H is for Hypostatic Union.

HAnother day, another phrase you have to look at twice to pronounce properly. Hypostatic Union

An article on the Desiring God website says: ‘“hypostatic union” may sound fancy in English, but it’s a pretty simple term. Hypostatic means personal. The hypostatic union is the personal union of Jesus’ two natures.’

So we are back to another mystery.
Jesus is fully human and fully God. I believe that God tells me the truth in His Word; but how is that possible?

Recently in a number of sermons preached in my church (and not solely in the context of Easter services), the preachers referred to the fact that ‘Jesus learnt obedience.’ (Hebrews 5:8) I know I’m not the only one who struggled a bit with that. Jesus is God, and God put the stars in the sky; so why does he have to learn anything?

I don’t know – but he did! As a baby he couldn’t just get up and walk across the room, he would have taken clumsy first steps like any toddler. The same goes for speaking… John 1 says that Jesus IS the Word, yet he had to learn to say his first words as a little boy. So although being fully human did not remove any of his Godly characteristics, he still had to progress as a human; learning to walk and talk and obey.

By the way in case you’re waiting for me to unravel the mystery and explain it all; you’ll be waiting for a while 🙂 However, I find some help in understanding it earlier in the  letter to the Hebrews, when the writer says, ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.’ Hebrews 4:15

For Jesus to fully understand and ’empathize with our weaknesses,’ surely he would have had to go through the struggle of learning certain things. I’m terrible with numbers, but my sister can count and rearrange them in her head. I do not understand how she does this, and she does not understand how I can’t. God who made all, knows all, IS all… could only truly say he has experienced all we have to go through, if he had to learn the as we have had to learn.

I think… I’m not 100% sure to be honest.

Before I finish… using the CARM website again, they provide an excellent table to show ‘the two natures of Jesus in action.’ I found it very helpful.

More anon x


source: CARM.org

G is for Gap Theory

GToday’s broadcast is brought to you from the Cotswolds! I’m away for a few days with the in-laws, celebrating birthdays 🙂 Yesterday we wandered around Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. We’d a really great day, and I bought a super-dooper, ye-olde-world-looking notebook. #happywriter

Anyway, on to today’s term, and it is Gap Theory.

I’ve gone back to CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry for this one. They say that “the gap theory is the idea that there is a gap in time between Genesis 1:1 in Genesis 1:2.  The gap lasted for millions of years and accounts for the dinosaurs.”

So if I’m understanding it right, Gen 1:1 says ‘In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.’ Then the writer of Genesis forgot to, or didn’t bother to, add a note to say, “skip forward a few million years, we pick up the story again here… Gen 1:2 ‘And the earth was formless and void... etc etc’

In fairness, I can see why Gap Theory might be attractive to some. It certainly appears to do away with many questions. It accounts for stuff that can’t be accounted for and anything that doesn’t fit, or that we can’t agree on, can be put down to events during that time period. So rather than answering questions, it suggests a reason why they can’t be answered.

I know that not all Christians agree on the basic 6 day creation story. I personally know Christian scientists who believe in a form of evolution that is governed by God. I’m a 6 day girl myself, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.

I have no problem with mystery, unexplained things or unanswerable questions. In fact it’s what yesterday’s post was all about. I would much prefer a mystery that I can trust God about, than an answer that appeases much but settles nothing.

So Gap Theory gets the thumbs down from me I’m afraid…

See you tomorrow for the ‘H’ instalment. 🙂 x

F is for Fideism

FNow then – here’s your word for today – Fideism.
CARM – Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, says that ‘Fideism’ is: the philosophical and theological view that some areas of knowledge cannot be sufficiently known through experience and/or reason. Fideism is the complete reliance on faith without evidence and/or reason.

The lack of ‘evidence’ and ‘reason’ seems to cause great frustration for many people who don’t believe in a deity. The fact that Christians believe without tangible evidence irritates and even angers some commentators. We are often sneered at, mocked and insulted because we accept things without evidence. Celebrity atheists call us all sorts of stupid, gullible and crazy. The Bible reminds us however, that God rewards us for believing. Some people saw Jesus and believed – great, but Jesus said that those who believe without seeing are blessed.

There’s a song on this subject that I love. It’s sung by Susan Ashton. the chorus goes

You want to hold the intangible
To fashion the darkness into familiar shape
To see with your eyes, to know with your mind
Oh ye of so little faith
only the heart can hold the intangible.

But my favourite line is this one…

Let’s just suppose. How it would be; to trade all you know for one ounce of true belief.

That line actually thrills me, because I know I wouldn’t do the swap the other way around. I would not give away one ounce of my faith for all the knowledge in the world.

And you can call me what you like; cos Jesus calls me blessed 🙂

E is for Ekklesia

EThanks so much to you all for reading. The AtoZ is always good for the ol’ visitor stats, and I’m enjoying reading other blogs doing the challenge 🙂

Today’s word is one of my favourites -Ekklesia
In grammar terms, it’s a feminine noun. Strong’s Concordance defines it as, “an assembly, congregation, church; the Church, the whole body of Christian believers.” The original greek breaks the word down into ‘ek’ meaning ‘out’ and ‘kaleo’ meaning to ‘call.’ The Ekklesia is a collective term for the ‘called out’ ones. Not a super spiritual holy huddle, not a band of perfect saints. Oh no, not even close 🙂 Just a group of ordinary people who have responded to the call of God to follow Him.

This particular word for ‘church’ is not just as assembly of the gathered throng. It seems to me that you can go to church, without necessarily being part of the ekklesia.

Yesterday morning, Easter Sunday morning, our little part of the worldwide ekklesia gathered in our church building to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and to watch three people being baptised. Three ordinary people who proclaimed publicly the call of God on their lives, and their response to it. One of them, is a young teen I’ve known since she was a born; she’s now my sister in Christ! (Not because she was baptised btw – baptism is an outward sign of an inner change.) Amazing tho.

As Christians, we don’t just go to church – we ARE church.   The whole thing blows my mind to be honest.

More tomoz xx

D is for Death

DToday’s word is not so obscure but I thought,  as it is Holy Saturday (next Saturday is Easter Saturday…) and we’ve a day off tomorrow, that it is the perfect word.

Many Christians take time to remember Good Friday (the Crucifixion of Jesus) and celebrate Easter Sunday (the Resurrection of Jesus), but Easter Saturday is a quieter day. I’ve read a few articles and discussions about it and there is varied opinion on exactly where Jesus was on the Saturday.

The two main sides of the debate based on a) the words that Jesus says to the thief on the Cross, “Truly I ; and tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. He says, “It is finished” suggesting that His work was done and that we should do as He did, and rest on Saturday in anticipation of Resurrection Day.

Based on other verses in the New Testament, there is the opinion that b) Jesus ‘descended into the lower regions.’ 1 Peter 3 says that when Jesus died ‘he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison’ Those verses are the reason that Jesus’ descent into hell was added to the Apostle’s Creed.

It’s a great subject to dwell on and put some study time into, however what’s far more significant is the victory achieved by Jesus death. The sinless Lamb, taking on the sin of the world. Whatever conclusion we come to about Saturday, joy comes in the morning. The stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty. Death has been conquered, Jesus lives.

Death is so painful; I’m still recovering from two big losses last year. My mam is gone 10 years – I still feel that loss too. Jesus’ death means that death has not won, it’s not the final word.

Enjoy tomorrow folks. Jesus is risen, He is alive!

C is for Consequentialism

CSo Day 3’s word is ‘Consequentialism’ – the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains it like this – “of all the things a person might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences.”

I suppose it’s not a theological term as such, though it does appear on some glossaries. It is however another one of those concepts that I’ve been aware of, even if only vaguely, but didn’t know what it was called.

The action that comes to mind when I think of this word is, lying. I have told so many lies in my life, I can’t count them. I have justified almost all of them and have felt many of them a necessity.

I think of how many times I fobbed my Dad off with lies. It was easier to tell him that my brother’s band were playing in some far off venue. If he knew they were performing just up the road, he’d have been in a taxi on his way to the pub, rather than safely tucked up in his bed where I preferred him to be.

The ‘overall consequences’ of my action helped me to justify the lie; and I freely admit that if he was still alive, I’d still be doing it.

It is something I have and still wrestle with. I don’t have a balanced thought to round this one off with. Only to say that I’m so thankful to God for His mercy and forgiveness for this and many other things I’ve done for the sake of ‘the best overall consequences’ – more commonly known as – ‘an easy life.’

B is for Bibliomancy

BHere’s another thing that I didn’t realise was an actual thing. Bibliomancy

The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms says that Bibliomancy is: the practice of opening the Bible at random and seeking guidance through the first verse one sees. In quite a few sources it’s described as ‘divination by means of a book.’

When I was a new Christian, it took a while for me to grasp what the Bible was and wasn’t. So I often did let it fall open on a page and read a verse to see if I could get a lightning quick response to a question. I don’t think I ever landed on anything that made sense to my particular query. Over time. I found that reading, understanding and listening to the Word of God gave insight into situations and comfort in times of trouble. Doing an ‘eenie, meenie, miney mo’ never did anything for me.

In my search about this term I found that, though it dates back to ancient Greece, it’s still a common practice. It all sounds a bit magic 8 ball-ish to me. And it’s poor use of a fabulous resource. Like preparing and firing up a space shuttle to get to the local shop for a pint of milk. It was built for so much more.

I believe the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12); and so it has to be handled carefully. I love having scripture verses on fridge magnets and on the pages of notebooks; but individual random verses can be and often are taken out of context. If the Bible is a rocket, then fly me to the moon 🙂

A is for Absolutely Astraddle (and ‘Adiaphora’)

AIt’s Day 1 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and I still haven’t come up with a theme. I considered Bible characters, Bible verses, Hymns or Songs, great theological writers… but I couldn’t decide.

So here I am on day 1 thinking of holy ‘A’ words.

Annmarie…?  nah I don’t think so.

Ann, is a form of Hannah, who I believe was the mother of Mary; and of course, Marie comes from Mary. So, even though Annmarie is made up of the names of Jesus’ mammy and granny, when you put them together you end up with me. That knocks holiness out of play 🙂

However, I had a rummage around for an interesting ‘A’ word that might be closer to holiness than my own name; and I found this word, ‘adiaphora’

TheFreeDictionary.com tells us that it is, “a Christian Protestant theological theory that certain rites and actions are matters of indifference in religion since not forbidden by the Scriptures.”

The concept itself is familiar to me but I didn’t realise it had a name. If you think about it, it’s a big part of Christian life. When we think of guidance for some of the big things we ‘choose’ – spouses, jobs, money, which church to attend etc – there are few hard and fast rules. We know we should work, and should gather together in fellowship, and should be good stewards of what we have – using it wisely etc. But although I know I shouldn’t work in a brothel, there is nothing in the Bible to say that I shouldn’t be a civil servant, accountant, hairdresser or dog groomer.

We’re not told what person to marry, how much is too much to spend on a house, or whether a church is holier with or with or without a pipe organ or drum kit. We’re to use our wisdom and discernment, seeking God’s guidance and will for our lives.  I also believe this connects to preference and diversity. I don’t see all the varied styles of church as disunity or contradiction. I see them as a gift from God. We’re all different and have different likes and bugbears. So He has made a vast range of worship styles and building shapes, so that we can – with all our foibles and oddities – find a place to worship Him in, and a group of people to worship Him with.

So here’s to adiaphora!

I only hope that my search reveals more interesting words for the rest of the alphabet.

Happy A to Z to you all,
Amo x