4 Theological Words Commonly Misunderstood by Filipinos

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In Pinoy conversations, when faith becomes the subject, you can see some misunderstandings in the words we use. Considering that the Philippines is a “Christian” country, sometimes words get lost it’s meaning.   This doesn’t mean we are totally illiterate when it comes to the nitty gritty of their faith or about the Bible. Even in Pinoy evangelical circles, who are more exposed to books and biblical teachings, sometimes get confused with these terms. So for the benefit of all of us, we shall unlock the meaning of the following words commonly misunderstood by Filipinos.

Born-Again – As a Filipino, what comes in your mind when you hear the word, born again? For some Pinoys, it usually refers to a charismatic movement that flourished from the 80’s, most specifically the group Jesus Is Lord (or JIL) Movement headed by Bro. Eddie Villanueva. This group, just like any charismatic groups, have TV shows were they preach and heal people. They had their spotlight here and there because some Pinoy celebrities are members of some churches of this group.

We can see the word born again in the Bible and it’s not referring to a charismatic movement. In John 3: 3, we see Jesus talking about it with Nicodemus. Born again in context with this chapter means regeneration, which is sole act of God making someone dead in sin, come alive and ready to receive the gift of faith which is also from God. For someone to be right with God, God need that sinner to be regenerated. This is a crucial aspect of salvation, because if we believe salvation is from God alone, it must regeneration. For more about being born again and regeneration, check out this article from Monergism.

Iglesia or Iglesiya – When Filipinos use this word, they commonly refer it to the church or members of Iglesia ni Cristo founded by Felix Manalo. Although the word is mentioned in Catholic mass referring to the church or you can read it on Tagalog Bible translation, Iglesia became a household name due to the popularity of Iglesia ni Cristo.

However,  Iglesia is a Tagalog translation of the Greek word ekklesia which means called out assembly. Hence, iglesia or ekklesia refers not to a building, a religious group but to a group of people called by God out from this sin fallen world. Whether it’s the universal or local church, iglesia or iglesiya can be used. A believer can also use the word simbahan,which is more popularly used in the Philippines.

Catechism – The next two words that we will tackle are not just misunderstood by Pinoys  but also by many specially in evangelical circles.  In the Pinoy context, catechism is something  associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Catechizing is usually done during  fiestas, where babies will be baptized in a church or chapel. The godparents will undergo a “seminar”, which include teaching basic Roman Catholic doctrines, in a form of catechism before the baptism.

However, catechism is not solely a Roman Catholic thing. Other denomination do have catechism as a teaching tool for the lay people. Using a catechism doesn’t make you Roman Catholic, so you should not dread using one. Catechism is basically a summary of essential doctrines a Christian group believes. It’s written in a question and answer style, for brevity and easy memorization. Throughout the centuries, churches benefited with the use of catechism. Personally, I use the Baptist catechism to teach our church youth group.

catholic – This final entry to our list is similar with entry #3. Christians associate it with the Roman Catholic Church solely, because they can read obviously the word, catholic. But as you can see, I typed it in lower case to make a distinction from the capitalized one. Also the we dropped the word “Roman” from it. When referring to the Catholic church a hierarchic church where the pope is the head, we use the word Roman Catholic.

But what about the small catholic? What does it mean?  It simply means universal highlighting the universality of the church. This means the church is not limited to the local church you can find in your neighborhood, but to all churches all over the planet. The universal or catholic church also refers to the church from different ages or time. So everytime you hear the word catholic in the Apostles’ Creed,it doesn’t refer to the Roman Catholic Church,  it only means the Christian church of all times and of all places.

What other words do you think that are misunderstood by our fellow Filipinos? Please comment down below.

 

 

Book Review “Revolutionary Work” by William Taylor

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If you can’t stop singing “Everything is Awesome” because of the cover that reminds you about the Lego movie, then it’s OK.  Because this book is indeed awesome!

Revolutionary Work tackles on the biblical view of work. This book is based on a series presented at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate by William Taylor. Revolutionary Work shows us the work as God’s gift because of our stewardship role in creation. Therefore, it is essential to us. Also it shows a balanced view of it as all vocations are equal and we should not call one as “special”. Despite of being a gift from our Creator, futility can be seen as we are fallen humans as we toil for ourselves, our family and for God’s mandate. However, work should be done knowing God is our boss and the means for us to bring the gospel to our co-workers.

There are four chapters which are a bit long but you can read their summaries at the end of each chapters, which is cool. If you want to skip all of it and distill the essentials, you should go for the summaries.  However, as much as possible read all of it.  The indexes and the Q and A section are must reads also, so don’t put this book down yet.

I love how Taylor’s treatment of  John 4 on the work of God which is the end goal of all our work. The work of God meaning evangelism. That’s on chapter four, which for me is the most engaging part of the book.

All in all Revolutionary Work, though it’s a slim volume, delivers a meaty content that you can find in a thick book. So this is my third time to give 10 of Those and this book a two thumbs up! Now sing some more “Everything is Awesome”

My verdict:

5 out of 5

8 Favorite Quotes from the Book “Revolutionary Work” by William Taylor

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By God’s providence, my phone’s down time helped me to slow down and gave me this mini digital sabbath here and there. It allowed me to focus more on what matters. I still get to write for my blog but in a slower phase (and a slow laptop). I get to join a FB group that is very active in prayers so I grab the opportunity every time I open my FB and there is an update from that group, I’ll stop and pray for these brethren who covets my prayers. Its was a blessing to me.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book by William Taylor, Revolutionary Work published by 10 of Those Publishing. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at 10 of Those.

“Work is good and work is grim, but work should be governed by the gospel. Therefore, you need to be thinking how you can be of greater service to the gospel in your particular position.”

 “So how does God do his work? It is through his word. He brings people in to the harvest through his word; he keeps people to the end of the harvest through his word; and he brings people to himself and builds people up and sustains them as harvesters through his word. This is how his work is done.”

“…the God of the Bible is a worker: he made the universe. Unlike the pantheon of Greek gods or Eastern deities, he gets his hands dirty, as it were. God himself dignifies work. Since God made man in his image, we find that we are workers too.”

“God is the ruler and God is a worker but humanity is to rule and work under him. This is a delegated task, given to us by God, and therefore we are answerable to God for the manner in which we undertake it. We are to rule over the world and care for it in an accountable and responsible way. We are to develop it and to design within it, but must not forget that it has been given to us on trust.”

“Realising that all jobs are dignified should have a profound impact on how we view ourselves and the position in which God has placed us, and indeed it will influence what kind of work we are prepared to do for the sake of the gospel. All roles are of equal value.”

“All work is delegated to us by God and designed by God for our human good and for his glory. Therefore, no area of work is somehow of higher value or more important or more significant than another.”

“Our contemporaries are ignorant of the way God’s world works. They have only their own dreams to guide them. They do not have a word from outside explaining the universe. Yet in the Bible God speaks to us and makes clear the correct way we should perceive work.”

“Many companies issue business cards or uniforms that make clear to others that their employees work for their company. Every Christian’s emblem should be, ‘I work for Jesus’. He is our ultimate master; throughout our entire working week we serve him.”

Cultivating A Passion for God Through Reading

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We had our laymen and women fellowship last August 17 which we focus on the theme Passion for God. The whole day affair was a blessing to us as we share the preaching and fellowship within our sector.

In the afternoon session, we had an open forum. We were grouped into four then we discuss questions pertaining on how we can develop a passion for God. Each group presented their answers in front of everyone. The afternoon was well spend with insightful and engaging discussions.

As much as the thought exchange went well, I feel that I have to share something since we are nearing at the end of this quarter fellowship. The open forum did miss out some questions our speaker provided. And something that is near to my heart was not raised out. So I ask our chairman if I can speak to answer a specific question. The question is about reading and resources that read to ignite our passion for God. So I gave brief talk probably 5 minutes about nurturing a passion driven reading habit. I wish I could have spoken for couple more minutes but I don’t have much time. But if they did allowed me to elaborate further, my response might be like the one below.

Cultivating a Passion for God Though Reading

In response to one of the questions our speaker gave us which is dear to my heart, I would like to share 3 things that could help in the pursue of God through the habit of reading.

It depends on what is accessible to us.

We might blame the internet for the collapse of the record store industry or an impending doom over physical book shops however the internet made something unthinkable. We can access music and literature online free. What can take days or weeks to access is now just on click away. The internet, though slay the physical stores, it offers something revolutionary in digital proportions!

It might be a happy ending then for us who hunger books and music then again what happen?

Just when the internet makes classical music accessible, what did we do?

Just when the internet makes poetry accesible, what did we do?

Just when the internet makes some Christian books accessible what did we do? We turn to social media. Messaging boards and chat rooms were the precursor of the social media today. We consumed them then moved on to Facebook and Twitter.

So how can we built a passion for God through our reading materials when we dont access the good stuff? How do we create good habits when we don’t avail those vast resources in the internet? How can we contribute our reading habits? Make the internet work for you. You have no excuse because of the bulk of materials that are few click away are at your disposal.

It depends on how we view reading.

In the Philippine context, we are not a reading culture. This doesn’t mean we dont read or we are illiterate, it just mean that reading is not in our blood. Reading here is a sub culture.  If I will look back on my childhood days, I can see all the magazines and comics I enjoyed.  I think this is the golden age of reading (late 70’s to mid-90’s) because we buy newspapers and when we go to our neighbor, we devour magazines, comics, songhits and pocketbooks to our hearts desire. Publishing houses are dishing out reading materials here and there. Booksales (the popular second bookstore) are everywhere. Those where the days as they say. Then the internet came and almost obliterate the publishing industry in the Philippines. It also took toll on how we value reading. Suddenly we became too lazy to read.

Then there’s was the emergent of Wattpad that gave us teens and young adults that read books (and also writes). For me that resurgence really made a mark and push people to read. Book fairs and comic conventions are booming is another factor to take note. But thats not enough.

Pinoy Christians should view reading as a discipline, a skill that we need to be learned and to focus on. Again, it’s not in our blood to be readers and it will take a time and effort to put it in our system to be a good reader, nevertheless it’s attainable. We can create a good habit of reading that will be beneficial to us. Reading that is not just for entertainment, but a more of empowering ourselves to pursuit a passion for God.

Social media, with all of it’s benefits to us wouldnt help us achieve that focus. We allow Facebook updates and Tweets to distract us for doing what matters most. It’s an instant gratification because it magnifies our narcissism. Maybe it’s time to lay down our phones and get something to read that in the long run will benefit us and the church.

It depends on what we are willing to let go.

Purposeful reading does have competitors. One of those rivals is Facebook. Rather that occupy ourselves with books that will glorify God we substitute it with something that will glorify ourselves. Not that Facebook is evil in itself but how it robs and distracts us of our time to allocate it to things that matter. Having said that, as believers are ready to give it up for the sake of reading for the Kingdom?

Another one is the TV shows that is a staple to our Pinoy culture. Phenomenal shows like Ang Probinsyano, The General’s Daughter and tons of K-Drama will keep us occupied the whole night. Are we willing to cultivate beneficial reading over Ricardo Dalisay?

We only got 24 hours everyday and sleeping already had a chunck of it. So how do we spead our time? Sacrificing distraction for something beneficial should be our priority.

In the church setting, it’s the responsibility of the pastor to teach his members to be good readers. How do the pastor do it? Recommend good books by mentioning it to the pulpit. Quote some of it on your sermons. Set up book reading clubs. Give books as gifts to special occassions to you members. Deliberately point out the negative effects of social media. Suggest time management. And on and on we can go with all of this. The point is, reading with the endgame of knowing God more matters even in our reading habit. May God bless us all as we take steps to attain this noble pursuit.

Book Review: Richard Dawkins, C. S. Lewis and the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath

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In Richard Dawkins, C. S. Lewis and the Meaning of Life,  McGrath brings out the two of the greatest thinkers of our time on the table and (objectively) scrutinize their beliefs focusing only on the meaning of life.  I love how McGarth presents these extraordinary gentlemen in this book. Both Oxford fellows (including the author), both had a landmark book and both experienced atheism and Christianity. This adds the level of thrill in diving in to this brief book. And I have to say, I got really hooked.

Richard Dawkins, C. S. Lewis and the Meaning of Life is not the usual apologetics book. It’s a short and accessible book for atheist, Christians or anyone who both wants to know Dawkins and Lewis in one sitting. It’s serves as a springboard for other bodies of work these two intellectual giants have dished out (or to books of McGarth on the topics). There are lots of superb books that have great treatment with these gentlemen but if you want a starting point, this is the book for you.

By reading this book, I think you have gotten to the core or the most important part of any book that discuss these authors and their view of life. Peak inside the minds of these brilliant thinkers and how their views influence the world.  Pick up this book and you’ll surely love it!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

(InterVarsity Press provided the digital copy for this review)

The Freebie Round-Up # 52

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Controversy spilled over a transgender woman who was not allowed by a janitress to enter a women’s bathroom. So news outlets picked it up and its all over media. Then the SOGIE Bill is on the spotlight again. Please pray for the us Christians who stands against this bill that will trample our religious and academic freedom.

Anyways, here’s a list of great freebies that are waiting to be downloaded. And if your new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

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Free audio teachings on “The Book of Romans” by C Michael Patton- Credo Courses is giving this digital audio download of this teaching for free. Make sure you have an account with Credo Courses (which is also free).

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FREE sample of “Contemplate” Bible Magazine- Get a free sample digital copy of Contemplate, the Holy Bible in magazine format with beautiful photographs.

FREE e-book “Sermons Upon the Eight Chapter of Romans” by Thomas Manton- Monergism has this superb streak of giving out free e-books this past weeks. So I have to pick out only one for this weeks freebie post.

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FREE live stream of Sing 2019 with free 20 songs download-  Dont miss this conference with awesome line up of speakers by signing up this live stream notification. Once signed up, you’ll receive 20 songs free.

FREE audiobook of  “Spending Ourselves in Christ” – As a “thank you’ for supporting Grange Press, they’re making their new audiobook for free download. To support this small press, please sign up with their email list.

FREE e-book “Love the Least (A Lot)” by Michael Spielman – From the founder of Abort73.com is this free ebook. If you want a physical copy, you have to shell some cash.

FREE e-book “The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Jeremiah” – On this week’s David C. Cook’s free e-book is the Bible study series of Warren W. Wiersbe titled Jeremiah: Taking A Stand for the Truth. Get it while it’s still free.

By the way, to my Pinoy friends do you want to learn how to self-publish your book? Here’s a step by step video from Loida Bauto an AVM survivor and a PWD vlogger:

Do you want more freebies? Check out these past blog post:

Freebie Round-Up #51

Freebie Round-Up #50

Freebie Round-Up #49

Freebie Round-Up #48

Freebie Round-Up #47

Freebie Round-Up #46

Freebie Round-Up #45

Freebie Round-Up #44

Freebie Round-Up #43

Freebie Round-Up #42

Freebie Round-Up #41

Freebie Round-Up #40

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Richard Dawkins, C. S. Lewis and the Meaning of Life” by Alister McGrath

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During our open forum for our laymen and women fellowship with the theme, Passion for God, I had a chance to share something about reading that leads to pursuing God. I wrote it down and explained it for about 10 minutes. If youre curious on what I shared to our fellowship, I’ll put it live here as a post on this blog soon.

Anyways, here’s Alister McGrath’s latest book, Richard Dawkins, C. S. Lewis and the Meaning of Lifepublished by InterVarsity Press.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at Amazon or InterVarsity Press. Stay tuned to the review of this book.

“Lewis thus invites his readers into the Christian way of seeing things and to explore how things look when seen from its standpoint – as if to say ‘Try seeing things this way!’ If world views or metanarratives can be compared to lenses, which of them brings things into sharpest focus? Clues, taken by themselves, prove nothing; their importance lies rather in their cumulative and contextual force.”

Dawkins attributes his loss of any religious faith to two factors. The first was his growing realization that ‘Darwin provided the magnificently powerful alternative to biological
design which we now know to be true.’ This is a recurrent theme in Dawkins’s later writings: Darwinism offers an ex­
planation of what is observed in the biological world that is superior to belief in a creator God. The second factor is his belief that there is an ‘elementary fallacy’ within any argument from design, in that ‘any god capable of designing the universe would have needed a fair bit of designing himself.’ Darwin’s idea of gradual complexification from a ‘primeval simplicity’ seemed to make a lot more sense to him.”

“Christianity possessed the literary form of a myth, which for Lewis meant a story with deep imaginative appeal, conveying a set of ideas. Yet there was
a critical difference between Nordic myths and the Christian myth: only the latter was true. Pagan myths represented an imperfect grasping towards the truth, a goal finally attained in Christianity. “

“Christians take the view that believing in God helps us make sense of the world, offering a larger framework or big picture into which fits what we observe and experience. Dawkins argues that this involves adding an unobserved and intrinsically complicated entity – God – to the inventory of the universe. Science is about keeping things as simple as pos-
sible – which is one reason why Dawkins prefers atheism to Christianity. It seems a simpler and neater idea. “

“For Lewis, belief in God was neither a distraction from life nor a spurious means of finding consolation. Discovering God was about discovering his own true identity and recalibrating his reason and imagination in the light of this new way of seeing himself and the world. God is neither an object within our universe nor a mere abstract philosophical idea.”

” To have faith in God is not primarily to
give intellectual assent to an idea about God but to step into a greater picture of our world and become part of it.”

“In terms of their intellectual precariousness, both atheism and Christianity reflect the epistemic limits of human beings, who show a tendency to want to believe more – whether that belief is religious or secular – than the evidence actually warrants.”

“Like many readers of The Selfish Gene I often find myself wondering whether Dawkins’s optimistic conclusion isn’t
actually contradicted and subverted by the arguments that precede it. In some ways his analysis echoes the ethos of the Enlightenment: once you have understood something, you can master it. But can we master ourselves in this way? What if our genetic inheritance affects our will, so that we can recognize the hidden influence of our genes, while then discovering that we cannot break free from their influence?”

Book Review: A Week in the Life of a Slave by John Byron

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I think this is my second time to review a fictional book and this one is my first biblical historical fiction.

At first I’m abit surprise on how Paul, Philemon and Onesimus was portraited. Adding to that Demas was also in the story and had moments, knowing in the back of our mind, he will be a backslider according to the Bible.

A Week in the Life of a Slave delivers an interesting and page turning story of Onesimus and Philemon. It follows the fugitive slave to his journey to escaping his master, meeting Paul, the crisis with his presence in the prison where Paul was in, his conversion and his return to Philemon.

If you think this is just a simple and boring story about slavery in Bible times, well you’re mistaken. I was mistaken till I got that light bulb moment. It gives you the glimpse on how we as Christian are heir to Christ.

There are no boring or dragging parts in the book. You’ll find this book a delightful read every time you jump back in.  The supporting characters are interesting and had all been given a fair share of spotlight both real and fictional ones. Then every conversation are spot on. You can feel the emotions jumping over you without being over the top.

The latter chapters before the conclusion for me are the best conversations that I read from the book. The sub plot was well executed and it really helped the main plot.

If the narrative itself is good, the “information box” that accompanies the story is superb. Well written and with great images, it gives out the backstory in every twist and turn of the story. It feels like your reading book within a book. You can use it in either; read it so you’ll for the some cultural background of the story; ignore it and still the story is solid or for future reference material. But if you ask me, the information box will definitely enhance the reading of the already solid narrative.

A Week in the Life of a Slave is a must read that tackles Christian issues of equality and forgiveness that can’t be easily done in a non-fiction format. It doesn’t just fill your mind but this book wins your heart. Highly recommended!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

 

(Review copy of this book was provided by Inter Varsity Press)

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Essentials” by Lee McMunn

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Living with my in law who needs a dialysis twice a week, me and my wife need to adjust. I have a graveyard shift so my time in the morning is flexible. But I need to make much of those dialysis sessions. So I decided, since I’ll be taking my father in law two times a week (Tuesday and Friday) at the hospital for his 4 hour dialysis session, I might as well bring some digital “baon”. Aside from e-books, I’ll be listening to various podcast from Spotify. It’s a mix bag of Reformed theology, business, comics and kid lit. I want those 4 hours to count as I listen, enjoy and learn.

Anyways, here’s Lee McMunn’s book Essentialspublished by 10 of Those.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at the 10 of Those website. Book review of this book is coming up.

“The Bible teaches that the God who is responsible for all the good and beautiful things, from the tiniest particle to the grandest planet, is a united family of three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

“The Bible says it’s because the God who made us is a relationship of three persons, and we have been created to live in a similar way. That’s why relationships are so important to us.”

“The reason God has the right to rule our lives is because he created us. We know from our everyday existence that those who make things, whether small or grand, have ownership rights over their creations. “

“Passionate commitment to God and his way is for our happiness. Living with God in charge is not drudgery, it is delightful.”

“Rejecting God spells disaster for our eternal future. Cosmic treason is expensive. “

“Forgiveness alone would have been amazing. But the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit offers us much more. As well as forgiveness, we are invited to enjoy a relationship with each member of the Trinity.”

“Obeying Jesus in a world where many people don’t inevitably brings Christians into conflict with competing ideas. Therefore, anyone who follows Jesus should expect turbulence.”

“Relationship with the Father is very personal, but it is never to be individualistic. Anyone who follows Jesus instantly has lots of siblings!”

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “A Week in the Life of a Slave” by John Byron

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Though it’s a dark providence that we are going through in my extended family, my father in law is improving. Good to see that his hemoglobin is going up. Despite having kidney failure, he was able to attend church and was able to thank the church for their constant prayers and encouragement. Thank you for praying for him and can I request another prayer item from you? My father (the biological one) will undergo surgery. Please pray for strength and financial support for him. Most importantly, may God use this surgery to get to know God and be saved.

Anyways, here are 8 favorite quotes from John Byron’s book A Week in the Life of a Slavepublished by Inter Varsity Press.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at Amazon or at the IVP’s website.

“Brothers and sisters? You consider these people your family?”“Oh yes, that is how we often refer to one another. God is my Father, and all these my siblings in Christ. I assumed you were a believer too,” Eutyches said, “but I see you are not.”

“Jesus became a slave to save us, Nympha. He commanded that we become slaves to one another. If we follow his example, humbling ourselves and becoming slaves to our brothers and sisters in the Lord,…”

“We worship a God who became a slave and died a slave’s death in order to save all of humanity, including slaves,” Archippus replied gently.”

“You understand the difference between slavery and freedom in a way that many do not. I suspect that your new life in Christ has helped you to appreciate freedom from a variety of types of slavery, including from that of sin.”

“Indeed,” answered Archippus, “there are some who wonder whether Philemon’s generous gifts and support are the result of his love for God or a desire to attain honor among the more prominent Christian citizens. I, for one, think his generosity is real and comes from God.”

” Paul looked at the slave and asked, “Tell me, Onesimus, do you worship the God of heaven and his son Jesus? Were you not in attendance at the gatherings in Philemon’s house?”

” Paul’s message was not merely
about another god. It included the claim that the Jewish God was the only true god and that Artemis and all the other gods of the empire were in fact not gods at all.”

“Nympha,” Archippus replied, “when the church gathers in your home to worship, we don’t come before the Lord as Jews and Gentiles or men and women. We are all one in Christ. It
should be the same for those born free and those who were not. In Christ, there is neither slave nor free, and this is how it should be when we meet and gather to eat together.”