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Chapter 8

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Kenneth Derry

Chapter 8: Christianity The Historical Jesus • Jesus was born in Palestine during 4 B.C. • Jesus grew up in Nazareth and was baptized by John. • The Spirit: the unseen order that and that our supreme good lies in rightful relations to it. • Humans could take the initiative in contacting the Spirit through fasting and solitude. • People filled with the power of the spirit were able to heal diseases, cast out demons, quell storms, parted waters and caused the dead to return to life. • Jesus was Jewish but he stood in sharp tension with Judaism. • Holiness Code: categorizes people according to whether they respected distinctions like clean and unclean, righteous and sinner; Jesus did not believe this as Yahweh is compassionate and people shouldn’t have social barriers. The Christ of Faith • What Jesus’ Disciples Saw Him Do o Jesus went about doing good. o Counseling and helping ordinary people and social misfits. • What Jesus’ Disciples Heard Him Say o Jesus’ language is invitational: he invited people to see things differently instead of telling people what to do or what to believe. o Jesus was speaking of things that were very much a part of his hearer’s worlds. o Jesus’ language is gigantesque (if your hand offends you, cut it off!). o Most of the time, Jesus told stories called parables. • What They Sensed Him To Be o His entire life was one of humility, self-giving, and love that sought not its own. o His concern is what people thought of God, God’s nature and God’s will for their lives. o People responded to Jesus, but he equally responded to them as he felt their appeal, whether they were rich or poor, young or old, saints or sinners. o He hated injustice and hypocrisy. The End and the Beginning • After Jesus’ death, his followers were preaching the gospel of their Risen Lord. • Jesus’ resurrection was not simply a resuscitation of his physical body, but it was entry into another mode of being. The Good News • Christians were forced to more cryptic symbols like heads of fish because one might be thrown to the lions or turned into a human torch if you were a known Christian. • Good news is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior. • Mutual Regard: the total absence of social barriers, everyone was equal in the sight of God. • Joy: early Christians were extremely joyful even when oppressed, thinking that life is no longer a matter of coping but it was glory discerned. • Three Burdens That Were Lifted From Their Shoulders: o Fear and Fear of Death: because Jesus is always with them. o Guilt o Cramping Confines of the Ego • The burdens were lifted and transformed because of love. • Early Christians have experienced Jesus’ love and are convinced that He was God incarnate. The Mystical Body of Christ • The first Christians who spread the Good News throughout the Mediterranean world were not alone; they believed that Jesus was in their midst as a concrete, energizing power. • Ekklesia: the first Christians who spread the Good News, means “called out” or “called apart.” • Saint Paul adapted Christ’s image by using the human body instead of a vine to symbolize the Church. • The Church was the Mystical Body of Christ. o The Mystical Body came to life in the “upper room” in Jerusalem at Pentecost through the animating power of the Holy Spirit. o Christ was the head of the body and the Holy Spirit is the souls, individual Christians were its cells, few at first but increasing as the body came of age. • Church Visible: composed of those who are formally members of the Church as an earthly institution. • Church Invisible: composed of all who, whatever their formal persuasion, follow as best they are able the lights they have. The Mind of the Church • Incarnation: God assumed a human body in Christ; it affirms that Christ was God-Man, both fully God and fully human. o The willingness of God to assume a human life of the form of Jesus together with the character of Jesus’ life added up to a different understanding of divinity. o God was concerned about humanity, concerned enough to suffer in its behalf. • Atonement: reconciliation, the recovery of wholeness. o Sins must be compensated for; otherwise, God’s justice would be compromised. o An infinite sin demands infinite recompense and this could only be effected by God’s assumption of our guilt and payment of the penalty it required, death. o It was the Christian witness that the Power that works the liberation, and restores the self to the ground of its being, is Christ. • Trinity: while God is fully one, God is also three (God’s essences). o The Father o The Son o The Holy Spirit o The Jews and Muslims rejected this theology. Roman Catholicism • Roman Catholicism: focuses in the Vatican in Rome and spreads from there, being dominant through central and southern Europe, Ireland and So
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