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“There are two choices in life: Give and it will be given or take before you are taken.” Imagine yourself at Smith College, and an evangelical minister speaks these words to the president of the National Organization for Women. In a forum where the nature of feminism, marriage and the Bible were in focus, the mostly skeptical audience responded well. Real theology for the grass roots can be summed up in the six pillars of biblical power. This language flows out of an application of the shema that Jesus taught – to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the power to overcome any and all obstacles we face in a broken world: 1. The power to give 2. The power to live in the light 3. The power of informed choice 4. The power to love hard questions 5. The power to love enemies 6. The power to forgive The whole Bible, or Theology 101 if you will, can be summed up in seven words: “God gave, we blew it, he forgave.” The powers to give and forgive are the bookends of the Bible, and on the one hand are very simple to understand, but on the other, very difficult to live out. For disciples of Jesus as Lord and Messiah, these six pillars produce honest lives in the presence of all people – believers and unbelievers alike. Even a burned-out skeptic, of the Bible and the church, will find these pillars attractive to the human soul.
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The biblical story line is set between two bookends—the power to give and the power to forgive. Or to put it another way: God gives, we blow it, and God still gives to us in spite of ourselves, which means, he forgives. These bookends are evident when looking at the six pillars of biblical power—pillars that give us the key to understanding the whole Bible:
1. The power to give.
2. The power to live in the light.
3. The power of informed choice.
4. The power to love hard questions.
5. The power to love enemies.
6. The power to forgive.
Too often we look at the Bible through the prism of doctrinal structure. But first the Bible is a story line—the only fully true story ever told. This story line is the history of God’s relationship and conversation with us, and ours with one another.
Only when we fully understand this story line and live according to its premises will true power emerge in our lives. For those of us who are believers in the gospel, living out the six pillars produce in us honest lives in the presence of all people—believers and skeptics alike. Even a burned-out skeptic of the Bible finds these pillars attractive to the human soul.
John Rankin is president of the Theological Education Institute (TEI), International. He grew up in an agnostic Unitarian context before he ran into the presence of the living God, and converted to a biblical and evangelical faith in 1967. He holds graduate degrees in theology from Gordon-Conwell and Harvard, and is ordained through the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. He is also founder of the Mars Hill Forum series, through which he engages leading skeptics, unbelievers and others, on theological and political topics. The goal is not to win an argument, but to win a relationship, apart from which the Gospel will not be advanced. He and his wife were married in 1977 and have four grown children. His websites are www.johnrankin.org and www.teii.org.
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Book Description TEI Publishing House, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0615450369
Book Description TEI Publishing House, 2011. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 234 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.53 inches. This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # zk0615450369
Book Description TEI Publishing House, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0615450369