CHARITY "And now abideth faith,
hope, and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity" (1
Corinthians 13:13 KJV). In our newer translations "charity" was changed
to "love" because the word charity has changed its meaning. We might think
of Lady Bountiful going out once a week among the lower classes to do her
Christian duty. As seen in the life of the one who emptied himself to come
to live among us (Philippians 2:6-7), love was never "boastful or
arrogant or rude" and it did not "insist on its own way." The Messiah never
made people feel small, or inferior, the objects of charity. It has been
shown that among the natives of any culture the amount of anti-missionary
feeling varies directly with the amount of hand outs they have received.
Genuine love is very different. It does not come in with a superior agenda.
Rather it frees the person to be empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to
solve their own problems in their own way.
CHARLEMAGNE (742-814) The grandson of Charles Martel (who halted the Muslims at the gates of Paris in 732) Charlemagne (Charles I, King of the Franks, 768-814) ruled a vast empire from the Atlantic to the Adriatic and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. He was a brilliant and wise administrator who effected agricultural reforms and supported schools for the poor. His generals defeated the AVARS and seized the vast treasures they had looted. He also attacked (772) and forcibly converted the Saxons to Christian faith over a period of 30 years. Later he came to see that forcible conversion by baptism was wrong, and he encouraged preaching and instruction in the faith. Pope Leo III crowned him Emperor of the Romans in the year 800, and Charlemagne established a close connection between CHURCH and State. He had a strong Christian faith and he corrected abuses among the clergy and reformed the monasteries. His imperial court at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) became a great center of the Arts, and this revival of learning was called the "Carolingian Renaissance."
CHILDREN "Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). We are not to be stuffy, fixed in our minds, uninterested. There is no better way to learn theology than watching carefully how parents take pleasure in their children. Parents love it, as God does, when their child is wide-eyed with delight in "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful" (C.F. Alexander's hymn, 1848). Children can laugh, and play, and forgive so easily. They have no race prejudice. They run to their parents, and enjoy being loved and cuddled. By the age of five they can learn half a dozen languages, and use the right one with a visitor. So if we have closed our minds to childlike learning from God, we are already too old. But happily Jesus said "Unless you change" which means that it is never too late to be a child again.
CHILDREN, Discipline The Book of Proverbs has no doubt that "Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them" (13:24). These days psychologists have to deal with children who have been beaten unfairly and abused by unloving parents. But this proverb refers to parents who love their children. And children who have no doubt that their parents love them never resent discipline that they know is deserved. The problem is that they are not the ones who get seen by psychologists. Perhaps the wise solution is not to allow corporal punishment in schools, but allow the discipline of loving parents at home. Real child abuse can easily be detected by social workers.
CHILDREN, Education Much of our modern theories of education emerged from the ideas of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU (1718-78). He believed in the fundamental goodness of human nature. In his book titled Emile (1762) he argued that children should be preserved from the indoctrination of modern civilization. They should not be forced to learn a catechism, say prayers, or go to church. He assumed that by nature young people are inclined to kindness, affection, compassion, generosity, forgiveness. Left on their own in natural surroundings they would develop their innate creativity.
CHILDREN OF GOD Some teach that we only become children of God when we repent and make a decision to accept Jesus as our Savior (based on John 1:12, Galatians 3:26). Paul seems to teach that we are children of God by creation in his image (Genesis 1:26). "Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals" (Acts 17:29). And Jesus said "God makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45, John 11:52). This suggests that repentance is not feeling bad about our sins and promising to do better in the future. It is more like pointing a satellite dish in the right direction. We look to God the Father, who loves us whether or not we recognize and love him. Whenever we do that we can enjoy all that is ours by right (Romans 8:21, 38-39). Anyone can use the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father . . . give us this day our daily bread . . . rescue us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13). But we also need to add that Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity. There is no way we can be resurrected except through him (John 14:6), and we would not enjoy heaven if we rejected his light and what he has taught and done for us.
CHILDREN, Welcoming "People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs" (Mark 10-13). If the church is the kingdom of God, then Jesus turns things back to front and wants us to remember that our church belongs to the children. They have a right to bright joyful singing. They love Bible stories, as we do. They will gladly learn Bible verses. And if they can understand the sermon, the congregation will get it too. Children are great mimics and actors, and will join in any procession. They feel for and pray (briefly) for those in need. If they can get up and move around several times in a service, and even dance a bit, they will insist on coming back next Sunday. They are welcome to eat at the family communion table long before they understand all it means (as did Jewish children at the Passover celebration and other feasts).
CHOIR Many nations have singing
by an individual performer supported by a drummer and one of two instruments.
Choir singing requires a oneness of many different voices blending together
in harmony. That involves a mutual submission of singers to one another.
In that sense it points to the song where all will have their part in the
perfect oneness of heaven. "Then I heard every creature in heaven and on
earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing
to the one seated on the throne" (Revelation 5:13). Choir singing
suddenly flourished as a result of the songs and psalms of David (Psalms
100:2, 149:1-2, 1 Chronicles 15:16, 27, 2 Chronicles 20:21). And choir
singing has been characteristic of revivals of spiritual life, as in the
Bach Chorales, the Methodists, the Evangelical Revival, and the Welsh Revival.
Paul said "Keep being filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the
Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father" (Ephesians 5:18-20)
As opposed to mere entertainment, the key is mutual encouragement by singing
the Word of God (Colossians 3:16).
CHRIST In the Greek translation of the Jewish Old Testament (the Septuagint) the Hebrew word mashiakh (anointed) was translated by the Greek word Christos (anointed). In older translations of the New Testament the word was transliterated and adopted as the English word 'Christ'. A very important change occured when the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) of the Gospels used the Hebrew word Messiah (instead of Christ, in Matthew 1:1, 17, 18, and throughout the other Gospels. Unfortunately this change was not made in Paul's Epistles). In these Word Thoughts we use the Hebrew term Messiah throughout. This helps to make it clear that both Jews and Christians believe in the coming of the Messiah King of kings and Lord of lords. They disagree about giving this name to Jesus of Nazareth. But both Jews and Christians agree that the Old Testament is full of references to the reign of God's Sovereign King among the nations (Psalm 2:2, 5:2, 8:1,9, etc. and Isaiah 3:1, 44:6, 52:7, 66:1.) CHRIST see MASHIAKH
CHRISTIAN In New Testament it is disciples (learners) who are named Christians. Paul and Barnabas "taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called 'Christians'" (Acts 11:26, see Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16). When they begin learning Christians may know very little, and still be behaving badly. So the word 'Christian' does not mean a good person, or someone who knows a lot about the Bible, or even someone who has made the right decision of faith. A decision based on informed faith (as with Peter in Matthew 16:16) may come later as a result of having been taught by the Holy Spirit. Having made this clear, we can also use the language of belonging to a Christian community. In India for example people are called Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or Christians based on their family allegiance, quite regardless of whether they believe or practice their faith. But the primary meaning is simply someone who is currently learning to follow Jesus the Messiah. And the teaching is by the Holy Spirit, not cerebral or rote instruction (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 13).
CHRISTIANITY All sorts of people view themselves as members of Christian DENOMINATIONS, and others will assure you they are as good as the hypocrites who attend churches. Christianity is therefore an umbrella that shelters people with a variety of different visions connected with the person of Jesus. On this website we attempt to understand some of the explanations (models) that individuals give for their faith. As we group these explanations into species, and give them names, we can identify PHARISEES who assume they will be admitted to heaven based on some form of LEGALISM. Some live by a form of Hindu MONISM. Others are UNITARIAN with a view of God that is similar to that of ISLAM. Among those who picture God as a TRINITY of three Persons some think we are forgiven by BAPTISM and submission to their church. Others stress the need for REPENTANCE and FAITHresulting in being BORN AGAIN. We commend a model in which all three Persons of the Trinity work together to perfect us in love. It is important for Christians to understand the explanations that others give, and commit themselves to the good news that Jesus lived and taught in the Gospels.
CHURCH Jesus said "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (ecclesia means an assembly, gathering, meeting, Matthew 16:18). In the New Testament there is one church for each city and its surrounding area. John wrote to the seven churches of the province of Asia, located in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. Paul was sent out by one city church and wrote letters to nine others (Galatians was written to the churches in Antioch and Iconium). But in a big city like Ephesus there would be congregations meeting in dozens of homes (as in Rome 16:3-15). If we were to use the New Testament terminology, we would think of one church as an organic body with many members in each city (New York, Toronto, London) meeting in hundreds of different locations under different denominational labels (see DENOMINATIONS, GARDEN). The church is given metaphorical names, such as body, bride, flock, people, family, vineyard, temple. But by far the most common image is of disciples (learners) forming a traveling SCHOOL with Jesus and his disciples, then after Pentecost as schools of the Spirit in each city.
CHURCH AND STATE For hundreds of years in Europe the Popes tried to control Kings and Emperors, and monarchies tried to keep bishops under their control. In the REFORMATION the authority of the Bishop of Rome was rejected, and the various DENOMINATIONS adopted by the rulers (see MONARCHY) were enforced as the religion of his or her people. An extreme example of this was the THEOCRACY set up in Geneva by John CALVIN. In the CHURCH OF ENGLAND the Queen is still called "Defender of the Faith" and though bishops are chosen by a committee she has to make or reject the appointment. The church of England still has some privileges, but other denominations are also allowed. In the United States the FIRST AMENDMENT resulted in a total separation of church and state. In Islamic countries the CALIPHATE began as a theocracy, but national rulers soon insisted on political control. The TALIBAN established a theocracy in AFGHANISTAN, and the religious leaders (Imams, Mullahs, Ayathollas) have immense power in IRAN.
CHURCH, Authority It is the risen Messiah Lord God who is building his church, and it is brought into being as a body in each city by the Holy Spirit. "By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . The body does not consist of one member but of many" (1 Cor. 12:13-14). In the New Testament there is only one church in each city (Jerusalem, Antioch, Philippi, Ephesus, Rome, etc). MEMBERSHIP is nothing to do with names on a denominational list. Membership is exercising a gift in the body of the one church in each city. This church of many members in each city is visible to the world as we exercise our huge variety of gifts. But it is our Messiah who is invisibly "the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18). That means DENOMINATIONS are not churches. They are franchises that perform the valuable function of supporting various kinds of church expression (like flowers in the Lord's garden - where the tulips fault roses for having thorns, and roses fault irises for lack of scent). Our discussions and councils are merely for us to come to terms with what the Spirit is doing (e.g. Acts 10:44-11:18). No human council can create or authorize a church. And we certainly do not need church hierarchies to create our CANON of Scriptures, or approve it, define it or interpret it. Humans had a part in everything that went into creating the Word of God in the world, but it is the living Word of God who created what we now recognize as the canon of 66 books in our Bible.
CHURCH, Bloodstream Jesus said "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18), and he is the head of the church as a world-wide body (Ephesians 4:15-16, Colossians 1:18). In a human body we can distinguish the muscles and bones and organs which remain in one place from the bloodstream which moves all over bringing life-giving oxygen, hormones, and other nutrients needed for growth. Similarly we can distinguish churches which are located in each city, and a bloodstream that moves to bring nourishment to each local congregation. The New Testament describes the work of Paul's apostolic team which moved all over the Mediterranean world (see Acts Commentary 15:36-20:38). In the early church there were also PROPHETS who traveled from church to church. The modern equivalent of the world-wide church's bloodstream are the Roman Catholic orders such as the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, missionary societies, Billy Graham's evangelistic team, InterVarsity, Campus Crusade, Alpha Videos, the Bible Society, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Literature, Radio, Television, Internet and many other kinds of ministry.
CHURCH, Body Having defined a CHURCH as the disciples of the Messiah in a city, we note that they learn the love of God by functioning as an organic body. Paul lists gifts of the Spirit that they exercise, services they perform, and activities they engage in (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). Some have wisdom to offer, others are teachers who can impart knowledge of God's purposes, some exercise faith, and engage in the ministry of healing. More miracles are worked in a city by God's people than are ever reported in our local newspaper.. There are prophets who speak for "upbuilding and encouraging and consolation" (1 Corinthians 14:3), and there are those who expose false teaching. Many pray in tongues and in other ways to discover what the Spirit has in mind for creativity in the community. Paul points out that "the members of the body that seem to be weaker (less prominent) are indispensable" (1 Corinthians 12:22). This includes many who work unseen exercising mercy, and giving generously (Romans 12:8). Mutual submission in marriage, between parents and children, employers and employees (Ephesians 5:21-6:9), welcome to our CHURCH, Family, and the appreciation of all that is good (Philippians 4:8), are all important contributions of a church to its city. Thankfulness sweetens everything. There also some from each city who go out to serve the needs of the world (see CHURCH, Bloodstream).
CHURCH, City see CHURCHES, Apostolic; CITIES; MEMBERS
CHURCH DISCIPLINE Until very recently the weapon of choice to keep Christians in line used to be excommunication. But it is hard to think of cases where the weapon was ever wielded justly, let alone helpfully. Nobody, but nobody, is too bad to take communion with us. But what do we do when things get out of hand? Paul deals with an extreme case. "There is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found (permitted) even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife." A person who engages in criminal activity must be handed over to the city magistrates (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). But even when someone is sent to jail we do not exclude them from the Lord's table. But what do we do with a member of our congregation who blatantly engages in behavior which is outrageous but not viewed as criminal by the state? "I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother o sister who is sexually immoral (pornos means prostitute type behavior), or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler (abusive), drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one" (1 Corinthians 5:10). That means we do not join the person in a shady deal, drunkenness, gossip, group sex, or a lynching. And the advantage of this kind of discipline is that it is one on one, and very personal.
CHURCH DOCTRINE see DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE
CHURCH, Ekklesia see EKKLESIA (as in ecclesiastical, French eglise, Hindi kalisia)
CHURCH, Essentials Having pictured the work of the CHURCH, Body in each city, we note the four essentials that are needed for this to happen. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). Christians are defined as DISCIPLES (Acts 11:26), which means they are learners (see Go, Make Learners). Jesus told the apostles to enrol disciples by baptism and teach them to practice "everything that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). This is done through preaching, Bible study groups, and individual reading of God's Word. FELLOWSHIP (koinonia) is what soldiers remember with their buddies in battle, it is what happens in a Rotary or service club, or a world cup team, and when people enjoy singing together, or working together in a tough cause. Those all point to aspects of Christian koinonia , but we begin by accepting one another as sinners with a view to being changed by the Holy Spirit. The breaking of bread is what Jesus did when he was EATING with his disciples (COMMUNION). Prayers can be formal, as in the temple or a regular church service, or in a prayer group (Acts 12:12), or in personal conversation with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see PRAYER, Directness)
CHURCH, Excommunication see EXCOMUNICATION, HANDING OVER to Satan, NOT EATING WITH.
CHURCH, Experiencing God At an anniversary service on June 2, 2002 Harold Percy spoke of the need of "a shift from teaching about God into helping people experience God." That is not as easy as it sounds. The battle is often won or lost with the welcome at the door and first impressions. In preaching it is much easier to nag than to give good news. And very few ordinary people experience God after the first fifteen minutes of preaching. Many need wisdom as they face personal family problems. Creative silence after a sermon, between prayers, and after hymns is an opportunity for God to speak to the heart. . Rather than lists of matters for prayer, one picture of a vital current need helps me to pray. When people feel loved and accepted, they want to be thankful, and thankfulness is the basic experience of God. And if they feel someone on earth is listening, it helps them to believe God cares. Good familiar music is like mature old wine for the connoisseurs, but Jesus said new wine needs fresh wineskins (Luke 5:37-39), and without a new vintage every year the cellar runs out. Very few songs have both a pleasing melody and rich biblical content. Watching little children enjoying themselves in church bothers some people, but it helps me feel like a child again, and being like a little child is the only way into the heart of God (Matthew 18:3, 19:14, 21:16). One solution is for children to meet for a fun class on their own, and then come in excitedly for communion.
CHURCH, Family We are blessed if we have been raised in a happy family. But families can break up and disintegrate, and there are many who remember abuse, neglect, and lack of love. An important contribution of the CHURCH, Body in each city is to welcome people to family. Rich and poor, professors and the mentally handicapped, old and young, the good and the bad, those of any race or language, all are invited without condition. Jesus said "Bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame" (Luke 14:21). We do not check out those who want to join us. A family is constituted by EATING together, and the first thing an adopted child experiences is that he or she now has a right to eat at the family table. Others eat by invitation. And in a human family when the couple stop eating together a divorce has begun. We symbolize this by our weekly family meal of bread and wine (see COMMUNION, EXCOMMUNICATION). Christians are brothers and sisters, regardless of denominations. There are of course risks in accepting others as family, but God wants us to take that risk, as he does, and keep loving regardless.
CHURCH, Freedom Jesus' message was freedom from the heavy yoke of the Pharisees (Matthew 11:28-30, 23:1-4). So when one of the churches which had been planted was "bewitched" into LEGALISM, Paul wrote : "For freedom the Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1, see 3:1-2). Nineteen centuries later, in his romp through Church History, Robert Farrar Capon noted the result of "the church's acquisition of institutional status. We took a liberated community of believers living in the freedom of unqualified grace and converted it into a navel-watching institution dedicated, inevitably, to the preservation of its own structure. We created a one-eyed monster whose focus would always be on the boring rules it made for yesterday instead of the astonishing liberty with which Christ had made it free for today" (The Astonished Heart: Reclaiming the Good News from the Lost-and-Found of Church History. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,1996, p.4). Our message was often limited to forgiveness, followed by rules to obey till we die and get to heaven. The greatest thing we could do for our goodnewsing among all nations of the world would be to make clear that we are on the side of freedom. In India this attracted millions of people out of the bondage of the Caste System. The Pentecostals who mushroomed in South America began with the promise of spiritual freedom, but it seems that political freedom from oppression was more the result of the Roman Catholic BASE COMMUNITIES.
CHURCH GROWTH see Roland ALLEN
CHURCH, Jokes You have to get to church pretty early to find a seat in the back row.
A mother was trying to persuade her son to go to church. He complained "I hate going to church." She asked why. "I hate the sermons, I don't like the people and they don't like me." His mother said, "I will give you three reasons why you have to go to church today. (a) I am your mother - you do what you are told. (b) You are thirty-five years old - old enough to know better. (c) You are the Anglican Priest of our parish - you had better be there.
Another woman complained that the attendance was so bad one Sunday morning that when the minister said "Dearly Beloved" she blushed.
When the United Church of Canada was organized in 1925 a Presbyterian
elder said, "If I have to join them ranting Methodists and fuzzy-minded
Congregationalists, I had better give up religion altogether, and join
the Church of England".
CHURCH, language Churches quickly divided on the basis of language. In the East they said the church should use the language Jesus spoke which was ARAMAIC (the trade language written in SYRIAC). The New Testament was written in Greek, so the churches of Byzantium and Greece assumed that of course worship must be in Greek. The church of Rome said that Latin was the language of the empire, and Latin remained the language of Roman Catholics for 1900 years. In the REFORMATION it was established that each country should worship in their own language. The first edition of the English Book of Common Prayer was in 1549 (revised 1552, 1559, and 1662). Now we take it for granted that people of every country, and every tribe, should be able to worship in their own vernacular (see BIBLE, Translation). This is the logical outcome of the Day of Pentecost when they said "we hear, each of us in our own native language" (Acts 2:8).
CHURCH OF ENGLAND There were bishops from England at the Council of Arles (314). By then there were already Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Syriac speaking denominations in the east. As a result of the Reformation, Lutheran and Calvinistic denominations began on the principle that each country should have its own church. The Church of England as a denomination originated when Henry VIII of England (king 1509-1547) had his marriage to Catherine of Aragon of Spain dissolved, appointed himself the head of the Church of England (1533), and rejected the authority of the Bishop of Rome. Attempts to bring the English crown back under the Pope continued for 150 years. Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603) had Mary Queen of Scots executed (1587). The Spanish Armada sent to restore Roman Catholicism in England was decimated (1588). Charles I (1625-49) was beheaded for disloyalty to the reformed Church of England. His son, Charles II (1660-1685) professed faith in the Church of Rome on his deathbed (1681). James II (1685-88) tried to reintroduce Roman Catholicism and had to flee to France when William of Orange (1688-1702) took over as king. When James II tried to regain the throne he was finally defeated at the Battle of the Boyne (see ORANGE ORDER). As a result of the Revolutionary War (1775-83) the EPISCOPAL CHURCH of America continued the ANGLICAN form of worship with its own bishops but without declaring loyalty to the king of England.
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS see MORMONS
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND After the REFORMATION, mainly under the influence of John KNOX (C.1513-72), the Church of Scotland became PRESBYTERIANwith the Scottish Confession (1560) based on CALVINISM. A Second Scottish Confession (1581) was added as a supplement to this, and these were superseded by the WESTMINSTER CONFESSION (1647). When James VI of Scotland became James 1 (1603-25) of England and Scotland he did not want John Knox's Presbyterian form of government. Various attempts were made to force Scotland back under the rule of Anglican Bishops, but the Church of Scotland has remained independent and Presbyterian since 1690. In 1843 a third of the Church of Scotland ministers left to form the Free Church of Scotland, and this denominational grouping united with the United Presbyterians to form the United Free Church (1900). They reunited with the Established Church of Scotland (1929). The Wee Frees were a minority that refused to unite with United Free Church (1900), and they remain a distinct Presbyterian denomination to this day.
CHURCH, School Christian learning is like a little child picking up language and walking. Facts about language and the theory of walking might come in useful later, but the first thing is to begin doing it. Piano playing comes long before the theory of harmony. Jesus did not give lectures about theology. Paul did, but that came later. You learn hands on. And, like a windsurfer, skill comes if you don't feel guilty about many falls. Jesus took the disciples with him. "This is how you pray . . . This is how you love enemies . . . This is how you love Mary Magdalene . . . Look at that orchard: what does it teach you about God, our church? Now try putting your hands on this sick person and praying for healing." This is why he said "Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you (the term for a disciple learning with a rabbi) and learn from me" (Matthew 11:28-29). Which means that Jesus delighted to teach all who came to him, and he freed them from guilt and the burdens that religious people laid upon them. And when he ascended to the Father, he left the HOLY SPIRIT to do this same coaching work with every single person in every church throughout the world.
CHURCH UNION In the twentieth century denominational leaders spent huge amounts of time trying to find a way to unite with each other and eventually come under one body. The logic was that, unless Christians can be seen as visibly one, our world-wide mission lacks credibility.There were some limited successes, like the united Church of South India, but by the end of the century the movement lost steam. It became clear that the division between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches was unlikely to be healed. A proposal to use the UNIAT model to allow denominations to retain their traditional liturgies and canon law was never able to solve the problem of ultimate papal authority. Meanwhile the previous practice of refusing communion to members of other denominations was abandoned, for example among the Anglicans and Episcopalians. And lay people of all denominations have insisted on the right to worship and attend Bible study groups wherever they choose. The model used in this website is that there is by definition only one church in each city (as in the New Testament), but it meets in many different locations under various denominational names. In this model denominations should not be called churches, but they support the life of a rich variety of different kinds of flower in each city church garden.
CHURCHES, Apostolic After a list of imprisonments, floggings, shipwrecks, and other dangers that he endured, Paul concluded: "And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches" (2 Corinthians 11: 28). There were six churches to which Paul wrote his letters (ROME, CORINTH, EPHESUS, PHILIPPI, COLOSSAE, THESSALONICA). The Epistle to the Galatians was probably a joint letter to four churches in the Province of Galatia (ANTIOCH in Pisidia, ICONIUM, LYSTRA, DERBE) which Paul and Barnabas established during the first missionary journey. The Apostle John wrote to seven churches in the Province of ASIA Minor (EPHESUS, SMYRNA, PERGAMUM, THYATIRA, SARDIS, PHILADELPHIA, LAODICEA). Peter wrote to Jewish Christians in PONTUS, GALATIA, CAPPADOCIA, ASIA, and BYTHINIA(1 Peter 1:1). There were other churches mentioned by name which do not have letters connected with them (ALEXANDRIA, ANTIOCH in Syria, ATHENS, BEROEA, CAESAREA, CAPPADOCIA, CENCHREA, COLOSSAE, DAMASCUS, ILLYRICUM, JOPPA, LYDDA, PAPHOS, PTOLEMAIS, PUTEOLI, SAMARIA, SIDON, TARSUS,TROAS). Perhaps 6 churches were planted in CRETE (Titus 1:5). There were probably churches in RHODES, SALAMIS, SAMOS, SYRACUSE, and also in ARABIA, EDESSA, INDIA, MALTAand PELLA. That gives us a count of at least 54 city churches, but we might guess a total of at least twice that number were planted in the first twenty years of church growth.
CIRCUMCISION There is no evidence that this minor operation does little boys much harm, and it may offer some health protection. The circumcision of adult men is however very painful. 3800 years ago Abraham submitted to the rite at the age of ninety-nine, and he also had his thirteen year old son Ishmael circumcised (Genesis 17:23-25). As a result circumcision became an essential part of the religion of both Jews and Arabs to this day. Moses explained that the rite was a sign of a heart circumcised to love God (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6). Paul, who had himself been "circumcised the eight day," came to see that "a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter the heart - it is spiritual not literal" (Romans 2:28-29, as in Jeremiah 4:4, 9:26). He concluded that for men and women everywhere the truly heart circumcised are those who "follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised" (Romans 4:11-12). His faith was simply looking in the right direction to the God who could work what was humanly impossible.
CISTERCIANS The order of White Monks was founded (1098) at Citeaux near Dijon, France to provide for BENEDICTINES who wanted a stricter form of discipline. Their life was in a secluded community given to manual labor, prayer and adoration. Ornaments and vestments were as plain as possible. Through Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) the order became very influential. By the end of the century (about 1200) there were 530 Cistercian abbeys, and 680 by the next century. When their numbers waned new communities with stricter observances were formed (1664, usually known as TRAPPISTS).
CITIES All over the world people move in and out of cities for supplies, schooling, hospitals, law courts and government offices. This is why Paul planted a church in the main cities from Jerusalem to present day Croatia. As a result he could claim he had fully evangelized that area of the Mediterranean (Romans 15:19). Obviously he had not talked to each one of the millions of people in and around the twelve big cities of Antioch, Tarsus, Salamis, Paphos, Antioch in Pisidia, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and Candia (Heraclion in Crete). But having planted a church in each administrative center, he expected that church to grow like an organic body meeting in many locations (as in Romans 16:3-15) and reaching out to the surrounding district and neighboring cities (1 Thessalonians 1:8). In the province of Asia for example Paul never visited Colossae and Laodicea, but churches were soon organized there (Colossians 4:15-16). The work of planting a church in each city, and continuing to support and correct them, was done by apostolic teams. These moved like the BLOODSTREAMof the universal church without controlling the churches that were planted in each city.
CITY In the Old Testament it was already clear that this world was only a preparation for another. And the heart of heaven was pictured as a city. "I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people a delight" (Isaiah 65:17-18). The apostle John picks this up in his vision. "I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God." John then described what Augustine later called the City of God. "The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it." Through the middle of the city a river would flow and on its banks would be "the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 21:24-22:2).
CLERICS As in the long CHURCH AND STATE controversies in Europe (e.g. CALVINISM in Geneva; the CHURCH OF ENGLAND; CONSTANTINE; Russia's PETER THE GREAT; the REFORMATION in Germany; the VATICAN in Rome) clerics (clergy) have always longed to enforce their ideas by controlling the government. This struggle also swirls continually behind the politics of every Islamic country (see CALIPHATE; IRAQ, Hawza; PAKISTAN; SHARIAH LAW; TALIBAN; TURKEY; WAHABBI). In the United States the battle for the separation of church and state was won by the FIRST AMENDMENT to the Constitution. It is hard to see how DEMOCRACY can ever be possible where clerics of any religion (ayatollahs, cardinals, imams, patriarchs, popes, priests, ministers, mullahs) use their spiritual authority to intervene in politics. As Jesus said, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17, which Paul explained in Romans 13:1-7).
CLOUDS Interventions of the Messiah are described as his coming with clouds. "Look! He comes up like clouds, his chariots like the whirlwind" (Jeremiah 4:13). Swift clouds (Isaiah 19:1) are metaphorical of the strong wind of the Spirit. "You make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind" (Psalm 104:3). At Sinai the Messiah said "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud" (Exodus 19:9, Psalm 97:2), and for the next forty years. "The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud" (Exodus13:21). It was a bright cloud that accompanied his transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). When Jesus ascended "a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9), and two angels explained "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way (with clouds) as you saw him go into heaven: (Acts 1:9-11, Revelation 1:7). Which is why Jesus described the coming events of the fall of Jerusalem (AD70) as "The Son of Man is coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 24:30, Joel 2:2, Revelation 14:14, see DAY OF THE LORD). The hymn writers got it right. "His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form" (Robert Grant, O worship the King) and "Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love" (Walter Chalmers Smith, Immortal, Invisible, God only wise).
COLOSSAE Paul apparently never visited this city (Colossians 2:1), which was 110 miles (176 km) inland from EPHESUS but just off the main road he had traveled across present-day Turkey from GALATIA (Acts 19:1). A church was planted there by Epaphras (Colossians 1:7, 4:12) as part of the outreach from the church in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). A member of the church in Colossae was Philemon (Colossians 4:8-9, Philemon 10-18), whose slave Onesimus had run away, and been converted through Paul (probably in Ephesus). Paul's letter to the Colossians was to be read by the church in Laodicea which was on the main road across the Lycus valley and very wealthy (which did not help its spiritual life, 4:16, see Revelation 3:14-17). To oppose the GNOSTICISMthat had infected the Colossian church (Colossians 2:8, 16-23) Paul explained who the Messiah was and what he had done (Colossians 1:13-22; 2:2-4, 9-15).
COMBAT EXHAUSTION As a result of prolonged continuous and severe combat the best of soldiers will break down. After a few days of combat a soldier become 'battle wise,' and soon attains the peak of effectiveness. But exhaustion sets in after four weeks. It begins with a period of reckless over-confidence, and ends in "stupor, loss of memory, loss of the use of limbs, fainting, etc." (R. Swank & E. Marchand, "Combat Neurosis. Development of Combat Exhaustion," 1946). A similar BREAKDOWN can occur after a period of nervous strain.
COME QUICKLY The prayer "Come Lord Jesus" is the one from last verse of the Bible. It was prayed when Nero threatened to wipe out both Jews and Christians. The prayer was prayed by Europeans when Arab armies were at the gates of Paris, by Jeanne D'Arc against the English in the relief of Orleans, by Englishmen as the Armada approached, and then again when their army was about to be decimated before the Dunkirk evacuation. Russian Orthodox Christians prayed for protection against Napoleon (1812) and in 1917 for the Lord's relief from the oppression of the Czars. The Jews in Israel prayed to the Lord seven times (1948 on) when they were attacked by overwhelming Arab armies. And the people of Europe prayed the same before the iron curtain collapsed in November 1989. Uganda prayed for the Lord's intervention in the toppling of Idi Amin, as did the people of South Africa against apartheid. We have no logic to prove that any of these were interventions of the Messiah in the affairs of history. Nor can we be assured he is on our side, or the other side, or on both sides in a war. But in any case I go with Mary when she prayed the Magnificat, "He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly" (Luke 1:51-52). That certainly means she thought the Lord comes to intervene in our history. And I am glad he said "I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am , there you may be also" (John 14:2-3).
COMING Many imagine that the Son of God is not doing much till the Second Coming. This misses the fact that the first coming was when he came to invite Adam and Eve for a walk one evening (Genesis 3:8). Then he came to terminate the building of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:5-8). He came to Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel and many others. In the New Testament he came to Paul on the Damascus road, and on two other occasions (Acts 18:9, 23:11), and we have three references to his coming to churches (Revelation 2:5, 16, 3:33). We also look forward to his coming to introduce us to heaven the moment we die. There will be a final coming of the Lord when he rolls up this space-time world. But meanwhile he keeps coming among the nations to assign wrath consequences and to bring freedom (as he did in November 1989, when he unexpectedly freed the countries behind the iron curtain from Russian oppression). Faith is looking for his coming into our own personal, family, and national situation right now. COMING, see PAROUSIA
COMMITTEE Padre Laverty, the much loved Chaplain of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario said "However the Kingdom of God it going to come, it is not going to come by a committee" (October 8, 1980). Frederick E. Terman pointed out that "If you want a track team to win the high jump, you find one person who can jump seven feet, not seven persons who can jump one foot." And Laurence H. Peter wrote "A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary." Lin Yutang added "It also prevents those who can think and make quick decisions from doing so" And the result is "You'll find in no park or city a monument to a committee" (Victoria Pasternak, 1977). A committee is very different from a think tank where a group of people are gathered to brainstorm and look at alternative models for solving a question. But having heard their input, and listened to the best advice available, a leader is needed to act decisively (Proverbs 11:14, 20:18, Acts 15:13-20).
COMMON In merry old England every village had common land. The common was a place for all to play, dance around
tmaypole, and graze their sheep. Nobody owned what was common until greedy people enclosed it. I am glad that in the
United States more and more seashores are being returned to the community. But for seventy miserable years in Russia Communism took that to the extreme, and forced families to live in common (communes). Communism ended because we all feel the need of a roof over our head, clothes to wear, tools to work with, a car to get to work, money for groceries. When the Holy Spirit founded the early church they had "all things in common" (Acts 2:44), but that does not mean we must share our toothbrush and underwear. In a Christian community (koinonia) individuals voluntarily make some things common. We offer our house for a meeting, they lend their cottage for a conference, you lend me your truck for a move, she gives her time to provide a church supper, and all of us give money for the work of our church and those in need. The more we share our gifts, the more we love one another, and enjoy it.
COMMON LAW In most western countries a couple are said to be married when they obtain a document from a minister in a church, or from a judge in a civil ceremony. But this legal understanding of what constitutes a marriage would have seemed strange in Old Testament times.. The main reason is that until very recently in most cultures the marriage contract or financial arrangement was called the betrothal (see BETROTHAL). Governments are now counting a period of openly living together as the equivalent of a marriage contract. We are therefore reverting to a definition of marriage which has been taken for granted by millions of people in every country of the world. A man and woman who live and eat and sleep together, whether or not there is a marriage contract, are in due course recognized as in some sense married. Until recently churches called this practice living in sin or fornicating (see FORNICATION). But if one partner in a common law relationship has an affair on the side, the other partner views it as adulterous. And when such relationships end the break up feels like a divorce, especially for the partner who would have preferred the relationship to continue. This suggests that in practice a common law relationship is a form of marriage.
COMMUNICATION "Excellent companies are a vast network of informal, open communication" (Thomas J. Peters & Robert H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence, New York: Harper & Row, 1982, 1983 edition p. 121-122). That includes the CEO. When people work hard, often at great personal sacrifice to serve with a LEADER, they want to know what he or she has in mind. Nobody wants to work with a clam. A great leader also takes time to know what those who work with him think, what they would like and enjoy, and what they find tiresome. Communication can be by writing personal memos, informal conversation, and what is aptly called "management by walking around." Without a weekly staff meeting people feel left out (see INNER RINGS). That is also the time to recognize good work and express appreciation. People need to feel they are needed and appreciated.
COMMUNION A family is constituted by eating together. Even when a group of unrelated people are at a conference for several days they become a family. And we can define a family as those who have the right to eat at the family table. Others have to be invited. Once a child is adopted, there is no need to ask for permission to eat with the new family. For a family to retain its identity they eat together regularly. This is why Jesus encouraged his disciples to continue eating and drinking as brothers and sisters (see EATING). The early Christians did this on the Lord's day (Acts 20:7, 11, 1 Corinthians 16:2). And when they gathered in his name he would be there among them (Matthew 18:20). To establish this habit, the Lord ate with them on the first three Sundays after his resurrection (Luke 24:42, John 20:26, 21:1, 12-14). The principles of family table fellowship also apply in a Christian congregation. If a child behaves badly at table he or she is sent away for half an hour, but no one is ever excommunicated from a loving family (see EXCOMMUNICATION). All are to be welcomed (Romans 14:1-3, 15:7). Unworthy eating (1 Corinthians 11:27) is like a secret agent taking communion to list the names of Christians for arrest, or Judas at the last supper.
COMMUNION Family see FAMILY Creation
COMMUNION, Unworthiness Paul warned against taking communion "in an unworthy manner" and this is defined as "not discerning the body." This is therefore a deliberate undermining of Jesus' church (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). An extreme case would be a secret agent coming in to take communion with a Christian group to take their names, and arrest them. But Jesus also warned about refusing to forgive a brother or sister (Matthew 5:22-24). This does not mean that DENOMINATIONS have a right exclude us from communion because they want us to submit to their doctrine. Now should we exclude ourselves by saying " I do not want to join those HYPOCRITES who go to church." Others think they are excluded because they have committed the SIN, Against the Holy Spirit. And there are those who imagine they have to believe every word of the CREEDS before taking communion. But Jesus invited disciples to be learners, and when they began they knew very little. The best way to learn is to sit at table with Jesus and his friends. There we are free to ask questions and explore our doubts with others.
COMMUNISM The principles of Communism were set out in The Communist Manifesto (1848) written by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95). Marx founded the Communist International (1864), and set out its economic theory in Das Kapital (first edition 1867). But the idea of making this a world empire only became possible when Lenin (1870-1924) took control of Russia after the revolution (1917). When Lenin died Stalin (1879-1953) soon made himself the totalitarian ruler of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR), and set about promoting the Communist ideology in every country of the world. The model is easy to explain. The ideal is that each person should be free to give according to his or her ability and receive according their needs (compare Acts 2:44-45). But this is impossible when capitalists control the world. Change requires a violent revolution followed by a "dictatorship of the proletariat" until human greed can be rooted out. This has to be done by a secret police and the use of prison camps for those who oppose change. The theory was that eventually the need for a state would wither away. This ideology was opposed by AMERICA and her allies during the cold war when either side could have released atomic bombs which would have destroyed life in the world (MAD means mutually assured destruction). Communism collapsed suddenly (November 1989) as people longed, and prayed, and marched for freedom.
COMMUNITY see BUDDHISM, Sangha, MONASTICISM
COMPANIONS The word comes from the Latin com meaning together and panis meaning bread. Companions eat together. The members of the sanhedrin (Acts 4:5-6) had arrested Peter and John because they were "much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead" (Acts 4:2). But when Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8) and preached to them "they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, and they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus" (Acts 4:13). The Christian good news is mostly propagated by "uneducated and ordinary" men and women. The only qualification is to be companions of Jesus in the breaking of bread which he commanded (Acts 2:42, 20:7). And he promised that whenever two or three (or more) gather in his name, he will be present with them (Matthew 18:20, Revelation 3:20).
COMPASSION There are many who can only feel their own pain and hurt. Compassion is feeling the pain of others. But that can just be a passing emotion as in watching a movie. It does not result in action. A good LEADER feels the hurts of team members, lets them know he or she knows and understands, and then takes appropriate action. There are references to God's compassion in the Old Testament (Psalms 78:38, 86:15, 111:4, 112:4, 145:8). When the Son of God saw a woman who had lost her son "he had compassion for her" (Luke 7:13) and raised the boy from the dead. When Jesus saw the crowds "he had compassion for them, because they were harasssed and helpless, like sheep without a SHEPHERD" (Matthew 9:36). At their best his servants will feel the same. "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Colossians 3:12). It was because the good Samaritan had compassion on the wounded Jew that he picked him up and took him to safety (Luke 10:33). When the Father of the prodigal son saw him coming home, "filled with compassion, he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20).
COMPLAINING Murmuring has been defined as "a subdued expression of discontent." And it is always wrong. If we have a complaint we should address it openly to a person who has the power to put things right. And if that is not possible we can lay it before God for him to intervene in due course (see VINDICATION). Murmuring merely pushes the matter under the rug to fester in our hearts and the hearts of others. But Moses (Exodus 5:22-23), and David (Psalms 10:1, 31:11-13, 44:9-16), and Job (Job 3:11-26, 13:24-27) all felt free to complain openly to God. Paul said "Do all things without murmuring" (Philippians 2:14) and in fact there is no need to "worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). Which means that our hearts and minds are guarded from murmuring by openly expressing our requests and complaints to the Messiah. And it should be done with the thanksgiving that God has heard and will act as needed.
COMPUTER Much of what people thought was impossible for God is now easy for us. A bank can handle hundreds of people accessing their terminals all over the world every second. We wondered whether God could ever forgive and forget our sins, but the first lesson we learn on our computer is that the delete button can do just that. Heaven has a very large recycle bin. We can also save everything that is good and worthwhile. And prayer for others across the world is no problem for the INTERNET. We may be bothered by viruses, but nothing gets by God's watchful eye. But life isn't just collecting and using information. Jesus is building his CHURCH in every city, because it is impossible to learn his kind of love alone. Five New Testament epistles encourage us to "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (embrace or hug, Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Peter 5:14). So I must not use my computer to avoid warm social relationships.
CONCUBINE To our ears the word concubine suggests the using of women for male sexual pleasure. And undoubtedly many men did this. But we should remind ourselves that in the Old Testament the word concubine simply meant a wife whose children would have no legal right to the family inheritance (See Genesis 21:10, 36:12, Judges 19:1, 2 Samuel 3:7, 1 Chronicles 2:46,48). In some cases a woman would be taken in at her request, presumably for protection. An extreme situation was when most of the men had been killed off in war. "Seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, 'We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes; just let us be called by your name; take away our disgrace'" (Isaiah 3:25-4:1) Here the concubines live in at their own expense, and in some respects are viewed as married to the man, but their children could not expect to be part of his family genealogy (see GENEALOGY). Keturah for example was Abraham's wife, but she was later listed as his concubine because her children branched off to become the ancestors of several desert tribes, who were later united by marriage with other Arab tribes descended from Ishmael, Lot, and Esau. (Genesis 25:1-18, 1 Chronicles 1:32). The children of Israel would descend through Sarah's son Isaac.
CONFESSION The noun confession (omologia) is used in the sense of a public declaration of what one believes (e.g. the Pharisees and Sadducees, Acts 23:8) and "Your obedience to the confession of the gospel" (2 Corinthians 9:13). Also "Jesus, the apostle and priest of our confession" (Hebrews 3:1). "Let us hold fast to our confession" (Hebrews 4:14, 10:23). This is what some denominations call a Confession of Faith, as in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, the Heidelberg Catechism (1562), the Westminster Confession (1647). Two related verbs (omologeo, exomologeo) are used in this sense. "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord" (Matthew 10:32, as in Luke 12:8, John 12:42, Romans 10:9-10).. There are only five cases of the verb exomologeo referring to confessing one's sins. "They were baptized by him (John the Baptist) in the river Jordan, confessing their sins" (Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5). "Many of those who had previously become believers (a perfect participle) confessed and disclosed their practices" (Acts 19:18). James recommends confessing one's faults in the ministry of healing (James 5:16). And John encourages admitting one's faults in Christian koinonia (1 John 1:9). But Jesus and his apostles never demanded a confession of sin before baptism, or taking part in communion, or before any of his miracles of healing. He proclaimed good news, and invited us to turn to receive it. REPENTANCE (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15) meant a change of direction, not digging up past sins (see CONVERSION).
CONFIDENCE Nobody enjoys working with a ditherer, or a pessimistic person. Especially when times are tough, a great LEADER, "can diffuse a sense of ordered calm and of planned progress" (Roger Falk, The Business of Management, Penguin, 1962, p.28). "In quietness and in trust (confidence) shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15, see Psalm 118:8-9). I still remember how Winston Churchill was able to convey that confidence to us in the darkest day of the Battle of Britain (1940). Paul was able to give that kind of confidence to the passengers and crew of a ship when all had lost hope by the end of a fourteen day hurricane (Acts 27:20-25). But there is also the need for confidence in others. They need a clear idea of what is to be achieved, and then being allowed to devise the best method for attaining the objective. The more freedom people are given to do things the way they would like (rather than a book of rules), the more satisfaction they get from doing it.
CONFIRMATION When a group of Samaritans listened to Paul's preaching, they were baptized (Acts 8:4-6, 12). Two of the Apostles immediately "went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Then Peter and John laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:15, 17). Among Anglicans this used to be given as a reason for the ritual of confirmation (laying on of hands) by a Bishop in the apostolic succession before the baptized could be welcomed to communion. We can now see that what happened in Samaria was that Philip used baptism to enrol those who wanted to become disciples (see BAPTISM). But for their teaching they needed to be organized into a school of the Holy Spirit. This was why the apostles came down, prayed for them, laid hands on them, and left them under their own leaders to be taught by the Spirit (as Paul did, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). Confirmation in the right sense occurs when bishops (superintendents, church planters) pray for the Holy Spirit to constitute and empower congregations to function as the body of the Messiah in that place (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). In every modern communion service liturgy (see LITURGY) there is an epiklesis (prayer for the descent of the Spirit). This is not a mechanical ritual but a weekly prayer for the very life of the Spirit in that congregation.
CONFUCIUS At the eastern end of the wave which we call the SIXTH CENTURY REVOLT (see Religion: Origins and Ideas, chapter 3) Confucius (c.551-c.479 BC), the Chief Minister of China was horrified by the anarchy in the land and the immorality of the emperor. He resigned and devoted himself to study and teaching. His concern was for a gentleman to have right relationships including honesty, kindness, friendship, and charity. This began at home with filial piety, and love for the family. He was opposed by the Taoists (see TAOISM) for favoring the ruling classes and stressing culture, ceremonial and artificiality. His Spring and Autumn Annals and the Analects of Confucius were recorded after his death, and became an essential part of Chinese education. In our analysis of religions and ideologies we call Confucianism salvation by right actions. In our day there those who think that being good and obeying the golden rule is all that is required in us. But as Paul pointed out, our natural instincts (flesh) make this impossible, and change can only occur by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:15-8:4).
CONSCIENCE is like an alarm clock. We can set it badly, or ignore it. Paul wrote that the aim is "love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith." And he added that by "rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:5, 19). By ignoring his instruments a master mariner will take his ship on the rocks. Paul views Christian perfection as beginning with a heart that has been filled with love by the Holy Spirit. But great zeal for God without proper conscience settings has again and again proved disastrous. The New Testament can set our conscience according to the mind of God, and it is good to check our settings with the advice of others. Only then will our faith be sincere (anupokritos, unhypocritical). Jesus did not fault the Pharisees for lack of faith and zeal for God. The problem was their conscience was set by legalism, and concern for the approval of others.
CONSTANTINE Constantine (c.280-337) became the Roman Emperor (jointly in 306, sole emperor 324-337). As a result of a vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312) he replaced the pagan insignia on his standard with a Christian monogram (the first two letters of the Greek word Christos) By the next year (313) Christians were allowed to practice their religion without persecution. He soon began intervening in church struggles first with the rigorist ideas of the DONATISTS
then with those who adopted the UNITARIAN model of ARIUS. He made SUNDAY (321) the weekly holiday in the empire. This pleased the Christians, and the pagans did not object to having Sunday as the day of the Sun god. Though he was not yet baptized he convened (325) and acted as president for the Council of NICEA (see the later struggles between CHURCH AND STATE). Constantine rebuilt Byzantium (330) and renamed it Constantinople (now known as Istanbul). Later he banished ATHANASIUS (336) who had been the main theologian of the NICENE CREED. He humanized many of the harsher Roman laws, and tried to be a bridge between pagans and Christians. After the death of his mother HELENA (c.255-c.330) the Emperor Constantine was finally baptized just before he died.
CONSTANTINOPLE see BYZANTIUM
CONSTRUCTIVISM see SYMBOLIC WORLDS
CONSULTATION Nobody knows all that needs to be known, and the bull-headed person who goes ahead without consulting anyone will never succeed. As a LEADER, he or she needs to ask for the advice of others, listen to experienced persons, learn what is going on, get the facts, hear about alternative approaches, and draw on the advice of others who have other angles on the leader's VISION. It is no shame to admit ignorance on technical matters that others understand far better than we do. As Solomon had noted, "In an abundance of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). "Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice" (Proverbs 12:15). "Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22). Which suggests that a dictator might be successful if he listened to others, which is very rare, but democracy at least requires a president (or prime minister) to listen.
CONVERSION When we travel overseas we need a conversion of currency. A house can be converted from one kind of use to another, or the heating system can be converted say from oil to natural gas. There are conversions from one religion to another (as in Acts 15:3). Paul was converted from Pharisaism on the Damascus Road. I was converted from Atheism to Christian faith on October 7, 1947. A member of any religion can experience conversion when a formal faith suddenly grips the heart. In the New Testament baptism is a means of enrolling a disciple to begin learning from a new teacher (as in John 4:1). Jesus said "Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Children love to laugh and play, and be cuddled and loved. They can easily learn half a dozen different languages, and many other new skills, by the age of seven. But becoming like little children can only be produced in us by the Holy Spirit. Which is why in the New Testament conversion is when the person is added to a community of the Spirit (see the contrast in Acts 8:12 and 8:15-17, as explained in 1 Corinthians 12:13). That is when real change begins to occur.
COPTIC CHURCH Coptic was the language spoken in Egypt before it was conquered by the Arabs in 642 AD. It is still used in the Coptic Church liturgy but with the Arabic text by the side.Under the Caliph el Hakim (996-1021) 3,000 Coptic churches were destroyed, and many of their members were terrified into declaring themselves as Muslims. The Copts gained their freedom of religion under the British occupation from 1882, and they are recognized as well educated and faithful citizens of Egypt although often under attack by Muslim fundamentalists. They are organized under a Patriarch and a dozen bishops, use the Arabic Bible and gather in large Bible study meetings. Huge numbers of Coptic Christians work in the Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates where they are free to worship in designated compounds. There are an increasing number of Coptic congregations in North America, where the Bible is read in English.
CORINTH Having sided with Sparta in the Peloponnesian war (431-404 BC) the city of Corinth was later destroyed and rebuilt by Julius Caesar (44 BC). The ruins of that city are still visible, and above them is the 1,857 foot mountain (the Acropolis) where there used to be the temple of Aphrodite with its thousand priestesses (sacred prostitutes, see 1 Corinthians 6:15-19). These days the Corinth Canal (1893) enables ships to cross the narrow isthmus that divides the Peloponnese from the Achaian mainland. In Paul's day the city was the capital of southern Greece, and the wealthy port of trans-shipment at the west end of the isthmus. Luke gives the account of the planting (51-52 AD) of the church in the city (Acts 18:1-18, 24-28). There was also a church in the port of Cenchrea (Acts 18:18, Romans 16:1), seven miles (12 km) at the east end of the isthmus. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul had to deal with the four parties (1:12) that had divided the church. "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas (Peter)," or "I belong to Christ (the Messiah)." He also gave us his rejection of PATRIARCHY with his picture of the tenfold mutuality between husbands and wives in marriage (7:1-16), his account of the variety of gifts of the Spirit (12:4-30), the pre-eminence of love (13:1-13), and the reasons for faith in the resurrection of the body (15:3-57).
COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM The world-wide Christian church could easily have remained a Jewish sect. But about seventeen years after Jesus' resurrection the first Christian Council was called (Acts 15:1-21). It followed the vision given to Peter, and his decision to baptize an uncircumcized Roman family to form a congregation of the church in CAESAREA (Acts 10:44-47). That very radical step (see KEYS) was criticized by strict Jewish believers in the church in Jerusalem, but Peter's argument was unanswerable (Acts 11:1, 15-18). As a result hundred of Gentiles were baptized in Antioch and then in other cities during Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 11:20-26, 13:46). The Council of Jerusalem was called to find a way for circumcized Jews who kept KOSHER laws to have table fellowship with uncircumcized Gentiles who lived by the Ten Commandments, but felt free of the burdensome Mosaic laws. The solution was a compromise proposed by JAMES that allowed Jews to keep their traditions, and asked Gentiles to avoid upsetting their Jewish brothers and sisters when they gathered for a pot luck supper. They would agree not to bring meat that had been offered to idols, or engage in prostitution (part of heathen temple worship). Jews were also horrified by the drinking of blood, and the sight of meat from which blood had not been properly drained (Acts 15:19-22). This decision offered a model for Christians from all races to respect each others' cultural differences in one church fellowship (see VATICAN COUNCIL).
COUNTER-REFORMATION John WYCLIFFE (c.1329-84) and the LOLLARDS, preachers like SAVONAROLA (1452-98), and many monks like Martin LUTHER (1483-1546) show us that the need for reformation in the Mediaeval Roman Catholic churches was already becoming obvious. But when the REFORMATION suddenly began (1517), and half of Europe was lost to the authority of the Pope in Rome, many tried to reverse what had happened. This is unhelpfully called the Counter-Revolution which continued till the Thirty Years War (1618-48). A convenient beginning might be when Pope Paul III recognized the JESUITS (1540) as an order totally dedicated to support the Roman church.
COURAGE When MOSEShanded over the reins to JOSHUA he said "Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people" (Deuteronomy 31:7). And when Moses had died God said "Be strong and very courageous" (Joshua 1:7). The people reechoed this with "Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you . . . Only be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:17-18). People expect a LEADER to decide and act, knowing that there is risk and danger in a course which could turn out badly. But courage is not impetuous. "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" (Psalm 27:14). It also takes great courage to admit one is wrong and that there is now a need to backtrack and change course. It takes even more courage to tell a colleague that he or she is not suited for the VISION which the leader has in mind (the usual word is firing, but that misses the note of genuine CARING for the person).
COVENANT In the ancient world when two or more parties made an agreement it was called a covenant. And it is important to distinguish the covenants that God makes. Abraham was given a threefold promise about land, a nation, and being a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:1-3). And this was repeated exactly to Isaac and to Jacob (Genesis 26:4, 28:13-14). This covenant had the seal of circumcision, which is still practiced by both the Arab and Jewish children of Abraham (Genesis 17:1-10). Another covenant was made with Moses when he wrote the laws for the conduct of the people in their Exodus journey (Exodus 24:7). But Paul explains that "the law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Galatians 3:17). This covenant of Jewish laws does not apply to us. But we are still under the universal moral law given when Moses "wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments" (Exodus 34:27, Matthew 19:18). Jesus summed up that covenant under two headings of love for God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love for neighbors (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:29-31). Paul never said that was abrogated (Romans 13:8-10), but the new covenant of the Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Hebrews 8:8-13) enables us to live it out (Romans 8:4). See TEN COMMANDMENTS.
COVENANT with Abraham "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3). These promises were made by the LORD (the YAHWEH of Exodus 3:1315) to ABRAHAM on condition that he went from his own family to the land
of CANAAN (12:1). The promise had three strands concerning the LAND, the nation, and being a blessing to all NATIONS. The multiplication of the Arab nation was promised to Hagar (16:10, 17:20, 21:13, 18, see Ishmael the Arab). After his willingness to sacrifice his son, the promises concerning the nation and being a blessing were confirmed to Abraham (22:17-18). And all three promises were repeated to ISAAC (Genesis 26:4) and to JACOB (28:13-14). These promises were evidently conditional on faith in the LORD, the God of Abraham. The Jewish people were sent into exile from the land for seventy years, and then the much longer 1900 year exile after the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (see the restoration in Romans 11:25-29). When their task of being a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:3) was refused, John the Baptist said "God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). And Jesus prophesied that "many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 8:11, see 24:31, see COVENANT, New).
COVENANT, New "The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - a covenant which they broke" (Jeremiah 31:31-32). The newness of this covenant was not in relation to the COVENANT with Abraham. It was to replace the Covenant with Moses at Mount Sinai which was written in a book of rules and ordinances and sprinkled with blood (Exodus 24:7-8). As Paul explained, "The law, which came four hundred years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Galatians 3:16-17). Jesus established the new covenant for his churches in every city at the last supper, and sealed it with his blood the next day (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24,1 Corinthians 11:25). As Jeremiah had said, this was a covenant, not of rules and laws, but of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31:33-34). This is why every communion service should include prayer for the Spirit (EPIKLESIS) to make us into a community of the Spirit.
CREATION Within the FORMS of Life of art criticism or discussing a masterpiece it makes sense to agree or disagree with "This masterpiece came into being by chance" or "This masterpiece was created by an artist." If we think our world (as described in Genesis 1) came into being by chance (like a pattern in a kaleidoscope), we are atheists. And it takes a lot of faith to believe that the human eye, or the atheist's brain, came into being by sufficient millions of years of chance events (see QUILT MAKING). On the other hand if we look at our world and think there must have been a Creator (Artist), we are theists. Theists can go on to give the Artist a name, Elohim, Yahweh, God, Dieu, Allah, Permeshwar (Hindi), the Trinity, or whatever. But that is not a logical proof. If the God of the Bible had allowed us to use LOGIC to prove him, those with a high IQ would believe in him, and the rest of us would remain ignorant. Having given God a name, we wonder what the Creator is like? The Bible gives us the language to understand and discuss each of the activities he engages in, and what he has in mind for us. An atheist however has no language to discuss the purpose of our life except in terms of the survival of humanity.
CREATION by the Son Most people believe that the world was a creation, not a chance happening. But the Bible makes clear that the agent of creation was the Son of God who later took birth in our world. There is astonishing unanimity about this among New Testament writers. "He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being" (John 1:2-3). "In these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the worlds" (Hebrews 1:2). "In him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers - all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:16-17, Acts 17:24). This should not surprise us because psalms addressed to the LORD (YAHWEH) had said, "Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands" (Psalm 102:25). "You set the earth on its foundation, so that it shall never be shaken" (Psalm 104:5, as in 24:1,2,, 148:5-6). "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures" (104:24). "My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth" (121:2, 134:3).
CREATIVITY Dull parents want their children to keep quiet and behave themselves. Wise parents long for their children to be creative. And God the Father, being both loving and wise, delights in our creativity. (see INSPIRATION). That means he does not want us to sit passively waiting for orders. There is no set of rules for creativity. Only an awesome freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). . The Holy spirit is the inspirer of all creativity, so the Father longs above all else that we will be willing to receive what he longs to give. "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:13). But we can never dictate to the Spirit how and what he should create in us "He allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses" (1 Corinthians12:11). Faith is looking to the Spirit for his creativity without any preconditions as to what he might give us. All we know is that "the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy" (James 3:17). We need never fear that kind of creativity.
CREATOR We never imagine a work of art came by chance. We want to know who is the artist? The word God has dozens of different meanings in the religions of the world, but the first chapter of Genesis gives our God a particular meaning as the Artist of our creation. "In the beginning when God created" (Genesis 1:1). But of course a creation is never instantaneous. A birthday cake has to be evolved in stages, so does a quilt, or a symphony, or a garden. So when we see the world as a masterpiece we say "I believe in God the Creator." That does not indicate whether the Artist is for us, or against us, or doesn't care. So we add the word Father. Which, at its best, means a parent, the loving creator of a family.
CREEDS For baptism nothing more should be required than the desire to begin learning and exploring what Jesus did and taught. That is the definition of a Christian (Acts 11:26). The Apostles' Creed was based on teaching about God as Father, God as Son, and God as Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) and it was used as a syllabus of instruction in Rome by 150 AD. The Nicene Creed, first adopted at the Council of Nicea (325 AD), follows the same Trinitarian outline. A final form was accepted at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD), and it is still used by many churches. The Athanasian Creed (written in Latin about 400 AD) did not gain universal acceptance. After the REFORMATION a series of confessions of faith were produced including the Lutheran Augsburg Confession (1530), the Calvinistic Helvetic Confessions (1536 and 1566) , the Anglican Ten Articles (1536) finalized as the Thirty-nine Articles (1563), and the Presbyterian Westminster Confession (1648). These serve as a reminder of a bitter divisive period of church history. In our day hundreds of new DENOMINATIONS keep producing statements of faith required for BAPTISM, and MEMBERSHIP, and for their ministers to sign. These exclude honest seekers after truth, but they never keep out false teachers and prophets (Acts 20:29). Most interdenominational missionary societies have statements of faith based on PREMILLENIANISM, which I could not sign (see Advent Comings of the Lord)
CRESCENT The sign of ISLAM is the crescent moon. This emblem goes back to the golden crescents on the necks of the camels of the kings of Midian, who were also called Ishmaelites (Judges 8:21, 26). It was this sign that flew on the flags of the Arab armies in their advanceacross North Africa, into Spain, and to the gates of Paris (732). The armies of Christendom and the Crusaders had a cross on their shields. No idols or images are permitted in MUSLIM culture so mosques have only mathematical designs, and there is no representation of the crescent or any recognizable person or object. An exception is in Iran where some beautiful mosques are richly decorated with flower designs. For this reason Arabs view crosses in Christian church buildings as idolatrous.
CRETE The Philistines sailed from Caphtor (Crete) to colonize the area to the north of Gaza (Genesis 10:14, Deuteronomy 2:23, 1 Chronicles 1:11, Amos 9:7, see MINOANS). Jews from Crete came to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). It was an easy overnight journey from Ephesus to Salmone at the west end of the island of Crete. So in a month or two at the end of his second missionary journey (Acts 18:21) Paul could have preached in the main synagogues and left TITUS to organize churches and ordain elders in each place (Titus 1:5). Paul did not have a good impression of the morals of the people of Crete, and quoted their own highly respected prophet Epimenides as evidence of that (Titus 1:12). But he was more concerned about the members of the Jewish synagogues where he preached. He found them to be "rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers" (Titus 1:10) who were addicted to myths and their own kind of legalism (Titus 1:14). When Paul sailed as a prisoner on the way to Rome the ship "sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone" (Acts 27:7). Paul's advice was to winter in the harbor of Fair Havens near the town of Lasea (perhaps there was a church there?). But the captain and owner of the ship decided to sail to the better harbor of Phoenix (modern Loutro?) further west on the south coast, and a hurricane drove them out to sea for two weeks till they landed in Malta (Acts 27:12-28:1).
CRETE Churches Jews from Crete were present on the Day of Pentecost. "Cretan and Arabs - in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power" (Acts 2:11). That suggests there were at least two or three synagogues on the Island. We locate Paul's church planting tour in Crete during his second missionary journey between leaving Ephesus and landing in Caesarea (Acts 18:21, 22). Paul wrote "I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town" (Titus 1:5). Here the Greek word is polis, which means a city, as opposed to a village, the center of government for the surrounding area. "Every city" suggests perhaps as many ten new churches. He probably went to cities with a Jewish population and a SYNAGOGUE, where Paul would be asked to preach as happened in ANTIOCH in Pisidia. At least he would have wanted to plant a church in Gortys, the Capital, and perhaps the new Roman city near the ruins of the Minoan city of Knossos.
CRIMINAL We might call God the great Detective. Every motive of the human heart is disclosed. No crime is unsolved. Criminals have no place to hide. Detective stories are based on the idea that "The wages of sin is death." But they all stop short when the criminal is apprehended, and goes to the gallows. Sherlock Holmes cares nothing about the criminal's mother or wife and children. But with God detection is only the creative beginning of the story. When he puts the handcuffs on us, we discover he is ready and more than willing to heal the human heart, and prepare us for heaven. That's why Paul gave us the second half of the verse. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus the Messiah (Romans 6:23). The media wants to tell the public about the crime, the detective work, and the trial when the criminal is pronounced guilty. God wants us to tell the public about the heart of God, the forgiveness of sin, and the free gift of eternal joy in the heaven Jesus has prepared for us.
CROSS Christian theologians often suggest that on the cross Jesus made a payment to satisfy the justice of God by taking on himself the penalty for the sin of the whole world. This can involve the monstrous suggestion that the Son had to pay the penalty for our ORIGINAL SIN before the Father could love us (see SUBSTITUTION). We prefer to teach that God was eternally LOVE before he ever made the first humans (1 John 4:16-19). And God the Father keeps loving us even when we crucify his well-beloved Son.. The cross is therefore the visible expression in space/time of the eternal heart of God. As Son of God, Jesus took upon himself, and absorbed the sin of the world. That is what God is like, and if Jesus had refused to go through with the cross he would not have been God. The first Christian preachers preached both the cross and the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 4:2, 10, 10:29-40, 13:39-30). Instead of a sad tragedy, the cross became Good Friday because it opened up a way through death when the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11, see RESURRECTION).
CROSS, Taking up Those who love inevitably get hurt by those they love. This applies in all love relationships (parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends, and those who try to love and serve others). And if you love perfectly, as Jesus did, you are hurt again and again, and eventually get crucified. But when we take up the way of the cross (Matthew 10:38, 16:24) , faith accepts and rejoices in the fact that we are living out the very meaning of love and suffering (Galatians 2:20, Philippians 2:17). Paul said "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in the Messiah's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the church" (Colossians 1:24). And what needs completing is the reconciling, not only of Jews and Greeks, but all nations and all classes in that one body (as explained in Romans 11:15, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Ephesians 2:13-16,Colossians 1:20, see Ephesians Commentary 2 & 3).
CRUSADES After the death of MUHAMMAD (c.570-629) the MUSLIMStook Jerusalem in 637 AD, then advanced across North Africa into Spain, and were only stopped at the gates of Paris in the Battle of Tours (732). Europe had been terrified, and it took three hundred years before the Roman Catholic kings of Europe, encouraged by the Popes, engaged in a series of eight crusades (equivalent of the word JIHAD). It was a great occasion for the chivalry of the knights, but hardly Christian in intent. The aim was to recover the Holy Land from the Turks who had taken over the city of Jerusalem in 1071. The first crusade was proclaimed in 1095 and, after ravaging the countries on the way, Jerusalem was taken in 1099. A second crusade was mounted in 1147 but it failed when many crusaders never made it to the east. The city was recaptured by Saladin in 1187, and other crusades against "the heathen" had limited success. Jerusalem was taken back from the Turks in a sixth crusade in 1229, and finally lost in 1244. A seventh crusade (1248) sailed to Egypt and was routed there. The last crusade was the eighth which again failed in 1270. In view of what happened in these two disastrous centuries, it is a mistake for Christian churches to use the term "crusade" in their proclamation of Jesus' good news.
CRYING There is the crying of children
that God wants to comfort. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes" (Revelation
21:4). But Jesus also said "Blessed are you who weep" (Luke 6:21).
Paul said "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I
could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from the Messiah for
the sake of my own people" (Romans 9:2-3). He was not ashamed of
weeping: "Many live as enemies of the Messiah's cross; I have told you
of them, and now I tell you even with tears" (Philippians 3:18).But
the weeping of concern must not be oppressive. "Blessed are you who weep
now, for you will laugh" (Luke 6:21). We can have "the oil of gladness
instead of mourning" (Isaiah 61:3). There is power in the spiritual
oscillation of weeping and laughing. Instead of being heartless,
we allow ourselves to feel concern. But we immediately move from weeping
to crying out. "Lord, this is a terrible situation, an awful injustice.
But it is your problem, and you know how to deal with it." And then we
laugh. The exiles laughed when they came home (Psalm 126:2). We
laugh in faith, knowing that God will act.
CTESIPHON After overthrowing Artabanus V, the last Parthian King, King Ardashir (ruled c.224-c.241 AD) founded the Sassanian (Sassanid) empire (c.224- c.621 AD). His capital was the city of Ctesiphon (now in ruins) just ten miles (16 km) down-river from BAGHDAD, and his empire stretched 2000 miles (3200 km) from the Syrian desert to north-west India. The ZOROASTRIANS (the official religion since about 250 AD) had persecuted the Christians because of their connection with the Church of Byzantium. But by breaking their allegiance with the west (424 AD) Christians were soon able to prosper in the Sassanian empire. At that time Ctesiphon was the focus of a brilliant culture. But this empire was already disintegrating before the Arab conquest (636-51 AD). Iraq came under the DAMASCUS CALIPHATE when Muawiya was accepted as the fifth Caliph (661-680) to begin the Ummayad Dynasty (661-750). He placed capable Christians and Jews, as well as Copts, Greeks and Persians, in important administrative posts. "His minister of finance, his court poet, his doctor, and even his wife were Christians (Anthony Nutting, The Arabs, Mentor Books, 1965, p.72).
CULTURE Leslie Newbigin defined culture as "The sum total of ways of living built up by a human community and transmitted from one generation to another. It includes the science, art, technology, politics, jurisprudence and religion of a group of people" (The Other Side of 1984 : Questions for the churches," Geneva, Switzerland: World Council of Churches, 1983). Robert N. Bellah added that the culture of a group is expressed in symbols, ideals, ways of feeling, and their explanation of the meaning of the destiny its members share (Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, University of California, 1985, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1986, p.27. These definitions make clear that there are hundreds of different cultures in the nations of the world, and in some cases a nation is made up of several cultures. Each culture tends to live by a dominant religion or ideology, but at its best it will allow FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
CULTURE AND RELIGION This website is based on the fact that, when a person of any culture people explains the reasons for a personal religious commitment, it is possible to be open-minded, understand the logic of their faith with sympathy, and set it out in a model which the believer can accept as a fair explanation (see God of Many Names chapters 1-4). We have to admit that, however well we do this, we cannot grasp the heart feelings of the other person's religious or ideological faith. Paul had been raised in the Greek culture of Tarsus, then trained and preached as a Pharisaic Jewish Rabbi. After his conversion he spent three years thinking through his new faith in Arabia, and only then became a Christian missionary. This is one reason for his astonishing effectiveness as a missionary. The other is the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit, which is the hallmark of any genuine Christian mission. Unless new converts are filled with the love of God by the Holy Spirit, as Paul was, they can be harsh and unfeeling.
CULTURE AND MISSION Each person is born and raised to believe that his or her culture is the right way to live. But doubts come in when another invading culture seems to have obvious advantages. No tribal animistic culture can maintain its hold in the lives of people who move to work in modern cities. But when people are confident that their way of living is the right way they inevitably support and engage in mission to persuade other people to adopt their culture. This happened on a vast scale in the first enthusiasm of the ARABS after MUHAMMAD. At their worst Christian missions have tried to impose the culture of the country they came from (as happened in the CRUSADES, South America, and to some extent under British colonialism). It is only in the last hundred years that Christian missions have learned that the good news they preach can be expressed in any language and in any culture of the world. Christians in China, India, and many parts of Africa are not less Christian for being enthusiastic for their own language and culture. Under CULTURE AND RELIGION we note that the religious or ideological component of a person's culture can be understood by sympathetic questioning, and an essential part of a missionary's work should be to understand the faith of the people he or she lives among. MODEL THEOLOGY is a way of doing this, and it also helps to clarify the inner logic of one's own faith.
CULTURED PERSON From our Christian point of view the idea that a "cultured" person is better than ordinary people is totally unacceptable. C. S. Lewis wrote "I reject the idea that cultural activities are in their own right spiritual and meritorious - as though scholars and poets were intrinsically more pleasing to God than scavengers and bootblacks . . . The works of a Beethoven, and the work of a charwoman, become spiritual on precisely the same conditions, that is being offered to God, of being done humbly 'as to the Lord.'" All over the world. the Christian church is planted in the culture of each city. So we must avoid thinking, as western missions have often done in the past, that a good Christian Chinese, or Indian, or Ethiopian believer would be improved by learning our literature, and adopting our music and culture (see CULTURE AND MISSION). Having rejected the supposed superiority of a cultured person in the wrong sense, we can commend a person engaged in Christian mission who deliberately leaves a personal culture on the back burner to take birth in the culture of another people. This is precisely what was done by the Son of God who took birth in the Jewish culture of the first century (see Philippians 2:5-8).
CUNEIFORM The Sumerian pictographic script (about 3200 BC) was expressed (c.2200 BC) by wedges cut by a stylus into clay, metal,or stone. This method was taken over by the Hamitic invaders from the horn of Africa under Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12). As a result Akkadian (including Assyrian and Babylonian) was also written in Cuneiform. When baked these cuneiform tablets could survive indefinitely, and as a result hundreds of thousands of these documents in various languages have been found (see SUMERIAN LANGUAGE).
CURSILLO After world-war 2 in Spain which followed a disastrous civil war very few men attended church, and congregations were made up mostly of older women. A group of lay people with Bishop Hervas planned a little course (Spanish cursillo) to appeal to ordinary people. It proved so life-changing that the model was soon adopted in North America, and thousands of Cursillo week-ends have been held among Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Canadian Anglicans, and many other denominations. The group usually gathers on Thursday or Friday and ends Sunday evening. There are talks by different people covering the main features of Christian faith. These are followed by table discussions with the same group of persons at each session, who have the chance to share their faith or lack of faith together. There are fun times, singing, and good food. Some simple rules set the pattern for these very effective courses. A person must have been baptized (in any denomination), and the parish priest or minister is required to go to a Cursillo week-end before he or she can sign the form recommending others from the congregation. This avoids the movement becoming separatist. Men are encouraged to go with, or preferably before their partner. Each person is sponsored by a Cursillista (one who has done a previous course) who is responsible for getting you to the location, praying, and encouraging you before and after. Usually there is no charge, but those who have enjoyed a Cursillo make sure that the cost and planning of further courses is taken care of.
CUSH The region east of the Nile and to the south of Egypt was often named Ethiopia. It is listed in the same Shemitic (not Semitic, see SHEM) language group as MIZRAIM (Egyptians), PUT (Libyans ?), and the CANAANITES (Genesis 10:6). It was from the area of Cush in the Horn of Africa (across the Red Sea from the area of the QUEEN OF SHEBA) that NIMROD came north across the desert to capture several SUMERIAN cities and plunder them to build his great cities to the north in ASSYRIA (Genesis 10:9-12). Moses' first wife was a Midianite, but he later married a Cushite woman (Numbers 12:1). A Cushite was also in David's Army (2 Samuel 18:21-22, 31-32).
CYPRUS The first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas began in the post of Salamis at the eastern end of the island. They then traveled across to PAPHOS which was the capital (Acts 13:4-12)
CYPRUS, Ancient In the Table of Nations Javan belongs to the INDO-EUROPEAN group of languages originating from JAPHETH. Javan includes all the tribes that settled in Greece and the surrounding Greek islands (Genesis 10:2-4). Among these are the islands of Kittim (Cyprus) and Rhodes (Rodanim). Cyprus is mentioned in the prophets (Jeremiah 2:10, Ezekiel 27:6). In his Bacchai Euripides (c.480-406 BC) wrote "Love hath an island, and I would be there. Love hath an island and nurtureth there for men the Delights, the beguilers of care; and I would be there. At Paphos she dwelleth and I would be there. At Paphos she dwelleth and wealth cometh there." He is obviously referring to the temple of Aphrodite founded a century or so before by King Kinyras just south of PAPHOS. The sacred prostitutes brought in immense wealth from tourists all over the Mediterranean. After various other invaders Cyprus was colonized by the Persians (525 BC), then by Alexander's army (333 BC), and it was annexed as a Roman colony (58 BC). When Paul and Barnabas arrived in Cyprus (c.49 AD) the capital was the Port city of Paphos and the Roman pro-consul was Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:4-12). Barnabas was a native of Cyprus and took Mark there for his second missionary journey (Acts 4:36, 15:39)
CYPRUS, Modern After various invasions during the Crusades, Cyprus was sold to the Republic of Venice (1489), till it was captured by the Turks (1571). Britain administered the island (1878) till it was annexed as a naval base by Britain in 1914, and became a British Crown Colony (1925). The Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios led a guerrilla war for independence (1954-60) and it resulted in Cyprus becoming a republic (1960). After bitter fighting there was an invasion from Turkey, and a division into Turkish and Greek areas. A United Nations Force was sent (1964) to maintain peace between them. From 2002 there was pressure to unite the Greek parts of the island and the Turkish area around the port of Kyrenia to the north with a view to joining the European Common Market. The Turkish Cypriots are followers of ISLAM in the less rigid model developed by Kemal Ataturk (President of Turkey 1923-1938) who abolished the Ottoman CALIPHATE and introduced many western reforms on the mainland.