Flotsam and jetsam (4/29)


I wish I could tell you that, when I express my concern that church-as-usual is failing to reach our younger generations, I’m really talking about how disenfranchising the experience my wife and I have had growing up in the church has been.

There is a type of person to whom I am writing. You are a Oneness Pentecostal who either doubts this whole Christian religion or you are beginning to wonder why your group has become so isolated from everyone else. I have been there. I have been this person. You are fairly sure you do not believe what comes from the pulpit on Sunday, but it has been your whole life for some time now. If you leave it is more than just changing churches. You will lose friends. You will fracture relationships with some family. You will be told by some that you are no longer a Christian. And after all of that you now have to try to fit back into broader Christian circles feeling a bit out of place. If this is you then these post will be for you.
Craig R. Koester tells us that the author employed gematria, a system of Kabbalistic numerology. In fact, in the third chapter of Revelation, verse 18, it seems obvious that John assumes his audience will be familiar with the system: “Here is the key, and anyone who has the intelligence may work out the number of the beast. The number represents a man’s name, and the numerical value of its letters is six hundred and sixty six.” The numbers, Koester says, point to Nero, Emperor of Rome from 54-68 C.E., as the likeliest candidate.
Ideally ours will be a journey of constant discovery and acquisition of new ideas and information. This may well involve – as it has in my case – complete paradigm shifts and reevaluation of deeply held belief systems. As I do not exclude faith from this process, for me, it is not unreasonable to abandon certain tenants of my beliefs in the light of new experiences, knowledge and understanding.

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Misc. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for mentioning the posts.

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