Jesus. Real Life.

mini bio

The fam

The fam

I could put something good here, but I haven’t gotten to it yet, so this is the short version. 

I’m a husband, dad, self-employed lawyer, and apprentice of Jesus.  I enjoy most of what comes with those things as well as occasional kayaking, reading, eating and sleeping, but not necessarily in that order.  I am self-employed by the grace and purpose of God to allow me to shape my practice and my schedule more according to God’s intentions, at least that’s the goal.

I’m also part of a small team planting a church in downtown West Palm Beach.  This and this will give you an idea of some of our intentions there, though we’re still taking shape.  I routinely practice some modified 12 steps with a few other like minded folks as a set of habits to help keep my life on track, and I’m getting back into the habit of working with the Spirit for others like this and other ways as a way of life.  We’re basically seeking to increasingly embody Jesus in our part of the world, in character and power, for everyone’s sake, especially Christ’s and those closest to us.

And my name is “T” Freeman.  E-mail me here if you want.

5 responses

  1. frank william sonnek

    Hey T Freeman! I appreciate your gracious response to me over at Imonk´s site.

    I think you are actually right about us Lutherans on alot of points. I am suggesting though, that this is because Lutherans are not being faithful to what they say they believe.

    We have things in common, in that I admire the 12 steps as you appear to, I will soon study to be an attorney here where I live in Brasil, and i have alot of experience working in inner cities in Los Angeles with hurting people in drugs and alcohol and those who are experiencing HIV in their lives.

    I get what you say about Lutherans saying we can´t do much. THOSE lutherans sense that this is non-sense and bring it in through the back door, calling it a 3rd use of the law or sanctification or “evangelical encouragement”. This is still law. and the law is good news not bad news.

    Here are some things that I have culled from the confessions that will give you a better bead on where I see works. Note especially what all Lutheran children memorize in the Small Catechism of the 1st article of the apostles creed: it is full of grace in the form of good works! all in lists of 7 things implying that God, as a loving father gives is ALL we need. He does this using the law!

    Article VI: Of New Obedience.
    1] Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification 2] before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10.
    [Because remission of sins and justification is “Apprehended (secured, PROVEN, known…) by faith” faith is in something unseen. We believe that there is good fruit and that this is necessary. When we look at what we do we say “we are unprofitable servants”.
    Lesson: we expect sanctification to happen in us. We work for it. We do not expect to see it. The existence of that good fruit is an unseen pure article of faith.]
    Article XII: Of Repentance.
    two parts: contrition, terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin; the other is faith, which is born the Gospel, or of absolution, and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven, comforts 6] the conscience, and delivers it from terrors.
    Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruits of repentance.
    [And how do we SEE those good works?]
    Article XVIII: Of Free Will.
    [Outward righteousness. VISIBLE fruit (NOTA BENE: This all includes both Christians and pagans and THIS is NOT sanctification and it IS also a work of God in us that he works out of his goodness and love. God lets the rain fall on the just and unjust alike]: man’s will has liberty to choose civil righteousness… to work things subject to reason…. in works of this life….”Good” I call those works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend, to clothe oneself, to build a house, to marry a wife, to raise cattle, to learn divers useful arts, or whatsoever good 6]pertains to this life. For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being ….nature is able in a manner to do the outward work, 9] (for it is able to keep the hands from theft and murder,)
    [Inner righteousness. INVISIBLE heart fruit. Sanctification!:]
    But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. …not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God . [we cannot] without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching “the substance of the act.” For, although yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.
    Article XX: Of Good Works.
    …15] But, although this doctrine is despised by the inexperienced, nevertheless God-fearing and anxious consciences find by experience that it brings the greatest consolation, because consciences cannot be set at rest through any works, but only by faith, when they take the sure ground that for Christ’s sake they have a reconciled God. As Paul teaches Rom. 5:1: 16]Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. 17] This whole doctrine is to be referred to that conflict of the terrified conscience, neither can it be understood apart from that conflict….
    35] Hence it may be readily seen that this doctrine is not to be charged with prohibiting good works, but rather the more to be commended, because it shows how we are enabled to do good works. 36] For without faith human nature can in no wise do the works of the First or of the Second Commandment.

    [ so here the confessions say the difference is that christians keep the first table of the 10 commandments but the outward keeping of the second table is also God´s work and looks identical for christian and non-christian. This IS a blessing isn´t it?]

    37] Without faith it does not call upon God, nor expect anything from God, nor bear the cross, but seeks, and trusts in, man’s help. 38] And thus, when there is no faith and trust in God all manner of lusts and human devices rule in the heart. 39] Wherefore Christ said, John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing; 40] and the Church sings:
    Lacking Thy divine favor,
    There is nothing found in man,
    Naught in him is harmless. ”

    Now the small catechism. Please note that what alot of christians, including Lutheran christians call “sanctification” is all included under what a Fatherly God provides, using christian and pagan alike, to bless ALL his children, christian and pagan alike. There is nothing particularly Christian or spiritual about this they way alot of people oppose the word profane(ie commonplace) to the word spiritual.:

    II. The Creed

    As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

    The First Article.

    Of Creation.

    I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

    The Second Article.

    Of Redemption.

    And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, [!!!] even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

    The Third Article.

    Of Sanctification.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    I am so glad to get to know of you. I hope this is helpful, and I hope to hear back from you!

    sincerely,

    frank william sonnek

    skype contact name: fwsonnek1

    October 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

  2. frank william sonnek

    maybe, reflecting on your post, Lutherans turn the law into bad news, which it cannot be if Law=God´s Will. Instead it is sin that is the bad news, the fact that we cannot keep the law the way we would like to.

    The Law is a blessing really isn´t it?

    October 21, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    • T Freeman

      Frank,

      Yes!! Again, esp. if we define the “law” so as to include all of God’s agenda revealed in Christ. You have hit, I think, the core of my thinking! A great and good government has come and is coming to earth through Jesus, the King. ALL he has in mind to do (the full agenda of his government) is good news. Which is why he could (and we can) truthfully say: “The time has come. The government of God is near. Repent and trust this good news.” The agenda includes forgiving rebels, but also restoring them, changing those who used to be instruments and “children” of Satan into instruments/children of Christ and his reign. The prophets also reveal the full agenda of God’s kingdom. That it has begun in Christ is good news.

      October 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

  3. RichB

    This discussion has been interesting. Unfortunately, we men make theology difficult. My layman’s perspective on the law is that it is indeed a blessing to man, because it shows me my need for a savior….who is, as scripture says, the fulfillment of that Law.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

    • T Freeman

      RichB, yes, it does show our need for God, and in more ways than just surviving judgment based on the law. It also shows you that you also need help becoming more like what God has in mind for you to be; you need help becoming more an embodiment of Christ, and less an instrument of evil in the world. It is not only Jesus who “fulfills the law” according to the NT, but it is also those who increasingly walk as he walked, who keep in step with the Spirit he freely gives, which is obviously part of God’s hope and intentions through Christ, so that his will will be done on earth (more) and not just in heaven.

      Again, I don’t think it’s especially helpful to primarily or exclusively label all that Jesus taught or modeled as “Law” even if that can be partially accurate. When I tell my child to throw garbage in the garbage can and she asks “Why?,” if I tell her, “Because it’s the rule,” I’ve not helped her motivation to do it. In fact, if Paul is to be believed, all I’ve done is increase her resistance to the idea. But if I tell her that if we leave garbage in the house, we will have more roaches and other bugs in the house and more disease and a bad smell, but that it’s Dadda’s and her job to prevent that and help us all stay healthy, I’ve just increased her willingness to cooperate and fulfill “the law.” I’ve given her “the spirit” of the law, which is love. I’ve explained my goals (which are good for her and others) and commissioned her to join with me in accomplishing them. I’ve treated her not as a slave, but as a friend because I’ve let her in on the bigger picture of what we’re doing and why. I’ve actually helped her get more understanding and “believe in” me and what I do. What God has in mind to do through Christ (including Christ in us) is good news for us and the world and Jesus and the apostles called it such (as part of “the reign of God.”) Calling only God’s forgiveness “good news” and calling everything else he says or does “Law” (as opposed to “good news”) is neither particularly helpful nor biblical. We need more appreciation of and less hostility toward God’s larger redemptive and caring intentions for the world. God’s love and grace in Christ do much more than forgive us, thank God. They also give power to transform us, to inform us of what he is about and why, and even commission us to join him in what he does. We deserve no such treatment, but he gives it and it is good, so it is grace and good news, whether we acknowledge it as such or not. I wish more folks would call it what it is. I think it would make theology more accurate and less difficult. It’s good. It’s news. It’s about Jesus. It’s good news of Jesus.

      October 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

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