Live in Unity?

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I feel renewed, refreshed, and revived!  All in my spirit, mind you – I’m typing while in bed.

We had a great Bible study today.  Most of us came with anticipation because we knew we would be delving into some of the toughest scriptures in Hebrews.

Therefore, leaving the elementary teachings about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.  And this we will do, if God permits.

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.          -Hebrews 6:1-8

See what I mean? Really tough stuff!  Now none of this can be thoroughly understood by a first read.  This group has been studying Hebrews together since September.  We chose this type of study (Precept Upon Precept) because we want to dig deep into God’s word.  It’s fun, for most of us, to study throughout the week and then come together to discuss the insights we’ve gleaned.  Then we listen to Kay Arthur lecture over the material via video.

So we have had a few months to work up to these verses, laying a foundation of observation and word studies to get us prepared for class today.  I think most of us were ready to have quite a debate, since we don’t all attend the same denomination, but it never occurred.

The leader began with prayer, being sure to ask for the Spirit of unity, then we jumped right in.  We went through the assigned word studies, looked at the Greek meanings, considered the voice and tense of the words, looked at the context and cross-references, shared our feelings about the possible meanings – we looked thoroughly into the passage.  No debate.  It was remarkable.  All possible interpretations were discussed and we just sat smiling at each other.

Wow.  I mean, WOW!  We have some opinionated ladies in our group (present company included) and we were able to love one another in a Spirit of unity that is rarely witnessed over tough doctrinal issues. 

 It was great!  I just had to report, it is possible to live with one another in unity.  I feel refreshed!

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14 responses »

  1. WOW. I too was overwhelmed by the sense of unity that prevailed over the group as we studied Hebrews 6:1-8. As we discussed the passage, the application was the same regardless of which interpretation you might have adopted as your own. That is that we must examine ourselves to make sure that we are in relationship with Jesus. No one can do it for us and we cannot examine anyone else regardless of the temptation to do so. Also, we must remember to examine the entire Word of God to make sure that we are not contradicting the rest of the Word. God’s unity and God’s peace was the order of the day. Praise to God.

  2. What church do you belong to?
    I don’t like the epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. We were reading it last week in our church and I complained about it to a friend of mine who is a retired Presbyterian pastor, I am not Presbyterian, and he laughed. He also said we all have our own inner Hebrew. Now we are reading the Epistle of St. James, I like that much better!

  3. Hello Artistic! I wondered if you had ever made it over. I enjoy reading your comments at the dC site, and your own. I’ve started looking into St. Theophan, he looks like an interesting read.

    I attend a contemporary Bible church. By contemporary I’m referring to the music. I’ve been to many denominations but finally opted for a Bible church, cause I just wanted to have the word taught, clearly. So far it’s been a good fit.

    Hebrews is very difficult – I don’t believe it’s possible to get without lots of cross-referencing to the OT. I love James, too! I heard a pastor say once that we should all start in the Gospel of John, for a good dose of our loving Savior and then move to James, for the answers to how we should treat one another.

  4. Michelle, I had made it over, but was just too bored to comment before, forgive me. May I ask what a “contemporary Bible church” is? Thanks! I may have some photographs of St. Theophan on my Flickr or Facebook site. Email me and I can either give you the URL, or an invitation. You have to keep my identity a secret, ok?

  5. I’ve googled him and found lots of information, which of his books do you recommend?

    Bible churches are autonomous organizations – no central church or structure outside of our own congregation. Sometimes Bible churches will network together to support one another, and have accountability, but we do not have a head bishop or superintendent. We have a body of elders who oversee the church, and a deaconate (board of deacons) to help minister to the body.

    Bible churches have a strong commitment to the word of God and usually have sermons where the preacher goes verse-by-verse through the scriptures. By contemporary I was referring to the type of music. Our church has a mix of christian rock, country, and praise tunes. It’s rare we will sing an old hymn (which I really miss) and we only have a choir a couple of times a year. This is done in an effort to reach the contemporary world.

    I miss the way church was “done” when I was growing up – I’m in my forties. But times change, I guess. My kids love the contemporary services, they’ve hardly experienced anything else. It took us a while to find a good “fit.”

    Sorry, I tend to over extend with my responses. 😉

  6. Michelle, I recommend The Spiritual Life and The Path to Salvation, both published by the Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. If you email me about them, I can give you more details privately. Where do “Bible churches” come from. Forgive me, but as one labeled a heretic by clergy, they sound rather heretical.

  7. Artistic:

    It probably does appear heretical from a traditional Orthodox background. It is an attempt to be the church as was described in the New Testament. The movement seems to have come from a controversy in the 1920’s over liberal vs. conservative methods of studying scripture. By the 1960’s the original body, The Bible Prebyterian Church, had changed to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which in turn merged with the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America.

    Although I am not sure my church is associated with this movement, this was the information I found in The Westminster Dictionary of Church History. Many Bible churches in my area have come from students through Dallas Theological Seminary, and they have networked to support one another.

    I was called a “new heretic” over on the de-C site. I think it depends upon your interpretation of the creeds. I believe the words of the Apostle’s creed – I have not studied the Nicene creed, but understand it is “right on.” 😉

  8. Michelle, that is good news. Is there anything I can do to encourage you to return to a more traditional church? I am a staunch traditionalist, but an atypical one. I am not contentious, and most traditionalists tend to be contentious, *especially* Orthodox ones. I tend not to fraternize with other Orthodox traditionalists, at least not publicly.
    What tradition does the Dallas Theological Seminary belong to? I have to admit, I visited Dallas once or twice, and I didn’t particularly care for it. Even the Greek Orthodox churches there are kind of shady, at least in my opinion.
    Do the Presbyterians recite the Nicene creed in their liturgies?

  9. I feel free to worship wherever I am, when living in England we attended the Anglican church some, and loved the liturgy. The richness of the scripted prayers truly spoke to me. I don’t know where we’ll be down the road, but now it fits us well. I’ve only been to one Greek Orthodox congregation in the area. I went with my best friend in high school and enjoyed the mystery of it all – I had tons of questions, and she was very patient with me. I was quite thankful for the English interpretation I was handed! 😉

    I don’t know who founded DTS. The people who attend come from many denominations – I believe the majority are from a Calvinist tradition. I haven’t worshipped in a Lutheran church in a very long time, I’m not sure which creed they cite.

  10. Michelle, let me know when you get to 11:1…one of my favorites! I’d like to see how you interpret that one. Keep the discussion going. I loved your response, “I feel free to worship wherever I am.”

    Where ever and when ever you worship, I am sure you use whatever you can to let whosoever it is know whyever you are free that you can appreciate it! I am just glad we ALL have the freedom to choose what suits us when it comes to religion. I know many disagree, but everyone (else) can’t be right (or wrong) can they? God IS good to us, and I can certainly appreciate how each one’s experiences in life and worship bring them to the same table. I can’t name names or quote scripture at the drop of a hat, I generally just do what God shows me…the Bible is more alive to me that way, and since He knows me from the inside out, it works best for me.

    I still like to hear the opinions of others.

  11. Thanks for the comment, Paper Bubbles, we won’t be getting to chapter 11 for quite some time.

    From reading your blog, the Spirit seems to be working quite well with you. It’s when we “quench the Spirit” that we need to be careful about the choices we are making – don’t you think?

    May God richly bless you and keep you ~Michelle 😉

  12. I enjoyed reading this blog. I also enjoyed the comments. I am so glad that I found your site. I’m going to review the scripture in Hebrews. I love the way you use the scriptures and the way you blog. I am having a problem with concentration and dementia so it is great to read your blog. I remind myself that we need to be “holy, as God is holy.” I’m not sure how to add you to my blog so I can click your blog, but I will get my daughter to do it for me. Thank you for your insight of the scriptures.

  13. Without my sons, I couldn’t do this thing. I know they get frustrated telling me the same thing again and again. But, oh well, we do what we can. Thank God for family!

    What I recall is going to the option for blogroll on the dashboard, and following the instructions there. If that’s any help – 🙂

    Thanks for your encouraging words. Blessings ~Michelle

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