If a tune-up can’t fix a car engine because what it really needs is for the entire engine to be rebuilt, then why would we, in the Christian faith, perform tune-ups on the form and function of our churches when what they may really need is to be completely overhauled? Join the host of Pleading The Case, Andy Mendonsa, where in each episode, he will peal back the culture and traditions that have come to define much of the Church in America today in order to accurately assess whether all that is needed is just a good tune-up, or as he has become convinced, a compete overhaul.
Episode 15: On Earth As It Is In Heaven
There is a lot of confusion in the Christian faith about the idea of "sacrifice" still being relevant today. There is even a misunderstanding for what the word "sacrifice" actually means in the New Testament, both with Christ's own one time "sacrifice", offering up his life in order to atone for our sins, as well as the way "sacrifice" is most often understood by us today. Most of the time when the word "sacrifice" is used it is usually in the context of something we give up, did without and even suffered for in order to help someone else. It is not uncommon to hear a parent say that they sacrificed so much in order to give their child or children a better life, but then felt disappointed or resentful that the child or children didn't appreciate them for it. Or, it is equally as common to hear someone say that they monetarily gave sacrificially to support a Christian cause. In both of these instances "sacrifice" is being used to mean things that we have given up and suffered for, but neither of these examples is Biblically correct according to the actual meaning of the original Greek word for sacrifice, "thysia." This Episode addresses where the cause of this confusion has most likely come from and why, as well as why it is critically important for us to have a correct understanding of "sacrifice" and why they are significant for us to "offer up" today.
Episode 14: The Tower of Babel, Pentecost & Forgiveness
As many of you already know that in the last four days (beginning on Tuesday, October 23rd, of this week) 14 pipe bombs delivered to 11 political targets were discovered. This Episode intentionally comes on the heels of the assassination attempts of high ranking political figures, both past and present, including two former Presidents of the United States. Even though the guilty person(s) who committed these detestable acts will have no one else to blame but themselves, does that excuse all others who have contributed to creating a climate of hatred and division in this country from culpability. Especially those who claim Jesus as saviour?
Episode 13: Grace, Tithing & Church Buildings
If you listened to the previous episode, "Law Vs Grace," you know that the first Covenant under the Law does not apply to us in any way once we have come under a Covenant of Grace. The 10% tithe, required under the first Covanant, as with all things required by law under the first Covenant is no longer mandated under Grace. Neither are church buildings. There is no mandate for them anywhere in the New Testament after Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Then why is the 10% tithe still being prescibed? And why are church buildings central to our faith? Can a correlation be made between maintaining the practice of a 10% tithe and the necessity for building churches? If the 10% tithe is no longer required, nor are church buildings, then are we off the hook for giving anything at all. If we aren't off the hook, then what, or who, should we be giving to and why?
Episode 12: Law Vs Grace
Is there any reason to pursue a deeper understanding of the law vs grace? There is if we truly believe that Jesus was the promised messiah, and that he came, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, then we need to know what that means for us, now, in our daily walks with him. Otherwise, we will blend the law and grace creating a hybrid Christian faith that blurs the lines between the 2, thus blurring our understanding of Jesus and what it means to follow him as well as to look like him. Perhaps the confusion comes, on one level, because we claim salvation through Jesus, but at the same time we have lost sight of what it looks like to live out our lives according to Jesus’ example leading up to his death on the cross. And for Gentile followers of Jesus, this is particularly concerning since gentiles were never under the first covenant under the law to begin with. It was only after Jesus fulfilled the law, thus rendering the first covenant null and void, that the second covenant of grace was extended to include gentiles as well. In that the new covenant was established on better promises, though, why would anyone, jew or gentile alike, ever choose to be subject again to such a yoke of slavery?
Episode 11: Calling All Citizens
For 430 years Israel existed without the law after God made his covenant with Abraham. So why was the law given? According to Galatians 3:19 "It was added because of transgressions until the seed (who was Jesus) to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator." After the law and the high priestly system of rule was established, Israel remained a theocracy, "a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God, or a god," "from the time of Moses until the election of Saul as King." Since we know, based on scripture, what a disaster that turned out to be, why do we, who are citizens of heaven, already seated with Jesus in a heavenly realm, still demand a king?
Episode 10: A Samaritan You Say?
Romans 12:1 "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." Even though this passage comes across as being somewhat abstract, what Paul is essentially telling us is to "love God with our heart mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves." And if we want to know what that looks like two of the best examples in the gospel accounts are in John 4, when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman by the well and the Parable of the Good Samaritan beginning with Luke 10:25 when "an expert in the law asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life." This is a companion episode to the previous one, "Racism, Faith and Worship, Oh My!" that has as it's basis Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman . Central to both is worship.