Put On the Whole Armor of God

Sixth in a series. Edited for Electronic Publication.

Recap of Past Weeks

 Thus far in this series, we have seen that the principalities and powers (at least their “forms,” “types,” “archetypes”—all mean the same for our purposes) were created in Christ and have the potential for great good. The powers include all “collectives,” that is, all rulers, governments, ideas and ideologies, religions, corporations, etc. Even before the creation, God knew that most of the time, human beings working together are both smarter and more capable than human beings working individually. Not everyone is a genius—though we thank God for those that are.

Because the principalities and powers were created in Christ, they have the potential for great good. However, they exist in a world riddled, defined, and controlled by sin, thus the powers also have the potential for great evil. The powers exist first as archetypes “in the heavenlies,” to use the language of Ephesians. Then, in this world, they are “created” by human beings as collectives. When Ephesians was written, the world rulers of the present darkness included Rome, and Caesar, and all the soldiers, tax collectors, and minor officials of the Empire. Roman power was a concrete, this worldly manifestation of the “spiritual hosts,” the “types,” in the heavenly places. When Rome persecuted and killed Christians, Rome put evil hands and feet at the disposal of the evil powers.

We can’t speak of the evil powers without talking about Satan. Thus, we have seen how C.S. Lewis said, “to believe in Satan is to believe that evil is greater than the sum total of its parts.”  And how Emil Bruner said, “to believe in Satan is to believe that the possibilities of evil are not exhausted by purely human evil.”

According to Ephesians 2:2, Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit now at work in the sons and daughters of disobedience. If Satan is omnipresent, it is because he has people everywhere—in sin we all belong to him. If Satan is powerful, it is because his minions have power. If Satan is wily, cunning, and intelligent it is because many of his followers are wise in the ways of the world.  For instance, in Romans 1:30 St. Paul warns against those who are “inventors of evil.” Continue reading

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Corporate Personalities

Fifth in a series. Edited for electronic publication.

Years ago, a pastor went to a new congregation, he went knowing the congregation had a terrible reputation for grinding up members and preachers alike.  It was a small congregation, and he visited every home in it in about a month.  Then he said to himself, “I like every person in this church—it is the corporate personality that I don’t like. It stinks.”  Churches, businesses, schools, and nations all have a “corporate personality,” culture or climate. The U.S. Marine Corps boast of its Esprit de Corps, literally, its “corporate spirit.”

The Bible recognizes several important “corporate personalities.” In Genesis 32, when Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, wrestled all night at the brook Jabbok with the angel of the LORD, he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And the angel of the LORD said, “Your name is no longer Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” In the Hebrew Bible, Israel was a man, but Israel the man stood for a people and his sons for Israel’s tribes. Obviously, God cared about Israel. God sent Moses to lead the people out of the slavery of Egypt. He gave the people his law through Moses at Sinai.  And he led the people to the borders of the promised land, though he himself did not go in. In Hosea 11:1 God speaks through his prophet and says of his people, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”  In Matthew 2:15 the evangelist applies this same text to Jesus! The Messiah stands for God’s people because he is the head! Continue reading

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The Two-Fold Nature of the Powers

Fourth in a series. Edited for electronic publication.

It is my conviction that the “world rulers of the present darkness” are the worldly expression of “the spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The world rulers may change, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places never do. These forms, types, archetypes, if you will, are always there, their shape always ready to be assumed by a new power. In the 1st Century, when Ephesians was written, “the world rulers of the present darkness,” included all the power of Rome and its officials, from the Roman Emperor and his governors to Roman soldiers, tax collectors, and minor officials. If Ephesians had been written in the 21st Century, “the world rulers of the present darkness” would have included Osama Ben Laden, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and all terrorists, and the nations that harbor them.

We saw last week that the powers include:

“…all authorities, religions, governments, corporations, institutions, traditions, processes, structures, bureaucracies, ideas and ideologies, systems, sciences, and the like.”

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Community Shred Day

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A Change in the Provincial Elders’ Conference

The Provincial Elders’ Conference wanted to inform you of this important announcement prior to the beginning of your Labor Day holiday. Please be in prayer for our Provincial Elders’ Conference and our church during this time of transition and new beginnings.

An Important Announcement from the Provincial Elders’ Conference

The Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC)  has approved a retirement request from President David Guthrie, effective Sept. 30, 2021.  It also announces that continuing PEC members have appointed The Rev. Chris Thore to fill the vacancy on the Conference as well as to become its new president, effective Oct. 1, 2021.  With the approval of his boards, Chris will continue as pastor of Clemmons Moravian Church while serving the province. He will serve as PEC president through transition after provincial elections at the next Synod, which convenes June 1, 2022. Continue reading

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