Note Regarding Masters Thesis
- As this Thesis was created in a format to meet the academic requirements of Brandon University's Master of Rural Development program, some of it may be of little relevance to general readers.
- The Thesis is a hermeneutical text analysis of the four Gospels, conducted to find out the answer to several research questions. The key research question was, "Does Andrew Murray's insight [that Christ invites us into an interactive relationship with him rather than either a purely Active or purely passive relationship] hold up when viewed in light of the four Gospels?"
- The answer to this central research question in the Thesis is "yes".
- The relevance of this insight being sustained in the area of Rural Development is the possibility of bridging the divide between the liberal and conservative Protestant Churches, making for a more cohesive rural community.
- The implications for community, business and economic development are spelled out in that closing chapter.
- The heart of it is found in Chapter 5 "Andrew Murray's Bridge Piece Emerges"
- Chapters 1-4 give the background leading up to that bridge piece.
- Chapters 6 and 7 spell out the research Method used.
- Chapters 8 and 9 look at the relevant results of the research project itself.
- The Table of Contents are "live" so you can click on an item and Adobe Acrobat will take you to the section.
There is an additional aspect to the concept in my thesis. What is there is accurate, it is just that there is another piece to add to it which puts the wheels under things a bit more...
As I said in my thesis, Andrew Murray pointed out that the meaning of Mk. 11:24 is obscured by bad translation...and actually means “whatever you come to believe while in prayer that you have received, ask for it and it will be to you” ie.
- A vertical dialogue with the Father which results in a coming to believe “that our name is on it”
- A horizontal dialogue with people in which we ask for it, will then be successful...because of God’s working things out in the horizontal...eg. in people’s hearts etc.
Where I had not understood was I thought that the asking was vertical (ask God), when in fact the asking is horizontal (ask people).
In a sense our asking is vertical in that we have to “accept delivery of it”/get our attitudes straightened out about receiving any gift (the aspect I picked upon in my thesis)...especially if what we come to believe we have received is not a particularly attractive thing (like the “higher gifts” which the apostle Paul refers to...which most sane people don’t exactly “covet”...grin)...and we do get a bit circumspect about asking God for stuff we don’t really want because we just might get it.
This shift in asking from the vertical to the horizontal explains Yonge Cho’s audacity in building his church and securing secular permission etc to build...(and other similar anecdotes)...because this is exactly the attitude and approach he used in life...
- Jesus said that the vertical comes before the horizontal, but that the horizontal follows from the vertical, needs to be carried out, but only after the vertical is settled.
- Stop asking God for what we should be asking our fellow people for...stop mixing up the vertical (prayer) with the horizontal (asking).
All of which brings to mind that God’s way of delivery is not always the obvious one.
There is a popular theory floating around which says “think about what you want to receive and it will be attracted to you and you will have it”. Now I understand my unease with it...it leaves out the vertical dimension...understandably as it is a secular philosophy.
Download Thesis (PDF)