[audio podcast] 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [podcast]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


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Read the blog version

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality. Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Listen to learn about several of the key movements in the history of Christianity and how believers of different centuries have thought about and practiced their faith!


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Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [blog]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


by Chase Webster and Freddy Cardoza


Want to learn about 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes?

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality.
Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Christians have always, since the days Jesus walked with His disciples, engaged in spiritual formation.
Later, after Jesus ascended into heaven, and as the Church matured in the following centuries, there was also a maturing of devotional practice. What was done individually and privately by believers, was more fully understood and communicated to other believers in future centuries. Spirituality began to be practiced systematically in Christian communities. And over time, a greater understanding and development of spiritual disciplines was identified, written about, and practiced.
The history of that development happened in a series of important events over the last 2000 years—events which inform us even today, and that helps our ability to grow spiritually mature.
One wonders, what were the major developments in how Christians and the church thought about spiritual formation? That’s a long and interesting story that began with Jesus, then began to change in the centuries that followed.

The Desert Fathers (250 AD) –

Before Christianity became the state religion under Constantine, believers were being persecuted and even martyred for their faith.
Christians would pray more, met together more, and meditated more because the physical and spiritual needs were great during the time of persecution.
Once Christianity became the state religion, there was changes that came to the faith. A person was no longer in danger if they believed in Jesus as their Savior. This led to a more relaxed approach to maturity and spiritual disciplines among many.
Also, the state religion started to blend Christianity with their old pagan practices. So there were some men who decided to remove themselves from society and practice spiritual disciplines out in the desert, hence the name Desert Fathers (and Mothers). These men would meet in caves to pray and meditate. Eventually they would form communities in the caves. These people are believed to be the first model of monks and the monastic movement.
Following the Desert Fathers and monastic periods, the next major era of Christian Formation took place during the Protestant Reformation.

Protestant Reformation (1500s) –

One of the monks started to observe how the Church lacked an emphasis of a personal relationship with God in the faith. This monk’s name was Martin Luther. Luther raised issues that he thought the Church had like a distant relationship with the Father, very little guidance from the Spirit, faith by grace, and how an individual is justified. Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Church because of his differences with Catholic Church. He never intended on starting the Lutheran Church, but he stuck to his beliefs and there were those agreed and followed him.
The Reformation continued and matured, ultimately leading to the modern age. The largest movement of the 20th Century was Evangelicalism, birthed from Christian Fundamentalism.

Evangelicalism – (1950s-1960s)

The Evangelical movement was a break off from the fundamentalism in 1950s and 1960s. Evangelicals believed that fundamentalism was becoming legalistic and hard towards the movement of the Spirit. At the core of the Evangelical movement is that the person who believes is born again. Typically, evangelical spirituality has focused on the Word of God and personal discipleship, where people model spiritual maturity and teach people in discipleship settings, with a focus on biblical instruction, content, and application. So the focus in evangelical spiritual formation has especially been centered on the Word of God and on Truth.
A sister movement, within Evangelicalism– but that also became very large in the coming decades, until now, sprang up in the 1960s and beyond.

Charismatic Movement (1960s)-

Charismatic Christians thought spirituality and Christian maturity should be more focused on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, including supernatural actions of the Spirit and certain manifestations they believed to be an ongoing part of the ministry of God’s Spirit. Though this is debated within Evangelicalism, the Charismatic movement is a massive movement in the world and within Christianity, and faith and spirituality among Charismatics ‘looks differently’ than it does in other Evangelical churches and among other evangelical Christians. Charismatic believers emphasize spiritual experiences related to the baptism of the Spirit and what is commonly called “speaking in tongues.” These are, again, understood differently in non-Charismatic evangelical churches, but a great number of Charismatic believers emphasize these experiences. Charismatics focus more on experience and experiential Christianity—than only or primarily on teaching the Word of God and personal discipleship in ways more traditional to other evangelicals.
One of the most recent movements in history concerning spiritual formation focused its efforts towards reforming the heart, with a greater interest in more ancient understandings of Christian spirituality and a variety of devotional exercises called ‘spiritual disciples.’

Spiritual Formation Movement (1970s-1980s)-

In 1970s-80s, there were men like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and many others who wanted to refocus the discipleship experience of many Christians. The movement was taking place amongst evangelicals so the issue was not about salvation, but the issue was concerning more internally in regards to the heart and the nature of discipleship. This movement focused on what happens internally, in the heart, in the process of spiritual growth. Spiritual formation sought to combat moralism and the tendency toward legalism that some evangelicals had. It also sought to expand the Charismatic understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in the process of discipleship, by integrating sometimes ancient devotional practices to help people understand God’s work in their hearts, in hopes of transforming how believers understand and experience personal discipleship and life change.

Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

What Mature Christians Should Know (Podcast Episode 002)

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What should Christians know?  Click to discover the answer.


  • Is there a body of beliefs that represent what it means to be a Christian? 
  • Are there essential ideas that comprise a Christian way of thinking?
  • Is there such a thing as a biblical worldview?
  • Are there truths that, if known, could help us live with more certainty?
  • Should people expect to live their lives in spiritual confusion?

These are the types of questions answered in this podcast, Episode 002 – What Mature Christians Should Know.

Take the journey with Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, long-time pastor and professor, who explores the idea with you, to help equip you to grow in your faith.

 

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What Does It Mean To Become a Christian?

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What does it mean to be a Christian
Photo Courtesy Foxrosser, Flickr

What Does It Mean to Become a Christian?

      The Christian life, and Christianity is general, is largely misunderstood in American and perhaps other cultures. There are many reasons, I’m sure, but I’m certain that part of it is because of caricatures assigned to it by non-adherents, and it is also due to the failure of many who profess Christ to articulate their faith with clarity AND TO LIVE their faith with integrity.

So I’m ask the question… What is the Christian life?

I am a Christian. That means I believe in Jesus Christ.

I follow Christ. I am wrapping my life and existence around the teachings of Jesus.

The Christian life is first and foremost about individual people who, in the warp and woof of life, have walked down the winnowing path of human existence and—through any number of experiences and events—come to a point in their thinking, where they realized that all was not well.

It happens in so many ways.  This realization leads a person to a point where they feel drawn to God in an increasingly tangible way, and become more and more open to the possibility and—ultimately, the reality, that Jesus Christ is a living reality—an existential BEING who is capable of and interested in cultivating a relationship with each of us, and specifically ME—or, YOU, as the case may be.
And at some point, that person acknowledges the reality of God, and the truth of Christ, and commits his or her life to Jesus by surrendering to His authority.

This type of belief is sometimes called “saving faith.”It is called “Salvation” by Christians, because one is QUOTE, saved, from himself—saved from the ramifications of his or her decisions and actions that wounded their relationship to God and that violated God’s authority.

This belief is associated with a recognition of the fact that things in our lives didn’t go the way they ought to have gone—that we failed to be all we were created to be—that we often violated our consciences to recklessly pursue desires and directions that were fundamentally and diametrically opposed to that which is good. And this pursuit of vice ended up causing us to violate others, ourselves and most importantly, the God who created us in His image. And for that reason, because we have an obligation to him as our Maker—just as a child might be obligated to recognize the authority of his parent or parents, we must answer to Him for our disobedience and our loss or, perhaps better, the forfeiture of virtue.

This acknowledgment is essentially the recognition that, though we are persons of value, we are nonetheless soiled— that is, we are contaminated… and that the contamination we suffer and bear is the outcome of our own doing. We must recognize that, left unattended, that corruption will ultimately result in our undoing.

So a person in this condition calls out to God, silently or audibly—it matters not, and in the sanctuary of their hearts, their innermost beings, they admit to God that they are estranged from a right and harmonious and peaceful relationship with him—and that the reason for this is our own personal rebellion— something that could and should be rightly called “sin” meaning, disobedience toward God.

This disobedience was against God and we know that is the case because we understand and FEEL guilty and culpable for violating our conscience and, wittingly or unwittingly, have also violated the standards God articulated in his love letter to humanity—which is what the Holy Bible actually is.

So the Holy Bible provides us with the written standard of what God desires and expects, and what is required for us to live in harmony with him… and, incidentally, with others.

So the attitude of a person wanting to repair his relationship with God confesses this reality of sin and the resultant loss of inner peace and asks God to forgive him or her. What this means is that, such a person feels sorrow, contrition, regret, disappointment and even guilt for past thoughts, attitudes, and actions, and then ASKS FOR and receives forgiveness from God.. and this then INITIATES a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. And such a person considers Jesus his only hope for abundant living now and eternal life now and later.

And what that means is that a person who desires to be reconciled with God and to patch up his or her relationship with God and to enter into a real and actual relationship with the God of the Universe invites the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ into his life and then begins a new life—ONE that seeks to cultivate a relationship with God.

That is what it means to become a Christian—being reconciled to God by Faith Alone through Christ Alone.

Your Next Step

Let us know if you have made a commitment to follow Christ.  Also, get other helpful content by staying informed with DigitalDiscipler and Podcast Seminary on Soapbox Network!

 

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Haters Gonna Hate Us For Giving You These Five Freebies!

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There’s no doubt! Haters Gonna Hate Us For Giving You These Five Freebies!

Just Wow.

I’m incredibly excited to share these five valuable resources with you on the occasion of the Just-Released and First Online Course [Ministry | MINS 120: Introduction to Discipleship] at PodcastSeminary.com
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What’s The Fuss?

We now have available both our first Audio Course for individual learning on the go via podcast, and this brand-new Online Discipleship Course that includes personal and group study. But that’s really not what this is about. This is about sharing with you five key resources as a special thanks for joining our Soapbox Network mailing list. That way we can keep you updated on these helpful resources that are now being produced and introduced. In addition, joining us will make sure you’re the first to know when I produce new blog posts, podcast episodes, and other resources… not to mention special offers and even free resources.
 

Subscribe/confirm your email to Freddy Cardoza's blogs/podcasts on SOAPBOX NETWORK and get 5 Resources:

  1.  A Complimentary (1) Discipleship Audio Course Lesson from Podcast Seminary
  2.  A Free Copy of 16 Bible Apps and Software White Papers
  3.  Presentation: Digital Digerati: Using Tech for God's Kingdom
  4.  My Interview on Church, Tech, & the Future of Seminaries
  5. Access to Our 30-Session Academic Career Video Course
All this, plus be the first to know about new posts, podcasts, & courses!  Just confirm your subscription to receive the five codes for these valuable resources!

What You’re Gonna Get

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What is Podcast Seminary?

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Podcast Seminary offers audio-based biblical and theological courses where learners listen alone at their own pace or study with others in an exciting online learning community. Podcast Seminary features guided interactive discussion forums on weekly course content and helpful digital resources in a members-only online community. Podcast Seminary is ideal for growing and mature Christians, Bible teachers, and ministry leaders wanting to be equipped with a more comprehensive and systematic approach to developing their biblical knowledge and deepening their theological understanding.

Overview

Podcast Seminary provides substantial spiritual food to Christians hungry for God’s Word. It is a fun and meaningful learning experience designed to help you build a more comprehensive knowledge of the Bible and Christian Theology. It is meant to quickly broaden your awareness and deepen your understanding of a wide range of Christian subjects. This is done by exposing you to condensed versions of content typically covered in full-time seminary degree programs.
Podcast Seminary educates, edifies, equips, and encourages Christian learners, regardless of their level of educational training or spiritual maturity. Podcast Seminary fosters an environment of inquiry and discovery. It is thought-provoking but non-threatening. It’s academic but accessible. It’s fun but not frivolous. It’s non-accredited but achievement-based.

Curriculum

In the New Testament Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul spoke of the importance of his teaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). In doing so, Paul was communicating the absolute importance of teachers helping disciples become fully informed about divine truth and the Word of God. One of the great challenges within today’s Christian churches is the growing problem of biblical illiteracy. Similar to that is the related issue of many Christian’s general ignorance of the biblical worldview.
What does this mean, and why does it matter? This means that many Christians are not fully equipped when it comes to knowing the Word of God and, as a result, the Will of God (Romans 12:2). The result is that believers often live without the confidence, courage, and convictions they need to be “more than conquerors” as the Bible promises we can become (Romans 8:31-39). Ultimately, this problem leads to less-fulfilled lives, avoidable mistakes, and a lack of spiritual legacy by many believers. Podcast Seminary is built to address these common problems in discipleship.

Nine Curriculum Areas, Podcast Seminary, 16_9

Podcast Seminary curriculum provides comprehensive, systematic, and on-going training that covers both the breadth and depth of Christian truth. Podcast Seminary covers a broad area of curriculum comprised of nine key areas. These areas represent the areas of knowledge that comprise a Christian worldview. When a person understands these areas, he or she is able to live with more spiritual power, with increased confidence, and with greater joy.
As you take your first course in one of the following nine areas, you’ll begin to understand how important it is to develop thought structures, theological perspectives, and familiarity with the many areas of truth. Before long, you’ll begin to have a working knowledge of all the key areas important to understanding how life works. We encourage you to continue to build your mind through the content and learning available through Podcast Seminary. Below are nine areas all Christians should study for more comprehensive discipleship.

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