LAMPS In the days before electricity
the problem was having enough lights for a wedding. The celebration began
after the day's work and went on all night. Happy was the bride whose friends
each offered to bring a lamp for the wedding, and keep it tended with oil
till the morning. So Jesus' parable was not about virgins but about those
who undertake to keep a light burning in a dark place. The wise are those
who make sure they are filled (and keep being filled) with the Holy Spirit.
And they do this for the bride of the Messiah, which is the church. We
don't even have to pay for our oil. As Jesus said, "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). When faced with a crisis, the foolish are those who have no
spiritual resources and have to run to others saying "Give us some of your
oil, for our lamps are going out" (Matthew 25:8). They are excluded
from the party. But there is no reason why they should not be ready next
LAND Paul said that God "made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live" (Acts 17:26). The land claimed by the Jewish people is a narrow strip "from Dan to Beersheba" (1 Kings 4:25). It was the area that Abraham could see from the mountains of Judah (Genesis 13:5) and Moses saw from Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1-3). The Lord described it as bounded by the wilderness south of Beersheba, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, the Lebanon range of Mountains in the north, and the Jordan valley as the eastern border (Joshua 1:4. In the NRSV the nahar parath or overflowing river is wrongly translated Euphrates, as in Exodus 23:31, which would include the 400 miles of Syrian territory which was never claimed by Israel, see Joshua 1:10). But the occupation of this land was conditional on using it properly. The Bible describes how and why the Jewish people were exiled from it for 70 years under Nebuchadnezzar, and again in AD 70. Which suggests that for all nations land is given in trust, and the purpose is not just existence but serving God's purposes.
LANGUAGE Languages can be arranged into groupings (see INDO-EUROPEAN, SHEM, HAMITES). Indo-European includes closely related languages such as German, Latin, Greek, Iranian, Sanskrit). WITTGENSTEIN (1889-1951) showed that German and English words only have meaning within one of the FORMS OF LIFE (physics, music, medicine, gardening, playing chess, etc.) which we engage in (Philosophical Investigations, section 43). In each form of life we need to learn how particular words are used in that activity (see LANGUAGE-GAMES). In chess for example we learn names such as King, Queen, Bishop, Castle and how these work in each situation. Animals can pick up the meaning of commands such as "no, sit, bring in that sheep" but they cannot put their tongues around using those words in a conversation with humans. But whales, birds, and termites know the language-games needed to communicate with one another. What is astonishing about the CHILDREN of humans is that by the age of five they can pick up and use four or more different languages spoken around them. By the age of seven they can use the correct language-game for the words used in dozens of different forms of life (baseball, computer games, fairy tales, imagined situations).
LANGUAGE, Bible If children have the Bible read to them, they pick up the LANGUAGE-GAMES needed to engage in FORMS OF LIFE such as thanksgiving, prayer, forgiveness, and love for others. Without such language they may cry out to God, but they have no words to express what they feel. When adults are converted from another religion or ideology into Christian faith there is usually a hunger to learn the Bible language that is needed to enjoy living in the love of God. They can get this from Bible reading, hearing the Bible read and explained in a congregation, joining in worship, prayer, sharing in communion. A problem is that they will soon hear preachers and be given books and study helps that slant the Bible to convey ideas that may not help them into freedom. The purpose of this website is first to offer a model of Trinitarian Theism (set out in Creative Love) in contrast to the models offered by other religions (set out in God of Many Names). Secondly we attempt to illustrate models that claim to be Christian but explain the Bible as a means of promoting guilt and legalism. We can only set out alternatives. There is no logical proof that we are right and others wrong. But as Paul said "By the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2). Here suneidysis means moral consciousness.
LANGUAGE GAMES What does a word mean? The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) coined the term language game in his Philosophical Investigations, 1967 (21, 22, 23, 27). His point was that we cannot understand a game unless we learn the proper use of the words in that game. A goal has quite different meanings in Soccer, Hockey, American Football. We cannot play chess without learning the rules for each piece. Every card game has different uses for a pack of cards. In the same way in a conversation or discussion we first need to identify which of the thousands of FORMS of Life we are engaging in, and then we have to agree in the way words are to be used. To understand John 3:16 we first need to see that we are learning about how God relates to us (a Christian theological form of life). Then we need to grasp the language-game for the word God (quite different from the way the word God is used in Hindu Monism). The verb to love must be distinguished from "I love ice cream" or falling in love. Then we need to know whether "world" means the world of physics or ecology or humans. If we miss the meaning of any of these words, we will be like an Englishman trying to play baseball by the rules of cricket. The Bible is designed to teach us the language-games we need to understand how God relates to us and we relate to God.
LANGUAGE, Power Civilizations depend on a language to empower them. Ancient Egyptian nurtured the civilization that built the PYRAMIDS. Sumerian was spoken for a thousand years in a great civilization from the Tigris and Euphrates to the Indus and it was probably the mother tongue of ABRAHAM who was a Shemite. It was supplanted by the Akkadian language of the HAMITIC (wrongly called Semitic) people who established the Babylonian civilization. Greek was the language of the Golden Age of Athens, and the Macedonian general Alexander (356-323 BC) established that culture and civilization all the way to Alexandria. It was replaced by Latin which was the language of Rome that nurtured Western Europe for over a thousand years. After the ARABShad taken over the Middle East , a brilliant civilization based on Arabic also flourished for a thousand years from Baghdad to Spain. In our day English has become dominant, not only in the U.S.A. and Britain, but all over Africa and India, and even in the business world of Europe. Now that China has been freed from its Maoist straight jacket, we might guess that Mandarin Chinese will become the language of a very progressive civilization. This might require the adoption of a Latin script that can suit the computer age. The confusion of languages was pictured in the toppling of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). But since Pentecost Christian churches have had the advantage of being able to function in the language of any nation in any continent of the world.
LANGUAGE, Reality Benjamin Lee Whorf was a chemical engineer who turned to the study of American Indian languages. His conclusion seems unanswerable. "Every language is a vast pattern system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality analyzes nature, notices or neglects types of relationships and phenomena, channels his reasoning, and builds the house of his consciousness: (Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality, New York: Wiley, 1956. p. 214). At first sight this seems to put every child born into the world totally at the mercy of his or her mother tongue. Some might argue that we have no freedom to think beyond the language we were given. But it soon becomes apparent that within each group of language speakers a variety of religious and ideological alternatives will appear. Brothers and sisters disagree about right and wrong. People are free to commit themselves to `live in one way or another. It would be impossible to prove that every one of the 24 religions and ideologies that we work with (in God of Many Names chapters 2 to 4) can be expressed in every language of the world. But humans all seem free to commit themselves to alternatives of what is good and right or wrong in their culture. And there are at least similarities in the choice of moral alternatives across language barriers. Part of the universal IMAGE OF GOD is the ability to make decisions about right and wrong.
LAODICEA Luke recorded that as a result of Paul's teaching in the school of Tyrannus in Ephesus, "all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord" (Acts 19:10). The church in Laodicea was established by Epaphras (Colossians 1:7, 4:16). It was listed among the seven churches of Asia (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea) by the Apostle John (Revelation 2 & 3). Already by this time this church had become lukewarm, though it imagined itself rich and prosperous. It would soon be disciplined, but if it opened the door the Messiah promised "I will come in to you and eat with you.and you with me" (Revelation 3:14-20)
LAST HOUR In his Epistle (about 66 AD) John wrote "Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist ( (See ANTICHRIST) is coming, so now many antichrists have come" (1 John 2:18). The reason why John knows that it is "the last hour"is because "many anti-Messiahs have come" (1 John 2:18). Here John is referring back to the teaching that Jesus himself had given. He spoke of the destruction of the temple when "not one stone will be left here upon another" (Matthew 24:1-2, Mark 13:1-2). Every Christian knew that this would happen in the generation of Jesus' hearers (Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30). And this in fact occured in the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem in AD 70. But that would be preceded by "Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah' and they will lead many astray" (Matthew 24:5). The early Christians lived with the expectation of this "last hour"in their generation as the time drew closer (1 Corinthians 1:7-8, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Hebrews 10:25, 1 Peter 4:7). This was the "last hour" that John refers to in his Epistle, and evidently it was not in the far distant future. "Now many anti-Messiahs have come" (1 John 2:18, 28).
LAST JUDGMENT We need to distinguish the different meanings of the Greek verb krino meaning to separate, distinguish, think, consider. Only one of these has the meaning of judging in a court of law. "God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" But "This is the krisis that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:17-19). There is no last judgment, but there is a continual judging in the sense of separating the children of light from the children of darkness (see John 1:4-9, 3:17-21, 8:12, 42-47, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). Unfortunately the NRSV uses a Muslim model of the last judgment when it translates "God has fixed a day in which he will have the world judged." A better reading is "God has appointed the light of day to keep dividing the world" (Acts 17:31, krinein is a present continuous). Also see HEAVEN, HELL, SHEOL
LATIN was the language of the Latins who inhabited Latium, the area of Central Italy. In the Table of Nations under JAPHETH the INDO-EUROPEANlanguage group included Javan (Genesis 10:2, 4, see Isaiah 66:19, Daniel 8:21, 10:20, 11:2 where Javan is translated as Greece). Greek and Latin are both derived from the language of Javan, which is why Greek and Latin have many grammatical similarities. When Latin was standardized as the language of the Roman Empire (see ROME) it later spawned the Romance languages of Europe (including Italian, French, Provencal, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian = Rumanian). As the three main CHURCH LANGUAGES were established, Latin became the language of the Roman Catholic group of churches.
LATTER DAY SAINTS - see MORMONS
LAUGHING Aristotle defined man as the laughing animal. Our laughing can be despising, destructive, mocking, cruel. It can also go with affection, love, and childish fun. The best kind of humor is laughing at oneself. It drives out worry, anger, fear, unnecessary guilt, a sense of superiority, hardness of heart. LAUGHTER can heal us. It even improves our looks. The freedom to joke about our leaders is an essential part of DEMOCRACY. Which is why Malcolm Muggeridge said that "dictators abominate laughter, which the saints have all loved, hearing it ringing out like Heaven itself." George MacDonald spoke of the innocence of children who "laughed like a multitude of sheep-bells" (Lilith, 1895, Eerdmans 1981 edition, p.59). Mark Lowery asked "What healthy father does not love to hear his children laugh?" Jesus said we have to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3; 19:14). So we can assume the God the Father loves the playful laughing of his children in this life, and infinitely more joyfully in Heaven. Satan, on the other hand, does all he can to eradicate happy, kind, creative laughter from our world.
LAUGHTER When Jesus said the ruler's daughter was not dead but sleeping "they laughed at him" (ridiculed him, Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:40, Luke 8:53). We laugh when others make themselves look ridiculous. But not all laughter is unkind. Unless we are hopelessly stuffy, we can laugh at ourselves. A man with inoperable cancer set himself to laugh morning, noon, and night until he was cured. . We laugh at children's antics. And we laugh at jokes when the punchline was unexpected. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the very idea of having a child at their age (Genesis 17:17, 18:12). But when Isaac was born Sarah said "God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6). With God we laugh when he does the unexpected wonderful thing for us. "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream, then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy" (Psalm 126:1-2). And Jesus said, "Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh" (Luke 6:21). Which suggests that even when our situation seems desperate, we can laugh the laugh of faith knowing that God has a quite unexpected solution in mind."
LAW The word law is used in many different FORMS OF LIFE, and in each case we need to clarify the LANGUAGE GAMES for the meaning of that word in each situation. The moral law of the TEN COMMANDMENTS of Moses is discussed in Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage chapter 1. The food laws of Old Testament are discarded in the New Testament (see KOSHER). The ceremonial laws relating to ANIMAL SACRIFICE were also terminated. But Paul explains how we can respect and submit to the laws of our government (Romans 13:1-7). Among many other meanings, there are laws of SCIENCE, the Muslim concept of SHARI'A LAW, etc.
LAZINESS The Book Proverbs has vivid pictures of what a lazy person is like. "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, and poverty will come upon you like a robber (6:10-11, 19:15) "The appetite (longing) of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite (longing) of the diligent is richly supplied" (13:4, 21:25). "The lazy person does not plow in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found" (20:4, see ANTS). "The lazy person says, there is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!" (22:13). "I passed by the field of one who was lazy, and see, it was all overgrown with thorns, the ground was covered with nettles" (24:30-31).
LEADER Lao-tzu (c.604-c.531BC) said "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. Not so good when people obey and acclaim him. Worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: "We did it ourselves" (quoted Readers Digest, September 1975). Kofi Annan (currently the Secretary General of the United Nations) listed the five virtues of a leader which are valued in his own Fante tribe: DIGNITY, CONFIDENCE, COURAGE,COMPASSION, FAITH. We will add these other virtues : CARING, COMMUNICATION, CONSULTATION, CREATIVITY, DELEGATION, INTEGRITY, PRAYER,RECRUITING, VISION, WISDOM, and in each case we will illustrate these from the Word of God. After all, the Bible, is the book about God's kind of leadership (see KING, MESSIAH, SHEPHERD).
LEADER, Political "A prince must also show himself a lover of merit, give preferment to the able, and honour those who excel in every art. Moreover he must encourage his citizens to follow their callings quietly, whether in commerce, or agriculture, of any other trade that men follow, so that this shall not refrain from improving his possessions through fear that they may be taken from him, or that one from starting a trade for fear of taxes; but he should offer rewards to whoever does these things, and to whoever seeks in any way to improve his city or state. Besides this, he ought, at convenient seasons of the year, to keep the people occupied with festivals and shows; and as every city is divided into guilds or classes, he ought to pay attention to all these groups, mingle with them from time to time, and give them an example of his humanity and munificence, always upholding however, the majesty of his dignity, which must never be allowed to fail in anything whatever" (Machiavelli, The Prince, chapter 22, Florence, 1513, Random House 1950).
LEADERS A list of great leaders was once proposed in Time Magazine. They listed Pericles, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Marlborough, Wellington, Frederick II of Prussia, Napoleon, Hitler, Lenin, Winston Churchill, De Gaulle, Mao. Great American leaders were Thomas Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King. Religious leaders included MUHAMMADand GANDHI, and we would want to add from the Bible ABRAHAM,MOSES, DAVID, PETER, and PAUL. But for Christians all the qualities of SERVANT LEADERSHIP are exemplified in the Son of God who was appointed to be the MESSIAH, the Son of God.
LEADERSHIP, Church One of the great leaders in the early days of the China Inland Mission (now the Overseas Missionary Fellowship) was D.E.Hoste. He was asked what was the essential difference between spurious and true Christian leadership. "When a man, in virtue of an official position in the church, demands the obedience of another, irrespective of the latter's reason and conscience, this is the spirit of tyranny. When, on the other hand, by the exercise of tact and sympathy, by prayer, spiritual power and sound wisdom, one Christian worker is able to influence and enlighten another, so that the latter, through the medium of his own reason and conscience, is led to alter one course and adopt another, this is true spiritual leadership" (Phyllis Thompson, D. E. Hoste, CIM, 1947, p.155).
LEADERSHIP, Strength When they are faced with a tough situation people want a strong leader to go with them. "Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them . . . for you are the one who will go with this people" (Deuteronomy 31:6-7). "Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). That includes the strength to WAIT for the right moment to act decisively. "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:14). But once the danger is over people want the leader's strength combined with the concern of a SHEPHERDfor individuals. King David was both a strong leader in battle and very caring (2 Samuel 5:2). In the New Testament church leaders were told to "tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly" (1 Peter 5:2). And Paul reminded Timothy, who seems to have been naturally timorous, "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7). But ultimately we look beyond human leaders to the Messiah who is powerfully strong as our Lord and King in battle against evil, and as Shepherd he also cares and listens to the weakest person in the church of every city in the world.
LEAVEN see YEAST
LEGALISM The Pharisees lived by a tradition of obeying rules (Matthew 15:1-2). These rules included ceremonial washings (Matthew 15:3, Mark 7:4), kosher food (Mark 7:14-19), laws for sabbath keeping (Matthew 12:2), fasting (Matthew 9:14, Mark 2:18), avoiding irreligious people (Mark 2:16, Luke 5:30, 7:39, 15:2). The Pharisees had summed up the Old Testament law under 248 positive and 365 negative commandments. There were 39 prohibited acts on the sabbath day (these still rule the behavior of Orthodox Jews). As in all forms of legalism (e.g. the Taliban of Afghanistan) ordinary people found these laws unbearably burdensome (Luke 11:46). But Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens . . . and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29, see YOKE). To free us from legalism Jesus first reduced the 613 Pharisaic rules to two: love God and love your neighbor. That allows a lot of flexibility depending on circumstances. Then, as Paul explained, we let the Holy Spirit work in us to change our hearts (Mark 7:21-23, Galatians 5:16, 22-23).
LENIN Influenced by the works of MARX, Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870-1924) became a revolutionary, and was exiled to Siberia (1897-1900). He then lived in Switzerland till the RUSSIAN REVOLUTION (1917) which opened the door for him to return to Moscow. As Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, he soon became more or less the dictator of Russia (1917-24). He tried to move directly to overthrow capitalism, but this caused economic disaster, and he had to back-track with the New Economic Policy. But his writings about effecting revolution, the role of the Communist Party, and the international overthrow of imperialism formed the simple message which was propagated by revolutionary movements all over the world. The basic economic theory had come from Karl Marx, but it was Lenin who set out the structure of MARXISM as an ideological alternative to other religions. During his last years he saw the danger of the growing power of STALIN, but was unable to provide for an alternative. St. Petersburg (later called Petrograd) was renamed Leningrad (1924) when he died.
LENT They don't sell greeting cards for "Happy Ash Wednesday" (the day that begins the 40 days of Lent). The practice originated in the second century as a period of abstinence, and there are still people who view it as a time to give up things. But discipline is not an end in itself. We must define carefully what the self-denial is for. Losing weight to be slim is very different from the preparation required for the Boston Marathon, or the coming season as a football professional. Effective Christian ministry also requires a disciplined preparation. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the Word of Truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). But we have no business requiring intense study of German theologians for someone who has a gift of exercising mercy (Romans 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:28). If we want to use Lent as a preparation for Easter, we should first discover from the Holy Spirit what is to be our contribution to the life of the church as the body of Christ in our city. Then we set aside enough time for the Spirit to train us in that direction.
LEPROSY By Jewish law a leper was
forced to wander around crying "unclean" to warn people to keep away from
him. Even when Jesus healed lepers, they could only come back into human
society when a priest had declared the disease completely cured (Luke
17:14). When a group of ten lepers were healed one of them "when he
saw that he was healed, turned back, prostrated himself at Jesus' feet
and thanked him." And Jesus said "Your faith has made you well" (Luke
17:15-19). Preachers often point out that ten lepers were healed but
only one was made whole. In the ministry of healing the principle of giving
thanks to the Lord when we have experienced a miraculous healing is very
important. But nothing should be said to anyone till we have been checked
by a doctor. When the medical profession has declared us "clean" then is
the time to announce the miracle to our family and friends, and perhaps
give a testimony in our church congregation.
LESBIAN Men who prefer sexual intimacy with men usually called themselves GAY, and women who are sexually intimate with other women are called "Lesbian" (from the Greek island of Lesbos). Old Testament Jewish judges were given a list of seven sexual sins for which the death penalty could be assigned (Leviticus 20:10-16). A woman could lose her life for adultery, or incest, or for allowing herself to be mounted by a male animal. In each case there had to be sexual penetration, and a conviction would require two male witnesses. But expressions of tenderness and loving intimacy between women were never faulted. In the New Testament Paul pointed to three downward steps in Greek civilization since the Golden Age when the philosophers put God out of their mind. The second step down was the well-known disintegration of family life. "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural" (Romans 1:26). This suggests that heterosexual married women were giving up normal sexual relationships with their husbands, and preferred to be intimate with other women. But far more serious for Paul was the final step down into the pit of covetousness, malice, envy, gossip, slander, strife, deceit, God-hating, insolence, boasting, and applauding such behavior (Romans 1:28-31). So we can hardly use this text to condemn two women who want to share a home and a life together. And among Christians nobody has the right to ask what they choose to do with their privacy. Nor does it seem useful for such persons to categorize themselves as Lesbians.
LEWIS, Allegory The conversion of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) to Christian Faith was in stages (usually dated 1929-1930). The first book he wrote after his conversion was The Pilgrim's Regress (1933), but it was too heavily argumentative. His scholarly Allegory of Love (1936) described "the evolution of allegory as a literary form from Greco-Roman times to the Elizabethan period" and also deals with :the strange history of courtly love, which began in France in the Early Middle Ages (Chad Walsh, "Afterword" to A Grief Observed, 1963, p.121). Lewis may have seen the need for narrative and allegory to communicate the Christian message. His first space fiction novel was Out of the Silent Planet (1938) followed by Perelaandra (1943), That Hideous Strength (1945), Till We Have Faces (1956). The Screwtape Letters (1942) are written from a senior devil to his junior (they are more imaginative fiction rather than allegorical). A scholarly book on the devil was Preface to Paradise Lost (1943). And that soon resulted in his picture of HELL in The Great Divorce (1945). This was the book that led to my own model shift from a God who consigns people to eternal damnation to the model used on this website (see Creative Love). But Lewis' greatest success was with The Chronicles of Narnia (written for children 1949-52, see LEWIS, Narnia).
LEWIS, Christianity During the 1939-45 war years he wrote The Personal Heresy (1939) and the Introduction to J. B. Phillips Letters to Young Churches: A Translation of the New Testament Epistles, 1940. He also wrote The Problem of Pain (1940) and a series of radio talks (1941) which were published as Broadcast Talks. These were followed by The Screwtape Letters (1942), The Abolition of Man (1943), The Case for Christianity (1943) and Christian Behaviour (1943). By then he was famous as the leading apologist for the Christian faith. He also gained scholarly acclaim with his Preface to Paradise Lost (1942). The book that influenced me most was The Great Divorce (1946) which I did not read till 1953. He combined his radio talks and Christian Behaviour in his best-selling Mere Christianity (1952). The title captures his concern to focus, not on denominational and theological arguments, but on what was common to all branches of the Christian faith. He attended the weekly Church of England communion service which suited him because he hated Christian hymns which he thought were often poor poetry and worse theology.
LEWIS, Clive Staples (1898-1963) was an Oxford University professor whose Allegory of Love (1936) and Preface to Paradise Lost (1942) are still standard texts in English departments. He was finally converted from atheism to Christian faith in 1931. But he lost academic respectability when he began writing space fiction, Out of the Silent Planet (1938), then Christian theology, The Problem of Pain (1940), Screwtape Letters (1942), The Great Divorce (1945), and the last straw for academics were the NARNIA (see ASLAN) books for children (1950-56). As a result Oxford University never gave him a chair, but in 1954 Cambridge University appointed him to the Chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance English. A Grief Observed (1961) describes how he lost his faith watching the awful death from cancer of his wife, Joy Davidman (Gresham). But his posthumous Letters to Malcolm (1964) describes how he came back to faith by expressing his anger in prayer and conversation with God.
LEWIS, Marriage Helen Joy Davidman (1915-60) was raised as a Jew in New York, studied at Hunter College (1930-34), and became a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. She married William Gresham, who was also a Communist, fought in the Spanish civil war, and lived precariously in New York as a freelance writer. By him she had two children, David and Douglas. She came to faith in Jesus as Messiah (1946-48), devoured C. S. Lewis's books, traveled to Oxford to meet him (1952), and again returned (1955) after she was divorced by William Gresham. She and Lewis became close friends, and Lewis found himself falling in love. To save her from deportation, they were married (April 23, 1956) in the Oxford Marriage Registry Office, but Lewis viewed this as a purely legal arrangement. In October 1956 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lewis wanted to take her to his home to die but did not feel they could live together without a Christian marriage. They were married (March 21, 1957) by an Anglican priest in the hospital, and he laid hands on her with prayer for healing. She had an astonishing remission and they had two wonderful years together. In July 1959 they even had a honeymoon in Greece. But in the fall of 1959 the cancer returned,, and she died July 13, 1960 in hospital. Lewis described his feelings in A Grief Observed (1961). After a long illness (1961-62) Lewis wrote Letters to Malcolm on Prayer (1963).
LEWIS, Narnia The first of the Chronicles of Narnia was completed in December 1949 when C. S. Lewis was aged 51. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) was immediately received with delight by adults and children, and continues to be a best seller and published in videos and films. It was followed in quick succession by Prince Caspian (1951), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1951). The Silver Chair (1951), The Horse and his Boy (1951), The Magician's Nephew (1951), and The Last Battle (1952). Oxford University was horrified that C. S. Lewis had descended from brilliant scholarly books (Allegory of Love, 1936, Preface to Paradise Lost, 1942) to writing children's stories. So they refused to give him a Professor's Chair. Happily Magdalen College, Cambridge, invited and appointed him to the Chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance English (1954, 56). Evidently there is no contradiction between being a brilliant scholar in any field and becoming like a little child (Matthew 18:3). Nor is there any contradiction between the WRATH and LOVE of the MESSIAH, as Lewis captured so powerfully in his picture of the fierce and totally loving ASLAN of the Narnia stories (Revelation 5:5).
LEWIS, Poet At the age of twenty-one C. S. Lewis produced a book of poetry, Spirits in Bondage (1919), which disappeared without trace. T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock (1915) and other poems had completely changed what counted as poetry. Perhaps fearing a second failure, published his second book of poetry under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton, Dymer (1926). Chad Walsh called it "an extended philosophic narrative poem," but "again it seemed so much out of the poetic mainstream that it left little mark" ("Afterword" to C. S. Lewis A Grief Observed, 1963). Lewis' continued interest in poetry came out in his Preface to Paradise Lost (1942). But apart from short poems in magazines he did not write a book of poetry again.
LEXICAL means pertaining to words (Greek lexikon, see DICTIONARY).
LEXICON A DICTIONARY gives the meaning of words in a language by using other words from the same language. There are also French, German, and other dictionaries that translate some meanings of current words from another living language. The term Lexicon is usually used for a book that provides suggested meanings of words in an ancient language, say Classical or Koine Greek, Hebrew, or Babylonian. In a Lexicon, since the language is long dead (no longer spoken) suggested meanings can only be given for words in a LANGUAGE-GAME that has been observed in that literature. Obviously the words can have many other classical, colloquial, and slang uses that we miss because they have not been identified.
LIBERTY "So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:12-13). This does not refer to a LAST JUDGMENT. It is a very obvious fact of our world. We have defined love as caring for the freedom of the other in (Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage, Chapter 2), and all over the world those who honor and encourage the FREEDOM of others are appreciated. Tyrants and others who deny mercy have a callous indifference to human liberty. As James points out, we judge others and others judge us by this "law of liberty." In every business, social, political, or family relationship, James encourages us to ask ourselves whether we really care about liberty - not our own, but that of others.
LIBERATION THEOLOGY A first wave of South American theologians (Juan Luis Segundo, 1968, Gustavo Gutierrez, 1971) wanted the church to liberate the poor and oppressed by political action. An extreme was a kind of Marxism in Christian clothing. A second wave noticed the astonishing liberation that occured when oppressed people were allowed to worship and study the Bible in "base communities" to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. A third wave is now impacting the theology of the church. We know that genuine love cares about the freedom of the other. And Christians are to make this visible in the pilot project, pattern, prototype of a local church congregation. It is seeing such a congregation of the Holy Spirit in action that disintegrates oppressive systems. "The Son of man came not to be served but to give his life to procure the freedom of many" (Mark 10:45). Theologians used to think that there is no salvation outside the church. Now we can picture the church as the servant of freedom. And in taking this stance we become the allies of people in our own city, and all over the world, who value the freedom of others. In due course they will discover that it is Jesus the Messiah who frees us and empowers us to love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
LIES The universally condemned moral principle listed in the ninth commandment is "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). It is never right to get someone condemned in a court of law by telling lies. We can extend that to malicious gossip where the intention is to harm the reputation of another. "A perverse person spreads strife and a whisperer separates close friends" (Proverbs 16:28). Paul listed "deceit, craftiness, and gossips, slanderers" as characteristic of the end of civilization (Romans 1:29-30). Satan does his business by telling lies about God, about our parents and friends, and he accuses us with lies about ourselves (John 8:44). But not all lies are morally wrong. Camouflage and disinformation have to be used in war to deceive the enemy. In social conversation some lies are a necessary kindness when the truth would be disastrous. On the other hand lies will quickly destroy love and trust in a family, a group of soldiers, business partners, a family, or a church congregation. Paul wrote "Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak truth to our neighbors (fellow church members) for we are members of one another (Ephesians 4:25). And Jesus said we should be those who can be trusted to keep a promise "Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:37)
LIGHT The Jewish and Christian Bible begins with a formless, dark world And the first act of creation was God saying "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:1-3). This may suggest that the original high energy source of the BIG BANG was light. Certainly the light of the sun is necessary for vegetation to grow in our world, illumination for us by day, and warmth in the cosmic night. That original light becomes a metaphor for the work of God the Son as he relates to humanity. "What has come into being was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (1 John 3-5). The Son's light is accessed by every single person in our world. "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was continually coming (an imperfect continuous tense) into the world" (John 1:3-5). And humans either welcome it or shrink away. "Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light . . . But those who do what is true come to the light" (John 3:19-21). That is why Jesus could say "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12)
LION Taming With a great deal of patience a lion can be trained to let a lion tamer put his head inside its mouth (we might not agree about the wisdom of this?). But in the Bible we have two accounts of people who "shut the mouths of lions" (Hebrews 11:33). In the sixth century BC Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because he prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:5-16). When the king came to see if he was still alive in the morning, Daniel said "My God sent his angel (probably the Lord) and shut the lions'mouths to that they would not hurt me" (Daniel 6:22). Six hundred years later after the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41) Paul wrote in 2 Timothy that he had been abandoned by Christians in the province of Asia (1:15, 4:16) but Onesiphorus had come to his help en ropy (meaning in the nick of time rather than en romy, a scribal error meaning "in Rome" (1:17). When Paul began the letter, he expected to die (4:6-7) by being thrown to face a lion in the arena. But he added a postscript to the letter left with Luke for delivery ( 4:11) indicating that he was miraculously delivered ""The Lord stood by me . . . so I was rescued from the lion's mouth (2 Timothy 4:17). A similar story is told of a Sikh convert in India. On a trip in the Himalayas two companions came back from the bazaar and saw to their horror a tiger approaching Sadhu Sundar Singh. But the tiger came and lay down quietly next to him.
LITERATURE, Great We do not think of Paul as a literary critic, but he gave us a very modern outline of what is worth reading. "Finally , beloved, whatsoever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8). Great literature does not have to be religious or prudish. But it must be true, believable, an honest description of the way life is. It will be honorable, as opposed to vulgar. It can describe oppression and abuse, but it must distinguish good from evil, what is just from the approval of injustice. As opposed to what is muddy, obscure, it should be pure, crystal clear. And instead of leaving a bad taste in one's mouth it will be totally pleasing, satisfying. A book is commendable when it so impresses us that we want to commend it others. It has the marks of excellence, the opposite to what is shoddy, poorly crafted. In relation to God worship is derived from worthship, a quality that demands our praise. And really great literature is worthy of praise because it elicits awe, astonishment, opens our mind to insight. We are changed.
LITURGY These days the communion service ritual of congregations that use a prayer book or missal is called the liturgy. John the Baptist's father Zechariah was engaged as a priest in the service (leitourgia, liturgy) of the temple (Luke 1:23, see Hebrews 9:21 "the vessels used in liturgy"). But in the New Testament the term was widened to include other kinds of service in the church. Paul says Epaphroditus risked his life "to make up for those services (leitourgia) that you could not give me" (Philippians 2:25, 30). "Even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and offering (leitourgia, liturgy) of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you, and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:17-18). That is why a church communion service only comes alive when it expresses, not only the self-giving of the Lord for us, but the offerings of all the members exercising their gifts in the body.
LOGIC If we say something is logical we mean the conclusion follows from the premises of that argument. The premises might be either true or false, but if our logic is correct, the inference we make has absolute certainty. The Greeks divided the absolute truths of mathematics from the rules and fallacies of logic. In their Principia Mathematica (1910-13) two Cambridge mathematicians, Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) and Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), proved that the certainties of mathematics and logic are one system. Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) extended that to show that certainty also emerges from our use of language. But for that kind of certainty we first need to agree in the form of life we are discussing (are we talking politics, music, gardening, organic chemistry, or whatever?). Then we need to agree in the language-game or particular way each word is used in a statement ("the meaning of a word is its use"). In God of Many Nameswe show that each religion or ideology is a form of life that uses quite different meanings for the word God in its explanation.
LOLLARDS (perhaps from the Latin lollium meaning weeds). The followers of John Wycliffe (c.1329-84) were first called the "Poor Preachers" who read his translation of the New Testament into English. Two hundred years before the REFORMATION they preached the right of ordinary people to read and interpret the Bible, and they opposed TRANSUBSTANTIATION, the CELIBACY of Priests, INDULGENCES, and pilgrimages to venerate saints and images. They were ruthlessly persecuted, and by a bull titled De Heretico Comburendo (1401) many were burned at the stake.
LORD The word GOD (Hebrew elohim) usually refers to God as the three Persons of the TRINITY (e.g. Genesis 1:26-27). The other common name for God is the personal name of the Son of God. Scholars like to use the term YAHWEH (e.g. Jerusalem Bible, 1985) as a translation of the four Hebrew letters YHWH (Greek tetragammaton, meaning four letters). The rabbis felt this name was too sacred to pronounce, so they put vowel signs to indicate it should be read as adonai meaning Lord. To avoid offending Jewish readers, it is written in English as LORD in capital letters (KJV, RV, RSV, NRSV). The simplest explanation of the meaning of YHWH is that when the Son of God appeared to Moses by the burning bush he identified himself as I AM (Hebrew eheyeh). He then said to Moses and the Jewish people they could refer to him in the third person HE IS (iheyeh from the root HIH, yehweh from the root HWH, which appear to be interchangeable). This is often assumed to be a new name. But actually the name of the second Person of the Trinity (HE IS written as LORD) is used whenever the Son of God keeps coming into contact with humans (Genesis 2:7, 21, 3:8, 22, 4:9,6:3, 6, 7, 7:1, 11:5, 8, see GOD'S NAME). That is why the only person who dared to use I AM as his personal name was Jesus the Son of God (as in John 18:5,8).
LORD OF HOSTS In the Old Testament the Sovereign Messiah Son of God who rules among the nations was called the LORD of Hosts. In the NRSV when the name LORD is written in capital letters it expresses the Hebrew YHWHwhich Jews thought too sacred to pronounce, so it was read as adonai which means Lord. Its original meaning was probably HE IS (yiheheh) the third person of the verb I AM (eheyeh) as Moses was told at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15). David faced Goliath "in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel" (1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Samuel 5:10). That is why he sang the refrain "the LORD of hosts is with us (Psalm 46:7, 11, see 24:10; 84:1,3, 8, 12). The term Lord of Hosts indicated that he was not only the sovereign KING over the nations , but he was commander in chief of the armies of heaven (also called the angels, or messengers). Isaiah wrote "If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would have been like Sodom" (Isaiah 1:9, 24; 2:12; 3:1; 5:7, 9, 16; 6:5; 8:18, etc. See also Jeremiah 2:19, 5:14, etc.). The term Lord of Hosts reminds us that very large numbers are available to the Lord for ANGELIC INTERVENTIONS. This is not surprising because millions of people in our world can report at least one of two such miraculous deliverances in their own families. And there are many interventions which do not even notice.
LORD, Reign In a model of the coming of the Lord called PREMILLENIALISM his reign will not begin till he returns after the true believers have been taken up (RAPTURE) out of the TRIBULATION of this world. But the Old Testament prophets and the Psalms spoke of the Lord as the King of kings and Lord of lords, who was already reigning among the nations throughout the Old Testament period (e.g. Psalm 2:6, 5:2, 8:9, 9:7, 10:16, 47:2,6, 7, 8, 74:12, see Advent Comings of the Lord Among the Nations). And after his RESURRECTION and ASCENSION we are told "He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25). Evidently the Lord is not waiting to begin his reign until after a long-delayed future SECOND COMING.
LOTTERIES Millions of people buy lottery tickets every week. It is certainly a form of GAMBLING. It may not do the person much harm, and some suggest that the profits may be used for good causes. It panders to human greed, and it certainly becomes wrong when the need for a bonanza to solve financial problems results in looking to the god of LUCK rather than a conversation with a loving God.
LOVE We think of the love of God as characteristic of Christian faith, but nearly 3000 years ago Abraham's servant looked to the love of God (Genesis 24:12, 14, 26), as did Jacob (Genesis 32:10), Moses (Exodus 15:13, see Exodus 20:6), David (Psalms 5:7, 6:4, 13:5, etc.) and no doubt many others. One of the later psalms uses the word "steadfast love" (Hebrew khesed) in every one of its 26 verses (Psalm 136:1-26). The prophets knew that they had tough things to say about wrath (bad consequences), but God also said "The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you" (Isaiah 54:10, see 63:7). Even the gloomy prophet who prophesied the exile, has God's great declaration: "I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:24).
LOVE Enemies The Red Baron, Manfred
von Richtofen, was the most famous German air ace in the 1914-18 war. After
downing dozens of allied pilots, he was finally shot down over allied territory,
and given a military funeral with honors for this brave enemy. The Geneva
Convention (1929) required that when enemy troops run up a white flag,
or lay down their weapons and lift their hands in surrender, the shooting
must end. War prisoners must be given human medical treatment, food, and
shelter. One of my friends in the second world war shot down an enemy plane
over France, and was himself shot down. When both pilots had parachuted
to the ground, the German pilot invited him to dine at the officers mess,
and then handed him over to the police for imprisonment. Jesus said "Love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children
of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:44). That does not require
us to let our enemies walk over us, and enslave us. But we
are to love and respect even those who fight against us. And Jesus explained that God is like that.
LOVE for God How does one do this? It is a bit like asking "How does a little boy love his parents? It is not by prostrating before them and reciting fancy words. "Oh worthy father, thou art the ineffable source of our enduring patrimony." A child loves by running to his parents, chattering to them, crying with them, being with, going out for walks with, playing with, listening to stories. So loving God is being like a little child with his or her parents. What happens when our love grows cold? We stop talking, grow silent, ignore, don't want to listen, live our life without God, thanksgiving dries up, we get grouchy. In his epistle John explains that "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:18-19).
LOVE for neighbors The story of the Good Samaritan is simple enough. If a man is driving north to meet his friends for the annual moose hunt, and he sees a car turned over in the ditch and a woman bleeding from her torn leg, he could step on the gas and leave her to die. Most of us would take off our shirt, make a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and get her to emergency. (These days we might have to worry about being sued.) But that kind of loving does not happen every day. Nor do we need to become lifelong friends of the person. A good neighbor is one that you can rely on to protect your kids if they see them in danger, keep an eye on your home when you are away, and on occasion offer to drive you to the airport or the hospital. Loving neighbors is not all that demanding, but without it we would be self-centered, unfeeling, hardly human.
LOVE investment When we know we
are loved by God, and we love him and his family, we have lots of love
to invest. In the story of the talents one man was given ten talents, another
five, and one got a single talent. They were left to invest the money any
way they chose (Matthew 25:14-30). Some people have big hearts and
have ten love talents to invest, others have five, and most of us just
have a little bit of love we could put to work. What should we do with
the love we have been given? I imagine God says "You are my daughter, you
are my son, I love you very much, and I want you to enjoy investing my
love in any way and anywhere you choose". We might need to invest most
of our love in our family, and some families need a lot of love. Or we
could invest it in our church community, and all congregations need a lot
of love. We could invest our love in serving the city we live in, or we
could go to serve in some needy part of the world. If all of us began investing
our love talents in any way we choose, we would soon turn the world upside
down. But in the parable it is obvious God does not appreciate it when
we bury our talent for loving, and leave it useless and unused.
LOVE, Physical It is not just humans who find each other sexually attractive. Birds and mammals dance to woo their mates. Whales sing, bullfrogs roar, and insects give out pheronomes. The Bible uses different words to distinguish love making, being in love, and steadfast love (God's kind of love). The Song of Solomon is a celebration of sexual love (dod). "Your love is better than wine" (1:2, 4, 4:10). "I am my beloved's (dodi) . . . There I will give you my love" (dodi, 7:10, 12). The word ahava was used of the love of Jacob for Rachel (Genesis 29:18, 20) and it expresses delight in a person as a person (1 Samuel 18:3). The two kinds of love are distinguished in the Song "If you find my beloved (dodi, my lover), tell him this: I am faint with love" (ahava, 5:8, 8:6). The term steadfast love (khesed) can be used of the kindness of one human to another (Judges 1:24, Proverb 3:3, 20:28, 21:21, "steadfast love" in NRSV). Abraham's servant looked to the khesed love of God (Genesis 24:12, 14, 26), as did Jacob (Genesis 32:10), Moses (Exodus 15:13), and no doubt many others. It comes in every one of the 26 verses of one psalm (Psalm 136:1-26), and it celebrates the love of God throughout the Psalter (Psalm 5:7, 6:4, 13:5, 17:7, etc.). In the KJV the word was unhelpfully translated "mercy." But. khesed love refers to every area of God's loving care for us. Scholars have suggested that God's love is limited by a covenant, or that it is limited by PREDESTINATION. But God's love is free and unconditional for all people. What humans can do is move away (like the prodigal son), and refuse to come to God and enjoy his love.
LUCK In explaining idolatry as the power of the non-existent, Kenneth Hamilton pointed out that there is no such thing as luck. But for the believer in luck "the imagination of his heart has made luck into a mighty power having control over his life" (To Turn from Idols, Eerdmans, 1953, p.38). That is why those who believe that our God is in ultimate control do not use the term luck. We can never learn anything from luck. Rather than claiming "I was lucky" a person of faith will say "God graciously preserved me in what could have been a disastrous situation." And instead of "I had bad luck," better say "because of my foolishness, or for some other reason, things have not turned out as I hoped. Now I want to learn from God, and look to him to preserve me from evil." More dangerous than merely talking about good luck and bad luck, there are the problems with GAMBLING and LOTTERIES. And in both cases a line has been crossed when we turn from conversation with a loving God to faith in the god of luck.
LUD see LYDIAto be distinguished from LYDDA (Lod) the airport 14 miles south East from Tel Aviv.
LUKE Paul called him "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:15). Luke identified himself carefully by using the first person plural of the verb ("we" is part of the verb in Greek) from the time he joined Paul in Troas (Acts 16:10). He sailed with Paul across the Aegean to Philippi, and must have been left there to establish the church in that city (Acts 16:11-17). During the third missionary journey Paul came to Philippi and Luke rejoined his team for the journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:5-7, 13-16, 21:1-17). While Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea it seems he told Luke to go and collect from eye-witnesses the material which became Luke's Gospel. He introduced this with the words "Many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us" (Luke 1:1) But he tells us "I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account of the events" (Luke 1:3). He then wrote the Book of Acts which he must have completed in Rome just before Paul was martyred by Nero AD 64 (Acts 28:31). Luke was concerned to give us very exact historical dating (Luke 2:1-4, 3:1-2), and he notes again and again the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus (Luke 1:15, 35, 41, 67, 80, 2:40, 3:16, 22, 23, 4:1, 14, 18, 5:17, etc.), and in the growth of the early churches (Acts 1:2, 2:4, 7-18, 38, 4:8, etc.).
LUST It was the Son of God who designed us to find others attractive, so there is nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty of others. Even temptation to lust is not sin since the Messiah was tempted "in every respect as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). But Jesus said "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27). Which means that lust in the wrong sense occurs at the point of making the decision to commit adultery if we can. King David "saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful." He was tempted when he "sent someone to inquire about the woman." But it was when "he sent messengers to get her" that adultery had already occured (2 Samuel 2:11:2-4). That is why James, the Messiah's brother explained the sequence as "One is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:14-15).
LUTHER, Martin (1483-1546) After a long struggle with failure (the "bondage of the will"see ROMANS 7:15-24) what brought the great reformer to faith was the conviction that God could cope with his inability to perfect himself, and undertook to perfect him in due course by the Holy Spirit (ROMANS 8:1-11). Unfortunately he had been trained in the theology of AUGUSTINEas a monk, and he combined this with the model adopted by ANSELM.. Instead of offering the churches a model of transformation by the Spirit for the perfect love of heaven (recovered by the PIETISTS, WESLEY, the early METHODISTS, and now more fully in our day) Luther continued to view the assurance of forgiveness as the real heart of Christian faith. But the two very great contributions he made were his courage in correcting many false interpretations (his 95 theses nailed to the Wittenberg church door, 1517) and the translating of the whole Bible into German (see BIBLE TRANSLATION).
LYDDA (Lod) is now the site of the airport 14 miles south of Tel Aviv. A church was planted there perhaps by PHILIP, the Evangelist, and a paralyzed man was healed there by the Apostle Peter (Acts 9:32).
LYDIA Paul's first convert in Europe was a business woman in Philippi . She imported the purple cloth for which her own city of Thyatira was famous (Acts 16:14-15). Thyatira was one of the Lydian cities of Asia Minor (including Sardis, Thyatira, Philadelphia (see Revelation 2:18, 3:1, 7). The original Lydians (Lud) were listed in the Table of Nations under SHEM (The Shemites wrongly called Semites). They belonged to the same linguistic group as Elamite (see ELAM) and Sumerian (from Arpachshad, see SUMERIANS). Which may also include the Altaic group of languages, including Mongolian and Turkish, and possibly Tamil, Etruscan, Magyar, Basque and early Cornish.
LYSTRA During their first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas had to flee from ICONIUM (Acts 14:6-8) They moved to Lystra and planted a church there (Acts 14:8). When Paul was stoned by Jews from ANTIOCH in Pisidia and ICONIUM he and Barmabas moved 20 miles (32 km) south on the main road to plant a church in Derbe (Acts 14:19-20). ELDERS were appointed in these churches on the way back (Acts 14:23). Paul and Silas revisited this church during the second missionary journey on their way across Turkey, and that was when Timothy joined their team (Acts 16:1-3). Paul again visited the churches in Galatia at the beginning of his third missionary journey (Acts 18:22-23).