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Pilgrims from Paradise

Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness 8

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What is the nature of faith and how does it relate to the phrase "faith alone?"

Last time, we reflected on the unfortunate events in the life of Abram, recorded for us in Genesis 16. Following the suggestion of his wife, Sarai, Abram takes Sarai’s handmaiden, Hagar, as his second wife. She conceives a son by him, Ishmael, as he is later named. Because of this blessing, Hagar become condescending toward her barren mistress. In retaliation, and unrestrained by her husband, Sarai treats Hagar very harshly. Hagar eventually runs away. But God…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness 7

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Matthew is helping us understand the nature of our "dance" with God. Abram, Sarai and Hagar are the focus of today's study.

Let us begin by reviewing our progress to this point in our discussion of the life of Abraham. Abraham, or Abram, as he is known at this stage of the story, has believed God’s promise to him that he will be the father of many nations. Because of his faith, God has imputed righteousness to Abram. That means, as we discovered early on in this series, that God has reckoned Abram a participant in God’s righteous life. In terms of the analogy we developed in…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Sola Scriptura And Philosophical Christianity - Part 23

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Matthew explains how experiencing God requires two elements - asceticism and the mysteries, or sacraments.

At the end of the last podcast, I suggested that, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the way to the direct, immediate encounter with the person of Jesus Christ that many Christians, whether they understand it or not, are seeking, is the two-fold path of asceticism and sacrament. Let’s think about this. First of all, by a direct, immediate encounter with God, I am talking about an experience with Him that is deeper and more alive than just my theological thoughts,…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness - 5

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Are we really righteous as the result of a declaration? Matthew continues his look at Abraham's faith and how that relates to our lives as Christians today.

In the last podcast, we talked about a very haunting and mystical encounter that Abraham, or rather Abram, as he is known at this particular point in time, has with God. As we recall, God has Abram take a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtle dove, and a pigeon, cut them in two, except for the birds, and place the parts on the ground opposite each other. God’s voice and the mysterious vision, the smoking oven, and burning torch moving between the bloody pieces…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness - 6

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Dancing with God has become a lost art in the west. Listen as Matthew helps us recover this wonderful and living movement with our Creator.

Last time we were continuing our discussion about Abram’s experience of the presence of God in the smoking oven and burning torch that appeared amid the animals he had cut up in sacrifice to God. That story is found in Genesis 15, for those who might just be joining us. We discussed how Abram’s encounter with God finds its parallel in Christian baptism.

However, we recognized that the typical Protestant Evangelical understanding of baptism makes…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Sola Scriptura And Philosophical Christianity - Part 24

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Matthew gives us the third obstacle between western believers and the experience of pre-Augustinian Christianity—misconceptions about the nature of the Church.

At the end of the last podcast, I identified the third of the three essential obstacles I had suggested stand between a Western Christian believer and the experience of a pre-Augustinian Christianity. It has to do with misconceptions about the nature of the Church. So let me being this podcast by simply asking: What is the Church? There is a bumper sticker I see from time to time that succinctly captures the image of the church, which it seems that the…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Sola Scriptura And Philosophical Christianity - Part 25

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Matthew concludes his series by noting how the rationalism and idealism of western culture prevents seekers from recognizing the true Church.

At the end of the last podcast, I made the observation that many Christians in the broken Western tradition, have come to recognize that this shattered, individualistic world of their Christian heritage, cannot represent the true church. But I also pointed out that when they go looking for the true Church, the rationalism and idealism they have inherited as part of their Western culture prevents them from recognizing that true Church when they see it.

I want…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Sola Scriptura And Philosophical Christianity - Part 22

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Matthew examines the Western Charismatic movement.

I spent many years in the Charismatic movement. I understand why people turn to it. To me, it seems that serious Charismatics are the one group within the Western tradition that has come to grips with the spiritual ineffectiveness of that heritage. Charismatics know that God wants us to encounter Hm in a way that, as St. Paul says, “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

For them, the rational contemplation and application of scriptural…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness - 4

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Matthew continues his look at Abraham and his faith. What did God impute to him as a result?

Last time, we were looking at the 15th chapter of the book of Genesis. There, we find God announcing to Abraham, or Abram, as he is more correctly known at this point in the story, that he is to become the father of countless descendants.  We recognized that God’s ultimate intention for Abram is to draw his faithful servant into an experience of His own divine life. The promise of children is an instrument for accomplishing God’s greater desire. Abram…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness - 3

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This week Matthew takes a closer look at Abram becoming Abraham and what his faith brought about.

This week we turn our attention to the book of Genesis, and the story of the patriarch, Abraham. We are going to begin to investigate how the promise God makes to Abraham, the promise that he will be the father of many nations, comes to its fulfillment. As we have already discussed, the scriptures tell us that when God makes this pledge to Abraham, Abraham believes him, and God accounts Abraham’s active faith as righteousness.

Of course, we are talking…

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