Christian Wellness: Chapter 1-What is it and why is it important?


Chapter 1

WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF WELLNESS AND WHY IS CHRISTIAN WELLNESS IMPORTANT?

Introduction:  Why Wellness?

In 1999, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) released the results of a study conducted to determine the underlying causes of the shortage of pastors in the LCMS.  This study, the Clergy Shortage Study, indicated that about 20% of LCMS pastors are in advanced stages of burnout; that an additional 20% are “well on their way to burnout; that another 30% of LCMS pastors are “ambivalent about their ministry”;[1] and that only about 30% of LCMS pastors are free from burnout and truly enjoy their work.[2]

The study linked the high levels of burnout to the issue of the retention of pastors.  It indicated that the 20% of LCMS pastors who are in advanced stages of burnout are in despair and depression; they are headed for “physical and/or behavior meltdown,”[3] and they are no longer able to deal with the challenges they are facing.[4]

Generally, pastors in this group would quit immediately if they thought that there was something else that they could do.  Clearly these pastors are headed for an early exit from the ministry.  But they would not be alone.  During the years 1988-1997, 54.2% of the LCMS pastors who left the ministry did so before the normal retirement age.[5]

Clergy burnout is also a problem for recruitment because healthy pastors are reluctant to recruit others into the ministry, while burned out pastors are presenting a role model that “is instrumental in discouraging first and second career people from entering full-time ministry.”[6] But what is the level of burnout among pastors in Lutheran Church-Canada and what can be done to reduce the levels of burnout?  Early in the thesis process, a decision was made to approach the question from a positive perspective and to use a wellness approach.  Therefore, the question became:  What is the level of wellness among pastors in Lutheran Church-Canada and what can be done to improve the levels of wellness?

Methodology

A survey entitled the LCC National Pastoral Wellness Survey (NPWS) was developed and sent to the 275 active pastors of LCC in early November 2002.  The survey asked questions regarding biographical information, wellness, and factors that helped or hindered pastors in maintaining their own wellness.  A six-dimensional approach was used in formulating the survey, meaning that questions were asked about wellness in six areas of life:  emotional wellness, vocational wellness, social wellness, intellectual wellness, spiritual wellness, and physical wellness.[7] Information was also gathered on a seventh dimension, financial wellness, to see if there was a connection between wellness and finances.[8] Since burnout was the initial point of concern and because studying the connection between burnout and wellness was a critical part of the research, a tool to measure burnout, the Clergy Burnout Inventory (developed by Roy M. Oswald of the Alban Institute) was used with permission and incorporated into the NPWS.[9] Pastors were asked to fill out the survey by November 30, 2002 and to return the completed survey in a pre-addressed postage paid envelope that was provided.

One hundred fifty-nine pastors took the time to fill out the survey and return it.  Incomplete surveys were set aside, and then a sample that was representative of each of five regions of LCC[10] was drawn from the pool of survey results.  It was this group of one hundred seventeen completed surveys which provided the survey data for this thesis.  The data was analysed using Microsoft Excel, and particular attention was paid to co-relationships between various fields of data.  Where statements are made within this thesis regarding relationships between two items, a significance level of five percent was used.[11]

To collect more personal data regarding wellness, ten pastors were interviewed between January 20 and February 5, 2003.  Of the ten pastors, three were active pastors who were less than forty years old and had less than five years of experience in the ministry; four were active pastors between fifty and sixty years old with ten to thirty years of experience as a pastor, and three of the pastors were sixty-four or more years old, semi-retired, and had at least forty years of experience in active ministry.  Nine of these pastors were LCC pastors, while one was from another Protestant denomination.  These particular pastors were chosen to form a pool of interviewees that represent the broad spectrum of age and experience of pastors in LCC.  Some of these pastors exhibit high levels of wellness and they were included in the interview pool to gather their insights.  The one pastor who is not from LCC was asked to participate because of his experience and expertise in pastoral counselling.  All of the pastors are acquaintances of the author.

Burnout Results and Defining Burnout

The NPWS results indicate that burnout is a serious problem in LCC.  Of all the active pastors in LCC, 2.6% are suffering from extreme burnout and another 14.5% are experiencing burnout to a lesser extent.  Nearly half, 47.9%, are bordering on burnout, while only 35% of the pastors are experiencing no burnout at all.[12]

Burnout has been described by Herbert Freudenberger, the author of Burnout:  The High Cost of High Achievement, as “a state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.”[13] Archie Brodsky and Jerry Edelwich, authors of Burnout, define the term as a “progressive loss of idealism, energy, and purpose experienced by people in the helping professions.” [14] University of California Berkeley psychologist Christine Maslach defines burnout as “a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion marked by physical depletion and chronic fatigue, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and by development of negative self-concept and negative attitudes toward work, life and other people.”[15]

Roy M. Oswald notes a distinction between burnout and being overstressed.  Overstress, or being stressed-out, is the overuse of one’s adjustment capacities by excessive novelty or change, and can result in physical and emotional illness.  Burnout is the overuse of one’s listening and caring capacities through having excessive responsibilities for an extended period of time or through involvement with too many needy people.  Burnout can result in cynicism, disillusionment, self-depreciation, emotional exhaustion or physical exhaustion.[16] According to this distinction, one who is stressed-out might say, “I just cannot handle things anymore!” while someone who is burnt-out might say, “I just do not care anymore!”  While there is a distinction between overstress and burnout, there is also a relationship between stress and burnout.  The Canadian Oxford Dictionary recognizes this relationship when it defines stress as “a demand on physical or mental energy. … distress caused by this [demand on physical or mental energy] (suffering from stress)”[17] and then defines burnout as “physical or emotional exhaustion, esp. caused by stress. … depression, disillusionment.”[18] Thus, in general usage, burnout is understood as being caused by stress.  Oswald’s distinction can be aligned with general usage if the overuse of one’s adjustment capacities and the overuse of one’s caring capacities are both understood as stress.  This thesis makes that link and assumes a strong causal connection between stress and burn-out.

For the purpose of this thesis, burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, marked by fatigue, feelings of helplessness and hopeless, loss of idealism and sense of purpose which is brought about by a continual drain upon one’s physical, mental or emotional capacity.  This is what 17.1% of LCC’s pastors are experiencing.  One interviewee, a middle-aged pastor with twelve years of pastoral experience, suggested that a pastor is like a bucket and a ladle.  He cannot draw water out of himself to refresh others unless he is refreshed himself.  When he has given all that he has to others and he has no more left to give; he is empty and he is burnt-out.[19]

The Link Between Wellness and Burnout

The research on the NPWS results has shown that burnout is inversely related to wellness.  Pastors with Clergy Burnout Inventory scores that indicate no burnout have significantly higher levels of wellness than do pastors in general, while those suffering from extreme burnout have wellness levels that are significantly lower than pastors on average.  The relationship works the other way as well.  Pastors with wellness levels in the lowest range have significantly higher average burnout levels, while pastors with high levels of wellness have significantly lower burnout scores.[20] Furthermore, the coefficient of determination between wellness scores and burnout scores is .504.  This means that 50.4% of any change in burnout level can be explained by a change in wellness.[21] Therefore, an improvement in the wellness of LCC pastors will not only reduce the levels of burnout among pastors, but also bring reduced risks of other health challenges and increased effectiveness, enjoyment and longevity in the pastoral ministry.

What is Wellness?

A Secular Definition

But what is wellness?  Wayne A. Payne and Dale B. Hahn in Understanding Your Health define wellness as a

“. . .  process of determining risk factors through periodic assessment and the provision of information, behaviour change strategies, and individual or group counselling that ultimately leads to the adoption of a wellness lifestyle.  Once adopted, this wellness lifestyle (characterized by low-risk, health-enhancing behaviours) over time should produce a sense of well-being (also called wellness by some wellness practitioners.”[22]

Wellness is not the same as health promotion, for while the latter is driven by concerns about morbidity and mortality, the former is intended to “. . . unlock the full potential of individuals as they interact within a variety of life’s arenas, including the workplace and the larger environment.”[23] Gerhard William Hettler III, one of the founders of the National Wellness Conference and one of the earliest proponents of wellness, uses the following definition:  “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”[24]

A Christian Definition

Different Motivations and Goals

A Christian understanding of wellness will depart from the secular understanding of wellness, for there is a different motivation and different goals.  The lives of believers are not primarily concerned with unlocking their full potential or a more successful existence.  The lives of believers are all about Jesus, for he has unlocked the door to heaven and showered his people with heavenly blessings of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.  Therefore, Christians are motivated by God’s love.  In 1 John 4:10, they are reminded, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10).  Their entire lives are a response of thankfulness to that love and, in that thankfulness, with an awareness of the eternal gifts that God has given them through Jesus Christ, they take care of the temporal gifts that God has given them.  They practice good stewardship of all that God has given to them, including their own selves.

Not only do Christians differ from the secular world in their motivation, their goals are also different.  Believers’ lives are lives of worship towards God and they live that worship by faithfully carrying out the tasks of their station in life.  Martin Luther captures this sense of worship of God in everyday life when he writes,

For the Lord of the greatest and least, of kings and slaves, of men and women, etc., is the same. We all have one and the same God, and we are one in the unified worship of God, even if our works and vocations are different. But each one should do his duty in his station, even as Jacob is a saintly and spiritual man meditating on God’s Law, praying, administering and governing the church. In the meantime, however, he does not overlook lowly domestic duties connected with the fields and the flocks, and this is set before us as an example that we may know that all our actions in domestic life are pleasing to God and that they are necessary for this life in which it becomes each one to serve the one God and Lord of all according to one’s ability and vocation.[25]

Christian lives are also lives of service, directed towards helping one’s neighbour.  In 1 John 4:11, Christian motivation and goal are joined: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn 4:11).  In the Small Catechism, the Fifth Commandment is explained in the following manner: “We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.”[26] So the Christian goal for living wellness is to be better able to live lives of worship toward God and service to one’s neighbour.  This also connects with the role of believers as members of the royal priesthood of all believers.[27]

Christians also strive to further the advance of the Gospel, and what better way is there to help one’s neighbours than to have them hear the Good News of what Jesus Christ has done for them?  Improving pastoral wellness will not only benefit pastors’ personal wellness, it will also enable them more full to spread the Gospel.  For, as pastors adopt a wellness lifestyle and over time develop a sense of well-being, they will become more effective as pastors and more resilient to health challenges that arise.  Pastors who are experiencing wellness will be better able to serve and carry out the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.  As more pastors are retained in active ministry, then more people will be reached by Word and Sacrament.

The question of one’s attitude towards one’s self is important to wellness at this point.  Each of the Synoptic Gospels contain Jesus’ instructions to his followers: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mat 16:24).[28] The Greek phrase is aparnesastho heauton.  The verb aparnesastho is defined in this context as “to act in a wholly selfless manner, deny oneself.”[29] These passages, which are part of the ILCW lectionary, are often understood as requiring a radical denunciation of one’s self.  This is evident in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament discussion of Mark 8:34 in the article for arneomai “I must not confess myself and my own being, nor cling to myself, but abandon myself in a radical renunciation of myself, and not merely of my sins. I must no longer seek to establish my life of myself but resolutely accept death and allow myself to be established by Christ in discipleship.”[30] But R. C. H. Lenski brings forward a nuance that helps in our understanding of these passages and in our understanding of wellness.  He writes,

Whoever wills to come after Christ, “let him deny himself,” apo plus arneomai which means to turn someone off, to refuse association and companionship with him, to disown him.  The one to be denied is here heautos , SELF, self altogether and not merely some portion, some fault, some special habit or desire, some outward practice.  The natural, sinful self is referred to as it centers in the things of men and has no desire for the things of God….  This is not self-denial in the current sense of the word but true conversion, the very first essential of the Christian life.  The heart sees all the sin of self and the damnation and the death bound up in this sin and turns away from it in utter dismay, seeking rescue in Christ alone.  Self is thus cast out, and Christ enters in; henceforth you live, not unto yourself, but unto Christ who died for you.  Moreover, you can deny only one whom you know, a friend, for instance, by breaking off relations with him.  So here you are to deny your own old self and to enter into a new relation with Christ.[31]

But our entire being is not our old sinful self.  By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been given a new self.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  Francis Pieper notes, “By faith in Christ a ‘new man’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; ‘the inward man,’ 2 Cor. 4:16) has been born, whose will agrees perfectly with the will of God.”[32] Therefore, we do not deny our entire being; we only deny our sinful self while, at the same time, affirming our new self, the new creation in Christ.[33]

Clearly there is room for a more positive attitude toward the self among Christians.  Mark C. Lobitz, in his M. Div. thesis “Christian Self-love,” makes an important observation:

One sees then that some Christian dogmaticians and ethicists oppose the idea of self-love because they connect it with eros love and thereby in its extreme with narcissism.  This is the presupposition with which they approach the subject.  The end result is a negative view of self-love.

Several theologians confirm that there is a Christian concept of self-love that is both natural and God-given, but which in its natural state must be closely guarded and possibly held in restraint by a person.  They hold to a cautious view of self-love.

Finally, some theologians promote self-love in a more unrestrained manner, seeing it as an important part of the Christian’s life when the love of self that is involved is agape, the gift-love from God.  They think that self-love has been held in suspicion for too long a period.

The difference then in thinking on self-love among these theologians is based in large measure on the meaning of the love involved in self-love and where it originates.  If it is generated only within the self, it is always suspect.  When the source of the self-love is attributed to God, it is acceptable even to some who were categorically opposed to it.  This reoccurring theme and emphasis continues to show itself as the foundation for Christian self-love.[34]

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law, he replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Mat 22:37-40).  Each of the Synoptic Gospels contains the phrase ton plesion sou hos seauton , with hos being used as a comparative conjunction.[35] Loving yourself is a presupposition here, and the sense of the verse is, “You love yourself; love your neighbour in like manner.”   Also, the redeemed self is involved both in loving God and in loving one’s neighbour, and if one is lacking wellness how can one love God with one’s whole self?  If a person is lacking wellness, how can he serve his neighbour?  Without an adequate level of wellness, one will need to have someone take care of him and then he will become a burden to others instead of a blessing.[36] It is the redeemed self which is supported and cared for, according to a Christian understanding of wellness.  Thus it is valid to understand the two Great Commandments as three: love the Lord our God, love our neighbour, and love ourselves.[37]

Scriptural Understandings of Humanity and Wellness

A Christian definition of wellness will incorporate a Scriptural understanding of what it means to be a human being.  Genesis 2:7 reads, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being,” a nephesh kayam .  The original meaning of the root n-ph-sh probably was  “breathe.”  Over time, it came to refer to that which breathes, the inner being of a person.  Thus n-ph-sh is often translated as “soul.”  But this is to be understood not in a metaphysical sense, but in reference to the entire living being, for in Genesis 1:20, 21 and 24, the word is also used in reference to animals.[38] n-ph-sh also has several related meanings that expand our understanding of what it means to be a living being. It can mean “soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, appetite, emotion, and passion.”[39] Thus, a human being, a nephesh kayam is not one-dimensional, but rather a multi-dimensional whole, a unit, with each facet of life being an important part of the whole.

A Christian understanding of wellness will also incorporate a scriptural understanding of what it means to have wellness.  The idea is epitomized in the Hebrew word shalom which is most often translated as “peace.”  But shalom means so much more than “peace” understood as merely “an absence of hostilities.”  The root sh-l-m indicates “completion and fulfilment–of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship,”[40] and  shalom in particular is defined by The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon as “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”[41] The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states, “Completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfilment, are closer to the meaning [than is ‘peace’]. Implicit in sh¹lôm is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfilment in one’s undertakings.”  It is significant that the context in scriptural usage often indicates that God is the source of this completeness and wholeness.[42] Thus, shalom wellness is not something that a Christian does; it is something that God gives to him, and it means completeness and wholeness in all aspects of his life.

As with sanctification, so it is with one’s shalom wellness.  First, one’s justification is the basis of one’s shalom wellness.  Because Jesus has paid the entire penalty for sin, Christians now have forgiveness, eternal life and salvation, which are the constituents of their shalom wellness.  As Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27).    Through faith in Jesus Christ, Christians have peace with God, and they have peace, or shalom wellness, from God.  As is true of Christian sanctification, one’s being made holy, so also of shalom wellness; Christians already possess it, although its perfection is not a reality for them at this time because, while they live on earth, sin continues to live in their bodies.  For Christians, their shalom wellness will always be imperfect and incomplete during this earthly life, yet as with sanctification, they continue the struggle to live out the shalom wellness that has been given to them by Jesus, and to live it in all areas of their lives.

A Christian Definition of Wellness

Therefore, a Christian understanding of wellness could be defined in the following way:  Christian wellness arises from appreciation for the forgiveness, salvation and eternal life, which have been given to believers by God through Jesus Christ, and involves being aware of the level of health and well-being in each dimension of a believer’s life and willingly making choices toward improving one’s health and well-being in each dimension, in order to maintain a proper balance between the various areas of one’s life and to improve one’s overall health and well-being, so that one may more fully worship God with one’s entire being, become a more effective servant to one’s neighbour, and be a better steward of what God has given him.

Conclusion

A survey of the pastors of LCC has indicated that a significant proportion of LCC pastors are suffering from burnout.  This survey has also shown a significant inverse relationship between wellness and burnout; that is, the higher a pastor’s levels of wellness, the lower his level of burnout tends to be.  In considering the meaning of wellness, it has been found that secular definitions of wellness do not incorporate the motivations and goals that Christian have.  However, informed by the Scriptural meaning of nephesh and shalom and by a theological understanding of the shalom wellness that has been given to Christians through Jesus Christ, a Christian definition of wellness has been developed.


[1] Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Board for Higher Education, Clergy Shortage Study, 47 [Report on-line.]; available from http://higher-ed.lcms.org/pdf/clergy-shortage-study.pdf; Internet; accessed 3 August 2002.

[2] Clergy Shortage Study, 47.

[3] Clergy Shortage Study, 47.

[4] Clergy Shortage Study, 47.

[5] Clergy Shortage Study, 4.  Between 1988 and 1997, 3,275 LCMS pastors left the ministry.  Of this group, 1,775, or 54.2% resigned before their normal retirement age.

[6] Clergy Shortage Study, 47.

[7] “The Six Dimensions of Wellness” [on-line]; available from http://hettler.com/sixdimen.htm; Internet; accessed 16 December 2002. (A mnemonic device was devised by the author to help remember the six dimensions of wellness:  Every Viener Sausage Is SPecial (Emotional, Vocational, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual and Physical wellness.)

[8] The following wellness inventories were used as resources for the formation of the National Pastoral Wellness Survey:

McKinley Health Center, “How WELLTHY Are You?” [on-line]; available from http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/wellness/wellu/HowWellthyAreYou.html; Internet; accessed on 23 September 2002;

Virginia Tech, “Wellness Inventory” [on-line]; available from http://www.vto.vt.edu/owrc/dmsn.php?did=inv; Internet; accessed on 9 October 2002;  Rutgers Cooperative Extension, “Financial Fitness Quiz” [on-line]; available from http://www.rce.rutgers.edu/money/ffquiz/default.asp; Internet; accessed 23 September 2002;

Acadia University, “Wellness Index – Wellness Inventory” [on-line]; available from http://admin.acadiau.ca/affairs/wellness/inventory.html; accessed 23 September 2002;

Plymouth State College, “Personal Wellness Quiz” [on-line]; available from http://wwwplymouth.edu/psc/wellness/quiz.htm; Internet; accessed 9 October 2002;

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, “Are You Balancing the 7 Dimensions of Wellness?” [on-line]; available from http://cps.uwsp.edu/hphd/wellquiz/; Internet; accessed on 9 October 2002;

National Wellness Institute, “TestWell:  Wellness Inventory for Adults” [on-line]; available from http://www.testwell.org/pdf/QSetSA100Sample.pdf; Internet; accessed 9 October 2002;

National Wellness Institute, “TestWell:  Wellness Inventory – Standard Edition” [on-line]; available from http://www.testwell.org/pdf/QSetSA50Sample.pdf; Internet; accessed 9 October 2002.

[9] The Clergy Burnout Inventory was reprinted from Clergy Self-care:  Finding a Balance for Effective Ministry [pp. 61-66], by Roy M. Oswald, with permission from the Alban Institute, Inc., 7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1250W, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3211. © Copyright 1991.  All rights reserved.  Permission was granted by the Alban Institute to the author to use the Clergy Burnout Inventory for non-commercial/academic use for free for a period of one year beginning September 26, 2002.

[10] For the purposes of this survey, LCC was divided into the following five regions:  British Columbia, Alberta, Central District, Postal District N of the East District (the Kitchener-Waterloo-London-Windsor region), and the balance of the East District.

[11] Douglas Downing and Jeffrey Clark, Statistics: The Easy Way (Hauppauge, NY: Baron’s, 1997), 194-97.

[12] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 2.0” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[13] Roy M. Oswald, Clergy Self-care:  Finding a Balance for Effective Ministry (Bethesda, Maryland: Alban Institute, 1991), 59, quoting Herbert Freudenberger, Burnout:  The High Cost of High Achievement (Garden City: Anchor, 1980).

[14] Oswald, 59, quoting Jerry Edelwich and Archie Brodsky, Burnout:  Stages of Disillusionment in the Helping Professions (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1980).

[15] Oswald, 59 quoting Christine Maslach, “Burned-Out,” Human Behavior (Sept. 1978): 17-20.

[16] Oswald, 57-8.

[17] The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2001), s.v. “stress,” (emphasis in original).

[18] The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2001), s.v. “burnout.”

[19] Pastor E [pseudo.], interview by author, transcript of tape recording, 21 January 2003, 3.

[20] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 5.04” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[21] “Survey data 2.0.”  Cf. Downing, Statistics:  The Easy Way, 262.

[22] Wayne A. Payne & Dale B. Hahn, Understanding Your Health (New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2002), 9 (emphasis in original).

[23] Payne & Hahn, 9.

[24] “An Interview with Bill Hettler, M.D.” [on-line]; available from http://www.seekwellness.com/wellness/interviews/hettler.htm; Internet; accessed 16 December 2002.

[25]Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Helmut Lehmann and others, vol. 6, Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 31-37, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan  (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1970) [CD-ROM], 848.

[26] “The Small Catechism,” I.10 in The Book of Concord, edited by Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis:  Fortress, 2000), 352.

[27] Cf. 1 Peter 2:5, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”; 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”; Heb 13:15 NIV, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name”; and Phi 4:18, “I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”

[28] Cf. Mark 8:34, Luke 22:34.

[29] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature [BDAG], third edition, (2000), s.v. “avparne,omai.”

[30] Heinrich Schlier, “arne,omai,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976) vol. 1, 469, in Unabridged Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [CD-ROM] (Oak Harbor, WA:  Logos, 2000).

[31] R. C. H. Lenski, Commentary on the New Testament:  The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Wartburg Press, 1943; reprint, Peabody, Mass.:  Hendrickon, 2001), 643 (italics mine).

[32] Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3 (St. Louis:  Concordia, 1953), 15.

[33] Cf. Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

[34] Mark C. Lobitz, “Christian Self-love” (M. Div. thesis, Concordia Lutheran Seminary, 1990), 83-4.

[35] Synopsis of the Four Gospels, sec. 282, p. 249.  Cf. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature [BDAG], third edition, (2000), s.v. “w’j,” “a conjunction marking a point of comparison.”

[36] Pastor G [pseud.], interview by author, transcript of tape recording, 22 January 2003, 12.

[37] Pastor C [pseud.], interview by author, transcript of tape recording, 20 January 2003, 10.

[38]Bruce K. Waltke, “vp;n”,” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, vol. 2 (Chicago:  Moody, 1980), 590, in Bibleworks 4 [CD-ROM] (Big Fork, MT:  Hermeneutika,  1999).  “A total of 755 occurrences of the noun nepesh have been counted in the OT, and of these it is rendered in the Greek translation (LXX) some 600  times by the psyche (psuch¢). Of the 144 times it is used in the Psalms, over 100 of them have the first person suffix, “my soul.” Thus in its most  synthetic use nepesh stands for the entire person. In Gen 2:7 “man became a living creature” [ nepesh ]-the substantive must not be taken in the  metaphysical, theological sense in which we tend to use the term “soul” today. Precisely the same Hebrew expression (nepesh µayyâ)- traditionally  rendered “living soul” occurs also in Gen 1:20, 21, and Gen 1:24. In other words, man is here being associated with the other creatures as sharing in the passionate experience of life and is not being defined as distinct from them. It is true, however, as Oehler points out that the source of the nepesh of animals is the ground, whereas the source of the nepesh of Adam is God.”

[39] Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1997), s.v. “vp,n<.”

[40] G. Lloyd Carr, “~lev,” TWOT, vol. 2, 930.

[41] “~Alv’,” BDB, 1022.

[42] G. Lloyd Carr, “~lev'” TWOT, vol. 2, 931.  “Sh¹lôm is the result of God’s activity in covenant (b®rît), and is the result of righteousness (Isa 32:17). In nearly two-thirds of its occurrences, sh¹lôm describes the state of fulfilment which is the result of God’s presence. This is specifically indicated in those references to the “covenant of  peace” (b®rît sh¹lôm, Num 25:12; Isa 54:10; Ezek 34:25; Mal 2:5) with his chosen representatives, the Aaronic priests and the Davidic monarchs.  The peace that marks the conclusion of an agreement between adversaries (Isaac and Abimelech, Gen 26:29), business partners (Solomon and Hiram, 1 Kings 5:12 [H 26]), and man and God (Abraham, Gen 15:15) is couched in terms of covenant agreement.”

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
This entry was posted in Christian Wellness for Pastors and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Christian Wellness: Chapter 1-What is it and why is it important?

  1. bert says:

    Excellent piece. Thanks for writing and posting this!

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