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Gregory Matthews

Timothy R. Jennings, MD

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Gregory Matthews

I just came from spending the entire day at church, which I had not intended to do.  During Sabbath School I listened to a Dr. Timothy R. Jennings, MD.  He also had a Friday evening meeting that I did not attend.  Following the Sabbath School, he had the regular worship service which was then followed by early and late afternoon meetings. He is a psychiatrist and well recognized.

The focus of his meeting was to proclaim that God is a God of love as opposed to being a God of wrath.  He attempts to demonstrate this from Scripture and relates that to historic understandings of both the early SDA denominational leaders and Christian leaders in the developing Christian church as well as contempory denominations.

He challenged us, in the beginning part that I heard with a construct that the evidence for truth today must be discovered from a harmonization of three different sources of truth:

Scripture:  Without the evidence of Experience and Science we are left with some 34,000 different Christian groups.  [NOTE:  As a student of World Religions, many would differ with his numeration.  But that should not cause one to dismiss his point.]

Experience: Without Scripture and Science, we may be led into mysticism.

Science: Without Scripture and Experience one may be led to godlessness.

I went into the service with a bias as to what I expected him to say and how I would disagree with it.  I found myself to be totally wrong.  While he did use modern medicine and his experience as a psychiatrist, his central theme was theological and understanding how God interacts in this world in  a manner of total love to include how misunderstanding this and seeing God as a God of wrath can lead to may problems in our lives.

I had basic agreements with him in many ways.  However, in those areas he typically expanded my thinking and gave me stuff to consider and evaluate.

During this seminar, he gave away, totally free of charge and with no request for donations three sets of DVDs which contained a total of seven (7) separate DVDs. 

These sets were:

Healing Your Mind:  3 DVDs

God and Your Brain: 2 DVDs

God and Your Church: 2 DVDs

NOTE:  Dr. Jennings was at the July 2015 General Conference and freely distributed some tens of thousands of his DVDs.   I am not giving an exact figure as I do not have the exact amount.

I intend to comment more about him and his ministry. I may not finish tonight.  But here is some of where I am going in future comments:

Come & Reason Ministries.

The Remedy.

Journal of the Watcher.

 

 

 

 

  

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Gregory Matthews

Come & Reason Ministries:

Dr. Jennings locates him ministry on the web at:  http://comeandreason.com/

Click on it if you want to know more about it.  He gives away a lot of free stuff.  E.G.  If you want the same DVDs that he gave away at the seminar, simply ask and he will send them to you, free of charge.  He told us at the seminar that if any  of us wanted to give them away to people who would use them to simply ask. He will send you as many, free of charge as you want.

Or, you may contact him by mail at:

POB 28266

Chattanooga TN 37424

Come and reason is on Facebook

There is a lot available.  Just click on his website.

 

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Gregory Matthews

The Remedy:

 

Quote

Unlike other Bible translations, which view the text through the lens of a legal problem, with humanity being in legal trouble with God for breaking imposed rules, this paraphrase approaches interpretation through this lens of design law and views humanity as being in a condition deviant from God's design and in need of healing and restoration. Thus this paraphrase consistently represents God as healer battling against all forces that damage and destroy.

 

 

Dr. Jennings calls this an expanded paraphrase.  I have personally not seen it so that I do not know if I would call it a translation, or even if I think that Dr. Jennings has the academic qualifications to produce a translation.  I suspect that he does not.  But, I  am uncertain.

 

However, based upon what he has said in his seminar, I think that THE REMEDY would, at least, be an excellent book for devotional reading.  That is why I am mentioning it here.

Further questions about  it may be directed to:

 

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Gregory Matthews

The Journal of the Watcher:

The Journal of the Watcher  is a 23 chapter, 190 page hard-cover book which is also an e-book on iBooks and kindle.  I contains full page color art work on just about every page that contains a story of the war for our salvation as recorded by a Celestial Watcher.  It is anchored in human history as recorded in Scripture.  It also continat a professionally narrated cinematic soundtrack.

Author:  Timothy R. Jennings, M.D.

Illustrated by Louis  Johnson

Narrated by Kevin Barbare.

The e-book has three options:

Read it.

Play the narration page by page.

Play the entire narration with auto-page advance.

I believe that you may also obtain a hard copy from Come & Reason Ministries, above.  

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Gregory Matthews

Jennings, Timothy R. The God-Shaped Brain: How Changing Your View of God Transforms Your Life. Intervarsity Press, 2013, 255 pages.

Jennings, Timothy R.  Could It Be This Simple? A Biblical MOdel For Healing The Mind.  Review & Herald and Lennox Publishing, 2007 & 2012, 160 pages.

The above are two books that Dr. Jennings has authored.  At the Seminar he sold them for $5 each.   I believe that they may be obtained from Come & Reason Ministries.

 

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rudywoofs (Pam)

it appears that "The Remedy" is only available online.

It definitely is a paraphrase, as Dr. Jennings has put his own spin on words in scripture.  Just browsing, I came upon this:

Quote

19 They have refused Christ's true Remedy, and therefore their condition remains terminal, their god is self, and self-gratification is all they pursue. They are actually proud of the lewd, disgusting and shameful things they do. Their minds are focused only on things of this selfish, self-indulgent world.  (Philippians 3:19)

Here's the KJV of the same verse:

Quote

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 

I'm not sure what he's referring to as the true "Remedy"....  I guess one would need to read the whole paraphrase, perhaps...

here's the link to "The Remedy"  http://comeandreason.com/index.php/the-rememdy

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Gregory Matthews

Pam:  Exactly.  I strongly suspect that it may have value as a devotional book, but probably should not be considered as a translation of the Bible.

But, I could  be wrong.

In any case, I will suggest that there is value in considering what he suggests in his works.

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pnattmbtc

The paraphrase is a way to make clear the idea he is trying to communicate, the paradigm he is operating from, how he understands what Paul meant to say.  For example:

Quote

 

21But now God has revealed a healthy state of being, a character that is right and perfect in every way, that did not come from the written code, but is exactly what the Scriptures and the Ten Commandments were pointing your minds toward.22This perfect state of being comes from Christ and is created within us by God when we place our trust in him. Our trust in him is established by the evidence given through Jesus Christ of his supreme trustworthiness. There is no difference among any ethnic groups,23for all humanity is infected with the same disease of distrust, fear and selfishness, and is deformed in character and falls far short of God's glorious ideal for humanity.24Yet all who are willing are healed freely by God's gracious Remedy which has been provided by Jesus Christ.25God presented Jesus as the way and the means of restoration. Now, through the trust established by the evidence of God’s character revealed when Christ died, we may partake of the Remedy procured by Christ. God did this to demonstrate that he is right and good, because in his forbearance he suspended, for a time, the ultimate consequence of us being out of harmony with his design for life, yet he has been falsely accused of being unfair.26He did it to demonstrate how right and good he is at the present time, so that he would also be seen as being right when he heals those who trust in Jesus.

 

27Where, then, is human bragging or accomplishment? It has no place, for our healing has been accomplished by God, through trust made possible by Jesus. And why is boasting not possible? Because our efforts to conform to a set of rules do not establish trust, or remove the infection of selfishness from our hearts! Only trust in God eliminates fear and opens the heart to him. Then, in order to recreate us to be like Jesus, God lovingly applies to our hearts and minds the Remedy Christ achieved.28Therefore, we insist that a person is cleansed (set right with God) only by trusting in God and opening his or her heart to him–and this is different from keeping rules.29Is the Creator of the entire human race the God of the Jews only? Is he not God of all humanity, including Gentiles? Of course–he is the God of all humanity,30and he will heal the circumcised if they trust him, and the uncircumcised will also be healed if they trust him.31Do we then destroy, or make useless by our trust, the written code God gave to help us? Of course not! We show that the written code was helpful in diagnosing our sickness, revealing God's plan to heal, and leading us back to trust so we could be healed.

 

This is the passage in Romans 3 which many consider to be the heart of the gospel.  Anyone familiar with A. Graham Maxwell should be able to recognize the paradigm here.  AGM, if I remember correctly, first wrote out this idea in the 1950's.  Personally, I think this view is correct.  Note especially verses 25 and 26.  One of the key points is that the gospel is primarily about God.  Our healing comes about as a result of our believing the truth about God revealed in and through Jesus Christ.

That he did a paraphrase of the whole new testament is impressive; my that's a lot of work!

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Gail

I have The God-Shaped Brain but haven't read it yet. 

I think I have recommended this book on the board before:

 

 

image.jpeg

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Gregory Matthews

Dr. Jennnings has developed a system of classifying the manner in which Christians see spiritual truth and express it in their lives.  This system consists in seven (7) different levels or stages of spiritual development.  It is based upon the work of Lawrence Kohlberg, a psychologist who developed a theory of six (6) different levels of moral decision making.  In Jennings system, Kohlberg's stage five (5) has been modified and a stage seven (7) has been added.  I believe that it will be helpful in understanding Jennings' system to understand Kohlberg's.  Thanks to Wikipedia, Kohlberg's system is as follows:

 

Quote

Kohlberg's six stages can be more generally grouped into three levels of two stages each: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional.[7][8][9]

Following Piaget's constructivist requirements for a stage model, as described in histheory of cognitive development, it is extremely rare to regress in stages—to lose the use of higher stage abilities.[14][15]

Stages cannot be skipped; each provides a new and necessary perspective, more comprehensive and differentiated than its predecessors but integrated with them.[14][15]

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)
1. Obedience and punishment orientation
(How can I avoid punishment?)
2. Self-interest orientation
(What's in it for me?)
(Paying for a benefit)
Level 2 (Conventional)
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
(Social norms)
(The good boy/girl attitude)
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
(Law and order morality)
Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles
(Principled conscience)

The understanding gained in each stage is retained in later stages, but may be regarded by those in later stages as simplistic, lacking in sufficient attention to detail.

 

 

 

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Gregory Matthews

For those who want to understand better Kohlberg's stages of moral development, the following, also from Wikipedia will be helpful:

Pre-conventional[edit]

The pre-conventional level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner. A child with pre-conventional morality has not yet adopted or internalized society's conventions regarding what is right or wrong but instead focuses largely on external consequences that certain actions may bring.[7][8][9]

In Stage one (obedience and punishment driven), individuals focus on the direct consequences of their actions on themselves. For example, an action is perceived as morally wrong because the perpetrator is punished. "The last time I did that I got spanked, so I will not do it again." The worse the punishment for the act is, the more "bad" the act is perceived to be.[16] This can give rise to an inference that even innocent victims are guilty in proportion to their suffering. It is "egocentric," lacking recognition that others' points of view are different from one's own.[17] There is "deference to superior power or prestige."[17]

An example of obedience and punishment driven morality would be a child refusing to do something because it is wrong and that the consequences could result in punishment. For example, a child's classmate tries to dare the child to skip school. The child would apply obedience and punishment driven morality by refusing to skip school because he would get punished. Another example of obedience and punishment driven morality is when a child refuses to cheat on a test because the child would get punished

Stage two (self-interest driven) expresses the "what's in it for me" position, in which right behavior is defined by whatever the individual believes to be in their best interest but understood in a narrow way which does not consider one's reputation or relationships to groups of people. Stage two reasoning shows a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to a point where it might further the individual's own interests. As a result, concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect, but rather a "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" mentality.[2] The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual's own needs or interests. For the stage two theorist, the world's perspective is often seen as moral relativism.

An example of self-interest driven is when a child is asked by his parents to do a chore. The child asks "what's in it for me?" The parents would offer the child an incentive by giving a child an allowance to pay them for their chores. The child is motivated by self-interest to do chores. Another example of self-interest driven is when a child does his homework in exchange for better grades and rewards from his parents.

Conventional[edit]

The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. To reason in a conventional way is to judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development. Conventional morality is characterized by an acceptance of society's conventions concerning right and wrong. At this level an individual obeys rules and follows society's norms even when there are no consequences for obedience or disobedience. Adherence to rules and conventions is somewhat rigid, however, and a rule's appropriateness or fairness is seldom questioned.[7][8][9]

In Stage three (good intentions as determined by social consensus), the self enters society by conforming to social standards. Individuals are receptive to approval or disapproval from others as it reflects society's views. They try to be a "good boy" or "good girl" to live up to these expectations,[2] having learned that being regarded as good benefits the self. Stage three reasoning may judge the morality of an action by evaluating its consequences in terms of a person's relationships, which now begin to include things like respect, gratitude, and the "golden rule". "I want to be liked and thought well of; apparently, not being naughty makes people like me." Conforming to the rules for one's social role is not yet fully understood. The intentions of actors play a more significant role in reasoning at this stage; one may feel more forgiving if one thinks, "they mean well ..."[2]

In Stage four (authority and social order obedience driven), it is important to obey laws, dictums, and social conventions because of their importance in maintaining a functioning society. Moral reasoning in stage four is thus beyond the need for individual approval exhibited in stage three. A central ideal or ideals often prescribe what is right and wrong. If one person violates a law, perhaps everyone would—thus there is an obligation and a duty to uphold laws and rules. When someone does violate a law, it is morally wrong; culpability is thus a significant factor in this stage as it separates the bad domains from the good ones. Most active members of society remain at stage four, where morality is still predominantly dictated by an outside force.[2]

Post-Conventional[edit]

The post-conventional level, also known as the principled level, is marked by a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual’s own perspective may take precedence over society’s view; individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. Post-conventional moralists live by their own ethical principles—principles that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice. People who exhibit post-conventional morality view rules as useful but changeable mechanisms—ideally rules can maintain the general social order and protect human rights. Rules are not absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question. Because post-conventional individuals elevate their own moral evaluation of a situation over social conventions, their behavior, especially at stage six, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.

Some theorists have speculated that many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning.[7][8][9]

In Stage five (social contract driven), the world is viewed as holding different opinions, rights, and values. Such perspectives should be mutually respected as unique to each person or community. Laws are regarded as social contracts rather than rigid edicts. Those that do not promote the general welfare should be changed when necessary to meet “the greatest good for the greatest number of people".[8] This is achieved through majority decision and inevitable compromise. Democratic government is ostensibly based on stage five reasoning.

In Stage six (universal ethical principles driven), moral reasoning is based on abstract reasoning using universal ethical principles. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. Legal rights are unnecessary, as social contracts are not essential for deontic moral action. Decisions are not reached hypothetically in a conditional way but rather categorically in an absolute way, as in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.[18] This involves an individual imagining what they would do in another’s shoes, if they believed what that other person imagines to be true.[19] The resulting consensus is the action taken. In this way action is never a means but always an end in itself; the individual acts because it is right, and not because it avoids punishment, is in their best interest, expected, legal, or previously agreed upon. Although Kohlberg insisted that stage six exists, he found it difficult to identify individuals who consistently operated at that level.[15][/

 

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Gregory Matthews

Come & Reason Ministries:  Our mission is to help you hone your mental faculties by providing free materials that integrate Scripture, Science, and Experience to reveal the beauty of God's character of love so you can grow in your relationship with God.

 

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Jeannieb43

Thank you for this treatise, Gregory.   I have read Timothy Jennings' publications for years, though not as thoroughly as you have.   He was an active member (and often-heard voice from the audience) of Dr. Graham Maxwell's Sabbath School classes, which I listened to (on tape) faithfully each week in the '70s, '80s, and '90s.  He was living in Loma Linda (or Redlands) at that time.   He later moved to Chattanooga, TN where he now lives and where he is a well-regarded psychiatrist in medical practice there. 

I feel his comments are valid.  I think he has done a lot of extensive research, both in the original languages and by reading current writers, and I believe his comments are based on this study.   In fact, I think of him somewhat in the same way I think of the Apostle Paul, who mended fish nets to support himself, but preached the gospel as his profession.   I think Dr. Jennings practices medicine to support himself, but preaches the love of Christ as his profession. 

Unfortunately, there are those in the Adventist church who feel they have to be the arbiter of everything taught from Scripture.   And nowhere is that more evident than on the campus of Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale, TN.  Dr. Jennings formerly taught a Sabbath School class each week on that campus, using one of the university's classrooms.   It grew and became so popular that some of the "brethren" of the university became jealous, and soon Dr. Jennings' class was evicted from the university campus.   He still continues to teach a Sabbath School class, I understand, but it is now located in a nearby town.

And if you see a similarity to Dr. Graham Maxwell's teachings, Dr. Jennings comes by it naturally.   He was a follower of The Larger View, as taught by Dr. Maxwell.  (And as far as I'm concerned, there is no one better to use as a role model than Graham Maxwell.   I regard him as a prophet of God.) 

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Gregory Matthews

Just a note:  I do not consider myself to be well-read in his works.  I knew nothing prior to Yesterdays meetings.

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JoeMo

This is very interesting.  I haven't visited the website yet; but what I've read seems right up my alley as far as my current thoughts go.  I will look at the website and provide more feedback.  Thanks, for posting this, Gregory!

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