For By Faith…

Written By Victor Stanley Jr.

In Romans 3:21-4:25 the Apostle Paul presents an argument that, at the time, was radical, especially to his Jewish readers.[1] He states that the righteousness of God has not only been manifested in the here and now, but that it has been manifested apart from the law. Looking back at chapter 2 we see that the Jews believed that they were justified by being members of the covenant community via circumcision and obedience to the law, that is that these were the outward signs of those who belonged to the covenant.[2] And in the first half of chapter 3 Paul levels the playing field by showing that no one, Jew or Greek, is righteous. Continue reading “For By Faith…”

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The Full Gospel

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

The Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10 asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus first response was that the man must keep the law. The young ruler said that he had done this, so Jesus then tells him to sell all that he has and give it to the poor and to come follow him. The young ruler walked away distraught because he had many possessions. Again in Matthew 16 Jesus says to his disciples that whoever loses their life for Christ’s sake will find it. Both of these exchanges reveal something about what it means to follow Christ. One must deny him or herself and be willing to commit their entire life to Christ in order to inherit the Kingdom of God, more commonly referred to as Heaven. Continue reading “The Full Gospel”

Scientology As A Worldview

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

In February 1954 the Church of Scientology was incorporated in California by L. Ron Hubbard.[1] While this date marks the beginning of the Church of Scientology, it does not denote the beginning of Hubbard’s efforts to start a religion. Those efforts begin in May 1950 with the publication of Hubbard’s book Dianetics, which means through the soul, and is claimed to be a science of the mind,[2] laid the groundwork for what would become Scientology. Scientology, like many religions, and specifically Buddhism, offers an explanation to humankind’s suffering, as well as a means to alleviate said suffering. Continue reading “Scientology As A Worldview”

Leadership & The Imago Dei Part II

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

Introduction

 

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leadership is often thought of as a one-time event or opportunity, but it is actually a process over time that requires implementing methodology, building structure, and fostering relationships. Leadership requires that there be a group of individuals, known as followers, being led. The role of the leader is to motivate, mobilize, and equip his or her followers towards a shared vision, and the role of the follower is to buy into and carry out the vision presented by the leader. This means honoring and submitting to the authority of the leader, as well as having the freedom to purposefully contribute to the team.

The relationship between the leader and the follower should be based on clear boundaries, trust, and value. Continue reading “Leadership & The Imago Dei Part II”

Christian Leadership: The Good Shepherd

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.*

Ezekiel 34 paints a picture of the wicked and unfaithful shepherds over Israel. These shepherds misled the people and took advantage of them. They allowed the “sheep” to remain weak, lost, sick, and desolate, only taking care of themselves and gaining off of the spiritual destruction of the children of Israel. In John 10 Jesus says that the shepherd who came before him were thieves who came only to kill and destroy which is what God accused the leaders of Israel of in Ezekiel 34. These shepherds Jesus speaks of in John 10 abandoned the sheep and left them to be devoured by wolves, again the shepherds over Israel are said to do the same thing in verse 5 of Ezekiel 34. So both passages show the failure of those God appointed over his people prior to Christ’s coming. Continue reading “Christian Leadership: The Good Shepherd”

Leadership & The Gospel

Written By Victor Stanley Jr.

Christian leaders must always look to scripture as the basis for leadership. With the focal point of scripture being the gospel, it only makes sense to consider what implications the gospel has with regard to leadership. For most Christians the gospel consists of the story or message of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection along with the fact of him being God. Furthermore, it teaches that belief in this message brings about the moment of salvation, which is the conversion of an unbeliever. However, this view of the gospel is narrow in that it leaves out the bulk of the teachings found in the New Testament writings of the Apostles and the teachings of Jesus.  Continue reading “Leadership & The Gospel”

The Beginnings of Leadership

Written By Victor Stanley Jr.

Most Christian leaders would agree that they should look to Jesus as the example of a perfect leader. However, to truly understand what it means to lead like Christ, one must consider the theological implications of several doctrines. Three such doctrines that should inform a person’s idea of leadership are: man and the imago dei, the kingship of Christ, and the Trinity. While many begin a discussion on leadership by discussing the character traits of great leaders, how to cultivate those traits, and strategies for putting those traits to work, the Christian should start with two questions: who is God, and who is man. Continue reading “The Beginnings of Leadership”

Buddhism, The Four Noble Truths, & Christianity

Written By Victor Stanley Jr.

Introduction

Buddhism is a religion birth out of Hinduism in India; it was founded in the 5th century B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Buddha, and subsequently spread throughout the East Asian continent. In the latter half of the twentieth century it began to spread rapidly in the United States. It is a difficult religion to understand because it is very syncretistic, and as a result lacks objective concrete doctrines to analyze, understand, and refute. This fact, combined with the many forms of Buddhism that exist, means that there is no formula or strict method for engaging and evangelizing a Buddhist. Continue reading “Buddhism, The Four Noble Truths, & Christianity”

A Look Into Buddhism

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

Introduction

In March 2015 I along with several students from my class visited the Dharmapala Kadampa Buddhist Center in Roanoke, Virginia. While there we sat through a meditation service led by one of the student teachers at the Center. This service was very informative with regard to the worldview held by Buddhists. The Center we visited happened to follow in the tradition of Kadampa Buddhism, which is a subset of Mahayana Buddhism, which in turn is the largest sect of Buddhism in the world. Certain forms of Buddhism popular in America, such as Tibetan and Zen, belong to the Mahayana tradition; it is likely that most Buddhists one encounters in the U.S. practice this tradition. Continue reading “A Look Into Buddhism”