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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Three Essentials of the Christian Faith




Martin Luther considered John 3:16 "the heart of the Bible – the Gospel in miniature." Yet there are other doctrines that must also be considered essential to the Gospel. Let's look at three of them.


God as Trinity

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

As Jesus came up from the Jordan waters the Spirit descended upon Him and the Father's voice was heard claiming Jesus as the divine Son. The Trinity was made manifest at Jesus' baptism by John.


Jesus as the unique Savior

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17

The Lord is . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

"He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2 Cor 5:15

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself..." 2 Corinthians 5:19

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6


Jesus as the Son of God

“. . . the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God." 1 John 4:15

John explains that his purpose in writing is "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God." (John 20:31) 

Likewise, Martha professes that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God (John 11:27), and John the Baptist bears witness that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34).


Related reading: Jesus Christ's Triumphal Resurrection


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Human Intelligence and Divine Judgement




Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.


From birth, each person begins to learn how to function as an individual and in relationship to others. Without sufficient mental and moral principles, self and social relationships prove to be limited or even destructive. Babies are not taught how to learn, they simply learn. It seems to be an innate capacity. Some may face greater challenges to learning, some learn patterns from their families that are not wholesome. Through experience the wise find it necessary to jettison patterns of behavior that are not helpful. Some learn to distinguish between what is helpful and leads to a better way of life and some do not.

Being created in the image of the Creator suggests that humans have a greater ability to learn than other creatures. From controlling fire to splitting the atom, the history of mankind reveals this exceptional quality. Our nature is such that we can accomplish great things in the service of our fellow man, but that when we substitute a false self-image we can also produce great suffering.  Consider the determined efforts of evil men to exterminate millions of their fellow human beings.

As Creator, God has the supremely greater intelligence and the authority to show us the way to fulfilling life. He provides each with sufficient intelligence and discernment to regulate our lives so that we thrive. But He also gives us freedom and with that freedom comes a great responsibility of choice.

There comes a point when we are accountable for our own actions and choices. In some circles it is believed that human reach the age of accountability at about 13 years of age. In Judaism, for example, boys go through the bar mitzvah at age 13. For Jewish girls the bat mitzvah takes place at age 12. From that time, they are responsible for their choices as adults. Thereafter, God is not only Creator and Teacher, but also the Judge.

Christians believe that God is a just judge and that He can be trusted to bring us through times of trouble, even troubles that we bring upon ourselves. We read in James 4:12 -"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy..." When we humbly turn to Him in repentance, God looks upon us with mercy. That is the beginning of a new life of learning and growth. 

The learner who lives according to divine judgement will be renewed. That person is like a tree with roots deep in the earth. The storms of life cannot topple that tree. That person is like a tree by the water. It will not perish in times of drought.

The mature Christian who takes responsibility to live according to divine judgement has the assurance that he will "give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Peter 4:5) And his conscience is clear. 

The intelligence of humans is a gift from our Creator and the gift is to be used responsibly. We are to be ever mindful of the accounting that we must give to God, our Judge.



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Beware a Different Gospel




Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

I wrote this after a visit from a Seventh Day Adventist teacher who kept mixing the Sabbath observance into the Gospel message. The tone began quite legalistic, and I was reminded of the Apostle Paul's strong words to the Galatians.
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ." Galatians 1:6, 7 NASU

What is the true, pure Gospel of Jesus Christ? It is a "received" tradition concerning the long-awaited Messiah who saves.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, . . .” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASU

How does “another gospel” come to be preached? It is the work of self-appointed preachers who have their personal agendas and reject the received tradition to which Paul testifies. They work by infiltration.
“. . the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.” Galatians 2:4, 5

This false gospel was to “compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:14); that is, to put the followers of Jesus back under the burden of Jewish legalism which required that Gentiles be circumcised according to the Law of Moses.

How does the Apostle Paul describe this different gospel?
“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” Galatians 5:2

Paul admonished the followers of Jesus to put their faith in Him alone. He urges them not be negligent or disorderly in gathering together. He does not require them to observe the Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night, though the earliest followers did, as it was their custom as Jews.

Gentile Christians met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2). The Evangelists Mark and John acknowledge the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day."
Mark 16:9-10 “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” 
John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”
John 20:19 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

Paul considered observing the Sabbath Day as optional for Jesus' followers. He wrote:
“. . One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 13:14

Further, Paul insisted that believers were not to be judged on this issue:
“. . . no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which are a mere shadow . .” Colossians 2:16, 17

Attempts to add merit to the infinite worth of Christ’s propitiation is futile. Observing the Jewish Sabbath cannot bring forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Requiring others to do so places barriers in the paths of sincere seekers. It delivers believers from Christian liberty back into bondage.
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

Ultimately, such legalism denigrates the perfected work of Jesus, the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners.
"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:2

Related reading: Our Common Confession


Monday, June 25, 2018

INDEX of Topics


Current as of  28 August 2018

Apologetics
Why Sincere Muslims Should Learn About Jesus
Looking for the True God?
A Latent Stumbling Block
Contending for the Faith (Latent Stumbling Block, Part II)
A Historic Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part III)
Satanic Strategies (Latent Stumbling Block, Part IV)
Defining Orthodoxy (Latent Stumbling Block, Part V)
The Spiritual Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VI)
Principles Determining Interpretation (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VII)
The Creation of the Universe (Latent Stumbling block, Part VIII)
My Response to a Muslim Scholar
Another Response to Islam
Further Thoughts on Creation Issues
The Glory of Belonging
The Science-Faith Question
President Lincoln's Faith
A.W. Tozer on Pursuing God

Authority
Human Intelligence and Divine Judgement
Divine Authority as a Gift
A Special Meeting in Galilee

Baptism
On Holy Baptism and Discipleship
Psalm 23: Identification through Baptism
Progressively Exchanging Life

Bible Blurb (Thoughts about the Bible, brief biblical insights)
Probability and Reliability
Specific Details of Jesus' Last Week
Mini Bible
The Bible is a Library

Bible Study
A Clarifying Search of the Scriptures
The Living Word Transforms Lives
The Gospel for Seekers
Two Powerful Words: "I Believe"
Melchizedek: A Type of Christ
The Incarnation of the Son of God
Conforming the Mind to Scripture
The New Testament: What Authority Without the Inspiration Doctrine?
Christ's Triumphal Resurrection: Victory over Death
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: Redemption!
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New People
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: An Entirely New Self-concept
The Fifth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: God's Power for Living
The Sixth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New Glorified Body
The Seventh Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Eighth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Breath of God: Why Study Greek?
The Veracity of the Holy Bible
Meditation of Luke 22: Glory
Meditation on His Glory, Part II

Cartoons
Animal Pranks on the Ark
Adam's Bad Dream
Genesis is Spelled With a G
On the Lighter Side
Noah's Dog
Call it a day!

Church
Reflections on the Church #1
Reflections on the Church #2
Reflections on the Church #3

Creation
Nature's Witness for God
God's Glory and Power Seen in Nature
Further Thoughts on Creationism
Creation of the Universe: Examining the Biblical Evidence

Discipleship
Thomas à Kempis on Discipleship
Discipleship Before Church Growth
Are You in the Fold?
Merton, Bonhoeffer and Kierkegaard on Discipleship
Pastors Need to Disciple and Honor Vocations
The Importance of Teaching for Discipleship
The Importance of Follow-up in Making Disciples
What is the Context of Biblical Discipleship?
All Need to Repent
Forgiveness: Against Easy Believeism
Repentance Unto Life
All Need to Repent
Billy Graham on Discipleship
C.S. Lewis on Discipleship
Oswald Chambers on Discipleship
John Stott on Discipleship
Evelyn Underhill on Discipleship
Charles H. Spurgeon on Discipleship
Dwight L. Moody on Discipleship
Survey of the Fundamentals of Discipleship
Making Disciples: What Christian Students Need to Know
How to Build a Disciple-Making Church
Building a Disciple-Making Church
Discipleship and Church Mission Statements
C.S. Lewis Was a Thoroughly Converted Person
Larry Osborne: Thoughts on Discipleship
Who am I in Christ?
Living the Gospel, Part I
Living the Gospel, Part II
Forgiveness and Restoration (Part I)
Forgiveness Must Bring Forth Fruit (Part II)
Forgiveness is Not Enough! (Part III)
The Costs and Benefits of Christian Discipleship
Discipleship is Not Refurbished Religious Education
Discipleship Comes By Listening
Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Are First Commandments Neglected?

Distinctive Discipleship blog
Launching a Blog about Discipleship
One Year Anniversary! Thanks for reading, folks.

Easter
Christ is Risen!
Resurrection Day Approaches

Emotions
The Dangers of Emotional Compulsion
The Christian and Emotions

Evangelism
Discipling With Authority
The Great Commission is Our Mission
The Great Commission and Things Unwritten
The Great Commission - Part III
The Great Commission - Part IV
Partnering with the Lord
Bringing Christ to our Neighbors
You Shall Be Fishers of Men

Faith
Our Common Confession
Before a Different Gospel
Overcoming By Faith
How Faith Overcomes - Part I
How Faith Overcomes - Part II
How Faith Overcomes - Part III
How Faith Overcomes - Part IV
How Faith Overcomes - Part V
How Faith Overcomes - Part VI
Faith Overcomes Antichrists - Part VII
How Faith Overcomes - Part VIII
How Faith Overcomes - Part IX
Obedience of Faith, Part I
Obedience of Faith, Part II
Obedience of Faith , Part III

Jesus Christ
The Many Triumphs of Christ's Resurrection
The First Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fifth Triumph
The Sixth Triumph
The Seventh Triumph
The Eight Triumph
Before the Throne of God

Hebrews
Praying Hebrews 1:1
Praying Hebrews: He shall be to me a Son
Praying Hebrews: He shall be heir of all things
Praying Hebrews 2:9-11
Praying Hebrews 2:14-17
Praying Hebrews 3: The Builder and the Building
Praying Hebrews 3: Jesus Our Great High Priest
Praying Hebrews 3:6-19
Praying Hebrews 4:1-3
Praying Hebrews: The Disciple's Perfect Priest
Praying Hebrews: The Design of Discipleship
Praying Hebrews 6: God is Faithful

Holidays
Let All the Angels Adore Him!
Christmas: Merry Christmas to Adam's Race (a poem)
Merry Christmas to All US Residents
A Blessed Nativity Feast
Divine Opportunities in the New Year
New Year's Day: A.W. Tozer
Salt the New Year!
Prayer for the New Year
Presidents' Day: President Abraham Lincoln's Faith
St. Patrick's Day: Remember an Obedient Servant of the Lord
Fourth of July: Prayer for the Nation

Lundwall, Edward F. Jr.
About Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
(See "Publications" below for information on ordering printed materials.)

Marriage
Part I: Christian Marriage
Part II: Married Love
Part III: The Many Facets Of Christian Married Love
Part IV: Living in Harmony
Part V: Loving for a Lifetime
Part VI: Married Life: Continued Harmony

Military Service
Military Service in Vietnam: Why Volunteer?
Why I Volunteered
Walking With Christ Through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
When the Mortars Fell
Mercy in the Midst
On Mercy and the Number 13
Letter to a Christian Service Person in Desert Storm

Prayer
The Lt's Godly Prayer
George Washington's Prayer
Prayers Not Answered? Why?
Unanswered Prayer, Part I
Unanswered Prayer, Part II
Unanswered Prayer, Part III
Unanswered Prayer, Part IV

Psalms
Praying the Psalms
Introduction to Praying the Psalms
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator
Praying Psalm 25: Lifting Up One's Soul
Praying Psalm 26: God's Affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking in Prayer
Praying Psalm 29: God's Power and Glory Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed
Praying Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival
Praying Psalm 34: God Redeems
Praying Psalm 35: Friends and Foes
Praying Psalm 36: Finding Holiness in God's Presence
Praying Psalm 37: Trusting the Lord
Praying Psalm 38: The Suffering Sinner
Praying Psalm 39: The Discouraged Disciple
Praying Psalm 40: The Sustained Servant
Praying Psalm 41: The Sick Servant
Praying Psalm 42: The Dry Disciple
Praying Psalm 43: The Questioning Disciple
Praying Psalm 44: A Dependent Disciple
Praying Psalm 45: A Disciple in Love
Praying Psalm 46: The Disciple's Refuge
Praying Psalm 47: The King's Disciple
Psalm 48: The Disciple's Stronghold


Publications
The Breath of God: Why study Greek?
The Disciple's Cross: Progressively exchanging life
Book 1: Growth of the Faithful (Acceptance of Foundational Precepts)
Book 2: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Contentment)
Book 3: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Development)
Book 4: Grown of the Faithful (Principles of Endurance)
Book 5: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Expression)
Book 6: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Ministry)

Repentance
Repentance is Necessary
Repentance-Forgiveness-Regeneration

Spiritual Warfare
Some Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare
The Spiritual Battle

Testimony
A Dancing Disciple
Bug Inspired Faith
I Like an Old Wash Rag
The Story of Three Trees
Jesus and the Fire Witch
Digging Dirt by Faith
Faith Facing Death
A Lost Dad is Found
Loving God With My Mind


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Nature’s Witness For God


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

In law court, decisions are made from the preponderance of evidence. The force of these observations is cumulative and leads to informed judgments. This is no less the case with Nature's witness to God's existence and divine nature (Romans 1:20).

As a Chemistry major at the University of Houston, I heard the professor stop her explanation of the atomic structure as expressed in the Periodic Chart, and say: “The integrate and progressive structure of the elements is a reason I believe in God!”

The law of cause and effect is universal and humans live according to this law.  Philosophers have longed considered the question of how, what, or who set this in motion, as there must have been an origin cause. They ask why is there something rather than nothing, or something other than what is. This is the Cosmological Argument for the existence of the Creator God.

Astronomy tells us that the universe comes from an initial origin. Its size is of infinite proportions. Distances are approximately measured in light years. The distance between galaxies are in the hundreds of light years. This has been called the "creation event" or the “big bang.” It explains the multi-dimensional expansion of the Universe, but it doesn't explain how matter came to exist in the first place. For this, we can logically argue a Cause of infinite power and intelligence.

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their starry host.” (Isaiah 45:12)

The order in Creation reveals a pattern or design, suggesting the existence of a Designer. All created things have a design by which things function and express meaning. An art shop has paints, brushes, and canvases, but a designer is needed to create a beautiful painting. This is the Teleological Argument for the existence of God as a Creator. Everything in Nature has a purpose and the purpose is dictated by the original design. An acorn's design is such that it can become a great oak.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul applies this to the Church. Each member has his function relative to the whole body. Design gives an organized purpose.

As any inventor has authority over his creation, so the Creator designs the purpose and pattern for human beings. He is displeased when we fail to live according to His original design.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)
Human beings have great mental power, and a moral nature that is expressed in the conscience. When we fail to develop mentally and morally, our social relationships prove to be limited and injurious. In many circles it is believed that human beings develop this capacity at about 13 years of age. In the Old Testament boys go through their initiation into maturity and thereafter are regarded as having the responsibility of men. Jesus as a young man deliberated with the elders in an authoritative manner that amazed them. Each human has the responsibility to be moral and each has some sense that there is more than the natural world. We have an awareness of the supernatural.

Having been given the freedom of choice, we are wise to rely on the Creator's intelligence and moral guidance. There we find true satisfaction. St. Augustine expressed it this way: "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Blaise Pascal expressed it in these words: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.” This the Anthropological Argument for the existence of God.

Unhampered humans have the ability to think abstractly. We can conceive of a Creator who is greater than ourselves and has attributes that must define God. The Ontological Argument attempts to show that God's existence can be deduced from the very definition of God. That is to say, we are able to think of God as an uncreated, eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient Being. These are not attributes we can experience empirically. This approach is the same as when we think of heat apart from light or fire.

Related reading: Further Thoughts on Creation;  The Science-Faith Question; Creation of the Universe: Examining the Evidence; Science and Miracles


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In Memory of Marionette Lundwall




Marionette Shuford had a twin sister, Antoinette. The girls were born to William Van Shuford and Martha Helena Young Shuford December 23, 1927, in Winston Salem, Forsyth County, NC. They were premature babies, and Antoinette died at birth. Marionette had an older sister, Juanita Marie, and an older brother, William Russell, who died a few weeks after birth.

Marionette married Edward F. Lundwall, Jr., an Army chaplain. They had 3 children.




Marionette died July 13, 2007 at age 79 in Rossville, Walker County, Georgia after a long battle with cancer. She is buried in Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee.

This blog has been the venue for much of the written work of Edward F. Lundwall Jr.  It is in thanksgiving for his service to God and his country that this biographical piece has been posted.

Related Reading: Bug Inspired Faith; Jesus and the Fire Witch



Friday, April 13, 2018

Upon this Rock




“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics