MARRIAGE, Instincts On the sixth
day of creation God said "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of
every kind: cattle (cows, sheep, deer) and creeping things (mice, squirrels,
cats) and wild animals (lions, tigers, grizzly bears) of very kind" (Genesis
1:24-25). These did not need a church service. There was no problem
picking a mate. And they knew exactly how to have sex without ever having
health classes at school. Ten days before our cat Nika delivered her babies
she prepared a nest for them. She did not call a midwife for the delivery.
Milk has 900 chemical ingredients for the formula, and our cat got it right
every time. Her kittens knew about self-protection and curiosity. In our
day many couples manage marriage with those same basic animal instincts.
But God had another kind of marriage in mind. "Then God created humankind
in his image, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).
God is love, and God's kind of love was revealed to us by his Son. That
is the image of God's love that Christian marriage is designed to explore
MARRIAGE, Mutuality Jesus introduced into our world a completely new model of marriage which is at the root of the longings of many women all over the world (see his teaching on ADULTERY and DIVORCE). As a result of this radical change from PATRIARCHY, Paul taught a model of marriage based on total mutuality. "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does" (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). This means a mutual submission (as set out in Ephesians 5:21, 22, 25-33). Obviously a total mutuality is not compatible with other models of marriage such as OPEN MARRIAGE, POLYGAMYor the keeping of CONCUBINES.Mutuality allows for big differences of function as in a football team. It is not an equality of counting how many chores each does, but a mutual respect to free the other to be the best they can be for a common purpose.
MARTIN LUTHER KING (1929-68) see KING, Martin Luther
MARTYN, Henry (1781-1812) was a mathematician and fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. Influenced by Charles Simeon (1759-1836), Martyn was ordained (1803), and went out to India as a chaplain of the East India Company. He was a friend of William CAREY (1761-1834) who encouraged him to translate the New Testament into Hindustani. He traveled to IRAN and did a very beautiful translation of the New Testament into Persian, which had a great influence in the country.
MARX Born in Germany, Karl Marx (1818-83) went to Paris (1843) and together with Friedrich Engels (1820-95) wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848) which became the root document of the world-wide Communist parties. Having taken part in revolutionary movements in Germany, Marx was expelled, and lived in England from 1849. He founded the First Communist International (1864), but spent most of his time in the British Museum (London) where he wrote Das Kapital (1867, second volume published after his death 1885, third volume 1894). His theory of history, economics, and social change was too unpalatable for general use, but it was set out and implemented in a simple ideology of MARXISM after the RUSSIAN REVOLUTION(1917) by LENIN (1870-1924). And this became the standard model for revolutionary movements in China and many other parts of the world.
MARXISM On this website we use the same method to analyze both the explanatory models of religion and those of ideologies who look for the attainment of some ideal situation in this life. Marxists (named after Karl Marx, 1818-83) have a vision of a world where people will be freed to give according to their abilities and receive according to their need. What prevents this is the class system which results in greed and exploitation. The only way to change this is by a combination of force and propaganda to effect a revolution. The resultant dictatorship of the proletariat must root out capitalistic thinking and educate a new generation in which the state can wither away and permit the desired utopia. This was tried under the dictatorship of Lenin and Stalin for seventy years till the Communist system collapsed in 1989. A contrasting Christian vision looks to the Holy Spirit to change human hearts, and a form of voluntary communism appeared briefly after the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:44-45). But the fulfilment of this kind of perfect love seems unattainable on earth and awaits "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1, as fulfilled in 21:22-27).
MARY, Mother of Jesus Jesus had four brothers and several sisters, who were well known in Nazareth. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us.?" (Mark 6:3, reproduced exactly in Matthew 13:55). On the assumption that sexual intercourse would have defiled her, the traditional view among Roman Catholics is that Mary remained perpetually a virgin. That means she cannot have had other children, and the brothers and sisters of Jesus must have been the children of Joseph by a previous marriage. In that case James, not Jesus, would have been Joseph's eldest son, and the legal heir to the throne of David. Jesus' undisputed legal right to the throne of David is given at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel (see the genealogy in Matthew 1:1, 16). Jesus began his ministry at about the age of thirty (Luke 3:23) by which time Mary would have been about 48 years old. . Since Jesus' brothers and sisters would have been born after the return from Egypt when Mary was say 22 she would have been raising children continuously from about the age of 18 till she was at least 34.
MASHIAKH In the Greek tragedies christos
was an adjective, as in neochristos for a newly plastered wall. The LXX
(Septuagint Greek Version) translated the Hebrew mashiakh as christos
(as in Psalm 2:2). The term referred to all prophets, priests, and kings
who were anointed with oil to begin their function. In the New Testament the
Greek word Christos can be a title (as in Matthew 1:17, Luke 2:11).
But in all other cases it is a noun in apposition (John, the Smith, as opposed
to John SMITH). Jesus, the carpenter, is also the reigning King of the Kingdom
of Heaven. Peter, who had already been a disciple of Jesus for two or three
years, finally realized that Jesus, the man he knew so well, was actually the
Son of God, the anointed King of the Old Testament (Matthew 16:16). And
Matthew carefully recorded the Mission Statement of his continuing reign (Matthew
4:23; 5:3, 10, 19; 7:21, see 4:17, 23, 8:11-12). In the 400 years
after prophecy had ceased with Malachi the Jewish people lost faith in the fact
that the sovereign Lord of the universe was reigning, and they began looking for
an anointed Messiah who would come in the future (Matthew 2:4).
Christians also forgot that the Son of God did not become Messiah when he was
born the first Christmas. He had always been the King of kings and Lord of lords
among the nations. Our dialogue with our Jewish friends must begin with the
anointed sovereign Lord King of their Old Testament (e.g. Psalms 5:2; 8:1, 9;
9:7; Isaiah 51:57, Jeremiah 7:3, 9:23). Only then can we discuss whether
Jesus is their mashiakh.
MATERIALISM As opposed to an explanatory model in which God is the Creator (Artist) of our world, Materialism offers a model in which there is nothing but matter/energy. This leaves no room for the dignity of humans in the image of God, the life of the Spirit, or life after death. The model appeared during the Sixth Century Revolt (c.550 BC) among the Charvakas of India (see Religion: Origins and Ideas, chapters 3 and 12), and Democritus (460-370 BC) among the Greeks. Dialectical Materialism is a foundation of MARXISM.
MATTHEW A person named Alphaeus had a son named James (Greek Iakobos, Hebrew yakob), and he was listed among the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13). He is clearly distinguished in these lists from James the son of Zebedee, and from James the brother or half-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Galatians 1:19, Acts 15:13, 21:18). Another Alphaeus (Mark 2:14) might have been the same person as the father of James. He had a son named Levi (he was later given the name Mattityah, Greek Mathaios, which means "Gift of Yahweh"). As a young man Levi decided to get work as a tax collector under the hated Roman government, which would have upset his family and friends. He was appointed to collect taxes for Jesus' city of Capernaum (Matthew 4:13), and so he must have seen people healed and heard Jesus speaking. When Jesus came by his tax office and said "follow me" he did so (Matthew 9:1-9). He announced his CONVERSION by giving a great feast for all his tax collector friends, and others viewed as sinners in the community (Matthew 9:10-13, Mark 2:14-17, Luke 5:27-32). Later he wrote MATTHEW'S GOSPEL (see Matthew Commentary). As a tax collector he probably had access to the genealogy of Joseph who accepted Jesus as his legal heir (Matthew 1:1-16, 24) in the records of the tax office in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4).
MATTHEW'S GOSPEL To be a senior tax collector MATTHEW would have been educated in Hebrew and in Greek. Papias (c.60-130 AD) recorded that Matthew wrote down the sayings of Jesus verbatim (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3:39.16. Scholars suggest these logia might have become the document called Q). It seems that Matthew translated these sayings into Greek and combined them with the Gospel of Mark to produce our present Gospel of Matthew. Scholars who assume that Jesus could not have predicted the fall of Jerusalem, usually date the Gospel about AD 90. It is however obvious that Jesus warned the Pharisees that they would be decimated in that generation (Matthew 23:36). And in the next chapter Jesus said of the temple that "not one stone will be left here upon another," and he used exactly the language used of the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1, 9-10, 13) to predict the destruction of Jerusalem in the lifetime of the apostles (Matthew 24:34). And we know that took place in AD 70 (see Advent Comings of the Lord). Matthew's Gospel must therefore have been written about 50-60 AD. I cannot imagine it was invented by some unknown writer twenty years later.
MAYA see UPANISHADS
MECCA This trading center was a holy place for ARABSfrom the surrounding tribes who worshiped 360 heathen deities in a temple called the KA'BA (Arabic for cube). The structure was built with a black METEORITEstone in its east wall. MUHAMMAD (c.570-632) was born in Mecca. He began receiving messages (c.610 AD) which later became the QUR'AN, and among these was a denunciation of idolatry. The merchants of Mecca did not like this threat to the huge income that came in from those who came to worship the idols in the Ka'ba. So Muhammad had to move with 70 followers to Medina. From there he came back to conquer Mecca (630 AD), and he succeeded in having all the idols and images of the Ka'ba destroyed. The Ka'ba (Al-Kaaba) in Mecca (Arabic makkah) is the focus of prayer for MUSLIMS from all over the world, and they are required to make a pilgrimage there once in a lifetime, if possible.
MEDICAL MODELS When the Black Death was wiping out one third of the population of Europe (1348), Philippe VI (King of France, 1328-50) demanded a scientific explanation of this plague. The Medical Faculty of the University of Paris "proved" that the plague was due to the triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the 40th. degree of Aquarius on March 20, 1345. This astrological explanation was accepted by scholars all over Europe and in the great Arab universities of Cordova and Granada (Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, 1979, p.107). It took many years before it was proved that Bubonic plague (bubos were swellings of the lymph glands) was spread by rats and the bacterium Pasteurella prestis. There are now immunizing vaccines for most serious diseases. The World Health Organization claimed they had eradicated smallpox (1976). AIDS was identified and named (1981-82). But in our day people explore a variety of models that might offer a cure for various conditions (Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Herbal, Chiropractic, Shiatsu, etc.). How do these relate to God.? The Bible teaches that God cares about diseases and their cure. "The Lord will turn away from you every illness; all the dread diseases of Egypt that you experienced" (Deuteronomy7:15, see HEALING). It now seems certain that faith in the doctor or the medication is an important factor in healing. Licensed medical treatment combined with faith in the Son of God as the ultimate source of all healing is the best course in all cases.
MEDITATION People of all religions practice meditation. They sit quietly and think, listen, picture, repeat a mantra, free themselves from their usual concerns. But it is not the practice that counts but the ultimate object in mind. A Buddhist monk meditates to eradicate his desires in the hope of attaining nirvana. Zen Buddhists practice zazen by reflecting on a koan to free their minds from the world's logic. A Hindu Monist wants union with the Absolute to escape the miserable round of transmigration (samsara). Taoists want to reject external rules and experience the tao of living naturally. Business people under pressure use TM (Transcendental Meditation) to relax by repeating a mantra for half an hour. Muslims read the Koran (Qur'an). Christian meditation is totally different. It is a conversation. Eradicating desires, losing oneself in the Absolute, endlessly repeating a word, or even constant Bible reading, are all likely to prevent a conversation with God. Our meditation may begin with a verse of the Psalms or the metaphors for God revealed in the Bible. But the aim is to be like a little child with the Father, to share every thought and concern of one's heart with the Messiah, and invite the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower us. That brings us right into the conversation of the family of God, which is a foretaste of heaven.
MELANOMA When our doctor sent Mollie to a plastic surgeon to have a spot on her forehead removed we imagined it was like one of the skin cancers I had removed from my face. Two weeks ago the biopsy revealed it was melanoma. I remembered the days when melanoma used to be a death sentence, and I felt as if I had been hit by a truck. But then we let our family and friends know, and we were astonished to hear of friends praying for Mollie all over the world. Some of them we never imagined praying at all. My cousin said her daughter had a melanoma on her arm four years ago, and it was healed. Several others told similar stories. With rapid progress in diagnosis and treatment many people now expect to be restored to perfect health. Yesterday (Jan. 29, 2003) we spent the morning in the Toronto General Radiology Department. A radio-active dye was injected and they watched on computer screens where it went. All Mollie's lymph nodes were clear except one by her ear. In the afternoon in the Day Surgery Department of the Hotel Dieu Hospital the "hot" node was excised, and there was a deeper incision at the original melanoma site. I brought Mollie home with a huge bandage round her head, and I went and bought the prescription for Tylenol 3. It upset her stomach till we discovered that diluted warm Cranberry juice settled her, and she slept on and off during the night. I learned to cook Chicken Noodle Soup from a packet, and it proved to be an astonishing success. I know melanoma is still dangerous, but I now know it is not the end.
MELCHIZEDEK When Abraham came back from the battle to deliver his nephew Lot "King Melchizedek brought out bread and wine" and blessed him (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 7:1-2). The New Testament explains that this man was the priest-king of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem and a "priest of the most high God." At the last supper Jesus could have appointed other elements, say bread and milk, for his communion services, but he chose the bread and wine of Melchizedek's royal priesthood. This made clear that the Messiah's priesthood is not a continuation or replacement of the Jewish priesthood line of Aaron which began four centuries after Abraham and was terminated with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Our royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9) serves under our Messiah Priest-King who is "high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:19).
MEMBERS see BODY, Church Members
MEMBERSHIP Membership is nothing to do with having your name on a list. It is having a function. "As in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in the Messiah, and individually we are members of one another" (Romans 12:5). Creative people enjoy having a function in life. And one of the many other causes of depression is the feeling that one has no function in life. The supremely creative people are those who help others discover the joy of making their special contribution. And such people heal a lot of depression. It is the best Christmas gift we can give to anyone.
MENNONITES Menno Simons (1496-1561) was a Roman Catholic parish priest who joined the ANABAPTISTS (1536) after the defeat and death in battle of Thomas Munzer (1535). For twenty-five years he gave himself to shepherding and gently reorganizing the persecuted brethren scattered all over Europe. They later took the name of Mennonites to honor his name, and by the end of the next century they established congregations in Europe and North America. They are all committed to believers's baptism, and total PACIFISM, but they vary in their willingness to cooperate with the government and adapt to the modern world. The Amish Mennonites who settled in North America (1683) practice modern farming, but they still insist on wearing traditional dress and driving a horse and buggy instead of an automobile. Most Mennonites have a form of service similar to Baptists, but they differ in refusing military service, and many refuse to call the police to protect them.
MERIT In a bull of 1343 Pope Clement VI declared "The sacrifice of Christ's blood, together with the merit added by the Virgin and saints had established an inexhaustible treasury for the use of pardons. By contributing sums to the Church, anyone could buy a share in the Treasury of Merit." Within five years the BLACK DEATH (1348-49) killed off one third of Europe. The result was a huge wave of guilt and fear of the WRATH of God that made people conscious of their own sinfulness. By the next year (1350) Rome was swamped with pilgrims seeking pardons from the treasury of merit. As a result the church became very rich. Soon indulgences were sold to get one's family and friends out of purgatory. In 1516 Leo X (Pope 1513-1521) sent Johann Tetzel , a friar from the DOMINICANS, to preach and offer indulgences to pay for rebuilding St. Peter's in Rome. A year later (1517), to object against this, LUTHER(1483-1546) posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg (1517 ) and the REFORMATION began. There is no trace of a treasury of merit, pardon based on money payment, or ofINDULGENCES in Jesus teaching or anywhere in the New Testament. One could argue from the Old Testament that even a few righteous people would have saved the city of Sodom from destruction (Genesis 18:26-32), but that is nothing to do with personal forgiveness or paying to lessen the time of one's friends in purgatory.
MESOPOTAMIA In its narrower sense Mesopotamia (Greek mesos meaning middle and potamos meaning river) was the area between the rivers TIGRISand EUPHRATES which join just above BASRA. The ancient city of UR, about a hundred miles (170 km) up the river Euphrates, was the gateway to Sumer (see the SUMERIANS). But in its wider sense Mesopotamia also included the whole basin of the TIGRIS including what was known as ASSYRIA.
MESSIAH The word means "anointed king." And both Jews and Christians think of the Messiah reigning, though we differ with each other ( and perhaps even more among one another) as to when and how the Messiah does this. In the Old Testament psalms and prophets God is pictured as the Sovereign King. He is enthroned and judges the nations. Similarly in the New Testament: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of the Messiah" (Revelation 12:10). . The prophets knew that he reigns by assigning "wrath" (bad consequences) for inhuman greed, pride, militarism, oppression, denial of justice, and lack of concern for the poor and needy. That is also the theme of Mary's Magnificat. "He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:51-53). She was called blessed, and we too are blessed when we share in the Messiah's agenda.
MESSIAH, Strategy The basic units of our Messiah's forces are the CHURCHES in just about every city of the world. These begin with two or three persons, but as they grow they are organized under regiments (DENOMINATIONS). Each has a different contribution to make like flowers in a GARDEN. There are also teams that plant and nurture churches like a moving CHURCH, bloodstream (see The Church: An Organic Picture, chapter 13) all over the world. Behind the scenes are special forces that undertake covert operations under the direct control of the Messiah. Most of the work is done by unpaid volunteers, though for some tasks money is given freely by others. Instead of using bullets and bombs, spiritual warfare is the presentation of the TRUTHthat frees people by destroying the lies of SATAN. Prayer corresponds to military air power. At any time the servants of the Messiah have the right to call in precise air support for themselves or for others. The war the Messiah is engaged in may never be reported in the media, but this is the ultimate reality beyond all the confusions of our world.
MESSIANIC JEWS The first Christians were all Jews, and they formed themselves into Messiah believing synagogues. Soon a Greek speaking Jewish Christian synagogue was formed in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-6). Peter was told he could baptize and welcome people of other nations to Christian baptism (Acts 10:11-15, 34-35). As Greeks, Romans, and others were baptized, they were welcomed into a church of many congregations in each city (Acts 11:25-26). The first Christian Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) found a way for circumcised Jews who kept kosher to have table fellowship with their new brothers and sisters from other nations. But Paul and the other Jewish apostles still looked to the mother church in Jerusalem for guidance (as in Acts 15:2, 18:22, 21:17-26). You could be a Jew as Paul was, and a Christian. But after the fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) the focus changed (compare Matthew 24:14, 31). Soon Jews were forced to stop being Jewish to become Christians. The resultant prejudice and terrible persecution continued for 18 centuries till the HOLOCAUST. A change began with the missionary movement which established the fact that you did not stop being Bengali, Burmese, or Chinese when you became a Christian. Why should Jews who believe Jesus is the MESSIAHcease to be Jews? Messianic Jews seek to retain their Jewish culture including CIRCUMCISION, keeping PASSOVER and other Jewish celebrations with their families (see KOSHER).
METAPHOR Middle eastern language is full of vivid metaphors. "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out . . . if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off (Matthew 5:29-30, both metaphors from ARCHERY) John's gospel pictures the work of the Messiah as Bread, Light, Gate, Shepherd, Way, Vine John the Baptist called him the Lamb. Such metaphors are not new. In the Psalms David called him Lord, King, Sovereign, Ruler, Judge, but also the Servant, Lamb, Guide, Healer, Shepherd, Rock, Fortress, Teacher, Strength, Stronghold, Refuge, Shield, Redeemer (Liberator), Deliverer. One of the most common names in the Psalms is Vindicator, which speaks to those who have no recourse in the face of overwhelming injustice. Each one of these paradoxical metaphors helps us grasp another facet of what faith is. The art is to be careful about taking metaphors literally, but can use each one to enrich our conversation with the Son of God.
METEORITE Several great pilgrimage sites of the ancient world (e.g EPHESUS, PAPHOS, MECCA) were built around a black stone that had fallen from the sky. In Ephesus this was carved into a huge statue of Artemis (Diana, Acts 19:27).
METHODIST The term was first applied to John and Charles WESLEY and their friends as they gathered in the "Holy Club" at Oxford (1729). After his conversion (May 24, 1738), Wesley began preaching in the open air (1739), and organizing class meetings. His followers became known as Methodists. A yearly conference of people called Methodists (1784) appointed Methodist preachers and chapels. The same year a conference of Methodists in the United States was organized under Francis Asbury (1745-1816) and Thomas Coke as the first bishops. But Methodism as a denomination in Britain only emerged after the death of John Wesley (1791). The conference of 1795 recognized Methodist preachers as having the right to administer the sacraments of baptism and holy communion. The two main strengths of the early Methodist movement were the weekly class meetings organized by John Wesley and the hymns written by his brother Charles Wesley..
METHODISTS The name originated as a description of the severe discipline of John and Charles WESLEY and other friends in the Holy Club at Oxford University. John Wesley never left the Church of England, but seven years before he died (1784) the 'Yearly Conference of the People called Methodists' was officially constituted. The same year Wesley himself ordained Dr. Thomas Coke (1747-1814) who ordained Francis Asbury (1745-1816) to be joint superintendents of the Methodists in North America. Against Wesley's advice, Asbury was named the first Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. But in Britain it was not till 1795 that the preachers were authorized to baptize and conduct communion services. The first division took place in 1797, and throughout the nineteenth century other groupings were formed and united with one another to recapture the original doctrine and spirit of John Wesley. One of the biggest and most vigorous of these "Holiness" denominations is the Church of the Nazarene. A union of Methodists, Congregationalists, and some Presbyterians formed the United Church of Canada in1925.
MICHAEL The archangel or chief angel is Michael, the prince of angels (Daniel 10:21, Jude 9, see ANGEL). He is particularly involved in warring against opposing forces (Daniel 10:13, 12:1). His work can be awesome. "The angel of the Lord set out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians" (2 Kings 19:35). There is also a spiritual battle in heaven: "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan" (Revelation 12:7-9). Jesus could have called in legions of angels (perhaps led by the archangel Michael) to save him from crucifixion (Matthew 26:53). The early Christians knew that Peter had a guardian angel who delivered him from prison (Acts 12:7-9, see 12:15). And one of the angels is appointed to care for every one of "these little ones" (Matthew 18:10). Whether the archangel Michael was responsible for all these angelic interventions is not stated. But no angel, however great, is to be worshiped as God (Colossians 2:18, Hebrews 1:4-5, Revelation 19:9-10).
MIDDLE AGES From the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD) to the RENAISSANCE and the beginning of the REFORMATION (1517) the ordinary people of Europe were mainly living in the dark ages of religious superstition and ignorance. There were some centers of light in the monasteries such as the Venerable Bede (c.673-735) in Jarrow (see ANSELM, ABELARD, BENEDICTINES) and the first European universities (Bologna c.1100, Paris 1150, Oxford 1167, Cambridge 1209). But the main concerns were the Arab attacks to the gates of Paris (732), the mounting of futile CRUSADES, the FRIARS begging, the bubonic plague (1348-52) which killed off one third of the population, and the struggles between church and state authorities. That left little time or energy for creative ideas.
MILETUS On his way back from his third overseas missionary journey Paul decided it would not be wise to go back into Ephesus. He had been imprisoned in the city after the severe riot (between Acts 19:41 and 20:1). And he had to face a lion in the arena (2 Timothy 4:16-17. This depends on reading en tropy (in the nick of time) instead of en romy (in Rome) in 2 Timothy 1:17). The only way he could meet the ELDERS of the church in Ephesus was to call them for a conference in Miletus 25 miles (40 km) to the south. Luke, who was with Paul recorded the message he gave to them (Acts 20:17-35). Then he added "When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him (see hug of peace under KISS), grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship" (Acts 20:36-38). Miletus used to be an important port with four harbors on the estuary of the Meander river, but by the time of Paul's conference these had silted up, and the city had moved inland. The Church of Miletus was in existence about 150 AD. But now it is not even listed in the guide books.
MILITARISM The Bible pictures the right of a nation to defend itself (e.g. Genesis 14:14-16), and to free itself from slavery and oppression (see EXODUS, JUDGES). What is not acceptable to the Son of God as he reigns among the NATIONS is militarism to subjugate other nations. This is usually promoted by Army generals who want to increase their power and gain glory in battle. As examples of this the Old Testament describes the invasions of the ASSYRIANS from their city of NINEVEH, and how they were defeated by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. BABYLON was in turn suddenly toppled in a DAY OF THE LORD (as prophesied in Isaiah 13:1-19) by the Persians (see IRAN). When the Persians attacked the Greeks they were defeated in sea battles, and Alexander then came across the Middle East to topple the Persian empire. In each case the ultimate control is in the hands of the MESSIAH. In the previous century we saw the overthrow of Nazi and Communist militarism, and more recently in this century the fall of SADDAM HUSSEIN. We can deduce that the massive power of the AMERICAN EMPIRE should beware of militarism by caring about the freedom of others. The safe course is for each nation "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)
MILLENIUM The millenial vision of the return of Christ has kept reappearing among Christians. This is based on a literal understanding of "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the DEVIL and SATAN, and bound him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:2, and a peaceful kingdom such as in Isaiah 11:6-10). The idea of a literal millenium appeared among the GNOSTICS, MONTANISTS, and some of the Greek church Fathers. Among the HUSSITES in and around the city of PRAGUE some revolutionary preachers said that Christ was about to return and he would reign on this earth with his saints. In the REFORMATION a hundred years later the vision was adopted as one model of the SECOND COMING (see ANABAPTISM, MORMONS). In our day a literal millenium on earth is taught in many denominations committed to PREMILLENIANISM. The model commended on this site is set out in Advent Comings of the Lord in History.
MINDING A cat lives by minding its instincts (food, comfort, self-protection, curiosity, territory, sex, nesting, raising kittens). We too can live our life by what Paul called the flesh. There is nothing wrong with our instincts. In fact it was the Son of God who invented them for us in the first place. But our instincts cannot free us to love God, pray, love enemies or even our neighbor. The art is not to beat down our instincts, but to turn our mind as Jesus did to the Creative Spirit of God. Having explained that his flesh (instinctive nature) did not help him (Romans 7:14-24), Paul explained that "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6)
MINISTER, Authority As in politics, ministers of church congregations are appointed to be servants of the people whose interests they serve (see SERVANT LEADERSHIP). Some of them claim a respect and ministerial authority. "They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market places, and to have people call them rabbi" (Matthew 23:6). But there is another kind of AUTHORITY which does not depend on the institution that authorizes them. Jesus was not viewed as a qualified rabbi (teacher), but "he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:22). We might call this the authority of spiritual leadership. Paul calls it "the ministry of the new covenant" and "the ministry of the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 3:6, 8). As opposed to being impressed by credentials or abilities, people recognize that "This person is leading us by God's power and wisdom." Where DENOMINATIONS can appoint those who will serve in this way there can be new wine skins for the new wine of the Spirit (Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-38). Only then can there be constant renewal. Forcing submission by rules results in deadness and disintegration.
MINISTER, Day Off "Many eat too much, some drink too much, many sleep too much, almost all talk too much. And I am bound to say, some work too much, not taking the day off which keeps them fresh and in good trim" (Samuel Shoemaker, The Church Alive, 1950, pp. 50-51).
MINISTER, Money A guru said to a guest at a conference "There are several meanings of life - a $50 meaning, a $100 meaning and one for $500" (Readers Digest, December 1977). In Crete there were those who "are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach" (Titus 1:11). Which is why in his qualifications for church ELDERS(Bishops) Paul included "not a lover of money" and "not greedy for gain" (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7). Paul was grateful for financial support for his mission (Philippians 4:15-18), but he preferred to earn his own living when necessary (see TENTMAKERS) than to demand payment for preaching (Acts 18:1-4, 1 Corinthians 4:11-12, 2 Corinthians 11:7-9)
MINOANS According to the Table of Nations the Caphtorim (people of CRETE) were descended from MIZRAIM (the people of Egypt, Genesis 10:13-14). They became known as the Early Minoans 2600-2000 BC. The Middle Minoans (2000-1600 BC) probably used the undeciphered pictographic script called Linear A. In our day tourists can visit the ruins of the great palaces of Knossos ( Homer mentions "the city of Cnosus where king Minos reigns" Odyssee book 19), Phaistos, Mallia, and Zakros.. These were destroyed about 1450 BC, probably by ash from the huge volcanic eruption on the island of Thera (Santorin). It is possible that as a result of this, the PHILISTINES were Minoans who sailed from Caphtor (Crete) to colonize the area to the north of Gaza (Genesis 10:14, Deuteronomy 2:23, 1 Chronicles 1:11, Amos 9:7). Soon Mycenaeans (the kingdom of Agamemnon who attacked Troy, c.1200 BC)) arrived (their script named Linear B has been deciphered) and they established Greek control of the island of Crete.
MIRACLES A miracle is often defined as a violation of natural law. But the laws of nature are based on statistical observations. The earth revolves to make a 24 hour day, it makes an annual orbit around the sun, and gravity can be measured by an acceleration of 32 feet per second per second. But what if these certainties suddenly changed? Scientists would make laws based on the new observations Similarly if they observed that whenever six or more people prayed in a certain way the person was healed, healing would become part of natural law. That is why the term miracle only has a meaning in the context of THEISM which assumes that God is the Creator of our world, and he has the right to intervene in it. Many of his interventions are not noticed. Geoff Richard remarked that "a coincidence is an act of God for which he chooses to remain anonymous" (Interserve bulletin, October 1996). But at least we know that the creation of our world was a miracle, as was the creation of humans in the image of God (Genesis 1). It is fashionable to explain away other miracles of Jesus and his disciples. But Christian Theism includes as miracle the birth of the Son of God, his resurrection from the dead, and our own resurrection body when we die. C. S. Lewis remarked that "All the essentials of Hinduism would, I think, remain unimpaired if you subtracted the miraculous, but you cannot do that with Christianity. It is precisely the story of a great Miracle" (Miracles, New York: Macmillan, 1947, p.83).
MIRACLES, Old Testament In the first chapter of Genesis we have the miracle of our world coming into being as an artistic creation. In the same first chapter there is the miracle of humans being made in the IMAGE OF GOD (imago dei). There are also miracles in connection with the EXODUS of a nation of slaves moving out to freedom in the direction of the promised land. Another group of miracles occurred in the ministry of Elijah and Elisha. But the prophets were mainly interested in recording the HISTORY of their nation with a view to seeing how God intervened again and again in what they called a DAY OF THE LORD. These interventions were not chance happenings since God had predicted their occurrence (see Isaiah 45:21; 46:10; 48:3, 5, 6, 14). The greatest example of this was when Isaiah prophesied the day of the Lord in the miraculous events of the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:4-10). Joel used the same imagery of the sun and moon being darkened in the day of the Lord on Jerusalem (Joel 2:1, 10-11). In his prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem (Matthew 24, Mark 13) Jesus applied the same portents to his own miraculous coming in the generation of his hearers (see PAROUSIA).
MIRACLES and Science In an old fashioned Swiss watch some tiny men lived among the cogs. They survived by being great scientists. They observed the movement of every wheel, the usual time when the watch was wound, and when the alarm went off five days a week. All this was recorded in their books as natural law. So they could predict several months ahead what would happen. Some said you did not need a creator to explain the watch. Others said somebody or something must have made their watch in the first place, but natural law made any kind of variation from the norm impossible. A third group pointed out that inexplicable things happened from time to time, and that proved the watch maker was interested in his creation. Their discussions ended abruptly when the watch was sent back to the watch maker to be cleaned. For these model alternatives see ATHEISM, DEISM, THEISM. But even a theistic explanation fails to picture the love of God for humans, and the destiny he has in mind for us. The supreme miracle of love is revealed for us in the PARABLES of Jesus and the explanations given in the Epistles of Paul, Peter, and John (see Creative Love).
MISSION Every day thousands of people are fanning out all over the world on military, trade, agricultural, cultural, scientific, and aid missions. Aid programs began as hand-outs to feed the hungry. Then there was the idea of development (wells, roads, education, malaria eradication). The current buzz word is EMPOWERMENT. By far the best we can do for people is to give them the power to solve their own problems in their own way. How does this relate to our Christian mission? In the past two centuries there has been a shift from direct evangelism to expressing the love of God by meeting medical, educational, and development needs. But in doing this we need to remember Paul's strategy of planting and nurturing churches of the Spirit in every place. It was not feeding the hungry but the growth of churches which made European civilization possible. In our day huge social change has taken place wherever churches have given faith, hope, courage, and all the other fruit of the Spirit to oppressed and marginalized people. This has been documented wherever churches have taken root among savage tribes, low caste people of India, or the barrios of South America. As opposed to being controlled by foreigners, effective churches must be run by the people themselves in their own way and according to their culture.
MISSIONS see ALLEN, Roland
MISTRESS The difference between a wife and CONCUBINE was clearly defined in the Old Testament. The children of a concubine had no right to the man's lineage. At the age of 15 Louis XV (king of France 1715-74) was married to Maria Leczinska, a Polish princess, and had royal children by her. In 1745 he met Madame d'Etioles at a ball. She quickly left her husband and was made the Marquise de Pompadour. She had immense influence, commissioned painters, makers of superb porcelain and furniture, writers like Voltaire, and a military academy to produce officers for the disastrous seven years' war (1756-63). Following the example of their kings many French husbands, who can afford it, have ma petite maitresse on the side. English kings (e.g. George IV, William IV, Edward VII, Edward VIII) also had mistresses. After the death of Princess Diana, Charles's mistress Camilla was divorced from her husband and according to the model we use on this site (see Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage) is now unofficially married by common law. But she could only become royalty if an official marriage took place.
MIZRAIM In the Table of Nations Mizraim (Misr is still the Arabic name for Egypt) is listed as descended from the Hamitic group of nations (see HAMITES). Then we are told "Egypt became the father (ancestor) of the Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim, from which the Philistines come" (Genesis 10:6, 13-14). The Ludim are grouped with the people of Ethiopia and Put (Libya?), which suggests they were North Africans (Ezekiel 30:5). The Anamim have been possibly connected with the Kenemites of an oasis to the west of Egypt. The Lehabim (Lubim) were Libyans, and some of them came to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10). The Naphtuhim may have from the west of the Nile Delta (Egyptian na-patoh). Nothing is known of the Pathrusim (from Pathros?). Caphtor was the Hebrew name for CRETE(Deuteronomy 2:23) and the Caphtorim may have been the people we now know as the MINOANS. A wave of them settled north of Gaza, where they were known as PHILISTINES(Hebrew pelistim from which Palestine derived its name). There are many questions about these groupings, but it seems certain that they are all connected with the Mediterranean coast of Africa.
MOCKING One of the most hurtful ways in which SCOFFERS seek to humiliate others is by mockery. In a school yard a handicapped child is laughed at. "Mary is retarded, Mary is retarded." Jesus listed three way of murdering another without actually killing the body. By far the worst is mocking someone as a brainless fool (Matthew 5:22). The movie Jesus Christ Superstar captured the scene when "Herod with his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt and mocked him" (Luke 23:11). When Jesus was handed over to Pilate's soldiers to be crucified, they dressed him in a royal robe, put a crown of thorns on his head, put a reed in his right hand, knelt before him, and mocked him saying "Hail, King of the Jews" (Matthew 27:28-29). Then the chief priests, theologians, and members of the Sanhedrin came to mock Jesus on the cross, saying "He saved others; he cannot save himself" (Matthew 27:41-42). One of the criminals crucified next to him kept deriding him, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" (Luke 23:39). These all had plausible reasons to think Jesus was a fool who deserved to be mocked. But as we look back through history, who turned out to be the fools? We may have to disagree respectfully with another's opinions, but mockery is very hurtful, never right, and very dangerous.
MODALISM One form of this model was called PATRIPASSIANISM. It retained the absolute oneness of God (see MONARCHIANISM) by arguing that God the Father was born, suffered and died on the cross. It seems that the model proposed by Sabellius (SABELLIANISM) avoided this unpalatable form of the model by saying that the one eternal God is only one Person but he is experienced by humans in a succession of modes or operations.
MODEL THEOLOGY Model Theology is a method of questioning a person's explanation of a personal religion or ideology, and setting out its inner logic. It can be used by people of any religion or no religion. But it should be done with respect and sympathy. If the analysis is successful the other person will accept the resulting explanation and be able to say "Yes, you have expressed exactly the vision which I have in mind." When we construct or offer a model by way of explanation we do not assume we have arrived at a final conclusion. And a model is never a proof that such and such a person's faith, way of life, morality, or goal is exactly like that. What we say is "Let's try looking at it this way." Which leaves our tentative model open to dialogue, correction, or replacement by a better model. In addition to clarifying with sympathy the faith commitment of another person, Model Theology is used to set out variants of our own model, which in our case is Trinitarian Theism. The method is set out in God of Many Names. In Go Make Learners we use Model Theology to set out an alternative explanation of the meaning and purpose of Christian Baptism. Advent Comings of the Lord among the Nations gives an alternative to other models of the SECOND COMING. The book on Creative Love sets out an explanatory model of God's creative activity. In the Word Thoughts we are interested in the history and explanations of many different kinds of religion and ideology, and in each case try to see how they relate to our own Christian vision.
MODELS Models are used to picture how cars, and factories, and political institutions work and could be designed to work.. We have economic models, the models of various schools of medicine, and models for psychiatric treatment. Each major religion or ideology can be set out as an explanatory model of what is the purpose of life (see God of Many Names). On this web site we also explore the models that may explain different emphases in Christian theology For example, within the overarching model of God as TRINITY, we offer models for PURGATORY, WRATH, HELL,INDULGENCES, the CHURCH, DENOMINATIONS, etc. A model is never a proof, but only a way of setting out an alternative way of looking at things. Having looked at the various models in the light of what Jesus said, we have to decide how we are going to order our lives. And we can be assured that the Holy Spirit "will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:16). As Paul said, "Be continually transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).
MODELS, Medical see MEDICAL MODELS
MONARCHIANISM All the early Christian churches agreed that Baptism must be in the name of the TRINITY (based on Matthew 28:19). By the Council of Constantinople (381) the Trinity was defined as a oneness of three eternal Persons in relationship to one another (see ATHANASIUS). But various alternatives to avoid this model were offered to defend the absolute eternal oneness of God. Monarchianism (Greek mono meaning only, alone and archy meaning beginning, origin, first cause, ruler, authority) was either a form of ADOPTIONISM (Jesus was adopted into the Godhead) or a form of MODALISM. (God appeared in different forms as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit)
MONARCHY The United States (1776), France (1789), China (1911), Russia (1917), Germany (1919) and many other nations threw out monarchy because human kings had failed them. Admittedly their presidents, dictators, prime ministers, chairmen, never turned out to be perfect. But monarchies, dictatorships, and republics all serve to remind us of the contrast with the Messiah's kind of kingship (see KINGDOM). "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; for whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45). And the purpose of ransoming is to give us freedom (John 8:36, see LIBERATION). So when we sing "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns" (Revelation 19:6) we are freely serving a very different kind of monarchy. (See ANTICHRIST).
MONASTICISM Buddha (563-483 BC) taught that NIRVANAcame by losing all desire (see BUDDHISM). For this purpose monasteries were established where monks could learn to eradicate their desires (especially the sexual ones). Christian monasticism originated in Egypt with Saint Antony (c. 251-c.356) when he retired (285) to the desert to beat down his FLESHby a life of total austerity. Twenty years later he organized a community of hermits who lived under a rule of celibacy. This impressed many with the idea that celibacy was a higher form of Christian commitment. The first Christian convents were ruthlessly austere, but the more practical and humane rule of St. Benedict (480-543) enabled monasticism to thrive in Europe. It offered a disciplined community of manual work, prayer, seven daily offices (services), hospitality (from which we derived hospitals), care for the needy, copying and studying the Scriptures. As a result the monasteries provided the intellectual centers of Mediaeval Europe. As they became rich and powerful their missionary work was edged out by the Franciscans (1209), Dominicans (1221), and other Roman Catholic orders. The academic work of monasteries was taken over by the universities (Bologna 1100, Paris 1150, Oxford 1167, Cambridge 1209). And that eventually spawned the REFORMATIONand the dissolution of many monasteries.
MONEY Jesus and his disciples needed
money for food. Paul had to pay for ship journeys, and in Rome lived "at
his own expense" (Acts 28:30). So we can't do without money. But
Paul warned Timothy that "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,
and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith
and pierced themselves with many pains" (1 Timothy 6:10). Instead
of "a root" the KJV wrongly translated "the root" of all
evil, as if it was the only noxious weed that takes root in our garden.
Pride, self-pity, guilt, a bitter spirit, sexual promiscuity, also ruin
our lives. But in our use of money it is an "eagerness to be rich" that
Paul says is the root of a very noxious weed. That means money is not to
be hoarded for its own sake, or gloated over like Scrooge, but used for
our family, our church, our community, and to make the good news known
throughout the world (see TITHING).
Knowing why God has given us money is a very effective weed killer.
MONGOLS The Mongol Empire was founded by Genghis Khan (1162-1227). His name meant "Ruler of All." Ordinary armies were no match for his Mongolian horsemen and archers. He captured Beijing (1215). When he died his empire stretched from the Pacific to the Black Sea. Batu, a grandson of Genghis Khan burned Moscow (1238) and then took Kiev and massacred the inhabitants (1240). The Mongols demanded tribute, but did not interfere in the day to day administration of the Russian princes. Hulagu, Genghis Khan's grandson sacked BAGHDAD(1258) but he was defeated at Ain Jalut (1260). The conquest of China was completed by Genghis Khan's grandson Kublai Khan (1216-94).
MONISM Theistic models of God all explain the world as a creation. We distinguish between the world of the Artist and his masterpiece (as in Genesis 1). And humans are created for a limited life on earth followed by another quality of life with the Creator after death. But Monism makes no qualitative distinction between God and our world. Absolute Pantheism says that everything that there is is God. That means that tables and chairs, animals and minerals are as divine as we are. Having accepted this definition, it would be impossible to be an atheist or to distinguish right from wrong.. In Modified Pantheism God is the reality or principle behind nature. And we can ally ourselves with the life principle (evolution) as opposed to going against it. Absolute Monism hold that only God is reality, and all else is imagination (maya). That gives no significance to human love and personality which are only a dream from which we must escape. A fourth more popular model is Modified Monism in which God is to the nature around us as soul is to body. That allows God to be personal, and in some Hindu forms of this model incarnations of God can be worshiped. Apart from Absolute Pantheism, most Monists view salvation as escaping from the round of recurring lives in this world to merge with the Absolute (see TRANSMIGRATION).
MONOTHEISM Theism is the term used for having faith in God as the Artist or Creator of our world. The prefix "Mono" refers to his oneness. But there are two very different meanings of oneness. There is the oneness of an individual or a mathematical unity. That is the model of indivisible oneness in the UNITARIAN God (ALLAH) of ISLAM. There is also the complex organic oneness of all living things, and one would not expect the Creator of our universe to be less complex than a plum. In India to the objection that Christian faith in the TRINITY is believing in three gods (POLYTHEISM), I used to hold up a mango, and ask "Is the skin mango? Is the juice mango? Is the stone mango?" but that does not add up to three mangos. But this answer still does not capture the model of the oneness of God in Christian faith. We need the much more personal image of an eternal family oneness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three Persons eternally united by the perfect love of heaven.
MONTANISM From the beginning churches were brought into being and empowered by the the Holy Spirit (e.g. 1 Corinthians 12:4-31). We know very little about Montanus except that he was known as a prophet (172 AD). "As Montanus, and Alcibiades, and Theodotus, in Phrygia, then first began to be esteemed by many for their gifts (as there were many other wonderful powers of divine grace, yet exhibited even at that time in different churches) they created the belief with many, they that were also endued with prophecy" (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History V.3). He was not faulted for prophecy in the sense of "upbuilding and encouragement and consolation" (1 Corinthians 14:3) or his powerful charismatic gifts. What upset other churches was his prophecy about the imminent descent of the heavenly Jerusalem in PHRYGIA. So IRENAEUS (c.130-c.266) was sent (177) from Gaul to Bishop Eleutherus of Rome to discuss this matter. But he later wrote "We know that, in the Church, many of our brothers have prophetic charisms and, by virtue of the Spirit, speak all the languages, reveal, for the good of all men, all secrets and expose the mysteries of God" (Adversus omnes Haereses V.6.1, as quoted by Yves. M.J.Congar I Believe in the Holy Spirit, Volume 1, in French 1979, New York: Seabury Press, 1983, p.66).
MORALITY The ten categories of moral judgment under which people all over the world make moral judgments is set out in the TEN COMMANDMENTS (Exodus 20:1-17). But the content of how each commandment is to be interpreted varies in each religion and cultural group. That is why we are often puzzled by an otherwise upright person who disagrees with us on a particular point of moral behavior. Sidney Callaghan explained that our own moral world, and our understanding of that of others, is "formed by thousands of conversations. Bit by bit, moral worlds are constituted as we talk, overhear others talk, retell family tales and recall religious words of the parables, stories and liturgies of the faith" (Gulf Weekly, 11-17 March, 1993, p.18). The result is that the children of believers often retain their parents' moral values even though they might not profess faith in God. But by the next generation, without being rooted in our Scriptures, moral values can quickly become confused.
MORAL JUDGMENTS One of the freedoms of IMAGE OF GOD man is the ability to evaluate and make moral judgments. The ten categories of moral judgment are set out in the TEN COMMANDMENTS. These are discussed, and judgments based upon them, among all people everywhere (see Adultery: An Exploration chapter 1). Some of these commandments are made into civil, criminal, and religious laws. And consequences are assigned for disobeying them. As Paul pointed out, they can show us what is wrong, but they cannot empower our heart to love the way God does. It is only by the Holy Spirit (not by LEGALISM) that we can overcome the natural desires of our FLESH(see Romans Commentary 7:16-8:8 to produce the beautiful fruits (John 15:4-5) of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
MORAVIANS When the Bohemian Brethren fled from constant persecution in Austria they were welcomed (1722) by Count von ZINZENDORF to form the Herrnhut community As opposed to the later deadness of Lutheran orthodoxy, the Moravians lived a religion of the heart in deep fellowship with Jesus as Creator and Redeemer of the world. This resulted in a powerful missionary movement into Europe, Britain, America, the West Indies, Greenland, and other countries. John WESLEY was very moved by a visit to the Herrnhut colony (1738) and later the same year came to a deep heart faith in the Moravian chapel in London.
MORMONS Joseph Smith (1805-44) of Manchester, NewYork state, announced the finding of the Book of Mormon (1830) which describes the migration of Israelite tribes to America before the time of Jesus. Alongside the Bible, this became the sacred text of the Mormons. Joseph Smith had another revelation (1843) which sanctioned POLYGAMY. This resulted in him being killed by a mob (1844). He was succeeded as leader by Brigham Young (1801-77) who moved the headquarters of the denomination to Salt Lake City, Utah (1847). The Mormons decided to conform to federal laws against polygamy (1890). The main distinctive of the denomination is the practice of BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (1 Corinthians 15:29) which allows a member to search out the names of his family who died unbaptized and take baptism in their place. But the main appeal is strong interest in family life and values which binds the members in each place to one another as they meet several times a week for this purpose. The denomination is spreading rapidly by the volunteering of young people to give two years of their life to take the message all over the world. The church is officially known as The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, or Latter Day Saints as an abbreviation.
MORTAL SIN Churches have often tried to make a list of the most deadly sins. But we know that the worst of sins can be forgiven by a totally loving God. Jesus did however say "people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven" (Matthew 11:31). What could this mean? The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, and Satan is not only the accuser but "the father of lies" (John 8:44). So the sin against the Holy Spirit, could be calling good evil, darkness light, preferring the pain of others to joy, and the final choosing of death instead of life. Evidently such a person could never be happy in God's heaven. In his epistle John explains that God hears us, whatever we ask, but "there is a sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that" (1 John 1:15-16). Which seems to suggest that when a person has finally chosen the darkness away from God, even prayer cannot help. But we should not be hasty in making that judgment.
MOSES was born in Egypt among slaves (Exodus 1:8-2:20), saved from being eaten by crocodiles in the river Nile, and raised in the royal palace. At the age of 40 he had to flee to live with the priest of Midian (see ARABS) and he married his daughter. While he was minding sheep near Mount HOREB, God called him to bring the Jewish people out slavery into the promised land (Exodus 2:11-4:20). After the EXODUS he received the TEN COMMANDMENTS on Mount Horeb, then moved the people to Mount SINAI (in Arabia, Galatians 4:25). It was there that, in addition to repeating the ten commandments, he gave laws for the people, which they accepted as their constitution (the book of the Covenant which was sealed in blood , Exodus 24:7). Paul made clear that the New Testament covenant is new in relation to this superceded document (the law) which came 430 years after the covenant made with Abraham (Galatians 3:17). Throughout the wilderness wanderings Moses was known as the "friend of God" (Exodus 33:9-11, Numbers 12:8).
MOSQUES Muslims are expected to pray five times a day in the direction of Mecca, and that can be done anywhere. A mosque (French mosquee, Arabic masjid) is where Muslims gather to pray, especially on Friday. A mosque can be as simple as an open air enclosure, but it can be a huge dome shaped building. Mosques in Iran have flower and bird decorations, but this is considered idolatrous among Sunni Muslims, whose mosques are restricted to elaborate geometrical designs and Arabic texts from the Qur'an. A mosque will usually have one to four minarets with a small balcony from which the muezzin gives the call to prayer five times a day. Modern mosques have a sound system which amplifies this call all over a city. When Muslims asked permission for this in England, Margaret Thatcher answered "When you allow church bells to ring in Riyadh, your call to prayer will be heard in Britain." She was referring to the fact that not a single church building is allowed in Saudi Arabia for the half million Christians who work for the Arabs there.
MOSUL see IRAQ, Mosul
MOTHER OF GOD Since the time of ORIGEN (c.185-c.254) it had become common to call the Virgin Mary theotokos (Greek for God-bearer). As devotion to Mary became more and more the focus of prayer for monks and nuns NESTORIUS (c.380-c.451) did not think this was a helpful term. He preferred to call Mary christotokos (Greek for the Messiah bearer). He was condemned at a council in Rome (430) for teaching that Jesus was two persons as both Son of God and son of Mary. So he was deposed from being Patriarch of Constantinople (431). The term God-bearer (theotokos) was adopted in the definition of Chalcedon (451), and Nestorius' term Messiah-bearer (christotokos) was condemned. This would not have been a problem if the proper Latin translation (deipara meaning God bearer) of the Greek theotokos had been used, but unfortunately the Church of Rome began using the term Mother of God (dei genitrix). This could give the impression that Mary was more influential than God, and it certainly contributed to the cult of devotion to the Virgin Mary as people preferred to pray to Mary rather than to the Father in Jesus' name.
MOTHERS Some look back with sweet memories to a wonderful mother. Others remember harshness, fussiness, perfectionism, or a mother who was unfaithful and abandoned them. But whether our mother was perfect or imperfect, it was from her we received our life, our country, our language, and formative education. She gave us half our genes, which continue throughout our life to structure ever cell in our mind and body. That is why we are told to "Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long" (Exodus 20:12). People who cannot honor their roots are severely handicapped for life. In the Bible, in addition to the names of the fathers of the kings of Israel and Judah, their mothers are often mentioned carefully by name (1 Kings 11:26, 14:21, 31, 22:42, 2 Kings 8:26, 9:22, 12:1, 14:2, 15:2, 33, 18:2, 21:1, 22:1, 23:31, 36, 24:8, 18). In three cases the evil king's grandmother is also mentioned (1 King 15:2, 2 Kings 8:26, 21:19, compare 2 Timothy 1:5). The prophets, who wrote the historical books, were interested in the good and bad consequences, and they evidently noticed the great influence of mothers on their children. (see Sermons: Mothers' Day). The good news is that, however bad our upbringing, the Holy Spirit can break the power of evil in our lives, and perfect us.
MOTHER'S PRAYER In the parable
of the Prodigal Son the Father was looking along the road, and as soon
as he saw his son coming back in the far distance he ran to welcome him
back. We are not told about the prayers of his mother. Yesterday I talked
to a woman who for many years had been concerned about the lifestyle of
her son. She had tried every which way to make him turn to God, come to
church, and behave according to her standards. But that estranged him even
more. Then through a friend God revealed to her a quite different approach.
"Don't speak to your son about me. Speak to me about your son." That is
the very heart of a mother's prayer. Slowly as she shared her concerns
and feelings in a very personal conversation with God, things began to
change. Her son is now married, the devoted father of two children, in
a responsible job, and best of all the family estrangement has ended.
MOUNT ATHOS Located on a peninsula extending east from Macedonia into the Aegean Sea, Mount Athos (6349 feet, over one mile high) has been occupied by monks since 962 AD. There are about 20 Greek Orthodox monasteries, which together control the area as a republic (under Greek supervision). The church buildings are magnificently decorated, and the libraries contain a vast number of ancient volumes. The practice of meditation and the theology that underlies it is calledHESYCHASM. And one of its most famous exponents was GREGORY PALAMAS(c.1296-1359), Bishop of THESSALONICA.
MOUNTAIN People love to climb a mountain, and we talk about mountain top experiences. In the Old Testament Mount Moriah was where Abraham was ready to offer his son as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:2). That was where he had shared bread and wine with Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18). And there the temple of SOLOMONwas built (2 Chronicles 3:1). The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. On the same site the Muslim Dome of the Rock was built (about 700 AD) and still stands to divide Jews and Arabs. HOREB was the mountain where Moses was called to lead his people out of slavery (Exodus 3:1). And he received the TEN COMMANDMENTS there (Deuteronomy 4:10, 5:2). The people arrived at Mount SINAI three months later (Exodus 19:1- 2, which I locate across the Gulf of Aquaba in Arabia, Galatians 4:25), and there Moses gave the detailed ordinances of the Mosaic law (Exodus 21:1-23:23) which was sealed in blood (Exodus 24:7-8), and which some Orthodox Jews still try to obey. Moses saw the promised land from Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1). On Mount Carmel Elijah challenged and decimated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19, 40). In the New Testament Jesus gave us the SERMON ON THE MOUNT and was transfigured probably on Mount Hermon (see Matthew 4:8, 5:1, 15:29, 17:1, 28:16).
MUHAMMAD (c.570-632) was born in Mecca, and traveled as a merchant to Syria and Lebanon where he may have come into contact with the UNITARIAN view of God that was taught by Paul of Samosata (who in 260 AD became Bishop of Antioch). He was certainly influenced by Jewish and Christian teaching. He commended the books of Moses, the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament Gospels (injil), but later said they were changed and corrupted.. He also believed in Jesus's virginal conception as son of Mary, and his future return as Judge, but denied Jesus' crucifixion. He thought that Christians believed in three gods, the Father, the Son, and Mary. He married a Christian widow named Khadijah, by whom he had a daughter Fatima. It was after the death of Khadijah that he began to receive the revelations (610 AD) which became the QUR'AN. He was able to weld the many Arab warring tribes into a nation (as children of ISHMAEL) which became a formidable fighting force that took Jerusalem (637), and moved across North Africa and into Spain (712) to the gates of Paris where they were defeated at the Battle of Tours (732).
MULLER, George (1805-98) trained for Christian ministry at Halle, Germany but lived a wild life till his conversion in 1825. He came to London in 1829, and the next year joined the PLYMOUTH BRETHREN. Believing that God could provide all that was needed to care for orphans, he moved to Ashley Down near Bristol, and eventually had 2000 children under his care (see ORPHANS). He relied on voluntary contributions, but he never asked for money, and there are astonishing accounts of how the children never missed a meal. After the death of his wife, he handed over the work to his daughter and her husband James Wright, and set out at the age of 70 with his second wife on a seventeen year preaching tour establishing brethren assemblies in Europe, the United States, Australia, India and China. He came back to die in Bristol
MULTICULTURALISM For fear of being called racist, people in Canada and many parts of Europe have welcomed immigrants from other religious backgrounds. There is no problem if Hindus want to celebrate diwali and Jews put up lights for hanukka. But we should object if anyone says we cannot celebrate Christmas in our schools or mention Jesus' name in a national ceremony. Even more ominous is our welcoming of those who intend to bring our nation under their religion. An essential part of ISLAM is the idea of Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) which implies to a Muslim the extension of Islam to the whole world. And in thousands of mosques fundamentalist mullahs preach that this must be done by JIHAD (holy war) including the use of any means to achieve that (see Reviews STEIN). If any mullah or writer promotes that idea in Canada, a one way ticket to a country where that is the official religion would be a priority use of my tax dollars. When I voted for Pierre Trudeau I thought multiculturalism meant people in Quebec should speak French, Scottish Canadians would be allowed to wear kilts and eat haggis, and our Caribbean friends could celebrate Caribana down Yonge Street in Toronto. I still think those are good ideas. But if multiculturalism is going to result in Shari'a law for my great-grandchildren in Canada, I was horribly and very dangerously wrong.
MURDER Jesus gave us three ways of murdering people without actually killing them. Murderous anger is written all over a person's face, and it is very destructive. The word raca means "That's it, I will never bother with you again. You are a non-person. You might as well be dead." The most hurtful is to be treated as an idiot, whose opinions are not worth bothering with (Matthew 5:21-22). All three ways of murdering can be seen in any school playground. "I hate you . . . I will never talk to you again . . . Mary is retarded, Mary is retarded." And we are all tempted in those directions throughout life. Jesus' prescription is "first be reconciled to your brother or sister . . . come to terms quickly with your adversary" (Matthew 5:23-26). That prevents murder from taking root in our heart. The alternatives are very dangerous.
MUSES The ancient Greeks
all agreed that no one could produce great art, music, literature or poetry
without the inspiration given by one of the Muses. In Greek mythology the Muses
were described as the daughters of Zeus and Mnymosyne. There was a Muse for
astronomy (Urania) or writing history (Clio), others for music (Euterpe), sacred
song (Polyhymnia) and dance (Terpsichore) , comedy (Thalia) and tragedy (Melpomene),
even Love poetry (Erato). Both HOMER and
MILTON called upon the Muse for creating epic poetry (Calliope). In the
New Testament the HOLY SPIRIT is the
giver of all creativity and inspiration (Ephesians 3:16-19, 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Evidently the Holy Spirit was not concerned that the Greeks gave the names of
beautiful ladies for the different kinds of inspiration that he is willing to
give for the asking. People of any race or language can do this in their own
words, and the Spirit does not say "You have got the wrong number" if we use the
wrong name. Anybody genuinely conscious of his or her human limitations has a
right to ask for wisdom from on high (James 3:15-17 ). On the other hand
much of what is said, and written, and done by self-confident people who think
they are inspired, turns out to be vicious and harmful. And because humans are
fallible, a writer can be truly inspired with great creativity but make mistakes
in the way the ideas are worked out.
MUSIC Birds and whales sing for joy, and call their mates. Humans sing in the shower. And when they fall in love. But we also make music at weddings, coronations, festivals, and to encourage soldiers into battle. There is also the music of worship. "Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!" (Psalms 150:3-6). Evidently the psalm writer views a person without the music of worship as missing out on the greatest of human joys. Which is why the apostle said "with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God" (Colossians 3:16).
MUSLIM Those who recite the Creed "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Apostle of God" (and therefore accept the QUR'ANas the revelation of God) are Muslims (followers of ISLAM). Their heart and center is in Mecca, where MUHAMMADbegan to receive the revelations which became the QUR'AN. Most Muslims are ARABS, but there are millions who come from other racial backgrounds in Turkey, countries to the south of Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and North America. As in Christendom, there are two main groupings of Muslims (SHIA and SUNNI), and there is a long tradition of SUFIS(mystics). The BAHAIhave islamic origins but they proclaim a peaceful toleration of all religions.
MUSLIM PRAYER Muslims are required to pray (salat) five times a day facing Mecca. The invitation to prayer is given by a muezzin from the minaret of a MOSQUE. The call which is given in Arabic has seven parts of which the English translation is::
1 God is the greatest (4 x)
2 I bear witness that there is no God but Allah (2x)
3 I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (2x)
4 Come to prayer (2x)
5 Come to success (2x
6 God is the greatest (2x)
7 There is no God but Allah (once)
The worshipers, wherever they are, follow a sequence of seven postures, including standing, bowing, kneeling, and sitting-kneeling, each of which has prescribed words to be said in Arabic.
Except in some groups such as the SUFIS,
there is no conversational prayer, as in the typically Christian prayer
of a child of God and his or her heavenly Father.
MUTUALITY The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines the word "mutual" as referring to feelings, actions, etc. experienced or done by each of two or more parties to or toward the other. In the context of Paul's vision of MARRIAGE, Mutuality we prefer to define mutuality as a total respect for the needs and longings of the other. This includes sexual intercourse (1 Corinthians 7:3). There was authority over each other's bodily health and happiness (7:4). Prayer together was important (7:5). A decision to separate for a time should be by mutual agreement (7:10-13). There was a concern for each other's holiness (wholeness) and the happiness of the children (7:14). But both had the right to remarry if a divorce had taken place (7:15). And concern for each other's spiritual good was essential (7:16). But mutuality does not mean EQUALITY. You can have equal pay for equal work, but there is no way a couple can have an exact equality in childbirth, the raising of children, or the various household chores. Mutuality requires celebration of differences in a family oneness. We might compare the mutuality of love between the three Persons of the TRINITY.
MYANMAR In 1962 a military junta took over what used to be called BURMA. The next year (1963) English was replaced by Burmese as the language of government. BUDDHISM was made the official religion, and it became an arm of the government (see CHURCH AND STATE). General Saw Maung imposed martial law (1988) and changed the name of the country to Myanmar. A democratic movement led by Aung Sa Suu Kyi (born 1945), and her National League for Democracy (NLD), won a two thirds majority the 1990 elections. But Suu Kyi was was not allowed to govern, She was given the Nobel Peace Prize (1991), but she was kept under house arrest by the military. After much opposition, she was released in 1995, but not allowed to take over leadership of the NLD. On May 4, 2003 the military government freed 18 political prisoners including 12 members of Suu Kyi's democratic party (kept out of office for 13 years). Meanwhile the Karen, Kachin, and other hill tribes (forming about 10% of the population of Myanmar) had opposed the military who tried to control them. Many of these tribal people are Christians, and they would welcome FREEDOM OF RELIGION in a secular state. Particularly irksome was the government's emergency order # 288 which prohibited meetings of more than five people in a public place.
MYSIA Among the Jews present on the Day of Pentecost were some from "CAPPADOCIA,PONTUS, ASIA MINOR, PHRYGIA, and PAMPHYLIA (Acts 2:9). Some of these must have taken the good news of Jesus the Messiah back to Mysia, the province west of Pontus in north-west Turkey. During his second overseas missionary journey Paul, accompanied by Silas, and joined by Timothy traveled across present-day Turkey. They intended to go straight west on the main road to Ephesus. But they were "forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia" so they turned north to the east of Mysia, and "attempted to go into BITHYNIA, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so passing by Mysia they went down to Troas" (Acts 16:6-8). We do not know if Paul and his team planted a church in Mysia, but there were flourishing churches there by 185 AD.