People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

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

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

Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

To be continued:

 People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

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Please find also to read:

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

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Additional reading:

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

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  • Friday Devotional: Check Your Spirit (divinefaithfulness.wordpress.com)
    Living in complacency is not where God has called us to live. I sure have camped out there more times than I care to admit, though. Thinking that I didn’t need to go to church because I simply didn’t need to, saying that I loved God was good enough. Thinking that I didn’t need friends who loved God, that my old friends were just fine because they weren’t going to challenge me to live differently. Living in sin because, God will just forgive me anyway. Like it was all just no big deal. Ever been there, too?
  • A Sermon: Reading the Bible Together (davidswanson.wordpress.com)
    As a church we say that, “We desire to listen and submit to the Scripture, God’s revealed Word for His beloved children.” There are at least two important assumptions within this statement. The first is that God reveals himself through the Bible. God, being God, is so different from us that anything we know about God must be revealed by God. And though we don’t believe God has showed us everything about himself, as Christians we believe he has revealed enough for us to know him and experience his love and salvation. He has done this most importantly through his son.
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    It’s one thing to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s role in the Bible’s writing and even our understanding. But when it comes to applying – to submitting – we act as though this is up to us, on our shoulders. But it’s not and this is why even a hard word – submit – a word few of us like, is a good word. For it is God who gives us the wisdom, strength, and stamina to live new and better lives in response to the Bible.
  • Real Truth never changes….. (wepresson.wordpress.com)
    In a world that seeks change there are some things that never change and
    it’s a good thing they don’t. Yes, there are absolute truths we can count on. The key is
    that they can only come from a Source that cannot be in error. Did you catch that?
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    And God promises to protect it down through the ages so that everyone has a chance to hear His truths and trust in His Son, our Savior, Jesus.
  • Advice from someone who knows. (commutewithchrist.com)
    We usually seek advice from people who have been in a similar situation or have knowledge of something that we don’t. But how often so we seek it from God? He’s written an entire book on how to live our lives. The Bible. It’s quite incredible that not many people seek it out given that in some shape or form it can give us direction and advice on everything we face in this life. It may not be the advice or guidance we want to hear but it’s in there. Work, relationships and money. These are the topics in our lives that we spend the most time thinking and worrying about.
  • The Word of God is perfect! (jooch1986.wordpress.com)
    all men have no excuse for not knowing Him or seeking Him.
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    Many people see the Scriptures as burdensome and full of rules.  Of course it will appear this way to those who do not know God and do not understand that His “yoke is easy and [His] burden is light (Matt. 11:30).  But really, the Word of God, or just decrees or whatever you want to call them are “more to be desired…than…even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey” (v. 10).  These are the words that show us the Way to eternal life with the perfect Creator of the universe who is all good, and in whom “there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
  • Intellectual Discipleship? Faithful Thinking for Faithful Living (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
    The biblical master narrative serves as a framework for the cognitive principles that allow the formation of an authentically Christian worldview. Many Christians rush to develop what they will call a “Christian worldview” by arranging isolated Christian truths, doctrines, and convictions in order to create formulas for Christian thinking.
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    A God-centered worldview brings every issue, question, and cultural concern into submission to all that the Bible reveals, and it frames all understanding within the ultimate purpose of bringing greater glory to God. This task of bringing every thought captive to Christ requires more than episodic Christian thinking and is to be understood as the task of the church, and not merely the concern of individual believers. The recovery of the Christian mind and the development of a comprehensive Christian worldview will require the deepest theological reflection, the most consecrated application of scholarship, the most sensitive commitment to compassion, and the courage to face all questions without fear.
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    Christian faithfulness requires the conscious development of a worldview that begins and ends with God at its center. We are only able to think as Christians because we belong to Christ; and the Christian worldview is, in the end, nothing more than seeking to think as Christ would have us to think, in order to be who Christ would call us to be.
  • Communication with our Father (eviej13.wordpress.com)
    The ability to communicate is often taken for granted and we just expect people to know what we want from them. Although God Does know what we want from Him, there is still nothing more important than our communication with Him.
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    Reading the Bible can help us sort through all the craziness to see what’s really important. It can bring about peace in our lives rather than allowing us to wallow in our confusion.
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    Nothing should become more important than getting into the Word and the Word into us. We will suffer the spiritual consequences of not feeding on the Word of God as we would suffer the physical consequences of not having a regular meal.
  • Psalm 78 as a Microcosm of the Bible (blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.wordpress.com)
    Psalm 78 is a microcosm of the entire Bible in that it was written in ancient times, chronicling the works of the Lord in the face of the faithlessness of man, that all succeeding generations might learn from this written record that God is good and that there reward in obeying Him.
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     A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
  • What is the Bible and what are we supposed to do with it? (theway21stcentury.wordpress.com)
    Christians often use terms like inerrant, infallible, authoritative and inspired, but not all of these are Biblical terms, and not all of them represent clear Biblical concepts. We should be willing to modify or deepen our understanding based on the best in information we have.
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    Most christians belief that Jesus was (and is) God incarnate (i.e. in a human body), and that he was at once fully God and fully human. Enns suggests we perhaps should also consider the Bible as both a human and divine document, in that it is fully grounded in the language, culture and thought forms of its day, yet it is also God’s means of revealing himself to the world.But instead of presuming we know how ‘God’s word’ ought to be, we should study and learn how it actually is …. and so learn more about God’s character.
  • The Greatest Gift: A Defense (triggermanblog.wordpress.com)
    Probably the greatest gift that I have ever received, from anyone, was the first Bible I was old enough to read.
    Oh, I was given story bibles with those smiling pictures and happy tales of when God did great things for those men, and women, of old. But I always knew that I wasn’t getting the whole picture, it was like I was getting spoon-fed some rhetoric, choice tales about God being my “buddy”if I would just put on a smile and believe. So, when I finally got my first “real” Bible, I was excited to be able to get to the real story, not the smiling faces and happy tales that were glossy and inspiring to me as a happy child, I wanted something more to understand the psychology of this God who was recorded as doing these great things.
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People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

Books of many interpretations

christadelphian church kedron brook (1)

christadelphian church kedron brook (1) (Photo credit: bertknot)

People often wonder when they look at persons who read the Bible or discuss the Bible how it comes there are so many interpretations. In Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs a reader rightly remarks that in certain faith groups a child/young adult may believe that the God of the Bible is real & no further examination of this conclusion is necessary, which could bring in the danger that there will be no-critical thinking any more. The person reacting thinks this leads many Christadelphians to actively seek sources confirming their beliefs and actively avoiding sources that challenge these beliefs – pure confirmation bias. For that reason the Christadelphians ask their members always to search each saying and not to restrict themselves to our own literature, but to read the Bible everyday plus to read also other writings on the different Biblical subjects from all sorts of denominations. In our community we do not want denominational restrictions and prefer to have individual freedom. For others this may look strange and make it that they do not understand that there may be several different opinions over certain matters in the different Christadelphian groups. They also accuse us of not being in union, but than they do not see that we are in union with Christ and that there is also the union in the brotherhood because we accept each-other as brothers and sisters in Christ having the same faith in Christ and having the same hope for the Kingdom of God.

In case there are people in our community who dare not to take up writings from others, or are afraid to listen or look at the new visual and audible media (radio, television, computer) we think they could feel like that because they could be not strong enough in their faith. Somebody who is build firmly in his believes, does not have to fear, when he sincerely surges for the truth and always considers the Will of God in his or her actions.

Origin of different interpretations

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity church (Photo credit: stevecadman)

The difficulty for humankind today is that we do have the consequences of the adversary by the first human beings. In the Garden of Eden God has given humankind the liberty to decide everything themselves and to find out everything themselves. So we also do have to find our own way. We shall not have to face a dictator of an “omniscient God” who did “ensure that the Scriptures were clear enough to leave no room for interpretation”. In case people would just take God his Words like they are written black on white in the Scriptures there would be no problem and everybody would think the same. But in the past there have been workers against God (the adversaries or satan) who started to twist the words of the Supreme Being and who tried to bring in false teachings and false gods. As such the Trinity also became part of Christendom and created much confusion. One false teaching brought in a passage where again a solution had to be found and some dogma had to be created.

As a Good Father the Elohim Jehovah, the God of gods gave the people living on this earth His advice. Like we as parents can give advice to our children they all may interpret our sayings differently or take liberties with our thoughts. In the same way the creatures of God take the same liberties and some may twist the words their heavenly Father said. This twisting makes them to react differently on one or the other saying. This makes that today we can find many denominations, many churches with even in those churches several interpretations of one passage in the Bible.

Freedom to find out yourself

As God has given freedom to man at the beginning of time, to allow them to rule the world and to find out things on their own, we now have to bear the consequences and live with the possibility of different interpretations. But when people would be prepared just to take the Words of God for what they say, black on white, and would listen to their inner voice, God will be prepared to guide them and to give them inner feelings and insight so that they really shall find the Truth. But it is that preparedness to listen to the heart, which shall make it in many cases difficult, because most people do want to keep onto traditions and want to belong with the majority. They shall have to understand that perhaps the lovers of God do not belong to the majority of the world and that it is that what Jesus is about talking of the small gate to enter the Kingdom of God.

Ability to find God and Truth

To be able to find the God of gods and to find the Truth, people shall have to be willing to open their mind and to give their full attention to the Word of God as it is notated in the Book of books, the Bible.

As the critic on our writings remarks we can see it happening all the time that even two Bible-believing people can have opposing views on a certain passage of Scripture. Both claim to have solid supporting evidence in terms of context, cross-references and consistency. Both make what they think are reasonable arguments for their interpretations. So how can we determine which view is right? And does it matter?

When we do hear or are confronted with different views we should now that it can be that both views are partly right and partly wrong. With the exception of clear-cut fundamental Bible teaching — sometimes called “first principles” — no one should expect to find the full, complete, all-aspects-covered answer. We are all human beings which do not have the possibility to be perfect in everything. We all have our own deficiencies and fallacies. We also do have to face the things which are know but also those which are unknown. Even Christ had to tell his disciples he could not give all answers, because it is only given to God to know everything. Christ even did not know when he would be returning to the earth. He will certainly be involved in that important event where he shall have to come to judge the living and the dead, but even there he could not say when the end-times would take place.

In case Jesus did not know such important things concerning himself, how would we know such things?

A Book of books for discovery

Scripture is so richly significant and interwoven that discovery of another aspect or realization of another line of inquiry is just a matter of time. Several times in the 20th century alone, discoveries of ancient texts — in fact, whole libraries of ancient texts — have thrown new light on Bible passages. Ongoing archaeological investigations continue to help us understand God’s inspired Record better.

Brother George Booker looks into the matter why we even can not be 100% certain of first principles. In Which View is Right? he looks at our first principles which are expressed in man’s imperfect wording and warns us that there is always the possibility of simple misunderstanding of what, precisely, those words mean.

As serious Bible students we should have always an open mind and look at all possibilities. We should be prepared to continually  grow spiritually as disciples of Christ. Everyday our thought should be by the Most High and always we should continually be seeking to increase in knowledge and understanding. God’s Truth and Biblical Truth invites… indeed, it welcomes… investigation. So when encountering a different view, we should seize the opportunity at least to understand the evidence provided. We can always learn something, and if we’re wise, we may need to adjust our own views accordingly.

So what has all this to do with Bible study? Simple. There are many differing interpretations of Scripture. Which view is right? The measuring stick for soundness and rightness must be God’s Word. It’s that simple.

Of course, many other views (with which we may disagree) cite Bible verses as evidence. Thus it becomes a matter of determining:

  • The relevance of the cited passage: Does it contain the same or similar words and ideas?
  • Its validity: Does it really support the point being argued?
  • Its clarity: Is the reference self-explanatory, or does it, too, need interpretation?
  • Its consistency: Is the interpretation in harmony with undisputed fundamentals of Bible teaching?

For example, if an opinion is inconsistent with or contradicts well-known Bible facts and doctrine, then it must be modified accordingly, or abandoned. So just because a view is argued by citing dozens of verses does not, in itself, make it Biblically sound. What counts is clear, relevant evidence, logically arrived at. {Which View is Right?}

Being right or wrong not so evident

It is not up to decide this guy or that one is right in everything. Probably not one of them is right in everything, and both can have many things right but also some thing(s) utterly wrong. Would that be a reason to exclude them? As long as it are not the most important basic elements of faith, we would say “No”. And we also would say those differences of opinion do not have to exclude union in speech. Both can still have the same basic faith for belonging in the “Church of God”.

It does matter if a person’s misunderstanding of a Bible passage, or several passages, will take him or her out of the way that leads to salvation. It doesn’t matter if the view is simply differing details such as timing and location and protagonists.

What is more important is how we deal with our inevitable differences.

Suppose a person with a particular view is 100% right on an issue that could easily affect the salvation of a person with a different view. The matter doesn’t stop here. If the first person (the one who is perfectly right) is not patient, gentle and meek in trying to persuade the second person (2 Tim 2:24,25), but rather impatient, harsh and accusatory (manifested by strong words, condescension, indignation, arrogance, or threats), then his correctness counts for little:

“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24,25).

Wrong behaviour more than cancels out right knowledge. If anyone has been blessed to have the right understanding of Scripture, then he or she has the responsibility to be forthright but caring toward those who do not yet share that understanding. Such patient, gentle teaching imitates the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus himself.

Getting knowledge at different moments in time

Not every one is at the same time gifted with the same knowledge. For some it make take ‘ages’ before they come to Biblical insight. Others may see things very easily. Some might remember appropriate Bible verses very easily,others easily forget them, though they know and remember what has been said and meant in the verses.

The one who may think he or she is right about the meaning of a certain part in the Bible, has to take on the Agape love of Christ and be patient, willing to give the other person the time to find out how it really is. In the meantime he can provide enough study material and show interest in the other person his or her way of thinking. Together they should unite to go into research of the different matters we should get knowledge of.

When we encounter differences in opinion, we also should ask ourselves if those differences are so important or can interfere with the real belief.

  • Does the difference really matter?
  • How should you deal with the difference?

Clear language

To find clarity we always should look in the Bible to find the Truth, by comparing verses in other books and by looking if one saying does not contradict an other saying of way of thinking. The Bible does not contradict itself. God is a God of order and clarity. He did not speak in “broebeltaal” (a strange language nobody can understand), He also does not speak in a “broddeltaal” (a ‘bungle language) scribbles or a clumsy language. He has given clear words, but people do have to be willing to take them as they are written down. As soon as they fabricate their own dogma’s they shall get in trouble. But that is not because of the Words written in the bible, but because of man’s own fault of thinking god’s Words can only be understood by learned people. God does not ask from man to have a special education to interpret His Words. In all people He has given the possibility to get to understand and to know what they should understand and know at the time.

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

To be continued:

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

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Please find also to read:

  1. Faith
  2. Epitome of the one faith
  3. My (Christadelphian) faith
  4. Hope
  5. True Hope
  6. Did the Inspirator exist
  7. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  8. God of gods
  9. Sayings around God
  10. Full authority belongs to God
  11. Who Wrote the Bible?
  12. Bible Word from God
  13. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High
  14. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  15. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  16. Creator and Blogger God 12 Old and New Blog 2 Blog for every day
  17. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  18. Bible guide Taking the Bible as a lead
  19. Statutes given unto us
  20. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  21. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  22. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  23. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  24. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  25. Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible
  26. Which View is Right?
  27. Bible in the first place #1/3
  28. Bible in the first place #2/3
  29. Bible in the first place #3/3
  30. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  31. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  32. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  33. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  34. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  35. Story and Typology
  36. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  37. Knowing old sayings to understand the Bible
  38. Archaeology and the Bible
  39. Fear knocked at the door
  40. Getting to know the Truth
  41. Why believing the Bible
  42. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  43. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  44. Unsure about relevance Bible
  45. Appointed to be read
  46. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  47. Learn to read the Bible effectively
  48. We should use the Bible every day
  49. A Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  50. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  51. The manager and Word of God
  52. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  53. What English Bible do you use?
  54. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  55. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  56. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  57. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  58. Prophets making excuses
  59. The Bible is a today book
  60. Bible for you and for life
  61. Bible like puddle of water
  62. Cell phone vs. Bible
  63. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  64. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  65. Relapse plan
  66. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  67. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  68. Power in the life of certain
  69. Be an Encourager
  70. Possibility to live
  71. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  72. Feed Your Faith Daily
  73. Faith antithesis of rationality
  74. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  75. First Century of Christianity
  76. Many churches
  77. An ecclesia in your neighborhood

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If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself?

If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself? (Photo credit: Zombie Inc. Wholesale Zombies for Over 25 years)

When Jesus is God,
how does it come there are so many pictures and statues made of him by those who say he is God,
whilst God tells His followers not to make any picture of Him?
Why do they not keep to those commandments of the Most High God, who says they may have only One God
and not worship any other being?

  • There are many Trinities! (onthehillgilayjun.blogspot.com)
    While the majority of the Christian world considers the concept of the Trinity vital to Christianity, many historians and Bible scholars agree that the Trinity of Christianity owes more to Greek philosophy and pagan polytheism than to the monotheism of the Jew and the Jewish Jesus.
  • Trinitarianism Is Not __________ (onetheology.com)
    Modalism  (also known as Sabellianism, named after it’s earliest proponent, Sabelius, in the 3rd century.) believes that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different names for the same God acting in different roles or manifestations at difference times in salvation history. God is not really three distinct persons. In some circles people often call Modalism “Oneness” or “Jesus Only”. This view has also been called “Monarchianism.” Today, the largest Modalist group is the United Pentecostal Church. Modalisms emphasis on there being one God makes it attractive too many.
  • In Another Post On A Really Bad Idea (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com) can be seen how far one can go when start believing one person is the other. Like when is assumed that Jesus is God that would make the mother of Jesus also the mother of God and than it would be very strange if that mother could sin. Therefore ther are people who claim she could not have sinned. they than dare to say:
    “To deny her perfection and her relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost would be heresy.”

“She only questioned the angel as she did not know how she would have Christ without a man. Gabriel explained. Mary, all her life was in harmony with God’s perfect Will. She trusted God. She was not anxious. These are all Protestant interpretations. She did not talk to Joseph as she trusted in God.”

  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com) may look at “Theophany”, to be celebrated on January 6th being the Feast Day celebrating the manifestation of God. They do not seem to listen to the words of God Who clearly says who is being baptised. At the time of Jesus his baptism by John in the Jordan God revealed not Himself to people as the Holy Trinity (not at all found in Matt. 3:16) but he revealed that the Nazarene Jew was God His beloved son.
    Matthew 3:16-17 according the Bibles we do have clearely states:   Yeshua, when he was immersed, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.  (17)  Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (HNV)

One can wounder if Scriptures can not be lear enough when one person speak about the other. Do the Trinitarians not want to believe Jesus or iIs jesus also not clear enough with saying: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah. ” (John 17:3 HNV)?

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    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. Samuel Powell, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene University, makes the point that there is a typical narrative associated with nineteenth-century theology: Schleiermacher delivered the final blow and Barth revived it (267).
    +
    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.
  • How to Identify a Christian Cult (924jeremiah.wordpress.com) overlooks the fact what really makes a cult and talks about a figure, which is according the Bible the adversary of God. Though on the site is also written: “The followers of such cults will say that they believe in Jesus. They will use the terms “God” and “Holy Spirit.” They will talk about baptism, salvation, Heaven and Hell. Some will even acknowledge the cross as a means of atoning for sins.”
    +
    “Satan simply can’t afford to let his followers get too close to the truth about who Christ is, and what He accomplished on earth. So if you want to find out if you’re talking to a real Christian or not, start drilling them about Jesus.”
    But then overlooks that this Satan has his followers who do not want to accept taht Jesus really was tempted, could sin but did not sin. And gives the impression that those who do not want to take the words of God and Jesus for what they say are the good ones, or the churches to follow, whilst the ones who accept Jesus his offering for our sins (like we) and accept hat he is the “son of God” like God Himself said would be belonging to a sect, though they really believe in what Jesus himself said, accepting that he nor God would ever lie:
    ” (3)  “And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע {Jehsua} Messiah whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 The Scriptures 1998+)
    What always surprises us is that such websites accusing certain denominations, like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to be cult, never leave any place to react on what is said. (On January 23, 2014, there is no possibility to reply on the writings on that website, nor the above mentioned article.)
  • How to Avoid Being Led Astray by False Shepherds (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    If you’re like most Christians, you don’t know your Bible very well. You never went to Bible college or seminary. You’ve had no theological training. Can you really engage with the professionals and not get hurt? Can you really become wiser than them even though you don’t have any diplomas in Hebrew or theology? Of course you can. Keep reading.
    +
    As a member of God’s flock, you need to be constantly listening for His Voice in the things you hear and read.
    +
    The Holy Spirit is your resident Counselor. He is with you at all times. He is your Guardian, Teacher, and Truth Tester. You must not let any earthly being become equal to Him in your mind. No matter how many brilliant posts, books, or sermons someone cranks out, their next one could be a pack of lies. Never put your trust in a label, a name, a face, or a reputation. Everything must be checked with the Holy Spirit.
  • Like most websites on the Trinity Reflection: The Trinity (sydneystaggs.wordpress.com) does not leave any place to comment. though she writes luckily: “Take a look at scripture. What does it say about God the Father? What does it say about God the Son? What does it say about the Holy Spirit? How are they different?”
    We can only hope people would come to see what God says about Jesus and what Jesus says about his Father.
  • A Call for Division in the Visible Church (5ptsalt.com)
    if Unitarianism by its denial of the Holy Trinity has patently forfeited every claim to the Christian name, it is difficult to see how a church which has wittingly and willfully accepted the control of modernism, with its denial of the essential deity of Christ and such supernatural events as His virgin birth and bodily resurrection, has any right to be called Christian. Such a church should be denominated a false church and declared to be outside the Christian fold. If that were done, one of the greatest obstacles to the unification of the visible church would be eliminated. For theological liberalism, in all its clamor for ecumenism and church union, is working more effectively toward the disruption of the church of Christ than is any other force. The first need of the church of this day is not union, but division; however, division unto union.
    +
    the failure to keep the various teachings of Scripture in balance with each other and the consequent stressing of one or some of them out of all proportion to others, have frequently destroyed the visible unity of Christ’s church. Riding a theological hobby is by no means an innocent pastime. Of such sins it behooves churches everywhere to repent, and from them they must desist.- R. B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ, pp. 51-54
  • World Mission Society Church of God is saying the core of the Bible – God: Christ ahnsahnghong and God the mother (followersofahnsahnghong.wordpress.com)
    2000 years ago, the disciples who met Christ could find the way to the kingdom of heaven through his teachings. But as the time passed by, the way taught by Jesus disappeared by Satan who tried to disturb the Work of God’s Redemption (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 5:1.) How can we, human beings who lost the way of salvation, find it again? The Bible prophesies that Christ is to appear once again for our salvation.
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Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious and the spiritual person may be looking for certain experiences which can occur at several levels: physical, emotional, cognitive, pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes, and transcendent. For the religious person there is the groups-feeling which shall be important to give him or her the appropriate feelings. The belonging to a community or parish shall fuse the personal feeling and the feeling of being part of something more than the self. The individual is not as such concerned about his individuality in the universe but more about his unit or union with others in the world. “Belonging to” is the feeding ground for the religious person.

The spiritual person is not so much connected to a reason to belong to a group or being part of a community or parish. The Self and especially the inner-self are the motives underlying his quest and behaviour. His or her search to the inner-self are the grounds for a quality that can infuse experience in a wide variety of settings. Spiritual experience can be both transcendent and immanent: it can be both an experience of transcending worldly concerns and an intense present-moment perception that the ground of all being permeates all things. for the individual it is not a groups matter but a personal and an intense aliveness and deep sense of understanding that one intuitively comprehends as having come from a direct, internal link with that mysterious principle which connects all aspects of the universe. In Christianity and Ecclesiastical Terms the immanence came to be the relation to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe. A person could come to a state where he or she could make himself or herself free from the limitations inherent in matter, becoming Theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world in a well-built relationship with the Most High Creator God or with a godly being.

In the 19th century several people became convinced that society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties — ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.

Among others New England congregationalists, rejected predestination, and they emphasized the unity instead of the trinity of God. The many people who had seen how in Europe the church had corrupted the real Truth of the Bible, the infallible Word of God, were also convinced the dogmatic teaching of a Tri-Une God, three persons coexisting consubstantially as one being or homoousia (consubstantialis), had brought man away form the commandments of God not to worship pictures or sculptures of any heavenly being nor of Him, the God of all things. The Gnostics were the first theologians to use the word “homoousios”, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. Jesus, who was placed by God on this earth, was well aware of his position, being lower than the heavenly beings (the angels) and his Father, without Him he could do nothing and who is the Most High of all.

“You* heard how that I said to you*, I go away and I am coming to you*. If you* loved* me, you* would have rejoiced, because I said, I am going to the Father: because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MLV)

“But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now and I work. (18)  Because of this, then the Jews sought even more to kill him, because he did not only break the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(19)  Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you*, The Son can do nothing from himself, unless he sees what the Father is doing: for* whatever things he does, the Son is also doing these things similarly. (20)  For* the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does and greater works than these he will show him, that* you* may marvel. (21)  For* just-as the Father raises the dead and gives-life to them, even so the Son also gives-life to whom he wills. (22)  For* the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son; (23)  that* all may honor the Son, just-as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. ” (John 5:17-23 MLV)

Already soon after the rabbi Jesus his death, his disciples were confronted with teachers who twisted Jesus his words and his teachings and mixed them with the Greek-Roman culture of that time. Lots of theories of the Greek philosophers did find their way in the faith of many early Christians, though the apostles kept warning for such false teachings. (See the Acts of the apostles and the many letters to the different communities.) Jesus of Nazareth never required his followers, many ordinary craftsman or fisherman, to follow theologian studies. But those who brought in all those studies of philosophers wanted their followers to learn them thoroughly. Therefore they created special institutions where this mix of teachings could be learned. by the years more time was spent on the teachings of the philosophers than on the Words of God. The early church theologians were probably made aware of the Gnostic concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by them. {Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (London: Mowbrays, 1975), p. 109.}

It was what so many spiritual people kept busy, finding substance between generating and generated, getting to the identity of substance between things generated of the same substance that brought several people away from the Biblical Truth, finding the early Gnostic religious teacher Basilides in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 CE.
Basilides believed faith was merely

“an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present”.

He also believed faith was a matter of “nature,” not of responsible choice, so that men would

“discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book ii. Chapter iii.}

Image of a fiery purgatory in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Because Basilides believed faith was a matter of nature, doubtlessly he pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive a higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called “the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book iv. Chapter xxvi.} It was also this teacher who brought in that Jesus his death was not enough to get liberated of sin. According to such a teaching it denies the value of the sacrifice of Christ by who’s death we can be adopted as a child of God and be reconciled, having paid for our sins by our death. The idea was created that people only could receive ‘reconciliation’ when they belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and had received a sacrament in which repentant sinners are absolved and gained reconciliation with God and the Church. Basilides deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. In later years many churches used purgatory and hell-fire to frighten the people and to get them in their system as angst-ridden followers. Many denomination used it as the big stick to keep people in their flock, also telling them they only could be saved and could come in heaven by being a member of their church. Today we still notice such a preventative measure against going astray or leaving that church still works. The fear of loosing their heavenly life makes that many people do not dare to question those theologian doom teachings. Because Basilides held to a fatalistic view of metempsychosis, he believed the Christian martyrs were being punished not for being Christians, but for sins they had committed in the past. This made that people became afraid to loose their life when they would keep on to the teachings of the apostles and early followers of Jesus, who took him as the son of God and not as god the son. Taking on the symbols and worship methods of the Greece-Roman culture made them one of them and would give them less reasons to be killed.

Lots of religious people took the sign of the god of evil Tamuz, the cross, as the sign of the death of their god. The Only One God can not die and never did have an end to His life which is eternal, meaning ‘with no beginning and no end’. Jesus had a beginning, his birth and an end, his death. The ones from the New World had seen how the European churches not only brought in false doctrines like the trinity, but resisted also many other Christian doctrines which had become considered conventional for the Christian Faith. Searchers for the truth like Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, lots of people had taken on several pagan rituals and had made them custom actions in their religious life.

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham, a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society

At Daventry, Priestley was sufficiently grounded in Latin and Greek to hold his own in subsequent disputes with university-trained scholars. He was more generally introduced to a range of subjects in natural philosophy, but more significantly, he was there formally instructed in logic and metaphysics. In Birmingham he became preacher at New Meeting House, one of the most liberal congregations in England, and was soon associated with the Lunar Society, an informal collection of provincial intellectuals, scientists, and industrialists. Taking the Bible as the main guide for his study about God to compare with the historical writings about Jesus and his followers, he became the chief propagandist and protagonist for Unitarian beliefs in England, writing annual defences against attack, and developing in various historical and polemical works (for example, An History of the Corruptions of Christianity [1782] and An History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ [1786]) a rationalist theology that suggests, in some measure, the ideas of textual and “higher criticism” of the New Testament. In the eyes of the church establishment, he came to represent the intolerable encroachments of dissent, and on him was focused their theological and political animus. {Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008} when he had to escape from conservative England he emigrated to the United States in 1794 where president John Adams and George Washington were welcoming his teachings and made him to feel at home.

Those people looking to save their life found in the religion preached by those theologians of the Old World could feel ways to feel at ease with the many traditional movements done by the people around them. Instead of abstaining them form those worldly actions they now could take part without hesitation and fear, being part of the world. For many it was quite easy now to be religious, because according to the teaching of the apostles and the non-trinitarians or unitarians, people themselves were responsible and had to make choices themselves to make sure they would be worthy salvation. In the gnostic and Roman Catholic Church and later in several protestant churches they could blame their faults to a devil, called Satan or Lucifer, and always could find penitence even when they kept doing the same bad things. In many cases churches were willing to accept money for pardoning.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

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Read also:

  1. Idolatry or idol worship
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. God of gods
  4. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  5. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  8. Christ Versus the Trinity
  9. Altered to fit a Trinity
  10. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  12. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  13. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  14. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  15. Science and God’s existence
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  18. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  22. Satan or the devil
  23. Satan the evil within

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Additional reading:

  1. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  2. Fear
  3. All trust, no fear
  4. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  5. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  6. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  7. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  8. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity

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  • A New Gnosticism (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Well, after several months of thought, and being a bit dense, I figured out that Christian Scientism was a new Gnosticism. I suppose other people have known this, but I have beenin discussion with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and it finally dawned on me. She thinks that all reason is empiricism, so that is a confusion immediately seen.To the Catholic, reason and faith are two pillars of our spiritual life.

    For the Gnostic, the material world is evil. God is not part of the material. What the CS does with Genesis, in which we read that God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good.

    For the Catholic, creation was created good by a good God. For the Catholic, Christ was Incarnated, became Man, became material. The CS does not accept this. To them, God is a principle not a person.

  • Embracing the Body as a Spiritual Path. (elephantjournal.com)
    The belief from many traditions is that we suffer precisely because we identify with our bodies, and that freedom is (somehow) somewhere beyond that mistake. But what I found over the years is that in fact the opposite might be true: we suffer when we do not embrace our bodies, and in fact it is our suffering in the first place that makes us reject, disconnect from and seek to be somewhere other than our bodies.chakrasHealing lies in coming home to the body. Whether it is recovery from trauma, abuse or addiction, learning to manage stress and be present with feelings, or releasing shame and media-conditioning to embrace our bodies as they are.
  • Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Skeletons in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 1) (kosmosys.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism is known to have correlations with Christianity based on its status of heresy with the Roman Catholic Church. Without going into specifics just yet, one can assume that “correlations”,”similarities” mean concepts, persons, principles, histories, what have you. Another interesting (or troubling?) thing about Gnosticism is that it actually Predates Christianity, meaning that it was in existence Long before Christianity. The understanding of the term “heresy” (and we will officially define it later) is that it is a corruption or perversion of scripture already in existence. How can Gnosticism corrupt or pervert Christianity IF Gnosticism was already in existence? So, if we are supposed to believe that Christianity is “self-existent” (meaning that the events in the Bible Actually happened and the people in the Bible were Real) how is it possible for it to be influenced by a School of Thought older than it? How can Jesus’ teachings exist Before He was supposedly born?
    +
    Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Bones in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 2)
    What doctrine was the Church trying to silence? So by using Gnosticism, we can then get a new perspective on Christianity. We can look at its behavior, if you will, and understand exactly what, if anything, it is hiding in its closet.
    +
    According to NewAdvent.org, certain aspects of Gnosticism was in existence before that of Christianity, although at the time it was not called Gnosticism, as you can imagine, because Gnosticism itself was/is a spin off of older doctrines. One of the parent faiths of Gnosticism was the Babylonian Mandean faith, which I won’t even get into here. It is also pretty obvious that Gnosticism was not called such until it reached Greece seeing as the root of Gnosticism is “gnosis” meaning knowledge and is a greek word. So, according to this particular source, NewAdvent.org, “it is beyond doubt that Gnosticism existed independent of and anterior to Christianity.” Which means that there is no way that Gnosticism could come as a perversion of Christianity because it was here first.
    +
    As Christians have we not been trained to not think? What about the questions wehave been asked thathave been answered with a “don’t test God” or “God’s mysterious ways.” How many times hasCreflo dollar told us “don’t think! Sow!” How many times have we wondered where all our tithes and offerings are going? Who is spending it and on what?It is clear what the Church thinks about people with knowledge, people who think. Was Jesus not the reason for the slaughter of dozens of innocent men, women, and children during the Salem Witch Trials? How many of you knew the TRUE meaning of the terms listed above?
    +
    All I’m saying is that we need to open our eyes more. Ask questions. Understand things. Obviously there is more to be see than just meets the eye. There is more that needs to be learned. Otherwise, why would the Church cause so much bloodshed to silence the knowledge?
  • My Experience In The Word Of Faith Pt. 7-Watchman Nee,Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis (christianreasons.com)
    Pay careful attention to the reference regarding a deeper spiritual life. That will become important when we discuss the Keswick movement. The main thing I want to demonstrate is the link to Roman Catholic mysticism.Although the “Cross” is emphasized with the Higher Life advocates, the Sanctifying effects of union with Christ is stressed almost to the exclusion of the Justifying effects and the forgiveness of sins. I have a real problem with that. It is also common among Classic Wesleyans and Pentecostals to over-emphasize the more subjective aspects of Sanctification than the objective work of Christ in Justification.
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    The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary). His claims that the conscience is based on one’s intuition opens wide the door for being directed by a supposed inner voice from God rather than taking God’s written Word as the true basis of conscience training. The conscience is only as accurate as the training upon which it is based. development of a rather complicated system, with its own specific terminology, which means that the uninitiated cannot really grasp the “deep teachings” of God. The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary).
    +My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics
    + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5.
    It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken ladders that the little theologians of glory in us love to use to get to God.
    +
    In The Normal Christian Life, (probably one of his more popular titles), Nee writes: “Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them.” His whole exposition on the Blood of Christ in this book is very orthodox, and insightful. As far as it goes, it’s theologically sound.
  • Is It O.k. for Christians to Do Martial Arts? (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    Many of the martial arts popular in the West have origins in parts of the world where Buddhist and other forms of religious philosophy are (or were) prevalent. Such philosophy is not essential to discipline and exercise, and indeed we can bring a Christian approach to bear, especially since we strive to focus not only on our own well-being but on selfless charity to others.
    +
    If it is simply a question of breathing exercises or seeking peace and harmony of soul, without the imposition of Pagan beliefs, then we can take part, though in our own practice we can bring to bear our Christian faith in which Christ is our peace, and the values of self-discipline and care of our physical health are seen in the context of a spiritual life in accord with the teaching of the Gospel.

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

In the previous chapter “Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life“,  we have seen that the relation of religion and spirituality is in the eye of the beholder and that religiosity and spirituality are not always connected with each other.

File:Church Attendance and Welfare Spending Graph.png

Religiosity, Church Attendance and Welfare Spending

Historically, the major world religious traditions have relied upon symbolic forms for breaking outside of the profane world and into an 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 (International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences referring to: Yamane and Polzer 1994, pp. 1–25).

We also said that we should see that there is a distinction between spiritual and religious or religiousness. This  is becoming more commonplace in advanced modern societies like the United States, for example, where the number of people claiming to be “spiritual but not religious” is estimated variously (but with differing empirical measures) as 14 percent (Roof 1999) and 31 percent (Wuthnow 2005) of the adult population.

English: Religious symbols from the top nine o...

Religious symbols (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being religious implies a relationship with a faith, which should not be necessary Christian faith, but the believes in something divine and clinging to participation in institutionally based practices, and having respect for the teachings of a certain tradition or community. In contrast to be spiritual concerns the inner relationship with the inner and puts emphasis upon the experience of connectedness, relationship, or oneness with the Inner-Self and/or a higher power/the sacred/nature. The aim of the spirituality is also to come to satisfaction with the Self and to find appreciation for personal growth and inner awareness in one’s life journey. Aiming for more spirituality the person hopes he can come in a better stadium with himself and for himself, sometimes looking for transcendental forms.

Several people aim to come in a higher stadium coming to have mystical experiences. For some this can be New Age beliefs where they draw on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions, infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics. Others may not like to be placed under New Age or post-New Age, for the reason it got negative connotations and because it does not always co-notate to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius,  but more to the “transformational” of the being, though they still may aim to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. {Drury 2004, p. 10}

Some may look for a form of a form of monism and unity throughout the universe, where the variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance. But there they also think that all those things being in existence may find their origin on one source which is distinct from a human being. Some call it the Universal Supreme Being or The God of gods. For Christians that Divine Super Power should be their Only One God, the centre piece of everything which was before everything, the Adonai and Most High Elohim. All other beings are lower than That One Who is One and is not restricted like we are but is One unity of substance and essence which is complete in its unity, its spirit and in time being eternal.

Various different religious traditions have be...

Various different religious traditions have been labelled “pagan” over the centuries; including the Classical religion of ancient Greece (left; The Parthenon) and the new religious movement of contemporary Paganism (right; Romuvan priestess). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The body-mind dichotomy in philosophy examines the relationship between mind and matter, and in particular the relationship between consciousness and the brain. The problem was addressed by René Descartes in the 17th century, resulting in Cartesian dualism, and by pre-Aristotelian philosophers. {Robert M. Young (1996). “The mind-body problem”. In RC Olby, GN Cantor, JR Christie, MJS Hodges, eds. Companion to the History of Modern Science (Paperback reprint of Routledge 1990 ed.). Taylor and Francis. pp. 702–11. ISBN 0415145783.} + {Robinson, Howard (Nov 3, 2011). “Dualism”. In Edward N. Zalta, ed. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition).} The Persian Pūr Sinɑʼ, who is regarded as the most famous and influential polymath of the Islamic Golden Age, made a big study the Quran and the Hadith, encountered greater obstacles in the philosophical writings and got greatly troubled by the Metaphysics of Aristotle. Due to Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā or Avicenna’s successful reconciliation between Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism along with Kalam, Avicennism eventually became the leading school of Islamic philosophy by the 12th century, with Avicenna becoming a central authority on philosophy.

He preferred a “short life with width to a narrow one with length” {Aisha Khan. Avicenna (Ibn Sina): Muslim Physician And Philosopher of the Eleventh Century. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 85.} Trying to find logic, ethics this teacher founded also a system for people to come to the essence of life and inner sanctity. It is by placing the ego separate of the world, which is considered in the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) as being “set-apart” often translated in English with the word “holy” or “holiness“.

Several Islamic teachers and Christian theologians got very interested in the ancient philosophers. In medieval Europe the clergy went looking for the mysterious soul in the human being. They wanted to solve the many philosophical problems posed by the years. they wanted to go further than the philosophers who studied the fields of aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, as well as social philosophy and political philosophy. For many clergyman the Catholic teachings had not brought “Logic“. Mainly by all the false teachings in Roman Catholicism they where distracted from the Biblical texts which was confusing them, because they were bombarded with many dogma‘s created over the years. for the bishops and higher placed ones in the ‘holy orders’ Avicennism brought more interesting doctrines on the nature of the soul and his existenceessence distinction. , along with the debates and censure that they raised in scholastic Europe. By 1210 so many people became interested in the Islamic teaching the church took measures to forbid it. A “decree of condemnation to death or banishment” was prescribed. This proscription or “decree of condemnation, outlawry” did not frighten William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris and Albertus Magnus.  The psychology and theory of knowledge found in Avicennism and its metaphysics had an impact on the thought of Thomas Aquinas.

closer to our times several theologians also went looking in Confucius his philosophical writings.

The philosophers did not determine the value of an idea by the diversity of its applications. Philosophy in itself does not bring spirituality though it may help to form ideas and to give pulses to do thorough research. It may be interesting in its own right, and a substantial minority of philosophers investigate the many and varied interpretations of ideas studied in philosophy itself, testing others their thought experiments and their conclusions of philosophical arguments.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

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Find also:

  1. The Supreme Being God of gods
  2. Only One God
  3. God is One
  4. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  5. Faith
  6. Living in faith
  7. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  8. Religion and spirituality
  9. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  10. Childish or reasonable ways
  11. Words to push and pull
  12. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  13. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  14. Religious Practices around the world
  15. The Soul not a ghost
  16. Focus on outward appearances
  17. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  18. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  19. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?

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Additional readings:

  1. Some Thoughts about the Integration of Spirituality and Religion
  2. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  3. Reginay’s Religious vs. Spiritual
  4. Who is religious?

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  • Wealth usually distracts one from a spiritual path (transientreflections.com)
    Are you a Materialistic Individual or do you pursue the path of an Academic or of a Spiritual and religious nature? These questions can only be answered by you and which you choose is solely up to you.
  • African Spirituality: What it is and what it ‘ain’t’ (moniquecharles.wordpress.com)
    In this discussion, Asar Imhotep will reassess the common understandings of African spirituality and provide an updated analysis rooted in over a decade’s worth of research as a practitioner of African spiritual systems, and a student of history.
  • Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities (villasophiasalon.wordpress.com)
    One way to map or model the spectrum of consciousness and culture today is to talk about the continuum that connects the religious, spiritual (but not necessarily religious), humanistic (but not necessarily religious or spiritual) and secular ( but not necessarily religious, spiritual or humanistic) sensibilities. Further, there are those who religion is not necessarily hostile or indifferent to the spiritual, humanistic and secular dimensions of life.
    +
    Are you aware that each of these words has a whole range of possible meanings and associations, and that the presumably objective denotative meanings are all but silenced by a cacophony of various subjective connotative meanings. Therefore, any meaningful and constructive dialogue between persons who have front-loaded their own experiential associations and interpretative evaluations of these words make real communication all but impossible.
  • Religion Vs. Spiritual (etsuwmst.wordpress.com)
    Although, religion and spiritually have its differences. Religion should be accompanied with spiritually although sometimes it does not go that way. Most people think you either one or the other. It is possible to be religious and spiritual most people are but then again you could be spiritual without religion. The reason being is because religion is very much forced in many situations. A lot of people can’t live freely in the world because they feel if they do it would conflict with their religion. Just because of the demands religion has on a person’s life. Unlike spiritually, it is a chosen practice so it designed the way you want to.
  • What Wishes to Come to Being through You? (agentleinstigator.wordpress.com)
    “What constitutes personal authority? Stated most simply it means, to find what is true for oneself and to live it in the world. If it is not lived, it is not yet real for us, and we abide in what Sartre called ”bad faith”, the theologian calls ”sin”, the  therapist calls “neurosis”, and the existential philosopher calls ”inauthentic being”. Respectful of the rights and perspectives of others, personal authority is neither narcissistic nor imperialistic. It is a humble acknowledgement of what wishes to come to being through us.“
  • (#7) Family, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For… (bushmansblogi.wordpress.com)
    In accordance with Notarianni’s claim, I would like to emphasize the essential nature families play in the spiritual development of children. It is in the home where either a spiritual void is discovered or a spiritual direction is initiated. This is seen in experiences that families go through together and how they adapt, as well as in family traditions, and finally, even the absence of spirituality in the home aids children in determining their own beliefs.
  • Deep Within, We Want it All By Brenda Hoffman (renardmoreau.wordpress.com)
    You wish to recreate some of the glories of past lifetimes. All of you have experienced both depravity, because of religious teachings, and lives with extreme levels of fame and wealth.You are now more interested in your past glories than the religious penitence that marked at least one of your lifetimes. Yet, you will not allow yourself access to the glories and riches you hold dear in this time and place because you are not certain you can achieve your goal – or that you want to.
  • Are Esoteric Teachings Missing from Christianity? (jesusweddingthebook.wordpress.com)
    In the television program Myths of Mankind – The Gnostic Origins of Christianity (Timestamp 43:12-43:54), Elaine Pagels PhD of Princeton University is quoted as saying,“Every great world religious tradition whether its Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism has both the teaching for everyone, exoteric teaching, which every adherent of that faith is supposed to follow and esoteric or mystical teaching. The only one that lacks that is western Christianity. I think it is unfortunate that that which many people find necessary for their own integrity and development has been regarded as either heretical or a path leading nowhere.”
  • Discovering the Truth (cosmicmacduff.wordpress.com)
  • Artists forge their own spiritual path at Promenade Gallery – Mississauga (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
  • Meditation – Do try it! (trishbarcatta.wordpress.com)
    It involves focusing on a single thought, object or feeling and turning your attention inwards. Some people find it hard to drown everything else out so as to quiet the mind, but you don’t need to do that. You can just gently bring your focus back to what you need to and not be so hard on yourself.
  • How To Begin On The Spiritual Path (anandasingapore.wordpress.com)
    The seeker cannot be confined to a particular religion, rather, he or she must embrace the Divine teachings of all religions, and bow humbly, and revere the saints of all religions, for all saints have attained to Godhood, and making any distinction within the Fundamental Unity of God is contrary to the Divine Path.
  • Am I A Religious Person? (elephantjournal.com)
    In the West we tend to think of religion in really narrow terms that most of the ‘religions’ of the east don’t fit into very well.To me, the word ‘religion’ conjures connotations of dogma and authority. I don’t think either of those things are helpful on the spiritual path. I don’t believe in God. Belief or lack thereof in a deity is not considered an important thing in the path of Buddhism.
  • Daily Teaching for Wednesday, November 27th (bishopcraig.com)
    Humility is an absolute prerequisite for progress on the spiritual path, and thankfulness is its evidence.
  • Simply Being With Nothing to Be: A Commentary (edoshonin.com)
    If we have hope, then we automatically have fear. We are fearful that our hopes will not be realized. Many people think that in order to be happy they need hope. But this kind of happiness is very conditional and is reliant upon the presence of external factors.
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    We can observe the beings who are born and who pass away – one moment they are present but the next moment they are gone. One moment they are happy but the next moment sad. One moment they are in the company of friends and family but the next moment they are all alone. We see that beings come and go, planets come and go, and even the universes come and go. We observe the passing of time and the passing of space.
  • Gyo-shin-ki Evolution (gyoshinki.wordpress.com)
    Our spiritual center will continue to be Gyo, Shin and Ki. Shinto at the heart, Buddhist at the heart and Taoist at the heart. I continue to receive teaching and guidance and evolve methodology and techniques that allow energetic and spiritual purification and accomplishment. GSK is essentially a spiritual path – truth testing is done via the taijutsu. The taijutsu is a physical analog of the meditaion and purifications.

Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity

Coming to an end

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

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

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

Danger for the grip of the Roman Church

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

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

Bischof Ulfilas erklärt den Goten das Evangelium.jpg

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

 

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

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

Call to read the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disparities unmasked

Roman Forum and surroundings

Roman Forum and surroundings (Photo credit: KayYen)

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

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

Evangelical movement

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

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

More important to follow the Words of the Bible

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

“You cannot serve two masters”.

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

“You cannot serve God and mammon”.

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

Into the waters

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

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

A 15th-century Mass

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

Global responsibility to preach in biting climate

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

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

Gavin Finley MD of Endtime Pilgrim organisation writes:

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

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

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

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

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul are convinced that:

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

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

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

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

Rick Warren may said:

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

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

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

The one to follow

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

Western culture slowly emerging from the Christendom era

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

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

Consumerism and peace

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

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

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

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

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

The course to steer

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

Dixie Building

Dixie Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

A Book available for everyone to get insight

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mick Turner in The Death of Sunday Christianity writes:

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

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

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

Mick Turner continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Meyers says:

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

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

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

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

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

Finding a path to meet other believers in Christ

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

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

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Please do find to read:

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

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Additional reading in Dutch:

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

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

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

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

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

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