1. Jesus used the term “the Kingdom of God” a number of times during his ministry. One scholar has called Jesus’ message “ethical apocalypticism.” What are some values Jesus might have had in mind when he spoke of the Kingdom of God? (The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 might help stimulate your thinking in this regard). What do you think would make ethics apocalyptic?
2. Jesus declared that his kingdom is not of this world. And Luke 3 17:20-21 states: “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within (or could also mean ‘among’) you.” Please respond in one post to both of the following:
How do you understand the above two descriptions of God’s Kingdom?
Which seems more accurate according to the words of Jesus: that humans create the kingdom of God by how they live; or that humans live out the kingdom as God creates it in their inner person?
3. On page 361, the text discusses the issue of women in the New Testament. Please respond in one post to all of the following:
Previous to reading this, what was your perspective about how Christianity views women?
What did you learn that you did not know?
What is your reaction to what you read?
4. Go to Webliography and carefully read Proofs for the Existence of God. Then respond to all of the following:
Most students find these arguments difficult to digest – was that your experience and what can you identify as contributing to the difficulty?
Do you think the original authors intended to prove once-and-for-all that God exists, or should these be interpreted more as arguments in support of the belief that there is a God?
What do you see as the relationship between faith and reason?
5. These proofs can be rather tough to digest, and your efforts to wrestle with them are appreciated! There is a real possibility you will run into an essay question about the proofs on the final exam, so don’t just dismiss them. 🙂
Now let’s take our discussion a different direction. Please respond in one post to all four of the following:
In your own words, what does Christianity mean by the triune God, or the Trinity?
What is your response to the concept?
How is this concept different than the Hindu Trimurti, if at all?
Should Christianity be considered monotheistic or polytheistic, and why?6. The Protestant Reformation became a major turning point in the history of Christianity, and the text offers a good summary. With the text reading in mind, please respond in one post to all of the following:
What are your thoughts about the “Protestant Principle”?
Do you see the Reformation as more of a positive or negative development in Christianity, and why?
How harmful would you evaluate the results of the Reformation as being upon the unity of the Church as well as for ecumenical efforts?
Jesus used the term kingdom of God many a times in his ministry. He might have had a thinking that the world we are living in is a heaven already as it inhibits the preaches of the Lord his teachings and values are incorporated in the world and hence called the kingdom of God. We can also interpret that he called it in such way as it was an era that marked the beginning of the age of Church and a world filled with divine justice.
The term apocalyptism means unveiling or releaving. The etics of Jesus were like the answers to all the queries to the Jewish people. It was a reply to all their complaints and grievances.
He meant that it was the world of God as now was the beginning of the period where in all the living beings will be blessed with the features they show to others. Those who are kind, merciful, peacemaker, loving and comforting will be bestowed with the same and the ones who show harm, are cunning, mean and hateful will receive the same in return.
Justification will be done to all. It helped people understand the reason for their state of affairs.
Kingdom of God is meant as nothing tangible that can be touched or seen. It is an abstract feeling and an emotion that has to be felt from within. It is no material that can be welcomed as we see it coming. Nobody can declare its arrival as it was never gone. It always stayed within us it’s just that we could not embrace it.
Jesus has given us a priceless preaching whereby it is clear that the kingdom of Lord is actually a sentiment to be felt from within our inner self. The biggest truth in this world being that the ultimate peace, treasure and wisdom all lies within us. It’s the quality of our soul the create the kingdom of God within us and to feel it and live with it.
Prior to reading the material my basic concept said that in Christianity, women and men are given equal importance and dominance. I believed there are equal laws for both and they stand together.
Reading the matter helped me learn that women have always come below men in Christianity.
They are forbidden power and authority and are required to abide by the laws and norms made by the men of the society. Although it also gives a mixed reaction as in some aspects the women were also given a respectable position in the ministry and many of them also turned up to be disciples as they were the best to support emotionally as well as financially.
Jesus never followed the norms of backwardness of women and was always against inequalities based on sexual differences.
There is God and the existence for the same is justified. There is a well defined reason behind every action and every action that occurs. The universe has come into existence with some supernatural powers that are undefined. There has been a proper design that makes everything fall in place and enables life run regularly. The creator of this world is there who has created all with its own life span, be it good or evil it will decay and collapse in its own time.
There is a deep relation between faith and reason. There is rationality and logic behind all the things we have faith on. The truth claims are such that they do not violate the basic reasoning. There must be knowledge and clear understanding that is viable to the followers. We can use the God – given reasons to define the depth of faith and connect it with life incidents and happenings to support it. So they have interdependability and both are enabled uniquely by divine grace.
By Trinity in Christianity, they mean that although there is only one God Almighty, there are three distinct persons within Him, all divine nature which are The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is subject to the Father as he is the Spirit of the Father and is also subject to the Son as He is the Spirit of the truth who shall be testifying the Son.
Although it might be a confusing concept to understand with our human intellect, it is quite justifiable. It provides us with a beautiful model to lead our lives. It explains us that although we are so many and diverse we can all be one and move together united to live our lives harmoniously and peacefully.
The Trimurty concept in Hinduism represents all aspects of one Supreme Being. It’s a single bodied three headed man applied to three main Hindu Lords- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Nothing in this world can be created or destroyed without the mutual consent of all of them. So both Trinity and Trimurty believe in one Supreme Power.
Christianity is very much Monotheistic and a believer in one God religion. There are same core beliefs and processes for same fundamental outcomes. There is only one lord and no 3 distinct lords as Jesus is no separate God from The Father.
The Protestant Principle states that for anything that is finite no claim of ultimate can be made. It stresses on the point that everything is relative. They believe in the Bible as the supreme source of Authority for the church. There is a universal priesthood of believers that implies the duty and right of the Christians not only to read the Bible but to follow it in their deeds and actions.
The Protestant Reformation was a religious, cultural and political upheaval that broke apart Catholic Europe setting up the beliefs and structures that would define the place in the future times. The groups argued for political and religious redistribution of power in the hands of The Holy Book and the Princes. There were deep political changes as the freedom came at the high cost of decades of bloody persecutions and wars. But intellectually and culturally it inspired schism. As a result the Catholic Church flourished as more educated, literate and spiritual.
Eventually the Popes relinquished political powers and focused on government. There arose a lot of arguments that rendered division of the followers.