FACTS At school I was taught history as a series of objective facts. I first learned the facts through French eyes then, at the age of nine, I discovered that an English boy was meant to see them quite differently. So I learned the dates of all the kings and queens of England. I also knew the great battles that were won: Crecy 1346, Poitiers 1356, Agincourt 1415, Trafalgar 1805, Waterloo 1815. These were all triumphs against those terrible Frenchmen. Very much later I discovered that for Russians, Chinese, Arabs, Zulus, Pathans, and Polynesians, the English facts were of no significance at all. Even within a country facts have a different meaning for lords and serfs, generals and privates, mine owners and children working underground. Women perceive a war differently from their sons and husbands. In that sense the Old Testament gives us the facts of Jewish religious history as seen through patriarchal eyes. In the Gospels we see the facts as seen through the mind of the Son of God. And in the Epistles Paul describes the way he saw those facts as a result of his conversion. But all these facts are given to us by God for our teaching, correction, and training (2 Timothy 3:16)

FAITH On this website we commend a direction of faith rather than a decision of faith. We might compare faith to pointing a satellite dish in the right direction to receive a choice of dozens of television channels. This does not deny that decisions are important, for example in deciding to become a disciple (see BAPTISM), obtaining and reading the Bible, and joining oneself to a community of the Spirit. But if people can only be saved by hearing the good news of Jesus the Messiah, and then making the right decision, evidently large numbers of infants, retarded persons, and those who never had a chance to hear the truth clearly are excluded. God is love, and what counts is responding to that love (see John 3:19-21). Looking in the right direction is not a cerebral decision. It is possible for all sorts of simple and ignorant people all over the world, even though they may have been brainwashed by a religion that denies the love of God.

FAITH, Decisions There is a sharp difference between decisions of faith and a direction of faith. We make many important decisions. "I decided to read the Bible my mother gave me . . . He decided to go forward at a Billy Graham meeting." The Philippian jailor asked "what must I do to be saved?" and Paul's answered "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." As a result "he and his entire family were baptized without delay" (Acts 16:33 see BAPTISM). But decisions of faith are easily reversed. Jesus baptized those who wanted to become disciples and begin learning (John 4:1), but soon "many of his disciples turned back and no longer went with him (John 6:66). In the parable of the Sower some "believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away" (Luke 8:13). Decisions are important, but ultimately it is the direction of faith that counts. "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was continually coming into the world" (John 1:9) and "This is the judgment (Greek krisis) that light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19). The assurance of faith is that we love the Lord and the light that surrounds him.

FAITH, Cerebral Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:12). That means that no one, but no one, can be resurrected and perfected for the eternal life of heaven except through the Messiah Son of God. But we should not add that we have to understand exactly how he does the saving. Babies, the retarded, the ignorant, and all sorts of people all over the world will end up in heaven without ever understanding theology. For Paul correct theology is very important, but Abrahamic faith is what makes us right with God (Romans 4:11-12), and Abraham did not know anything about Jesus birth, death, and resurrection. Abraham's faith was a direction of faith (see FAITH, Decisions). Which means that nobody is saved by a cerebral understanding. Even the demons believe - and shudder (James 2:19). The eternal Son of God has always been the light coming into the world (John 1:9), and he knows every human heart that is responding and looking in his direction (see John 3:19, Acts 17:26-28). Making faith a matter of understanding this or that item of the Christian faith would exclude most of humanity from the love of God.

FAITH, Luther On the one hand LUTHERexplained faith as accepting the grace of God (his righteousness) in imputing to us what Jesus did for us on the cross. The result is that God treats the believer as righteous whatever the state of his life. At its worst, this has been interpreted as merely believing in a law court transaction that transferred the penalty of our sin to be paid by the sinless Son of God (see AUGUSTINE, JUSTIFICATION). As a result human sin and the need for transformation by the Holy Spirit becomes irrelevant. Luther at one time rejected the Epistle of James from the Canon of Scripture as "an epistle full of straw" (not "of straw"as often quoted). He objected that it taught justification by works (Selected Biblical Prefaces, 1522) instead of justification by faith alone. But Luther also said "Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge and confidence in God's grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all his creatures." This form of faith was expressed in Martin Luther's hymn Ein' feste Burg (1529). "And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us."

FALL Some view Genesis 3 as the fall into ORIGINAL SIN. An extreme version of this model assumes that original sin infected the whole of humanity, and every single man, woman, and child is guilty and deserves eternal damnation (apart from baptism and/or faith). Parts of the story are obviously metaphorical such as the TREE OF LIFE. But evil is a fact of life and human sin is universal. Something has gone badly wrong with us. The setting was a garden, but sin quickly emerges in any home, school, work place, hockey arena, or committee. Adam and Eve were told that "in the day you eat of it you shall die" (Genesis2:17). They did not die physically, but their spiritual life died (as in Ephesians 2:1-3). And the results are horribly evident. God loves us and seeks our company, but we refuse to walk with him. People feel naked and ashamed so that, instead of enjoying the love of God, they hide from him and blame others for what has gone wrong (3:1-12). Women experience life as a pain, and men dominate them. Men are frustrated by their work and sense their mortality (3:16-19). By the next chapter we have jealousy and murder (4:4-6). However we explain these facts, the New Testament offers us the good news of forgiveness, acceptance into God's family, a community, and the power of the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom, loving fruits, and the gifts we need to sweeten our world. That means that the human condition can change from a curse to a blessing.

FALSE PROPHETS Wherever genuine prophets arise, there will also be the false (Jeremiah 14:14). "They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord" (Jeremiah 22:16). So God warned the people "Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dream that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name" (Jeremiah 29:8-9) How were prophets to be evaluated? "If a prophets speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously" (Deuteronomy 18:22). Evidently a prophet needed to establish his credibility. Jesus prophesied that false prophets would abound before the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem in 70 AD (Matthew 24:23-24). And in our day for the past hundred and fifty years a string of false prophets have kept announcing the end of our world, or the coming of the Messiah.

FAMILY Creation A nuclear family is formed as "a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). A family can then grows by adoption or procreation. The children of a family are those who have a right to eat at the family table. Others need an invitation to a meal. But once people of any age have a right to eat regularly at a family table, we know they are family. Children remain part of the household till they in turn leave to form new families. But in a wider sense people living in different households can still view themselves as family. We speak of a closely knit family when people living in different households still eat together on a regular basis. But those who never eat together are inevitably distanced from an extended family. At the Last Supper Jesus told his apostles to keep eating together (bread and wine was the diet of a simple household). We are not just citizens of the Kingdom but "members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). Till recently the COMMUNION service was used to mark off those who belonged to different DENOMINATIONS. In Anglican (Episcopal) congregations we now welcome Christians of any denominational label to eat with us, and we have seen that children also have a right from their earliest days to our family table.

FANTASY We are natural fantasy creators till it is drilled out of us by people who insist on being literal. Children use fantasy to imagine princes and princesses, castles and dragons, witches and genies, battles between good and evil. They love to read Harry Potter and have fantasy stories read to them. In The Chronicles of Narnia C.S..Lewis used fantasy to picture the Son of God as Aslan, the fierce and gentle lion. Some people think they have no imagination, but we can all create dream fantasies and terrible nightmares while we are fast asleep. But what do we do when we find ourselves daydreaming revenge and sexual fantasies? The advice to cut them out by an act of will does not work, and may actually intensify them. But God is able to "cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit" (Anglican Communion Service, Romans 8:5-6). That means bringing the fantasy honestly in all its starkness to be evaluated by the Holy Spirit. He will gently point out the good longings in the fantasy, and show how the evil is not really what we want (see Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage, appendix F).

FAST AND FEAST A celebration of Lent (anonymous) commends:

Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.

Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from anger; Feast on patience.

Fast from worry; Feast on God's providence.

Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.

Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.

Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.

That is a great agenda for change, but it is not a prescription for self-improvement. It would be good to take each item, and ask the Holy Spirit to work the needed change in our heart (see COVENANT, New, as it is explained in Romans 7:18-8:6).

FASTING All religions recommend fasting to clarify the mind and help us pray or meditate. It can be done hypocritically to impress others (Matthew 6:16). But already in the Old Testament the Messiah had revealed what the heart of fasting was really about. "Is it such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?" (Isaiah 58:5-7). This suggests that fasting is designed to help us in the liberating work of the Messiah's Kingdom. We miss a meal to free someone else. We do without an extra suit so another can have a blanket. Moses fasted to write the law for his people (Exodus 34:28). Esther called her people to fasting and prayer when they were to be exterminated (Esther 4:16). Church leaders in Antioch fasted to send out missionaries (Acts 13:2-3). It is never a mindless duty required to gain the approval of God.

FELLOWSHIP When soldiers have trained together, and been in battle, there is a fellowship between them. They know each other, risk their lives, are proud of their regiment. The English pub used to provide fellowship for the regular customers. A group of friends who studied, and played, and danced through school will remember with nostalgia their fellowship at that time. Christian fellowship (koinonia) has its own flavor. It is a fellowship brought into being and animated by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). It includes both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, good and more or less bad, and it welcomes people of all races in any country of the world. Like soldiers, there is a fellowship of suffering in battle. Instead of bawdy ditties, they "sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs making melody to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:18-19). The school has no entrance requirements, but it offers an opportunity to know God's Word, and understand what life after birth and life after death is about. If a church goes dead and becomes a chore, we can invite the Spirit to breathe life, and revive it into a joyful fellowship.

FIGS A fig tree was often planted in a vineyard (Luke 13:6-7). It gave a place of shade for workers on a hot day (as in 1 Kings 4:25), but the fruit was also good for the family (see DIET, family) (2 Kings 18:31). Jesus obviously enjoyed this particular national fruit (Matthew 24:32, Mark 11:13). And it seems God has given a huge variety of appropriate fruit for other nations. .

FIRE In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit (Hebrew ruakh elohim, Wind of God) was pictured as Wind Moving (eagles and sailboats). He was also Wind Breathing ( inspiration). And fire is Wind Burning.. The Messiah called to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). And gave him the law out of the fire on Sinai (Exodus 19:18, 24:17) He then used fire and a cloud to guide him (Numbers 9:16). A chariot of fire took Elijah up into heaven (2 Kings 2:11), and Paul explained it was the Holy Spirit that raised the Messiah from dead and will also resurrect us (Romans 8:11). Fire from heaven inaugurated the first tabernacle sacrifices (Leviticus 9:24), as it did at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chronicles 7:1). Similarly the new temple of the Holy Spirit was dedicated on the Day of Pentecost with tongues of fire on each member (Acts 2:3). One of the sacrifices was the whole burnt offering, "an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord" (Leviticus 1:9). It symbolized total dedication to God. As Paul said, "Present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

FIRST AMENDMENT The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States stated that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This resulted in a clear separation ofCHURCH AND STATE, the FREEDOM of Religion, and it made it impossible for the state to favor any religion or DENOMINATIONS over others. The result is that in addition to a host of Christians denominations, Hindus can have temples, Muslims can have mosques, and anyone is free to propagate any religion or ideology.

FIRSTBORN In the Old Testament the family title normally descended through the firstborn son. This explains the enormity of what Esau did when he sold the birthright to his twin brother (Genesis 25:29-34). An exception to the rule of primogeniture was when the sons of Jacob were each given the right to become heads of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. But later, as in the genealogy of the royal line of David, descent was usually through the firstborn son. Where there is an exception to the rule, as in the case of Solomon, the reason is explained carefully (1 Kings 1:11-34). Similarly in the royal lines of Europe it is usually the firstborn son who is heir to the throne. In the Old Testament a woman might take over as queen, as happened in Britain with Elizabeth the First, Queen Anne, Victoria and the currently reigning Elizabeth the Second. But in the next generation the royal line goes back to the firstborn son. When the term is applied to the eternal Son of God, he is both "the firstborn of all creation" and "the firstborn from the dead" (Colossians 1:15, 18). He as the firstborn Son also gave humans "power to become children of God" by adoption (John 1:12, Hebrews 2:10, 1 John 3:1-2, see ADOPTED).

FISH We know that seafood must be good for us because Jesus ate fish after his resurrection (Luke 24:40-43), and he served fish for breakfast by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:9-12). During the journey through the wilderness, probably for health reasons, some kinds of seafood were excluded from the diet. A simple rule was that "Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the sea or in the streams - such you may eat" (Leviticus 11:9). As a result eels, squids, sea urchins, shrimps, oysters, crabs, lobster, were not counted as kosher. But these seafoods were favorite delicacies among the Greeks. Obviously that made table fellowship between Jews and Greeks impossible (see EATING). . When he was told to eat what had been viewed as forbidden food, Peter said "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is unclean or profane." The voice came again "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." And as he thought about this, Peter concluded that "God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean" (Acts 10:10-28). As a result of this momentous change the church was able to welcome Greeks, Romans, Barbarians, and every other race with contradictory eating habits to COMMUNION (see Jesus words in Mark 7:18-23).

FISH, Sign of The early Christians under persecution used the stylized sign of a fish to identify themselves (see CAPPADOCIA, Underground churches). The Greek for fish is ichthus which is made up of five letters. I for Iysous, kh for khristos, th for theou, u for uios, and s for sotyr put together give the title "Jesus, Messiah, the of God Son, Savior."

FISHERMAN  There are two methods of catching fish, either with a net (Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 5:4-6) or with a hook (Matthew 17:27). Both methods take a lot of patience (throwing a grenade into a river to stun them is not fair, and trawling the seabed with a fine mesh net destroys their environment). Jesus chose fishermen as his first disciples. The brothers, James and John ran a fishing business with their father and hired hands. Peter and his brother Andrew also owned a boat (Mark 1:16-19) which Jesus used as a pulpit to preach to a huge crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1-4). Jesus invited these fishermen to "Follow me and I will make you fish for people" (Mark 1:17). Peter learned how to do this with Jesus for three years, but when he saw that his teacher was going to be crucified he denied he had ever known him (Matthew 26:69-74). Two weeks later he went back to his fishing boat in Galilee (John 21:1-3). When he had caught nothing all night, Jesus told him where to cast his net and they hauled in 153 huge fish (John 21:1-12). Less than a month later he netted 3,000 people on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, see BAPTISM).

FISHING You can catch fish with a net, or one by one with a hook. So when Jesus said "Follow me and I will make you fish for people" (Mark 1:17) he was using a metaphor for catching people in groups or one by one. The Royal Bank says it has grown by adding one customer at a time. The Internet is a new way to catch people from all over the world. Ordinary fishing is for killing and eating. So beware of organizations that catch men and women to destroy and to enslave. Jesus said to the very religious Pharisees "You cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves" (Matthew 23:15). But the purpose of our kind of fishing is to give life and satisfy the hunger of the caught. And we know that only the Holy Spirit can give life, and only the Son of God can satisfy spiritual hunger. Nobody should be caught for anything less.

FLESH The Greek word sarx originally referred to the material that covers the bones, as in "flesh and blood" (Matthew 16:17, Luke 24:39). It was extended to anything that was alive ("in the flesh" Matthew 24:22, Luke 3:6, Philippians 1:22,24). Metaphorically sexual intercourse makes a couple "one flesh" (Matthew 19:5-6, 1Corinthians 6:16), and eating the bread in communion unites us spiritually to the Messiah (John 6:55-56). In a key passage in Romans 7 our flesh can be viewed as all that we received through the genes of our parents. And that includes our INSTINCTS, which were modified by traumas before and after birth and all that went into our early childhood nurture and education (see FREUD on the Id). Obviously our instincts are given to us by God through our parents, so they cannot be sinful (as opposed to the theory of ORIGINAL SIN). In that sense Jesus "took flesh" (INCARNATION from the Latin carnis meaning flesh). After his conversion, as Paul tried to live a Christian live, he discovered that his flesh (instincts modified by early upbringing) had no interest in Jesus' SERMON ON THE MOUNT teaching: going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, loving enemies, etc. And in fact his flesh fiercely opposed him. "I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15-24). But there in no point in accepting guilt for our unruly flesh (see Living Totally : Without Guilt) since the HOLY SPIRIT can miraculously produce in us the fruit and life of the Spirit (Romans 8:1-27).

FOOD Hindus don't eat beef, Muslims hate pork, Jews want their meat kosher, and vegetarians keep off meat altogether. Jesus declared all food clean (Mark 7:19), but Paul made an important qualification. "Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4). Obviously there are some exclusions. You don't give thanks for poisoned food, and diabetics have to watch their diet. But the essential difference between good food and bad food is our ability to thank God for it. Which is why it is possible to take communion "in an unworthy manner . . . without discerning the body" (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). The Messiah never considers us unworthy because of our sins, but there can be treachery in place of thanksgiving, as in the case of Judas; or the hellish behavior of the secret agent who infiltrates a Christian gathering and takes the bread and the wine with a view to getting names for arrest.

FOOTWEAR Paul was often barefoot in prison. But he noticed the tough leather that the Roman soldiers wore to give them confidence as they attacked across the rocky ground. The equivalent for him as he served as a soldier of the Messiah was his spiritual footwear. "As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15). Paul knew the temptations that undermine our readiness to engage in spiritual battle: doubt about the good news we have to share, embarrassment about admitting we believe it, any lack of confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit, any preference for a life of easy luxury. Like a barefoot soldier ordered to attack across a field of thorns, a pair of tough boots would make all the difference in the world.

FORGIVING "Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us" (Luke 11:4). When someone has wronged us, we can hold on to it as a debt that must be repaid. This not only makes it impossible to love the person who has wronged us, but it also makes it hard to believe that we ourselves have been forgiven. Jesus told the story of a man who refused to forgive a trifling debt compared with all that he had been forgiven. The result was that "his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt." And Jesus added "So my Father will also do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart" (Matthews 16:34-35). This is not a reference to being tortured in the fires of hell for ever. But it does mean that the inability to forgive results in terrible torture till we ask God for the grace to forgive. Forgiving does not require us to be buddy buddy friends, but it does mean we no longer write the person off until he or she grovels sufficiently to pay what we think is owed to us.

FORMS OF LIFE The philosopher Wittgenstein said we could never understand the meaning of words till we first recognized the form of life in which they were being used. Revolutions have a different meaning in the automobile engineering, and historical forms of life. Then we can learn the language games (the way words are actually used) in that particular form of life. In Christian experience the word "God" has a quite different meaning from the way that word is used in every other religion. That is why we cannot understand the meaning of New Testament words till we have experienced (or at least grasped) the organic life of children of God in a Christian community. Then within that form of life new disciples will pick up the use of the words that are needed to describe it (faith, love, obedience, prayer, communion, sacrifice). As Paul explained "We speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:13).

FORMS OF LIFE, Saluting John V.Canfield illustrated WITTGENSTEIN's concept of a form of life by the practice of saluting in the military. The language game is that the person of inferior rank salutes first. But this can only be understood as part of a larger pattern (form of life) which includes "the system of rights, duties, and privileges marked out in the military in terms of rank" (John V. Canfield, Language and the World, 1981, p.21). To understand what is going on we first need to grasp the particular military system of the soldiers who salute, then the particular rules for the way the salute is given. A similar hand movement in another form of life could mean a greeting. This is why the meaning of many Christian terms and ceremonies can only be understood by seeing them as LANGUAGE GAMES within the context of the wider model called Trinitarian Theism.

FORNICATION The English word fornication is the translation of the Greek word porneia (porny is a prostitute). So porneia is sex for money with a prostitute, or our modern practice of sleeping around without love or commitment (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21). By that definition a common law relationship is not fornication (see COMMON LAW). But moicheia (adultery) can be a form of porneia. Why was it important for Paul to say "This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication" (1 Thessalonians 4:3, as in Galatians 5:19, Colossians 3:5). Among Jews one reason was that it produced illegitimate children (John 8:41). With modern methods of birth control that may no longer be relevant, but we have discovered the dangers of AIDS and venereal diseases. But for Paul the main reason was "Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her?" (1 Corinthians 6:16). Here he is using the definition of marriage from Genesis 2:24, "The two shall become one flesh." If marriage is constituted by sexual intercourse (see MARRIAGE) then half an hour with a prostitute sets up a rudimentary relationship which is immediately aborted by a divorce. With a one night stand the divorce is a day later.

FOUNDATION It is not the impressiveness of a house that counts but its foundation. Hearing and doing Jesus words is the foundation that survives the storms of life (Matthew 7:24). It is much easier to rush into building our life without bothering about its underpinning. But bedrock is the certainty that no matter what comes our way God the Father will keep loving us. The Holy Spirit will guide us through every perplexity. And the Messiah has a purpose for our life. That is the foundation that Jesus' words offer us in the Gospels. All we need to do is hear his good news and live by it. Outwardly we do not look any different from anyone else, but one day the storm will hit us and flood waters come rushing through the house. That is the test. What we build is also important. Speaking of a church community, Paul said "No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus the Messiah. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day (see DAY OF THE LORD) will disclose it. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

FOUNDATIONALISM There was a major shift in philosophy when WITTGENSTEIN undermined the assumption that commitment to a certain truth requires a foundation to give it validity. In the Philosophical Investigations (Oxford, 1967) he demonstrated that no foundation or justification is needed to engage in games such as cricket or baseball. We just play them according to certain rules. There is no need to prove that cricket is the correct way to play ball. A similar principle applies in all the FORMS OF LIFE we engage in such as music, painting, cooking, politics, joke telling. Each of these activities needs stated or unstated rules (LANGUAGE GAMES). The rules can easily be changed, and they do in fact change imperceptibly. But we must conform to the current rules if we want to engage in chess, bridge, yacht racing, bingo, speaking a language, a computer program. When we move from PHILOSOPHY (that which can be known with absolute certainty) to living by a particular religion or ideology (see RELIGION, Comparative) a foundation becomes necessary to explain it. MODEL THEOLOGY tries to set out the logic of alternative commitments (visions). And usually that begins by adopting the foundation of a supreme goal (summum bonum) as set out in God of Many Names. There is no way to prove that one of these visions is correct according to some philosophical foundation. But we can demonstrate the results and ultimate outcome of adopting one way or another.

FOUR HORSEMEN of the Apocalypse. When the good news of the Gospel goes out (the White Horse) into the world there is often a counter attack as SATANfoments a civil war (the Red Horse). This is usually followed by famine (the Black Horse) and the death of large numbers (the Pale Green Horse). This sequence is pictured in Revelation 6:2-8.

FOX, George (1624-91) After a period of three years of intense spiritual struggle, George Fox came to believe in the inner light of the living Christ (1646). He gave up church attendance and began preaching illumination by that inner voice (1647). This angered the leaders of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND, and he was often imprisoned (1649 - 1656). His Journal (published 1694 after his death) is still a religious classic. His followers were called Friends of the Truth, and they were later organized as a denomination called the Society of Friends.. They are commonly known as QUAKERS, a name given by their opponents because of their movements in prayer.

FOX, Matthew (1940- ) A book on freedom and joy in prayer, "On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear: Spirituality American Style (1972), expressed the new spiritual longings of the sixties. As director of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality, Holy Names College, Oakland, California, Fox had a large number of disciples. Their underlying model is a rejection of ORIGINAL SIN and the art of savoring pleasure, harmony, beauty, dancing (Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, 1983). The term PANENTHEISM appears as theme 6 of that book. Five years later he went on to view the Cosmic Christ as the "immanent presence of divinity in Jesus and in the world" (The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988, p.69). In Hindu philosophy that model is a form of MONISM called Modified Monism (Religion: Origin and Ideas chapter 9). By then Fox had rejected our bodily resurrection, and heaven was only an experience on earth. Inevitably he was silenced by the Vatican, and dismissed from the Dominican Order (1993). He was welcomed as an Episcopal (Anglican) priest in the Diocese of California (1994).

FRAGRANCE A smell is very different from a fragrance. "Thanks be to God, who leads us in the Messiah's triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of the Messiah. Those who are perishing have the smell of death, but among those who are being saved we are a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). But perfume should not overpower. It should be almost imperceptible. Others should catch the fragrance before they realize we are different. Our Christian perfume is not some quality in ourselves that we need to point out to others. Our fragrance is the truth we live by. Which is why Paul explains "We speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence" (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 paraphrased). And "We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus the Messiah as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5).

FRIARS (Latin frater, French frere, meaning brothers) The followers of FRANCIS OF ASSISI began (1209) as a mendicant (begging) order of FRANCISCANS to serve the POOR. They were followed by the DOMINICANS (1220) who believed that teaching the faith would best forward the KINGDOM. Soon there was a plague of thousands of friars going door to door begging all over Europe. A century later it had become clear that the Kingdom of Jesus was not forwarded by begging, and the various orders were allowed to own property and live in monasteries. As a result of the REFORMATION their work was curtailed. In England the dissolution of the monasteries (1536-39) resulted in the transfer of their wealth to King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-47).

FRANCIS OF ASSISSI (1181-1226) worked as a merchant with his father till the age of 20. On a pilgrimage to Rome he was deeply moved by the plight of the POOR. On his return he repaired the church of St. Damiano and served the lepers who came to him. Based on Jesus' call to his disciples to proclaim the kingdom "without gold, or silver, or copper in your belts" (Matthew 10:7-11) he gave away his possessions and left everything (c.1208), so he was disowned by his father. He founded the Order of Fiars Minor (1209), often called the Grey Brothers (later the Brown Brothers, as opposed to the DOMINICANS who wore black habits). Their rule (amended 1223) required the friars to live by the work of their own hands or by begging, and to own no property. By 1250 there were 1200 Franciscan friars in England. After many discussions about their original commitment to poverty Pope John XXII permitted the Franciscan order to own property (1317-18). As they became rich and powerful there were constant attempts to return to their original simplicity. They were decimated by scholastic discussions, the plague of the Black Death (1348-1352), and they were attacked by John WYCLIFFE (c.1329-84) and by leaders of the REFORMATION. Many branches of the Franciscans were reunited and reformed under Pope Leo XIII (1897).

FRANCISCANS There had been monasteries (mainly BENEDICTINES) for 700 years before FRANCIS OF ASSISSI (1181-1226) founded his mendicant (begging) order of FRIARS (1209) with a rule of poverty that did not allow them to own property or residences. After many discussions between the "Spirituals," who wanted the rule strictly enforced, and the moderates who saw the need for settled houses, Pope John XXII issued two bulls (1317, 1318) which allowed the Franciscans to own property. But constant discussions about this continued. And there were fierce philosophical disagreements about UNIVERSALS with the DOMINICANS. These were overshadowed by the Bubonic plague, called the "Black Death" (1348-52) and the "Great Schism" (1378-1417) when one Pope lived in Avignon, France and another lived in Rome. The friars were then attacked from the New Testament by John WYCLIFFE (c.1329-84). Pope Eugenius IV reorganized a true order of St. Francis (1517) when they were granted a Vicar General just as the REFORMATION was beginning. Having survived the dissolution of the monasteries in England (1536, 1539) and later the French and other revolutions in Europe, they were reunited and reorganized (1897) by Pope Leo XIII.. They now continue their work among the poor in relative peace.

FREEDOM Unrestricted freedom is unbearable anarchy. Which is why freedom of movement, speech, and ownership is limited by governments everywhere. At their best these limitations are for the good of all (see Romans 13:1-7). At their worst they can result in oppressive tyranny. Voluntary societies and clubs also need restrictions on behavior that would disrupt the purpose they have in mind. And that includes church congregations which need rules for the proper conduct of their worship and business. But, going far beyond that, denominations have tried to make rules to make their members feel guilty about matters such as eating and drinking, sexual feelings, the clothes they wear, sabbath keeping, entertainment, the keeping of special days, and how much they should donate (see Living Totally: Without Guilt).. Jesus freed ordinary people from the heavy yoke of Old Testament rules. "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:31-32, 36). This is why Paul wrote so strongly in favor of freedom (Romans 7:4-6) and against legalism. "For freedom the Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).

FREEDOM, Creative Eugene H. Peterson has some wonderful chapter headings that capture the essentials of Christian freedom. They include:

Free to Change

Free to Explore

Free to Think

Free to Fail

Free to Love

Free to Create

Free to Give

Free to Die

(Traveling Light: Reflections on the Free Life, Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press,1982). These are the very opposite of the impression we have given of "a stiff, uptight, inflexible way of life, colorless and unbending" (p.57).

FREEDOM, Given Eugene H. Peterson pointed out that "freedom is a gift that another provides . . . No one is born free" (Traveling Light: Reflections on the Free Life, Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press,1982, p.12, 21). We can observe how parents can give the gift of freedom to their children. Good friends give each other freedom. Marriage can be PATRIARCHAL, but Paul pictured the astonishing mutual submissions of a couple for genuine freedom (1 Corinthians 7:1-16). Beyond these ideals, Jesus promised a much deeper level of creative freedom. "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). This is the freedom of life in the Spirit which Christians enjoyed in the early churches. "The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus the Messiah has set you free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). He also said "For freedom the Messiah has set us free, " but he warned the Galatians that the freedom we have been given can be surrendered by going back into legalism and guilt. "Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).

FREEDOM of Religion "Do I honor the right of others to believe in, gather for study, and propagate their faith?" This is a question every person of any world religion (or no religion) should ask. It is easy to name Nazism, Communism, and Maoism as ideologies which have crushed this right. But Christianity has a long history of bigots in many countries who have just as cruelly deprived people of their freedom. And the same applies to Islam and to some extent Hinduism in our day. But it makes no sense to condemn a world religion for the intolerance of a fundamentalist minority. It is however reasonable to ask individual believers and agnostics to stand up and be counted on the basis of this key question. And when in the name of some religion or ideology people try to take away our freedom, or the freedom of others, we are called to speak and write and vote and act at the risk of our lives. But when we are helpless against overwhelming power we are still free to ask God for his vindication. The evidence of history is that, although the Creator of our world may seem to delay, oppressors are eventually toppled, and freedom of religion is restored. Its maintenance is however very precarious.

FRENCH My first four years of schooling were in French, and my heart still thrills when I hear the language spoken. I am glad it is one of the two official languages of Canada. When I was a boy French was still the language of diplomacy. Now it has been left far behind by ENGLISH. One reason is the bigotry of the academy in Paris which controls the words that can be used in the national language. Anu Garg said "English never met a word it didn't like" (Reader's Digest, September 2002, p.130). Which includes two million words, and still growing, compared with a mere 60,000 words in French. Jean CALVIN (1509-64) wrote Christianae Religionis Institutio (1536) for Francis I, the king of France. He expanded and translated this into his native language (1541). His final edition in French (1560) was published in English as Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1561. The turn of the phrases is typically French but it uses the Latin language and concepts of a Roman law court. It became the text book of the reformed churches in Europe and the Presbyterians in Scotland (see CALVINISM). In our day EXISTENTIALISM is as congenial to the French mind as it is abhorrent to the English. In French "Mon Dieu" expresses surprise whereas the English say "Oh God" to express horror and dismay. Which illustrates how even faith is influenced by language.

FRENCH REVOLUTION Influenced by the American Revolution (1775-83) the people of France revolted against the Ancien Regime of the Bourbon MONARCHY. As they sang La Marseillaise the people stormed the Bastille (July 14, 1789). A National Assembly adopted a new constitution and divided the country into departments ruled by elected assemblies. The Roman Catholic church lands were taken over by the state, and many people became atheistic (in the sense of rejecting the power of the Church of Rome). The monarchy was abolished (1792), and France became a Republic. The last king of France, Louis XVI (reigned 1774-92) was guillotined (1793), and there was a Reign of Terror (September 1793 to July 1794) when the French nobility was decimated and many others were killed in the greed and revenge that followed.

FRENCH REVOLUTION, Slogan Freedom, Equality, Brotherliness (French Liberte, Egalite, Fraternity) was a slogan perhaps enunciated by Louis-Claude de Saint Martin (1743-1803) who signed it "The Unknown Philosopher." E. F. Schumacher pointed out that in this slogan FREEDOM and EQUALITY are opposites. If humans are left free "the strong will prosper and the weak will suffer, and there will be no trace of equality. The enforcement of equality, on the other hand, requires the curtailment of freedom. Liberty or equality can be instituted by legislative action backed by force, but brotherliness is a human quality beyond the reach of institutions" (A Guide for the Perplexed, New York: Harper & Row, 1977, p.124). The New Testament makes clear that genuine love is a miraculous fruit of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:22). And it is only where sufficient people are permeating a city with genuine love that the freedom and equality of its citizens can flourish together. If this is true, then the greatest thing Christians can do for the happiness of their neighbors is to encourage the one church (of many DENOMINATIONS and meeting in many locations in and around their city) to be open to the Holy Spirit. And helping to plant such churches of the Spirit in every city of the world is the greatest contribution we can make to humanity (see Paul's claim in Romans 15:19).

FRIENDS Although Jesus loves everyone, that is not incompatible with having special friends. In writing his Gospel John signed himself as the beloved disciple (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2). But Jesus was also described as "a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Matthew 11:19). Another word for a friend is a companion (derived from eating bread (Latin panis) together), and Paul had his special companions (Acts 19:31, 27:3). Jesus explained "I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything I have heard of my Father" (John 15:15). Which suggests that only those who are friends of the Son of God can really understand the Father. George Fox (1624-91) felt called to give up other friendships and Anglican church attendance to seek the inner light of friendship with God. And to do this his followers (The Society of Friends) usually gathered in silence for their meetings.

FREUD, Sigmund (1856-1939) was an Austrian psychiatrist. His book, The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900, made it obvious that much more goes on in the mind than ever comes to the surface. Although many of his sexual theories and psychiatric techniques have been rejected, what remains is the fact that we have primal needs and drives (the Id) which came to us through our genes. These were influenced and repressed by rules received from our parents, our early education, and the society we live in (the Super-ego). The struggle between our Id and superego is refereed by our Ego. Since Freud, psychiatrists and psychological counselors have tried to heal their clients by exposing the roots of this struggle. In the terminology used by Paul we might define our flesh as our primal instincts (Freud's Id) as they were modified by our early childhood hurts and experiences. As soon as we try to please God, we find our FLESH opposes our longings (Romans 7:15-27) so that our will (SOUL, heart, spirit,) is unable to do what we long to do. Paul calls this bondage a miserable, frustrating guilt experience (Romans 7:28). His solution is not to focus on our unruly flesh, but to set our mind on the Holy Spirit who can heal and change us from within (Romans 8:5-8).

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT As Jesus pointed out, fruit is not produced by the wisdom or exertions of the branch. "The branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine" (John 15:4). In this parable of the TRINITYfaith is being connected to the Son of God. The Father lovingly protects and prunes the branches. But no fruit is possible without the HOLY SPIRIT who corresponds to the sap bringing the needed nutrients into each branch. Paul explains that all sorts of works of the flesh can be produced by human effort. It is easy enough to sleep around, engage in idolatry or sorcery, make enemies, become jealous, create factions, get drunk. But none of these can forward the work of the Kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Admittedly some people have great natural patience and self-control, but there is a vast difference between what can be produced by discipline and the sweet fruit that comes by the Holy Spirit from the heart. Which is why Solomon began his PROVERBS, not with LEGALISM, but with the fruits of WISDOM who is a personification of the Spirit of God (Proverbs 1:2-8, see 8:19).

FUNDAMENTALISM There have been many examples of fundamentalists in Christendom (as in the CRUSADES, the INQUISITION, the Russian Orthodox hierarchy under the Czars, and groups like the Klu Klux Clan).The main emphasis of all forms of fundamentalism is a total intolerance for other races and forms of religion.In the seventh century MUSLIM fundamentalists extinguished by JIHADhuge Christian communities across in the Middle East and across North Africa. In Spain Jews were given the choice between conversion and death (1146). In countries like Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia most people want the freedoms of democracy and the rights of women, but strong fundamentalist movements try to force revolutions to establish SHARI'A law. The terrorists who highjacked and flew planes into the towers in Manhattan (September 11, 2001) were mostly Saudi Arabs who were Muslim fundamentalists.


FUNERAL All religions have some sort of RITUAL at the time of death. Hindus burn the body with Sanskrit prayers, preferably on the banks of the River Ganges. As the flames go up, they picture the soul beginning its TRANSMIGRATION to another body. Parsis set the body out for the vultures to eat on a Tower of Silence. Muslims bury their dead wrapped in a cloth in a grave with prayers in Arabic. Among Christians the body is disposed of in a grave to return to the dust from which it was made, or cremated and the ashes scattered or buried in an urn. The disposal should be done with dignity, but the service celebrates the fact that the person already has a RESURRECTION body suited for the life of heaven. The words used are in the ordinary language of the family, and the prayers do not plead for the dead person to be saved from eternal damnation, but rather focus on comfort for those who mourn their loved one. I personally do not like prayers that the departed may rest in peace. Lying doing nothing for eternity is a terrifying thought. Better picture HEAVEN as a city where people from every nation make their contribution to its exciting life and activity (as in Revelation 21:22-26). For examples of funeral meditations see the Sermons section of this website. And note the typically Christian imagery of a daffodil bulb and its flowering (as in 1 Corinthians 15:35-38), or a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon with a new butterfly body.