Monday, February 23, 2015

Standing By My Side - Part 2

Hello Grafted In Reader,
Today remains bitter cold outdoors in my corner of blogland, and is Monday, February 23. The weekend was busy enough. My wife and I had a quiet Shabbat and made our own dinner theater of sorts, as we had French Onion Soup (homemade) while listening to the public radio broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" online. I enjoy most of the music and online narratives created by Garrison Keillor and the acting company along with guests that make up each two-hour show. The focus was somewhat on the winter season, and it along with all the other seasons are something humanly shared.

On Sunday, I ran across an article that talked of about 1,000 Muslim youth holding a peaceful demonstration outside a synagogue in Oslo, Norway. They were quietly denouncing the terrorist activity effecting their lives and those of others in Denmark and across Europe. Norway is said to have a Jewish population of about 1300 citizens in a country of about 5.17 million. To me it demonstrates God cares about the great among us and the small among us.

For pleasure I started reading a 2001 novel by fiction writer, Elizabeth McCracken titled "Niagara Falls All Over Again". It is a lighthearted bio, fictional account, of two men who form a comedy team in the 1930s that ultimately breaks up after a 30-year run due to an ongoing tension. There are serious incidents within the pages, but overall quite entertaining and enjoyable.

It is my custom to bid us Kevod Yeheveh, Hebrew, meaning - the presence of God, and I generally add a further notation. The presence of God be at our side today and always.
Thank you for your visit and comments!
Mellow Roc

Thursday, February 19, 2015

*** 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Hello Grafted In Readers!
My blog post for Friday, February 20, 2015, is somewhat monumental. I am joining about 1000 other human beings around the world who are speaking for compassion. So as to blend with the ensomble, I present a definition for compassion, and hope we can all make that a part of our personal portfolio before others.
Definition of Compassion from online dictionary:
"Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others."
Synonyms for Compassion: empathy, fellow-feeling, care, concern, solicisutude, sensitivty and warmth.
Compassion Quote from Brainyquote.com
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion." Dalai Lama
"The Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of Adonai) is upon me; because Adonai has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to them who are bruised; and the opening of prison to them who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our G-d. Comfort all that mourn." Hebrew Scriptures Isaiah 61.

Mellow Roc

Monday, February 16, 2015

Standing By Your side part 1 - acoustic - Mustered Courage

Hello Grafted In Reader,
Today is February 16 in my corner of blog land, and also a national Federal Holiday called Presidents' Day here in the USA. We are also in a deep chill as temperatures continue to barely reach the above zero temperature. Spring is six weeks away and the marketers are already starting to promote spring clothing, spring improvements for the home, spring training for Major and Miner League Baseball, and so it goes.
I have been reading a collection of short stories by author Elizabeth McCracken, and working on a couple myself for submission to a couple different venues.

Later this week, I am excited to join 1,000 other blogging voices encouraging us all to exude some kindness, compassion, and caring in our lives; less crankiness! That will be posted Friday February 20. Look for info on line by typing "1000 voices speak for compassion" for an overview of this project.

I better fill my coffee cup, and get working on some things here. Thanks for reading, and occasionally letting me know about it.
Kevod Yeheveh, His Presence be warm and real to you today,
Mellow Roc

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Historic Figure, Andreas Karlstadt Reformer and Sabbatarian

Hello Grafted in Reader,
In less than 2 weeks, much of Western Christianity will enjoy a 6-week period known as Lent. In purpose, this period is similar to the Jewish month of Elul, late summer before the High Holidays. Repentance, doing charitable deeds for others, and cleaning up one's life before God are the three overriding themes of this Catholic tradition. One pious figure overlooked is Andreas Karlstadt who was a contemporary and sometimes opponent of the revered Martin Luther.
Below is a post from "Signs Of The Times.org" which acquaints one with this nearly forgotten believer and 16th century vocal reformer.
Enjoy the article.
From the time of Martin Luther, all the great leaders of the Protestant Reformation espoused and preached four great statements of belief:

◗ sola fide—only by faith
◗ sola Christus—only by Jesus Christ
◗ sola Scriptura—only by the authority of Scripture
◗ sola gratia—only by grace.

These four statements became the foundation of the Reformation—preached, believed and shown to be the basis of the salvation of every person.

Martin Luther came to the forefront of the Reformation after his solitary stand against the emperor and the established church when he was called to account for his “heresy” at the German city of Worms in 1521.

His famous closing words still echo today: “As long as my conscience is bound by the Word of God, I cannot, and will not recant, because acting against conscience is unsafe and threatens salvation. God help me. Amen.”
Andreas Karlstadt
Another great personality in the Reformation at the time of Luther was Andreas Rudolph Bodenstein von Karlstadt, more commonly known as Andreas Karlstadt. Born around the same time as Luther, it was Karlstadt who, as chancellor of the University of Wittenberg, conferred on Luther a doctorate of theology degree in 1512. In 1515 and 1516 Karlstadt went to Rome, where he earned a double degree in canon and civil law. However, while he was there, he saw firsthand the widespread corruption in the church and felt compelled to write a series of 151 theses.

At first, Karlstadt opposed Luther’s views on salvation. However, the year that Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Karlstadt accepted salvation by grace through faith. He did this on the basis of what he read in the Bible.

Karlstadt had a great mind and was well versed in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Luther described him as “a man of unequalled wisdom” and acknowledged him to be his academic superior—at least when Karlstadt agreed with him! However, when Karlstadt disagreed with him, Luther could also call him “an incarnate devil”!

Karlstadt may well have been the first to expound on the belief in sola Scriptura. He became famous for his continual use of the words “But the Bible says . . .” In 1520 he wrote a treatise, titled “On the Canonical Scriptures,” in which he argued that the Holy Spirit speaks to the church through the words of the Bible. Certainly he wanted a complete return to the binding authority of the Bible.

Karlstadt also emphasised the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16: “all Scripture is God-breathed” (italics added). In this, he differed from Martin Luther in that Karlstadt affirmed the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. To Karlstadt, the Law of Moses was still binding, while Luther had a strong aversion to a legal and Judaising religion. Luther is also known to have stated that the book of James was an “epistle of sin” and that it should not have been included in the canon of Scripture.
Johann Eck
In 1519 the differences in the understanding of Luther and Karlstadt became apparent. Johann Eck, who was a staunch defender of Catholicism, challenged Karlstadt to a debate in Leipzig. While Luther wasn’t invited, he came anyway and made a presentation. Eck was renowned for his great memory and loud voice and personal presence, while Karlstadt was of lesser stature than Luther, with a ruddy complexion and a thick and unpleasant voice.

Over the week, Karlstadt was in a hot debate with Eck. Then Luther entered the fray. Eck managed to push Luther into a corner and got him to agree with some of the teachings of John Wycliffe and John Huss. This gave Eck the ammunition he needed to go to Rome and get an order for Luther to be excommunicated.
the Sabbath question
Luther insisted on the Bible being the sole authority for all his teachings, but Eck challenged him on one point: sola Scriptura versus the authority of the Roman church and the pope.

Eck stunned Luther with this challenge: “If, however the Church has had power to change the Sabbath of the commandment into Sunday and to command Sunday keeping, why should it not have this power concerning other [holy] days? If you . . . turn from the Church to the Scriptures alone, then you must keep the Sabbath [Saturday] with the Jews, which has been kept from the beginning of the world.”

Karlstadt must have been greatly impressed by this challenge, because from then on he strongly advocated the observance of the Sabbath on Saturday. His staunch support for the Sabbath caused Luther to write, “If Karlstadt were to write further about the Sabbath, Sunday would have to give way and the Sabbath—that is to say, Saturday—must be kept holy.”

Luther, mighty Reformation warrior though he was, was not one to continue to advance Karlstadt’s beliefs further, despite the evidence found in Scripture.

Interestingly, in an article titled “Sunday,” the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge mentions that Luther’s only excuse for avoiding the observance of the Sabbath on Saturday was “to avoid the unnecessary disturbance which [such] an innovation would occasion, it [therefore] should continue to be Sunday.”

For all his faults, Karlstadt deserves much more acclaim for his dedicated elevation of the Scriptures than many other Reformers of his time.

the Bible issue
While all this was going on, the issue of sola Scriptura continued to aggravate the church in Rome, as it directly countered its claim of authority to interpret the Bible. The advent of the printing press had made the Bible and the writings of the Reformers readily available throughout Europe. Even some Roman priests thought that the Bible should have a more authoritative place in the church.

Finally the Council of Trent was called. Its many sessions were held over nearly 19 years. One of the issues that the Roman church wanted to counter was the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura. Thus, on January 18, 1562, Gaspar del Fosso, the archbishop of Reggio, presented the same argument that Eck had used against Luther.

He said, “The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only. They profess to hold the Scripture alone as the standard point of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the church has apostatised from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestants’ claim that they stand upon the written word only is not true. Their profession of holding the Scripture alone as the standard of faith is false!”

His proof of this statement lay in the fact that the written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. However, Protestants did not observe the seventh day, as they should if they held the Scriptures alone as their standard. Instead, they rejected it.

Del Fosso went on to argue that “[Protestants] not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the church.”
remembering Karlstadt
Even today, Karlstadt is readily and often written off, even ridiculed, and his great intellect and wisdom in recognising the crucial issues of sola Scriptura and Sabbath observance have been ignored.

But Karlstadt followed his beliefs logically, placing the authority of Scripture where it should be, while the failure of other Reformers to do likewise undermined everything else they stood for, as evidenced at the Council of Trent.

God’s Word should be placed above all human laws, traditions and interpretations. And the best way to understand that is to look to Jesus, who left us His example of both observing the Sabbath of Scripture and honouring it according to the Commandments.
Published in the May 2014 issue
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Mellow Roc