It’s been awhile since I finished the Book of Jude course from KI as part of my Unschooled Master of Theology Program, but I decided to finish up this weekend and write up the course review so I could close out the entire section.
It’s been years since I was first introduced to Chuck Missler. Sadly, he passed away not too long ago, shortly after his wife, Nancy, passed away. They lived their last years in New Zealand, having relocated from the US after seeing the handwriting on the wall, as it were (apparently they could see the insanity back then that we’re experiencing in America today).
As I’ve stated before, I’ve known about the Koinonia Institute for several years, and with the free membership, I’m no able to fulfill a lifelong dream of taking these courses online.
So, let’s jump in and see the benefits of a great online course…
For the First Time I Understand It
The book of Jude is a tiny letter, nearly the shortest book in the New Testament (equal in verses to Philemon), written by someone who had the unlucky name as the betrayer of the Son of God. So, not only is it strike one right out of the gate, but he is now forever known as Jude, instead of his actual name, which was Judas.
But, despite this almost comical alteration to the text after the fact (at least in the English translations – out of the 8 English translations I have, they all use Jude and not Judas), this little book has always evaded me. It’s significance. It’s meaning. 2 Peter has always been one that I’ve been drawn to over the years. It was the letter God used to reach out to me and shake me loose from my Buddhist moorings, “it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire”” (2 Peter 2:22).
But, the book of Jude I’ve always tended to pass over. Like 1 and 2 Kings. Whenever I read it, it just seemed to ramble on and on about incoherent gobbly gook.
That’s why I wanted to take these courses. After all, my unschooled grad degree is an ecclesiastical one, focusing not only on theology but more specifically on Biblical Studies. How can that be if I don’t even understand one or more of the books in the bible itself?
And, thankfully, I chose the right course to clear up the issues. After I finished, not only did I come away feeling like I had, for the first time, a firm and clear grasp of what Jude was trying to say when writing the letter, but I also had a much better understanding of the larger importance the letter served in developing some important biblical doctrines.
Really Important Doctrine
The course format is actually pretty great. Things have, apparently, changed at KI over the last few years. They’ve moved away from moderated courses. They are moving away from tests and writing papers, and are moving toward what they call KWL format. What you know. What you want to learn. And what you’ve learned.
This is perfect for the kind of approach I take to not only learning in general but also with my uThM. I do want to operate as much in solitude as possible. Lock me in a room and throw away the key, as far as I’m concerned. How I would loved to be forever installed as the caretaker or librarian at Ashen Mountain, the monastery of one of my more resent books.
Secluded. Isolated. A simply, basic existence.
In fact, as I’m writing this at the moment, I’m hanging in my hammock in my shelter at the Eden property. I’ve been here going on three weeks now, returning to town for two days a week for work.
I’m starting to feel rather comfortable here. At night I’m serenaded by a cacophony of frogs. At times they seem to echo in on each other. One moment I can hear them from down by the shore line, the next moment, I can hear them from up the valley, the next, I can hear them behind me croaking up the hillside. Then, for no apparent reason, they all just stop and it is uttermost silence across the lake, through the darkness.
This is why I want to live here.
It provides me the opportunities and freedom and leisure to take courses like KI’s Book of Jude, so I can remedy my lack of proficiency in the Word of God, so I can establish a sure foundation to explore more metaphysical questions like the nature and substance and purposes of death, and how one might touch and experience and seek the profound, the meta, the logos while still sheltered and shackled to this fallen and dismal physical world.
This was what it was like coming away from this KI course. I felt like I could see for the first time, having read through the letter several times, then working through the lecture sessions with Chuck directly, then doing through the Discussion Questions, then writing several research papers as well.
I know feel more informed, more grounded in what Jude was trying to say.
There were two important doctrinal points addressed by Jude, neither the actual focus of the letter itself. The letter was written about troublemakers in the congregation he was writing to. More importantly, that his audience were choosing to sit on their hands and do nothing when they should be confronting the false teachers.
But, in his examples, Jude mentions references from both the Book of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses, two extra-biblical sources that are not considered to be inspired today (Assumption has actually been completely lost and some would argue the Book of Enoch we have today is a counterfeit).
The Enoch reference identifies the crucial doctrine of fallen angels and the purpose for the Noachian flood. His second quote from Enoch shows us there is more to the Word of God than what we actually have available to us today. It prompts questions that need to be explored. Do we have the full canon? Is there actually a canon to begin with? Is there any more inspiration today or is the canon complete? Is there anything more to say?
It’s a provocative line of questioning for sure, but it is one that is important to ask.
The Great Thing About Missler
I don’t know what it is exactly about Chuck Missler or his style of teaching. I know I could not do it the way he does. I’ve tried. But, I’ve come to understand and appreciate that I’m not called to be a pastor or a teacher of any kind. I am very thankful of this, since teachers are held by God to a higher standard (James 3:1).
But, whatever it is, I do know I can listen to him for hours, especially when I’m out riding around or driving during my commute or when I’m doing manual labor on the property. When first introduced to him years ago, while overseas with the US military, I would get one of his tapes from one of the members of the local church and would lay in bed until late in the night devouring every word.
Add this to the Discussion Questions, the interaction with other students (results will vary from class to class) and I come away feeling like I’ve really learned what I need to.
Highly Recommend KI Courses
So, if you’re looking for a course on the book of Jude, look no further than the KI course at the Koinonia Institute. Most materials you can find for free on Youtube or elsewhere online, and now the course itself is free to use, so the only cost is the time you put in. I personally think it’s well worth the effort.
Until my next review….
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Our Daughter:
“Okay, mom,” Randy said.
“You behave yourself and be nice. You’re lucky to have company while you wait for the doctors.”
The woman turned and started back the way she came.
“The nurse said it would be twenty or thirty more minutes, so we’ll eat quick and be back up here before they take you in, okay?”
“Sorry for him,” the woman said to Katie as she walked by.
As the woman left, Katie noticed the boy moving around again on the bed. Before she realized what was happening, the tiny lump disappeared and she could hear the faint sound of bare hands and feet on the tile floor.
He was low crawling under the beds toward her.
A moment later, Randy popped his head out from under the nearest hospital bed, craning his neck around to look up at her.
“Hello, there,” Katie said.
Randy disappeared back under the bed, the bed sheet draping down almost to the floor. Katie could still see three little fingers pressed to the tile.
“What are you here for?” Katie asked, readjusting her seat in the chair, trying to get the ache in her chest to lessen.
For whatever reason, the wheelchair was really uncomfortable.
“Why are – ”
Randy’s voice trailed off for a moment as he looked around.
“Why are you here?”
“I’m getting my leg fixed,” Katie said. “See?”
Randy poked his head back out from under the bed and looked at the leg she was pointing to.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“The doctor said it’s broken,” Katie said. “Shattered.”
“Can you feel it?” Randy asked, able to stay out from his hiding place.
“I can feel it, but it’s not too bad,” Katie said, then tapped the IV in her arm. “This thing is giving me medicine of some kind for the pain. At least that’s what the nurses said.”
“Why are you – ”
Randy stopped mid-sentence.
He scooted out from under the bed entirely and slowly crept over to her on all fours.
“What are you, some kind of spider?” Katie asked, giggling a little.
“What are you?” Randy echoed.
He was now only about a foot away from her chair and sat there, his legs folded up under him, gawking up at her.
“What are you staring at me for?”
“I’ve never – ”
Randy put out a hesitant hand and ever so gently touched her arm.
“Are you some kind of ghost?”
He looked around again.
“Are you – ”
He leaned in, talking in a whisper.
“Are you dead?”
A nurse came around the corner and stopped abruptly, spotting the empty bed in the far corner where Randy should have been.
“Randy Andrews,” the nurse said, her hands now on her hips. “You get right back into the bed and you stop playing around, please. They are ready for you in surgery.”
Katie watched as Randy scrambled on all fours under the beds and back up onto his, pulling the sheet back over top of himself again.
She started to ask him about his question, but couldn’t get the words out before his parents appeared at the door.
Katie sat there quietly, watching Randy stare back at her from under his sheet. She glanced over at his parents and the nurse, noticed Randy’s dad had no hair on the top of his head.
Are you dead?
What kind of question was that?
The snap of the wheel locks being disengaged on Randy’s hospital bed jarred Katie out of the confusion she was in.
The doctor she’d first seen was now at the door, waiting for Randy.
He was his surgeon.
They wheeled Randy out of the room, his parents following right behind, disappearing to the left, heading for his operating room.
The pre-op room was empty again.
Are you dead?
What kind of crazy question was that?
The nurse came back through the double doors.
“It won’t be long now,” she said.
Katie tried not to think about the dull ache growing just behind her sternum.
The nurse disappeared around the corner as Katie watched the double doors to the operating rooms slowly shut.
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