Attackers silenced freedom of speech

Warning: Those who like censor could be offended with our open-minded attitude to tackle a problem which we have encountered the last few months.

We do request those who can’t bear open speaking to abandon from reading this article, because they might, perhaps by prejudice or partiality, be offended.

Previous days and years

The last few days there did not seem to have come any opportunity to publish anything on this recently opened website on WordPress.

22102006 AC Distrubitie dag bijeenkomst

Members of our community at a meeting in the Christadelphian ecclesia Brussel-Leuven. – Heverlee, Leuven

The Belgian Christadelphian community has been under attack by a person who lives in the North of Europe and leads a prosperous organisation which tries to bring people all over the world under their spell.

For years now the Belgian Christadelphians had tried to work together with that man and his organisation, with the idea that people should unite in their force to bring people to Christ. It must be told that this guy converts a lot of people to Christianity and gets them baptised under Christ. In previous years he baptised them as Christadelphians, but we came to understand this could be called very doubtful in the present circumstances.

‘Being in’ or ‘Belonging to’ a group

Normally one would think when people are taken into a group, be it for example Anglicans, you would expect such persons baptised in that church would be welcome in any Anglican church and considered as Anglicans. But this man baptising his followers and leading an organisation that calls itself Christadelphian does everything so that their members would not associate with other members of the worldwide community of Christadelphian brothers and sisters.

After loads of correspondence and trials to reconcile the founder of this website, who is also the responsible for the Belgian Christadelphians, and member of the Central Fellowship, with that man and his organisation and the organisation which helps us, the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM, in the United Kingdom as in Belgium we came to understand that there is no way to talk reasonably with that man, and the organisation which seems to be blinded by that charismatic figure.

Belgian story

After months of patience, the community of Brethren and Sisters in Christ, under the CBM, came to the conclusion we had to stop trying to come to terms with that man of the North and his organisation. By taking distance from this terrible division we clearly stepped on that man his toes. Probably for that reason he continued even more to twist our words and talked slanderous about Mr. Ampe, calling Marcus Ampe now the cause of all the problems and accusing him of slander. Therefore Marcus Ampe went in to defence and made clear why the Christadelphian community in Belgium could not give any addresses in Belgium of that man his organisation, because they did not allow us to have the addresses where people could come together to study the Bible and to have worship together.

We would have loved to see the different groups of Christadelphians having come together in unity, but because that person and his organisation not willing to share meetings with our members, we just could not help those people who asked us for advice and help.

Not willing to Care

The organisation which has the word “Care” in its name did not seem to care that the very few in Belgium could not have gatherings in unity. It looks like they are more concerned in their own membership and followers who want to say and do everything like they want it to be done. For us this became smelling more like being a cult or sect, which does not wonder us why we often are asked if or are accused of the Christadelphians being a cult. Though normally Christadelphians have no specific worldly leader, or any order of ranking, like you can find in so many Christian organisations or denominations, so no pope, cardinals and bishops. We all consider ourselves under the leadership of Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone who leads us to his Father. All of those who come to be baptised under the name of Jesus Christ, are considered equal brothers and sisters of Christ.

CIMG0593

Marcus Ampe in 2006

Therefore it is also ridiculous of the organisation to consider that Mr. Ampe from Belgium would have been able to have a worldwide exclusion of the man of the North for the Christadelphian community. He even never disfellowshipped the man of the North, so why should the organisation from the Australian division request Mr. Ampe to restore fellowship in the Christadelphian community. It is to attribute Mr. Ampe with a power no one has in our Christian community. He is well aware of that and never claimed to have such a position or never demanded other Christadelphians not meeting with the Man from the North.

Living in the world obliged to laws and regulations

We do know we are living in this world and as such are bounded to regulations of this world, like having to pay our taxes and to confer other worldly obligations. As such, we also do need a working structure and an office. Mr. Marcus Ampe takes care of those duties in Belgium. For this he also has the responsibility to try to make the daily duties work. He not only has to provide material for the services and make arrangements so that the baptised people can come together; he also has to protect them and to make sure the community or parishes are kept clean of teachings and safe for all members who want to join.

ScreenHunter_35 Feb. 15 10.47

Christadelphia Facebook page not available, or blacked-out on 2014 February 15

Having confronted with the person of the North, trying to jam the Christadelphian movement in Belgium, he felt pressed to undertake action and to defend his actions. For that reason he placed his defence on his religious website Christadelphian World and put notices up on his Facebook and the Christadelphia Facebook page. Being confronted that the truth about this dilemma was put onto the net the accuser felt bitten and wanted to have Marcus Ampe his Facebook close down. We where warned of this request to close down the Facebook account by that man, but the Facebook site of Mr Ampe stayed public. (Though surprise today 15/02/2014 there was a picture of a wounded thumb up saying the page did not exist any-more.)

Black-out of Christadelphian World

Christadelphian World 11 Nov 2013Going further in the attack, we cannot tell if it was the man of the North himself or one of his co-workers, they succeeded to silence Marcus Ampe his voice on Blogger. Incredible, but true, Christadelphian World was silenced under the norm “inappropriate postings”. As soon as Marcus Ampe got to see that his website was obstructed for public viewing he send in a request to Google to reconsider their action. Later that day the main postings seemed to be available to the public again, but all the comments where and are still not visible to the public today (Saturday 15 February 2014).

It is unbelievable that someone could close down a website for reasons which make no serious ground to do such a thing. We do know “truth may hurt one mentally as much as an antiseptic balm may hurt on a wound”, like Vichar Prachar says it so nicely in his article Freedom of Speech and the Right to Offend. Sometimes we come to a point where we do have to bring the dirty linen into the open. First the people in Belgium tried to solve the matter between themselves with the man from the North. Afterwards we brought in the linkman from our British main organisation CBM. Than the CBM linkman tried to bring CBM in reconciliation with the man from the North and the organisation linked with him. Following the Christian rule of have first no witnesses, than two witnesses, then more witnesses from the own community, we did have to bring it more into the open because people from outside our organisation where also affected.

To wash one’s dirty linen in public

We do not like it at all to bring out internal matters, but this situation has ran our of hand and the accuser attacks us with all he can do.

The Belgian Christadelphians have showed patience for more than one year, and tried sincerely to bring all baptised Christadelphian members, be it Amended or non-amended, or from any group linked with one or the other organisation, together.

The Belgian Christadelphian also sincerely tried and still try to spread the Good News of the Gospel, and want to unite all people who would like to follow Jeshua, the Nazarene Jewish rabbi, who is better known in the West as Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah and should be our only mediator between God and man. According to our faith it is Jesus people have to follow and not one or the other organisation. We should all be parts of the body of Christ and feel united as such.

When washing has to be done, those who are made dirty should have to receive the opportunity to be cleansed. We also consider that all things should be made clear and to do so everybody should have the right to speak openly.

The Indian writer says also:

A society that endeavors to consist of an enlightened citizenship will always put Truth central to its constitutional preamble. Our constitutional visionaries took vision from an age old Dharmic saying ‘Satyameva Jayate’ and enshrined it in our Constitution. Yet we have been only paying lip service to the underlying importance this has towards developing an enlightened, civilized and developed society. We have been steadily contorting ‘abuse’ to imply ‘offense’ and ‘hurt’ irrespective whether the hurt or offense is caused by Truth or untruth.

Imposing their will on others

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version)

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version) (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

The person from the North and his organisation do want to have to tell things in the world, want to take on ministerial positions, but do not want to accept the political controversy with it. Those involved in politics should know that they always stand open for criticism. In case they can not endure such criticism they better would withdraw and do other things, but not wanting to take the lead.

In case every politician could silence a website or newspaper when criticism was given on him or her or on the work of the party, or when they told the truth, many websites would face a close-down and many papers would fall in oblivion. But clearly than our world would be in dictatorship. In the West we can not accept that we would be placed under absolute or despotic control or power.

Pointing out such a danger of having being censored, though Marcus Ampe is only a very, very small player on the field, he now had to go into the pen for more than one reason. Such a jamming of his writings and a censoring of the commentators, without him being consulted or having the possibility to keep the postings on the net, are an infringement of freedom of public speech.

Unwanted and dangerous censorship

A good example of how in the past also one certain church wanted to silence other believers. – In “Panegyricae orationes septem” (1596) Henric van Cuyck, a Dutch Bishop, defended the need for censorship. Van Cuyck argued that Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press had resulted in a world infected by “pernicious lies.” He singled out the Talmud and the Qu’ran, and the writings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and Erasmus of Rotterdam.

This whole situation seems ridiculous, but we do have to question, in case some organisations can silence ordinary folks, what can be done to silence those who really bring out a voice which can change a country? Such blue-pencil, having done its work, for such a small website should make us all think about the power certain organisations and blog-providers may have. The black-out of Christadelphian World and the censor having brought on by Google on Marcus Ampe his Google+ account should have us all think about the danger of such actions to which the involved persons do seem not to be able to do something against. They even were not consulted or could give any defence for their writing.

We know Marcus Ampe does not take any important position in blogging world, and his writings shall never reach so many people, because the subject he writes about, most people are not interested in. But having him to be silenced, though everybody may come to see his writings are not offensive at all, should make question about the liberty of speaking out freely. When you consider how much spam every day comes into our mailboxes and how many porn sites and websites about violence and with awful words can be seen by many every day on the internet, without them being black-out, we may wonder in what sort of world we have come to live in. Mr. Ampe’s writings are integer and about what is happening in the world as seen from a Christadelphian and Christian viewpoint. If he gets silenced one can wonder why so many others have not been silenced, though they hurt many people, use a much more inappropriate language than Mr. Ampe.
This Marcus Ampe, though coming from the performing world also may not be confused with an other Mr. Marcus, who is an an American pornographic actor who in 2012, was the main person in a syphilis-infection scandal in California when several porn-performers were infected during video production.

Please: Look for yourself

We would like to ask our readers to look for themselves. In case they can (again) view the writings on Christadelphian World, that they let us know if those writings are so offensive or so dangerous as others want the public to believe. Let us also know if the comments are visible again and if in it are used inappropriate words. Our community want to learn, so we do not mind response.

This annoying situation has consumed lots of time of several of our members. We came to the conclusion we shall have to row on our own and shall have to find ways to reach the Belgian public, without help of outsiders.
The Belgian Christadelphians do want to buckle their belt and continue the necessary work of preaching.. We do not mind to make shift with what we may have in our small country. To make the best of it, any help is naturally welcome, spiritual and/or financial support. Mostly we would appreciate already the spiritual support, to encourage us to continue spreading the Word of God.

We shall soon take up again our regular duties and bring the Gospel of the Good News. But this time we were so ‘flappergasted’ (taken by) the bad news, we did have to share it with our regular readers and with those who are interested in what is happening in the religious world in Belgium.

In the time we are

Deutsch: Christadelphian-Gemeindehaus in Esslingen

Christadelphian – Community house in Esslingen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We do know in what sort of time we probably have come. In the Bible we can find many prophesies and also prophesies about the end-times. A prediction of what shall happen in the world when it comes closer to the end makes us aware we shall have to endure certain attacks, which shall even come from those we considered to be our brothers.
Reading the Bible and finding many answers in it, we also come to know there will be an even greater need for believers to be in harmony and to pray together as our world starts to fall apart. Therefore we would like all those who believe in the Divine Creator, to join hands, preach the Gospel of the Good News and the coming Kingdom of God.

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Please do find

Mr. Ampe his reaction after continued exclusion by the man of the North his continued refusal to allow different Christadelphians meet with each other: No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks

Additional writings by Marcus Ampe concerning the controversial situation in Belgium:

  1. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  2. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  3. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  4. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  5. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation

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Please do find other additional readings:

  1. Belonging to or being judged by
  2. A Voice to be heard
  3. Good or bad preacher
  4. One Mediator between God and man
  5. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  6. Parts of the body of Christ
  7. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  8. Called Christian
  9. Breaking up with a cult
  10. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  11. Making church
  12. When discouraged facing opposition
  13. Fearing the right person
  14. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  15. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  16. Reasons to come to gether
  17. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  18. Meeting – Vergadering
  19. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  20. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  21. Many churches
  22. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  23. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  24. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  25. What’s church for, anyway?
  26. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  27. Commitment to Christian unity
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Breathing and growing with no heir
  30. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  31. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  32. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  33. Christadelphians children of God
  34. Christadelphian beliefs
  35. Major Points of Belief
  36. Christadelphian or My Beliefs and the World
  37. What we believe
  38. What Christadelphians teach
  39. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  40. Politics and power first priority #1
  41. A Society pleading poverty
  42. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
    sssh!

    sssh! (Photo credit: Stephen Dagnall)

     

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From other people, denominations and atheists:

  1. A beautiful photo: #leadership at Inspiration Daily Shared publicly  –  13 Feb 2014
  2. Why so religious?
  3. Freedom of speech or political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  5. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  6. European Convention on Human Rights
  7. American Convention on Human Rights
  8. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
  9. Find also more information on libel, slander, obscenity, sedition
  10. Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
  11. Liberty-human-rights – article 10 – freedom of expression
  12. Freedom Of Speech And Expression inclusive Importance Of Freedom Of Speech And Expression
  13. Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition
  14. The Paradox of Liberty: the Freedom of speech (re)considered

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A screenshot of the default WordPress theme.

A screenshot of the default WordPress theme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • On the site of ABC you may find the article Who are the Christadelphians? (blogs.abc.net.au) where a wrong picture is given of our community. Though we do agree like in any denomination you may find very conservative groups but also very progressive groups in our community.+
    “it sounds like Vanessa belonged to an extreme group. Adelaide is not typical of Christadelphians worldwide. I’m a Christadelphian from the UK and I can safely say that those I mix with enjoy a drink, theatre going, football, movies, read lots of novels, wear scarlet – and yes we bring friends home.I’m sorry that Vanessa seems to have had a poor experience of Christadelphians. We’re not all so insular. But yes we believe the Bible and try to follow its principles in our lives. In this messed up world to keep focused on the big picture of the Return of Christ and his kingdom on earth is a certain hope. It’s a true hope – Bible prophecy about the Jews is compelling evidence.” Sarah Joiner
  • Marching not to war (christiantoday.com)
    Britain was virtually alone in recognising the rights of COs and this clause was seen as a major coup for the No Conscription Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The latter was a Christian ecumenical movement which had long campaigned for such recognition.The Fellowship of Reconciliation arose out of a friendship between a German Lutheran and English Quaker. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultz and Henry Theodore Hodgkin met at an ecumenical conference in Switzerland that was disrupted by the onset of war.
  • Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech (andrewwhalan.com)
    The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.
  • Taking offence and freedom of speech (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
    All religious groups benefit from freedom of speech, because their beliefs have the power to offend others. As our leading article this week sets out, that includes the rather mild and doddery-seeming Church of England, which teaches that personal sin is a serious matter requiring repentance. That’s the sort of thing that can offend people, too, but the Church and other groups benefit from the freedom to say it. Religious groups who argue for curbs on freedom of speech must realise that in the end, this would damage their own freedom too, not just that of others they don’t like.
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    Agrippina:

    The fanatical ideologists need to be defeated, either they accept this free democracy or go and live elsewhere. They have nothing to offer us and we do not want anything from them. Spectator journos should pop out to Tower Hamlets or further north, and see the level of islamification of this green and pleasant land.

  • Silence is the true freedom. (priscillaescamilla28.wordpress.com)
    Silence is power, / the freedom of speech is nothing but a lying blood sucking leach,
  • Free Speech or Regulated Silence? (amresolution.com)
    How did our founders ever manage to establish a republic committed to free speech and the rights of the individual without a Federal Election Commission to regulate that speech and force disclosure of the speaker?
  • What if Freedom Meant Exodus? (pumabydesign001.com) +What if Freedom Meant Exodus?
    With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?

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.
    +
    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.
    +
    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
    +
    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.
    +
    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)

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?