How Social Media is Shrinking the Bible

The following short article from a “Christian” source recognizes and addresses a modern day problem associated with Bible engagement and technology.

Though technology has played a major role in the availability of the Word of God in ways unimaginable just a generation back, today an estimated 50% of Americans read their Bible digitally on computers, phones, and Bible apps. In addition, computer programs quickly and efficiently present the Bible in multiple translations, readily available for reading, copying, and saving with the click of a mouse; while essential tools which Bible students depend upon such as concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. are equally available on line.
Yet… what impact has technology had on Bible engagement in this digital age?

Studies conducted by the Barna Group and The American Bible Society show that there is a growing Bible literacy problem despite the technological advantages, concluding,

“today’s technology is doing as much, if not more, harm than good to overall Bible literacy.”

Scriptural sound bites and snippets necessarily reduce not only content, but also meaning and impact. There is simply no replacement for Bible study. When one repeatedly reads the Bible with the sincere desire to understand and embrace it, one becomes familiar with its themes, its teachings, and its contexts.
We are admonished to

“study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

– Editor of the Christadelphian Advocate

°°°

Harper-Collins-Bible-best-Bible-apps-for-Android – the Word of Promise telling: The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition, is the most comprehensive study Bible available!

It turns out that electronic Bible providers are employing “a data-centric model” which regularly regurgitates those verses which are already the most tweeted or shared by their user communities. The result is basically a repeating loop of “verse of the day” Bible balm. This means those who get their Bible online will receive plenty of I can do all things through Christ… (Philippians 4:13), and, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace…(Jeremiah 29:11), but not so much of the rest of the Bible. Apparently no one is intentionally choosing a wide selection of verses to more adequately convey the wider range of biblical teaching… The prognosis is not good… the less-than-hopeful question:

“Does this mean that we lose out on doctrinal or propositional input into our Bible reading online”?

And if we do put more than therapeutic Bible verses out there, will they all merely land on “deaf ears, blind eyes, and dead screens”?
The concern is appropriate.

Constantly engaging Bible verses that make me feel good is perilously close to turning the Bible into a prophet that tells me only what I want to hear. This is the kind of prophet the real prophets warned us about. But is simply adding more verses – propositional ones – to the playlist really the solution? Isn’t there a deeper problem here?

Exposure to a wider variety of Bible verses might offer me more than therapy, but the entire approach is still based on providing would-be Bible readers little more than a morsel. The bigger issue is that we can’t rely on tweets, Facebook posts or “verse of the day” deliveries to our inbox to fulfill the promise of Bible engagement.
The social media channel as a communication medium has built-in limitations. The Bible itself is so much more than a collection of verses, so much richer than a sourcebook of one-liners… The Holy Scriptures are a gathering of complete literary works, meant to be read as a whole. These books come together to tell a story that can only be taken in, understood, and lived if it is fully encompassed, apprehended at length, and deeply embraced. Sound bites can’t do this. A constant diet of atomized fragments is a disservice to the Scriptures that God gave us.

Let us rather respect and read the Bible holistically.
Let us honor the Word of God by giving it our time and full attention.
We don’t need a shrinking Bible delivered to us with a diminished set of expectations. May we rather welcome back a full-sized Bible – the stories, wisdom, instruction, and visions overflowing with all that God has for us and all He expects of us.
Words to encourage and inspire us, yes: but also to instruct, correct, and welcome us wholly into this long and winding narrative that in the end leads us where we need to go. Only the complete Bible can do this. So read big.

This article originally appeared on Institute For Bible Reading organisation under the title “Verse of the Day‘Therapy’ is Shrinking the Bible,” October 10, 2018.

How to Choose a Bible for Preaching

Today’s guest post is by Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com. Randy reviews Bibles in all price ranges to help people make the best choice for their budget. His mission is to promote Bible reading and study, and to share quality publishing.

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of fie...

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of field. Not quite focusing on the extremely fine Bible paper used, but it should help get the point across. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never been one to just pick a Bible at random. A Bible has to suit a specific purpose. It has to meet certain needs.

You don’t just pick any bowling ball, bat, glove, club, bow, shoe, tire, car wax, gasoline, car, house, suit, television, DVD player, or computer when you have a specific job to do. You choose them for your specific need or purpose.

A Bible is no different. Sure, you can preach from any Bible you can get your hands on. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better choice for your purpose—one that will make you a more effective preacher.

Answering practical questions can help you determine what kind of Bible to use:

Do you need something you can read from while it lays on the pulpit?

Do you want to hold it and walk around?

Do you need to hold it in one hand while you hold a microphone in the other?

Do you need room for notes?

Do you need a modern translation?

Do you need clear section headings?

Do you need alternate translations?

Do you need a verse-by-verse format?

Do you need your sermons outlined beside the text?

Do you need large print?

Every preacher I know will answer those questions differently—because we all have different needs. The best Bible for me won’t necessarily be the best Bible for you. With the amazing number of choices we have today, how do we decide?

What you don’t need

While preachers do need tools for study and sermon prep, they don’t necessarily need those tools in the Bible they preach from. Some of these features get in the way of the text. They can make the text small and the Bible large. You have enough to worry about when you’re preaching. Don’t add to that worry with a Bible that’s awkwardly large or text that’s awkwardly small.

Just because a Bible has amazing features doesn’t mean it’s a good Bible to preach from.

english-standard-version

 

Why you need multiple Bibles

Not every Bible does everything equally well. It’s why you own more than one pair of shoes. The shoes you wear to funerals aren’t the same shoes you wear for running and hiking.

I recommend having different Bibles for different purposes. It’s possible to use just one Bible for everything, but you’ve heard the saying: “Jack of all trades and master of none.”

What you want inside

You have to decide how much and what kind of information you need in your Bible.

Do you want complete sermon outlines?

Do you want chain references?

Do you just want the text?

Do you want someone else’s commentary?

Do you need book introductions?

Regardless of what tools a Bible contains, the most important thing is the text. You will have to decide what else you need. Remember—this is a Bible for preaching, not for biblical scholarship.

Where you put it

Consider how and where the Bible will be used. Do you preach in more than one location?

Pulpit

English: A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard...

A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard Road Presbyterian Church in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pulpits come in all sizes and angles. Some will have room for a large Bible and a notebook and others only have enough room for a small Bible. Some churches use music stands for pulpits. Laying the Bible on the pulpit keeps your hands free. This is more important if you’re holding a microphone.

Larger print makes it easier to see from a distance. Some like to use larger print so they can see it from a few feet away.

A disadvantage to not carrying it around with you as you move around the room is you have to go back to the pulpit to read.

Hand

Holding your Bible when reading has the advantage of moving around without having to go back to the pulpit to read. A disadvantage is that you have to go back to the pulpit to read your notes if they’re not in your Bible.

To preach with a Bible in hand, the Bible needs to be easy to handle.

How you preach

How do you prefer to organize your notes? Do you tuck them in your Bible, a notebook, or a separate page?

If you’re preaching without a notebook or separate outline, you’ll want room for notes. If you use a notebook, you should consider how you’ll handle it during your sermon. If you preach from a page, the page can lay next to your Bible or even be a loose sheet that you move from page to page.

Getting the right size

The ideal Bible is compact enough to handle and large enough to read. It might even have some room to write notes. In my experience, most people prefer ultrathin large print or personal size large print.

Larger Bibles either have more information in them or larger print. If the Bible is only used on a large pulpit, then you won’t have to worry about the size of the Bible. However, large pages can be awkward to turn.

If you carry your Bible around to read from, then a large Bible will get heavy after a while. It might not feel heavy to you when you first pick it up—after all, it’s only four pounds. But after about 20 minutes of holding a four-pound Bible, your mind might not be on your message.

Small Bibles are great for carrying, but they usually have small text. The more extra content they have, the smaller the text.

Many preachers prefer a personal-sized Bible with large print for preaching. They’re easy to carry and have readable text.

If you’re holding a microphone and a Bible while you’re preaching, it’s essential to have a Bible that is easy to hold in one hand.

Many preachers like to use an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet folded in half for their notes. They want this folded sheet to fit perfectly within the Bible when it’s closed. This means the pages need to be larger than 8.5″ x 5.5″.

Many people I’ve worked with consider the optimum size to be around 9″ x 6″ x 1.5″ for laying on the pulpit and around 8″ x 5″ x 1.5″ for holding in the hand.

Finding your place

A thumb index is helpful for turning to a book quickly. Most thumb indexes have three books per tab. This gets you in the ballpark, but you still have to turn pages until you find the book. Some indexes, such as the one found in the Cambridge Concord, have one book per tab for the most popular books.

An alternative is adding your own tabs. The advantage of tabs is there is one tab per book so you can turn directly to the book you want. A disadvantage to tabs is they can tear the page with use.

Another alternative is marking the edges of the pages or using sticky notes.

Keeping it open

Laying flat is a must for a preaching Bible. It’s frustrating to open to your text just to have your Bible close on you when you move your hand away.

Sewn bindings allow the Bible to lay open and stay open. Some that are edge lined might take some breaking in but they will lay flat at Genesis 1:1.

A Bible that you have to hold open to preach from will work against you and not for you. This can be especially difficult if you’re holding a mic in one hand and the Bible in the other.

One alternative is to lay something across your pages to help hold it open while it lays on the pulpit. I don’t recommend this practice as you will constantly be moving and shifting things around in order to turn pages and this will interrupt your train of thought.

To really be useful it needs to lay flat on its own.

Holding the Bible

Some like to fold their Bible in half so they only have to deal with half the width. Others like to roll it up like a newspaper. This way they can hold it in one hand with relative ease. This is especially helpful when the wind is blowing. Sewn bindings are a must for holding up to this type of abuse.

Layout

The layout is how the text and information is presented on the page. There are two major choices for modern Bibles: paragraph and verse by verse.

Paragraph

Paragraph format sets the text in paragraphs, much like a novel. Poetry is usually set to verse format and sometimes Old Testament quotes are in an offset text. Paragraph format is easier for reading and is great for keeping things in context. However, verse numbers are usually superscript, which can make finding specific verses difficult during a sermon. Some paragraphs are also wider, which can make reading from them a little difficult for those with bifocals.

Verse by verse

With a verse-by-verse layout, each verse begins on a new line. This is easier for finding specific verses quickly. Many preachers prefer to preach from verse-by-verse format as verses in paragraphs might take extra time to find.

Column width

Français : Bible Chouraqui.

Bible Chouraqui. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Text that is presented in two columns usually have narrow columns that are narrower than text presented in a single column. This will affect readability—especially if you wear bifocals. You might have to move your head from side to side to read single-column layouts. Also, if the column is too wide it might be difficult to find which line to read next. This is especially true if you’re reading at an angle.

Section headings

Section headings are short descriptions of the passage that follows, usually covering a paragraph or two. They are great for scanning the pages quickly. They help break up the text into shorter, readable sections. I find this visually appealing as it gives the page more white space.

I’ve added to a sermon on the fly because a section heading caught my eye. I’ve also used them to find something that I kind of knew where it was but I needed a little help finding it as I was scanning the page.

One problem with section headings is that preachers tend to stop at the end of a section. Sometimes you will want to continue on. It’s up to your text and topic to decided, but don’t let section headings do the deciding for you. They can also be distracting and can include theological bias.

Chapter summaries

Rather than having section headings within the text, some Bibles, particularly KJVs, have chapter summaries at the beginning of every chapter. They are essentially the same as section headings, they’re just not placed within the text.

The advantage of chapter summaries over section headings is they don’t break up your text. This helps keep passages together and can help keep them in context. The disadvantage is they can be harder to use because they’re not placed on the page with the text they correlate to. They’re less distracting but can contain the same theological bias.

Running header

Many KJVs, such as the Concord, have page summaries at the top of the page. These can be used to scan the pages quickly. You can even mark them to find the pages and topics with less effort.

Choosing the print

The quality of the print makes a big difference on how easy the text is to see. Is it large or small, faint or bold? We all have different needs for font size and boldness and our needs might change with age.

Boldness

Lighting varies and you will need a font you can see easily. A font that isn’t bold enough will increase eye fatigue. Higher contrast reduces eye strain. Font size for preaching is usually larger than font size for study.

Font size

There are two numbers to be aware of for font size. The first is the size of the font itself and the second is the leading—the size of the font plus the space between the lines of text.

For example, a 10-point font with one point between the lines would have an 11-point leading. It would be described as 10/11. Sometimes only the size of the leading is given.

This is why two Bibles can have the same size font but one is called an 8-point and the other is called a 9-point. They are both 8/9.

Line matching

Text that lines up to the text on the other side of the page improves readability. Thinner paper that has line matching looks better than thicker paper that does not.

Italics

Some Bibles have italics for supplied words. Many preachers like to point out when a word was not in the original text.

faithlife-study-bible (1)

Lectern Bibles

Lectern Bibles have giant print and are large. They often span 24” when opened. This might not leave room for a notebook. They usually have great paper and print quality, but they are very expensive—often $300 or more.

Study Bibles

Study Bibles are big, and the notes can be distracting. It can also be annoying trying to find a verse when one page has 30 verses and the next has two. Another problem is having to flip through 10–20 pages of articles to get to the next verse in the chapter.

Find one that fits you

A preaching Bible is specialized. It doesn’t have to have everything you need for study and day-to-day ministry.

Look for the balance between the size of the Bible and the size of the text that works for you.

Your Bible doesn’t have to do everything. It just needs to do one thing and do it well.

* * *

Additional reading:

  1. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  2. What English Bible do you use?
  3. Words to push and pull
  4. Appointed to be read
  5. Good or bad preacher
  6. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  7. Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name
  8. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  10. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  11. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  12. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  13. The Most Reliable English Bible
  14. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  15. The Divine name of the Creator
  16. Use of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. The NIV and the Name of God
  21. New American Bible Revised Edition
  22. Bible translated into Jamaican Creole Patois
  23. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  24. Bibletranslation in Lingala
  25. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  26. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora

+++

  • The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is (memoirandremains.wordpress.com)
    Jonathan Edwards is famous for many things, among them is his statement about the necessity of the heart being moved during the preaching of the word of God:

    The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered….Preaching, in other words, must first of all touch the affections” (Jonathan Edwards, A Life, Marsden), p 282.

  • Florida preacher’s sermon breaks Guinness record at 53 hours, 18 minutes (fellowshiproom.org)
    Did I hear Richard Mansel say he was going to break this record next week during his regular sermon? 😉
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    Much preaching today does not attempt to relate the Old Testament to Jesus but to their narcissistic audience: Get rid of the frogs in your life, purge yourself of poverty, find your purpose, live your  dream, reach your po-tential. What they don’t do is expository preaching, that is, preach the Bible, verse by verse and connect it to Jesus.
  • Preaching should be awe-FULL (wheelsms.wordpress.com)
    When a pastor treats the Scriptures as one more academic subject, his sermons will sound dry and boring. When the Bible fails to grip his heart, it will seldom go beyond his listener’s ears, let alone grip their hearts. Such is the theme of pastor Erik Raymond’s insightful post, The Missing Ingredient in Many Sermons.” He compares preaching to cooking a good meal when he says,Like cooking, preaching can become bland. It can fail to have that freshness worthy of the gospel table. There are many reasons why. One could identify a lack of preparation, lack of understanding, poor delivery, and shallowness. We would not disagree that under-cooking the homiletical meal is a problem. But there is something else that can make preaching bland: the deadly reality of not being personally wowed by the subject.
  • What Should I Preach ? (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
    One of the most frequent questions I get especially from new minsters is how do they know what to preach. It can seem daunting at first. A new topic every week for the next several decades of their career. First of all nobody can handle a career’s worth of decisions all at once But I wanted to commit some ideas to paper for those who might find themselves stuck for a sermon topic.
  • Preaching Big Books (biblicalpreaching.net)
    Perhaps you shy away from preaching series from the bigger books in the Bible?  Maybe it would help to think differently about big book series.  There is more than one way to preach a series from a big book (like a major prophet or Acts):
  • Identifying with Bible Characters (biblicalpreaching.net)
    The Bible is full of stories.  Stories are very effective ways to communicate.  When a story begins, people tend to do two things – first, they identify with (or disassociate from) characters, and second, they feel the tension in the story, anticipating the resolution.  So when we preach Bible stories, let’s be sure to help listeners connect with what is going on.
  • Pastor preaches for 53 hours, claims world record (christiantoday.com)
    Pastor Zack Zehnder from The Cross church in Mount Dora preached for 53 hours and 18 minutes, smashing the previous record which was a mere 48 hours and 31 minutes.Zehnder, whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all ministers in the Lutheran Church, undertook the challenge to raise funds for an addiction recovery ministry run by the Hand in Hand charity.

Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

It may be said that Christians seem to fail there where Muslims succeed. In Belgium we could see the Muslim community grow enormously in the last decade. Though we do not see so many preachers on the streets. In certain quarters the Islamic preachers are very actively on the street or in the parks, but in others you can’t see them. It seems a lot of youngsters do find their Islamic teaching on the net but do not find it countered by Christian teachers. Those who do have an idea that there could possibly be one God to be worshipped mostly can find Catholic and evangelical groups teaching trinitarian doctrine. Jehovah Witnesses go from door to door but most people are so much afraid of the groups and of the name Jehovah they really do not want to listen to them or to take some study material from them.

English: took it myself to illustrate open-air...

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people in several western countries stopped listening to the pastors, priests, bishops and those who say they are ‘men of God’ because they saw what happened in the many churches were priest and nuns used young children to please themselves. Lots of people saw that many preachers who did use lots of words to frighten the people, did not bother to do those things they told their flock not to de because they would end up in hell, a place of torment and eternal suffering. In many denomination the pastors or priests make use of the comparatively easiness to convince a man of his sin and then to frighten him for the consequences of that sin.

Guilt is a majority of our spiritual make up.  And it is the substance that leaks out into our fleshly day. {The necessity of the Gospel}

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a guilty conscience many became bewildered, looking for real justifying answers. But the priests or pastors could not deliver them. By that “awakening” of getting conscious he had to do something against his sins, man becomes aware of a need to cleanse himself.  Some might than think

by that means, it is also comparatively easy to convince a man that Jesus is a necessary aspect of this cleansing.

but it does not seem to be so easy and it can not be brought over by staying in the church-walls. The preacher has to get out of those walls and come into the open to tell others what for possibilities there are and how Jesus can be found and is there for all of those who are willing to accept his ransom offer.

We read and hear of people saying that they need the Lord all day long.  Just a cursory look into the Christian announcement by His people will provide a rather overwhelming view of our sense of need.  And how can that be a fault?  All men know of their guilt.  It is a natural outcome that others should hear us speaking of our need for the Lord’s blood in decimating our sins. {The necessity of the Gospel}

Though people want to feel that they are helped and guided. The clerical people demanding from the ordinary human person to become holy, having to keep to all sorts of difficult things, therefore got lots of people stopping to listen to the men of their church because they know they cannot, or are not willing to, reach to the greatest of Christianity.

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

Often, in a man’s frightful plight, he needs a human example.  As the little boy was reported to have said to his mother, “Sometimes I need a Jesus with skin on”. {The Swinging Doors}

Many churches made Jesus into their god and did not want to accept it was a man of flesh and blood who really died for the sins of many. They taught their believers that no man is capable to follow all through God’s commandments; So why bother many say. Many people also came to see that such teaching of a man who was not a man but was a spirit, who in one place says he cannot be tempted and in another place in Scriptures it says he was been tempted by the devil, could not be a real good teaching but only a misleading teaching.  Lots lost faith in their church of the misleading doctrines and found more clarity in the Islam teaching. The big problem is they did never tried to look at other Christian religions who do keep to the biblical Truth. Not many took time to look at the different non-trinitarian groups, because they thought all Christians are the same and do think the same. They also got frightened to look at the other denominations because they were made frightened by their own church who always told them it were heretics and not Christians.

No one willing to come down

Those who left the dogmatic Christian groups, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, did not encounter on their path to other non-doctrinal Christians people who were confessing they only believed in Only One God. None of those non-trintiarians thought it necessary to come to them. Most of them who say they have the truth and are not a Jehovah Witness do not go away from their position in their church or ecclesia.

None will venture to ascend their hill.

They remain in their known group and are willing to give exhortations in their ecclesia, but to go out on the streets or to go to teach and preach somewhere else, not many wanted to do. so, those looking for God did not encounter people who wanted to tell them that in Christianity there may be found answers and may be found people willing to help to come closer to God.

In many of those non-trinitarian and trinitarian churches they are saying “God calls the people” which is true, but does not give you the right to sit on your ass and do nothing. Jesus was clear to his disciples and wanted all his followers to go out in the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. But in many churches the people in charge say we do have to be patient and the right people just shall come up to us. Is that so? Shall people be able to find you?

Given task

We should be prepared to bring honourable service and give ourselves into the Hands of God, offering ourselves as servants of Christ and servants of God. Faith without works is dead and true faith demands dedication to God’s sovereignty.
Preaching should be done across the entire world, every day and night regarding this subject, by those who believe in the things which are grounded in their heart. That what did not have enough opportunity to grow in the heart can not be shared. There has to be a willingness to hear others and to come to them to talk and share ideas with them. Ears have to be opened to the Word of God, but so few hear it.  So few accept it.  So few do it.   Why?

Because salvation from guilt and sin is a natural desire of the human mind.

says the writer of Words From There.

But the walk of Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to agree with the Father in Heaven. {The necessity of the Gospel}

this should bring people united under Christ in the understanding of  the necessity to live as the Lord Jesus lived.

Servants for God

 He became a servant, though He is the Son of God.  We too are called to become servants, though we are sons of the same God.

The big question is: How many do want to become a humble servant in the hands of God? How many are willing to follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples?

Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun.  The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short. {Thoughts from Isolation}While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises. {Thoughts from Isolation}

Short time to stand at the side

There are too many questions to be answered, and time on earth is too short to get all the answers right. When we do have to find out everything on our own it (perhaps) will take a long time, but when we can find help in what others can show us from the Bible we can grow with each other and come to a better understanding sooner. It is easy to say

Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?

and do nothing. Standing at the side, staying in the close environment, the safe surrounding of the own ecclesia or church is easy. It is high time to come out of the ‘building’ and to go out in the  ‘wild nature’.

Messengers with wrong motives

Soon after Jesus his death it happened already that people made use of his name and his popularity. The apostle Paul noted already that there were some that preached Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Philippians 1:15-18) Many centuries later not much has changed. We still can find people who are more interested in their own good and their own name, instead of sharing the gospel with many for the matter of  Jesus his name. We shamefully notice that everywhere we can find people who preach Christ out of selfish ambition. But perhaps this should not bother us so much because whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this we should rejoice.

Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible wrote

What security in the gospel! Even if the messenger has wrong motives, the message remains unstoppable. This means that God has built into the gospel a self-correcting power for every abuse of the gospel at the hands of men. Men misused the Bible to promote slavery in Africa and America, yet the abolitionist movement came out of the church.

All of us should be thankful we are good in something. We all have been given a gift of God’s grace for the good of His people. As the least of the Lord’s people, Paul knew that these graces were not given based upon any personal merit, so stop disqualifying yourself to use the gift of grace that God has given you. God has created all things, including you and your capacity, and God wants us to focus upon him and use what he has freely given us. And each person who comes in Christ should also as a member of the body of Christ use his or her gifts to let that body grow.

Poisoned and mislead

Arthur W. Pink was aware that we should use the gifts we received more to proclaim the Word of God

those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted to seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn, and important work. Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavoring to practice what they preach, setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness. Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth. To preach error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonor God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers. {Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures}

Many people felt dishonoured and mislead by their common church. The Muslims seemed to honestly keep closer to the Word of God and kept more to their holy Scriptures, doing what was requested by them.

Governing bodies have taken over the Pauline churches which at early Christendom were free communities.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3}The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

writes a a Reformed Baptist, from a Covenantal, Amillennial perspective in Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2. This while too many keep silent and do not dare to step on toes. But no congregation is free of the silent ones or of those who do not want to go out to those who do not belong to the community. This made that many in the city or at the countryside did not find it interesting enough to go to hear in the church-building what the preacher had to say. those who stayed at home and did their normal daily business did not find somebody on their path to work or to the shops who tried to convince them of the beauty of Jesus his ransom.

Unlearned men

‘Church’ wanted people to believe they could not understand the Bible, because they did not follow special university courses. In the past they had also told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it.

They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

We may not forget that in the first century of this common era, like in the centuries before people did not get a university degree to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. The disciples of Christ got their training first hand from the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They continued the same practice as Jesus to educate others in the teachings of Christ Jesus. They wrote down what they had learned so that others in places far away could use the writings as edifying material. We too have that educational material at hand in our own language. We can use the many Bible translations to receive the Biblical Wisdom. We should use it.

Right to read and to interpret

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

People need help in their interpretation and it are the elders and scholars who can and should help. In time the church has developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ This science and art of interpretation is our key which can keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. Not everybody is been given the art of hermeneutics but those that have received it should use it and help others to come to a better understanding of what is written in the Bible.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

But it are the communities and those in charge of the ‘churches’ who should take care their flock is trained to come to good Bible reading and good Bible interpretation. Every person in the ecclesia should try to come to a good Bible knowledge and should help others in reading and interpreting the Bible.

Not staying in own cocoon

As we go on, after we have been baptised, and grow in our faith, we do have to carry it with us and should share it with others. We cannot keep our faith to our own. We also may not stay in our little cocoon just staying safe with those we do know and with those whom we love. Out of love for the others, we should go out to reach them and to show them the Way.

Thomas Manton asked

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? {So much Preaching and so Little Practice – Thomas Manton}

but we wonder where all that preaching is. We can not see many Christians on the streets, in parks, in public buildings or in public transport, teaching the Word of God. It seems to stay in between closed doors.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

One of the great inspirers for many Christians and strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition: Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

We do need constant thoughts which are operative so that musing makes the fire burn. {Thomas Manton} The British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers,”  Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon in his lifetime preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons are reprinted many times and are still going strong. He knew very well the importance to go out on the streets and to take sure educating thoughts would be spread amongst many. We should remember him who said

Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power!

A Privilege to be taken seriously

Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Mary, Thomas and their son Octavius Winslow, John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. and many more understood the need of reaching to the people, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. We should take them as an example and not limit ourselves to our own community, staying only at our own ecclesia.

For sure it might be easier just to preach for people who believe the same as we do. It is easier not be confronted with people who have other ideas and want to ask questions. It is easier to avoid such questions and keeping to a close group where one is sure they all believe the same and/or do not dare to question.

Like Aiden Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past, we should not hesitate to look at such works from the past but always should see them in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which constantly should be the main guide.

People wanting to know God

The move of many churchgoers to become mosque goers proves that there are enough people wanting to get to know God. You can wonder how they can get to know God when nobody wants to come to them and tell about God.

Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of many previous Bible teachers  their life. but they did not stay in their own little environment, their safe surrounding of their church. They stood up and went to those who did not yet belong to their church or even did not believe in a god or the God. Like them we should come forward and present our thoughts and our writings to people who are looking for God and perhaps not belong to any church, or did not find the Truth.

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

Our preaching as well as our writings should simply become an extension of our faith and prayer life.

In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Tozer called the doctrine of the Holy Spirit “buried dynamite”. Yet he always insisted that the Spirit and the Word operate in harmony. He exhorted the overzealous to a warm heart and a cool head:

“The history of revivals in the Church reveals how harmful the hot head can be….These are days of great religious turmoil. Let love burn on with increasing fervour, but bring every act to the quiet test of wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement than a well-controlled furnace, but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney.”

– Walter Unger {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

We should not aim for great fame and popularity as a preacher, but we should be well aware that we do have to come together, read and study the Bible with others, preach the gospel and make new believers.

In many church services other than those of the Christadelphians not much time is given or spend at the Word of God. God’s Word in Scripture, if ever used at all, comes in sporadic bursts of verses here and there, and in evangelical churches they are just parts of phrases being shouted out repetitive whilst most of the time entertaining songs sweep up the public. Very often bible texts are stripped of their intended meaning, stifling the work of the Spirit in His sacramental function of quickening the Word, and robbing the people of blessing. At other places the sermon or the exhortation has not much to do with the Bible fragments read.

Though time has to be spend to go deeper into the reading and to give some examples of how the Bible text relates to our daily life. That we need much more, so that people can see how the stories of the Bible still have relevance today. Further we also need more stories of influences of the Bible and faith to people in our society. The Lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters would love to bring such Bible and Faith related stories. But we need more people who can bring such stories and show people what it can do to have the Christian Faith.

You to can play your role

It is high time there shall come forward more Christian believers to proof to others they are not children of the bond-woman but of the free (Galatians 4:31) and to show the world which blessings come over those who are willing to accept Christ in their life.

When the early church went out into the world, armed with the truth through which alone true unity could be effected, they, as well as Paul, met with opposition. The had to conquer their fear for speaking in public. It took time but with the aid of the Holy Spirit and with their trust in God they managed to spread the faith very well. We better take up their courage and start evangelizing like they did in the early days.

You too can do your share. For sure you too have something to tell; something that changed your life; something you feel inside, something you notice in the world; let it be known to others. We are willing to give you a platform where you can let your voice be heard so that your voice can put an other cobblestone on the big road to be made.

As time went on, however, the church no longer loved God enough to see, feel and talk about the wonders of the Divine Creator. Let those Works of God be better known. Open people their eyes and ears so that they can see and hear the beauty of nature, the Hand of God in our world. Show the world where there can be growth of true worship in the face of daunting challenges so that it can be faith-strengthening and inspiring to God’s people everywhere. Let the sun never sets on the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Remember the prophet Zechariah his words

 “who has despised the day of small things?” (Zecharia 4:10)

and do not hesitate to join the small group of enthusiast preachers.

Declaring Good News

Let us “declare good news” like Jesus demanded from his followers. Each of us can “bear news; announce; act as a news bearer.” (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 16:23)

Jesus recognized that his divine commission called for a preaching work, and he carried it on publicly, in cities and villages, in the temple area, synagogues, marketplaces and streets, as well as in the countryside. (Marcus 1:39; 6:56; Luke 8:1; 13:26; John 18:20)
Do you want to go wherever you can entering into villages or cities or countryside or bring  your texts on the internet so that it can come in the homes of many people?

Jesus had stressed that he was ‘sent by God’ (Luke 9:48; John 5:36, 37; 6:38; 8:18, 26, 42), who gave him “a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49). The apostles who followed the directions of Christ knew that they publicly had to declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we have to exercise faith in our heart that God raised him up from the dead, so that we will be saved.

For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Like John the Baptist Jesus did more than preach. His teaching receives even greater emphasis than his preaching. Teaching (di·da′sko) differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, shows things by argument, and offers proofs. The work of Jesus’ disciples, both before and after his death, was thus to be a combination of preaching and teaching.(Matthew 4:23; 11:1; 28:18-20).

The writings which we present as such shall have to bring preachings and teachings, sermons and exhortations, bringing examples that show how God is at work also today and is still calling everybody who is willing to hear His Voice.

We have to share our heartfelt feeling for Christ and for each other. We have to share like Christ did, our love for the Only One God and our love for brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our love for the whole creation (man, animals and plants). As this in the old times was shared by all disciples, men and women, we too should till “the conclusion of the system of things” proclaim the Good News and share our faith with others, bringing a call to the world to join us and to become a member of the Body of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts of the apostles 2:17; compare Acts 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:3.)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority*+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples*+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in* the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion* of the system of things.”*+ {Matthew 28:18-20 Reference Bible}

Let us make sure that on the basis of Jesus his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in all the nations and that you with us may be a witness of these things. Jesus was sending forth upon us that which is promised by his heavenly Father. We, though, have to follow the decree given by Jesus to be a pupil but also a teacher, a follower and a leader, always a servant, one for the people and one for God.

coming closer to the Last days we should be fully aware that Jesus said

‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit*+ upon every sort of flesh,* and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men* will dream dreams;+ 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {Acts of the apostles 2:17 Reference Bbile}

Sharing and blessings for all

All sorts of men and women shall go out in those days, but we do not have to wait to the last moment be part of them. Today you can stand up and show your alertness and your vivid will to be part of that community which want to show others the way to God. You can start to speak boldly in your own surroundings and share your voice on this platform and on From Guestwriters. You can let people hear and see that they too can find a place where blessing are shared with love with all who want to come along and with all who want to celebrate the greatest love a person has ever given.

We have to show others that it is not sufficient just to take the posture of politely and respectfully listening, not doing much of anything else. Jesus wanted active followers, doers of the Word. Those who come to church or enter the ecclesia perhaps would (all) agree that they are there to learn and be challenged in the Word, but in actuality, they are very inactive in the learning process, very passive in the spiritual discipline, and very unengaged while the preacher is preaching. We have to show them that is not what is wanted form a member of Christianity, a follower of Christ. we have to stimulate them that they also get up and start showing the works of faith. doing our work not forgetting how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

All believers are still hold to the task of challenging the wider Church which is asking, struggling, journeying about how we, those who are called to be “Preachers”, “Teachers”, “Leaders” can create sacred spaces so that those outside our community feel as welcomed and share with us too, how the Good News impacts, revitalises, renews, re-forms their and others lives, and how they impart their own wisdom empowered by the Holy Spirit to encourage who we have been called to be.

All human beings, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status,every human being has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.”

Let us take many into our company, showing the blessing we receive on daily basis, and expound the way of God more correctly to them.

May your time spent here be blessed.

Isn’t this what we are called to do?  We are to ascend to our place near the Lord.  From there we are commanded to proclaim regardless the response.  Can you count the number of us who have gone into the city?  How many of those tiny houses contain artifacts of man?   How did they get there?   The Lord did not put them there, nor did He have them delivered. {The Swinging Doors}

++

Find to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. When discouraged facing opposition
  5. Christianity without the Trinity
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible for you and for life
  8. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  9. The Most Reliable English Bible
  10. The Bible and names in it: Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has Ever Been
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  13. Reasons to come together
  14. Not many coming out with their community name
  15. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  20. Not all ability to preach
  21. Breathing to teach
  22. Church sent into the world
  23. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  24. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  25. Our openness to being approachable
  26. Words to push and pull
  27. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  28. How should we preach?
  29. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  30. Good or bad preacher
  31. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Holland Week of billing
  34. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  35. It is Today
  36. Belonging to or being judged by
  37. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  38. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Dealing with worries in our lives
  41. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  42. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  43. Risen With Him
  44. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Thoughts from Isolation
  2. To the stump
  3. Your Post
  4. The necessity of the Gospel
  5. Jehovah’s Message
  6. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  7. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  8. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2
  9. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3
  10. A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines
  11. Rev. Duncan Campbell Sermon – Action and Obedience
  12. Puritan Thomas Watson – Christian Joy!
  13. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  14. What if Jesus Preached What Modern Preachers are Preaching?
  15. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  16. Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders
  17. On Preaching “To the Men”
  18. The Primacy of Preaching
  19. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  20. How to Spread the Gospel
  21. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  22. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  23. Preaching is a two-way street
  24. What do you think about preaching someone else’s sermon?
  25. Sex, murder, and preaching: How much is too much for Sunday morning?
  26. Redemptive-Historical Preaching Vs. Moralistic Preaching in Sanctification
  27. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  28. Four Reasons You Should Go Easy On Yourself After Failure, Divorce or Abuse
  29. Preach It, Sister!
  30. What do you need…?
  31. The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ
  32. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings
  33. Proclaim Christ Thru Service to Others
  34. Cavite Hosts I-Proclaim! 3 on National Bible Week 2012
  35. Proclaim Jubilee: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
  36. How to Proclaim Restoration

+++

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses descend on Melbourne in pictures (theguardian.com)
    A large sign across the turf at Etihad Stadium reads: ‘Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom’
  • Taking the plunge at Etihad Stadium into a life of faith serving Jehovah (smh.com.au)
    Cameron Dobber’s nerves had mostly settled by the time he took his place in the middle of Etihad Stadium in front of more than 65,000 people.The 27-year-old forklift driver from Sunshine had been preparing for this moment for more than four years.After months of Bible studies and a three-hour interview with church elders, it was finally his turn to step into the baptismal pool and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    A Christian is called. To do what? “Follow me.” And the crucial part of this calling by Jesus is getting nailed – as Paris Reidhead once said – to the back of the cross; the “purpose-driven” crowd’s worst nightmare.+

  • 19. Daily Bible Verse (12160.info)
    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Watch: ’19 Kids & Preaching’ Video Highlights Duggar Family’s Christian Faith (blackchristiannews.com)
    A new video called 19 Kids and Preaching shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
  • Preaching What God’s Word Says about the World (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    [T]he principle that the Christian minister is to preach only the Word of God most certainly does not forbid him to apply the teaching of Holy Writ to the specific needs of his hearers and the peculiar conditions of his day. Application, as well as explanation, is of the essence of preaching.
  • 970) Whether I know what preaching is! Taught by Srila Prabhupada! (pmdasa.wordpress.com)
    A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching.
  • The Active Power of Faith (codybateman.org)
  • “Coming Up Short”; Jeffrey Sartain’s sermon, Oct. 26 (plymouthspirit.wordpress.com)
    Acts of generosity draw goodness and blessing toward us. When we give, we receive blessings far greater than what we have given.
  • “The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon (tollelege.wordpress.com)
    I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

Seeking the Most High Creator, our God is a process that is pivotal in our daily lives. When we look for God we should know that it is not a one day occasion. It will take more time to find God. Seeking God must not be seasonal fling. It also can not just be based on a mood of the day or a one time feeling.

Many times in history the Divine Creator had been all but forgotten like a distant memory fading into obscurity. We also can see this in our society, people do not know of the Power, the grace and the majesty of the Elohim, Jehovah our God. Not only the younger ones but also the more settles ones are interested in the temporary things of this world, not so much in the beautiful things of nature, but more the electronic gadgets. The material things they look for are like the flowers of the field, charming for a time, but eventually wither and fade away. Yet hope remained for the people of Israel and hope remains for us too.

Jhva Elohim Meth... The Revival

Jhva Elohim Meth… The Revival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes people start looking for a god or church because of peer pressure, but those intentions are mostly not serious and integer enough. Determined by circumstances a person also can come into a stadium where he or she wants seriously to receive more answers. Whatever triggers the search for God, the quest had to be undertaken seriously.

When it is only to have eternal life our reason of seeking God is not the right one and probably would not encounter so easily the expected answers.

We should aim to come into the presence of God. Some would say “it is the crucible where we learn to see eye to eye with God, feel His pulse and get primed to move by His Spirit“.

There should be various things you do to affirm your seeker-of-God status (praying, reading the bible, fasting, listening to truth messages), as you pursue the goal of being changed from glory to glory as you behold the Son of God.

The word ‘seek’ (in the Hebrew ‘dârash’) means to ‘tread’ or ‘frequent’ and this builds the image of seeking or treading a path to the Most High Elohim. It is the willingness to undertake the trip on a path which can lead to the Higher Being. Like Josiah in the past that one looking for God should begin to tread out a path to the Supreme Being, to understand and know how to seek Him.

בית ביסוד המעלה

בית ביסוד המעלה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are so many things around to distract our attention, although there are nevertheless good things to look at. The beauties of God’s creation are wonderful sights for us to look at. The marvellous designs of the flowers; the birds we see flying around; the busy lives led by the insects; snow-capped mountains or a beautiful sunset. To come to look for God we should first be willing to see the things around us. We should come to see the incredible structures of all those things. Looking at nature, seeing its beauty, this will help to come to see the Maker of all that.

If we seek or tread a path to God frequently, the path will become clear and visible to us.

We read in Psalm 123:2

“(2)  See, as the eyes of servants Are toward the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a female servant Are toward the hand of her mistress, So are our eyes toward יהוה  {Jehovah} our Elohim, Until He shows favour to us.” (Psalm 123:2 The Scriptures 1998+)

The person willing to find God does have to take on the right attitude, willing to have his eyes waiting on Jehovah our God. In the psalm we may find the loyal slave’s attitude of watchfulness toward his/her master (Proverbs 27:18). Laziness or inattentiveness are not the right requisites to look for God. We do have to open our mind and be willing to read and think about the Word of God, as given in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

Excerpts from Raymond Martin's (Lat. Raymundus...

Excerpts from Raymond Martin’s (Lat. Raymundus Martini, appointed by the Pope to dig up the passages of the Jewish Talmud objectionable to Roman Catholics) Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos of 1270 CE (page 559). The Latin form “Jehova” of the Tetragrammaton is seen. This edition is published in Leipzig, 1687, now is found in the New York City Public Library. Also, see online at Google books here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those words we can find in that Book of books we do have to consider and take them at heart. It should be as reading a love letter, from our most beloved. The Bible should give you that fire to come into a close relationship with the Writer. That Speaker wanted to give his Voice to the whole world. His Voice is calling everybody to come into a good relationship with Him, His son and His beloved children who are willing to follow Him. We too can develop a close and personal relationship with our heavenly Father; however, it requires a diligent and zealous mind set on our part. But what a magnificent reward there is! To be able to worship and serve the Creator of everything around us, the one who has provided a great hope of salvation, so that unlike the temporary things of this life we can look beyond to a time of peace and equity, where

‘there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain’.

It is not a bad strategy to look  also at Jeshua, the Nazarene Jew and son of Joseph and Miriam (Mary). This man had learned from his parents who God is and what He had done for them. Already at a young age Jesus was more concerned of looking for God than for what his parents would say or feel. Jesus as he actively sought out his Father, when he was twelve years old, remained in the temple for three days. After three days looking for their son, they found Jesus in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them.When Mary and Joseph voiced their concerns about the location of Jesus, we see his sense of duty towards the Only One God. When his mother asked him why he had done so to them, who became greatly distressed, he
said to them:

 (49)  … “Why were you seeking Me? Did you not know that I had to be in the matters of My Father?”  (50)  But they did not understand the word which He spoke to them.  (51)  And He went down with them and came to Natsareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these matters in her heart.  (52)  And יהושע {Jeshua} increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with Elohim and men. (Luke 2:49-52 The Scriptures 1998+)

revealed in verse 49

‘I must be about my Father’s business.’

Even at the tender age of twelve Jesus provides us with a poignant example, seeking out the Most High LORD was absolutely essential for Jesus, despite the fact that he had to leave the comfort of his family in what was a very busy city. Towards the end of the chapter we see the result of Jesus’ actions, as we read in verse 52,

‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’

This verse provides us with a wonderful motivation by seeking out the LORD of Lord of lords, Who is the Divine Creator God, we can increase our Godly wisdom, so we can learn how to worship and serve this LORD, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Instead of seeking out the God in the temple in Jerusalem we must seek out the ‘LORD’, Allah, God,  by reading His Word and praying for His Guidance in our lives. Although both Josiah and the Lord Jesus provide us with a two wonderful examples of seeking the LORD from an early age, however, this is a process that both of them continued throughout their lives. We must also spend our time and energy throughout our lives in seeking the LORD of Lord of lords, the Almighty God.

Do our eyes wait upon the Lord our God? Or do our eyes feast on other things? For what proportion of the day do our eyes look on the word of God or writings in connection with the Scriptures?

"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3 (1611 King J...

“Jehovah” at Exodus 6:3 (1611 King James Version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in times of happiness or distress on our walk throughout life we can follow the path and easily seek the God of gods. However, this must be an active process, just as it was with Josiah; we must keep this path clear of the debris that life can bring upon us. To seek or frequent the LORD does not mean just to want to know more about God, it requires us to do something about it. This seeking of the LORD is an active process involving prayerful reading of God’s word. By looking for God we also should come to get Him so well that we also get His Name right. We have the wonderful consequence of seeking the Divine Creator laid out for us in Matthew 7:7, that if we do seek the LORD, we ‘shall find’ Him. God is waiting for us to actively seek Him out so that we can develop our relationship with Him as dutiful servants. when we read the Holy Scriptures and take the words for what they are we shall see the difference between the people and shall not have to speak about a lord, a Lord or The LORD, but shall come to know whom the lord Jesus is and Who is Father is. We shall also get their names right and shall recognise Jeshua (Jesus Christ) as the son of God, being the long awaited Messiah. We also shall come to see and understand why the creator had so much patience and wants the whole world to get to know His Name, Jehovah. It is up to us to come to know our heavenly Father and to get others to know Him, Who should be our Only One God.

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

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Find also:

  1. Everyday beauty
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  4. God Feeds The Birds
  5. I Only hope we find God again before it is too late !
  6. God is One
  7. Only One God
  8. A God between many gods
  9. God of gods
  10. The one who makes us well and gives life
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Full authority belongs to God
  13. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  14. The Divine name of the Creator
  15. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name
  16. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name – Jehovah Gods Naam
  17. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  18. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  19. Words in the world
  20. Book of books and great masterpiece
  21. Who Wrote the Bible?
  22. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  23. Bible Word from God
  24. Bible word of God, inspired and infallible
  25. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High
  26. Unsure about relevance Bible
  27. Appointed to be read
  28. Unread bestseller
  29. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  30. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  31. Good or bad preacher
  32. Getting to know the Truth
  33. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  34. The World framed by the Word of God

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Additional reading:

Treasure Hunters
Imagine that you were just handed a treasure map that leads to Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure. Now take that map, put it in a frame, and hang it on the wall for all to see. Makes sense right? Of course not! You would take that map, follow it exactly step by step. No questions asked because you knew that this map would lead to Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure. Just like any quest , along the way you may encounter obstacles, people may call you names for following the map, and you might even want to give because it is just to hard. But instead of giving up, you continue with the treasure hunt and find it, and knowing all the trials and hardships you had to endure just makes finding the treasure even sweeter. Sounds like the plot to a movie right, but it’s not. It’s the the story of our lives.
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The Bible was written by man but inspired by God to teach us and instruct us in our everyday lives ( 2 Timothy 3:16) but if we just sit it on a shelf and let it collect dust, how are we suppose to know what it is God whats us to do?  If we don’t use God’s map and seek Him out, it is us that is missing out. God’s love is our treasure and just like any other treasure that is buried, it hasn’t moved. It is in the same place it has been for years but we must seek it in order to have that treasure and just like any other treasure, it is meant to be shared with everybody, so they can inherit God’s kingdom and feel this unending love of God. Lets start using our maps and seek God not just when we are going through struggles and storms, but in our everyday life.

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  • Seven, looking past the just a number (faithgracetorah.net)
    Our heavenly Father hides the deep wisdom like treasure hidden in a field. We are to guard our hearts. When we find wisdom, our hearts have joy. With wisdom, insight, understanding, knowledge and a pure love for YHWH apart from our own wicked selfish desires will keep our path straight.
  • Ahnsahnghong’s teachings – Elohim of plural form means God’s Omnipotence and Majesty? [WMSCOG] (ahnsahnghongtruthorfalse.wordpress.com)
    World Mission Society Church of God believes in God of the Elohim (plural form of God), and the existence of God the Mother/Heavenly Mother.However, the opposers do not agree at all.

    They claim that in Hebrew, the masculine suffix is “-im” and the feminine suffix is “-oth”.

    That is why the word “Elohim” is the plural masculine form of “El” or “Eloah.”

    They also claim that the plural elohim is used to show omnipotence and majesty of God’s character.

  • The Genesis 1:1-4 and John 1:1-5 Connection (thejewishinstitute.wordpress.com)
    The question that seems to always get raised within the Christian faith is, “How does John 1:1-5 connect or have any relation to Genesis 1:1-4?” I will answer this question not from a Christian point of view but from a Jewish one. We must first understand what Genesis 1:1-4, Bereshit in Hebrew, has to say regarding the Messiah. If there is relation between Genesis 1:1-4 and the Messiah then John 1:1-5 would make more sense from a Hebrew perspective and not a Greek one. Let us begin by reading Genesis 1:1-4 and see what it has to say and what the ancient sages understood about it.
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    “Jehovah, Elohaynu, Jehovah. There are three steps to accept the mystery from above. In the beginning God created. In the beginning is the first mystery from where all else spreads…The name takes three forms and from there the name is interpreted in several ways… Rabbi Bechai explained: Elohim is El Haym. These are gods. Remember your creators (Ecclesiastes 12:1). The wise will understand.” (The Jerusalem Edition of the Zohar)
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    “Elohim is composed of two words, El and Haym. These are God. That Elohim is plural, though there is only one God, is truth. Eliezer sat before his father. We have learned that to him is justice. How is it that wherever we meet Adonai Elohim [yod, hay, vav, hay, the letters of Jehovah’s name], it means mercy? (the Zohar)
  • Praise the Lord With Me and Oriki Song (thepraisesofgod.wordpress.com)
    How extra-ordinary must your beauty be O God? / It definitely is beyond and above all range of normal human imagination / I see you high and lifted up far beyond the starry sky / Above principalities and powers / Above rulers of darkness of this world / Above spiritual wickedness in high places / Above powers and dominions / Above everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
  • The God to Whom I Pray (prayerfromtheheart.net)
    God, you are the great I AM. You are all knowing, all sufficient, ever-present and above all perfect love.
    God when I think of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I know you are my caring shepherd, my Jehovah-rahh.
    Lord when I am anxious and worried you are Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who provides.
    When I am, overcome with anxiety, worries and cares, when the challenges of this life are too great for me to bear, I know you as Jehovah-shalom, the Lord of peace.
    When my body and emotions are weak or sick I come to you as Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals me.
  • Was The Name Jesus Christ Given To The Saviour By Heaven Or By Mankind? (spyghana.com)
    For many salvation seekers of Christian persuasion, the question posed in this caption may seem unimportant since almost all of them will readily give “yes” as answer to the first part and “no” to the second.
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    The original writers of the Hebrew version of the Holy Scriptures were inspired by the Most High One, and were under His direct supervision, as they wrote these scriptures on scrolls of parchment long ago (Second Timothy 3:16 and Second Peter 1:21). These writers could, therefore, never have made even the minutest of errors in their writings in this language since one could say they wrote with the finger of the Most High One.
  • In the article The Names of God (shareaverse.wordpress.com) is given the proof how many mix the names of people and do not see the difference between titles and names. the writer also goes astray by naming a description of an action as a name and as such takes the sign god gave to the virgin as a name of god whilst it is the name of the son of God, who is not god the son but the son of Mary and Joseph from the tribe of king David. By doing this he want to give direction to people getting them to believe that the Immanuel or God with us means that Jesus is God.
  • To the God I pray, & Intercessions for all men (twiyesudowo.wordpress.com)
    I know You as Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord is Present.
  • Why I Keep the Seventh Day Sabbath (christinachronicles.com)
    For those who are believers in His Son? He came to do the Father’s will…

    {Yeshua} יהושע said to them, “My food is to do the desire {will} of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” ~ John 4:34

Interpreting the Scriptures (Part 5)

We would consider that in many cases intentionally certain doctrines where presented to be taken by people as the rules to follow. Throughout history many were looking to the freedom from error. We should trust the Words of God, like they are written down in the Holy Scriptures. There is no extra formula necessary, nor extra theological masters necessary to come to understanding. All may find inspiration in the Words like they are brought to us. We should allow that Word to have the full authority. We only have to be willing to open our ears to the Word of god so that it can come into our soul.

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To remember:
  • Church leaders in the 1500s did not think the average Christian was capable of  understanding the scriptures.
  • Leaders give doctrinal boundaries through which to interpret the scriptures.
  • Not teaching people to ask questions and find their own answers => teaching their own brand of theology.
  • Sacredness of bible = basis for seminaries and bible colleges.
  • God will speak to you through whatever
  • Biblical interpretation = not merely a task individuals perform => grows out of our participation in family of God in the broadest sense possible.
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  • P1 – An overview of 3500 years of Bible interpretation (biblicalexegete.wordpress.com)
    Following the Reformation, we see the increasing emphasis upon rationalism and a de-emphasis upon revelation. Protestant theologians would come to adopt reason and philosophical investigation as part and parcel of Bible intrepretation – i.e protestant scholasticism.
  • P2 – An overview of 3500 years of Bible interpretation (biblicalexegete.wordpress.com)
    In addition to those men, movements and other men would come to shape how the wider scholarly worlds of Europe and America would come to develop an ever increasing critical stance towards the scriptures. Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleirmacher’s epochal systematic theology: “On Religion, Speeches to its Cultural Despisers”, written in 1799, could be viewed as marking the unofficial beginning of modern liberal theology. As other Old and New Testament scholars began to apply 18th century rationalism and the then newly developed theories of evolution from Charles Darwins’ “Origin of the Species” in the 19th century, the Bible came to be increasingly viewed as a book of religion, fraught with errors, a book of men and not the Word of God.
  • Keeping a Simple Perspective on Biblical Interpretation (jacksonwu.org)
    Everyone can understand something. Seek the big idea of the text, but don’t assume it. It’s ok not to understand nuanced points. Keep at it. It may take days, weeks, even years. However, such perseverance frequently pays off in yielding the insights we want.
  • Five Ways Not to Teach Biblical Interpretation (Part 2) (jacksonwu.org)
    People sometimes never think of the fact that writers may talk about the same topic in two passages, but have different points to make.As a result, our ability to apply Scripture is limited by our selective reading. We will not grow because we will constantly assume we know what the author is getting at.
  • Lecture Review: “Reflections on the Bible, Evolution, and the Journey of Faith” by Peter Enns (mpworth.wordpress.com)
    For Enns, a literalist approach to Scripture “assumes that the mark of divine inspiration is to isolate itself from cultural context”—Enns doesn’t agree; therefore, we cannot simply “graft” evolution onto evangelicalism—by suggesting that Adam and Eve could have been some early hominid couple chosen by God, etc. The first gene pool was no less than about 10,000 humans, and this must be accounted for (see, for example, Dennis Venema’s article, “Genesis and the Genome.”).
  • Thy Word Is Still Truth: A Brief Review (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    For those of you who want a mini-Reformed library on the doctrine of Scripture contained in a single volume, this one is for you.  It is true that almost everything in this book has been published previously elsewhere, but it is handy to have them all in one book.  And to top it off, there are very extensive indices (topical and scriptural).  Even though you probably won’t sit down and read Thy Word Is Still Truth straight through, it contains many excellent resources that will stimulate your studies for years to come.
  • How the Ancient Church Interpreted Scripture (theophiluspunk.wordpress.com)
    I have many problems with the very term inerrancy:

    • It’s more a political term than a theological one.  Seriously: “inerrancy” is mostly used as a club for beating up people one disagrees with, declaring who the truly saved are and aren’t.
  • Interpreting the Scriptures (Part 1) (supernaturalgospel.wordpress.com)
    If texts could speak for themselves, then everyone honestly and openly reading a text would agree on what the text says. But interpretations of texts abound, and people in fact do not agree on what the texts mean. This is obviously true of the texts of scripture: simply look at the hundreds, or even thousands, of ways people interpret the book of Revelation, or consider all the different Christians denominations, filled with intelligent and well-meaning people who base their views of how the church should be organized and function on the Bible, yet all of them coming to radically different conclusions. – Bart Ehrman
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    Reading the scriptures is a subjective endeavor; you can never remove you and your interpretation from the picture.
  • Is Christianity Biblical?-Part 2 (spyghana.com)
    The greatest error committed by all translators of the Bible lies in their translating of all names of people they found in the Hebrew Holy Scriptures. That is not only wrong and unacceptable, it is ridiculous. It is ridiculous because, whereas, names of towns, places and other landmarks in Hebrew have remained essentially the same in the English Bible, albeit in corrupted pronunciations, all names of people originally found in the Hebrew Holy Scriptures have been translated!
  • The Sufficiency of Scripture: Is God’s Word Enough? Part 2 (randomtheoloblog.wordpress.com)
    Sufficiency means that something is enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.  It refers to something being what is necessary or desirable for a specified need.  Simply put, if something is sufficient it is just what the doctor ordered.  When it comes to Scripture, God’s Holy Word, it means that the Bible is totally adequate, and competent to meet the needs of every individual Christian in every circumstance of life (see 2 Peter 1:2-3).  Nothing else is needed to guide us in our everyday living.
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Supernatural Gospel

Privileged elite interpreters & self-perpetuating systems

The Reformation was about taking authority away from a man and giving it to a book. The Catholics could control their masses through the doctrine of papal infallibility, the Protestants through the doctrine of Bible inerrancy. – Glenn Steers

Church leaders in the 1500s (like many church leaders today) did not think the average christian was capable of  understanding the scriptures. They felt christians needed priests to explain to them what God demands of them.

Nowadays Christians are allowed to read bibles, but “leaders” think they need to be given “lenses” (basically doctrinal boundaries) through which to interpret the scriptures. This is the purpose of bible colleges and seminaries – not teaching people to ask questions and find their own answers, but rather teaching their own brand of theology.

As Christians, we are taught by our leaders to believe certain ideas and behave in…

View original post 664 more words

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

As Byron ‘FLi’ Walker writes in Why We Need God most people looking for answers in their life find no deep or lasting fulfilment in their commitment to their leisure time to nature, art, music, and so on. He reminds us that humans have an inborn spiritual yearning which comes as no surprise to Bible readers. Those who regularly read the Bible have encountered enough places in those Scriptures where signs are given why and how we are to find ourselves in this world. In the Book of books, the Bible or Holy Scriptures it is written how Jehovah God, the Creator of heaven and earth, although His creation turned against Him, still wants to have a good relationship with them.KJV Bible

From the moment we do come on this earth we do feel the need to be connected with someone else and to have communication with those around us. also with the first humans there was already a communication going on with their Maker. God spoke with them regularly, allowing them to establish a spiritual relationship with Him. (Genesis 3:8-10) Children do have the need to speak with their parents. We do have our earthly parents but also an heavenly Father. As Creator of the universe, giving us life, placing us in His creation, He did not design us to live independently of Him. Made in the image of God, we also do have feelings but also needs. Like the Creator wanted to communicate with His creation we also do have a need to communicate with our Maker. The Bible refers to this need frequently.

Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

We who want to live ‘godly lives’ can actually be deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are doing all the right things. Those who have found God already also may think they love God and may think that they are serving Him. But when they love Him, do they have a good relation with Him and do they communicate often with Him? Lots of people may think because they go to mass every Sunday they have done their bit of religiousness. They should know there is more to it than just attending all the functions on Sundays and midweek. What we love is revealed by what we find time to do in our daily life. By our very actions we tell God how much we love Him. We may be fooling ourselves. How much time do we spend thinking about God, reading His Word, caring for others and doing things just to please Him? When we have free time, what do we do with it? Do we turn to Bible reading and study, or do we turn to diversions such as computer activities, entertainment, or hobbies? When we say we do love God, Who do we want to take as our God? Those who are looking for some Special Being behind everything around us, are they willing to open their mind to the different ideas? Are they and we, willing to take in more research and knowledge, to have us spiritually growing? And in which we do we want to be connected to whom? When we look at the Old Testament we can find the importance placed on One Supreme Being but also on the hope for two things, one a man who is going to bring salvation and secondly a reign which shall be governed at first by that man. He will become at first the messenger of God bringing the Good News. He would suffer and find his life come to an end but than he would be taken out of the dead by God and made a mediator between God and man, restoring the broken relationship with the Creator. Therefore when we look for God we also should look for that one man who is called the restorer of faith and has taken in the place at the right hand of God to be the mediator between man and God. Clearly, that means it is somebody else than God. Meaning we have to find that person also to be able to speak with him or to ask things in his name to the One Who is called the Most High. The promised Saviour is Jeshua from the tribe of King David, better know today as Jesus Christ. When we do find him or get to know him, he can lead us to his Father, Who is the Most High Elohim Hashem Jehovah, the God of gods and all things. When we are prepared to become a disciple of Christ we can listen to his teachings and take them at heart. He made so many things clear, that we have made it so much easier to understand when we listen to his teachings.  Jesus also told his followers to continually seek to increase in knowledge and understanding. From him we got to know that this search in his Father’s Words is essential to get to know his Father fully well. Without taking the Words of Jesus his Father at heart it shall be impossible to find God. God’s Truth invites … indeed, it welcomes … investigation, we said already in the previous chapter. So when encountering a different view, we should seize the opportunity at least to understand the evidence provided. We can always learn something, and if we’re wise, we may need to adjust our own views accordingly.

On August 25, 325, the Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concluded with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as heretical, thus resolving an early church crisis. From that time onwards the church went astray and even more different teachings saw light, confusing lots of people. This event early in Christendom brought darkness in the eyes of the people. It made them going further away from God.  It took also the people away from seeing the truth of the man of flesh and bones, who said to his disciples he was not a spirit. Those disciples knew very well that God is Spirit and can not be seen by man or they would die. They knew they had seen Jesus. Some even had seen a dove and heard the voice from above, in heaven, saying that this man was His (God’s) beloved son.

In the 4th century men tried to get people far away form that idea of a man being able to follow God, not doing his own will but only the Will of God. They wanted and still want to have people believe that it is impossible for any human being to love God so much that they would like to do only His will and not theirs. Hearing of such impossibility that also has taken lots of people of their hope to become like Christ and to do the Will of God. We only can say the Roman emperor succeeded partly in what he wanted to get, having people adhering to the world more than to the Law of God.

The Arians and all those who preferred to believe in the One True and Only One God Who is One, were persecuted for their belief that Jesus is not coequal with his Father. All Christians were forced to believe that Jesus is not inferior to God or be considered heretics. Many found their life being ended at the stake or tortured until they stopped breathing and lost their life. Even in our age of tolerance today, those who reject the divinity of Christ are considered to be non-Christians by mainstream Christendom. Though in Christianity, through the times there have always been serious lovers of God who kept studying the Torah, the Old and the New Testament books of what is considered to be the canonic Bible today.

From the 4th century onwards a fog-curtain was pulled down by which a person who said “I am” was considered to be God. Those who were called “Jesus,” “Joshua,” “Chesu, “Jezus“, “Yashua” had to be God, this meaning that in the time when Jeshua te Nazarene was preaching, the other Jesus who was taught of to be the Messiah because he revolted against the Romans, there were and there are still many gods walking on this earth who should also be the God. This is naturally impossible and is no good way to look for The True God. In case people do want to find the True One and Only One God they should take away such false teachings or prescriptions. They should have to take the Words of the Bible, like they are written, black on white, without any dogmatic background teachings.

As long as people keep continue to hold fast on those dogmatic teachings of the many churches which came into existence after the Roman Catholic Church every time expelled those who did not agree with their power, it would be not easy to see through the fog. To find clarity we do have to believe God wants us to find Him and that He does not make it especially difficult, so that only theologians could find him. The Divine Creator took care that every body = all human beings, could come to know Him Who is responsible for their being. He is the Most High Elohim, the most powerful Authority, who has given mankind the most reliable set of unchanging guidelines, the Book of instructions, wisdom and answer to life’s question. The World shall not be able to find any book more reliable than this Book of books, which is the infallible Holy Word of God – The Bible! In the Bible humankind receives all the guidelines, the directions and laws they need at the time given. Certain things changed because the time and the people had changed. When we look at all the prophecies we also can notice some did not come into accomplishment. But we may be sure that like the previous prophecies became reality, the ones still to come, like World War III or Armageddon, the End-times, another thousand years after the Big Battle, shall happen when God considers it time to happen. Whatever shall happen, God did not want His people to stand in the cold and He assured them of a better time to come.

Those who are willing to believe in the One God and look forward to the return of His son, may find peace in the hope God has given the world. In the mean time people will have to come to know Who God is, what His Will is, what His Laws are and why we better keep to the Law of God, instead of trying to make better laws than Him. When we are willing to follow His directions and to listen to His Voice we shall get to know Him better. By keeping to His Law we also shall be able to make a safer life and a better way to live for our selves and for those around us.

Michelle Yee and many others know they can be a beloved daughter or son of the Most High King, when she writes:

It may not always be easy reading, understanding and interpreting it, but if you are diligent enough to read it than pray for wisdom to understand it, the revelation would come to you sooner or later. Either God will reveal it to you personally in spirit, or he will teach you through life experience, or perhaps God will reveal it to you through your pastor or someone else…. If you desire to seek God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart… Seek him in prayer and seek in His word, eventually you’ll find Him… {Jeremiah 29:12}”

(11)  ‘For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares יהוה {Jehovah}, ‘plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and an expectancy.  (12)  ‘Then you shall call on Me, and shall come and pray to Me, and I shall listen to you.  (13)  ‘And you shall seek Me, and shall find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart1. Footnote: 1Dt. 4:29, Joel 2:12.  (14)  ‘And I shall be found by you,’ declares יהוה {Jehovah}, ‘and I shall turn back your captivity, and shall gather you from all the gentiles and from all the places where I have driven you, declares יהוה {Jehovah}. And I shall bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Scriptures 1998+)

From here we should go out and seek the Most High, Creator of all things, who we want to have as our Only One God. We do not need pictures or statues, special buildings or constructions to remind us of Him or to find Him. Those who are willing to look for Him, God shall be willing to let Him be found by them. We do have to look for Him. We do have to search after Him, with all our heart and with all our soul (= our whole being). We should not let us be frightened by those who mock at us or by those who laugh with us.  When others who joke with us bring us in oppression, and all these things have come on you, in the latter days we shall be able to come in front of our God, and listen to His Voice. Looking for God may be like looking for a treasure. And the treasure hunt map God has provided in the Bible.

Today we may already be sure that He is a merciful God Who does us want to know Him and not want to fail us, neither destroy us, nor forget the covenant of our forefathers which He swore to them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and from the one end of the sky to the other, whether there has been anything as this great thing is, or has been heard like it?

” (29)  “But from there you shall seek יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, and shall find, when you search for Him with all your heart1 and with all your being. Footnote: 1Jer. 29:13.  (30)  “In your distress, when all these words shall come upon you in the latter days, then you shall return to יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim and shall obey His voice.  (31)  “For יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim is a compassionate ?l, He does not forsake you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deuteronomy 4:29-31 The Scriptures 1998+)

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

To be continued:

 People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

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Please find also to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God’s design in the creation of the world
  4. God is One
  5. Only One God
  6. God of gods
  7. The one who makes us well and gives life
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. Sayings around God
  10. Full authority belongs to God
  11. Pre-existence of Christ
  12. The Trinity – the truth
  13. Why believing the Bible
  14. Bible basic intro
  15. Who Wrote the Bible?
  16. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  17. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  18. Bible Word from God
  19. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High
  20. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  21. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  22. Creator and Blogger God 12 Old and New Blog 2 Blog for every day
  23. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  24. Bible guide Taking the Bible as a lead
  25. Statutes given unto us
  26. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  27. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  28. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  29. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  30. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  31. Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible
  32. Which View is Right?
  33. Bible in the first place #1/3
  34. Bible in the first place #2/3
  35. Bible in the first place #3/3
  36. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  37. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  38. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  39. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  40. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  41. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  42. Unsure about relevance Bible
  43. Appointed to be read
  44. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  45. Learn to read the Bible effectively
  46. We should use the Bible every day
  47. A Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  48. The Bible is a today book
  49. Bible for you and for life
  50. Bible like puddle of water
  51. Cell phone vs. Bible
  52. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  53. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  54. Relapse plan
  55. Having Truth Decay?
  56. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  57. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  58. One mediator
  59. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  60. Politics and power first priority #1
  61. Politics and power first priority #2
  62. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  63. Many churches
  64. Prophets making excuses
  65. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  66. Hope
  67. True Hope
  68. Working of the hope
  69. Fear knocked at the door
  70. Getting to know the Truth

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Additional reading:

  1. If the Father is the “only true God” (John 17:3) , does that mean that Jesus is a false god?
  2. Some common misconceptions about the truth
  3. Trinity a false doctrine of a false church
  4. Is Jesus God?
  5. Is God an Impersonal Force?
  6. Massacre of children leaves many asking, ‘Where’s God?’
  7. Do You Allow God to Speak to You Every Day?
  8. Why We Need God

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  • Friday Devotional: Check Your Spirit (divinefaithfulness.wordpress.com)
    Living in complacency is not where God has called us to live. I sure have camped out there more times than I care to admit, though. Thinking that I didn’t need to go to church because I simply didn’t need to, saying that I loved God was good enough. Thinking that I didn’t need friends who loved God, that my old friends were just fine because they weren’t going to challenge me to live differently. Living in sin because, God will just forgive me anyway. Like it was all just no big deal. Ever been there, too?
  • A Sermon: Reading the Bible Together (davidswanson.wordpress.com)
    As a church we say that, “We desire to listen and submit to the Scripture, God’s revealed Word for His beloved children.” There are at least two important assumptions within this statement. The first is that God reveals himself through the Bible. God, being God, is so different from us that anything we know about God must be revealed by God. And though we don’t believe God has showed us everything about himself, as Christians we believe he has revealed enough for us to know him and experience his love and salvation. He has done this most importantly through his son.
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    It’s one thing to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s role in the Bible’s writing and even our understanding. But when it comes to applying – to submitting – we act as though this is up to us, on our shoulders. But it’s not and this is why even a hard word – submit – a word few of us like, is a good word. For it is God who gives us the wisdom, strength, and stamina to live new and better lives in response to the Bible.
  • Real Truth never changes….. (wepresson.wordpress.com)
    In a world that seeks change there are some things that never change and
    it’s a good thing they don’t. Yes, there are absolute truths we can count on. The key is
    that they can only come from a Source that cannot be in error. Did you catch that?
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    And God promises to protect it down through the ages so that everyone has a chance to hear His truths and trust in His Son, our Savior, Jesus.
  • Advice from someone who knows. (commutewithchrist.com)
    We usually seek advice from people who have been in a similar situation or have knowledge of something that we don’t. But how often so we seek it from God? He’s written an entire book on how to live our lives. The Bible. It’s quite incredible that not many people seek it out given that in some shape or form it can give us direction and advice on everything we face in this life. It may not be the advice or guidance we want to hear but it’s in there. Work, relationships and money. These are the topics in our lives that we spend the most time thinking and worrying about.
  • The Word of God is perfect! (jooch1986.wordpress.com)
    all men have no excuse for not knowing Him or seeking Him.
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    Many people see the Scriptures as burdensome and full of rules.  Of course it will appear this way to those who do not know God and do not understand that His “yoke is easy and [His] burden is light (Matt. 11:30).  But really, the Word of God, or just decrees or whatever you want to call them are “more to be desired…than…even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey” (v. 10).  These are the words that show us the Way to eternal life with the perfect Creator of the universe who is all good, and in whom “there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
  • Intellectual Discipleship? Faithful Thinking for Faithful Living (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
    The biblical master narrative serves as a framework for the cognitive principles that allow the formation of an authentically Christian worldview. Many Christians rush to develop what they will call a “Christian worldview” by arranging isolated Christian truths, doctrines, and convictions in order to create formulas for Christian thinking.
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    A God-centered worldview brings every issue, question, and cultural concern into submission to all that the Bible reveals, and it frames all understanding within the ultimate purpose of bringing greater glory to God. This task of bringing every thought captive to Christ requires more than episodic Christian thinking and is to be understood as the task of the church, and not merely the concern of individual believers. The recovery of the Christian mind and the development of a comprehensive Christian worldview will require the deepest theological reflection, the most consecrated application of scholarship, the most sensitive commitment to compassion, and the courage to face all questions without fear.
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    Christian faithfulness requires the conscious development of a worldview that begins and ends with God at its center. We are only able to think as Christians because we belong to Christ; and the Christian worldview is, in the end, nothing more than seeking to think as Christ would have us to think, in order to be who Christ would call us to be.
  • Communication with our Father (eviej13.wordpress.com)
    The ability to communicate is often taken for granted and we just expect people to know what we want from them. Although God Does know what we want from Him, there is still nothing more important than our communication with Him.
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    Reading the Bible can help us sort through all the craziness to see what’s really important. It can bring about peace in our lives rather than allowing us to wallow in our confusion.
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    Nothing should become more important than getting into the Word and the Word into us. We will suffer the spiritual consequences of not feeding on the Word of God as we would suffer the physical consequences of not having a regular meal.
  • Psalm 78 as a Microcosm of the Bible (blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.wordpress.com)
    Psalm 78 is a microcosm of the entire Bible in that it was written in ancient times, chronicling the works of the Lord in the face of the faithlessness of man, that all succeeding generations might learn from this written record that God is good and that there reward in obeying Him.
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     A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
  • What is the Bible and what are we supposed to do with it? (theway21stcentury.wordpress.com)
    Christians often use terms like inerrant, infallible, authoritative and inspired, but not all of these are Biblical terms, and not all of them represent clear Biblical concepts. We should be willing to modify or deepen our understanding based on the best in information we have.
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    Most christians belief that Jesus was (and is) God incarnate (i.e. in a human body), and that he was at once fully God and fully human. Enns suggests we perhaps should also consider the Bible as both a human and divine document, in that it is fully grounded in the language, culture and thought forms of its day, yet it is also God’s means of revealing himself to the world.But instead of presuming we know how ‘God’s word’ ought to be, we should study and learn how it actually is …. and so learn more about God’s character.
  • The Greatest Gift: A Defense (triggermanblog.wordpress.com)
    Probably the greatest gift that I have ever received, from anyone, was the first Bible I was old enough to read.
    Oh, I was given story bibles with those smiling pictures and happy tales of when God did great things for those men, and women, of old. But I always knew that I wasn’t getting the whole picture, it was like I was getting spoon-fed some rhetoric, choice tales about God being my “buddy”if I would just put on a smile and believe. So, when I finally got my first “real” Bible, I was excited to be able to get to the real story, not the smiling faces and happy tales that were glossy and inspiring to me as a happy child, I wanted something more to understand the psychology of this God who was recorded as doing these great things.
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Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Often when people in a discussion come upon talking about the higher elements of life and speak about believes in God or in divine beings people in the previous years were curious to know if that person belonged to a certain church.  Today there might be not so much interest in talking about the spiritual. And when they encounter people more interested in spiritual matters we encounter a shift in questions.

Ryan Killough also noticed that and mentions in his blog:

Homo sapiens sapiens - Deliberate deformity of...

Homo sapiens sapiens – Deliberate deformity of the woman skull, “Toulouse deformity “. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The question I receive more frequently now is, “oh, what are you?” I always want to answer that question by saying: “I am a species of Homo sapiens from the kingdom of Animalia, pleased to meet you earthling” but it is clear what they mean. So instead I answer, “I am …” Wait, should I answer? I wonder if it’s worth it, because the second it is heard what, “I am” will the attitude and thought behind anyone reading this entire post now change? Not that this ever happens in politics, but why take the risk? There is nothing specifically wrong with the question, “what are you?” My concern is not the question itself, but the change in social norm causing the shift to this question. The question is often asked, not always to learn about someones relationship with Jesus, but to figure out what his or her beliefs are. That is the problem I am addressing. {Church/Denominations}

for him it seems to be a problem when people wonder what he believes. But is that not the first thing to come into a relationship with the person in whom you want to believe?

He should know that people are curious when they encounter somebody who dares to mention he believes in something. When it is Jesus or God that person believes in, he becomes a test person. Than that believer becomes the target to question to see if his beliefs are really well structured and sound. Most people do know that there are many churches and people with so many different believes but that they also often got against each other, even killing each other for their believes. For many the believes or connected with religion which was a ’cause’ (according to them) of many wars. they find it strange that those different churches often claim to be talking about the same God.
Ryan Killough also agrees and questions:

Even though we attend different denominations, we are all following the same God. We should be of the same mind and thought. So if God new all these religious sects would occur where differences and discord would take place, did He make a mistake with the idea of church? Absolutely not. {Church/Denominations}

The Seven Sacraments by Rogier van der Weyden, ca. 1448.

He finds Church is a necessity for teaching, admonishing, and worshipping but agrees that through weekly patterns in our forms of worship, we can deceive ourselves into believing in wrong philosophy.

Our church practices should not be our belief! We should not put tradition and spiritual rituals over what is right, good, and true. Traditions are for the purpose of acknowledging God and, again, are not to become our beliefs. Communion, baptism, confirmation, hand movements, church membership, fasting, or any other church sacraments will not give you salvation! They will not make you any more holy or deserving of Gods grace. These sacraments are simply to express our gratitude of God’s love for us, and allow us to become closer to Jesus in our personal relationship with Him. {Church/Denominations}

But it are just created sacraments and religious actions of those churches which are build on human traditions and not on biblical traditions of the Judean people of God. Many denominations created rules how to do things in the community which are not always totally Biblically funded. Through the years several theologians brought in different teachings and took followers or believers with them, often forming a new church-community  or worse, a new denomination.

Some might think the church does need its theologians to stay in existence, because without good doctrines, good theology, or wonderful expositions it would not be able to survive and be lost in the land of fables and cute stories. Without institutions, temples or churches there would be not much for religion to have a feeding ground. In Religion that church also needs life. In Christian religion this may be the resurrection life of Christ.

No doctrine, idea, theology, or exposition can replace the life of Christ. Only the life of Christ and that which issues from it will prevail against the gates of Hades.

writes Eric Adams in his writing on the British missionary in China, Margaret E. Barber. {My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics}

according to him

Heaven and God are far away, so we must find ways to ascend to heaven. Like the old African American spiritual says:

We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
Soldiers of the cross.

Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Soldiers of the cross.

But we may know that God is not far away. He is every moment of the day very close to the world, everywhere and knows every person his or her heart. In their life every person is somewhere else on the Jacob’s Ladder. He can either look down and be afraid or look up and be of full hope.

The Christian Flag displayed next to the pulpi...

What some call “The Christian Flag” displayed next to the pulpit on the chancel of a church sanctuary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many religious people do want to grab themselves by the bootstraps, and try to work their way into God’s good graces, not by grasping or lathing themselves to the Bible, but preferring to  cling to theologian writings. Some may seek for God internally through emotional or mystical experiences and become preoccupied with their own spirituality. To come into a spiritual life which also can become a religious life the person has to be able to hear God’s voice, and to be willing to come to understand God’s Will. When not willing to understand and than to follow the Will of God his faith would not be of much value. Children also often do know what they should do but do something different. That will bring them in problems. The same for adults who have an inborn ethical feeling, which they can ignore or follow. Maturity also informs most of us which influence our feelings may have on others and vice versa. When grown up the person knows how sustained feelings can ‘strangle’ a person and how he can become enslaved by preventing emotional growth to progress beyond the sense of pain having been precipitated, in some way, by whom or what is not liked or hated (i.e., another person, group or class of persons).

As such every person in the world, all created in the image of God can come to hear the call of righteousness and have the feeling of good and bad in them. The difference for the Christian religious person is that he or she should hear that Voice of God and offers himself or herself to follow that Voice more than any other voice. This makes Jesus so special. He could do what he wanted to do and could strike all honour for the things he seemed to be doing; But he never claimed that he could do those things on his own. He recognised he could not do anything without his Father, to whom he prayed to have things done. Jesus was in the world to have his Father to be known better. He also lifted up his eyes to heaven asking his Father to accept and glorify him the only begotten son, in order that he, Jesus the Son of God, may glorify the Only One God who had given Christ authority over all flesh. The religious person who wants to call himself Christian should be a follower of Christ, Jesus the Messiah from whom he or she can get eternal life.  But to be able to get that eternal life those persons should come to the understanding Who is who and should come to know the Only True God, who is the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and Jesus Christ, whom God had sent to the world.

Jesus never glorified himself, neither should we glorify ourselves. We should become like Christ, but by doing so we shall not become Christ himself like he did not become God himself. Jesus always had glorified his Father, the God of Abraham as the Only One True God. Jesus knew his lower position than the heavenly beings (angels), but also knew that God was the Most High and always should and shall be the Most High Elohim.  The son of Joseph and Miriam (Mary/Maria) from the tribe of King David only wanted to be the will of his Father and wanted to complete on earth the work that his Father, Allah the God of gods had given him to do.

It was this Nazarene man who has revealed God His name to the men whom God gave him out of the world. Jesus never claimed those to be his. He knew that those men who were willing to follow him, were given by his Father. They were God’s, and He have given them to Jesus, and they have kept God His Word.  Those disciples continued the work of Christ after he was killed and resurrected. By the sent Comforter, requested by Christ Jesus,  they lost their fear and went out into the world, understanding that all the things that God had given to their master teacher Jesus came not from their rabbi, but came from his Father, which they now also could call their Father, the Only One God, whose name Jehovah they knew already from Torah, but was now better known by the words and works of His son Jesus.

It was from that Nazarene man the disciples got their words. They received them and knew truly that Jesus had come from God, and they have believed that God had sent him. They never believed that it was God Who had come down onto earth, because they also remembered the voice, at the baptism of their master, Who told the people present that it was “His beloved son” who stood there and did not tell them that it was God who had come down to earth. They also had heard enough from this man to know his relationship with his Father, whom Christ considered to be the Only One true God, to whom Jesus prayed and asked them also to pray to.

” It came to pass when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized, and while he prayed the heaven was opened,  (22)  And the Holy Spirit descended on him, like a dove, and a voice from heaven, saying, You are my beloved Son, with whom I am pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 Lamsa NT)

Jesus had always asked  the things to happen on behalf of the people around him, but they also remembered Jesus telling them that he did not ask God on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom God had given him, because they are God His,  and all Jesus his things are His. They also remembered that Jesus was pleased that His Father had given His world into the hands of him, and that he could been glorified in them. Jesus became no longer in the world, and they were in the world, Jesus went up to his Father in heaven to sit at His right hand. Though Jesus left not his disciples, nor us, on their own. He asked God to keep them, and those who were willing to follow him, in God His name. Being under the Guidance of Christ and his Father all followers of Christ should become like Christ, becoming one the same way like Jesus and God were one. This would not make us to be Christ, like it also did not make Christ to be God. Otherwise we being one with Christ, Christ being one with God, in case Jesus was God we also would become God.  But that is impossible. Like Jesus was a man of flesh and blood, a material being we also are of flesh and blood material beings. Even when we try to become so spiritual that we overcome the material site of ourselves, we shall never be able to become as immaterial or spiritual beings as angels or as the eternal Spirit God.

Jesus has given us his word that he kept us in God’s name and told us all those things in the world so that we may have his joy completed in ourselves. Jesus does not live any more in this world, but we who are living in this world, are still submitted to the Laws of God but subject to the laws of the country were we live in. The world may hate us because we have chosen to follow Christ Jesus and to believe in the One God Who is One. Not believing in the worldly gods we also do not want to be of the world just as Jesus was and is not of the world.  Jesus did not ask his Father that He would take us out of the world, but that He would protect us from the evil of that world.

“But Jesus said to them, My Father works even until now, so I also work.  (18)  And for this the Jews wanted the more to kill him, not only because he was weakening the sabbath, but also because he said concerning God that he is his Father, and was making himself equal with God.  (19)  Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, that the Son can do nothing of his own accord, except what he sees the Father doing; for the things which the Father does, the same the Son does like him also.  (20)  For the Father loves his Son, and he shows him everything that he does; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may marvel.  (21)  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to those whom he will.” (John 5:17-21 Lamsa NT)

“Jesus spoke these things, and then he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, O my Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you.  (2)  Since you have given him power over all flesh, so that to all whom you have given him, he may give life eternal.  (3)  And this is life eternal, that they might know you, that you are the only true God, even the one who sent Jesus Christ.  (4)  I have already glorified you on the earth; for the work which you had given to me to do, I have finished it.  (5)  So now, O my Father, glorify me with you, with the same glory which I had with you before the world was made.  (6)  I have made your name known to the men whom you gave me out of the world; they were yours and you gave them to me; and they have kept thy word.  (7)  Now they know that whatever you have given me is from you.  (8)  For the words which you gave me I gave them; and they accepted them, and have known truly that I came forth from you, and they have believed that you sent me.  (9)  What I request is for them; I make no request for the world, but for those whom you have given to me; because they are yours.  (10)  And everything which is mine, is yours; and what is yours is mine; and I am glorified by them.  (11)  Hereafter I am not in the world, but these are in the world; and I am coming to you. O holy Father, protect them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are.  (12)  While I was with them in the world, I protected them in your name; those you gave me I protected, and not one of them is lost, except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.  (13)  Now I am coming to you; and these things I speak while I am in the world, that my joy may be complete in them.  (14)  I have given them your word; and the world hated them, because they were not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  (15)  What I request is not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should protect them from evil.” (John 17:1-15 Lamsa NT)

The religious and spiritual person in the Christian faith should come to the essence of Christ Jesus his teaching. Like Jesus was not of this world they also should try to cleanse themselves, have their spirit clear, proper for God and not being tempted by the material world, loving the traditions of the world. As such they should try to dispose themselves of those celebrations which are kept in the world, but have elements not in accordance with God His commandments.  We should strip our world from all the heathen or pagan elements. The world were we do want to live in should be removed from all those things which are mentioned in the Bible, the Word of God, as things which are not right.  By avoiding all the things God does not want the world might not like us, because they will notice that we do not want to be “of the world”, even as Jesus was and is not of the world.

In history when churches went astray from the teachings of God, religious people wanted to bring them back on the good track. Their teachings being in conflict with the general or traditional church, made that new denominations were formed. Many allowed legalism, the theological doctrine that salvation is gained through good works, to take a higher stand than God and wanted certain actions to be part of the service a religious person ought to do. Instead of giving more attention at our personal daily walk with Christ and with his Father, which is more important than the sacraments we can burden ourselves with, they brought limitation to what people could do or gave specific strict rules to what people could not do. Sacraments became used as a tool to enter heaven, instead of looking at those sacraments as a symbol of our gratitude toward Gods unfailing grace.

Those ‘renewing teachers’ their followers created new churches and considered that only those people could be saved and go to heaven who became a member of their congregation. They had forgotten that Christ Jesus saved everybody and is the cornerstone of the Church. It is not by belonging to a church a person will secure his position in a place called heaven or in the Kingdom of God. Instead of so many different churches which exclude the other churches, all followers of Christ should be united in that Body of Christ. Those teachers claiming people could only be saved by being a member of their church, also had forgotten that יהוה , YHWH and Love are Four-letter words which are inextricable bound up with the Body of Jesus Christ and his Father, Jehovah God. There were two or more people are gathered in the name of Christ, Jesus is present and there should be peace and Christian brotherhood. The church should offer a place for Christian community, in order strengthen the members their faith, for the purpose of coming closer to God and of spreading God’s Word (by preaching) to the world and worshipping God in everything they do.

Going into ourselves, the spirituality should bring the person in a pure state of mind, clear to receive the entrance to the Supreme Being and becoming one with Him. It should be the aim of the spiritual minded and of the religious person to clear his or her mind of all the unnatural things. The Christian person aiming to get such an open mind to Jesus his Father, like he had, being sanctified in God His Truth, knowing that only God His Word is Truth.  Coming to the knowledge that it was God Who had sent Jesus into the world, and that it was not God Who came down Himself, the religious person should recognise that it was that man Jesus who also sent him or her into the world to become sanctified in Truth.

Jesus did pray to his Father concerning those who will believe in the Messiah Jesus through their word, that all may be one, as God is in Christ that they also may be one in Jesus and in Jehovah God so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus.

Jesus did give his disciples the glory which Jehovah God had given him, that they may be one, as God and Jesus are One. The real Christian his or her main aim should be that oneness with God, like Christ Jesus was one in his apostles we also should become one in Christ like Jesus had unity with his Father, that we may be perfected in one; and that the world may know that it was Jehovah God Who sent Jesus and loved them, even as God loved Jesus.

The spiritual minded Christian should aim to come in such transcendent state that he reaches that goal to become like Christ united with his Father. The transcendence should bring the person wherever Jesus would be. His desire to be one of those whom Jehovah God has given Jesus, that where he is, they may be with him also, that they may behold his glory which God gave Jesus, because God loved Jesus already before the foundation of the world. Because God knows everything, He already knows us as well already from the beginning of the universe. We do not know anything from that period when everything came into being (because we did not exist yet, like Christ did not exist yet), but our spirit should be willing to be part of that foundation of the world, that does not want to know about their Creator, but Jesus knew God and made him known to the world. We also should now become part of that New Foundation, where Jesus as the second Adam opened the gates to the Kingdom of God.

“I with them and you with me, that they may become perfected in one; so that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them just as you loved me.  (24)  O Father, I wish that those whom you have given me, may also be with me where I am; so that they may see my glory which you have given me; for you have loved me before the foundation of the world.  (25)  O my righteous Father, the world did not know you, but I have known you; and these have known that you have sent me.  (26)  And I have made your name known to them, and I am still making it known; so that the love with which you loved me may be among them, and I be with them.” (John 17:23-26 Lamsa NT )

In the spiritual mood the person wants to become perfect like the Father of Jesus in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 )

“So he that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that he might fulfil all things.  (11)  And he has assigned some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some, pastors, and some, teachers;  (12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (13)  Until we all become one in faith, and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and become a perfect man according to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  (14)  That we henceforth be not as children easily stirred and carried away by every wind of false doctrines of men who through their craftiness are artful in deceiving the people;  (15)  But that we be sincere in our love, so that in everything we may progress through Christ, who is the head.  (16)  It is through him that the whole body is closely and firmly united at all joints, according to the measure of the gift which is given to every member, for the guidance and control of the body, in order to complete the edifying of the body in love.” (Ephesians 4:10-16 Lamsa NT)

The person getting into spirituality wants to become one with his full being and with nature. That nature is part of the universe God created. The spiritual person tries to go deeper than the material site of the world, coming into the mystic site. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, some pastors, and some teachers may help the person to find subject matter and to get him or her on the way to do good research. Those surrounding the person who wants to be religious and spiritual should provide the right spiritual food so that this person can come to unity with himself and with the Christian Church community, being a good working element and ‘being one’ in, and of, the Body of Christ.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

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Find also to read:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  3. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  4. Being prudent – zorgvuldig zijn
  5. Choices
  6. Choosing your attitudes
  7. Not the circumstances in which we are placed constitutes our comfort
  8. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  9. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  10. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  11. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  12. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  13. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  14. How us to behave
  15. Not liking your Christians
  16. Who are the honest ones?
  17. Greatest single cause of atheism
  18. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  19. How we think shows through in how we act
  20. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  21. People should know what you stand for
  22. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  23. Followers with deepening
  24. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  25. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  26. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  27. True riches
  28. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  29. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  30. Fixing our attention
  31. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  32. Faith
  33. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  34. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  35. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  36. Faith antithesis of rationality
  37. Faith is a pipeline
  38. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #2 Instructions and Laws
  39. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  40. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  41. Two states of existence before God
  42. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  43. Grace is Gods acting love
  44. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  45. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  46. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  47. Are Christians prepared to Rejoice in the Lord
  48. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  49. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  50. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  51. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  52. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  53. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  54. Trinitarian philosophy
  55. God of gods
  56. Only One God
  57. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  58. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  59. Happy who’s delight is only in the law of Jehovah
  60. Being one in Jesus, Jesus in us and God in Jesus
  61. Good or bad preacher
  62. Words to push and pull
  63. If you have integrity
  64. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  65. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  66. From pain to purpose
  67. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  68. Honour your own words as if they were an important contract
  69. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  70. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  71. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  72. Church sent into the world
  73. Communion and day of worship

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Additional reading:

  1. What is the difference between Philosophy and Spirituality
  2. Who is the Only “True God”? (John 17:3)
  3. If the Father is the “only true God” (John 17:3) , does that mean that Jesus is a false god?
  4. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  5. Church/Denominations

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2013 St. Patrick's Day Races: 5k Participants,...

Are you running the right race, having the right goals? – 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Races (Photo credit: ianhun2009)

  • Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisations. (cheapbestessaywriting.wordpress.com)
    While it is difficult to know precisely whether or not spiritual beliefs differ in relation to males and womanishs, it is evident that unearthly rule and participation does show relatively clear sexual urge differences. This is sure across all forms of religious organisation. Almost two-thirds of churchgoers are women. However, as with social factors worry class and age, it is clear that in that respect is no overall pattern of male / female religious attendance, since there are evident differences between denominations.
  • The Authority of the Catholic Church (zeal4thefaith.wordpress.com)
    I have heard the argument from Protestants that the Bible is the only authority. They do not believe that the Catholic Church has authority on earth at all. Well, the Bible says absolutely nothing about being the only authority.
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    Anglicans, Baptists, Born-again Christians, Brethren-in-Christ Churches, Calvary Churches, Episcopalians, Bible Fundamentalists, Non-denominational churches, Methodists, Presbyterians, start up churches too numerous to count and the list goes on and on. They all teach different theologies and they all have different pastors who went to different seminaries which teach different interpretations of Scripture. Which ‘church’ is correct? Which interpretation is correct?
  • Picking fights over religion and the separation of church and state (santamariatimes.com)
    “We have just enough religion to make us hate,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “but not enough to make us love one another.” A lifelong religious controversialist, the 18th-century Irish satirist definitely knew whereof he wrote. After all, it’s fewer than 20 years since Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland quit dynamiting each other’s gathering places.
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    Even here in the United States, it often seems that picking fights over religion increases during the Christmas season. If anything, claiming to be persecuted while expressing contempt for others’ beliefs appears on the rise.
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    Like Swift, Jefferson recognized the dangers of religious strife. That’s precisely why, he assured Connecticut Baptists in 1802, the First Amendment decreed “a wall of separation between church and State.”
  • Sunday Worship- Understanding and Teaching (eggflip.wordpress.com)
    Sunday Worship is a core practice of the followers of Christianity, but it’s meanings and it’s enactments represent a wide variety of different traditions and rituals loosely associated with different denominations of Christian Churches and sects that are associated the world religion of Christianity. As is precisely within the Roman Catholic Church, the Liturgical calendar is a key part of Sunday worship for Catholics, with liturgical cycles determining which scriptural passages are read out in sermons on each Sunday of the week. Anglican Churches and the Church of England are examples of other churches that retain their own liturgical calendar. Sunday worship is an important part of many different churches own liturgical calendars, and in part defines and how the Christian year is organized.
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    part of understanding the practice of Sunday worship as a religious commitment and a religious experience, and the impact it has on the followers of Christianity, or Catholicism
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    C Peck (2007) describes the Church’s rationale for Sunday worship “There are approximately two billion professing Christians on earth. They attend over 2,000 different church denominations and organizations in the United States alone. This number continually increases, bringing no end of confusion over beliefs and disagreement between them.
  • Spirit of Medjugorje Update: Patience (zenobiuszjuz.wordpress.com)
    a good Christian life cannot be pursued without a regular examination of conscience and a good grounding in the virtues…

    …virtues stem from the grace deposited in the ground of the soul by God..the root of all virtue is humility which is characterized by a patient and loving submission to authority…
  • Religulous Bastards (venitism.blogspot.com)
    In the Iran of the Mullahs, the Persian Gulf emirates and even in those countries where Orthodox Christian patriarchs still wield considerable influence, journalistsare branded as heretics as soon as they dare to describe the far-from-holy practices of the regime and its clergy. And if they dare to denounce the atrocities of an armed Islamist group in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nigeria, theyare gunned down as infidels even when they are Muslims.

    Although used for political ends, religion often carries real weight in societies where no boundary between the spiritual and secular is recognized. When an Omani publication quoted gays as saying they were better off in Oman than in neighbouring divine-right petro-monarchies, it was accused of promoting “moral depravity” and therefore “sacrilege.” Subjects such as the role of women, sexuality and reproduction – all markers of secularization – are surrounded by taboos.
  • Significance of followers of Islam beliefs (lovevisiblesim.wordpress.com)
    I met a man in my days with SAT-7 from Tunisia – an Anglican by denomination but a true follower of Jesus among the people of Islam – a friend to followers of Christ.He shared these thoughts –

    For one, it is a myth that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are unified in the embrace of classical Islam’s religious precepts.  On the contrary, man Muslim peoples have a poor understanding of what their religion is really all about.
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    But the followers of Islam are religious people and under the right conditions, open about sharing their beliefs.  The word of God, presented under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and watered by the intercessory prayers of God’s people, can do its work in their heart just as in the heart of any who seek truth.

    The follower of Christ’s responsibility is to share the same love and concern for the followers of Islam that God has, the truth as it is in Jesus Christ — the One who can make him free indeed.

  • When Do Christians Have Church Services (christianity.answers.com)
    Christianity is the most prominent religion in the United States, and most Christians regularly attend worship services. However, not all churches offer the same services on the same days. If you are interested in giving it a try, learn a little bit about when Christians hold their church services.
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    In most churches, holiday services revolve around the birth and death of Christ, or Christmas and Easter. On Christmas Eve, many churches hold traditional evening services that sometimes include candle light ceremonies and Christmas carols. Some churches also hold services on Christmas Day. The days leading up to Easter, including Palm Sunday and Good Friday, are usually celebrated with special services. Easter Sunday, of course, is celebrated by nearly every church with an upbeat service.
  • Spirituality and Your Health (evelynmmaxwell.com)
    Our spirituality and philosophy are the roots to our tree of life.  Whether or not our spiritual beliefs and philosophy of life provide us with psychological comfort and hope, rather than distress and discouragement, is very important.  Whether or not they provide us the wisdom and courage to act affects us for life as we branch out in our “decision tree” (a term used in the medical field for the decisions we make in relations to our perceptions of the situations, for example, if “this” is true, we do something for “this”; but if “this” is not true we do something different). And, the strengths and weaknesses of our spiritual lives contribute to our society’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Explaining Christmas to Children (joiedevivreheather.wordpress.com)

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pan...

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pantocrator; Istanbul, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the previous chapter we have seen that already in the time of the apostles there where teachers who took the focus on Christ Jesus, the Messiah his offering and our personal relationship to our own person, the people around us, Jesus and the Father of Jesus, the Only One God, away. By concentrating more on the institute of the church and putting dogmatic teachings as the obligatory string for the community, the self-development and the role of free choice became a minor point to the acceptance and following of the church doctrines and ceremonials.

By the years there were many influences of several theologians who at their turn looked at different philosophers. More interested in the retrieving of power, the real spiritual matters were often put aside or forgotten. Though in that world of many fraternities there were also people who were greatly respected and widely sought after masters who went out into the hills to escape the hustle and bustle of society. some took refuge in a shed in the countryside, others took up residence in a cave, far away from the clergy their institutions.

Several devout people wanted to escape the authoritarian church and did find Christ had liberated us instead of bringing new chains in to the world.

There are many spiritual traditions, each of which has its own unique language and concepts concerning the nature of the ultimate, the path that must be followed to experience the ultimate, how spiritual realizations are confirmed, the nature of spiritual enlightenment, and the implications of spiritual understanding for ordinary human life.

Lots of people spend their whole lives trying to become an idealized version of themselves that they want to be or of that what their church pictures them that they should become. Not having a found foundation, this causes many to  rebel against their natural chaotic states. Not finding enough background or trustworthy teaching they put endless amounts of energy into maintaining stability, and trying to mold their lives into an ordered state that they themselves find pleasing. In short, what we’re fighting against isn’t poverty, starvation, instability, unhappiness.  Mostly they are fighting against entropy; the tendency for ordered systems to degrade into a chaotic state. They may have lots of energy but can not centralise it, not able to pattern it or organise it they seem to be lost in their own world of chaotic thinking. They may receive lots of information from their church, magazines, but do not manage to channel it in accordance with what they can find in the Bible or other sacred books.

Most people are taking their life, their very essence, for granted as though it’s some permanent guarantee and all others have to fit to their life. Having to adapt to others seem too awkward.

It are always the others who cause pain and make our experiences so difficult.

do think many who are confronted with the feelings of inadequacy, loss of perspective.
They also consider others talking to them as a nuisance. Many do find it an infringement on the privacy when other question their sayings or their actions. Certainly today lots of people consider it their right to say whatever awful words or to insult others who dare to come too close to their own personality. Not many do want to hear the voices of others, and the least of institutions or of those who seem to represent institutions or organisations. Luckily there might be others who are hearing the voices of the people who question their actions, but some might loose than the essence of what it is they are trying to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Español: Ralph Waldo Emers...

Ralph Waldo Emerson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wondering what the self is doing demands the question what it would like to do and why it wants to do what. Whilst our society loves ego tripping the spiritual minded person just wants to strip himself or herself from his/her ego. Trying to get into the deeper self it should not be done from some sort of self passion or love for the ego, because then the person would turn round in circles staying in the dark. Like the American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wanted to find himself outside the traditional religion that had coursed throughout his family for generations, many today are also looking for the self and a place of the self out of the classical or traditional church. This at a time were other just want to strengthen the feeling of being part of a church which wants to hold to tradition and to the old values they remember from their grand grand parents. They forget that perhaps their ancestors just reacted against the corrupted society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties. Strangely enough are there people like Sarah Paling crying we should return to the values of the Pilgrims and the founders of the United States of America.  As a trinitarian either she overlooks or she does not want to see that it were just those people who fled the European ties of corrupted and false religion. Those who came to settle in the United States tried to find new grounds to start all over again, afresh and liberated from all religious chains, but grounded on the teachings of the book they read regularly. Today there are not many people who really take every day time to read some chapters from the Bible. Some politicians do want to restrict other people and get them to believe the same as they believe. Often they already think that everybody believes in the same god and the same values as they do. Several people want to have their religion to become the state religion — ultimately corrupting the purity of the individual, and that is want the peoeple who fled Europe had felt and would be afraid of finding such a repeating system. The ones who fled Europe had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. Today, again as in the time of the gnostics and the church of the 4th and 5th century those who do not want to comply with their believes are considered not to be Christians. Those conservative Christians posing their idea of Christianity onto others are also against the spiritual individu, because that person could be a danger for the group.

But the real spiritual person just wants to become closer to the self and wants to liberate himself or herself from the mass or group. The person looking for spirituality often wants to liberate himself from the person looking for a religion. The spiritual person believes to become at his best when he can be truly “self-reliant” and independent. For them it is also clear that it is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.

Sensations and perception not necessarily are the basic and most important form of true cognition. The ones who came into the New World had learned to struggle, to battle against all sorts of weather conditions, and got to walk on their own feet, working with their own hands but they also wanted now to speak their own minds.

“A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.” {1837 speech “The American Scholar}

Again there was a reaction against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. Again people wanted, like some would love to see it again today as well, a form of live where the emotions are again of value in a liberated and radicalised environment. A real spiritual person would love to encounter the inner emotions, because they can be considered as an authentic source of aesthetic experience. In romanticism there was placed such new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe and now with transcendentalism liberal thinkers, “agreeing in nothing but their liberality” {Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 5. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8} could find unity of willing persons to exchange ideas without having to give up their freedom to think differently than the majority, but recognising where in the differences there were/are also like-minded men and women.

Along with Andrews Norton, William Ellery Channing (April 7, 1780 – October 2, 1842) was the foremost Unitarian preacher in the United States in the early nineteenth century

Rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the scepticism of Hume, and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), the transcedentalists movement, intimately familiar with the English Romantics, might have been an American outgrowth of Romanticism. From Unitarianism the transcendentalists took a concern for self-culture, a sense of moral seriousness, a neo-Platonic concept of piety, a tendency toward individualism, a belief in the importance of literature, and an interest in moral reform. They looked to certain Unitarians as mentors, especially the great Boston preacher William Ellery Channing. Theology was in crisis during Channing’s prime. Almost from the beginning there were two warring parties in New England. The Calvinists believed in a jealous God, the depravity of mankind, and the absence of free will. The anti-Calvinists believed in a merciful God, the potential redemption of all mankind, and the existence of free will. As the 19th century proceeded, the fight between the parties sharpened. Channing, after much deliberation, sided with the anti-Calvinists. Channing’s religion and thought were among the chief influences on the New England Transcendentalists, though he never countenanced their views, which he saw as extreme. Transcendentalists came to reject key aspects of the Unitarian worldview, starting with their rational, historical Christian apologetic. Many prominent ministers, reformers, and writers of the 19th century were associated with it, including Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) who was considered the most thought-provoking American cultural leader of the mid-19th century. In Concord he met a prickly young Harvard graduate who became his disciple, friend, and occasional adversary, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). Among his close friends were Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), George Ripley, and Theodore Parker (1810–1860).  Margaret Fuller (1810–1850) and Orestes Brownson (1803–1876) also associated with him.

Emerson spoke out against materialism (the belief that material or physical things—not spiritual—are the most important), formal religion, and slavery. Emerson spoke of slavery in the context of the Fugitive Slave Law (1850), saying, in one of his rare bursts of obscenity (foul language), “I will not obey it, by God.”
He believed in a reality and a knowledge that rose above the everyday reality to which Americans were accustomed. He believed in the honesty of the person. He believed in a spiritual universe ruled by a spiritual Oversoul (the basis of all spiritual existence), with which each individual soul should try to connect.

A spiritual person should look for those values, trying to be honest to himself in the first place, choosing for those thing he really believes in because he does understands them; and not choosing for dogma’s because others accept them and by not accepting them he would not be able to be part of that group or community. Going to search in one self the person should also try to come over or to deal with human losses and failings. In such essays as “Compensation” and “Experience,” Emmerson tried to suggest how to deal with human losses and failings and in such pieces as “Self-reliance,” “Spiritual Laws,” “Nature,” “The Poet,” and “The Over-soul,” he explained the inborn goodness of man, the joys of nature and their spiritual significance, and a universal god (a god that exists everywhere and belongs to all).

English: A collage of photographs from K Stree...

A collage of photographs from K Street and Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary Schools in Fresno, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Various organizations and periodicals gave the Unitarian and transcendental movement shape. The earliest was the so-called “Transcendental Club” (1836–1840), an informal group that met to discuss intellectual and religious topics; also important was the “Saturday Club,” organized much later (1854). Many transcendentalists participated in the utopian communities of Brook Farm (1841–1848; located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts), founded by George Ripley (1802–1880) and his wife, Sophia Dana Ripley (1803–1861), and the short-lived Fruitlands (1843–1844; located in Harvard, Massachusetts), founded by Alcott. A number of transcendentalist ministers established experimental churches to give their religious ideas institutional form. The most important of these churches were three in Boston: Orestes Brownson’s Society for Christian Union and Progress (1836–1841); the Church of the Disciples (founded 1841), pastored by James Freeman Clarke (1810–1888); and Theodore Parker’s Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society (founded 1845–1846). The most famous transcendentalist magazine was the Dial (1840–1844), edited by Fuller and then by Emerson; other major periodicals associated with the movement included the Boston Quarterly Review (1838–1842), edited by Brownson, and the Massachusetts Quarterly Review (1847–1850), edited by Parker. {Dictionary of American History, 2003}

But also in Europe in the 21st century we still can see such a romantic movement going on, or should we perhaps say more an utopist movement like the one political or social reformer, visionary preacher and idealist Marcus Ampe is still dreaming of. He may not be influenced by Asian religions, but the thoughts and ideas he would love to realise are similar as in many of those and older traditions and religions, but very founded on the Torah, the Old and the New Testament, which he considers the most complete guide for the community. For him it is clear that without going into the inner-self, not being in the clear with the self, a person can not come into the clear with God. Those who have (moral)qualms or who did not yet have come to terms with themselves, loving themselves, shall not be able to love others and shall have it difficult to come in front of Christ, loving him and loving his Father, the only One God. Those who have not seen the light in themselves often want to find light in elements of nature and by doing so will create different gods. This can be clearly seen in the writings on many blogs about God and religion. To come to Biblical Truth, people should study the Bible, look at it from the way of thinking in the periods it was written and in the manner of speaking it was written.

The transcendentalists varied in their interpretations of the practical aims of will. Some among the group linked it with utopian social change; Brownson connected it with early socialism, while others considered it an exclusively individualist and idealist project. Emerson believed the latter. In his 1842 lecture “The Transcendentalist“, Emerson suggested that the goal of a purely transcendental outlook on life was impossible to attain in practice:

You will see by this sketch that there is no such thing as a transcendental party; that there is no pure transcendentalist; that we know of no one but prophets and heralds of such a philosophy; that all who by strong bias of nature have leaned to the spiritual side in doctrine, have stopped short of their goal. We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels’ food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. …Shall we say, then, that transcendentalism is the Saturnalia or excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish.

Many churches do not like to have their members to go to deep in their self and questioning the church or community, because this would be seen as a doubting the community and the church as institution. Many churches  or religions impede on the individual coming to individual spiritual development. Any form of religious dogma should be abolished and church should be able to trust on the choice God makes, because it is Him Who calls. The traditional church got afraid that ordinary people could get a simple belief in human moral, in godly and brotherly love and according to the clergy and theologians the common person would not be able to understand the Bible, but that would mean they say God did not make His Words clear for everybody, so He would have not have given everybody the same chance to be saved. God, Who is a God of order and clarity made His Word clear enough for those who are willing to read it and to think about it. In each individual is enough potential and intuitive capacity for discovering spiritual truth. Divinity or having a Godlike character or the state of being divine, lays in man, who is created in the image of God, and nature, and so true religion means seeking the divine in oneself and one’s surroundings. Inward experience was seen as the ultimate path to spiritual satisfaction, and thus the Transcendentalists cultivated a lifestyle that encouraged contemplation, communing with nature, continuing education, and creative expression. Many kept regular journals, which they considered invaluable tools in the process of self-examination.

The spiritual minded person should seek to cultivate the capacity to do good in themselves and others.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

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Please do read also:

  1. Only One God
  2. God of gods
  3. God is One
  4. Jesus spitting image of his father
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #8 Found Divinely Created not Incarnated
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  8. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  9. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  10. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  11. It is a free will choice
  12. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  13. Hellenistic influences
  14. The early days of Christianity: Politics and power first priority #1
  15. Politics and power first priority #2
  16. Foundation to go the distance
  17. Re-Creating Community
  18. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  19. The imaginational war against Christmas
  20. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  21. More-Letter-Words
  22. God doesn’t call the qualified
  23. Can we not do what Jesus did?

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Also interesting to read:

  1. The Hermit
  2. Post 4: Entropy pt. 1
  3. Post 5: Sacrifice
  4. Why I chose Emerson

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English: Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_1940_Issue-3c.jpg...

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1940 ssue-3c.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Rewriting History – The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers (homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com)
    Eidsmoe spoke warmly of early Americans who celebrated Christianity. The Constitutional Convention, he claimed, had mostly Christians in attendance and involved God in their work. He dismissed the deist Founding Fathers in attendance as “outliers”. He discussed the message of 18th century preacher George Whitfield, who did much to unite Americans under a common faith, he claimed.Eidsmoe also smiled upon Benjamin Franklin for praising Christian preaching and social endeavors, suggesting that the Founding Father appreciated Christianity. However, I found his portrait of Franklin to lack nuance. While Franklin did celebrate the Puritan virtues of his upbringing and respect preachers such as George Whitefield, he also referred to himself as a Deist in his 1771 autobiography, embraced Enlightenment ideas, endorsed religious pluralism, and spent time at a London Unitarian congregation.
  • Transcendentalism (womenshistory.answers.com)
    Transcendentalists made a distinction between true reason and a merely analytic understanding. They believed that subjective intuition was at least as reliable a source of truth as empirical investigation. They wanted to base their religion and philosophy on principles that were not related to the physical senses. Transcendentalists were familiar with the ideas of the English Romantics. The movement is sometimes described as a slightly later, American version of Romanticism.
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    What is transcendentalism?
  • “Unitarian Universalism” and “Unity” Churches – similarities and differences (ironicschmoozer.wordpress.com)
    Unitarian Universalism (UUism) has been more of an institution-based movement from the beginning, while Unity has been more of a message-based movement, with an extensive publishing outreach that touches people beyond its churches.  Of note is Unity’s “Daily Word” devotional booklet.
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    Both UUism and Unity affirm goodness in everyone and divine love for all.  Both have a diversity of concepts of the divine in their literature and in their congregations.  However, there are very few UUs who like terms like Father or Lord, and Unity is often comfortable with it.
    UUs include many self-describe Religious Humanists–who are atheists or agnostics and don’t respond to God language.  Most UUs, especially Humanists, disagree with the idea that there is a soul separate from the body.
  • 140/365: When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough (makethreesixtyfive.wordpress.com)
    I had chosen not to be confirmed as a junior high student, and my relationship with the church was tentative, though it provided me with such a network of safety, joy, and service.
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    Lillian explain what I have always known: that faith might be personal, but the community of faith is the most important, valuable part of the church. She writes, “Church is a school for sinners, not a club for saints.” In the end, my sin has always been in my faith, in my disbelief. With all things that you are supposed to “just know”, I have struggled: love, faith, life choices. But Lillian says, “I pitch my tent in the field of mystery, and have yet to nail it down,” which I think is a perfect analogy for the journey I’m on now, in all parts of my life, but particularly with spirituality.
  • Spiritual Fathers (krclynn.org)
    calling earthly men “spiritual fathers”.  I hear these words from the mouths of so many carelessly and I always flinch at the sound of it.  Are we to have mentors and people that we look up to in the church to point us to Christ?  Absolutely!  Do we need men and women of God to give us words of direction and minister to us when we face problems in different areas of our life?  Absolutely!  The problem is that the term “spiritual father” is not found in scripture nor is it supported.
    +
    Did we forget that Jesus is the head of the church and the chief apostle?  Did we forget that God qualified Jesus as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him – Hebrews 5:9.  Although there are more mature Christians than us and have more knowledge of scripture than we do, No Person has no more holiness than the average Christian and is not entitled to be called “these exaggerated names.”
  • Pop culture and spirituality without religion (christiantoday.com)
    Pop artists are fond of provocative religious imagery, but Ted Turnau says that should not be surprising for Christians and rather than getting offended, they should be looking for ways to come alongside today’s secularised pop stars to help them use such religious imagery appropriately.
  • Want to Argue About Creeds? I Don’t (theresauuco.wordpress.com)
    Unitarian Universalists are fond of saying that we believe in “deeds not creeds.”  Almost every Sunday I start the worship service by welcoming visitors telling them that we value diversity of all types. Our congregations include people who self-identify as Christians, Pagans,  Humanists, Agnostics, Jews, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Spiritualists, and pretty much everything else.  I say that what matters most is how we treat other people and how we care for this planet of ours.  That is another way of saying “deeds not creeds.” Our faith tradition has a long history of respect for the individual right of conscience.  Believe whatever makes sense to you about God and what happens after we die, but let’s see if we can get together and try to make our own lives and this world a better place.  We can discuss differing theological beliefs. I love hearing what others believe about the big issues, and I like to talk about my own, always evolving, sense of the universe and what this life of ours is all about.  Arguing is pointless, however, and generally serves to increase the distance between people rather than bring them closer together.
    +
    Unitarian Universalism is changing and we will keep changing; change is in our DNA.  We were formed from the merger of two Christian denominations, both of which date back to the 1700′s in this country.  That history is still part of us, but I don’t think many of our religious ancestors would necessarily recognize us today.  We brought in science and humanism, incorporated wisdom from other  world religions and from the earth centered traditions.  The Transcendentalist also had a huge impact. For those of us who believe in God, revelation is definitely not sealed.  For those of us who believe in the human spirit, change is simply part of life.
  • Is Yoga New Agey? (elephantjournal.com)

    Emerson, one of the foremost minds of 19th century America, was himself heavily influenced by Vedanta, the spiritual teachings of Hinduism, which originated in India. With regard to the concept of karma, for example, he wrote, “You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.”

    Ralph Waldo was a transcendentalist who read the Bhagavad Gita and considered himself a yogi. (Albeit his lineage was more jnana than hatha; more about knowledge and wisdom than breath and movement.)

    The “new” doesn’t refer to time but rather new as opposed to established Western societal beliefs. The “age” refers to the Aquarian Age (as in, ‘this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.’)

  • Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious? (drcindysimpson.com)
    “I’m spiritual but not religious.”  I hear and read this many times.  What does this phrase mean? For people who do research in the area of religion and spirituality, however, separating the two is very difficult, if not impossible.  For millennia the word religious had about the same meaning as the word spiritual.Today religion is popularly labeled as the doctrine and beliefs of a group.  Spirituality, on the other hand, is individualized and only concerns itself with the relationship of that person to the sacred or transcendent (Koenig, 2005, pp. 44-45). Yet current research finds that at least 74% of people do not make a distinction between religion and spirituality.  How then can we best define the relationship between the two?
  • Transcendentalism vs. Puritanism: The Enduring Relevance of Competing Ideologies in Modern American Society (theiridescentbubble.com)
    Transcendentalism and Puritanism share an enduring relativity embedded in modern American individualism. Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau espoused the tenants of a quasi-religion governed by individuality and nature while Puritans like Jonathan Edwards, though influenced by the academics of free thinking, knelt at the altar of altruism governed by an angry God. While we indeed have deep roots within Puritanism as a nation, we are equally influenced by the individualism that is Transcendentalism. In reflecting upon the condition of modern American society, it seems clear that the divisions that separate these two distinct ideologies, their seeds planted during the time of our foundation, still frame the divisions we face as a collective people today.
    +
    the exploration of the core tenants of Transcendentalism sheds the greatest light on that which differentiates it from its Puritan opposition.  It is a form of philosophical idealism that calls upon the individual to rise above the animalistic impulses in life, as well as the cultural restrictions imposed upon the individual.  In Transcendentalism, God is a life force found in everything which negates the necessity of churches or holy places.  God is found in both nature and human nature; he is a “light” in everyone.  As a rule, one must ruminate over and nourish the inner light to keep it alive and healthy.  Everyone is in possession of intuition or an inherent understanding of right and wrong but culture and society tend to corrupt the intuition.  To actualize the authority of our intuition, we must learn, think, and reflect.  Further, neither our past nor our future should limit the present.  We must live close to nature because it is our greatest teacher and our connection to God.  Individualism is that the very heart of Transcendentalism and self-empowerment is borne of the defiance of social conventions – even God is not the ultimate authority.  To the Transcendentalist, evil is not the opposite of good, it is simply the absence of good, but good is thought to be more powerful.  Finally, all things are encompassed and contained by the Oversoul, which has spiritual power.

The Third Word: Scripture twisting is blasphemy

Many people do take the Name of God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah in vain. Many also twist the Words of God, placing it in such a way it can fit their Trinitarian doctrine and denominational teachings.

We should carefully read that Word of God, given to us in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. To get to knowledge and to find the Truth we should dare to put away our previously learned denominational catechism or church teachings. Looking at the words black on white taking them for what they stand we shall see the light and find insight. Praying before reading the Bible shall help you to get the strength of the Most High to enlighten you by His Holy Spirit.

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Please do also find:

  1. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  2. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name – Jehovah Gods Naam
  3. Jehovah יהוה YHWH JHVH God Elohim Yahweh Jahweh
  4. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  5. About a man who changed history of humankind
  6. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  7. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  8. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  9. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  10. Impaled until death overtook him
  11. Apple of Gods eye
  12. Altered to fit a Trinity
  13. Bible Word from God
  14. Why believing the Bible
  15. Bible in a nutshell
  16. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  17. Bible teachings
  18. Getting to know the Truth
  19. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  20. Prophets making excuses
  21. Listening and Praying to the Father
  22. Faith antithesis of rationality
  23. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  24. Christ’s ethical teaching

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  • Conversations at the Mosque – Islam v Christianity (sianarulanantham.wordpress.com)
    My guide was a young lady called Faiza who had such a sweet humble nature, it was a pleasure to talk to her. She had a profound love of God and a desire to serve him and dedicate her life to him.  She was keen to share her faith and I mine.
  • Reading Scripture as non-Scripture (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    “By what right do you claim the Bible just for your church and exclude mine?” No one has yet posed this question in response to “Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity“; but it’s the question I would ask if I were a unitarian.
  • Purpose of Scripture (ebenezernohie.wordpress.com)
    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

    One of the major purposes of the word of God is for Instruction.

    Instruction in this sense refers to Training That Grooms A Person. This is education that helps a person acquire basic knowledge needed for his personal growth and development and in extension the development of the society.

  • God & Logic (believerinchrist0.wordpress.com)
    Logic is essential to everything we do, including our reading of the Bible.  If the Bible is not revealed through logical propositions, then the Bible is meaningless metaphors and fairy tales that have no point of contact with any kind of knowledge whatsoever.
    +
    The starting point for all knowledge for the Christian worldview is the beginning axiom that Scripture is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • The Scripture Cannot Be Broken (ourfathershavetoldus.wordpress.com)
    Skeptics may pose certain difficulties in the Bible, evolutionists may ridicule its account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, but the Scripture cannot be broken!
    +
    many modern “Christian” intellectuals and cultists are following in the example of the Pharisees, rather than that of Christ, “wresting” the Scriptures for their gain but “unto their own destruction” (II Peter 3:16). God has spoken plainly in His Word. It is our responsibility to believe and do what He says.
  • The Wonderful Word of God (himafrica.com)
    Believers must have the Word of God and be growing in the Word of God to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
    +
    I must not take liberties with God’s Word of Truth.  Charles Spurgeon said, “You don’t have to defend or correct a line of Scripture; it is like a lion—just let him out of the cage and he will take care of himself!”
  • Inspirational week 44 2013 – The Word so strong and powerful (alexdekkers.wordpress.com)
    we see how Jesus uses His knowlegde of Gods word (Bible) to be able to see through the lies of the devil and use the Word to defeat the devil. How wonderful is God that He gives us everything we need through the Bible to grow as Christians and being able to defeat the devil.
  • The Word Comes to Life (chrissponaugle.wordpress.com)
    I would think of scripture memory as another item on the checklist to prove to God who was really holy. Scripture memory was a burden to me, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Until recently.
    +
    Over the past few years I have spent time in the morning reading the Bible and meeting with God; however, during this period I simply could not settle down and focus, so I decided to try to memorize scripture instead. Honestly, it took awhile for any real results to show. I would memorize a couple verses a day in the morning, and then spend the rest of the day reciting them in my mind to make sure I didn’t forget them.
    +
    I was memorizing scripture and meditating on it little by little. Then it was like someone dumped gasoline on the fire and it exploded!

Reformation500

The Third Commandment:  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” 

The Westminster Larger Catechism gives a biblical exposition of the sins forbidden in the Third Commandment.  Let’s consider one of the phrases found in answer 113:  “The sins forbidden… are …misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it…”

To mishandle the Word of God is to take the Name of God in vain.  God’s Name is one part of His self-disclosure in His Word.  God reveals Himself, He reveals His Name, by His Word. To misinterpret, misapply, or pervert His Word is blasphemy.

Consider what the apostle Peter says about the writings of the apostle Paul.  In 2 Peter, chapter 3, Peter speaks God’s Word about the second coming of Christ, and the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness.  In light of Christ’s return and the…

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Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity

Coming to an end

Christianity, as most people living in the industrialised countries have known it, is according to some in its final death throes. We can not deny that almost all denominations in those countries where most people do love the money, have witnessed dramatic reductions not only in church attendance but also in membership numbers and fewer converts are entering the faith than at any time in its history.

According a Greensboro, North Carolina native in an ever-changing and progressively postmodern world it is becoming increasingly difficult for western Christians to engage the wider culture in a meaningful way.  He writes:

Much of this dilemma can be attributed to the plurality of denominations and traditions indebted to the old and dying Christendom system which had dominated western society for centuries.  As Christendom has withered, Christianity has increasingly been pushed into the margins civilization.  We are entering the age of post-Christendom.  Although the coming era is replete with uncertainty it is also abundant in opportunity.

Danger for the grip of the Roman Church

Through the ages several organisations tried to get more people in their grip. The Roman Catholic Church in the early centuries of this common era succeeded to have her organisation grow enormously, though the way how they did it was not always very lovingly or like their ‘example’ Jesus would have done. For a long time the church tried to control and dominate the world and even took care that people would not be able to study the Holy Scriptures themselves.

The renaissance put fire in the spirits of the people who got so much hunger for knowledge they where willing to look everywhere and were willing to discuss many things with each other, prepared to feed each-other freely. The why and how was something man intrigued from the beginning, but by the possibility to get ideas of other on printed material it became much easier to look into the needs and possibilities of the own spiritual life. They also found out, to the dislike of the church, that Bible study was the best tool to enrich the spirit or soul.

Bischof Ulfilas erklärt den Goten das Evangelium.jpg

Ulfilas, or Gothic Wulfila: little wolf (also Ulphilas. Orphila) explaining the Gospels to the Goths in the 4th century CE.

 

As Christianity spread to the borders of the Roman empire, translations had been made, like in the third century Armenia where the first official Christian nation set a pole in the ground, having  Mesrop, Bishop of Armenia (390-439), creating an Armenian alphabet so the Bible could be translated into the language of his people.
Ulfilas who spoke Greek and Latin as well as Gothic and devised the Gothic alphabet, became an able missionary to the barbarian tribes and offered his his translation in Germanic language of the fourth century. Ulfilas organized the Gothic church and was its spiritual head for forty years. At this time the Goths had no written language, so Ulfilas devised an alphabet so he could begin to translate the Bible for them.

The Cyrillic alphabet, developed by two brothers who were missionaries to the Slavic people in the ninth century could bring a further advancement in Bible reading. Cyril and Methodius continue to be highly revered among the Slavic peoples today, not only for bringing Christianity to the people, but for creating the literary language of the Slavs.

Call to read the Bible

At the European continent even the educated, however, rarely saw an entire Bible. Bibles were very rare, large, expensive, and usually in 2-3 volumes. Sometimes the wealthy would have translations of the Psalms or the Gospels. During the crusades the books of Kings (the Sepher M’lakhim), with its history of warfare and fighting, became popular, and crusaders sometimes had personal copies of these sections of the Old Testament.

The Catholic church did not mind that many people could not read and that their teachings were brought to the general public in many imaginative ways like interpreting the religious books through mystery plays performed at festivals or the carvings and stained glass windows of cathedrals or in church music and great art.

In Flanders, France and Germany lived stubborn people eager to get to know things, but also finding that they should bring the message of Jesus to as much people as possible. Peter Waldo and his followers, called the Waldensians were among the first to demand Bible study by the common people. Heaving those sacred words spread under common people was not to the liking of the hierarchic clergy. The church authorities feared that the Bible in the hands of the uneducated would only produce heretical departures from official church doctrine. For sure they were aware that people also would find out where the teachings of their church would not coincide with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

Light in the Dark days for those wanting to hear God’s Word

Having translations of the Scripture was often banned by the church, and many were punished for having a Bible in their own language. These were dark days! As the Hebrew prophet said, there had come a famine for hearing the words of the Most High Master Creator God.

“See, days are coming,” declares the Master יהוה {Jehovah}, “that I shall send a hunger in the land, not a hunger for bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the Words of יהוה. (Amos 8:11 The Scriptures 1998+)

Though God took care that darkness could not stay in the land of those who wanted to know.  After a thousand years of medieval darkness the Word of God could return with help of the magnificent printing press with movable type Johannes Gutenberg had invented. This greatly increased the speed of printing books. But because such an easy spreading of the Word of God looked like a sword going around in the wild for the Catholic Church. The illumination of the Word of God changed the hearts and minds and the motivations of the people who heard.

Disparities unmasked

Roman Forum and surroundings

Roman Forum and surroundings (Photo credit: KayYen)

By having the opportunity to see the Words of God black on white made that more people became appalled to see the obvious disparities between what they saw in the Bible and what was being practised by the Church of Rome. The selling of indulgences by the church, supposedly securing the release of loved ones from Purgatory, was the last straw for Luther. Protesting this outrage, and numerous other grievances he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral. This sparked off a religious conflagration with the Roman Church in Germany. With Duke Ferdinand of Saxony and other German princes coming to his aid Luther avoided being taken into custody by the Roman church where he most certainly would have been burned as a heretic. Indeed, during the previous century in 1415 this had happened to a faithful priest in Bohemia, John Hus. Luther’s stand at the German city of Worms was historic. It was a defining moment for the church. And it led western Christendom into the Reformation. That re-thinking of what was to be concluded from the reading of the Bible made that many different ideas brought people in different camps, making their own churches.

Central Europe was to become a battlefield of ideas and so called religious people all fighting in the name of God.From the scriptures the Bible-searchers or Bible-students had come to believe that Jesus was the one to follow and not so much the Church which called it self the Universal Catholic Church. For many believers in the Word of God, Christianity was a matter of personal faith, not national or church sponsored citizenship. Nor was it about which church or cathedral they belonged to. For them it was also clear that they did not need such a huge construction as church building to worship God. Many eyes were opened by reading the Bible. As such they became to see that believe and faith was all about a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and a personal faith walked out with him daily. Some of them were also convinced that a faith in Christ Jesus had to be fulfilled in following Jesus his teachings and following the examples the apostles gave in the early centuries after Christ.

Evangelical movement

With the possibility of having a cheaper and easier reproduction than the work of the scribes the Scriptures could reach the common man which had an enormous impact on European and English history. The Reformation led to the evangelical movement. Unfortunately its politicization led to a great tragedy. The awful 30 Years War wrecked Germany. It was left in such a ruined state that it would not recover for 200 years out of which the Anabaptist movement came which could be called the ”bakermat’ or cradle of the many Biblestudentgroups or Bible Student movement like the non-trinitarian Baptists, Millennialist Restorationist Christians, Brethren, Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians, Thomasites, International Biblestudents, Russellites, Associated Bible Students, or Independent Bible Students, Dawn Bible Students, Jehovah’s witnesses and others. Many of those denominations still existing today payng their taxes to the governing powers but not willing to take oaths of allegiance with the political or ecclesiastical princes, whoever they might be. In following the Master teacher Christ they also would not take up arms with or against any army coming into their valleys, whether they were Protestant, Catholic, Muslim or pagan.

For their stand in the peace of Jesus Christ they were bitterly persecuted from both sides. Millions of Anabaptists and other non-trinitarians, being called sacrilegious, irreverent, profane, blasphemous, wicked, sinful, unholy, iconoclastic, ungodly, impiousheretics, died at the hands of Catholic and Protestant powers alike. In Vilvoorde, in Flemish Brabant, near Brussels (the present capital of the European Union) thousands found their life ended by so called Christians because they only wanted to adhere to One and Only One God, following the teachings of Jesus Christ. They continued to die for over 200 years. This story has not been told. It has been cut out of the history books. From these determined Christian separatists came the peace loving Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites along with the Brethren and some primitive Baptists of the free church tradition. They remember this history. Most Christians don’t.

More important to follow the Words of the Bible

These people who found it more important to follow the Holy Scriptures instead of organisations and rejected the sword, were still full of Christian zeal. But they had given up on a church that had corrupted itself by going to bed with the state. They would prefer to go to their secret Christian meetings, even if they were under the constant threat of being arrested. If an Anabaptist met another on the pathway they would challenge him with the scripture,

“You cannot serve two masters”.

If the other man was an Anabaptist he would smile and reply,

“You cannot serve God and mammon”.

The Anabaptists resolved to keep their little church pure in devotion to Christ. They were weary of seeing the hideous mixture of the cross and the sword played out before their eyes year after weary year. The sword had been stained with Christian blood. To their mind it had become a despised and shameful thing. It no longer had the sacred power of chivalry it once held over them. They had seen its dark side. It had come to the point where they were going to turn their back on politics and make the peaceful preaching of the Gospel their prime concern come what may. At this time the first missionary outreaches were organized. The Mennonites, the Baptists, the Brethren and many other Christian groups began to send out missionaries beyond European shores. A new era in Christian missions had begun.{The Puritans, by Gavin Finley}

Into the waters

Those who set out sailing aboard the Mayflower during the fall of 1620 and the later pioneers who build up the ‘New World’ we know today as the United States of America, had got enough time crossing the ocean to discuss with others the Bible and faith-matters and believed in the Judeo-Christian values.

Today the descendants are now in the driver’s seat of global power and played a vital role, which could be in danger now by China becoming bigger. But those progenies of searchers for the truth who were also called to bring God’s grace and God’s shalom into this world became also blinded by denominational dogmas and by the fun of the world. In the country where evangelicals became the majority those Christians took more and more the same dogmatic teachings as the earlier Roman Catholic Church and started using the Word of God less and less in their church services. Several even only use just some phrases in their shouting in front of mega churches, performing a show, hoping to catch as many spectators  and as much money as possible.

A 15th-century Mass

As the years went by, those studying the Holy Scriptures grew smaller and the ones claiming to be evangelist went less out to preach to others, preferring only to go to a Sunday service or mass when they wanted to make time for it or on special days, more connected to holdays which took on many heathen elements, like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, All-Saints a.o.. They also started to react fierce and went with violence against those who prefer to humbly keep to the Word of God. Those who witnessed on the streets where laughed at, and many jokes were told about those who came to witness at the door. The spreading of the Word of God from door to door dropped off. With it non-trinitarians their urge to attract others to their teachings diminished, except for the Jehovah Witnesses which strongly continued their assignment to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom.

Global responsibility to preach in biting climate

Lots of people forgot that the Christian Gospel is destined to be preached to all nations. (Matthew28:18-20) Most of them are satisfied with their church visit now and then and not having to be bothered by reading the Bible daily or having to discuss Biblical writings. At first those Bible students in the 19th century got people interested in God and made that churches grew. The age was host to a variety of religious and philosophical thinkers. with a.o. Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young, founders of Mormonism, and Ellen White religious author and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The new media in the 20th century made those churches grow even more, but by the amount of entertainment increasing the amount of serious churchgoers decreased.

Gavin Finley MD of Endtime Pilgrim organisation writes:

Christians are having trouble remembering their global responsibilities both politically and spiritually. This is truly unfortunate. Because it happens to be the gateway into their destiny.

A spirit of acquisitive materialism has grasped many Americans by the heart. Even Christians are being led away from the Highway of holiness. Their church ministers are even helping them to set up their own, often narcissistic, ‘purpose driven life’. They are scarcely aware that epic global events are even now beginning to unfold before their eyes. Great dramas of biblical proportions lie up ahead. And these coming events will certainly affect them!

Many people liked first of all to find a religion which could suit as many people as possible. Jesuit theologian Father Jacques Dupuis, at the 2003 interfaith congress “The Future of God” said:

“The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all … In the end, it is hoped that the Christian will become a better Christian and each Hindu a better Hindu.”

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul are convinced that:

“The Christ has no religious barriers in His consciousness. It matters not to Him of what faith a man may call himself.”

“He [‘the Christ’] inaugurated the new era and … the new world religion began to take form. The word ‘religion’ concerns relationship …”

“The day is dawning when all religions win [sic] be regarded as emanating from one great spiritual source; all will be seen as unitedly providing the one root out of which the universal world religion will inevitably emerge. Then there will be neither Christian nor heathen, neither Jew nor Gentile, but simply one great body of believers, gathered out of all the current religions.”

No wonder by such thinking that the religious people who love traditions are eager to take on new festivals and funny things which can brighten up their lives, but bring them further from the truth and the Will of God. Many coming up for their own modernised denomination are often not aware that they could be offending the God of Israel as they journey on.

Rick Warren may said:

“I could take you today to a million villages … they got a church. Or they got a synagogue. They got something. They got a house of worship. The church is the biggest organization in the world…. And I came up with a thing called the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. When Jesus sent the disciples out, he said, ‘When you go into a village, you find the man of peace.’ Now this person doesn’t have to be a Christian…. You find the person of peace, and then you begin to do the P.E.A.C.E. Plan … Now why am I telling this to you? Because we’re going public with it this next year in 2006…. And I believe it will change the world.”

but the Church of God is totally something different than the church of men. For us it should be the most important priority to belong to the Church of God and not to the favoured church of men. It is high time to react to the changing times while living faithfully, communally, and missionally in a world that grows increasingly indifferent and even hostile towards what Christianity should be.

In his book The Naked Anabaptist, Stuart Murray offers seven core convictions of “stripped down” Anabaptism.  Not exhaustive nor entirely unique to Anabaptism they could provide a helpful focus for understanding what the Anabaptist tradition offers to the wider Church.

The one to follow

Our example, teacher, friend, redeemer Jesus Christ, the focal point of God’s revelation, should be the one who as Christians should follow. We should remember what God said about this Nazarene Jew and what this young man said about his heavenly Father, his relationship with the Most High and with others.  We are committed to a Jesus-centered approach to the Bible, and to the community of faith as the primary context in which we read the Bible and discern and apply its implications for discipleship.

Western culture slowly emerging from the Christendom era

In Forks in the Narrow Road is said that Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era, when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. But that is a typical American point of view, because there are stronger religions in the East where more unity in the group can be found than by Christians.

Whatever its positive contributions on values and institutions, Christendom seriously distorted the gospel, marginalized Jesus, and has left the churches ill equipped for mission in a post-Christendom culture.  As we reflect on this, we are committed to learning from the experience and perspectives of movements such as Anabaptism that rejected standard Christendom assumptions and pursued alternative ways of thinking and behaving.

Consumerism and peace

Today people want to have a higher place than somebody else in the community. Consumerism rules the world. The rule of division and dominion hold sway in this world of heartburning, where jealousy is encouraged. People cheer when somebody can come in the picture with something special and many idols are worshipped like gods. Some churches in the United States even say it is a gift of God to receive higher positions in life and to get more money, when people will give enough tithing or many offerings in their church. Status, wealth, and force are put in the picture and framed as only possible when people take care much of their church and are willing to give enough to their pastor or minister. Such frequent association of the church with status, wealth, and force is inappropriate for followers of Jesus and damages our witness.  We are committed to exploring ways of being good news to the poor, powerless, and persecuted, aware that such discipleship may attract opposition, resulting in suffering and sometimes ultimately martyrdom. Americans nor others simply cannot ignore the call here. They cannot sit around and do nothing while the world descends into nuclear anarchy and destruction. They must do what they can to further the cause of peace and security in the world. They can support their country by showing their Christian attitude and getting people to understand the Word of God, supporting Gospel and humanitarian missions overseas as well.

Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability, and multivoiced worship.  As we eat together, sharing bread and wine, we sustain hope as we seek God’s kingdom together.  We are committed to nurturing and developing such churches, in which young and old are valued, leadership is consultative, roles are related to gifts rather than gender, and baptism is for believers.

This adult baptism is an important sign for the people around us. It may not be the end-mark, like it is for many contemporary believers, but should be a beginning on the road to the Kingdom of God. It should also be a mark of being “under God”, confirming one is willing to give himself totally to the Divine Creator. Following Christ and wanting to become like him, also being “under Christ” one is charged with bringing God’s just peace upon earth. This may not always be possible in the midst of a raging of nations against Israel and against the coming Messiah. But where it is not possible to bring a political peace then Christians have another arena in which to work. In the Spirit of grace the Gospel outreach in the local areas and overseas missions brings peace to individual hearts one soul at a time. And the coming Kingdom of Messiah will bring the “peace on earth” that men of good will have always longed for.

Peace is at the heart of the gospel.  As followers of Jesus in a divided and violent world, we are committed to finding nonviolent alternatives and to learning how to make peace between individuals, within and among churches, in society, and between nations.

With the idea of non-violence, sharing the love of Christ and the love of God, those loving the Word of God should show their love for that Word and their admiration for Christ and his Father to the world. Graciously, God will be prepared to come closer to those who love Him and will be willing to give them helpful tools for finding their way. Many may have no idea where they are going and may perhaps not see the road ahead of them. Nobody can know for certain where it will end, except that we may be sure that one day Christ Jesus will come back to this earth to judge the living and the dead, and then it will be too late to change of course. It is now and today that we have to stay on tangent and work on our spiritual life.

The course to steer

Lots of people are following their denomination without looking deep in their heart and into the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. They may think they are following God’s Will, but do not really check it with the Guide God has given the world. Some may know that they perhaps do not follow or live according the Will and the commandments of God. They may wonder if the believe that the desire to please him or Him does in fact pleases God the Father. Real Christians should hope that they will never do anything against the commandments of Christ and nothing against the commandments of God.

Dixie Building

Dixie Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, it appears that many American Christians are unaware of their sacred calling. Lots of them shout high with their so called Judean Christian values, but they do not see they went far away of those rules and values themselves. Many are drifting off into forgetfulness. They are not interested in America’s peace role in the world. And they are also ignoring the call of the Great Commission. The Gospel is not supposed to stay just in Main Street, USA. American evangelicals have a responsibility to take the Good News into all the world. The Christian Church is a global company. In fact it went global on the day it began 2,000 years ago. It went global on the Day of Pentecost.

Since that day when the apostles became gifted with the Spirit, and could much more than they ever thought they could accomplish, by the Power of God. But already in their time the people wanting to follow Christ also wanted to follow their own ideas, and false teachings soon crept in. By the years we found that a group wanted to exclude themselves from the other followers of the Way, by declaring themselves the only one true Universal Catholic Church. It took many centuries before Protestants came in the picture to, in their turn, also make many divisions and subdivisions, creating many churches or countless denominations torn asunder by harsh wars of words and weapons.  The religious world could find in that Christian world many groups and individuals claiming exclusive access to the “truth.”

It’s a reality that is not only saddening and confusing but scary.  Terrifying questions creep into the mind.

“How can I be sure I am actually following the truth?  What if they’re right and I’m wrong?  Am I believing a lie?  Am I some kind of heretic?  Am I going to hell?  Is my faith real if I have doubts?  Who is God really? “

We would advice you to have a look at the only place which can bring full answers. But to see the right answer you should have to be strong enough to put all the things you have previously learned aside. It is a matter of daring to put away dogmatic teachings, by that we mean, not returning to come back to those things they told you just to believe because we can not understand it, for example the immaculate conception, the pre-existence of Christ, the godhead of Christ, the Trinity and some other human church teachings. By daring to tackle the Word like the scribes and Bible-translators made it accessible for us to read it in our own language or in a language we can understand, to take it like it is written black on white, taking the words for what they mean, we shall be able to find the Truth.

A Book available for everyone to get insight

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Going through the Holy Scriptures from beginning to end may bring you in a terrifying state to be in, suddenly having your eyes opened and seeing where your denomination might have gone wrong.

This is especially true if the deep seeded roots of the faith you grew up with are the ones you begin to question.  It’s stressful, painful, and extremely difficult.  It feels as if you’re toeing the edge of the narrow road peering off a cliff of uncertainty.  But there’s good news.  You’re still on the narrow road.  In 1st Peter we read, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith.”  Trials of the mind and spirit are just as real as trials of the body.

knows also a North Carolina native that grew up in a family of school teachers and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Teaching at Kennesaw State University.

He may have a B.A. in Biblical Studies and can be (should be) proud of it, but people should know that God does not want everybody going to a Biblical college to understand God His Word. He provided enough words to get insight in Who God is and what He wants from us. We do not need a special university course to get to know God. We also should not follow blindly those who have a theology degree. People have too much trusted those educated people who went on to study more the philosophy than the Word of God.

By following the more popular but wrong ideas the church has gone astray and made people confused so much that they started loosing interest and by seeing what all those preachers said and did, they also lost trust in them and left church.

Current travail of the institutional Church may also bring a positive note

Many view this as a negative trend and in some respects perhaps it is. On the other hand, we firmly believe that something highly positive and creative can be birthed out of the current travail of the institutional Church.

Robin Meyer speaks clearly regarding the current situation of the church and its seeming inability or unwillingness to feed those very people who are so spiritually hungry.

There is a deep hunger for wisdom in our time, but the church offers up little more than sugary nostalgia with a dash of fear. There is a yearning for redemption, healing, and wholeness that is palpable, a shift in human consciousness that is widely recognized – except, it seems, in most churches.

Mick Turner in The Death of Sunday Christianity writes:

Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines.
Consider this: there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do. It is a behavioral manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe!

Doctrine can do no more than guide our thoughts in one direction or another. It has no transformative power of its own, however. Today’s church is by and large an impotent institution and the sooner we get our minds around that salient fact the better. Only when we confront the reality of the situation the postmodern church finds itself in can we begin to make plans for any kind of effective, beneficial, transformational, and lasting change. Until we come to grips with the enormity of our problems, we are only whistling in the wind.

Therefore let us put away all doctrine and go to the main source, the Book of books, the Word of God which is handed over by the many men of God, prophets, kings of Israel, apostles and scribes.

Mick Turner continues:

Over the course of the centuries since Christ walked the earth, we have gone about domesticating Jesus and his mission. In the process of doing so, we have lost something very important – in fact, the very source of the church’s life. By taming Jesus and toning down the revolutionary character of what he is calling for, we have lost contact with the vine. And the Master told us quite clearly what happens when such a thing occurs. Branches die when they are severed from the vine.

Many may have settled for a weak-kneed, timid imposter of a church.

At the heart of the church is a fabrication, a weak-kneed imposter of a Saviour that is a far cry from the revolutionary firebrand that set his world ablaze 2,000 years ago. Instead of the radical, world-changing Jesus, we have settled for a much safer version – a version that, in the words of Brian McLaren, is a:

…..popular and domesticated Jesus, who has become little more than a chrome-plated hood ornament on the guzzling Hummer of Western civilization…

When in much of the church today, the metaphors speak of individual salvation and the specific promises that accompany it and do not give attention to the discipleship as transformation through an alternative community and reversal of conventional wisdom, it is no wonder people do not feel the urge to belong to a group of believers any more. Nor reason of brotherhood is given any more. the whole world is focussed on individuality and personal richness, not of spiritual wealth but material wealth. The first followers of Jesus trusted Jesus enough to become instruments of radical change and where even prepared to leave worldly goods behind to go out into the world and to preach the Word of God.

Today, worshippers of Christ agree to believe things about him in order to receive the benefits promised by the institution, not by Jesus….

Robin Meyers says:

Christianity as a belief system requires nothing but acquiescence. Christianity as a way of life, as a path to follow, requires a second birth, the conquest of ego, and new eyes with which to see the world.

According to some the church as we have known it, both in terms of actual numbers and cultural impact, is dead. It would be nice to see that the era of “Christendom” is over and that the world of “Christianity” may blossom again. Old forms of a tradition should be removed so that room can be given for something new and refreshing to be created or better to be recreated. Perhaps we may face a new reform of the Reformation movement. The sooner we come to grips with this reality, the sooner we can get on with the business of birthing its successor.

Frost, an Australian Christian writer and professor, sounds a more positive tone when he says:

….there are other voices that express real hope – not in the reconstitution of Christendom, but in the idea that the end of this epoch actually spells the beginning of a new flowering of Christianity. The death of Christendom removes the final props that have supported the culturally respectable, mainstream, suburban version of Christianity. This is a Christianity expressed by the “Sunday Christian” phenomenon wherein church attendance has very little effect on the lifestyles or values or priorities expressed from Monday to Saturday. This version of Christianity is a façade, a method for practitioners to appear like fine, upstanding citizens without allowing the claims and teachings of Jesus to bite very hard in everyday life. With the death of Christendom the game is up. There’s less and less reason for such upstanding citizens to join with the Christian community for the sake of respectability or acceptance. The church in fewer and fewer situations represents the best vehicle for public service or citizenship, leaving only the faithful behind to rediscover the Christian experience as it was intended: a radical, subversive, compassionate community of followers of Jesus.

Real Christianity is one that should go deep into the bones. It is a believe which forms the character and show others that its faith is alive, kicking and working, because a faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)

Finding a path to meet other believers in Christ

We can only hope that those who flee the traditional churches and might be disillusioned with Christianity and the church would find ways not to loose their interest in the Word of God. We express our hope that they shall not be disillusioned about God or about Jesus, or at least would like to see that they can come on the path of not letting Christendom and church put false ideas about God in front of them.

We should set ourselves apart from the traditional world and keep firm in our faith in only One God. Refused to participate in pagan ceremonies we may look strange and even be dubbed as atheists. Though it is much better not to fear human beings but to fear God and to keep to His Commandments. When we have to abstain from much of the community life — the pagan festivals, the public amusements which to Christians were shot through and through with pagan beliefs, practices, and immoralities — we may be derided as haters of the human race. But at the end of times, we do know, all be judged according to their deeds. By Christ all in the world can be saved, but to be able to go through the small gate and to enter the Kingdom of God,each individual shall have to proof he or she is worthy to enter that Kingdom of God where world-peace shall be for ever.
Let make sure that we can be partakers of that eternal pleasure and follow the lessons presented in the Holy Scriptures to ‘set us apart‘ or to make us ‘holy‘.

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Please do find to read:

  1. The Word being a quality or aspect of God Himself
  2. For those who have not the rudiments of an historical sense
  3. Compromise and accomodation
  4. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  5. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop 
  6. Altered to fit a Trinity
  7. Should You Believe in the Trinity?
  8. First Century of Christianity
  9. Derided as haters of the human race
  10. Position and power
  11. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  12. Raising digression
  13. Hellenistic influences
  14. Politics and power first priority #1
  15. Politics and power first priority #2
  16. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  17. Gutenberg’s presses, bible translators, reformation and the emergence of pilgrim separatists and English puritans during the 1500’s
  18. Gateway Films classic “God’s Outlaw”, a biography of the English Bible translator William Tyndale.
  19. Men of faith
  20. Migrants to the West #1
  21. Migrants to the West #2
  22. Migrants to the West #3
  23. Migrants to the West #4
  24. Migrants to the West #5
  25. Migrants to the West #6
  26. Migrants to the West #7
  27. Migrants to the West #8
  28. Migrants to the West #9
  29. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  30. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #2 Roots of Jewishness
  31. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  32. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  33. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  34. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  35. Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
  36. The History of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Part 1) as presented by the Jehovah Witnesses themselves
  37. The History of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Part 2) as presented by the Jehovah Witnesses themselves
  38. Why You Can Trust the Biblical Gospels
  39. The Bible Really Is God’s Inspired Word
  40. Bible Word of God, inspired and infallible
  41. Teaching Holy Scriptures in Schools
  42. Separation of church and state
  43. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  44. Christian values and voting not just a game
  45. Palestine, Israel, God’s people and democracy
  46. Faith related boycotts
  47. Right to be in the surroundings
  48. Today’s Puritans and America’s role as global peacemaker
  49. Re-Creating Community
  50. Community of believers
  51. Mission From the Margins: Anabaptism and the Crisis of Christianity
  52. Catholic Church’s demise – Roman Catholic Church Being Deconstructed – Declared Criminal
  53. The Death of Sunday Christianity
  54. Disillusioned with Christianity and the church
  55. Christianity gone haywire, and going down
  56. Bumpy road to success
  57. Victims and Seekers of Peace
  58. Things That Must Shortly Take Place
  59. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  60. One Mediator between God and man
  61. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  62. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  63. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  64. United people under Christ
  65. Life is too precious
  66. Slave for people and God
  67. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  68. The Involvement of true discipleship
  69. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  70. Brothers in Christ
  71. Faith and works
  72. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem

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Additional reading in Dutch:

  1. Eerste Eeuw van het Christendom (en daarop volgende hoofdstukken) (and other chapters in Dutch on Bible Students about the history of Christianity)
  2. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #1 Abraham de aartsvader
  3. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #2 Broeders
  4. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #3 De Weg
  5. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #4 Volgelingen van Jezus
  6. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #5 Apologeten
  7. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #6 Constantijn de Grote
  8. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #7 Afstandelijken, donatisten en arianisten
  9. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #8 Concilie van Constantinopel
  10. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #9 Controverse betreft doop
  11. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #10 De Inquisitie
  12. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #11 Vredelievende waarheidzoekers
  13. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #12 Anabaptisten
  14. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #13 Hutterieten of Hutteriaanse Broeders, Boheemse Broeders en Broederschap van eenheid

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  • TGC and Anabaptism – What Do We Do With It? (abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com)
    While I agree it’s really encouraging to have a group of fellow Christians come out and say that, even in disagreement, they are willing to listen and learn from those with whom they disagree, it is our response to that revelation that gets to me.  I hear a lot of Anabaptists basically stating, perhaps not in so many words, “glad they finally see the light”.  And suddenly, it hits me: we’re just as guilty as they are.
  • The Church at the Intersection of Anabaptism and Evangelicalism (pietistschoolman.com)
    I’ve known many evangelicals who find something reinvigorating about the Anabaptist impulse, and it’s generally because (like Boyd) they’ve grown disenchanted by the fusion of faith and politics; searching for a Christ who is Victor but not warlike, they read John Howard Yoder and decide to try on Anabaptism.
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    After describing the nature of these “house churches,” Boyd affirms that it is possible to reconcile the Anabaptist understanding of ecclesiology with the evangelical phenomenon of the megachurch:

    …we don’t have to chose between embracing the church as community, on the one hand, and holding a large weekend gathering, on the other. There’s nothing intrinsically anti-kingdom about large gatherings. After all, large crowds flocked to Jesus, and the early Christians in Jerusalem met in large groups in “Solomon’s porch” (Acts 5:16-19). The key, however, is to always remind people that the primary expression of church is not the large group, but the smaller communities that come together in houses to share life, study the word, worship and minister together.

  • Christianity vs. Catholicism (briegonda.wordpress.com)
    One of the main things that I find myself explaining is the difference between Christianity and Catholicism. Is there really a define difference? The answer is yes. Being a Christian my entire life has allowed me to explore the differences and it has allowed me to have a not-so-close-minded view.Many people ask me if I’m very religious and I think this is one of the most evident differences. Catholicism focuses on strict guidelines such as confession and they use those guidelines to determine the level of religion. In Christianity, however, religion isn’t as guideline oriented. A relationship with God is the most recognized determining factor. So to answer the question of if I’m very religious, I would say, no. I have a strong relationship with God.
  • The Marketing Of Catholicism (mundabor.wordpress.com)
    One of the main concerns of the Church in the last 50 years – and I mean, even from good, orthodox priests and laymen – seems to be to make the message of Christianity attractive, or easy to digest, or such that it would appear an improvement in one’s quality of life. The idea seems to be that the world out there lures souls with the promise of fun and joy, and a list of prohibitions isn’t really the best way to attract people to give Christianity their serious consideration.
  • Catholicism: change and continuity (jessicahof.wordpress.com)
    Nothing in what I have written convicts, or even implies, that those who disagreed with John XXIII were dinosaurs or fuddie-duddies, and in thinking that the Church needed to come to terms with the modern world, John XXIII was no aligning himself with either liberalism or conservatism; he was seeking to take the mind of the church on the challenges facing it.  The idea that had it not taken place, ordinary Catholics in the pew would have somehow been hermetically-sealed off from the changes taking place in Western society in the sixties and seventies is fanciful. The Anglican and Protestant churches had no Vatican II, and what quiavideruntoculi says about vocations in the Catholic Church was true there too. All churches in the West were hit by the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies; it would not have mattered whether there had been a Vatican II or not, Catholics would have been as exposed to these changes as those Christians in churches which had no Vatican II.
  • Lunchtime Conversations: Post-Christendom (lcileeds.wordpress.com)
    The end of Christendom where the Christian story was known and the church was central invites Christians in western culture to embrace marginality and discover fresh ways of being church and engaging in mission. While the transition from modernity to postmodernity has received a huge amount of attention the shift from Christendom to post-Christendom has not yet been fully explored.
  • Announcing a New Issue of The Covenant Quarterly on Pietism (pietistschoolman.com)
    revivalists have taken the Pietist emphasis on regeneration, or new birth, and featured it as the focus of evangelism and missionary work. While numbers of converts can be an encouraging feature, when the threshold experience becomes the focus of the evangelist or the missionary or the pastor or the parent, the genius of Pietism is profaned. Pietism was not a conversion movement in the sense of initial decision but an inward renewal movement in the sense of discipleship. Its aim was complete conversion from the inside out.
  • thoughts on the death of the Church (emwartick.wordpress.com)
    The Church is dying.  It’s terminally ill.  Perhaps it’s already dead.

    Or so I’ve heard.  I’ve heard it from professors, from church leaders, from sociologists.  Attendance is dwindling, buildings are closing, and members are getting older.  There are “not enough” 20-somethings, families with children, ethnic minorities, people who tithe, fill-in-the-blank.  Expectations are too high or too low or too vague or too specific and this, I am told, is killing the Church.

  • Wicked Popes! (christianspooksite.wordpress.com)
    Papal power was maintained by the Inquisition. The Inquisition, called the “Holy Office,” was instituted by Pope Innocent III, and perfected under the second following Pope, Gregory IX. It was the “Church Court for Detection and Punishment of Heretics.” Under it, everyone was required to inform against Heretics. Anyone suspected, was liable to torture, without knowing the name of his accuser. The proceedings were secret. The Inquisitor pronounced sentence, and the victim was turned over to Civil Authorities to be imprisoned for life — or to be burned! The victim’s property was confiscated, and divided between the Church and the State.
  • Rethinking Scripture (garretmenges.wordpress.com)
    A brief survey of the history of the LXX raises some questions about the way we view Scripture today. For example, is the LXX inspired Scripture even though it’s a translation of a more original textual tradition? If not, then are the fragments that have made it into our NT inspired? Were the scribes who translated Isaiah, for example, quickly taken up in the Spirit while contemplating how to translate the Hebrew word for “young woman” only to have the Spirit leave them shortly after the translation of that single verse?