The greatest modern name that come into mind when one speaks of faith and God is Professor Bruce W. Longenecker. The name stands tall, undefeated and unquestioned in the golden pages of western Christianity, reflecting the hearts and minds of people of their times and the times to follow. He has devoted himself to the understanding and interpretation of man’s salvation from his hopeless plight.
His observation and description of human motives and emotions, their thorough analyses of will and thought in their interaction, and their deep explorations of the inner nature of the human self, have established one of the main traditions in Lost Letters of Pergamum. Professor Bruce W. Longenecker has established that it is feasible for biblical reading to break away from the monotony of academics. The book strives to explain and justify the obvious presence of an omnipotent and omnipresent power, much superior to mortal imagination; a power that the common man so casually calls God.
The author aspires to save Christianity from the disruption of heresy and the calumnies of the pagans, and most importantly to renew and exalt the faithful hearing of the gospel of man’s utter needs and God’s abundant grace. His historical novel divulges a good deal with reference to the world of the New Testament and the time of Jesus. Longenecker, who is a professor in New Testament studies at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, has put in writing a persuasive chronicle in relation to the New Testament and Christ.
Even today, in the important theological revival of our own times, the influence of Lost Letters of Pergamum, are the most potent and productive impulses at work. The author is never against celebrating God’s abundant mercy and grace but also fully persuaded that the vast majority of mankind was condemned to a wholly just and appalling damnation. He never denied the reality of human freedom but never allowed the excuse of human irresponsibility before God, vigorously insisting both double predestination and irresistible grace.
Essentially a conservative genius, the author recasts the patristic tradition into a new pattern into which European Christianity had to be molded into. He regards himself more a defender of the Church’s faith, doctrines and ideas than that of the Church. The author displays the sovereign God of grace and the sovereign grace of God as his central theme. Luke the Evangelist is one of the very few great men whose impacts on the concepts of good and evil cannot be ignored or depreciated in any estimate of Western civilization without serious distortion and impoverishment of one’s historical and religious understanding.
He deliberately reconstructed the religious philosophy of the Greco-Roman world into a new apologetic use in maintaining the intelligibility of the Christian proclamation. The core of his views and motives were the Holy Scriptures that steered his heart and mind in the directions of religious authority. Although Longenecker doubted much of the human race’s ability to life a life without sin, his writing points to a high standard of living in that he hopes and desires that this may be possible.
Longenecker’s medium for passing on his message is a sequence of interactions between two biblical characters, Antipas and Luke the Evangelist. The great Bible also believes and strives to explain the fact that that everything we posses is again only a gift from the All-mighty and that we must share it with people when in need and trouble, a way we can give back the Lord our potential best. We conclude others our understanding of the fact as we read Jesus explaining in the Scripture: “On the first day of every week, each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
And again, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The book, namely, clearly indicates the thoughts and views of the great writer. From the book, one draws the conclusion of an ever existing and everlasting unarguable truth about the obvious presence of an omnipotent and omnipresent power, much superior to mortal imagination, a power that the common man so casually calls God.
The series of epistles, exchanged between two biblical characters, Antipas and Luke the Evangelist also convince that every Christian must consider helping fellow needy Christian brothers and sisters as a personal responsibility and must solely strive to contribute his very best to help the poor and destitute out of social and economic hardships and to eliminate inequality and exploitation from the society. All religions believe that service to mankind is as good a service to the All-mighty and that God is one. The author also perceives God as an infinite sea of forgiveness.
He believes that the lord warns man from time to time to remind him of his duties and responsibilities: to seek salvation and to follow the path of goodness. Although in different forms and times, the book teaches the present generation to follow the same lesson; a lesson of a universal, ever lasting, ever existing truth of the power of a redeeming God, and his forgiveness. Probably the best work of Longenecker ever, was the Lost Letters of Pergamum; an apocalyptic live-action graphic novel is a subversive, darkly satirical update of the original literary classic.
It takes the reader into a tour that looks a lot like the modern world. The author believes there was no rational process to gage the actions of others, other than one’s personal reason. Reason, therefore he thought was the most important of the human virtues that can never be corrupted by the passions of evil or by the sinful motivations of others. Longenecker, in his book says that if the love for the Lord directs one’s aspirations, there will no longer be any fear within the breast from the self or from others.
At the crest of man’s well being, man must not dance to the tunes of pride and offend her and when a man fails or when in misery, he must not curse her but patiently pray to her to come back. He believes that God spies’ man’s every deed very closely. Antipas too, thanks his merciful God for all the gifts and pleasures that were showered upon him, but he knows well these are all short lived. Lost Letters of Pergamum says that salvation does not mean exceeding the individuality or self-esteem; the character remains as a defective modest being, the only dissimilarity being it is no longer separated from God.
The very exceptional subsistence is of the nature of suffering, and there is no such thing as a persevering self or soul. Thus the series of epistles between the two biblical characters, Antipas and Luke the Evangelist have strived to explain and justify the obvious presence of an omnipotent and omnipresent power, much superior to mortal imagination; a power that the common man so casually calls God.
Reference: Longenecker W. Bruce, Lost Letters of Pergamum [ISBN 0-8010-2607-5] Evangelical Lutheran Synod, The Holy Bible, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, St. Louis, Mo: MorningStar Music Publishers 1996.
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