Over the past couple of years, I listened through the entire sermon archive of Woodland Hills church, where Greg Boyd is the primary teaching pastor. Obviously I liked what I heard. I want to share with you some of the highlights. Unless you are familiar with the concepts already, I'm sure some of these will blow your mind.
Before getting to me recommendations, here's my quick summary of Greg Boyd's basic beliefs / theology:
- The gospels are reliable. From a historical critical perspective, the gospels are highly reliable documents. The only real reason they are questioned is because of their claim of resurrection—which of course normally does not ever happen—and Jesus' claim to divinity. However upon examination, the assertion that the gospels are true more plausibly explains both the gospels and the early church. And assuming they are true, Jesus' resurrection gives significant weight to the rest of his claims being true as well.
- God looks like Jesus. Jesus claimed to be the image of God, one with the Father, and if you see him you see the Father. Therefore Jesus is the clearest picture we have of God, more so than anything else. Jesus said all scripture points to him. So we must understand God, the Bible, and everything else in light of Jesus.
- God is love. John specifically says that "God is love." Jesus demonstrated God's love while he was here on earth. God exists eternally in loving relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- The good news is the kingdom. Jesus came to establish God's kingdom—the "dome" in which God is king. In other words, the kingdom is where God's will is done "on earth as it is in heaven." And because God is perfectly good and loving, his kingdom is perfectly good and loving. It is the place in which people will experience freedom, healing, love, life—an experience of being fully human. Jesus' death and resurrection broke our bondage to sin so that we can join God in his kingdom.
- Our only job is to love. Jesus said that the whole of the law is summed up by the command to love God and others. Jesus said his followers are to be known by their love. Paul says that no matter what other great works you do, if you don't have love, they are meaningless. Along with this, we can't love and judge at the same time. We're supposed to judge things and behaviors (discernment) but not people—not even ourselves (condemnation). We must love everyone the way God loves them—and God considered them worth dying on the cross for. We're to love others indiscriminately just as God does. As we do this, we manifest a glimpse of God's kingdom on earth. Collectively, those who follow Jesus are his body, physically manifesting his kingdom as ambassadors in this world.
Description - Click the sermon title to be taken to the page to listen, watch, or download the sermon. The speaker is Greg Boyd unless specified otherwise.
Love and Relationships
Luke 4:1-2, 13, Matt. 22:37-40
Fundamental concepts of God's love and our relationships; how discipline (spiritual discipline) helps us avoid giving into temptation.
The ridiculous, extravagant, generous love of God
The primacy of love
Believe God loves you whether or not you feel it; loving others doesn't necessarily mean we feel warm towards them
Genesis 2:18, Matt. 25:35-36
Relational poverty: unloved
- Greg Boyd, Kevin Callaghan
Greatly influenced by C.S. Lewis' book; the 4 Greek words for love; the good part of the semorn starts around 16:00 when Greg gets into how our culture has divinized eros and lost philia and how this separates us, the importance of friendships and the church, the problem of putting the weight of all relational need on marriage; (end is cut-off mid-sentence)
Singleness; "the myth of romantic completeness"; the best part is the explanation of how our culture has lost deep friendship (begins around 35:30)
Importance of the church/Christians demonstrating love; how God is supposed to be our source of life but how sin blocks this and how we therefore seek to get life from other sources; how the tree of the knowledge of good and evil means that we judge others in order to try to find life; how love and judgement are at odds; good, but Greg's view of God and the challenges of the old testament for example have grown since
- Bruxy Cavey
Reasons to Believe
Countering the "conspiracy theory" about Jesus, which says Jesus was just a mere man and good teacher, but the disciples intentionally made up all the supernatural aspects about Jesus found in the Bible
Countering the "legendary theory", which is the idea that the followers of Jesus were sincere, but the legend grew over time and eventually turned Jesus into God who did miracles
Recap of previous two weeks; countering the "hallucination theory"
Reasons to believe in Jesus
Arguments for believing in Jesus and the resurrection
Countering the following arguments: 5. Jesus' resurrection is a legend 4. Jesus' resurrection is a hoax 3. gospels are contradictory 2. no outside evidence 1. miracles don't occur.
The Atonement (Jesus' Sacrifice)
Atonement: What was the reason for animal sacrifice? Along similar lines, why did Jesus have to die? Why does the Bible say, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin"? Sacrifices teach the lesson that sin (breaking a covenant) leads to death; the myth of redemptive violence
Countering the idea that Jesus saves us from the Father; how predestination isn't intended to refer to a group not individuals; countering the legal view of the atonement.
Series: Luke: Life Beyond Belief
Weaknesses with the legal view of the gospel which can lead to hypocrisy (thinking salvation doesn't require any change)
Theology (What Is God Like?)
Contrasting fighting for God verses Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross; losing our life in order to save it.
Addressing the idea that emotions in men are weak and how this has affected views of God (theology); how God needs us to join him in bringing about his will on earth
How to understand God's wrath and the cross when God is love.
Romans 9:6-24, Jeremiah 18:1-8, 11
Does God predestine each person to be saved or not saved?
How God doesn't need to control (or predestine) everything in order to keep his plans moving forward
Luke 7:11-17, Exodus 33:19
Jesus' compassion; countering the views of God as impassible (emotionless) and immutable (unchanging); the problem of evil; how Jesus can bring healing to our past
How our view of God can affect our brain; the problem of believing God wills everything including evil
How God, out of love, meets us where we are, even when we have revolting beliefs about him.
The Contrast Between the Old and New Testaments
Grappling with the differences between Jesus and the negative images of God in the old testament
Essentially part 2 of the previous sermon; continuing to Grapple with the differences between Jesus and the negative images of God in the old testament
How the coming of Jesus marked God working in a new way; the difference between the old and new testament, and how the old must be understood in light of the new; how God may move us to do something new
(Be sure to download the study guide along with the messages.) "Somewhere along the way western Christians seem to have forgotten how important our imagination is to our walk with God and our mission to the world. In the beginning of all things, God took something lifeless (some dust) and he interacted with it in a way that brought it to life. He animated the dust. During the spring of 2009 we explored ways to animate the way we think about God and consequently how we live for him. What would it be like to approach God with our whole selves: body, soul, and spirit? It’s time to come to our senses. Literally."
2 Cor. 3:14-18; 4:3-6
Using your imagination in prayer
Colossians 4:3-5, 12
Prayer really makes a difference; why we don't always see prays answered
Greg emotionally addresses dealing with personal suffering and tragedy, the challenges this brings to our faith, and the weaknesses in how Christians often try to address people going through this.
Psalm 27:4, 2 Cor. 3:14-18, 4:4, 4:6
Using our imagination to encounter God
Why are many prayers not answered?
Series: Luke: The Church of Saint Anna
Prayer really makes a difference
Genesis 1:26, 29-31, 3:17-19, Luke 6:36, Matt. 6:9-10, Isaiah 11:6-9
Natural disasters aren't caused or allowed by God for a purpose but rather are the result of the influence of evil spiritual forces in the world.
How can we enjoy life when there is so much suffering?
"Following Jesus involves serving and relating to those who are living in poverty. There are more than 400 passages (spanning more than 3,000 verses!) in the Bible that make this point, yet this aspect of being a Christ follower is not often highlighted. Our Compassion by Command series will help equip you, whatever our economic status, to have relationships with and serve others across socio-economic lines. The study explores Scripture passages about our response to poverty, presents the stories of individuals living in poverty and gives us the opportunity to discuss this important issue and decide how to respond together. Join us as we follow Jesus and serve with compassion!"
Matt. 28:35-36, 1 Tim. 6:17
The reality of poverty
Exodus 20:5, Ephesians 6:12
How the sins of previous generations, especially against people groups— specifically blacks and native Americans, affect these people still today
How the church should strive to be racially integrated.
Series: Racial Reconciliation
Parameter vs. centered community; "Us" vs. "Them" thinking
Series: Questions Addressed
Acts 2:17, Acts 21:8-9, Galatians 3:28-29, 1 Timothy 2:9-12, 1 Cor. 14:33-35
Women in ministry
The church as the body of Christ
Problems with church; a bit of church history and how the kingdom is supposed to look; the importance of church
Christian leadership; breaking down the clergy / laity divide
Understanding a Difficult Passage in the Bible
Understanding what the Bible is and what it isn't; holding it as inspired yet not flawless nor perfect
- David Morrow
Understanding the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree
Understanding Jesus' interaction with the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion, and what these do or don't say about racism and violence.
Commanded not to judge, difference between discernment and judgement, the context for confrontation
(Be sure to download the study guide along with the messages.) Love God. Love others. Love yourself. Sounds pretty simple, yet we tend to over complicate this concept with our overly stressed, overly busy, overly committed lives. What can be done about this? How can we break the pattern?
Our Fall 2010 Adventure Series, Undivided, is about living a life that is whole and unfractured. It’s about simplicity and love and how those two things are connected. It’s about justice and mercy and money and possessions and time and technology and life and death. It’s about helping you open up spaces in your life so that compassion is possible. As it is, most of our lives are too crowded and fractured to care.
How all the Bible doesn't have equal importance; dealing with the belief that the Bible has to all be literally true or none of it can be trusted
Series: Questions Addressed
Ephesians 5:21-28, 1 Peter 2:18, 3:1-2, Genesis 3:16
Gender roles in marriage
Four reasons to believe in the reliability of the new testament and Jesus.
Balancing our responsibility verses God's responsibility; don't live under condemnation.
Insight into what it means that people are created in the image of God
Luke 3:23-4:2, Ephesians 2:15-16
How the whole is more than the sum of the parts; the individual affects the whole and the whole affects the individual; our interrelation; we influence each other and are influenced by each other.
Eschatology (end times) and misunderstanding about the rapture; how the Bible points to our future on earth rather than in heaven
How we're not saved by works but are saved for good works; How the powers of the world offer solutions which are antagonistic, pitting groups against each other; our enemy is not other people
Suggesting that our sanctification may not be magically completed by God when we die, but that there may be a refining process we must go through before fully participating in the Kingdom of God
Series: Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual gifts and using them
The importance of who we believe we are and what we believe about ourselves
Trying to get life by hiding parts of ourselves we are ashamed of and projecting an image that we believe people will like; how we can't love or be love while we're hiding and performing.
How the kingdom is already and not yet; manifesting our true nature; metaphor of husked vs. unhusked corn
Contrasting the kingdom of God with the ways of the world
Series: Luke: The Beautiful Mess
Our understanding/beliefs aren't the reality; don't make an idol of our beliefs; how this affects our communication
Evangelism, how Jesus established a new Israel, the meaning of "shake the dust off your feet"
God can provide when we trust him with what we have.
How emotional wounds can become spiritually infected (becoming a cage); becoming aware of what inside; healing these wounds
- Greg Boyd with Rob and Fred
Being aware of the Spirit's leading and the kind of things God will do if we act on this.