Archive for November, 2010

26
Nov
10

“Gift” in the Old Testament

Finding a parallel for “charism” in the Old Testament is not easy.  One way is to look at various words translated “gift” in English Bibles.  Using the same categories I found in the NT, I found a very different set of uses for “gift” in the older Testament.

First of all, if we think of the commonly assumed meaning of “charisms” – diversity of gifts given to believers – we find that there are only a few references, and even those are open to other interpretations.  The vast majority of occurences of “gifts” in the OT relate to religious offerings and gifts exchanged between humans.    There are no occurrences describing salvation as a gift, though there are a few terms which seem to imply “blessing.”

What is perhaps significant with relation to the question of ecclesial charisms, however, are the three references in Romans which describe the Levites (8:19 and 18:16) and the service of priesthood (18:7) as gifts.  As far as I’ve seen, these are the only references which imply that a particular group within the people of God is itself a gift of God for the benefit of the whole.   Their functional specialization also coheres well with the idea of specialized movements which are raised up around a particular gift that brings with it a vocational obligation.

BLESSING

REF HEB MEANING
Genesis 30:20 zebed good gift (of a son)
Num. 8:19 nathan Levites given as a gift to Aaron & sons
Num. 18:6 mattanah Levites as gift for Israel to perform service at tent of mtg
Num. 18:7 mattanah service of the priesthood given as a gift to Aaron and sons
Deut.     33:15 NA gifts of the ancient mountains
Deut.     33:16 NA gifts of the earth
Psalm 127:3 nachalah children are a gift of the Lord
Eccl.  3:13 mattath a man’s labour is the gift of God
Eccl. 5:19 mattath a man’s labour is the gift of God

DIVERSITY OF GIFTS GIVEN BY GOD TO BELIEVERS

REF HEB MEANING
Num. 8:19 nathan Levites given as a gift to Aaron & sons
Num. 18:6 mattanah Levites as gift for Israel to perform service at tent of mtg
Num. 18:7 mattanah service of the priesthood given as a gift to Aaron and sons
Eccl.  3:13 mattath a man’s labour is the gift of God
Eccl. 5:19 mattath a man’s labour is the gift of God

RELIGIOUS OFFERING

REF HEB MEANING
Exodus 28:38 mattanah holy gifts
Leviticus 22:2 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Leviticus 22:3 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Leviticus 22:4 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Leviticus 22:6 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Leviticus 22:7 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:10 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:12 terumah gift / offering
Lev.       22:12 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:14 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:14 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:15 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:16 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Lev.       22:18 NA gift for a burnt offering
Lev.       23:38 mattanah gifts / offering
Numbers 5:9 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Numbers 5:10 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Numbers 7:3 qorban gifts / offering
Numbers 18:8 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Numbers 18:9 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Num.     18:10 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Num.     18:11 mattan gift / offering
Num.     18:19 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
Num.     18:29 mattanah gifts / offering
Num.     18:32 qadosh holy (gifts / things)
Num.     31:52 terumah gift / offering
Deut.     12:6 terumah special gifts / offerings
Deut.    12:11 terumah special gifts / offerings
Deut.    12:17 terumah special gifts / offerings
Deut.    16:17 mattanah gift / offering
1 Samuel 6:3 NA gift offering
1 Samuel 9:7 teshurah gift to take to the man of God
2 Kings 12:18 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
1 Chro.  26:20 qodesh dedicated gifts
1 Chro.  26:26 qodesh dedicated gifts
2 Chro.  31:6 qodesh holy (gifts / things)
2 Chro.  31:12 terumah contributions
2 Chro.  31:12 qodesh dedicated gifts
2 Chro.  31:14 terumah contributions
2 Chro.  31:14 qodesh dedicated gifts
2 Chro.  32:23 minchah gift / offering
Ezra 1:6 migdanah valuable gifts for the rebuilding of the Temple
Psalm 45:12 minchah gift for the King from daughter of Tyre
Psalm 68:18 mattanah ascended God receiving gifts from people
Psalm 68:29 shay kings will bring gifts to you
Psalm 72:10 minchah gifts for the King from kings of Tarshish and Islands
Psalm 72:10 eshkar gifts brought to the King from kings of Sheba and Seba
Psalm 76:11 shay let all around bring gifts for the Lord, who is to be feared
Isaiah 18:7 shay a gift of homage will b brought to the Lord
Ezekiel 20:26 mattanah idolatrous offering of passing sons through fire
Ezekiel 20:31 mattanah idolatrous offering of passing sons through fire
Ezekiel 20:39 mattanah idolatrous offerings will no longer profane my name
Ezekiel 20:40 maseth on holy mountain God will seek the people’s gifts
Ezekiel 44:30 terumah offerings / special gifts
Ezekiel 45:13 terumah offerings / special gifts
Ezekiel 48:8 terumah offerings / special gifts
Ezekiel 48:12 terumiyyah special gift
Ezekiel 48:12 terumah sacred portion
Ezekiel 48:12 qodesh most holy (portion)
Ezekiel 48:20 terumah special gift
Ezekiel 48:20 qodesh sacred (portion)
Ezekiel 48:20 terumah (sacred) portion
Hosea 8:13 habhab idolatrous sacrificial gifts
Micah 1:7 ethnan idolatrous temple gifts
Micah 1:7 ethnan idolatrous gifts
Micah 1:7 ethnan wages of prostitutes

GIFTS EXCHANGED BETWEEN HUMANS

REF HEB MEANING
Genesis 24:53 migdanah costly gifts
Genesis 25:6 mattanah gifts for sons of Abraham’s concubines
Genesis 32:13 minchah gift for Esau
Genesis 32:18 minchah gift for Esau
Genesis 32:20 minchah gift for Esau
Genesis 32:21 minchah gift for Esau
Genesis 33:10 minchah gift for Esau
Genesis 33:11 berakah gift for Esau
Genesis 34:12 mattan bridal gift
Genesis 43:11 minchah gift for Joseph
Genesis 43:15 minchah gifts for Joseph
Genesis 43:25 minchah gifts for Joseph
Genesis 43:26 minchah gifts for Joseph
1 Sam.  10:27 minchah gifts for Saul
1 Sam.  25:27 berakah gift for David
1 Sam.  30:26 berakah gift for David
2 Samuel 11:8 maseth gift for Uriah
1 Kings 9:16 shilluchim wedding gift for Solomon’s daughter
1 Kings 10:25 minchah gifts brought to Solomon from other nations
1 Kings 13:7 mattath gift for man of God
1 Kings 15:19 shochad gift between kings
2 Kings 5:15 berakah gift for Elisha
2 Kings 8:8 minchah gift for Elisha
2 Kings 8:9 minchah gift for Elisha
2 Kings 16:8 shochad gift for the King of Assyria
2 Kings 20:12 minchah gift for Hezekiah
2 Chro.  9:24 minchah gifts brought to Solomon from other nations
2 Chro.  17:5 minchah gifts for Jehoshaphat from all Judah
2 Chro.  17:11 minchah gifts for Jehoshaphat from Philistines, Arabians
2 Chro.  21:3 mattanah gifts from King to sons
Esther 2:18 maseth gifts from the King to the people
Esther 9:22 mattanah gifts to the poor
Psalm 45:12 minchah gift for the King from daughter of Tyre
Psalm 72:10 minchah gifts for the King from kings of Tarshish and Islands
Psalm 72:10 eshkar gifts brought to the King from kings of Sheba and Seba
Psalm 112:9 nathan the righteous have freely scattered their gifts to the poor
Proverbs 6:35 shochad scorned husband accepts no gifts (bribe)
Prov. 18:16 mattan a man’s gift makes room for him
Proverbs 19:6 mattan all are a friend to he who gives gifts
Prov.  21:14 mattan a gift given in secret subdues anger
Prov. 22:16 nathan one who gives gifts to the rich comes to poverty
Prov.  25:14 mattath one who boasts falsely is like clouds without rain
Isaiah 1:23 shochad your rulers chase after gifts
Isaiah 39:1 minchah gifts for Hezekiah
Jeremiah 40:5 maseth gift for captain of the bodyguard
Ezekiel 16:33 nedeh men give gifts to harlots
Ezekiel 16:33 nadan you give gifts to all your lovers
Ezekiel 46:16 mattanah gift from prince to his sons – inheritance
Ezekiel 46:17 mattanah gift from prince to his servants – temporary until jubilee
Daniel 2:6 mattena king offers Daniel gifts
Daniel 2:48 mattena king gives Daniel gifts
Daniel 5:17 mattena Daniel refuses king’s gifts
Daniel 11:38 yaqar (Antiochus) will offer costly gifts to foreign god
Micah 1:14 shilluchim parting gifts
Micah 7:3 shillum ruler & judge accepts gifts / bribes
12
Nov
10

Summary of the Uses of Charism and Related Words in the New Testament

Further to my last post, I’ve categorized the use of charisma in the New Testament, along with dorea and pneumatika, since both of those words are used interchangeably with charisma at times.  After the first three tables I’ve got other uses of dorea and pneumatika, for context.

The bold references are texts that I included in more than one list.

Most of us use “charisma” and “charismatic” only in the sense of the second table – diverse gifts given to believers – but clearly the New Testament concept has broader applications.

Also notable are the two texts in Timothy, which have been used (rightly or wrongly) to defend various ordination practices.  One’s understanding of the relationship between “office” and “charism” will likely determine the way those texts are read.

GIFT OF GOD / SALVATION

REF GK MEANING
Jn. 4:10 dorea gift of God; living water
Acts 2:38 dorea gift of the HS
Acts 8:20 dorea gift of God
Acts 10:45 dorea gift of the HS
Acts 11:17 dorea gift of HS
Rom. 5:15 charisma free gift of God
Rom. 5:15 dorea free gift of God
Rom. 5:16 dorea free gift of God
Rom. 5:16 charisma free gift of God
Rom. 5:17 dorea gift of righteousness
Rom. 6:23 charisma free gift of God – eternal life
Rom. 11:29 charisma gifts and calling of God are irrevocable
2 Cor. 9:15 dorea the unspeakable gift of God
Eph. 2:8 dorea the gift of God (salvation)
Eph. 4:7 dorea each has grace given according to measure of the gift of X
Heb. 6:4 dorea tasted of the heavenly gift, and made partakers of the HS

DIVERSITY OF GIFTS GIVEN BY GOD TO BELIEVERS

REF GK MEANING
Rom. 11:29 charisma gifts and calling of God are irrevocable
Rom. 12:6 charisma gifts that differ according to the grace given us
1 Cor. 1:7 charisma so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
1 Cor. 7:7 charisma each has a particular gift (context of celibacy)
1 Cor. 12:1 pneumatikon spiritual things (spiritual gifts?)
1 Cor. 12:4 charisma varieties of gifts, but the same spirit
1 Cor. 12:9 charisma gifts of healing
1 Cor. 12:28 charisma gifts of healing
1 Cor. 12:30 charisma gifts of healing
1 Cor. 12:31 charisma strive for the greater gifts
1 Cor. 14:1 pneumatikon spiritual (gifts in context), especially prophecy
1 Cor. 14:37 pneumatikon if anyone thinks himself a prophet, or spiritual
Eph. 3:7 dorea according to the gift of grace given to me by his power
Eph. 4:7 dorea each has grace given according to measure of the gift of X
1 Tim. 4:14 charisma the gift that is in you (thru prophecy with laying of hands)
2 Tim. 1:6 charisma the gift of God that is in you (thru laying of hands)
1 Pet. 4:10 charisma whatever gift each of you has received

BLESSING

REF GK MEANING
Rom. 1:11 charisma that I may share some spiritual gift with you
1 Cor. 1:7 charisma so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
2 Cor. 1:11 charisma the blessing granted to us through the prayers of many
Jas. 1:17 dorea every good gift
Jas. 1:17 dorea every perfect gift

OTHER USES OF DOREA

RELIGIOUS OFFERING

REF GK MEANING
Mt. 2:11 dorea gifts from the Magi
Mt. 5:23 dorea gift offered on the altar
Mt. 5:24 dorea gift offered on the altar
Mt. 8:4 dorea gift that Moses commanded for one healed
Mt. 15:5 dorea gift devoted to God (corban)
Mt. 23:18 dorea gift offered on the altar
Mt. 23:19 dorea gift offered on the altar
Mk. 7:11 dorea gift devoted to God (corban)
Lk. 21:1 dorea gifts put into the treasury
Lk. 21:4 dorea gift offered by the widow
Heb. 5:1 dorea gifts offered by high priest (& sacrifices for sins)
Heb. 8:3 dorea gifts and sacrifices offered by the high priest
Heb. 8:4 dorea gifts offered on earth by priests according to the law
Heb. 9:9 dorea gifts /sacrifices offered in present age, incapable of perfecting
Heb. 11:4 dorea the accepted gifts of Abel

GIFTS EXCHANGED BETWEEN HUMANS

REF GK MEANING
Rev. 11:10 dorea they will give gifts to one another (gloating over prophets)

FREELY

REF GK MEANING
Mt. 10:8 dorea freely you have received, freely give
Rom. 3:24 dorea justified freely
2 Cor. 11:7 dorea free of charge
2 Thes. 2:8 dorea without paying for it
Rev. 21:6 dorea I will give freely to him who is thirsty
Rev. 22:17 dorea take the water of life freely

WITHOUT CAUSE / MERIT

REF GK MEANING
Jn. 15:25 dorea hated without cause
Gal. 2:21 dorea then Christ died for nothing (if righteousness is through law)

OTHER USES OF PNEUMATIKON

SPIRITUAL

REF GK MEANING
Rom. 1:11 pneumatikon that I may share some spiritual gift with you
Rom. 7:14 pneumatikon the law is spiritual
Rom. 15:27 pneumatikon gentiles have been made partakers of spiritual things
1 Cor. 2:13 pneumatikon spiritual things / truths
1 Cor. 2:13 pneumatikon spiritual people ?
1 Cor. 2:14 pneumatikon spiritually discerned
1 Cor. 2:15 pneumatikon those who are spiritual
1 Cor. 3:1 pneumatikon those who are spiritual
1 Cor. 9:11 pneumatikon spiritual things
1 Cor. 10:3 pneumatikon spiritual food
1 Cor. 10:4 pneumatikon spiritual drink
1 Cor. 10:4 pneumatikon spiritual rock (Christ)
1 Cor. 12:1 pneumatikon spiritual things (spiritual gifts?)
1 Cor. 14:1 pneumatikon spiritual (gifts in context), especially prophecy
1 Cor. 14:37 pneumatikon if anyone thinks himself a prophet, or spiritual
1 Cor. 15:44 pneumatikon spiritual body
1 Cor. 15:44 pneumatikon spiritual body
1 Cor. 15:46 pneumatikon that which is spiritual
1 Cor. 15:46 pneumatikon that which is spiritual
Gal. 6:1 pneumatikon you who are spiritual
Eph. 1:3 pneumatikon every spiritual blessing
Eph. 5:19 pneumatikon spiritual songs
Eph. 6:12 pneumatikon spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places
Col. 1:9 pneumatikon spiritual wisdom and understanding
Col. 3:16 pneumatikon spiritual songs
1 Pet. 2:5 pneumatikon spiritual house
1 Pet. 2:5 pneumatikon spiritual sacrifices
09
Nov
10

Charism in the New Testament

I’m currently working on a biblical theology of charisms for my dissertation, and so the obvious place to start is with the New Tesament use of the word charisma and its variants.

I think many are surprised to find that the use of the word is actually quite limited.  There are only 17 occurrences in the entire NT, all in Pauline epistles, except for 1 Peter 4:10 (listed below).

The term seems to be used in two senses: a) as a general term meaning “gratuitous gift,” which describes a blessing of God, and, notably in Romans 5 and 6, is used as a term for salvation; b) as a specific term describing the variety of gifts given to members of the Christian community, each bringing a particular vocational / functional obligation.   This is the way we normally think of “charisma” – but note that it does not necessarily refer to “spectacular” or unusual gifts.  These are gifts given to all, and include, for example, teaching, alongside prophecy and healing.

The other thing to note is Paul’s synonymous use of charisma and dorea in Romans 5.   This calls for a survey of the occurrences of dorea in the NT.   In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul also speaks of the pneumatika in a way that is clearly related to his understanding of the variety of charismata.   Both of these terms overlap somewhat with the concept of chrarisma, but they are also used in different contexts.  Another post would be required to cover all those texts, but for those who might be interested, I’ve got summaries of dorea here and pneumatika here.

CHARISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Romans 1:11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift (χάρισμα ~ πνευματικὸν) to strengthen you—

Romans 5:15 But the free gift (χάρισμα) is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace (χάρισ) of God and the free gift (δωρεὰ)in the grace (χάριτι) of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.

Romans 5:16 And the free gift (δώρεμα) is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift (χάρισμα) following many trespasses brings justification.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift (χάρισμα) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 11:29 for the gifts (χαρίσματα) and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 12:6 We have gifts (χαρίσματα) that differ according to the grace (χάριν) given to us

1 Corinthians 1:7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift (χαρίσματι)  as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 7:7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift (χάρισμα) from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts (χαρισμάτων), but the same Spirit;

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts (χαρίσματα) of healing by the one Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts (χαρίσματα) of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all possess gifts (χαρίσματα) of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 12:31 But strive for the greater gifts (χαρίσματα). And I will show you a still more excellent way.

2 Corinthians 1:11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing (χάρισμα) granted to us through the prayers of many.

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect the gift (χαρίσματος) that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.

2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift (χάρισμα) of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands;

1 Peter 4:10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift (χάρισμα) each of you has received.

05
Nov
10

“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” as Quaker Polemic

Though I’m sure I’ve heard it before, this hymn was brought to my attention when I watched the movie Atonement.   There is an amazing 5 minute scene (all shot in one take on one camera) in which lead character Robbie is wandering on a beach in Dunkirk, waiting to be evacuated to England.  The beach is in complete chaos, with thousands of soldiers hanging around, seemingly without any organization – fighting, drinking, trashing vehicles, and waiting helplessly.  In the midst of the chaos, however, a choir of soldiers stands in a bandstand, singing this hymn of clamness, stillness, and rest.

The hymn is taken from a longer poem called “The Brewing of Soma,” written in 1872 by Quaker poet John Greeleaf Whittier.  In context, it is actually a strong Quaker critique of more traditional forms of Christian spirituality.  Whittier begins by depicting a scene from Vedic religion, in which priests concoct a drink, called “Soma,” which is then used in an attempt to come into contact with the divine.  In those times, “All men to Soma prayed,” Whittier writes, but his eye is on more recent Christian worship practices, which he believes are no better.  “And still with wondering eyes we trace / The simple prayers to Soma’s grace, / That Vedic verse embalms.”

Clearly Whittier has the Christian sacraments, hymns, and liturgical prayer in mind.  As the poem continues he writes,

As in that child-world’s early year,
Each after age has striven
By music, incense, vigils drear,
And trance, to bring the skies more near,
Or lift men up to heaven!

All religious ceremony is, in his mind, a vain Babel-like attempt to reach the heavens by human effort.

The final six verses of Whittier’s poem are the ones we have come to know as “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.”  The seventh to the last verse is the climax of his critique:

And yet the past comes round again,
And new doth old fulfil;
In sensual transports wild as vain
We brew in many a Christian fane
The heathen Soma still!

It’s amazing that we have taken this polemic against historic forms of Christian worship and turned it into a standard hymn, particularly popular in Anglican circles!   When you keep Whittier’s Quaker faith and the rest of the poem in mind, you can still catch the traces of polemic in the verses we know and sing:

  • The “simple trust” in unmediated grace (v. 2)
  • the idea of rising up “without a word” (v. 2)
  • the “Sabbath rest” depicted as the “silence of eternity” (v. 3)
  • the “noiseless” blessing of God falling on the worshippers (v. 4)
  • the “still dews of quietness” which cause “all our strivings” to cease (v. 5)
  • and finally, the dumbing of the senses in the presence of the “still small voice” (v. 6)

Reading it from this perspective, these verses clearly reflect Quaker theology and practice in a very distinctive way.

Should non-Quakers still sing this song, since we don’t ascribe to their beliefs about worship?   I would say so.  Though it is good to recognize the Quaker aspects of the hymn, poetry does not have one fixed meaning.  Even anglo-catholics might be able to interpret this hymn in  a way that fits with their approach to worship, particularly since most of the imagery in the hymn is thoroughly biblical.   All Christians can affirm the restfulness of being in God’s presence, the place that quietness ought to occupy in worship, and the way that God’s blessing comes to us in spite of our strivings – without taking these convictions in the direction of Quaker theology.

And to be honest, most people are probably so enraptured by the amazing tune, Repton, that they wouldn’t notice the distinctive Quaker aspects of the hymn!

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!

With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.




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