What Makes a Theologian

Oswald Bayer wrote Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation > summarizes Martin Luther’s thinking on what makes a theologian and what rules should govern the theologian.

Luther argued that a theologian is made through six things.

  1. The grace that is worked through the Holy Spirit
  2. The agonizing struggle
  3. Experience
  4. Opportunity
  5. Constant, concentrated textual study
  6. Knowledge and practice of the academic disciplines

Luther goes on to say that three rules should govern the life and task of the theologian.

  1. Prayer = Oratio (prayer)
  2. Meditation = Meditatio (meditation)
  3. Agonizing Struggle= Tentatio (affliction)

theologian = to know both sides of a theological concept: the objective + subjective

theologian = responsible to study, pray, meditate + agonize

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Preceding articles:

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

The Pastor Theologian

Theology as Discipleship

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Gospel & Gratitude

Oswald Bayer wrote a fine book titled Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation. In this book he summarizes Luther’s thinking on what makes a theologian and what rules should govern the theologian. Luther argued that a theologian is made through six things.

  1. The grace that is worked through the Holy Spirit
  2. The agonizing struggle
  3. Experience
  4. Opportunity
  5. Constant, concentrated textual study
  6. Knowledge and practice of the academic disciplines

Luther goes on to say that three rules should govern the life and task of the theologian.

  1. Prayer
  2. Meditation
  3. Agonizing Struggle

I love the intersection of experience, suffering and study in Luther’s thought on the development of a theologian. It takes more than books and a degree to make a solid theologian. As the quote goes, “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

One must know the roaring of a condemning conscience and the silencing power of the gospel to bring the…

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Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

Augustine of Hippo (354–430), Latin theologian. His writing on free will and original sin remains influential in Western Christendom.

The world has created so called scientists in the knowledge of God. Lots of people do put all their trust in such scholars who received a degree in theology at a university.
The majority of those theologians are as most of them would consider a theologian is,

“one who is dedicated to life in Christ and the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.” {What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian; by David Russell Mosley}

For many who studied the godsThe Philokalia“, a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters”, was their primary guide for what it meant to be a theologian.

We always should know that to come to know God and to worship God we do not have to be people who have a university degree in theology, but we should be people who take time to study the bible. Lots of theologians have spend more time in studying writings of other human beings instead of looking more closely at the Word of God, the Bible. When you look at the theology courses, you will notice much more time is spend at those human writings, philosophy and human doctrines than at Biblical doctrines. No wonder that there have been much more books written by trinitarian scholars than by non-trinitarian Christians, because for the latter it is evident what is written in the Bible is the truth and as such in the non-trinitarian denominations of Christianity there are not so many divisions or matters of dispute as in the trinitarian denominations of Christendom.

We should remember that each of us has to be a theologian, a person who wants to know and worships the Only One True God of gods. A knowledge of the other gods may help in this, but the main focus should be on the real True Divine Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jakob and of Jeshua, who is mostly known as Jesus Christ by English speaking countries.

Each person who claims to be a Christian should be a follower of Christ and should worship the same God Christ worshipped, namely his heavenly Father. Like Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father we also should pray to that God of Jesus, Jehovah the Most Almighty God. That Oratio (prayer) should be grounded in the Word of God.

God cannot tempted, but Jesus was and we also shall be tempted more than once. This Tentatio (affliction) is not something God uses to drive us a way from self, but is our own selfish will because we are so much busy with ourselves. In case we would be more busy with the Will of God we would not be so much and so often suffering from our wrongdoing. Then we would also be more forthcoming to God His Will and would be more able, like Christ did not his own will, not to do our own will but being happy to do God’s Will.

To avoid going astray we do need the Meditatio (meditation) which should be the continual study of the Holy Scriptures and not so much the study of the many theological works by human beings.

We should trust more the Call and the Voice of God instead the voices of so many people who call themselves theologian, whatever they may mean by that word.

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Preceding articles

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name

Pascal’s Possibility

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional reading

  1. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  2. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  3. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  4. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  5. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  8. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  9. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  10. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  11. To find ways of Godly understanding
  12. Position of the Bible researcher
  13. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  14. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  15. Being Missional
  16. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  17. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  18. Our life depending on faith
  19. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  20. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  21. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  22. The meek one riding on an ass
  23. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery
  24. Altered to fit a Trinity
  25. the Trinity – the Truth

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Further related writings

  1. What Hath the Church to do with the Library?
  2. Theology of Experience
  3. … 506 years ago
  4. The Calvinist ‘God’ and God
  5. Jealous God | Jealous for God
  6. So, Here Goes…
  7. The Angelic Doctor
  8. Good Morning January 25
  9. What Makes a Theologian
  10. The Pastor Theologian
  11. A Quote from St. Augustine on “The State”
  12. Theology as Discipleship
  13. 43rd of 2015.
  14. What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian
  15. What is Distinctive about Christian Analytic Theology?
  16. Pulpit Supply: Sunday School: Four Key Concepts to be a better Theologian
  17. Theologian Spotlight: Kathryn Tanner
  18. Saint Augustine
  19. Puritan John Owen – Doctrine of the Spirit and Mortification of Sin (Christian audio book)
  20. C.S. Lewis Died on This Date
  21. Albert Schweitzer
  22. Jean Guitton
  23. Biblical Christian Theology: Definition by DR. Donald E. Battle
  24. DR. Donald E. Batle: Theologian And Christology Scholar
  25. Who is qualified to write theology?
  26. What is the Recipe to Survive in the Storms of Life?
  27. Crossing Divides: Can an Atheist be a Chaplain?
  28. So Now I’m a Christian. Now What? Part 4:The Loving, Triune God
  29. Thought on the Trinity, Its Being Less than Mysterious, and the Biblical Support of an Analogy to It
  30. The Incarnation a Contradiction?
  31. 1 Corinthians 10:15 (Don’t Take My Word For It)
  32. Christ Strengthens You

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Gospel & Gratitude

In John Doberstein’s The Minister’s Prayerbook, he discusses Martin Luther’s understanding of the development of a theologian. Luther believed that the “right way to study theology” is anchored in the three rules set forth in Psalm 119: Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio. For Luther “Everything centers around the practice of meditation, for prayer prepares for it and its results are confirmed in the experience of conflict. For Luther, meditation is the key to the study of theology. No one can become a true theologian unless he learns theology through it” (Kleinig, “The Kindred Heart”, 142). The discussion that follows is taken directly from Doberstein and explores each of the three dimensions.

  • Oratio (prayer) is grounded in the Word of the Lord. Prayer is the voice of faith. That is to say, that prayer grows out of the Word of the Lord. “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not…

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Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does

Clearly in the parables of Christ Jesus are enough indications given that we can loose salvation or miss the entrance in the Kingdom of God when we assume the things are all right. In the Old and New Testament is referred many times what we do have to do to enter the Kingdom of God. With Christ those statutes or ordinances of God are not finished with. The Word of God demands from us repentance and change of mind. It would be far too easy to think to be reborn and to be baptised (= a work) and than to carry on as before, lying, fornicating, stealing or even murdering. Christian faith demands a change of attitude with demands many ‘works’.

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To remember:

Bible doesn’t say: “We are saved by faith alone.” >>> Bible rejects it

Justification by faith alone” = Protestant doctrine

not part of Christian belief for the first 1,500 years of Christianity

minority of Christians who do believe in it think it’s the most important, essential teaching of Christianity

Approximately 20% of Christians belong to churches that teach that faith alone saves

Approximately 32% of the world’s population identifies as Christian

+> approximately 6.4% of the world’s population belongs to churches that teach that faith alone saves

=> over 93% of the world’s population is going to hell

if we broaden definition and say that everyone who believes in Jesus can be saved = a success rate of only 32% at best => major fail on God’s part.

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According to us it is not right to judge God and to measure Him according to the”best success rate God could possibly have in the population of the world today” It are the people themselves who have rejected God. We may be sure the majority of the world population shall receive a second death and will be forgotten for ever.

Only the righteous shall stay over.

And yes you may consider the refused ones as the “Rejected”. But that is not God His fault but their own fault.

We must be aware of the bible facts.

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Question: How many times does “faith alone” appear in the Bible?

Answer: Once.

Here it is:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

Paul did say that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the Law (Romans 3:28) = one of the most misunderstood verses in the entire Bible.

Paul said:

God will repay each person according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism. (Romans 2:6–11)

Paul, like every other writer in the Bible, taught that we must do good works in order to be saved, and that if we don’t, we will be condemned.

“Faith apart from the works of the Law”

= Law of Moses.

=/= Jewish ritual code or ritual laws of Judaism

= For by grace been saved through faith =  not your own doing = gift of God = not result of works, so that no one may boast

 

Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

doctrine of salvation by faith alone came from Martin Luther (1843–1546) = part of his doctrinal break from Rome

John Calvin, by Hans Holbein the Younger

John Calvin (1509–1564) adopted the doctrine of salvation by faith alone from Luther.

Philipp Melanchthon, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

+ Philipp Melanchthon, who systematized Lutheran theology, established salvation by faith alone as the fundamental doctrine of Protestantism

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What do you spend more of your time at: believing things or doing things?

most of us, believing things takes up only a small part of our time and energy => reality: we’ve got work to do.

Most of us spend most of our days, and most of our lives going about our daily tasks

everything we do all day—all of our work, all of our struggle, all of our blood, sweat, and tears—does matter in eternity

God put us here on earth to act on our faith, and live by our beliefs

Bible tells us: if we wish to be saved, we must love our neighbour, care for our neighbour, and engage in active service to our neighbour. Jesus himself tells us that only those who tend to the needs of others will go to heaven (see Matthew 25:31–46).

Our daily labour, our daily job, our daily service to our fellow human beings is the crucible in which our eternal life is forged.

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Additional reading:

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation and Righteousness
  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  5. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core

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Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life

“We are saved by faith alone.”

The Bible doesn’t say it. In fact, the Bible rejects it.

It was not part of Christian belief for the first 1,500 years of Christianity.

Even today, only about one-fifth of Christians belong to churches that teach it.

And yet, the minority of Christians who do believe in it think it’s the most important, essential teaching of Christianity.

Justification by faith alone” is the Protestant doctrine that the one and only thing that saves us is believing that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross. Our “works,” meaning what we do and how we live, do not contribute anything to our salvation. If we believe that Jesus died for us, we will go to heaven. If we do not believe that Jesus died for us, we will go to hell.

I have been told that I am going to hell because…

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Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

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

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

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

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

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

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

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

No one willing to come down

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

None will venture to ascend their hill.

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

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

Given task

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

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

says the writer of Words From There.

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

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

Servants for God

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

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

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

Short time to stand at the side

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

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

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

Messengers with wrong motives

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

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

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

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

Poisoned and mislead

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlearned men

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

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

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

Right to read and to interpret

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

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

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

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

Not staying in own cocoon

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

Thomas Manton asked

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

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

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

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

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

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

A Privilege to be taken seriously

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

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

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

People wanting to know God

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

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

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

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

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

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

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

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

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

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

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

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

You to can play your role

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

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

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

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

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

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

Declaring Good News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharing and blessings for all

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

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

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

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

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

May your time spent here be blessed.

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

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Find to read:

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

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Additional reading:

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

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

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

All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day, in the Roman Catholic Church, is a day for commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptised Christians who are believed to be in purgatory (from the Latin word, purgatio, which means purification), where according to Roman Catholic belief the souls of people who die are made pure through suffering before going to heaven. According the Catholics because they have died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls they still have to undergo punishment for that.

File:Halloween Bangladesh.jpg

Bangladeshi girl lighting grave candles on the headstone of a deceased relative in the city of Chittagong for the observance of Allhallowtide. While she is doing this, her mother is praying for their passed relative. In the background, there are other Bangladeshi Christians hanging garlands on cross shaped grave stones.

All Souls’ is celebrated on November 2, or November 3 if November 2 is Sunday. Catho­lic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faith­ful on earth will help cleanse these souls in or­der to fit them for the vision of God in heav­en. According to them when enough people prayed for their souls they shall be able to leave the a place or state of temporary suffering or misery. From this the ‘Practice of souling‘ was at certain times very popular and is still kept in tradition in many European regions. The Celtic practice to buy protection from the gods and spirits was taken over by the Roman Catholic Church and in many countries it is still practised on the same night as the Celt and Druids did, October the 31st (Halloween) and on the two days after that night where spirits could damage the living souls. Those who were not harmed on the night of the death (All Hallows’ Eve) had to pray to the gods and dead to thank them for their protection.

On All Hallows’ Eve, certain Christians in some parts of the world visit graveyards to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of their loved ones.

Though in life being protected against evil, punishment for the evil done or for the remaining sins, including unforgiven venial sins or forgiven mortal sins had to be undergone by the deceased by those spirits and devils who would temporarily torture the deceased to make him or her come to senses and to repent. Souls burdened by such sins must be purified before entering heaven, the dwelling place of God or the gods and the abode of the blessed dead, according to Catholic belief. The Catholic church also teaches that souls in purgatory may be aided by efforts of the living faithful through prayers, almsgiving, indulgences, and other works. In their teaching the curia from Rome saw an opportunity to gain a lot of money; They could enrich themselves by frightening the people with a damnation in hell or  in purgatory if they did not provided the church with enough gifts. To remember them enough of their duties to purify them and to guaranty themselves a place in heaven it was customary for criers dressed in black to parade the streets, ringing a bell of mournful sound and calling on all good Christians to remember the poor souls. “Souling”, the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. It was against this practice that Martin Luther protested. According to him and us God can not be bribed and it is not because people have lots of money they would receive a better place in God’s Kingdom if they pay more to the church. Poor people have as much chance or it could be even more easy to enter the Kingdom of God than those with a lot of wealth.

In many churches people were asked to give enough for the church to proof to God their faith. – Collecting the Offering in a Scottish Kirk by John Phillip

The existence of purgatory has been denied as unbiblical by Protestant churches and most Eastern Orthodox churches but many protestant denomination make their faithful afraid of hell; When the parishioners do not give enough to the church they perhaps would not come into a purgatory, but worse would (according to them) end up in hell were they would be burning and tortured for eternally. In many churches it is practice to go around in every service to collect money from the people present in church. when there is not enough money collected often they come to hear it next time with a sermon were is spoken of the necessary tithe (giving 10% of your gross income to the church)(from the old ordinal numeral in English, coming from a prehistoric West Germanic form *tehuntha-, formed from the cardinal numeral *tehun, “ten,” and the same ordinal suffix that survives in Modern English as -th) and the necessity to express their faith by giving enough to the church. They may claim it is based on tithing rules in the Bible were based on the Old Testament writings and habits, but forget that is was based specifically on the religious and social system of ancient Israel and on an agricultural economy before Jesus Christ installed the New Covenant. With the instalment of that covenant the old laws were made redundant. Lots of protestant teachers agree that the death of Christ made an end to the restrictions by the 613 laws which can be found in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Also Messianic Christians do want to keep to the Sabbath rule and tithing, the requirements of Hebrews under the Old Covenant. But today they do not see it necessary to have circumcision, limitation of not eating pork or having kosher meals, or not mixing different natural fabrics (like not wearing wool and cotton together) so why, one might wonder, do pastors hit on this law of tithing as the one that should still be carried over? If people say they have to keep to the old laws than they must keep to all the old laws and can not just omit the ones which they consider not favourable for themselves.

A lot of Christian preachers by the protestant denominations, though they say not to believe in purgatory also preach a lot of the ‘catharsis‘ and pain which may come over people when they not tithe enough. some may say people do not to give the ten percent of their income (or money they gather from labour, investment) or production donated to a religious institution. Historically, one could pay a tithe in cash or in kind. In a few jurisdictions, tithes are enforced by law. More broadly, a tithe may refer to a religious donation, even if it is less than 10% of one’s income

The word purgatory as such, is not found in the Bible, though variations of katharsis, the Greek equivalent of purgatio, can be found (e.g., katharoi, Matt 5:8, and katharismou, 2 Pet. 1:9). Church fathers such as Augustine (354–430) found support for purgatory in 2 Maccabees 12:43–46, a passage (not considered canonical by Protestants) that mentions an expiatory sacrifice offered in the temple to atone for the sins of Jewish soldiers who died wearing pagan amulets. The inference is that there is expiation or means by which atonement is made for some sins after death.

The theology of indulgences is based on the concept that, even though the sin and its eternal punishment are forgiven through penance, divine justice demands that the sinner pay for the crime either in this life or in purgatory. The first indulgences were intended to shorten times of penance by substituting periods of fasting, private prayers, almsgiving, and monetary payments that were to be used for religious purposes. Pope Urban II granted the first plenary, or absolute, indulgence to participants in the First Crusade, and subsequent popes offered indulgences on the occasion of the later Crusades. After the 12th century they were more widely used, and abuses became common as indulgences were put up for sale to earn money for the church or to enrich unscrupulous clerics. Jan Hus opposed them, and Martin Luther‘s Ninety-five Theses (1517) were in part a protest against indulgences. In 1562 the Council of Trent put an end to the abuses but not to the doctrine itself.

From antiquity certain days were devoted to intercession for particular groups of the dead. The institution of a day for a general interces­sion on November 2 is due to Odilo, abbot of Cluny (10° century). The date, which became practically universal before the end of the 1 3th century, was chosen to follow All Saints’ Day. Having celebrated the feast of all the members of the church who are believed to be in heaven, the church on earth turns, on the next day, to commemorate those souls be­lieved to be suffering in purgatory for making atonement or to come to reconciliation between God and themselves.

Photo from Robert Bryndza’s site its article Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead

On All Souls’ Day (in the Roman Catholic Church) black vestments are worn, the office of the day is that of the dead, and the Roman liturgy permits every priest to celebrate three re­quiem masses (for their repose), one for the intention of the celebrant himself, one for all the faithful de­parted, and one for the intention of the pope. In many Catholic countries relatives visit the graves and place chrysanthemums and lighted candles on them. The feast was abolished in the Church of En­gland at the Reformation hut has been re­vived in Anglo-Catholic churches. Chrysanthemums are also traditionally put on graves during the Buddhist festival week of Higan, which comes twice a year for the spring and autumn equinoxes.

Graves with chrysanthemums

Graves with chrysanthemums

In Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, and a.o. France in the weeks before Allerheiligen or Toussaint (All Saints) and Allerzielen or Jour des Morts (All Souls/Day of the dead) the activity in the graveyards increase daily and on November the 1st and the 2nd it is running over the heads. People evidently plan ahead in order to avoid the rush. Fresh pots of flowers are brought and old pots are taken away, and the graves are cleaned with soap and hard brush. Children have one week of so often they have to go to the graveyards to do the preparatory cleaning work. On the public holiday roads gets cramped around village centres and graveyards all people wanting to great their beloved departed and families come together, often in the household of the oldest, to remember their ancestors. This time of year everywhere you can see many-fold chrysanthemums in bursts of all sorts colours: whites, yellows, purples and bronzed reds. Because chrysanthemums have become associated with dying and death,they are not so much given as a gift in France or other Catholic countries – not even in bouquets among other cut flowers.

Photo from “Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead” by Robert Bryndza

In the run-up to All Saints chrysanthemum sellers take over the pavements outside the cemeteries, brightening dull autumn days with yards of pavement covered in a full spectrum of opulent colour. At some graves it looks like a competition is going on of who can have the greatest and the most chrysanthemums on the grave. It is like people have to make it good they did not spend any time to keep the sepulchre nice in the rest of the year.

Atheists instituted November 11, the day of armistice of World War I in 1918, to have a public commemoration for the dead.

According to the Holy Scriptures or the Bible, when people die their life comes to an end and everything is finished. They will not be able to take anything with them in the grave. Others might put things in the coffin or in the sepulchre, but the deceased shall not be able to do anything with it. Human beings were not created to die but to live, though by the sin of the first man death came over mankind. The wrongdoing of man brings death over him.

“4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as {1} God, knowing good and evil. {1) Or [gods]}” (Genesis 3:4-5 ASV)

“And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou {1} above all cattle, and {1} above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: {1) Or [from among]}” (Genesis 3:14 ASV)

“Man, that is born of a woman, Is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1 ASV)

“{1} Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. {1) Or [Oh that a clean thing could come out of an unclean! not one] can.}” (Job 14:4 ASV)

“For as in Adam all die, so also in {1} Christ shall all be made alive. {1) Gr [the Christ]}” (1 Corinthians 15:22 ASV)

All shall have to face death. Every day we can be reminded to what can happen to each creature, having only a limited time to live. so we better make use of this time when we are still concious of what can happen and of what we can do to earn a better life than this in the present time. god has given the free gift of grace by His son who was willing to do only the Will of his heavenly Father, and therefore is accepted by the Only One God as a mediator between God and man.

 “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 ASV)

“but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4 ASV)

“30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found {1} favor with God. {1) Or [grace]} 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob {1} for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. {1) Gr [unto the ages]} 34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also {1} the holy thing which is begotten {2} shall be called the Son of God. {1) Or [that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God] 2) Some ancient authorities insert [of thee]}” (Luke 1:30-35 ASV)

“21  Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself, when he began [to teach], was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the [son] of Heli,” (Luke 3:21-23 ASV)

“5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a {1} servant, {2} being made in the likeness of men; {1) Gr [bondservant] 2) Gr [becoming in]} 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ASV)

“But we behold him who hath been made {1} a little lower than the angels, [even] Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every [man]. {1) Or [for a little while lower]}” (Hebrews 2:9 ASV)

“Since then the children are sharers in {1} flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he {2} might bring to nought him that {3} had the power of death, that is, the devil; {1) Gr [blood and flesh]; Eph 6:12. 2) Or [may] 3) Or [hath]}” (Hebrews 2:14 ASV)

“Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 ASV)

“in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 ASV)

“For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, [himself] man, Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 ASV)

“11 according to the {1} eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: {1) Gr [purpose of the ages]} 12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through {1} our faith in him. {1) Or [the faith of him]}” (Ephesians 3:11-12 ASV)

“1  Being therefore justified {1} by faith, {2} we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; {1) Gr [out of] 2) Many ancient authorities read [let us have]} 2 through whom also we have had our access {1} by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and {2} we {3} rejoice in hope of the glory of God. {1) Some ancient authorities omit [by faith] 2) Or [let us rejoice] 3) Gr [glory]; Ro 5:11; Heb 3:6}” (Romans 5:1-2 ASV)

When we die we have paid for our sins, so not other contribution or penalty shall have to be paid. Under the blood of Christ we are sanctified, and when we repent for what we have done wrong, we shall be saved by the cleansing offer of Jesus. No other ransom shall be necessary.

All are thinking and handling shall come to an end when we die.

“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; In that very day his {1} thoughts perish. {1) Or [purposes]}” (Psalms 146:4 ASV)

When we are alive we still have a voice, which we can use for the good; let us use it for praising God and showing others His Grace, making sure He will like us and bless us.

“For Jehovah taketh pleasure in his people: He will beautify the meek with {1} salvation. {1) Or [victory]}” (Psalms 149:4 ASV)

That we remember that all those who die shall return to the earth and become nothing but dust and that it is when we live that we should take care of our soul. Later it would be too late.

“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; In that very day his {1} thoughts perish. {1) Or [purposes]}” (Psalms 146:4 ASV)

“Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:27 ASV)

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;” (Deuteronomy 30:15 ASV)

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;” (Deuteronomy 30:19 ASV)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21 ASV)

“Sheol {the grave} and {1} Abaddon are before Jehovah: How much more then the hearts of the children of men! {1) Or [Destruction]}” (Proverbs 15:11 ASV)

“10 There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah: and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 ASV)

“1  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity Than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool. 2  Also, {1} that the soul be without knowledge is not good; And he that hasteth with his feet {2} sinneth. {1) Or [desire without knowledge is not good] 2) Or [misseth] his way}…  7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: How much more do his friends go far from him! {1} He pursueth [them with] words, [but] they are gone. {1) Or [He pursueth after words,] which [are nought]} 8  He that getteth {1} wisdom loveth his own soul: He that keepeth understanding shall find good. {1) Heb [heart]} … . 16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his soul; [But] he that {1} is careless of his ways shall die. {1) Heb [despiseth]} … 21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; But the counsel of Jehovah, that shall stand. … 23  The fear of Jehovah [tendeth] to life; And he [that hath it] shall abide satisfied; He shall not be visited with evil. 24 The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish, And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. 25  Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; And reprove one that hath understanding, [and] he will understand knowledge. 26  He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his mother, Is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach. 27  Cease, my son, to hear instruction [Only] to err from the words of knowledge. 28  A worthless witness mocketh at justice; And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity. 29  Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And stripes for the back of fools.” (Proverbs 19:1-29 ASV)

“in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19 ASV)

“and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 ASV)

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References:

Rogers, Nicholas (2001). Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. Oxford University Press. pp. 28–30. ISBN 0-19-514691-3.

“Halloween”. Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica.

Micropaedia Volume I, p 259-260; The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1980

Macropaedia Volume 5, p . 537; The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1980

Preceding articles:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day

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Find also to read:

  1. What happens when we die?
  2. Fear and protection
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  4. Expenses, costs – Onkosten, uitgaven
  5. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  6. Ransom for all

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Also of interest:

  1. Purgatory a place for moral and spiritual purification
  2. Purgatory (pûrg´ətôr´ē) [Lat.,=place of purging], in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the state after death in which the soul destined for heaven is purified
  3. Where is the great Beyond?
  4. Eternal Laws of Creation #1………an intro!
  5. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  6. My Path: A Walk Through Heaven and Hell, Samsara, and Bliss: Some Poems
  7. Realms, Roots and Mind: How the Triune Brain Model Verifies and Explains the Six Realms, and Shows How Thought Patterns Define Reality
  8. Tsimshian Shamanism and Mahamudra Chöd: a Brief Comparative Analysis
  9. The end point of faith
  10. The implication of rejecting the gospel
  11. The significance of Christ’s death for humanity
  12. Purity, a Necessity
  13. Jesus Balm of Gilead
  14. Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel
  15. Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland, C. 1100-C. 1250
  16. Who Benefited from Tithe Revenues in Late-Renaissance Bresse?
  17. When did “tithing” come to mean “giving 10% of your gross income to the Church”?
  18. Call to Tithe Often Misinterpreted; Devout Should Give as Proof of Worship
  19. Must Christians give ten percent of their income to the church?
  20. What Does the Bible Say About the Tithe or Tithing?
  21. Are Christians Required to Give 10% of Their Income to the Church?
  22. When Creditors Come Calling: Refunding Tithes and Offerings
  23. Chrysanthemums and All Souls’ Day
  24. Imports of chrysanthemums for adorning graves reach fever pitch
  25. The Flower of Death
  26. A French cemetery at Toussaint: chrysanthemums and yearning
  27. All Saints’ Day in France
  28. Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead

 

Quality control: Traders on Wednesday check on chrysanthemums imported from Malaysia in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. | Kyodo

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On other WordPress sites:

  1. The Fright Industry
  2. 13 Days to Halloween
  3. Excellence Autumn Events
  4. Is Halloween a Christian holiday?
  5. Factoid About Halloween
  6. Halloween – A Poem
  7. Celebrating Life by Mocking Death? Or, Why I Think Dia de los Muertos is Awesome
  8. Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 10-14-14
  9. 26.14 – the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
  10. All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day Project – Coming Up This Week!!
  11. All Saints Day
  12. All Saints’ Day, Holy Day of Obligation
  13. All Saints’ Day is Today’s Religious topic of the Day (08/25/14)
  14. All Saints Day and advice for the young at heart
  15. “Death Becomes Her” and Other October Musings
  16. Pentecost +15A, Proper 20 A: Sep. 21
  17. Pentecost +15A, Proper 20 A: Sep. 21
  18. All Saints Sunday or Pentecost +21A, Proper 25A: Nov. 2
  19. All Saints’ Day (or Sunday nearest Nov. 1) Year A
  20. All Saints Day (or Sunday): Nov. 1 (Oct. 28 or Nov. 4) (for year B)
  21. All Saints’ Day/Sunday C: Nov. 1 or 3
  22. Preparing for All Saints’ Day/Sunday Celebration
  23. Hymn for All Saints’ Day
  24. All Saints Day / All Souls Day
  25. All Souls’ Day
  26. All Souls Day: Prayer for the Departed
  27. Engravers Prepare for All Soul’s Day
  28. Food for Thought from Julian of Norwich
  29. Making art in honor of Day of the Dead
  30. A DIY Prayerbook for All Saints’ Day
  31. Festivals in Peru
  32. Unity of Ukiah Presents All Souls’ Eve Open Mic
  33. One Stop Dia de los Muertos Shop
  34. The Memory Of You

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  • A list of false teachings in the Roman Catholic { so called } Church | Catholic errors | Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry : The Whore Of Babylon Is The Vatican. (christianspooksite.wordpress.com)
    the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence‘.”
    +
    CCC 2010, “Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification.”
    +
    Purgatory

    1. CCC 1031, “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
    2. CCC 1475, “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.
      +
      Indulgences

      1. CCC 1471, “The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? ‘An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.’ ‘An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.’ The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.”
      2. CCC 1478, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.
      3. CCC 1498, “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishmentresulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.”
      4. CCC 1472, ” . . . On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin…”
  • The subject of “Purgatory” (celticcrossministry.wordpress.com)
    Folks below you will find a conversation on the topic of “Life after Death” also a place known to many billions of Catholic’s as “Purgatory”. No, not the Western Movie by the same name but, rather the space and place between the Pearly gates and the gates of Hell. Hence known as Purgatory.
  • Chapter 39-Death and the Soul’s Immortality (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    The death of the wicked is easily accounted for. It constitutes a part of the penalty of sin, to which, the Scriptures teach, all men are liable (Rom. 5:12, 14; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 53-56), but from which, as such, the people of God are exempted because Christ has redeemed then from the curse of the law. The “death of the saint” instead of being accursed, is “precious in the sight of the Lord,” (Ps. 116:15), and this because he has redeemed them. Ps. 72:14. His death is a death “unto the Lord.” Rom. 14:8. Death is his. 1 Cor. 3:22. Its sting has been removed. 1 Cor. 15:56. But no one of these things is true of the wicked. He has neglected, or rejected the offer of salvation through Christ Jesus. There is no other method of escape from the penalty; and it rests upon him in all it fulness.It is not so easy to account for the death of the righteous. As he is no longer liable to the penalty of sin, there is no legal ground upon which he must endure death, and, because of which, he cannot be released. This is confirmed by the fact that some righteous have not died, and others will only be changed. But, while death may not thus be legally necessary, it may subserve many purposes in the gracious providence of God, and is, ordinarily, the best way for the Christian to attain the “change” for which he is destined. This should be believed even if it could in no respect be explained.
  • How to get to heaven – what are the ideas from the different religions? (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    There appear to be five major categories regarding how to get to heaven in the world’s religions. Most believe that hard work and wisdom will lead to ultimate fulfillment, whether that is unity with god (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Baha’i) or freedom and independence (Scientology, Jainism). Others, like Unitarianism and Wicca, teach the afterlife is whatever you want it to be, and salvation is a non-issue because the sin nature doesn’t exist. A few believe either the afterlife doesn’t exist or it’s too unknowable to consider.Derivatives of the worship of the Christian-Judeo God generally hold that faith in God and/or Jesus and the accomplishment of various deeds, including baptism or door-to-door evangelism, will ensure the worshiper will go to heaven. Only Christianity teaches that salvation is a free gift of God through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9), and no amount of work or effort is necessary or possible to get to heaven.
    +
    According to Catholicism, upon death, the souls of those who rejected Christ are sent to hell. The souls of those who accepted Christ and performed sufficient acts to be purified of sin go to heaven. Those who died in faith but did not complete the steps to be purified are sent to purgatory where they undergo temporary, painful punishment until their souls are cleansed. Purification by torment may be lessened by suffering during life and the offerings and prayers of others on the sinner’s behalf. Once purification is complete, the soul may go to heaven.
  • On Books Again And Purgatory (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Another great book which demonstrates the necessity for purgation and the existence of purgatory is Hungry Souls, by Gerard J. M. Van Den Aardweg. For those who have visited the Museum of Purgatory in Rome, some of the stories would be familiar, as well as some of the photos.
    +
    One of the things I want to highlight is the repetition of the idea that in purgatory there is real fire. many priests, bishops and even recent popes have moved away from this idea in private or public statements which are not ex cathedra, not infallible statements.The fact that many saints and those to whom souls in purgatory have visited to ask for prayers speak of fire or are seen in fire is a fact that cannot be denied.
  • Reclaiming Halloween (catholicmom.com)
    God has given us a great gift with His Church.  The gift of the saints, united in communion with the Eucharist.  Saints on earth, saints undergoing their final purification in purgatory, and saints in heaven.  And in times of doubt, we ask those great saints in heaven to pray for us.  They are closest to God.  Their souls are pure.  They are the perfect intercessors for our needs.  They know exactly how to present our requests to the one mediator, Jesus Christ.
  • Books on the afterlife (renewamerica.com)
    What do you take to the afterlife? What’s important to God? What best gets you through the ‘narrow gate’? There can be no more important questions, and this new book, by Catholic author Michael H. Brown, is aimed at many of the answers – culled from Church teaching, near-death experiences, saints, and other sources, including apparitions of the Blessed Mother. Brown, author of the bestseller The Other Side delves deeply into the concept of ‘life review’ or judgment: how our lives are evaluated upon passing by the Lord and his angels; the way in which our time on earth is viewed by the Lord; and the crucial nature of discerning and fulfilling our individual missions….
  • The Credo of the People of God (vultus.stblogs.org)
    We believe that in Adam all have sinned, which means that the original offense committed by him caused human nature, common to all men, to fall to a state in which it bears the consequences of that offense, and which is not the state in which it was at first in our first parents–established as they were in holiness and justice, and in which man knew neither evil nor death. It is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “not by imitation, but by propagation” and that it is thus “proper to everyone.”
    +
    We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ whether they must still be purified in purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies Jesus takes them to paradise as He did for the Good Thief are the People of God in the eternity beyond death, which will be finally conquered on the day of the Resurrection when these souls will be reunited with their bodies.
  • What is Purgatory? (qwhatis.com)
    According to the Catholic doctrine, even righteous people cannot be regarded as having completely pure souls that are free of sin. Because Catholics believe that an individual cannot come before God unless he is entirely clean, people must spend some time in the purgatory in order for them to become purified.According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, God can still forgive venial sinners. Compared to mortal sins, venial sins are less severe. This type of sin refers to the slight breaking of God’s law and are commonly committed thoughtlessly, instead of deliberately. However, it is important to note that repeatedly committing venial sins can result to mortal sins.

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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By 1890 all Americans voted to make 25 December, Christmas a legal holiday.

The old elph Claus, induced with supernatural powers, and his eight horned magical reindeer.
By 1880 Santa Claus was a very popularised folk hero.
(According to this video) Looking at conception of Elisabeth and Mary, possible birthday 1st day of Feast of tabernacles, September 25th or beginning October.

Many people use Christmas to perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus to their children. (A lie and deceivement to their children, who believe and trust their parents. Later people would wounder if other things the parents told them would be true or not like this Santa Claus and Easterbunny myths) It plants the seeds of doubt, creating disappointment and disillusion.

In schools the holidays are celebrated but no references to God or to Jesus may be made. All references to God must be omitted. They only may sing non-Scriptural songs.
“There is no Christian element in the holiday” the interviewed says.

Christians should live on a daily basis, remembering the son of God, born in Bethlehem; momentby moment dedication of their entire life to Jesus, then, and only then, they will be able to have victory over pagan influences and to have an impact on society, for the Only One God the Creator of heaven and earth.

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“2 here is what ADONAI says: “don’t learn the way of the Goyim, don’t be frightened by astrological signs, even if the Goyim are afraid of them;
3 for the customs of the peoples are nothing. they cut down a tree in the forest; a craftsman works it with his axe;
4 they deck it with silver and gold. they fix it with hammer and nails, so that it won’t move.
5 like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch, it cannot speak. it has to be carried, because it cannot walk.
do not be afraid of it—it can do nothing bad; likewise it is unable to do anything good!”” (Jeremiah 10:2-5 CJB)

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“18  “if the world hates you, understand that it hated me first. 19 if you belonged to the world, the world would have loved its own. but because you do not belong to the world—on the contrary, I have picked you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ if they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours too. 21 but they will do all this to you on my account, because they don’t know the one who sent me. 22 “if I had not come and spoken to them, they wouldn’t be guilty of sin; but now, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 whoever hates me hates my father also.” (John 15:18-23 CJB)

“11  now I am no longer in the world. they are in the world, but I am coming to you. holy father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are. 12 when I was with them, I guarded them by the power of your name, which you have given to me; yes, I kept watch over them; and not one of them was destroyed (except the one meant for destruction, so that the Tanakh might be fulfilled).
13 but now, I am coming to you; and I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
14 “I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world—just as I myself do not belong to the world. 15 I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one. 16 they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17  set them apart for holiness by means of the truth—your word is truth.” (John 17:11-17 CJB)

“4  you, children, are from god and have overcome the false prophets, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
5 they are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world’s viewpoint; and the world listens to them.
6 we are from god. whoever knows god listens to us; whoever is not from god doesn’t listen to us. this is how we distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:4-6 CJB)

“14 therefore fear ADONAI, and serve him truly and sincerely. put away the gods your ancestors served beyond the (Euphrates) river and in Egypt, and serve ADONAI! 15  if it seems bad to you to serve ADONAI, then choose today whom you are going to serve! will it be the gods your ancestors served beyond the river? or the gods of the Emori, in whose land you are living? as for me and my household, we will serve ADONAI {Jehovah}!” (Joshua 24:14-15 CJB)

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Preceding article: Holidays, holy days and traditions

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  1. The nativity story
  2. Religious Practices around the world
  3. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  4. First Century of Christianity
  5. Hellenistic influences
  6. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  7. Only One God
  8. Idolatry or idol worship
  9. Faith and works
  10. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  11. Compromise and accomodation
  12. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  13. For those who have not the rudiments of an historical sense
  14. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  15. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  16. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  17. A season of gifts
  18. God’s Special Gift
  19. What Jesus sang
  20. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  22. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  23. The nativity story
  24. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  25. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  26. Speedy Christmas!
  27. Christmas trees
  28. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  29. What do you want for Christmas
  30. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  31. Sancta Claus is not God
  32. Wishing lanterns and Christmas

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Additional reading:

  1. Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas
    Pagan, or non-Christian, traditions show up in this beloved winter holiday, a consequence of early church leaders melding Jesusnativity celebration with pre-existing midwinter festivals. Since then, Christmas traditions have warped over time, arriving at their current state a little more than a century ago.
    +
    As Christians spread their religion into Europe in the first centuries A.D., they ran into people living by a variety of local and regional religious creeds.
    Christian missionaries lumped all of these people together under the umbrella term “pagan,” said Philip Shaw, who researches early Germanic languages and Old English at Leicester University in the U.K. The term is related to the Latin word meaning “field,” Shaw told LiveScience. The lingual link makes sense, he said, because early European Christianity was an urban phenomenon, while paganism persisted longer in rustic areas.
    Early Christians wanted to convert pagans, Shaw said, but they were also fascinated by their traditions.
    “Christians of that period are quite interested in paganism,” he said. “It’s obviously something they think is a bad thing, but it’s also something they think is worth remembering. It’s what their ancestors did.” [In Photos: Early Christian Rome]
    Perhaps that’s why pagan traditions remained even as Christianity took hold. The Christmas tree is a 17th-century German invention, University of Bristol’s Hutton told LiveScience, but it clearly derives from the pagan practice of bringing greenery indoors to decorate in midwinter. The modern Santa Claus is a direct descendent of England’s Father Christmas, who was not originally a gift-giver. However, Father Christmas and his other European variations are modern incarnations of old pagan ideas about spirits who traveled the sky in midwinter, Hutton said.
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    With no Biblical directive to do so and no mention in the Gospels of the correct date, it wasn’t until the fourth century that church leaders in Rome embraced the holiday. At this time, Nissenbaum said, many people had turned to a belief the Church found heretical: That Jesus had never existed as a man, but as a sort of spiritual entity.
    “If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?” Nissenbaum said. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]
    Midwinter festivals, with their pagan roots, were already widely celebrated, Nissenbaum said. And the date had a pleasing philosophical fit with festivals celebrating the lengthening days after the winter solstice (which fell on Dec. 21 this year). “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,” one Cyprian text read.
  2. The Origin of Christmas
    The truth is that all of the customs of Christmas pre-date the birth of Jesus Christ, and a study of this would reveal that Christmas in our day is a collection of traditions and practices taken from many cultures and nations.
    The date of December 25th comes from Rome and was a celebration of the Italic god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god.
    This was done long before the birth of Jesus.
    It was noted by the pre-Christian Romans and other pagans, that daylight began to increase after December 22nd, when they assumed that the sun god died.
    These ancients believed that the sun god rose from the dead three days later as the new-born and venerable sun.
    Thus, they figured that to be the reason for increasing daylight.
    This was a cause for much wild excitement and celebration. Gift giving and merriment filled the temples of ancient Rome, as sacred priests of Saturn, called dendrophori, carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession.
    In Germany, the evergreen tree was used in worship and celebration of the yule god, also in observance of the resurrected sun god.
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    A simple study of the tactics of the Romish Church reveals that in every case, the church absorbed the customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and nation in their efforts to increase the number of people under their control.
    In short, the Romish church told all of these pagan cultures,”Bring your gods, goddesses, rituals and rites, and we will assign Christian sounding titles and names to them.

    When Martin Luther started the reformation on October 31st, 1517, and other reformers followed his lead, all of them took with them the paganism that was so firmly imbedded in Rome.
    These reformers left Christmas intact.
    In England, as the authorized Bible became available to the common people by the decree of King James the II in 1611, people began to discover the pagan roots of Christmas, which are clearly revealed in Scripture.
    The Puritans in England, and later in Massachusetts Colony, outlawed this holiday as witchcraft.
    Near the end of the nineteenth century, when other Bible versions began to appear, there was a revival of the celebration of Christmas.

    We are now seeing ever-increasing celebrating of Christmas or Yule, its true name, as we draw closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!
    In both witchcraft circles and contemporary Christian churches, the same things are going on.

  3. Is Christmas Pagan?
    There was, for example, a saturnal celebration around the time of Christmas that pagans celebrated, which was actually a temptation for Christians to participate in that had pagan content to it.  So the church changed the day that they celebrated the birth of Christ.  They used to celebrate it in the Spring.  But the church said, We can celebrate it any time we want.  Let’s celebrate it at the same time the pagans are celebrating their pagan festival.  It’ll act as a contrast to that pagan festival because our celebration is the birth of the God-man, Jesus Christ.  It has Biblical content.  Plus it will protect Christians from being wooed away by this other celebration to participate in what was a pagan celebration.
    +
    Circumcision was practiced by the Egyptians before it was practiced by the Jews.  It was a cultural practice which had some religious significance.  God captured the practice, gave it to Abraham, reinvested it with new meaning and it became a religious rite for Abraham to worship his creator.
    We think of circumcision as this really holy thing in the Old Testament associated with the covenant, which it was.  But it wasn’t that way originally.  By golly, it seems to me that if God can do such a thing–take a practice that had heathen content to it, save the practice, reinvest new information to it–then it certainly is okay for the church to do it.
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    Even Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, wasn’t given by God in the Scriptures.  It’s something that they do to recollect a deliverance, a special deliverance, that God gave them during what we call the inter-testamental period, those 400 years between Malachi and Jesus.  Theirs is a festival that is commonplace now but which doesn’t have its source in a direct command in Scripture; but it does function like many of those other things that are in Scripture.  It reminds people year to year of God’s faithfulness and His goodness.
  4. The History of Christmas, simple to remember
    St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus.  This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birthdate.+

    Joseph A. Fitzmyer – Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association – writing in the Catholic Church’s official commentary on the New Testament {Addison G. Wright, Roland E. Murphy, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “A History of Israel” in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, (Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1990), p. 1247.}, writes about the date of Jesus’ birth, “Though the year [of Jesus birth is not reckoned with certainty, the birth did not occur in AD 1.  The Christian era, supposed to have its starting point in the year of Jesus birth, is based on a miscalculation introduced ca. 533 by Dionysius Exiguus.”

    +

    The DePascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around 243 CE, placed Jesus birth on March 28.  Clement, a bishop of Alexandria (d. ca. 215 CE), thought Jesus was born on November 18.  Based on historical records, Fitzmyer guesses that Jesus birth occurred on September 11, 3 BCE.

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    In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians

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    The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who  first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.”{ Increase Mather, A Testimony against Several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, Now Practiced by Some in New England (London, 1687), p. 35.  See also Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday, New York: Vintage Books, 1997, p. 4.}  Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.{Nissenbaum, p. 3.}  However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.

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    Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna.  Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim. {Miles, p. 273.}  The Christian custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.{Miles, p. 274-5.}

  5. Christmas: Is it “Christian” or Pagan?
    “The cold of the night in Palestine between December and February is very piercing, and it was not customary for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October.” Hislop, A., The Two Babylons, Loiseaux Brothers, Neptune, N.J. pg 91.
    +
    If the winter was such a bad time in which to flee, it seems unlikely that the shepherds would be sleeping out in the fields while tending their sheep during that season.
    +
    Isis, the Egyptian title for the “queen of heaven,” gave birth to a son at this very time, about the time of the winter solstice. The term “Yule” is the Chaldee (Babylonian) name for “infant” or “little child.”
    This pagan festival not only commemorated the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but it also was celebrated (on December 24) among the Sabeans of Arabia, as the birthday of the “Lord Moon.”

In Babylon, where the sun (Baal) was the object of worship, Tammuz was considered the incarnation of the Sun.

“In the Hindu mythology, which is admitted to be essentially Babylonian, this comes out very distinctly. There, Surya, or the Sun, is represented as being incarnate, and born for the purpose of subduing the enemies of the gods, who without such a birth, could not have been subdued.” Ibid pg 96

There are many other Christmas counterparts of the Babylonian winter solstice festival, such as: 1) candles lighted on Christmas eve and used throughout the festival season were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honor to him, 2) the Christmas tree was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir. The tree denoted the Pagan Messiah.

“The mother of Adonis, the Sun God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ŒMan of the branch.” Ibid pg 97

  • Should we Celebrate Christmas?
    Sometimes tradition is acceptable and perhaps even pleasing in the sight of Yahweh. But other times it is not acceptable and can even be hated by Him
    The issue of traditions transgressing the commandment of Yahweh was a key teaching of Yahushua the Messiah:
    (NKJV) Matthew 15:1- Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Yahushua, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
    +
    Messiah didn’t like the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees because they transgressed Yahweh’s clear commandments. As I will share, Christmas is also transgressing the commandment of Yahweh in favor of tradition. But first, notice that He goes on to say:

    Matthew 15:7 –
    “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 `These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “So a tradition can honor him with the lips, but actually be a vain thing that displeases Him. I have found that Christmas is honoring with the lips but it is actually a vain tradition that has essentially become a doctrine and commandment of men.
    It is a tradition and commandment of men because there is no verse in the bible that tells us that we are to celebrate the birth nor the resurrection of Yahushua the Messiah—let alone in a way that imitates paganism and idolatry!
    So yes, I do believe we must question these traditions that have been handed down to this generation even though few dare to. Many Christians speak against the Catholic traditions of Lent, Ash Wednesday, etc. but fail to recognize that the same types of pagan elements exist in the celebration of Christmas and Easter.
  • The History of Christmas and Its Pagan Origins
    English: large wooden Santa Claus and "no...

    large wooden Santa Claus and “north pole” at Santa Claus House, North Pole, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Many people suffer from the misconception that Christmas is a Christian holiday. The earliest history of Christmas is composed of “pagan” (non-Christian) fertility rites and practices which predate Jesus by centuries. The truth is, in short, the real history of Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity. Many of the traditions which we hold dear, such as decorating Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols, and giving Christmas gifts, are rooted in the traditions of non-Christian religions.
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    In the Middle Ages, Christmas was a raucous, drunken celebration which resembled a carnival. Poor people would go on a Christmas“trick or treat” around the richer neighborhoods, causing them misery if they didn’t get what they wanted.
    +
    The Germans did not so much celebrate as honor the winter solstice. They believed that their god, Oden, flew through the sky at night passing judgment on his people. Generally, they would stay indoors during this season. When the Germanic people were converted to Christianity, their winter festival was naturally adopted as a celebration of the birth of Christ.
    +
    Contrary to popular belief, the tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree, bringing it into the home and decorating it is not pagan in origin, and did not appear until centuries after Christ’s broth. The Romans decorated their homes and temples with evergreen clippings, but allowed the trees to remain intact, often decorating live trees with religious icons.
    The Druids tied fruit to the branches of live trees, and baked cakes in the shape of fish, birds and other animals, to offer to their god, Woden. We also inherited the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe from the Druids. The Christmas tree tradition we currently practice had its origins in 16th century Western Germany. “Paradise trees” were cut down to commemorate the Feast of Adam and Eve, which took place on Christmas eve every year.
    +
    Christianity and pre-Christian pagan religion have a great deal in common. Various pagan religions shared the Christian practice of worshiping a god-man who could offer salvation in the form of heaven or condemnation in the form of hell. The concept that a son of God could be born of a mortal woman is seen in many different religions spanning the globe. These concepts are universal, except to those who are extremely divisive and have a tendency to pick nits.
    +
    Fortunately there are many ways to reconnect with the original purpose and meaning of Christmas. Small traditions, such as placing apples or cookies on the tree, or decorating a live tree instead of a cut one, are a good way to get in touch with the way that our ancestors celebrated Christmas. Respecting the planet and understanding its powers and its limitations are important. The pagans were aware of the changing seasons and found earth-centered and social ways to cope with them. They were aware and appreciative of the sun. They exchanged gifts, but their gift exchange was not commercialized. Instead the focus was on bringing good fortune. Giving gifts of fruit has been a common practice throughout history, and is still popular today.

  • A History of New Years
  • Christianity gone haywire, and going down
  • The Marketing Of Catholicism
  • 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.
    +
    Christianity isn’t a “fun option”, or a “better choice”; similarly, atheism or unrepentant grave sin are infinitely worse than “poor choices”. It is no surprise 50 years of trying to persuade people of this have brought us to the level where we are now.
    Christianity is, first and foremost, harsh. Harsh in the brutal commandments – not suggestions of “better choices” -, harsh in the consequences for those refusing to do so, harsh in the crystal-clear warning that no alternative ways are acceptable.
    +
    The call to submit our will to His good and perfect will – because God’s ways work for our happiness. A call to surrender our “rights” and all that we are to Jesus – through faithful membership of His Church.

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  • Oh Christmas Tree (notestoponder.wordpress.com)
    We deck the halls because Pagans used to bring greenery into their homes on  the shortest day of the year for the sun god to eat.  It was an “offering” to get well soon; a custom shared by ancient Druids, Romans and Greeks. Jesus could have been born in July for all we know but Dec. 25 was set to soothe uppity Pagans by coinciding with their solstice parties.
  • Chanukah (Hanukkah) / Christmas – Facts or Fabels? (hisimagenme.wordpress.com)
    Would Yeshua Himself celebrate Christmas if He walked the earth as human today? Not likely, at least not the way most do.What about Hanukkah?
    Yeshua likely grew up celebrating Hanukkah. It is one of the Jewish Holidays that goes way back. But to be clear it is the only holiday that God did not command to be celebrated. At least Biblically speaking. At least as far as we know. This is because the time period in which the origin of the holiday takes place between Malachi and Matthew or “old and new” testaments. He did indeed celebrate this holiday, and its not a far stretch to know why. As the Light of the World that gave the oil (Holy Spirit) to His church at a critical time in its history…we are the Menorah of Adonai. The above link does a beautiful job explaining this in more detail. It’s worth the time to “study to show thyself and test the Spirit” in search of Truth.
  • The Idol of Christmas (eternalchrist.wordpress.com)
    No, we are not the Grinch who stole Christmas; but Christians should understand the origins of this most hallowed celebration.
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    Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and Jingle Bells are born of the traditions of men, and detract from the birth of Messiah. Granted, Sinterklaas was a real person (Saint Nicholas of Myra); a 4th Century Christian bishop who gave generously to the poor.Everything else we know about Santa Claus is a creation of myth and fables. The Saint Nick who is worshiped today has become an idol of merchants and debtors; and is a sacrilege to the Nativity at Bethlehem.Christmas evolved from the winter festivals of Saturnalia (Rome) and Yule (German) from which we get the word Yuletide. These annual feasts celebrated pagan gods such as the white bearded Odin who supposedly rode his horse across the wintry skies of northern Europe delivering gifts to all the children.
  • The true reason for the season (sanchezjennifer926.wordpress.com)
    Christ will never be “the reason for the season” Jesus Christ was interjected into an already existing Pagan festival/feast and I’m here to shed a little light on an ongoing betrayal.
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    During the middle ages, the debased Mardi Gras atmosphere, of what was now known as “Christ’s mass” had reached a fevered pitch. Common practices included sex in the streets, rioting, murder, and a number of Druid Halloween like rituals. This blood drenched ritual got so out of hand, that by the year 1652 following the execution of King Charles I, “Christ’s mass” was finally outlawed.
  • YAHWEH’s Truth Behind The Pagan Holiday Christmas (simplylivingforyah.wordpress.com)
    Unbeknownst to the multitudes of Christians, and other religions, those celebrations are made by witches, warlocks, but mainly by Luciferians. I know you are thinking “why Luciferians”? So I’ll tell you why. Try to go over this a few times so you make sure it’s absolutely correct, and then once you do, “remember it”!The reason Luciferians celebrate it is because they know their god Satan has tricked most of the people that call themselves Christians into believing a lie, and that makes those people seen for who they are. “Weak in study and able to be told anything.” Today’s modern day believer is unequipped to do battle with Satan and that gives him an advantage over them.
    +
    These so called “church father’s” pre-existed the man who would continue in their efforts to malign the true doctrine that we were supposed to be taught. Instead Constantine, who was a wife murdering madman, and killed his very own children, found a way to align pagan worship (paganomics) with what was being called “Christianity.” It would allow pagans to bring some long time rituals into the church. “Easter” (Ishtar) The fertility goddess, whose name was originally “Asherah,” or “Astarte.” YAHWEH had the Asheran pole (may pole dancing) taken out of all HIS Tabernacles. “Churchianity brought it back with Easter.”
  • “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (allaboutarmstrongism.wordpress.com)
    Tonight, the Christmas tree – yes, the Christmas tree – (you’re responsible for your judging thoughts, Armstrong Adherents)  is brightly lit and shining in my home. Lights flashing sequentially, the beautiful colors light the living room in a warm, inviting glow. From speakers, St. Paul’s Cathedral is singing “Hark the Herald Angels sing” – a song proclaiming the birth of the most important Figure ever to walk the face of the Earth. The words echo beautifully throughout. It is absolutely wonderful.
  • The Twelve Mysteries of Christmas, Day 2 (lmwinborne.wordpress.com)
    Fact is, green has been used by many cultures as a symbol of life.  During harsh winters, evergreens were cut down and brought into houses as a symbol that life still existed despite the bleak conditions outside.  Romans hung holly wreaths on their doors and walls to welcome back the sun in the natalis solis invicti (birth of the invincible sun”) festival, which was celebrated on December 25 each year.  Red was added to symbolize the shed blood of Jesus.
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    The custom of using a pine to represent the Tree of Good and Evil spread from the church to the home, creating a tradition with the two colors.
  • Falling Back To The Wall – In Length And Wordiness (experientialpagan.wordpress.com)
     I’m (not really) sorry, Christians; you don’t have a patent on festive mid-winter celebrations.  In fact, if you all bothered to know as much about your Christian history as you think you know about pagan history, you would know it was your own Puritans who wanted to banish Christmas; not the secular humanists, thank you very much.At this time of year, I often wish I could master the patter of the professional auctioneer, so I could belt out “Merry Bodhi, Soyal, Dongzhi, Solstice, Yule, Kwanzaa, Malkh, Hanukkah, Christmas, Solis Invicti, Saturnalia, Yalda, Hogmanay, New Year’s!” 545237without it taking me five minutes to say it.  I hear the “defend Christmas” crowd go on about how it is our “culture” to be defended, but you know what?  America doesn’t have a culture.  Not really.  Capitalism is not cultured, religious bigotry is not cultured, consumerism and materialism are not cultured….but enough of my humanism, right?  IF Americans doing the loudest screaming had ANY bloody concept of “culture” they would know what all those holidays up there ARE, for starters…and then maybe we could have a rational talk about their ill-mannered insistence that nobody ever say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas!”
  • Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    Jewish people celebrate Christmas today, not because of Christ’s birthday, but because it is a popular tradition and part of our present-day culture. It’s as American as apple pie and hamburgers. And I observed Christmas for nearly 22 years of my life, until God opened my eyes to see the falseness of this pagan holiday.It’s not because I’m a Jew that I don’t celebrate Christmas now. That has nothing to do with it. Let me tell you the real reasons why I no longer observe this pagan holiday.
  • The Christmas Season in the Italian Language (becomingitalianwordbyword.typepad.com)
    To celebrate la stagione natalizia in Italy, I am dedicating this month’s blog posts to the sights, sounds, tastes, and traditions of Natale.  Buone feste! (Happy Holidays!)
    +
    the key dates in a season of celebrations:*December 6: La festa di San Nicola, patron saint of shepherds and of Bari–and the inspiration for the American “Santa Claus.”*December 8: La festa dell’Immacolata, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic holy day honoring Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. In Rome the Pope comes to the Piazza di Spagna to drop a garland of flowers around the statue of the Madonna. (Since she stands atop a high column, firemen on ladders do the actual placement.)*December 13: La festa di Santa Lucia, the festival of lights.

    *December 24: La vigilia di Natale, the vigil or eve of Christmas.

    *December 25: Natale,  the “birthday” of Gesù bambino.

    *December 26: La festa di Santo Stefano, Saint Steven’s day.

    *December 31: La festa di San Silvestro, Saint Sylvester’s day or New Year’s Eve (la vigilia di Capodanno).

    *January 1: Il Capodanno, literally the top of the year.

    *January 6: L’Epifania (Epiphany), which marks the arrival of the Re Magi, the three wise men, who brought gifts to the infant Jesus from afar.

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?