Monday, October 30, 2017

Contributions of Jesus, Apostle Paul, and Luther to Teamwork

by Robert C. Frank

At the time that Jesus lived, all major leaders were kings or emperors who exercised total control over everyone else in their realm. Jesus Christ was unique in that he was a servant leader instead of a monarch. He taught others by example to also become servant leaders. Servant leadership is an enabling form of leadership that emphasizes that every human life is important, and leadership is to be shared. Servant leadership is the basis of democracy and teamwork in government.

The Apostle Paul, studying the life of Jesus, came up with an excellent example of diversity as a part of teamwork in 1 Cor. 12, where he compared the followers of Jesus to the parts of the human body and called them the Body of Christ. The human body consists of parts that are all different, but they function as a single unit by their superb ability to work together. Teamwork is like that in that all the members of the team are different and have different abilities but they all work together in a coordinated manner toward a common goal.

Martin Luther lived at a time when Christians were led by a hierarchy of leaders, some of whom wanted them to pay money to decrease the time they and their family members spent in purgatory before getting into heaven. Based on what he found in the Bible, Luther proclaimed that God’s forgiveness was a free gift and that all followers of Jesus were equal. This “priesthood of all believers” concept adds strength to modern Christian teamwork.

The success of teamwork depends upon communication and education which historically have improved with the aid of science. However, science has also improved with the aid of Christian teamwork.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Role of Science in the Celebration of the Reformation

by Robert C. Frank

Science has been an important aid in the spread of the Gospel and yet it has rarely been acknowledged as a gift from God. At the time of the Reformation it was the availability of the printing press that made it possible for so many people to read Martin Luther’s views and provide support. The printing press was also useful for providing multiple copies of the Bible so that more people could read it. The printing press did not suddenly appear by magic. It was the result of early developments in science and technology. 

This fall as the Reformation is celebrated, science and technology have made it possible for people from all over the world to travel to Germany. Christians can now carry several versions of the Bible on their iPhones. eBooks like the Kindle can be used by people with poor vision. If Martin Luther were alive today, we could all watch him present his views on YouTube video-clips on the Internet. The answer to virtually any question that we might have about the Bible or the Reformation can easily be found on the Internet using a computer. 

 At the time of the Reformation only a small percentage of the people could read or write. Today, because of advancements in science and technology, literacy throughout the world is improving rapidly. Dramatic achievements in education have occurred because of the cooperation between Christianity and science. God is using that relationship to create an improved civilization on earth. It is time for all Christians to be aware of that and thank God for the gift of science as they celebrate the Reformation that assured us of God’s grace and forgiveness. More about how science aided the spread of the gospel can be found on the slide presentation here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blessed Are Those Who See God in the Continuing Creation of Civilization

by Robert C. Frank

Just as the invisible gravity can be seen when objects fall to earth, our invisible God can be seen in the advancement of civilization. The whole purpose of God's Ten Commandments was to get the ancient Hebrews to work together peaceably and improve their civilization. The teachings of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection played vital roles in the improvement of civilization, but human concerns related to the link between forgiveness and eternal life produced conflicts that slowed the advancement of civilization. The work of the Holy Spirit in the production of the Bible and worldwide Christian Church made major contributions to the progress of civilization.

If God is still creating civilization, it is fair to ask, what would that perfect civilization be like that is the goal of creation? It seems to me that a perfect civilization would be like a perfect human team. (1) Everyone would have a different function, but is considered equally important. (2) Everyone would be happy with what they are doing because it fits their skills and they understand how they contribute to the team effort (4) Everyone would understand the importance of the other team members, enjoy being with them, and respect their contribution. (5) Everyone would understand the goal of the team effort. As a result, they would all live happily together in peace and harmony as a perfect civilization. 

Today with the aid of science, the more than two billion followers of Jesus in the world are continuing to create better lives for all people. While we can’t see God, we can see how God is continuing to create that better civilization. We are all needed to serve as God's assistants on Christ’s Team.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What is Christianity's Goal?

by Robert C. Frank

Eternal life is often thought of as Christianity’s goal, but the large number of lingering questions about life after death have led to confusion, conflict, and division. Therefore, wisdom suggests that Christians need a more unifying goal that concentrates on life in this current world and leaves decisions about life after death to God. Teamwork and outreach can be improved if a goal more appropriate for Christian effort in our current civilization is sought.

It is universally accepted by Christians that God is the creator of all human beings and they live on a beautiful blue and green planet that God provided. It is also accepted by Christians that the death and resurrection of Jesus have come to symbolize the assurance of God’s forgiveness of all humans when they request it. That permits them to lead more peaceful lives with each other. Information about the life of Jesus confirms that he was the ultimate servant leader who consistently healed and cared for people with a variety of problems and backgrounds. He taught his followers to love God and each other. In the world today, Christian mission programs are helping people everywhere live more healthy and peaceful lives.

A summary of the preceding paragraph suggests that a possible goal for Christianity could be to help all people on earth live better lives. 

That goal would be understandable to everyone, both Christians and non-Christians. It has already been a goal of Christianity for a long time, but not explicitly stated as Christianity’s goal. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Assistant Coaches Are Needed for Christ's Team

by Robert C. Frank

Christ’s Team, consisting of all the followers of Jesus, is perhaps the largest team on earth. Christ is its coach, but it is always in need of assistant coaches. Assistant coaches for Christ’s Team are Pastors and Priests. Assistant coaches are mentors who teach by example and provide inspiration and encouragement. Like Jesus Christ, they are servant leaders who train others to become servant leaders. 

Christianity appears to be in the early stages of a 21st century reformation. Current teachings and traditions are undergoing unusual scrutiny and that is challenging the faith of the followers of Jesus. In earlier periods, the focus of Christianity was concerned with how to achieve life after death. Christianity, however, has always helped people lead better current lives, so recently the emphasis has been shifted to that part of its teachings, leaving decisions about life after death to God. This will gradually produce a new Christianity that will blossom and grow like the mustard tree mentioned in one of Jesus’ parables.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Lord is My Coach

by Robert C. Frank

The 23rd Psalm is a beautiful and very popular psalm even though it was written for an ancient civilization. The following is an effort to rewrite it to make it fit more comfortably in our rapidly changing civilization. The italicized statement is from the original and the bold one is from the suggested version. 

 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 
The Lord is my coach, everything will go well. 

 He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
He invites me to come to him when I am anxious; 

He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. 
He encourages me, lifting my spirit, and inspiring me. 

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 
He teaches me; guiding me in my daily activities.