sing
Glad songs of praise to God!
The children of the heavenly King
Should tell their joys abroad.”

R2510

Words and music as published in The Chorale Bo...

Words and music as published in The Chorale Book for England in 1865. Editors: Sir William Sterndale Bennett, Otto Goldschmidt; Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1865), The Chorale Book for England , Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green , (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Preceding articles:

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

True God giving His Word for getting wisdom

You Are The Truth

Our openness to being approachable

Psalm 150 Praise Jah, You people!

Psalm 150 Praise Jah! Praise God

++

Additional reading

  1. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  2. On the Affirmation of Scripture
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  4. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  5. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  6. What Jesus sang
  7. What is important?
  8. Music and young people in Christadelphia
  9. A small rant…music, young people and Christadelphia
  10. Art and other taboos
  11. Performing music

+++

Further reading

  1. Building
  2. Curses to Blessings
  3. Crazy Faith.
  4. Why “A prayer” By kings kaleidoscope is a turning point for worship
  5. Escapist Worship?
  6. A Brief History of Praise & Worship: Have We Gotten Off Track?
  7. When church music lost its norms
  8. The consumer of religiosity is often, as Hitchcock shows, a consumer in more tangible ways as well.
  9. The return to chant based on biblical and liturgical texts will be fruitful only if the liturgical meaning of the words is fully understood by both the singers and congregation
  10. The First World War and Percy Dearmer
  11. Do We Need Permission?
  12. (Any) Music Style Can Become a Graven Image
  13. Don’t Be Satisfied
  14. State of Evangelical Worship
  15. Guest blog:A Prayer: A Song of Worship; a Challenge to the Christian Status Quo (Strong language)
  16. Speaking My Truth: Whither the Excitement
  17. We Must Not Become Conceited
  18. Washed
  19. Creative Resurgence in Christian Music
  20. Self-Centered Worship Leading
  21. Why Gospel Centered Worship
  22. Why Hymns? – Intro
  23. Why Hymns: Part 1 – Gospel Story
  24. Hosanna.
  25. Holding Back Means Holding In
  26. The “Lost and Found” band inaugural gig
  27. “This desert holds a song…”
  28. Just for an hour #1
  29. ‘Blessed Be the Lord God Almighty’
  30. Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
  31. Miracles
  32. One Wild Life, by Gungor
  33. One Thing Remains – Kristian Stanfill
  34. Tehillah Tuesdays 6-21-16 | Lillie-Put
  35. The Voice of My Beloved Sounds (Hymn)
  36. Heaven Came Down (hymn)
  37. Come Thou Fount (hymn)
  38. Beautiful Stranger- Rebecca St. James.
  39. Obsessed
  40. Worship Music Roundup – 6/10/16
  41. Most Read of July
  42. Five Questions with our instructor Amanda in Lafayette LA
  43. Delirious: My Journey with the band, a growing family,and an army of history makers
  44. Lifted Hands During Worship… Wait Is That Even Biblical?
  45. Guest Post: God Instructed Me to Quit My Job for Music
  46. Rosemary Drops Nara Ekele Video
  47. Higher – Unspoken
  48. Pride Comes Before Destruction
  49. Higher w/ Lyrics – Unspoken
  50. Top 4 All Sons & Daughters Songs
  51. Sunday’s Set List
  52. Special Intention for Wednesday Eucharist
  53. For Those Who Absolutely Hate Church
  54. Let Joy take temptation’s place
  55. Balance In Our Christian Walk
  56. The stones will cry out
  57. Jehovah-Jireh.
  58. Do Not Judge!!!

+++

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

It is lovely when a person feels he or she has guidance to know when to listen, when to speak and how to speak. For a non Jehovah’s Witness or some one not used to find huge groups of believers together it might be a special occasion. What seemed to have something very special did not turn up to be lively and enjoyable.

To find yourself directing conversations, giving you words to say (or telling when to shut up), and protecting your conversations from the bullies must be a great feeling in the end and perhaps making it an experience to do again (?).

We are not sure what the “ “going undercover” among the Jehovah’s Witnesses” intentions are and why they think the JW’s are missing something (what?) out on.

The writer calls himself a am a born-again, evangelical Christian, seeking to influence Jehovah’s Witnesses

away from their dependency on the Watchtower Society, and toward a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Normally we would expect the JW also to have a real relationship with God and Jesus. Though we are also afraid that many of them their relationship may be troubled because not originated in the right soil, having no “Freedom from fear, guilt, and shame”.

Normally from any serious bible student, whatever which denomination, you would expect that they pray for and receive Holy Spirit guidance and power.

About the (sometimes horrible) music (created for female voice not counting in man’s voice) it is true that as flawed as other’s their church’s services may be, they are probably light-years away and better than any JW meeting, where for us often joy seems to be missing.

Like ” “going undercover” among the Jehovah’s Witnesses” writes “Perhaps attendance at a JW meeting should be mandatory for every Christian believer, just to give them a new appreciation for their own church experiences.”

Congreso Nacional Juvenil3.jpgBut Christians do have to be very careful not to want more entertainment than Bible reading and modesty of contemplative service.
In certain churches of Christendom we do see too much of the heavy music and dancing, chanting to a godman and not keeping to Biblical truth but including lots of pagan actions and ideas. (Like by the Pentecostals.)

For those looking for God such a JW meeting at the other hand may be a good occasion to ‘sniff’ their ways of thinking and handling, without being too much in the focus, able to hide in the masses.

+

Preceding article

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

+++

undercoverjw

The month of July saw a number of weekends at the Cow Palace (San Francisco) dedicated to the annual Jehovah’s Witness convention. These are 3-day conferences repeated identically, so as to accommodate a number of “circuits” or regions of JW congregations. My friend Mark and I attended this last Saturday only (not all three days). Here are some of my experiences and observations.IMG_1388

  1. The Watchtower Society is investing in some high-tech tools. There are now 2 large screens flanking the stage, rather than one as in the past. Several professionally produced videos were used to illustrate practical applications of the teachings, in contrast to the live dramas of the past. And one longer, rather well-produced video depicted a modern version of Job’s trials. (I was actually impressed with it–there was really not much to criticize.) The video was the newest “release” announced at the end of the day, another high-tech…

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