The Lost Codex – N.T. Wright Edition

by Dave on February 26, 2011

in General, Theology

I have N.T. Wright’s Paul In Fresh Perspective, audio version, and I have been through it more than 5 times.  Tom Wright is my favorite theologian and he has done so much to expand and explain the Christian faith.

One of the most revolutionary things about Bishop Wright’s discussion of Jesus is how he frames up the gospel.  So here it is, the short gospel per N.T. Wright, I love it.

The good news is that the covenant had been fulfilled and that new creation had begun.  The great apocalypse had occurred revealing Jesus as Israel’s Messiah.  Jesus was, therefore, Lord of the world and Caesar was not.

N.T. Wright, Paul In Fresh Perspective


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The Lost Codex – Corinthians Edition

by Dave on December 9, 2010

in General, Theology

As you know, the name of this site comes from my assertion that the Gospel as it was taught to the first century people has been lost in the current Christian Church.  Well, as it turns out the Gospel is right in the bible here it is, 1 Corinthians15:

15:1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, this is the way we preach and this is the way you believed.

15:12 Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. 15:15 Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. 15:18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 15:19 For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.

15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. 15:24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26 The last enemy to be eliminated is death. 15:27 For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. 15:28 And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

Why did I spend so much time trying to say it myself?

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What is the gospel?

by Dave on September 17, 2010

in General, Theology

As I have written here before, I think Christianity has largely missed the point about what to teach people about Jesus.  In my last church (WHC) they would sing about how he is a great god and he loves them so much.  That is the subject of a new book out call Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church.  In this book Kenda Dean discusses how today’s churches teach what she calls Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and how that is not what it means to be a Christian.  MTD simply means that the people feel that being a Christian is all about them being good (moralistic) and Jesus will make them feel better and he is on their side (therapeutic), oh yes, and his is god!

I clearly think that this type of thinking misses the point in what Jesus did.

Today, on Sojourners, there is a post by Aaron Taylor entitled, Salvation Through Doctrine or Christ?  In this post he is also asking the question about what you are supposed to learn about or think, or more specifically, what is the gospel?  Here is what Aaron says is his short gospel:

Jesus died on the cross for sinners. He rose again on the third day. The resurrection of Jesus gives me hope that one day God is going to make everything right in the world. Because Jesus is alive, he is able to grant you forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. Come to Jesus today.

I like it.  I wish churches would recognize that they need to teach about Jesus and what he did instead of constantly teaching how you have to give your life over to him or believe something in particular or that Jesus is your friend and he will help you when you are sad.  Though some of that may be true, that’s not the point.

Here is what my version of the gospel is as of now (it is version 2.0).  I think I may take some elements and style from Aaron.

Jesus may have said: Everyone! As your fathers and prophets have promised, God has overcome everything that holds you back in your holiness and fulfillment in life. He has shown that the religions of man, the empires of man and death itself are no match for him. He has resurrected me after the religion condemned me, the government sentenced me and death was with me for three days.

In doing this, God has shown that my love for all of you is the true way of God. I am the first person to now be fully in this new Kingdom of God and you too can participate in it before the end of time. All you have to do is Love God and Love Each Other. That’s it! It is simple! Believe that it truly is THE WAY! If you believe that this really is The Way, you will have the opportunity to live a life of the ages. A life that is the way that Yahweh always wanted you and all people to live.

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Lost Codex – Loose Ends

by Dave on June 24, 2010

in Theology

In addition to the conversation (or monologue) I am posting on Paul and his letter to the Romans, I routinely play with the good people over at the Jesus Creed.  In the past couple days they have been discussing:

Christ and the Dragons - James Emery White thinks evangelicalism is teetering over a precipice, and his new book — Christ Among the Dragons: Finding Our Way Through Cultural Challenges — probes topics that are in need of serious discussion.

This discussion helped me advance a couple of ideas that I have been tossing around lately.  The first, is the idea of what the gospel is in Christianity.  I posted the same gospel that I wrote in my Romans Part 3 thread and also the following:

This all ties in together with the natural theology conversation of the other thread. Jesus knows we are human and that we will fall short of always loving God and Other. He tells us that sinning against God and Him is forgivable, because all will. However, as is in natural theology, it should be obvious to people that there is a right and wrong and you need to do the right thing. Jesus did us the favor of telling us this (the right thing is to love God and the Other). But the eternal sin is not the sin of Adam, the eternal sin, the unforgivable sin is the sin where you know right from wrong and do not do what is right. Where the Holy Spirit has guided you to knowing in your heart and you believe what is right and you choose to do wrong. That is the unforgivable sin. So in that vein God does not judge us, we judge ourselves by our own choosing.

I realize this is simplistic, but I can’t help but think that it has to be that simple. God does not save the smart, the educated (the rich), the well read, but the meek, the humble, the not so smart…


The natural theology that I am talking about in the quote above relates to where we are going in the letter of Paul to the Romans.  I will be discussing that in more detail as we get to verse 18 and beyond in Chapter 1.

I also hope to write more about the eternal sin in future posts.  The eternal sin is to sin against the Holy Spirit….

I have been wondering why we all must make the message of Jesus so tremendously complicated.  So I have been trying to come up with a principle that could be used in our reading of the bible that would be similar to the cosmological principlethat is used in trying to figure out our place in the universe.  The cosmological principle pretty much states that we are not in a unique place or time in our existence here on earth.  By adopting that principle we are able to realize that the earth is not the center of the solar system, or our sun the center of the universe, or our galaxy the center of the universe.  Instead, it makes us be humble.  It makes us look against our human nature and strive to realize that it really is not all about us.

So I have come up with my first cut at the equivalent of a cosmological principle for Christianity.

The gospel must be simple.

So there it is.

I am pretty sure that I am going to make a new page on this site that will contain The Lost Codex.  It is the gospel and teachings of Christianity, as best as I can render them, and I will update this over time.


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Romans Part 3 – The Gospel

by Dave on June 23, 2010

in Theology

In the first post I discussed the idea of Jesus being the Messiah, the king or leader that would come to herald in God’s kingdom in this world.  It was assumed that this was to be a human, a real king, not someone like Jesus.

In the second part I talked a bit about Paul.  Paul was very Jewish and only became a Jesus follower after Jesus died and rose from the dead.  He was a Jewish insider as well as a Roman citizen.

In this part I will discuss “the gospel”.  The beginning of the Letter to the Romans states:

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. NIV

Besides having a good idea of who Jesus and Paul are, it would be a good idea to have some idea as to what the gospel is that Paul is talking about.  Paul says that he is “set apart for the gospel of God- the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son..”  You may have heard that the word gospel means good news and indeed I do believe this is the sense in which Paul is using the word.  In Greek it is euaggelion, which also has more of a good tidings, or good message flavor to it.

The point I want to make about the use of the word gospel by Paul, is that when he is writing the letter to the Romans he is not talking about what he has to say, but he is referring to what Jesus did and what he said.  The gospel is how the man Jesus fulfilled the prophetic narrative, declared his message to the people and was risen from the dead thereby ushering in a new age, a new kingdom to come for all of humanity.

This gospel that I am talking about is in stark contrast to the “good news” that so many of our reformed churches in the US teach.  I propose that the gospel according to Jesus goes something like this:

Everyone!  As your fathers and the prophets have promised, I have come make everything right between you and God.  I have come to tell you of a new way of life that was promised by God.  I am here to be the leader of the world.  Rejoice, for I am ushering in the Kingdom of God which is available to you here and now.  This Kingdom of God has two commands.  First, love God with all you have and second, love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s it!  It is simple!  Believe that it truly is THE WAY!  If you believe that this really is The Way, you will have the opportunity to live a life of the ages.  A life that is the way that Yahweh always wanted you and all people to live.

That is some good news as far as I am concerned.  Unfortunately, many of our religions have forgotten the gospel.  They have instead contorted it to mean something more like this:

One God: Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable, subsisting in a mysterious and Eternal Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 1 John 5:7-8, Matt. 28:19

One Word: The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments of faith and practice. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:16-21

One Condemnation: There being no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, because the carnal mind being born of corruptible seed, is enemy against God. Romans 3:10-26, Romans 6:23, John 3:16, Ezekiel 16:4

One Savior: The Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh; His essential deity, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, physical Heaven from whence He shall return personally and premillennially to set up an earthly kingdom. John 1:1-14, John 14:9, Isaiah 7:14, Acts 3:12-26, Hebrews 9:24, 1 Cor. 15:12-15, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, Acts 1:11, Rev. 19:11-16, Rev. 19:19-20, 20:1-6, Titus 2:11-14.

One Atonement for Sin: Made by Jesus Christ in a substitutionary and sacrificial death on the cross, sufficient for all, available to all, and that all must be born again or be forever lost. Mark 10:45, John 3:3, 36, Romans 5:1-10, 1 Cor. 5:18-21, Hebrews 2:9.

One Spirit: God, the Holy Ghost whose work is to reprove the world, of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, and through whose sovereign agency in sanctification the soul is changed more and more into the Divine Image from glory to glory. John 16:7-15, 2 Cor. 3:18.

One Life: The Life is with Christ in God – The Life Eternal; begun when a sinner believes and receives Him and continuing thereafter by the effectual and sovereign grace of God. Phil. 1:6, Eph. 1:13, John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10, John 10:26-29.

One Church: Which is Christ’s Body, all the members of which God hath from the beginning chosen in Christ to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Eph. 1:4, Eph. 1:14, 22-23, 6:25-32.

Two Destinies: Heaven, a place of eternal life and bliss, and Hell, a place of everlasting punishment eternally separated from God. 2 Cor. 3:10, Rev. 20:1-15, Rev. 21:1-29, Hebrews 9:27-18, Matt. 25:46, Luke 16:19-31.

One Satan: Both Temper and Accuser who exists in personality and reality. Rev. 12:9-10, Matt. 4:2-11, John 8:44, Eph. 6:11-12.

One Commission: The Great Evangelistic Commission given by Jesus Christ to the Disciples and the continuing Church. Matt. 28:16-20, Acts 1:8.

The Blessed Hope: The personal premillennial return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. John 14:3, 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

Two Ordinances: Baptism, the immersion in water of a believer in Christ which symbolizes His identity with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and the Lord’s Supper, the eating of the unleavened bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine, commemorating the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin. Acts 2:11, Acts 8:36-38, Romans 6:3-4, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, Acts 8:12-13.

For more information please click the link below:

Baptist Faith and Message

I got this from the Beaverdam Baptist Church website.  I will use my definition for “the gospel” and not the Baptist one as I work through my posts on the letter Paul wrote to the Romans mainly because I believe that it is the true message that Jesus taught.  It is a simple message that truly proclaims the good news of Jesus.

Jesus gave us the gospel, the good news, good message and good tidings.  What Paul is doing in his letter is not proclaiming the gospel as much as fighting for the gospel.  Paul is offering a perspective and clarification for the people in Rome.

Next time, I want to start getting into versus 5 and 6 which begins to bring into light the faith versus works paradigm of the great reformation.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. NIV

I also want to bring out one theme that I hope to develop in subsequent posts.  This theme is that Jesus and the Apostles were poor people of low standing.  We get so caught up in the Jesus is Lord, and Kingdom of God that I believe that these words have lost the impact that they had in the time of Jesus.  Jesus was a poor person who was the opposite of a Lord and King.  That is a big part of the point of what happened.


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