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What is the key point of the New Testament (or perhaps the whole Bible)?


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#41 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:53 PM

Well, I have been unable to find a clear statement in the Fathers that says, verbatim, that the centrally highlighted "office" of Christ in the New Testament is His Kingship.  However, I am unsure that there would be such a quote.  Not a tremendous amount really hinges on this point, since obviously Christ is infinitely more than a King, a fact I greatly appreciate.  One of my favorite Orthodox writings is the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus, from which one cannot help but get extremely excited about the multiplicity of His traits...they are indeed incalculable.   I can say, however, that Father Hopko says this in perhaps as many words - that is certain.  While he is not a church Father, or a Saint, he is clearly speaking from an advanced Orthodox perspective.  In preparing this lesson for my church, I remembered that Father Hopko has a series on the names of Christ, and so I listed to it to see what he thought.  You can read a wonderful transcript of his teaching on this here:  http://www.ancientfa...esus_-_the_king

 

He does clearly state the centrality of this point in scripture, but he stops just barely short of saying it is "the most important".  He almost says it, but stops himself!  

 

This is the Christian worldview. This is the Gospel. This is the understanding. So we could actually say—I think it would not be wrong to say—that perhaps the term “the King” is probably, biblically, the most—I wouldn’t say it’s the most important title for Jesus, because it’s synonymous with “God’s Son” and it’s synonymous with “Lord” and it’s synonymous with “Christ.” God’s Son, the Lord, the Christ, is the King and has to be the King. And then the King has to be the Savior, which is why Jesus is named “Jesus,” which means “Savior.”

 

He never does finish the sentence..."the most..."  In listening and reading to his lesson, you can discern, though, that he is saying it is the most prevalent theme in the Bible.  I do not intend to put words in his mouth, but I am confident that is how he would have finished the sentence...if he had.  If the teaching of the Kingship of Jesus Christ (well, and the Kingship of God in general) is the central theme of Scripture, that does not in any sense make it the most "important" (as Fr Hopko says above).  No trait is more or less important, they cannot be...because God is not "more or less" anything.  The question, in the original post, was simply related to the key point, or key theme, of Scripture (or at least the NT)...not which was or was not the most "important".  Emphasis doesn't really ever indicate importance, since importance is circumstantial or subjective.  It appears that the emphasis is on God/Christ's Kingship in the New Testament, because of the announcement of the Reign of God, or of the Kingdom of God having come was the central message...emphasis on that point in the Bible does not detract from, say, Christ as Savior...since obviously if it were not for Jesus as Savior, we would have a very different future, well, and a very different King.



#42 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:57 PM

Brad D. allow me a reminder: Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7). Melchizedek was a priest and king. In fact the kings of ancient times were ex officio both priests and prophets.

 

Today the kingship is mainly regarded as one of the state institutions, but in ancient times kingship was a metaphysical institution - for this roman emperors persecuted Christianity. This is also the reason for God order Jews not to enact a kingdom with royal seat. 

 

Dually noted.  Christ is most certainly Priest, and King, and Prophet, and Provider, and Shepherd, and Savior, and so much more!  



#43 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 05:24 PM

Strangely, I am unable to edit my post above....it usually lets me?  Please add the following correction:

 

Where I said:

 he stops just barely short of saying it is "the most important".

 

I meant he stops short of saying it is the most prevalent or most emphasized.  He clearly says in the next line it is not the most important...my type.  



#44 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 06:25 PM

You can read a wonderful transcript of his teaching on this here:  http://www.ancientfa...esus_-_the_king

 

What strikes me about this "teaching" is the total absence of patristic references, save for an inconsequential mention of St Athanasius and St Basil. It is all Fr Thomas's (and in the Orthodox Church, we call priests 'Father' and Christian name, not 'Father' and surname - and I don't appreciate the website calling him 'Fr Tom': do we refer to 'Saint Tom'?) take on the Bible. He may be right - but I don't know unless patristic references are given, and none are. I like some of the things Fr Thomas has written, but not everything he publishes can be accepted uncritically.



#45 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 06:33 PM

I would say his mention of Moses, Samuel, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Mary, Stephen, and Paul would count as Patristic references :)  But, I do know very well what you mean.  I am unsure if he quotes the Fathers in his other lessons in that particular series.  I believe that specific series is pointed directly at Scripture, and how Scripture reveals Christ in many different names.

 

And, thanks for the correction.  I did not know there was a "right" way to say a priest's name.  I would say that, as far as him being called Tom goes, it is a fond term of endearment, and perhaps he has authorized or suggested it?  My actual name is Bradford, but I would hate someone calling me Pastor Bradford!!  :)



#46 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:21 PM

I would say his mention of Moses, Samuel, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Mary, Stephen, and Paul would count as Patristic references 

 

No, these are scriptural references. Patristic references would be from the Holy Spirit-bearing Fathers of the Church. The Church, by the Holy Spirit, has vouchsafed to us the deposit of patristic exegesis since we are not to interpret scripture according to our own thoughts.



#47 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:25 PM

But, I do know very well what you mean.  I am unsure if he quotes the Fathers in his other lessons in that particular series. 

 

Yes I know what you meant...was just kidding around.  :)



#48 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:27 PM

My actual name is Bradford, but I would hate someone calling me Pastor Bradford!! 

 

Why, if that is your name?  In the Orthodox tradition, we have the name of a saint (or a feast or collection of saints) whom we honour. It is not honouring the saint whose name we bear to abbreviate our name as the world would do. Would it be endearing for me to enter the cathedral of St Andrew in Patras and call my patron saint, 'Andy'? If that would dishonour him, I would similarly dishonour him if I called myself, 'Andy'.



#49 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:04 PM

That is an excellent point.  Hadn't thought about Thomas being a Saint's name.  I'd say it is just a colloquial fumble, rather than something particularly/intentionally disrespectful.  

 

For my part, it is because anybody that has ever really known me, has called me Brad.  So, to a certain extent, my name is Brad, not Bradford...depending on perspective, of course.  Actually my first name is Gregg, and so I go by half of my middle name!  I always know when someone I don't know is calling, because they will ask for "Gregg"!



#50 Lakis Papas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:06 PM

One of the main prayers to the Holy Spirit is the following:

 

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls , O Good One.


Edited by Lakis Papas, 11 December 2013 - 08:07 PM.


#51 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:10 PM

Well, naturally, God as Trinity is King!  I always loved how the daily prayers open with that prayer to the Holy Spirit.  What a wonderful reminder of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.






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