Lovers of God, seekers and lovers of truth

Accusations

The previous weeks we got very strong reactions at certain things we said about God and His son on the net and on our replies to certain writings on the net about Jesus, God and the Christadelphians.

Title page to the ASV

Title page to the ASV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On several websites we where accused of being a sect and of being God haters and/or Jesus haters. When we tried to give a polite answer with what we could find in the Bible and how we funded our believes on the Holy Scriptures we were silenced and did not get an opportunity to show where our believes came from and why they are not so stupid.

The bad language send to us, plus other negative elements like viruses and Trojan horses, made us not afraid to find other ways of giving a reply or showing people what we think, why we think it and why there is reason not to consider Christadelphians being a sect or cult.

Apostolic times and Jesus’ definition of God

At the beginning of the apostolic times the followers of Christ Jesus were considered to be a Jewish sect. Their faith was based on the classic traditional monotheist faith of the People of God, the People of Israel, the Jews. Jesus coming from an Essene, and therefore a very traditional devout Jewish family, grew up in a family where they believed in Only One God. Jesus also worshipped the God of Abraham, which was considered by the Jews the Only One True God.

The Christadelphians do have the same faith as the Jews, in the Only One True God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Jesus was in perfect agreement with a Jewish scribe, as together they discussed the greatest of all questions we humans must face. Who is God?
So prepare now to hear what Jesus commands us in terms of our definition of God.

In the New testament we do find:

“24 Jesus said unto them, Is it not for this cause that ye err, that ye know not the scriptures, nor the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as angels in heaven. 26 But as touching the dead, that they are raised; have ye not read in the book of Moses, in [the place concerning] the Bush, how God spake unto him, saying, {1} I [am] the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? {1) Ex 3:6} 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: ye do greatly err.

28  And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all? 29 Jesus answered, The first is, {1} Hear, O Israel; {2} The Lord our God, the Lord is one: {1) De 6:4 ff 2) Or [The Lord is our God; the Lord is one]} 30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God {1} with all thy heart, and {1} with all thy soul, and {1} with all thy mind, and {1} with all thy strength. {1) Gr [from]} 31 The second is this, {1} Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. {1) Le 19:18} 32 And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he:” (Mark 12:24-32 ASV)

God being the One Who is One

Excerpt of the book of Exodus from the The Gre...

Excerpt of the book of Exodus from the The Great Bible (entitled The Byble in Englyshe), publ. 1540. The English form Iehovah (Jehovah as the “J” stands for both I and the later J) is used for the Tetragrammaton at Exodus 6:3. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly for Jesus the Most High Elohim Creator deity is only One as is also written in the Book Deuteronomy of the Old Testament

“Hear, O Israel: {1} Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: {1) Or [Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one]; Or [Jehovah is our God, Jehovah is one]; Or [Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone]}” (Deuteronomy 6:4 ASV)
For Jeshua or Jesus Jehovah is his God and is only one, not two or three.
Jesus also added we should love that One God with all our heart.

“And he said unto him, {1} Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. {1) De 6:5}” (Matthew 22:37 ASV)“And he answering said, {1} Thou shalt love the Lord thy God {2} with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; {3} and thy neighbor as thyself. {1) De 6:5. 2) Gr [from] 3) Le 19:18}” (Luke 10:27 ASV)

We as Christadelphians do love God and do love His creation. They want to open their heart to all people and not only just to some who belong to the same denomination as they. We also want to give attention to other minded persons and do respect them for what they think and feel. This cannot be said about those who call themselves Christians and attack us.

Jewish unitarian creed and Jesus’ creed

As we can find in the New Testament Jesus stated that God is a single Lord. He uttered the Jewish unitarian creed and made it the pinnacle of good Christian understanding and practice.

What else can we say about this One God of Jesus’ creed?

He could not possibly be the triune God of traditional Christendom. Jesus is on record as recognizing no god but the God of his Jewish heritage based on the Scriptures preserved as God’s oracles. That God was never the Trinity. Jesus was not a Trinitarian, on the plainest evidence of his testimony in Mark 12:28-34. He himself never claimed to be God and knew very well he could not do anything without his Father in heaven.

“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.” (John 5:19 ASV)

“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 5:30 ASV)

God’s Will and Jesus’ will

In case Jesus is God Jesus would do his own will by doing the Will of God and nothing would be to difficult for him. But Jesus clearly tells us he was placed on this earth not to do his will but the Will of the One Who had sent Jesus and was not him but God. Jesus also submitted himself totally to the Will of God.

 “For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38 ASV)

“Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that {1} I am [he], and [that] I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things. {1) Or [I am] he: [and I do]}” (John 8:28 ASV)

Jesus also not speaks out of himself but brings the Word of the one Who sent him and Who commands him. We believe those words written in the scriptures which tell us about Jesus his position.

 “For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49 ASV)

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works.” (John 14:10 ASV)

God’s call to be seekers and lovers of truth

God calls us to be lovers of truth and seekers of truth. Jesus let his followers know that they should search those Scriptures and belief the Words of God.

We would not like it to see our heart hardened like the one of the Pharaoh of Egypt, him refusing to believe God’s agents, Moses and Aaron. The same we would not like our ears to be deaf like the ones of the sons of the prophet Eli to be deaf to Eli’s words of warning so that they did not repent of their sin and turn back to God (1 Samuel. 2:22-25).

For  us it is most important, not to follow human doctrines and as such pleasing man, but following the teachings of Jesus Christ continuing in God’s truth, continuously willing to seek truth and to endure sound doctrine, which is provided in the Holy Scriptures.

Sound doctrine

We do believe God will guide us by His Word and by the teachers he allows us to find, who will encourage us in sound doctrine and not in a teaching according our own, or the majority of man’s own desires, even when they claim to be the majority and therefore being the right ones. It is  not because they belong to the most numerous denomination in Christendom, which are the Roman Catholics, that all others are the wrong ones, not keeping to the main rules and being sects.

We are convinced that anyone, including believers, pastors, church leaders and Bible scholars, can be deluded in some area of their understanding, if they are not always “lovers of the truth,” if they are not always open to criticism, to other perspectives and scholarship which may give new insights and even improve our Bible translations, which in turn may lead to the need to discard some of our pet doctrines or practices.

In fact, we can see a God-sent delusion that has infected much of the Christian Church for many of the last 1900 years in a number of very significant areas of faith and practice! We may wonder if  the traditional Christian Church may not be blind to significant portions of God’s clear truth. for sure we can see lots of Christians who refuse to try to read the Bible without their known doctrine of the Trinity. Are they afraid that in case they would try to leave that doctrine away for a moment, they would loose track?

Why is it that sincere and earnest pastors seem happy to rest in their beliefs that were perhaps ingrained from Bible college or from their time in the pews? Why do so many pastors seem unwilling to read widely, to read honest critiques from Bible scholars, to read the criticisms of their opponents, to be challenged by and confront the beliefs of such ideologies as Catholicism, replacement theology, prosperity religion, materialism, paganism, and Islam, etc?

Insecurity, fear opposite confidence

Is it not best to wonder why people are afraid to put their Trinity doctrine for a moment at the site to read what is really written there black on white in the Book of books. Are they so insecure or fearful to do the test of sound reasoning? Or is it a form of  cowardice or fear or insecurity that prevents many from being earnest and zealous seekers after truth?

Yet are we not all cowards by nature? Are we not all fearful of standing against the tide of this world — standing against the crowd when they practice evil?

When Paul was in prison he was encouraged that many of his fellow believers gained confidence in their stand for the truth of the Gospel.

“Most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear” (Philipeans 1:14).

Each of us has different opportunities to play our part in the teaching of truth. The Church exists mainly to teach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and we take to heart Jesus’ warning that we must never be ashamed of him and his Gospel (Mark 8:38).
It is each of us individually and not our pastor or church leader who will stand before the Messiah, the righteous Judge, and have our heart searched on these matters.

Which leader to follow

Christadelphians do not have one specific worldly leader or organisation which we all have to follow. We do not have to be obedient to an overall organisation or church institution. By us no specific gifts or tenths (teeting) obligated. So how can it be certain people accuse us of being a sect, where this are all elements particular to sects.

Jesus in the Gospels

Jesus in the Gospels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christadelphians do not follow someone here on earth, but do follow Jesus Christ, who, according to the Holy Scriptures is now seated at the right hand of his heavenly Father to be a mediator between God and man.

We do believe each individual is himself or herself responsible and shall have to be answerable before the judge Jesus Christ on his return, which he even did not know when it would be, though God knows everything.

It is therefore you and I who need to be sure regarding where we stand before God for our own peace of mind and salvation. We ourselves have to make our own choice who to follow, Jesus or those who claim to be the traditional church.

Task to help others

But we also have received the task to help others and to “Rescue those being led away to death” (Proverbs 24:10-12) Therefore we may encounter lots of discouragement but we must continue and may not falter in times of trouble. We should not fear man but more fear God and count on the strength He is willing to give us.

I think perhaps in this issue of God we have to be careful to pay close attention to the unitarian statements of Jesus.

“You, Father, are the only one who is truly God” (17:3).

Is that statement unacceptable?
Does it not obviously tell us that no one else is the true God?

Jesus also tells us that he is the Way to God and we should follow him so that he can lead us through the small gate of the Kingdom of God.

Clearly Jesus being the Way to God and to life, we should focus on him, not as being the God, but as being the Way to God and being part of the Plan of God.

Once we say that Jesus is God we are counting two Gods — and that contradicts the Shema which Jesus says is the most important commandment (Mark 12:29).

Jesus learned everything from God as he grew up in wisdom and stature. If he were God he would have nothing to learn! God also tells us that He does not tell lies, is an eternal Spirit Who cannot seen by man or they would fall death, and that he cannot be tempted. Jesus was seen by many who did not fall death. Jesus also was tempted more than once. God Who knows everything and does not tell lies would not have told the truth when He is Jesus, and was been asked when he would come back and who would be seated next to him. Jesus told his disciples he did not know that and that only his Father knows that. God obviously cannot die. Jesus did die. The Son of God died. This is one of the special elements of our faith or a core element of the Christian faith.

All those facets we should tell others and help them to see what is written in the Bible about Jesus and the Plan of God.

Having no opportunity to explain this and to go deeper into detail, we were confronted with that censorship and saw the necessity to explain this more to the general public.

Therefore we started looking for an other means to show how Christadelphians next to the Word of God put their focus on that Nazarene man Jesus Christ, who we believe to be our saviour and example to follow.

Spokesmen for Jesus

Looking on the internet for means to help others to come to see who Jesus really is and what is really written in the Bible, we tried out some blogging systems.

As such we created:

C4A: Christ for all a site to show the reasons why to love Jesus.

C4U:Christ for you and Christadelphians for you, an other site to site of Brothers and Sisters in Christ, who love the Creator and His creations, to show which way we do have to go and whom to follow.

Both do have some negative points and made us not satisfied. Therefore we went back to a well known source. Once more we decided to go for WordPress and created last but not least the site with the focus all on Jesus Christ our Messiah, a “Messiah for all“.

We invite you to come and have a look at those site and to give your impression, so that we can work on it and improve.

We do hope we can show the world why we need to follow Jesus Christ of Nazareth and how Christadelphians do that, and as such should also been seen as true followers of Christ or real Christians and not as a sect or cult because they do not follow any human worldly leader nor institution of this world.

+

Please do find additional to read:

  1. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  2. Background to look at things
  3. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  4. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  5. United people under Christ
  6. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  7. A participation in the body of Christ
  8. Who are the Christadelphians
  9. Christadelphian people
  10. Our Christadelphian faith
  11. What Christadelphians believe
  12. Our Creed and Practice
  13. About Brothers in Christ
  14. What are Brothers in Christ
  15. Often asked questions: faq – English
  16. What Christadelphians teach
  17. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  18. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  19. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  20. Those who love Jesus
  21. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  22. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  23. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  24. The task given to us to love each other
  25. Christianity is a love affair
  26. The Greatest of These is Love
  27. Unarmed truth and unconditional love
  28. Unconditional love
  29. Compassion and Discipline
  30. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships
  31. Integrity of the fellowship
  32. Fellowship
  33. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom

+++

  • Rule and Reign (activeinspiration.wordpress.com)
    As reported in the news these days we hear Christians are persecuted at all time highs. Maybe its because perfect love from God our Father that we share with the world is seen as weakness to the world of nonbelievers.
  • Stand Tall In Faith (mylordmyfriend.com)
    Jesus answered Peters confession, “That Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of The living God”Matthew 16 verse 16: Jesus declares that upon that Confession, the He is The Christ, He will build His Church.That is the concrete slab of faith, what Jesus came to do and what He did through the Cross. One of the statements of faith, that was established, by the forefathers, to counteract, heresies and mysticism which tried to wrongly attach themselves to the Truth, about Christ Jesus was.
  • Charles Spurgeon (rulookingforjesus.wordpress.com)
    It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ did not come forth without his Father’s permission, authority, consent, and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that he might be the Saviour of men.
  • Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (emmanuelchatham.typepad.com)
    Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
  • Scripture of the Day, 2/5 (sowegalive.com)
    And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
  • Daily prayer (0: have a free day (0: (hmweimar.wordpress.com)
    Lord- thank you for always giving us a way to salvation and peace. Thank you for the grace you cover our lives with and thank you Lord God for your son. In his holy name amen
    Believe and make it so
  • Monday, 26 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (First Reading) (petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com)
    I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains. On the contrary, do your share in labouring for the Gospel with the strength of God.
    +
    From Paul, servant of God, Apostle of Christ Jesus, at the service of God’s chosen people, so that they may believe and reach the knowledge of truth and godliness. The eternal life we are waiting for was promised from the very beginning by God who never lies, and as the appointed time had come, He made it known through the message entrusted to me by a command of God, our Saviour.
Advertisements

Christianity without the Trinity

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power.[1] The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.[2]

The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.

A Platonic Doctrine

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...

Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible.[3] But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors.[4] If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers[5] but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.[6]

The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.[7]

A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.

The Role of Christ

In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).

Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).

If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession.[8] Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.

Sola Scriptura

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.

English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith.[9] The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.[10]

Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity).[11] Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.

Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds.[12] Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.

Interfaith Dialogue

Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.

The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).

The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.

The Atonement

One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers.[13] Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.

It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.

Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).[14]

Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.

Christianity without the Trinity

Christ Church

Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)

There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general.[15] Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.

What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:

  1. There is one God (Mark 12:32), who is the Creator of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
  2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
  3. There is one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).

What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.

It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?


[1] A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).

[2] The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).

[3] Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178

[4] T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.

[5] Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.

[6] J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.

[8] R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.

[9] J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.

[10] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7

[11] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2

[12] cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;

[13] cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.

[14] The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.

[15] Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+

Please do find to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God of gods
  4. A god between many gods
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. God about His name “יהוה“
  10. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Attributes of God
  13. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  14. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  15. God Helper and Deliverer
  16. God is Spirit
  17. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  18. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  19. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  20. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  22. Seeing Jesus
  23. Jesus Messiah
  24. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  25. Who was Jesus?
  26. Jesus spitting image of his father
  27. Jesus and his God
  28. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  29. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  30. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  31. On the Nature of Christ
  32. Jesus spitting image of his father
  33. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  34. A man with an outstanding personality
  35. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  36. The wrong hero
  37. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  38. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
  39. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  40. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  41. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  42. One Mediator
  43. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  44. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  45. Politics and power first priority #2
  46. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  47. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  48. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  49. Christ Versus the Trinity
  50. Is God a Trinity?
  51. The Trinity – true or false?
  52. The Trinity – the Truth
  53. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  54. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  55. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  56. How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
  57. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  58. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  59. Altered to fit a Trinity
  60. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  61. The Great Trinity Debate
  62. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
  63. Compromise and accomodation
  64. Written to recognise the Promised One
  65. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  66. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  67. About a man who changed history of humankind
  68. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  69. Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
  70. Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
  71. Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
  72. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  73. One Mediator between God and man
  74. Philippians 1 – 2
  75. Worshipping Jesus
  76. Idolatry or idol worship
  77. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  78. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  79. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  80. Science and God’s existence
  81. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  82. Blackness, nothingness, something, void
  83. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  84. Joseph Priestley To the Point
  85. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  86. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  87. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  88. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  89. Concerning gospelfaith
  90. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  91. Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
  92. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  93. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  94. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  95. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  96. Edward Wightman
  97. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  98. Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
  99. The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
  100. What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
  101. Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?

+++

Also of interest:

  1. Trinity Proof Texts Considered
  2. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  3. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  4. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  5. The Unholy Trinity
  6. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  7. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  8. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  9. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  10. What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
  11. The Existence of Jesus Christ
  12. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  13. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  14. Cult or True Religion
  15. Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
  16. Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
  17. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
  18. T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
  19. Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
  20. An Elephant Room Roundup
  21. Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
  22. Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
  23. The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
  24. Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
  25. God, the Trinity
  26. This Is That – 1
  27. Dwell
  28. A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
  29. Who Are You Really Slandering?
  30. On Union with God
  31. By the oaks of Mamre

+++

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
    +
    Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’

    All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.

  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.

    I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).

    What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.

  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
    Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church.  When we pray we make the sign of the cross.  The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD.  Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith.  The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.

    “Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”

    First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists

  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
    +
    Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.
Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Today lots of youngsters their understanding of their faith is the faith that was “once for all entrusted.” This makes that often the “spiritual but not religious” group can be the most difficult to work with, primarily because they believe they have found a personalized expression of faith. But their faith was not placed in a seed that could grow in fertilized ground.

This painting is on display at the Kunsthistor...

Religious men and their actions because of their faith- Painting is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna, Austria (site). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Church should bring in the fertilisation for its members to grow, be it slow but strong.

Much has been made about the growth of “nones” in the past few years, the group who consistently checks “none” on surveys about religious faith. As with all surveys, how questions are shaped determines how good the data is. If a question is multiple choice, the answers must fit within the parameters of the possible responses. For example: What is your faith? a. Christian b. Buddhism c. Islam d. Judaism e. Hindu f. none.

Clearly, that’s a poor question. It assumes the five major faiths are the primary conduits for the transmission of religious frameworks. While I believe that is largely true, there are other factors at work culturally right now. What does none or spiritual but not religious really mean?

writes a teacher of a Teaching World Religions summer term. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

In such courses about world religions or religion tous-court, you can see that lots of people want to restrict their idea about their god on others. They may say

I just believe in God

But then we should ask which God? Most people do take only a story from the four Gospels, one that is canonized by Church Councils, propagated by ministers and missionaries, and communicated to them through Christian denominational speakers. They are brought up with the religious concepts of their family idea and than they believe that their story is just one wherein they simply believe in God.

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The radical individualism and consumerism in our culture makes a personalized faith seem perfectly normal. In Belgium, which is considered to be a Roman Catholic Country (though only 6% of the population still go sometimes to mass whilst 25% of the population visits the mosque very regularly), when you would ask what they believe and whom they think Jesus or God is, you would find very individual interpretations of the person Jesus, which some Catholics say is the son of God and do not believe he is God, though the godhead of Jesus is part of the Trinitarian dogma of the Catholic Church. But most Belgians want to believe their own thing and do not bother what the church may say. Lots call themselves Catholic or Christian (meaning the same for them) but do not follow the rules of the Pope and their church, not bothering to use preservatives or having abortions, having sexual relations than the own ‘regular’ partner, etc. Their religious life is standing far away from a spiritual life and from church life. The church is mostly only used to have a child baptism, a first and second communion, a wedding service and a funeral. That is what church stands for in Belgium, when they are not talking about all the abuses in that church.

According to some

All the new Christian categories — Christ follower, Jesus follower, follower of the Way (hell, just pick one)—are all concepts that are used intentionally to avoid the unhappy conclusion that the follower is really a Christian, but a Christian who doesn’t like the Christian tradition or church or some doctrine. Better to own the word Christian than have me interrogate you only to discover that you are actually a Christian. At that point, I think you’re dishonest, disingenuous, ignorant, narcissistic, or confused. None of those are good. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

Wherever you may look you shall see that many of your spiritual but not religious acquaintances have no genuine framework for their faith. Lots of the people who say they are religious or spiritual, are mostly enjoying some trend which is popular at the moment, and go from one fling into the other, but never stick to one ‘faith‘ for a long time.

The writer of The Parish believes that it’s a completely self-serving construct that allows them to believe, in the words of Christian Smith,

“God loves me and wants me to be happy.”

What that requires is no commitment to a larger tradition, and a radical internalizing of metaphysical assumptions, all of which are exempt from criticism.

Do you pray? Yes. Do you attend worship services? No. Do you have a sacred text? No. Will you go to heaven? Yes. What will it be like? It will be what I make it. How do you know there is a God? I just do. What’s he or she like? He loves me. He’s kind and forgiving and gracious. Why should he be those things and not angry, vengeful and capricious? He’s not. How can you know this? What tradition taught you this? I have no tradition. I just know this. I’m not a religious person, just spiritual.

Faith

Faith (Photo credit: sspantherss)

Often when you will present students of religion or people on the street and you

talk about all the Saturnalia and pagan syncretism you like, talk about substituting one pagan holiday for a Christian one, talk about borrowed symbols and commercialism, talk all you want about it; at its core, theologically (for Christians), Christmas is the coming of Messiah, and therefore, a religious high, holy day. It’s a celebration day, much like Easter (another holiday about which I’m weary of hearing stories of syncretism. One thing is clear, however it started, the Christian narrative won.), not a fast day like Good Friday. It is, by my estimation, the second most important day on the church calendar, following Easter, of course. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

The great church institutions by the years have mixed their theology with philosophical and pagan teachings so that that more became  “great pagan institutions” which allegedly “pickle” children’s brains by pouring “paganism” into them. We can see a society in decline where parents do not to set any more good religious examples for their children. It is time they will concern themselves with their offspring’s spiritual state, and again “plead God’s promises” to their children. We should long to do well by our children and grandchildren, striving to raise them well and encouraging other parents to do the same.  Parents should come to teach their children spirituality again. That spirituality must also include empathy, humanity, and critical thinking. Piety without these elements can devolve into fanaticism, with unsettling results.

Lots of people may know that lots of elements in their celebrations are from pagan celebrations, but they do not want to change their similar manner of celebrating what they want to place on that day the heathen use for their celebration. It does not matter for them that Jesus was a Jew who is not born on the 25th of December (Christmas-day); It is just a lovely time for them to be together and have everybody having a good time, giving each other presents and enjoying some nice food. Why should they change the tradition of their forefathers? And why should churches abandon such a festivals when those are the few occasions that they can get some people in their churches and get some more money in the till?

Almost all American and European forms of Christianity are first cultural, traditional and secondly theological. In the capitalist countries the people are more concerned with their material wealth than their spiritual wealth. Europeans like

Americans are largely shaped by consumerism, individualism, and materialism, the three idols of the market that serve to make all of us mini-narcissists. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

They want to enjoy their life with good food and lovely goods for their enjoyment. Fairy tales and mythical stories, ‘little lies for fun’ seem to be harmless for them and to create the mysterious atmosphere which attracts them and their children. The unknown and mysterious has always been an attraction.

The Knights of Columbus exhibiting their group identity in American society

In the United States some Christians do not want to know about the ‘unknown’ and do think the bible has to be take literally on all fronts. Their creationist and revisionist education might leave children ill-prepared to integrate into American society, and failed to grasp that some children might reject their fundamentalist upbringing altogether. For this reason it is important that God-loving people make it clear how we do have to interpret and follow the Bible. God loving people should be challenging historical revisionism. By remembering that history encompasses many narratives, not just one. By demanding accuracy in home school curricula. By reaching out to current and former home-schoolers and making accurate information available to them. And finally, by educating ourselves on the past and recognizing its impact on the present. Home-schooling and schooling at the church (Sunday school, Bible Study or Children’s Bible class) are powerful, useful tools. It represents a democratic approach to educational progress, innovation, and creativity. It allows a child’s learning environment to be tailored to individual and personal needs. When home-schooling or Sunday-school is done responsibly, it can be amazing. We should oppose irresponsible home-schooling or church training, where the educational method is used to create or hide abuse, isolation, and neglect, and where the child is not educated to go and search, to explore the world and to explore the Bible. They should train the children to read and study the Bible thoroughly and to go deeper into their own soul, learning them to meditate about everything they learn, be it in their daily school or at the church. The trainees at the church should make sure that social contact outside of church, family, and the home-school umbrella group is provided so that children do get to know the outside world and are aware of the world its ideas and way of living. Only by growing up in a church which is open to what is happening in the world the children would not become what we can call socially retarded to use the pedagogical technical term.

In certain developed countries we see a growing tendency to protect church life and to get the children away from what is really happening in the world. The religious sheltering of such a childhood in recent years has come more extreme and miserable by greater institutions and international homeschool conglomerate cults. Those groups not only present childish stories in which all do have to believe and activities everybody has to follow with the right dress-code, otherwise they are considered to be against the group. More attention is given to the outside appearance of the persons gathering than on the inner spirit. Often it is all about the creationist teaching and opposing scientists, not willing to see archaeologist their findings, which are all considered as contra-actions of the evil world.

They often try to drive home to their ‘trainees’ (typically 16-18 years old) that no matter what adversity or difficulty they are facing, either physical, mental, or spiritual, all they need to do is cry out to God and He will get them through it. But they forget that we did have received the responsibility to become resourceful fellows who should try to grow from the understanding of the Scriptural knowledge and use it in their daily life. To be able to stand strong in that daily life there should be a good relationship with the Supreme Being.

Most people are not interested in a good relation with their god, but with themselves. It has become already very difficult to build up a good relationship with one partner in this world which can be seen and touched. So who would try to have a good relationship with somebody who can not be seen nor touched, and who nobody has ever seen, or when it is Jesus who is already long ‘dead and forgotten’?

Dr. Tom Kennedy does find that correct religion, like bones, provides the proper structure for spirituality.  Spirituality grows in distorted ways without religion.

Imagine reaching over and grabbing the child’s head.  Then imagine lifting up the skeleton out of the imaginary child.  What would happen?  Spirituality would collapse to the floor. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Religion, like bones, also provides much of the immune system for spirituality.

It helps to fight toxic influences that may corrupt one’s spirituality.  Two of the most toxic influences are the individual’s own selfishness and the willingness to let other people control one’s spirituality.  Of course, if religion itself becomes corrupt, one’s spirituality also becomes corrupt. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Like the religion can be corrupted we should know that spirituality is not always so ‘clean’ as it may seem.

Many people think of spirituality as perfect and incorruptible.  Unfortunately, that is not true.  Non-religious spirituality emphasizes special experiences, something you feel.  If there are no feelings to this kind of spirituality, people would not pursue it. I have heard of many strange experiences that were labeled ‘spiritual’ just because there was a burst of pleasant feeling involved. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

Faith in words from a Book of books (Photo credit: hannahclark)

Religion in the Bible is a catalyst for our relationship with God, to Whom we have to bring a spirit which is pure and not hiding things for God Who sees everything, so that would be useless to hide something for Him. Our state of mind we do have to build ourselves. Others may help us but they can not do it for us or make it work for us. We ourselves our responsible for the way we want to think and the way we want to use the knowledge we receive by the years.

Jesus died on the wooden stake to make God’s religion and spirituality alive, dynamic and interactive with each other. He opened the way for humankind to come directly to the Creator God. Today Jesus sits at the right hand of God to be the mediator between God and man. by the brothers and sisters in the church we should be exhorted therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made not only for ourselves but for all men. We should know we live in a world where there are kings, presidents and members of parliament who have to make decisions for the community. So we better also pray for them that they may make the right decisions. Yes we should have our thoughts also at all that are in high place and pray for them and for that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
Each of us should look to find in himself or herself the way to become acceptable in the eyes of God. He that provided the human Saviour, who could understand his fellow man, who wanted that all men should be saved, and will come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,  who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;  where-unto several people like the apostles and religious men were and are appointed a preacher and a teacher of the Gentiles or those who are not in the faith in Christ Jesus, in faith and truth.

” I Beseech you, therefore, first of all to offer to God, petitions, prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving for all men,  (2)  For kings and for all in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all purity and Godliness.  (3)  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour:  (4)  Who desires all men to be saved and to return to the knowledge of the truth.  (5)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony which came in due time.  (7)  For that testimony I was appointed a preacher and an apostle; I tell the truth and I lie not; and I became the teacher of the Gentiles in a true faith.  (8)  I wish, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up their holy hands, without anger and doubting thoughts.” (1Ti 2:1-8 Lamsa NT)

Religion, Catholic Community

Religion, Catholic Community having prayers and meditation together at a meeting (Photo credit: Parker Knight)

Lifting up the hands or going in prayer can be done on our own. But to come to a good prayer we better also do come close to ourselves. Be it also becoming in a more concrete relationship the world can offer. Away from the materialisation of things we can come in a transcendent form.

Where Transcendentalists assert their natural right to an individual relationship with God, defined only by one’s own will and a communing with nature, Puritans “sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s Will and so to receive future happiness”. Puritans were largely responsible for amendments that mandated public education inspired by their belief that children could only conform properly to biblical and legal tenants if they could read them for themselves.

To come to the Truth, each person has to make the free choice to study the matter. Without reading the Bible and without the will to think about what is written a person shall not come to the Truth. No matter how he may be active in doing things for his church, how religious he  or she may look for the outsiders, when their is no burning spirit in the soul of that person, no willingness to go deep in him or herself, there shall not come an opening to the real faith Jesus had in front of his eyes.

Jesus was also brought up in a world full of traditions. He was a boy living in a Jewish cult and learned from the Torah, which was his guide. He looked at the different religious groups and dared to question them. He looked at the way they interpreted the Holy Scriptures, how they lived their faith and how they were are were not prepared to go into the mystics of faith.

In most spiritual traditions, mysticism lies at the heart of spirituality. ‘‘Mysticism’’ refers to transcendent, contemplative experiences that enhance spiritual understanding. Mystical experiences can occur during intentional practices designed to create openings for transcendent experiences, such as Christian contemplative prayer, Zen meditation, movement or dance meditation or Sufi dance; or they can occur in the process of living a lifestyle that is conducive to transcendent experiences, as in contemplative gardening. In either case, contemplative or transcendent knowing is associated with spiritual experience.

‘‘Transcendence’’ refers to contemplative knowing that occurs outside the boundaries of verbal thought (Wilber). Although transcendence can refer to increasingly abstract thought, contemplative transcendence involves transcending thought itself. Mystical experiences of transcendence can be brought into thought, but they do not originate in thought or sensory perception.

The spiritual person can become a transcendental person, going into mystical contemplative experiences. He either may become religious with it or stay out of religion. But this kind of spirituality, set apart from religion would be weak and might be directionless, or worse, narcissistic.  Jesus wanted us to have a vibrant faith that focuses on his Father and he wants us to use the teachings of the Bible to shape both our religion and our spiritual interactions with him and God. Our spirit has to become connected intimately with Jesus, God but also with our brethren and sisters in the community, plus feeling a love for the full creation of the Supreme Being, Jehovah God. This includes a good relationship with the animals, plants and all sorts of people, no matter which religion they may belong to. A good Christian should be a good follower of Christ, sharing the same love Jesus had for all people, no matter what they had done or how they felt about him. Jesus loved also his enemies, so we should do likewise.

Our religious and spiritual practices should focus on that relationship with creation. The spiritual practices should not merely be productive in a narrow sense but should be disciplined, creative and committed. The regularity of a spiritual discipline like meditation may give shape to what may otherwise be a fragmented life. as such it can enrich the religious life. Over time meditation may facilitate a growing freedom from destructive energies that inhibit healthy relationships. Such a growth in inner freedom makes us more available and effective as compassionate presences in the world.

As the great traditions emphasise, spirituality is actually concerned with cultivating a “spiritual life” rather than simply with undertaking practices isolated from commitment. It offers a “value-added” factor to personal and professional lives. So, for example, in a variety of social contexts spirituality is believed to add two vital things.

  • First, it saves us from being purely results-orientated. Thus, in health care it offers more than a medicalised, cure-focused model and in education it suggests that a holistic approach to intellectual, moral and social development is as vital as acquiring employable skills.
  • Second, spirituality expands ethical behaviour by moving it beyond right or wrong actions to a question of identity – we are to be ethical people rather than simply to “do” ethical things. Character formation and the cultivation of virtue then become central concerns.

Current evidence suggests a growing diversity of new forms of spirituality as well as creative reinventions of the great traditions. The language of spirituality continues to expand into ever more professional and social worlds – for example urban planning and architecture, the corporate world, sport and law. Most strikingly there are recent signs of its emergence in two contexts that have been especially open to public criticism – commerce and politics. Equally, the Internet is increasingly used to expand access to spiritual wisdom. So, on current evidence, spirituality appears to be less of a fad than an instinctive desire to find a deeper level of values to live by. As such, it seems likely not only to survive but to develop further into many new forms. {Is spirituality a passing trend?}

Church HDR

Church HDR (Photo credit: I_am_Allan)

The church community should not be afraid of those people who also want to be spiritual people. Every religious person in a way should be a spiritual person. Faith without works is dead. Each person believing in Jesus should know he should undertake efforts to understand those teachings, knowing the Torah and following the commandments of Christ and the commandments of God. Each follower of Christ should not only go out in the world on his own, no he should make efforts to meet regularly with other like minded people, considering them as his brothers and sisters in Christ. Gathering together they should ‘make church‘ and be united in the religion of the Body of Christ. In that Body or Church they should undertake actions, like reading the Bible, exhorting each other and Breaking bread with each other. This would mean they are have do do religious actions and to be religious in the tradition of the faith of Christ Jesus. But without their pure heart they would not be honest to the others in that community. So first of all each individual has to purify himself or herself, to which she or he can use meditation or spiritual exercise.

Religion and spirituality are complementary and should go together, uniting each of us in the name of Christ.

Bible School, USA

Christadelphian Bible school meeting.
United brethren and sisters in Christ.

+

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

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Next: Points to remember of philosophy versus spirituality and religion

++

Find also to read:

  1. Human nature
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. Only One God
  4. God’s design in the creation of theworld
  5. God Helper and Deliverer
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. God’s Will for Us – Gods Wil voor ons 
  8. Gods hope and our hope
  9. God’s measure not our measure
  10. God’s promises
  11. Gods Salvation
  12. Full authority belongs to God
  13. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  14. Jesus Messiah
  15. Servant of his Father
  16. Incomplete without the mind of God
  17. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  18. Faith
  19. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  20. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  21. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  22. Faith antithesis of rationality
  23. Faith is a pipeline
  24. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  25. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  26. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  27. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  28. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Fellowship
  31. United people under Christ
  32. Parts of the body of Christ
  33. What part of the Body am I?
  34. Communion and day of worship
  35. Church sent into the world
  36. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  37. Teach children the Bible
  38. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  39. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  40. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  41. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  42. Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed
  43. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  44. The Soul confronted with Death
  45. Is there an Immortal soul
  46. The Soul not a ghost
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Destination of righteous

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide
  2. Is spirituality a passing trend?
  3. Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?
  4. Rewriting History — The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers
  5. Rewriting History — History of America Mega-Conference: Part Eight, Closing Thoughts
  6. Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?
  7. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them About God
  8. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them God’s Word « An Imperfect Life
  9. Let The Children Come ~ Be An Example « An Imperfect Life
  10. Let The Children Come ~ Pray for Them

+++

  • I am Spiritual but not Religious (passionistpartners.com)
    “I am spiritual but not religious.” This is the mantra voiced by a number of people, Catholics included. It means that such people savor the inner qualities of their faith in Jesus Christ but not the outer framework in which those qualities are contained.

    They respond warmly to the Christmas scene of Mary and Joseph kneeling close to Jesus as a newborn infant. They may resonate with the teaching of Jesus on the beatitudes, describing the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers. They may treasure His words on loving one another as he has loved us.

    But when it comes to graphically depicting these sentiments in ritual, music, art, architecture, vestments, ceremonies, processions, incense—this is a different story. They find such a discrepancy between thoughts and feelings, and the attempt at giving tangible expression to them fails miserably in the opinion of some people. The sermons are boring, the collection is scandalous, the singing is outdated, the prayers formulaic and out of touch with people’s needs and desires.

  • The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest (roguepriest.net)
    Jesus is central in one out of 16 or five out of 43 major religions practiced in the world today. (In the first list I’m excluding “no religion,” “new religions” and “other” for my count, and in the second list I’m pointing to Christianity, Christian Science, Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Rastafari.) By that count less than 6 – 11% of religions consider Christ important. With nods from Baha’i, Islam and Unitarianism, the figure rises to a max of 25%.
    Likewise, the majority of people in the world today do not follow any branch of Christianity.
    Yet the teachings of Christ loom large.
  • Religions and Spirituality (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
    diverse ethnicities and faiths from Passaic County gathered for one hour at Pa… SPARTA, NJ
  • Picking fights over religion and the separation of church and state (santamariatimes.com)
    how this kind of free-floating rage differs from Bible-beating preachers who blame earthquakes and tornadoes on other people’s sexual sins escapes me. The main characteristic of the fundamentalist mind is an inability to refrain from expressing contempt for beliefs different from one’s own — whether one’s spiritual example is Pat Robertson or Christopher Hitchens.
  • Spiritual Well-Being (casapalmera.com)
    piritual well-being is an integral part of mental, emotional and physical health. It is considered to be a primary coping resource on the journey of recovery and healing. This healing takes place in drug treatment centers, eating disorder residential programs and at trauma recovery. Spiritual well-being can be associated with a specific religion but does not have to be. This practice is merely one’s own journey to discover things of importance in life as well as one’s place among them. It can be practiced in numerous ways, with its main purpose being to find purpose and meaning in life. Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity. Spirituality can either be positive or negative. Spiritual well-being is a state is which the positive aspects of spirituality are shown. How the effects of spiritual well-being impact you is greatly determined by each individual.
  • My journey of faith (brynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com)
    What might have happened if I was baptized into the Church of England, for instance? Would my faith have been stronger as a teenager? Would I have still gone down the route to the Catholic Church, given the opportunity?My early upbringing was, as such, not massively religious one way or the other. We did not go to Church (Anglican or Catholic) on Sunday, so as not to sway me one way or the other.
    From what I remember, my Primary School was Church of England in all but name, we had Assembly every morning, sang hymns and when Christmas and Easter came, we would sing in the local Anglican Church, St. Nicholas.
  • Obama Spiritual Advisor: President Very Religious (peacemoonbeam.typepad.com)
    President Obama’s spiritual adviser says the leader of the free world is more religious than most people think.
  • Enriching Your Spirituality: Famous Christian Quotes (quotes.answers.com)
    A poignant quote can have a profound effect. The simple truths contained in only a few lines have the power to inspire, calm, and encourage someone in need. This is especially true for Christian quotes. Whether you are struggling to find God’s purpose in your life or seeking comfort in a time a duress, these famous Christian quotes offer great help in times of need.
  • 10 Religious Quotes to Make You Think (quotes.answers.com)
    It seems that no matter what breakthroughs science makes in explaining the world, people will always have a need for spirituality and religion. Indeed, it seems that the only area with satisfying answers for many tough questions is religion. These religious quotes are collected from thinkers, writers, and lay people from a wide range of religious faiths and creeds. What they all have in common is that they are guaranteed to make you think.
  • Religious Rites: An Overview of Christian Funeral Services (christianity.answers.com)
    Regardless of your religious persuasion, a funeral service is one of the more somber rites that you might attend. In the Christian faith, even though death is seen as a passage to eternal life, saying goodbye to a loved one is very sad. This article details the common elements of most Christian burial services.

 

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...Religion, religiosity and spirituality are not the same. Many people use the three words as synonyms and see no difference between them. Religiosity has to do with the quality of being ‘religiose‘ or being extremely, obtrusively, pious, sanctimoniously or even sentimentally religious, but in its broadest sense it also used to indicate the sort of activity a person is willing to take on for that what he believes.  It is about the numerous aspects of religious activity a person is willing to undertake, his dedication for that belief or religious doctrine. Another term that would work equally well, though less often used, is religiousness for the person’s belief in a god, the God of gods or in gods and their observance of associated activities.

With the choice of a religion comes the preparedness to follow certain teachings of that religion and to follow a sociocultural program for developing spiritually and for bringing spiritual realizations into everyday life according to the teachings or doctrines of that religion. In that movement about certain teachings concerning the individual and his environment the person shall want to become part of that religion and as such would want to take certain attitudes and do certain exercises in that faith. doing those readings, meditations and exercises for the mind, the person shall use ‘‘spirituality’’ to refer to his or her inner experiences that arise from trying to put such programs into practice.

Folk religiosity and faith

Folk religiosity and faith (Photo credit: AlmaGamil_Philippines)

Through the ages lots of people tried to find ways to come to a higher ecstasy or to get into raptures. Their actions in their faith should bring them “Spirituality” bringing them in exaltation a sense of transcendence, sacrality, and ultimacy, making them ready to bring praise, tribute, worship, acclaimglory, blessing, homage, reverence, magnification, apotheosis, glorification, acclamation, panegyric, idolization, extolment, lionization, laudation, in elation, delight, joy, excitement, inspiration, ecstasy, stimulation, with exhilaration, jubilation, exultation, joyousness. Their religious actions want to trigger the ‘becoming more’ going beyond or exceeding the Self. To do this, encoded signs and symbols may be the means by which experiences not only are generated but are described, even recognized and labelled, as religious. The many religions, the world is rich, have always relied upon several symbolic forms for breaking outside of the profane world. In most religions the believers try to come into an other stadium of life and of feeling. They even try to come in an other or alternative reality known only through its ecstatic qualities and interpretive frames.

Even within contemporary, more secular social settings, research suggests that those persons most involved in their religious traditions are more likely to report having strong religious experiences (Yamane and Polzer 1994, pp. 1–25).

To come to full or real spirituality the person has to give himself or herself to the faith which she want to follow and take on its traditions, demanding not only the will to come to an interior life or religious discipline but also to undertake social action, making ethical choices, family commitments, friendship, to live and work according that faith and to make choices for the way to live and in politics.

Whilst ‘Religion’ is a human invention that centers on specific rituals and a set of stories that outline a basic moral code and belief system, ‘spirituality’ is a natural reaction on feeling and the way people do behave. Spirituality relates to the spirit or essential essence of humanity. People who say they are spiritual are working to grow and better this inner force. Religious people are generally spiritual people as well, but spiritual people do not necessarily have to be religious. They may work to attain a heightened spirituality through alternative methods. Religions often, but not necessarily, have a hierarchy of initiates, bringing those further into the inner circle, leading the rituals for the general populace. Their rituals may look or seem spiritual but often can be performed on automatic pilot leaving the spiritual out.
English: Graph of timelines for major religions

Graph of timelines for major religions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people may be very religious but not exactly spiritual, not interested to dig deep in themselves. Some religious people are not so much interested in doing the things themselves, but just want to follow set regulations and handlings done in the religious community. They for example just want to sit down in church and be passive, looking and hearing what is going on, with sometimes even having the mind strolling of to somewhere else. Whilst the religion may be brought on by their parents or their environment where they grew up to get spiritual they have to undertake themselves the action to be willing to enter the spirituality which stems from their inner soul, and not from the hierarchy of their religion, their pastors or priests, but is dependent on their will to search in themselves, to look for the very essence of their own being. The spirited approach or spirituality like the religion may come form influences of different sources, where the parents, in first instance or the most important one, and from driving forces in the life of the person, like a God Almighty.

Some think spirituality can be achieved only through the use of every moral quality in its proper place and on its proper occasion. Moral shall influence the way of thinking and the background of material shall give possibilities to think about those theories, values and attitudes. Because being bounded to the natural state of our being in the universe, our ‘natural state of man’ has a very strong relationship with his moral and spiritual states, so much so that even a person’s manner of eating and drinking affects his moral and spiritual states. If the natural state of a person is subjected to the control of the directions of divine law it becomes his moral state and deeply affects his spirituality, as is said that whatever falls into a salt mine is converted into salt. That is why several Holy Scriptures like the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an have laid stress on physical and psychical cleanliness and postures, and their regulation in relation to all worship and inner purity and spiritual humility.
According to the Bible the first essential quality of a spiritually perfect man is that his relationship should be correct and right both with his Creator God and man, his fellow-creatures. Both relationships should be right and correct which can only retrieved by having righteous conduct, seeking good influences, safeguarding oneself against conduct which is likely to harm the relationships.
The division of ‘morals’ is to be found also in religious faith and in religious life. It is important, therefore, to be clear about religious faith and religious life. There are people who equate religious life with moral life and think they are the same. To them to be religious is to be moral and to be moral is to be religious. This is incorrect and confusing.In religious life ‘morality’ and ‘spirituality’ may be the cornerstones. A man of good moral character may be just moral and be not necessarily religious. He may be a good man but not a perfect man. His moral part is all right, but not his spiritual part. We as human beings should come into ‘a being’ or ‘a creation’ where moral, spirituality and religion are in balance in a correct relationship with the other creatures and with the Creator.

Religious views generally have a great impact on a person’s lifestyle and differing views can cause conflict in relationships. In history we have seen enough examples where the religion was used to come in conflict with other members of the creation. An atheist may be incredibly uncomfortable if their significant other wanted to attend religious services and continue prayers every day. Likewise, a person who is used to being involved in religious practices may feel like something is wrong with them if their boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to come with them to their Holy books study or other religious gatherings.
Icon-religion

Many religions cause difficulties in a family or in a community. – Icon-religion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religion may become a stumbling block in a family whilst the spirituality may have the family grow, because it can be independent from the religion. In a family religion can really become a hot mess of opinions, beliefs and arguments. Whereas, spirituality is life affirming. Even atheist can be a spiritual human being. Spirituality is a way of life. It is the only way to conquer ignorance. the spirituality is looking to get out of spiritual blindness which may cause enough foolishness, benightedness, unenlightenment. Spirituality may take the person beyond his first thought limits and bring him or her out of mental darkness. It is understanding that we all are part of a whole. The realm of spirituality is mystical and mysterious. When we look at the world with an attitude of wonder and awe, we become aware that the world is filled with spiritual life. Part of spirituality is being willing to admit that something is beyond our comprehension. With our materialistic attitude and ego-tripping of today, many having a high quality ore it is difficult for them to come to the science in understanding the world, trying to find answers they may never find. When we look at the universe and into our own hearts and see that which we don’t understand, we know that we have touched that which is unknowable and holy. To come to the acceptance of nullity is the most difficult part of spirituality. Only by willing to see  the futility of our self, accepting that insignificance we shall be able to become really spiritual. though we may be religious it can well be that we are not at all spiritual.

+

Preceding article: Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Read also:

  1. Faith
  2. Living in faith
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Religion and spirituality
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  8. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  9. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  10. How should we react against the world
  11. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  12. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  13. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  14. Childish or reasonable ways
  15. Words to push and pull
  16. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  17. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  18. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  19. Can we not do what Jesus did?
  20. Making church
  21. Church sent into the world
  22. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  23. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  24. True riches
  25. If you have integrity
  26. Happiness is like manna
  27. Happiness an inner state
  28. Poetry of Peace

+++

Additional reading:

  1. A Soul Wrapped in Vanity
  2. Identify With Your Soul by Ram Dass
  3. Relationship with God

+++

religiosity-cover-test-2

religiosity-cover-test-2 (Photo credit: jeffmikels)

  • The Rise of Religion Might Be All About Sex (alternet.org)
    A study suggests religion might have arisen to protect certain reproductive strategies, like long-term partnership.
  • Is There Still a Place for Religion? (virtuoussociety.com)
    Sociologists juxtapose the low religiosity of countries in Northern Europe with their low rates of crime and poverty. Unbelievers in America remark that religious people are over-represented in US prisons—and under-represented among its scientists and thinkers. In the opinion of many researchers, the statistical landscape of religion is bleak.
    +
    the US states with the lowest incarceration rates have the lowest levels of religiosity. But when controlling for race, income and other social factors by way of regression methods, Stark finds that religion is actually negatively correlated with violent crime.
    +
    To the extent that social scientists have neglected rigorous analysis in favor of more agreeable correlations, they must re-evaluate their assumptions, and paint their portrait of religious society in finer strokes, and from a wider palette. They will likely find that faith does not cast a shadow on modernity, but rather lights its way.
  • Texas A&M professor blends neuroscience, religion in new course (believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com)
    In the apparent conflict between science and religion, many are turning to the field of neuroscience to weigh in on debates like whether the Book of Revelation was based on an inspired dream, like Paul said it was, or a simple neurological process.
    +
    With more than 50 years of research and teaching experience across the entire spectrum of neuroscience, Klemm admits that his emphasis is on neuroscience, because, as he says it, “I’m not a preacher,” but he wants the students to take their own religious beliefs and try to make the connection with what he teaches them about neuroscience.
    +
    Religionists hold that humans have free will and are accountable for their beliefs and choices, while scientific experiments have led scientists to believe that free will is an illusion.
  • Supplementary Materials on Spirituality and Religion (chermercado.wordpress.com)
    For those who want to expand their understanding of the topic and Spirituality and Religion, you may refer to the following links below. I’ve provided some points of reflection that should help you re-think things though you may not necessarily agree with them.
    +
    Some Thoughts about the Integration of Spirituality and Religion
    The tendency of people who claim to be Spiritual but not religious is to treat faith as if it were a buffet: cherry-picking only the good parts and leaving the rest behind (as explained by the meme above). It’s convenient and satisfying but it doesn’t capture the essence of real faith.
    +
    Faith is a matter of reciprocity because it is a two-way street.
    +
    In summary, if your aim is to develop a personal but life-giving spirituality, it needs a check-in balance system to make sure it does just that. This check-in balance is easily provided by organized religion.
    +
    The Value of Community in Christian Spirituality
    To relate with the Church, then, is to concretely relate with Jesus, who is God afterall. If you find yourself having a difficult time dealing with the Church’s imperfection, that’s insight in itself into how it might be like for God to be dealing with each and everyone of us. To relate with others (the Church), then, is to get to know more how God relates with us and how He has to deal with our petty problems and imperfections.
  • Religion Vs. Spiritual (etsuwmst.wordpress.com)
    Many people religious background comes from what their parents instill in them but once they reach a certain age is where they find their true calling as to what they think and feel is right. Realistically most people just conform into whatever is most common to them.
    +
    Religion is organized; it’s more of a physical thing. Like something imaginable as far as seeing or feeling. Religion is instituted by man. In a religion there are many gods, although they are serving the same purpose. Just like there are many beliefs in religion. Where a spiritual person does not have an organized way about being spiritual, it is all within yourself. It’s more of being spiritual than something being physical.
  • Religiosity Raises Risk Among Sex Offenders, Clergy More Dangerous Than Other Groups (atheistrev.com)
    Male clergy accused of sex crimes were found to be more dangerous in some important ways than matched non-clergy offenders (Langevin, Curnoe, & Bain, 2000). And religiosity was positively associated with the number of convictions for sex crimes and the number of victims among convicted male sex offenders (Eshuys & Smallbone, 2006). It was also inversely related to the age of the victims (i.e., more religious offenders tended to victimize younger children).Parents place clergy on pedestals due to their presumed connection to some sort of “god,” and they teach their children to do the same. They lower their guard because the pastor wouldn’t possibly do things like that. Clergy are often viewed as morally superior to the rest of us, and the same goes for highly religious non-clergy. They are given the benefit of the doubt again and again. We couldn’t possibly question behavior that would never be tolerated in other contexts. And this continues despite evidence that clergy and highly religious persons may actually be more dangerous to our children.
  • Who is religious? (suryanarayanarajumd.wordpress.com)
    Common man understands religion by belonging to certain religion or belief system, he follows the pattern followed by crowd, mob by going to temple on certain dates, enjoys the entertainment involved in it.But religiosity is an inner science, “doing” is relevent to outer but “non-doing” is the key to inner exploration which does not mean laziness but it demands heightened awareness. With heightened awareness you touch a point from which you witness the seemingly opposite things are complimentary both in the outer and the inner.
    +

    First when you are not doing bodily or mentally which include thinking, concentration, contemplation, when all activity caeses “you simply are”, “just be”.
    +
    develop the skill of watching self activity which is nothing but self-inquiry.As you go on watching self activity from your center of being, thought process slows down, there is radical change in self-activity and one fine day self stops functioning when it is not required. Mind is not enemy but because of lack of awareness in functining of daily activities at present it is dictating our way of life. Mind means past plus future. But life is in the present.
    +

    The whole education makes the human mind conditioned to trust only in objects which he can dissect their basic constituents.

    The problem arises when when one tries to analyze the subject in the same way. An average mans thinks of Self in an objective way.

    But the nature of subjectivity is that it cannot be observed. That which is observable is not your subject.

    Meditation, watchfulness is the key to explore the inner. With watchfulness a distance is created between the watcher and the mind.

    As watchfulness crystallizes the distance becomes longer and longer. Soon the mind is so far away you can hardly feel that it exists.

  • Spirituality is the world around us (realmof13.wordpress.com)
    God and spirituality are pretty controversial subjects in this day and age.  I myself have run the full circle of beliefs, not really wandering, but falling into the next one based of experiences and changes of perception.  I have never been the biggest fan of organized religion, but I have recognized the good it does for those who participate with good intention in their hearts.
  • Religious vs. Spiritual (reginayflorence.wordpress.com)
    Many people study different types of religions. It says “ the fact that many of the negative things which people attribute to religions are features of some forms of some religions(usually Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but not of other religions (like Taoism or Buddhism).” We are stating that being spiritual is expressing our religion. By worshiping our spirit it shows that our religion is more than that. It is a way of getting deeper with him(God). It bring a deeper meaning to us when we believe.
  • Relying on Religion (creativesolblog.wordpress.com)
    Many conversations concerning the topic of religion get quite personal, emotional and out of hand fairly fast. This is the case so often that common etiquette generally recommends that one avoids the subject all together (especially at the dinner table).

Joseph Priestley To the Point

Through the ages there have always been some people who wanted to honour and worship only One God. The Catholic Church did everything in her power to disgrace such believers in one God Who is only One. Later several protestant denominations joined forces against those who did not want to make the son of God as their God.

We should be strong enough to resist the powers of the adversary of God (satan) and continue to believe in the Only Divine Supreme Being, Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

+

The 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804), having separated from the Church of England because his ‘ordinary brain’ has given him much on his mind to think and to consider how one God could be three persons. As a natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works, he was not afraid to make his hands dirty to do some good study-work.

Agitated for a wide-reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, he went looking for the Truth, and where could it not be better found than in the Bible itself, the Book of books that church claimed to have as its basis for its teaching. Several ministers refused to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than to separate from it. Not many dared to question the fundamental beliefs.

Because of his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and what the church taught ‘When Joseph was four years old, he could flawlessly recite all 107 questions and answers of the Westminster Short Catechism.)  and his knowledge of the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, he could see what the phrases said and how the way of writing should be interpreted .

Joseph Priestley’s science was integral to his theology, and he consistently tried to fuse Enlightenment rationalism with Christian theism. The classical rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries (Descartes, Spinoza, Male-branche, and Leibniz) was based on the idea of natural order—an infinite chain of causality pervading the world. There was a decisive role of reason in both human cognition and human activity and everything should be investigated and checked by the things we know already.For him as scientist it was clear that reason should be used as the chief source and test of knowledge.

Using such a method of research, comparison and elimination, trying to understand the language of the Bible, looking at the words how they were written, placed and used he came to the findings that many church teachings,  presented to the people as dogma’s which they had to believe because they could not understand them, where not according to Biblical texts.

***

We should remember

The excerpt from the pamphlet “A General View of the Arguments for the Unity of God,” published in 1794 its third section enumerates arguments from the Scriptures against the trinitarian doctrine:

  1. The doctrine of the Trinity . . . has as little countenance from Scriptures as from reason.
  2. The Scriptures teach us that there is but one God (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 83:19; Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:6)
  3. The Scriptures teach us the One God sent Jesus Christ to instruct mankind
  4. God empowered Jesus to work miracles
  5. God raised Jesus from the dead
  6. God made Christ, who has to make us and we should be in him (1 Corinthians 8:6)
  7. for followers of Christ there should only One Most High, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all of them who have one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5, 6)
  8. Bible says there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
  9. Not only does the word trinity never occur in the Scriptures, but it is nowhere said that there are three persons in this one God; nor is the doctrine explicitly laid down in any other direct proposition whatever.
  10. Christ who did not sin and as such did not tell any lies, indeed says “I and my Father are one,” but he sufficiently explains himself by praying that his disciples might be one with him in the same sense in which he was one with the Father (John 10:30; John 17:21, 22)
  11. The one God is said to have created all things and is one God called the Father, author of all beings
  12. the Creator God is God and Father with respect to Christ, as well as all other persons (John 6:27; John 17:3; John 20:17; Ephesians 1:17; Colosians 1:3).
  13. Christ is said expressly to be inferior to the Father; all his power is said to have been given him by the Father, and he could do nothing without the Father. (John 16:28; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3; John 5:19; John 14:10; Matthew 28:18; 2 Peter 1:17;  Revelation 1:1).
  14. God is the Almighty who knows everything and can do everything but:  Some things were withheld from Christ by his Father. (Mark 13:32; Matthew 20:23).
  15. Dominion Christ derived from the Father subordinate to that of the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:24ff.).
  16. Christ always prayed to the Father to whom we also should pray (Matthew 6:9; 26:37ff.; Philippians 4:6; Psalm 5:1-2; Psalm 69:13)
  17. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and his son is Jeshua from Nazareth in the lineage of King David, who came after God, Adam, Moses and Abraham, and who called Jehovah the Only True God. (John 17:1-3; Luke 1:35; John 1:34; John 20:17, 29-31; 1 Peter 1:3; Mark 15:34; Revelation of the apostle John 1:1; 3:12; Matthew 16:16-17; 1 John 4:15)
  18. Christ is not only styled a man even after his resurrection, approved of by God, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of the people around at that time Jesus was alive and death (Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 2:10; 1 Corinthians 15:21).
  19. Christ now enjoys exaltation,but it is the gift of his Father, and the reward of his obedience unto death. (Philippians 2:8, 9; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 12:2).
  20. Think above all those mentioned passages in the Holy Scriptures, compare them with other passages and wonder if the 18th century has reason to believe:

    No person, I think, can, with an unprejudiced mind, attend to these considerations and the texts of Scripture above recited (which are perfectly agreeable to the tenor of the whole), and imagine that it was the intent of the sacred writers to represent Christ either as the supreme God, or as the maker of the world under God.

++

  1. Only One God
  2. God is One
  3. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  4. God of gods
  5. Attributes to God, titles ascribed to Him or Names given to JHWH, the God of gods.
  6. Full authority belongs to God
  7. God Helper and Deliverer
  8. Praise the God with His Name
  9. The Divine name of the Creator
  10. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  11. I Will Cause Your Name To Be Remembered
  12. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  13. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  14. Fearing the right person
  15. Jesus Messiah
  16. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  17. Jesus spitting image of his father
  18. The Trinity – the Truth
  19. The wrong hero

+++

 

  • Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    Priestley’s religiousness carried over to the U.S. when he came here later in life.  The Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel is the oldest church building in the Borough of Northumberland, PA.
  • The Life and Works of Joseph Priestley (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    He performed experiments that also acknowledged photosynthesis.  He hasn’t had the easiest of lives, one full of political and religious torment.  He also did experiments on other things such as photosynthesis and carbonated water.  Still, somehow he managed to perform his oxygen experiments and make sure his name is forever written in our textbooks as one of the best scientists of his time.
  • Early Life (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    When Joseph was four years old, he could flawlessly recite all 107 questions and answers of the Westminster Short Catechism.  This showed that he was an extremely intelligent boy and absorbed almost anything put in front of him. His aunt decided to get the best education for him that they could.  They planned to have him become a part of the ministry. Joseph Priestley attended local schools where he learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.
    +
    in 1761 became a tutor at Warrington Academy in Lancashire. Ordained in 1762, he was married that same year to Mary Wilkinson, the sister of the Welsh ironmaster, John Wilkinson. He gradually came to question the divinity of Jesus, while accepting much else of Christianity, in the process becoming an early Unitarian
  • When Scripture Becomes Scripture (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    he writings of the Bible exist as historical artifacts and may therefore be read as historical artifacts. To properly interpret a text we must seek to understand it within its historical context. We need to know all sorts of things: we need to know who wrote it and why; we need to know its intended audience; we need to know the literary genre to which it belongs; we need to know about the society in which the author and audience lived; we need to know the cultural and literary conventions of the time; we need to know the worldview the text inhabits, etc.
  • Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7 (discoverthetruefacts.wordpress.com)
    The Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, and the Spirit is not the Son, nor is the Spirit the Father. They are all distinct from each other. Yet there are not three Gods, but One God (this is according to Christians). Any human with a sound/sane mind, who is looking for the truth, will see that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is massive contradiction to what God Almighty stated in the Old Testament. Furthermore this kind of doctrine is never taught by Jesus or his disciples and thus contradicts everything what Jesus taught. If Jesus (p) really taught the doctrine of the Trinity, how come there is not one verse where he states:- “God is One but in three persons” i.e. saying something along the lines, “Father is God Son is God and the Holy Spirit is also God?” Anyone reading throughout the New Testament will see Jesus saying: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Jesus taught Monotheism not Polytheism.
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
    +
    CJ says:
    I think it’s just a function of sola scriptura. I think we can honestly say that the Trinity is not crystal clear from Scripture alone (I say this as a trinitarian). So when one doesn’t have recourse to tradition, what do you do with verses like “my Father is greater than I” or “I return to my Father and your Father, your God and my God?”

    There are other reasons that may particular to an individual. For example, libertarian blogger Vox Day is ok with the Nicene Creed, but takes issue with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (with the expanded section on the Holy Spirity) because he perceives it to be the result of imperial meddling. Here’s a link to a discussion of the Trinity on his blog: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2013/10/mailvox-25-reasons-for-trinitarian.html

  • Facts About The Birth Of Jesus (heatonkent.com)
    There are many people who believe Jesus was born on December 25 in a manger with shepherds and three wise men surrounding Him with a star shining above. Nothing is more foreign to the truth or the real story of what the Bible tells of the birth of Christ.
    +
    The Lord does not reveal when Jesus was born. It was likely in spring but the Bible does not reveal his birthday or the year of His birth. Christ was born somewhere between 7 B.C. and 4 B.C. Herod (Matthew 2:3,16) died in 4 B.C. and Jesus was born during his reign. Ferrell Jenkins writes, “It is impossible to keep Christ in Christ-Mass for He was never in it. The Catholic Church dreamed that up all by themselves without the help of Christ, and I might add, without His approval.” Should we hold to traditions of men instead of God’s word? Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9)!
  • Evangelical Nonconformist origins in Leeds (gerardtjcharmley.wordpress.com)
    Moult died in 1727, and was succeeded by Thomas Whittaker, son of the first pastor. His ministry was remarkable not so much for what he did preach, and what he did not preach. The Trinity was barely mentioned, as was election. The congregation declined, as dissatisfied members found homes elsewhere. A few years after his death, the congregation had become Unitarian. Depleted, they eventually united with the church worshiping at Mill Hill Chapel, and Call Lane Chapel became a hired hall, used by a number of sects. – (below, Mill Hill Chapel today)
    .Image

The Third Word: Scripture twisting is blasphemy

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

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

+

Please do also find:

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

+++

 

 

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

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

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

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

Reformation500

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

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

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

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

View original post 417 more words

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‘.

+

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

++

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

+++

  • 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.
    +
    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?