When there is secrecy involved

In this world there are lots of denominations in Christendom. Lots of Christians say that the non-trinitarian christians belong to cults or sects, but clearly than they forget what the characteristics of a sect or cult are.

The many non-Trinitarians who found one or another denomination in which they go to meetings are all free people with no obligations to that meeting, congregation or church except to live according to the commandments of God. In nearly all other Christian denominations of trinitarians we can find churches which dare to say they are the only church by which people can be saved or “go to heaven”. Nearly all of them are weekly asking money to their parishioners or even ask a tithing. Whilst in most of the non-trinitarian churches the parishioners are free to give or not to give any amount of money and are not pushed to do so. Never are they threatened by a so called burning in hell for ever, because such false teaching even does not exist by them.

Anna in Shadowland is a web-blog from a certain Andrea which represents the view of a disillusioned girl who left her own church to have an experience in a Charismatic church influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation. She writes

Every so often I receive testimonies from people who have read my “Leaving the NAR Church” series. There are more than 50 of them, and I am adding another. These stories are precious to me, and serve as a painful reminder that there is hope for the dear deceived ones caught up in this insidious movement. If you don’t know what NAR is, I hope you’ll take a moment and read What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement. {Leaving IHOP and the NAR: Sammy’s story}

She has a testimony about how the good and faithful God she loves and wanted to serve opened her eyes and removed her from the clutches of the deception, lack of discernment, and false teachings of a movement that has invaded the worldwide church on a massive scale. {An open letter to the church I left}

In Christendom and Christianity we may see many churches who claim to be adhering to ‘authentic New Testament practices’ but when we look closer at them we find all sorts of practices which are not according to the lifestyle of the first Christians (which we can come to know from the Acts of the Apostles and from civil writings of the first century CE).

Today there are several churches who love to attract people with their “Speaking in tongues” and all sorts of trance movements, even not minding to have people in hysterics, shaking on the floor to the very contemporary music of Hillsong and Bethel (not to be confused with the Bethels of the non-trinitarians), surrounded by all their technological advances, big screens, and coffee bars, and all the other comforts of modern convenience that they manage to accumulate around them.

Although it sure is a whole lot of fun and I have to admit, you had me fooled there for a while.  {An open letter to the church I left}

does the blogger says after her eyes were opened. Continuing

I was really starting to climb up that ladder to sit there with you because I’m sure the view is amazing. But thankfully I could never quite manage to get there, and these days I actually find it rather insulting that anyone can claim to be living ‘authentic Christianity’ just because they belong to a certain kind of church.  {An open letter to the church I left}

The blogger Andrea thinks

seeking after a truly authentic apostolic life and experience would be completely unattainable, because I currently live in 2017. {An open letter to the church I left}

but than she forgets we do have enough civic papers, next to the biblical account, to give us a fair image how life was by the first century followers of the Nazarene Jewish master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

Naturally she should also know that life 2000 years later is so different that we should take that into account too.

Today we see a growing amount of people loving the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR), a movement which seeks to establish a fifth house within Christendom, distinct from Catholicism, Protestantism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Some of that church, at the moment, say they are ‘Charismatic’ others say they are a ‘New Testament’ or ‘Apostolic Household’ church and do not belong to the Charismatic movement.

For sure all the modern Holly-Bolly-Woody-Booly modern entertainment forms a very attractive asset to lure people in the community. At several places in the United States certain movements took place which were noticed by C. Peter Wagner to fall under the same denominator. Unlike several sects or cults groups it is not some secret society or shadowy organization. They started to find like-minded people who had no intention to overthrow world governments or undermining the Church. For many of them the “New Apostolic Reformation” started off as a name giving for a movement that was going through the established church. Nothing more but a term used to classify a subset of people throughout denominational and non-denominational Christendom who seem to share some common characteristics.

In Christendom we may find lots of churches which not only worship a Trinity, but also believe that the Holy Spirit is with them and moving around in their church even in such a way that this spirit would choose special pastors, giving them a special role in the Church of God and/or in the Kingdom of God. They may come up with many different stories even telling that people got ‘gold dust’ on their hands.

One of them was the wife of one of your pastors/elders, and she very excitedly and animatedly told us how the ‘spirit had been moving’ in a certain meeting, because the people had seen ‘gold dust’ on their hands. {An open letter to the church I left}

Andrea remarks

it is easy to dismiss the ‘manifestations of the spirit’ thing when someone is interpreting a verse of scripture about ‘being filled with the spirit’ or ‘being drunk in the spirit’, while you are sitting under the cloud of false teaching. But when you realize that these kinds of ‘manifestations’ are actually completely absent in scripture, and had been completely absent in the church until only a couple of years ago, that is when you sit up and take notice. And then when you realize that during all that time it had actually been present in the occult and Eastern mystic religions, that is when you start opening up a whole can of worms. That is when you get up and walk out of a meeting before the end, leaving behind some dear friends who are violently convulsing on the floor, and shaking in fits of ‘holy laughter’. That is when you walk out of a large WOF centre from a Jesus Culture ‘revival’ concert, feeling like you had just walked out of the depths of hell, and all the while absolutely hating yourself for having such feelings and for questioning ‘the work that God is doing through the moving of His spirit’.
And you’re asking yourself ‘Is this really the God that I know?’, but still you are convinced that the problem lies with you because you are ‘not open to the spirit’, because that is what you’re being told over, and over, and over again. And then you get pushed, and pushed, and pushed to get baptized so that you can also ‘receive the spirit’, and you’re left scratching your head because you had thought that because you were already a believer, you had already received the Holy Spirit, but the word ‘obedience’ gets thrown at you over, and over, and over again. And this is when you start to see the indoctrination above the doctrine. {An open letter to the church I left}

People should come to see that at such point they do come in the danger zone. There it is, where we would differentiate between a through church and a cult or sect. Whilst non-trinitarians do keep to the biblical teachings and are not pushing people to come into their church, afterwards demanding all sorts of obligations, and not letting people easily go, this is typical for the cult groups we notice in the trinitarian churches. Also when people then want to leave such a church or group we notice the leaders of such community want to give a ‘guilt feeling’ to the person who wants to leave.

Andrea gives a nice example how such cults or groups work

Instead you preyed on my hurt and my weakness, and used it to set your trap, so that you could be the ones who avoided the issue. This leads me to believe that, despite the deceptive façade, you actually have no idea who you are or what you believe, and you are carried about by every wind of doctrine. If this was not so, you would have had no problem answering all the questions I had first, despite any other issues that might have been present. {An open letter to the church I left}

Backsliding term used within Christianity to describe a process by which an individual who has converted to Christianity reverts to pre-conversion habits and/or lapses or falls into sin, when a person turns from God to pursue their own desire. – The story of the Prodigal Son has become a representation of a backslider that repented. Engraving of the Prodigal Son as a swineherd by Hans Sebald Beham, 1538.

In most such dominating churches we can see that they try to put the guilt feeling by accusing that person who has objections of being a backslider. Saying that the faith is watering down because the person is going the wrong way, spiritually. They want to have the doubting person to believe all lies within him or her. Saying that he or she  is regressing rather than progressing and that there is no proof any more of a commitment to Christ or that a certain standard of behaviour is not there any more.

DivideTheWord.blog, a cloud-based ministry who claim to have as purpose to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in such a way as to be available to all of God’s children, saying it is free from denominational judgmentalism, free from race, colour or creed stipulations, brings a testimony

Having been a member of an independent Oneness Pentecostal (Apostolic) church for fifteen years, gaining a 4-year degree from a Oneness Pentecostal Bible College, and being involved in many ministries within that church, to them, I am now completely backslid. I know the doctrines. I learned the dogma. I defended it ardently.

I justified foul behavior for the purity of the doctrine and I even considered, as they do, all other Christians, lost. According to Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals (the majority, there are personal exceptions) all other Christians, be they Baptist, Lutheran, you name the group, they will not be going to heaven, because they do not follow the Pentecostal doctrines.

And when I finally had enough of the stink of judgmentalism, elitism, self-righteous pomp, the hypocrisy of their holiness standards, I backslid. I left the church. I’ll never return, nor attend another Oneness Pentecostal church again.

But something miraculous happened to me, and to hundreds, and thousands of others I’m connected to via this blog, my YouTube channel and many recovery based online groups;

I backslid, right into Jesus {I Backslid Into Jesus}

Also Andrea writes

I can assure you that I am anything but a ‘lukewarm’ Christian. {An open letter to the church I left}

The woman who likes to think of the NAR as a ‘mega cult’ or an ‘out-of-control cult’ seems to have not such nice experiences, though at first it looked even so attractive she left her ‘old’ traditional church.

For her

Praise and Worship during a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Healing Service.

It is probably important, at this point, to also note its interconnectedness with the Signs and Wonders, and Word of Faith movements. And that it is also known or characterized by a bunch of other terms, like ‘Dominionism’, ‘The Third Wave’, ‘Kingdom Now Theology’, ‘Joel’s Army’, ‘Manifest Sons of God Doctrine’, ‘Charismania’, ‘The Seven Mountain Mandate’, and ‘The Fivefold Ministry’, to name only a few. And that its precursor was ‘the New Order of the Latter Rain’, a discredited movement out of which a lot of current day NAR teachings is derived. It seems to be an ever changing, constantly evolving and expanding movement, which is what makes it so hard to pinpoint and, I believe, is part of its deceptiveness. {Eighteen Months in a Cult: Prologue}

In Pentecostalism there may be found so many subgroups that often people can not see the woods any more because of the trees. Some of those groups evolve around one ‘spiritual leader’ who can have many people under his spell. Some groups have an end to their existence when the pastor dies, others have a longer life.

In the book ‘A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement’, Geivett & Pivec writes:

“Whereas the Latter Rain revival lasted only a few years, NAR has been around for more than thirty years – since the 1980s, when the office of prophet began to be restored. NAR teachings have gained enough momentum for an entire generation of young people to be raised in churches that promote them. For these people, NAR teachings are at the heart of Christianity.”

Andrea was raised Reformed, and writes

– that is, the other reformation. Whereas the NAR is a falling away from the authority of Scripture towards ‘experiences’, ‘encounters’, and ‘new revelations’, the Protestant Reformation was a return to the light of Scripture. To the eternal things that God has already promised and revealed in His Word, and to recognizing it as the only truth and authority to live by. Hence one of the battle cries was Sola ScripturaScripture Alone. And even though I do not remember the emphasis ever really being placed on the fact that we were Reformed, or being taught exactly what that even meant, this was very much the culture and mind set I had grown up with. {Eighteen Months in a Cult: Prologue}

For the Mega-churches and Pentecostal Churches youngsters are an easy prey because they are not so much interested in pure words of the Scriptures, but like more “ambience” with song and dance and special actions, like seeing people going in trance or watching unbelievable things like people nearly going mad.

Andrea also admits

when you are a young person, still searching for passion and a sense of purpose, it is very hard to disagree with those who say that the traditional church is ‘dead’. And hymns, structure and doctrine simply does not seem all that relevant and exciting anymore.
So for me, when the opportunity presented itself to become part of a young, vibrant, hip & happening church, suffice it to say that I did not hesitate for very long. Even though the circumstances of how I came to be introduced to this church was accompanied by a sense of hurt and rejection, I nevertheless grabbed the opportunity to join what seemed like a genuinely committed, and caring, community of believers. I was hoping, and expecting, to have my faith nurtured and strengthened in the process. {Eighteen Months in a Cult: Prologue}

Question is how much such attractive groups can nurture a person in the good sense. We should know it is really god’s Word that must give guidance to people. It is the Bible which can give us the most correct education and foundation for a good faith.

When not much attention is given to the text from the Bible, people shall miss out edifying material, for reproof and profitable for correction for building up a life according to the Will of God.

When to much attention is giving to the pleasures of life or to the human or natural flesh the real faith can not grow. Mike sojournerphoto remembers

I (was) removed from these organisations many years ago – initially with judgement in my heart – but have since watched the ‘Toronto ‘blessing’ and such stuff thrive. I became increasingly appalled at what was happening and now am amazed that it continues, ever more subtle. I remember a dark day sitting in ‘my church’ sometime around 1986 or 7 and the band deciding to play on after the service to ‘continue to seek God’ and as looked down it was a though there was a dark pit (not visual, so much as metaphorical) and I felt compelled to leave the building. I later came to recognise so much of this as seeking after ‘the flesh’ and to equate it with James observation on the ‘earthly, natural, demonic’.

Therefore let us remember that a true Christian church should be open, have no secrecy for its members nor for the outside world, and should give most attention to the Word of God, it is to readings from the Bible.

Eighteen Months in a Cult: Prologue

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Preceding

Lovers of God, seekers and lovers of truth

Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing

All Souls’ Day

 

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Additional reading

  1. Ideas about Religiosity
  2. Religions and Mainliners
  3. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  4. Expenses, costs – Onkosten, uitgaven
  5. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  6. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  7. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  8. Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love
  9. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  10. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #6 Sunday or the Lord’s day
  11. Breaking up with a cult
  12. Evangelicalism in France on the rise
  13. Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews
  14. What is the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI)?
  15. What Doctrines came out of the Shepherding/Discipleship Movement (SDM)?
  16. Place for a fifth and sixth house in Christendom
  17. History of the NAR cult infiltrating the marketplace.
  18. Wagner the NAR and new wineskins
  19. C. Peter Wagner – The Don Quixote of Evangelicalism (Part 1): Knighted as a General.
  20. A new bible translation from the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) group
  21. Using Alexander Dowie’s “altar call” system to suggest that they are God’s instrument to furthering the Kingdom of God here on earth
  22. Brian Simmons and The Passion Translation Deception

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Related

  1. Christianity Is Not a Cult, It’s How It’s Taught
  2. So you want to be a Christian? [731]
  3. Cult…
  4. Cults around the World: Heaven’s Gate
  5. 049 :: Cult thinking
  6. Sects in the New Testament
  7. Q17: Sects and conflicts
  8. Cult Accusations Against the Body of Christ
  9. True Talk: What goes on within a sect?
  10. Same God – Different People
  11. #Tupper #Saussy PDF : Exposing the #Luciferan #Jesuit #Cult for what it is. #Catholic #Evil – YouTube
  12. Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations, ritual abuse, padeophile cults, multiple personalities, FLDS – Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  13. What is the New Apostolic Reformation?
  14. New Series: The New Apostolic Reformation
  15. Churchwatchcentral create a boogie man
  16. Should James White be disregarded as a valid voice in the field of Christian apologetics?
  17. James Goll Is a Tricky Devil: He Deceives After Warning People About the Devil’s Deception
  18. Prophetess Stacey Campbell Participated in and Promoted Catholic Event that’s in submission to the Magisterium of the Church
  19. Make Your Marine Demon Tap Out Through Full Immersion: Jennifer LeClaire’s Spiritual Hacks to Drowning Marine Demons
  20. NAR Nonsens
  21. N’ar John Silver
  22. When Church Invades Your Home
  23. Blame Cindy Jacobs for Terrorist Attacks and Tyrannical Leaders
  24. Psychic Fishing Expedition with John Edward and Shawn Bolz
  25. Cults on the rise in social media
  26. Cults of the World: Synanon
  27. Cults of the World: Aum Shinrikyo
  28. Cults of the World: Lundgren Cult
  29. Cults and sects – Jehovahs witnesses [702]
  30. Cults and sects – Christadelphians [703]
  31. Cults and sect – World Wide Church of God, Herbert Armstrong [706]
  32. Children Of God #Cult Was Hell On Earth. #Scotland
  33. Rating Cult Websites (and some background about the cults)
  34. I said #no ..’#In14ways #MercyfulGrace
  35. When Control Sets In – An Excerpt from my Book
  36. The Fall Rivers Cult
  37. A Bunch Of Rich White People From New York Are Being Arrested In Connection With A Sex Cult
  38. This Isn’t a Culture War — But a Patriotic Defense Against All Cults
  39. “Choose Freedom, Choose Happiness” – introduction
  40. Introduction – Prophet or Profit?
  41. My cult made me do comedy
  42. Card Catalog Review: Breaking Free: How I Escaped Polygamy, the FLDS Cult, and My Father, Warren Jeffs
  43. Bethel School Of Spiritual Drunkenness
  44. Drawning in mystery or Secrets with Courtney – a brief series on Scientology
  45. Video Comparison: Matt Chandler and Bethel Redding’s Shawn Bolz on the Same Page: Kooky Practices of Charismatic Things
  46. Are Phil Pringle’s ‘visions’ from God just as infallible as the NT Apostolic letters?
  47. Todd Bentley’s Vintage Heresy Oil and Prayer Cloths
  48. Experience Outweighs Scripture Implies Apostle Jennifer LeClaire
  49. Dr. Michael Brown Promotes Baby Throwing Evangelist Smith Wigglesworth
  50. Greater Works Epic Fail: Why Did Bethel Redding Need to Buy so Many Groceries for CARR Relief?
  51. I Backslid Into Jesus
  52. “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid”
  53. Jesus The Way (2)

8 Reasons Christian Holidays Should Not Be Observed

Those who tried to reform the church in the 16th and 17th century did an effort to go back to the biblical Truth and to the early followers of Jesus.

For centuries there had always been true followers of Christ, who did not believe in a triune god and did not want to partake in the heathen festivals of their region.

The pastors who came from the Roman Catholic church, like Luther and Calvin, did an effort to bring the focus back onto the Word of God, but never managed to go so far with their Reformation that their followers would come to agree to only keep to the days given by God. Today we can only notice that lots of their hopes and teachings are gone away, and that we can see again protestant churches with statues or graven images and traditional rites and festivals.

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To remember

The writers who try  to promote Presbyterian perspectives, as summarized in the Westminster Standards bring a summary of Reasons Against Holy Days, one of the five points of dispute written by David Calderwood and the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland in 1618 when King James forced the Kirk to adopt the Five Articles of Perth.

 

1. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Ex. 20:9).

six days of work = a command or as permission

some feel they have a moral right to have the day off from their employer + wrongly think the employer would be infringing on their Christian liberty if forced to work on one of these holidays

2.  Only God can make a day holy

Man made holy days + ceremonies = > Assigning spiritual significance to something Scripture doesn’t = epitome of will worship (Col. 2:23), i.e. idolatry.

Human beings have no authority to sanctify a day,

we must worship God how He has told us He wants to be worshiped

Unbiblical ceremonies = lighting of candles, waving of palm branches, + certain decorations with intended religious significance = violate Regulative Principle of Worship + subvert headship of Christ over His Church.

Occasional days of public fasting or thanksgiving

lawful + necessary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving

3. No one but God has ever appointed a holy day

Purim

= days of civil mirth + gladness > not a religious holiday, rather = civil celebration

The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah)

commemoration of rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the inter-Testamental period

> unduly instituted + ungroundedly

Pharisees added many festivals without divine warrant > feasts of the Tekuphas (equinoxes) and the Feast of Xylophoria, <= Feast of Dedication = Pharisaical tradition.

Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication

4. Annual holy days were part of the Ceremonial Law and abrogated with it

observation of days served to the people of God for a typical use and a rudiment of religion.

To substitute other days in place of the Jewish, a Christian Pascha [Easter] and Pentecost for the Jewish, is but to substitute rudiments + elements to the Jewish, and not to chase away, but to change the Jewish holy days…

Jews had no anniversary days

observation of anniversary days = pedagogical, rudimentary + elementary, + consequently ceremonial

5. Jesus Christ has not instituted any other holy day but the Lord’s Day

no Christian holy days other than the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath

Holy days in the Early Church

conflicting accounts in the Early Church about where Pascha, or Easter, comes from.

Some reported that Philip + John kept the 14th day of the month (ed. = 14 Nisan), and others that Peter kept the first Lord’s Day after the 14th day of the month, which turned into a long lasting controversy.

6. Specific dates

If God wanted religious festivities for events of Christ’s life = would have recorded exact days of the year that those events took place

7. Even things indifferent, when they are abused and polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished.

Things indifferent, when abused + polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished

 

8. That which has lawfully been abolished cannot be received and put in practice again

After the attainments of the Protestant Reformation, wherein the Reformed Church cast off the superstitious, idolatrous, and arbitrary rituals and holidays of the Papal Antichrist, how can we justify slipping back into a lukewarm position?

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Preceding

Followers, protestors and reformers

Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

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Further reading

  1. Holy Day
  2. High Holy Days 1
  3. High Holy Days 2
  4. The High Holy Days
  5. Just a holy day – not a holiday
  6. What is a holy day of obligation? When are they?
  7. Why Are There Holy Days of Obligation?

Purely Presbyterian

8 reasons christian holidays should not be observedReformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to (c.f. John Calvin and Holy Days). Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent…

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Followers, protestors and reformers

When we read the Acts of the apostles chapter 11 we find how the first followers of Christ Jesus went on to step in the footsteps of their master.

 “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (verse 1).

For them it was very special to see how heathen people came to find the Way to God. In their writings they told about their experiences and where not afraid to show how they struggled with certain things. Though not always agreeing with each other over all matters they did everything to stay under the teachings and guidance of their master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) From him they had learned how important it was to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

500 years after Luther placed his 95 remarks on the Roman Catholic Church on the doors of the of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 we can find many churches who where under the influence of him and of other theologians who stood up against the ruling Roman Catholic Church. In those times of ‘revolt’ many where not afraid to talk to others about the Word of God and to use the Bible to show others what is really written in it.

It was made possible to ordinary people to come to read and to hear about the message of the kingdom and of Christ’s return to establish it. Today we can look back at a movement which changed a lot in church-world.  The Reformation caused major upheaval in Europe, leading to wars, persecutions and exoduses, including the departure of the Pilgrims for what was later to become America. Lots of those escaping for the power of churches could find time to read the Scriptures and talk to others which came from all sorts denominations.  Some of those voyagers got an eye-opening sight. Hearing all those different church doctrines they where brought down to earth with a bump, but once run aground they continued to search the Scriptures to disentangle its secrets. From those bible searchers came active Bible Students who wanted also to step in the footsteps of the apostles, following the task Jesus had given them.

Lots of Biblestudents received the bible message into their heart and mind. But at the European continent Roman Catholics received the help from protestants to fight against those who did not want to follow the false doctrine of the Trinity. From those actions taken we can see that though the Bible had come more available and there had come preachers or pastors to show the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic Church we can see how difficult it was for many really to “receive” the peace message. Lots of people who started calling themselves Protestant came in a similar situation as they were before in the Roman Catholic Church. They did not transformed by reading the Bible and did not find that Jesus was the way to God and that they had to share Jesus his love with those around them.

Paul spearheads the carrying of Christ’s name, God’s message of salvation through His Son. In doing this he sets the example to others like Silas, Titus and Timothy to do the same. These are among the examples that have come down to us today!

In the book of Luke about the first years  after Jesus’ dead we read of “the enrolment of the priests” (verse 17) and how “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy” (verse 18), and we can see this renewal as foreshadowing the dramatic events which must surely take place when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom!

From Daniel 11 we know that when that time of return is near there shall be lots of trouble, such as never has been” (verse 1), and then the resurrection shall take place.

After this Acts 11 and 12 seem almost an anti-climax; but dramatic events are described! We read of the conversion of the first Gentile – to the great surprise of Peter – and the first disciple killed, James. However,

“the word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).

Sadly, we can see little of that today, but

“the ‘faithful’ must keep themselves holy”

facing the challenges of the “time of trouble such as never has been” that seems to be almost upon us! Our minds must embrace the words of the Psalmist,

“9 For evil-doers are cut off; But those who wait on יהוה, They shall inherit the earth …

37 Watch the perfect, and observe the straight; For the latter end of each is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The latter end of the wrong shall be cut off.
39 But the deliverance of the righteous is from יהוה, Their strength in time of distress.
40 And יהוה does help them and deliver them; He delivers them from the wrongdoers and saves them, Because they took refuge in Him.” (Psalm 37:9, 37-39).

Of the Protestant denominations there are only a few which teach about the spreading of the Good News. Not many of their church members go out on the streets and spread the Gospel. Lots of those who belong to the reformed churches are now like Catholics, having become very passive Christians. The evangelicals and Pentecostals being the exception. They often let others hear their voice or can be seen on television with their services which are closer to a show than a worship service for God.

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Additional reading

  1. Bringing Good News into the world
  2. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation

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Further related

  1. In 1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth, Devon, England.
  2. August 15, 1620  Pilgrims
  3. The Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers
  4. The New World …
  5. The New World & The Pilgrim Fathers
  6. George Whitfield
  7. The Pilgrim’s Bible
  8. Martin Luther and the Fear of Breaking the Rules: Sermon for October 8, 2017
  9. Martin Luther, Catholics and Jews
  10. Review: Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography
  11. Review: Martin Luther – A Spiritual Biography
  12. Wednesday Testimony – Martin Luther
  13. History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther
  14. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  15. Martin Luther The Idea that Changed the World (PBS)
  16. Martin Luther and Me
  17. Martin Luther tells me so
  18. Learning from Martin Luther (The Kingdom Of God: Romans and Galatians)
  19. How to Spread the Gospel
  20. Faithful Congregations Share the Good News

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Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

in the December issue of the Spectator questions where Christianity began to lose confidence (as he thinks it now has) that its teachings can offer a sure framework for day-to-day moral reasoning.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us all went wrong when the church fathers agreed to Constantine the Great to adapt their faith to the Roman faith and to include their gods in the god of Christianity, creating a three-headed god like in the Roman and Greek culture. They also were very attracted to the philosophers of antiquity. One of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history got his philosophies in the teachings of the false teachers of Christendom.

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles  (384 bceStagira, Chalcidice, Greece – 322, Chalcis, Euboea) his philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. For him

ethical questions were soluble by the application of logic and common sense that he could advise anyone seeking to determine the ‘right’ course of action to ask themselves what a respected gentleman would recommend; and if still in doubt ask what would be going too far, and would not be going far enough, and thereby locate the mean between them as the appropriate action. The Nichomachean Ethics do not speak to me of an age of aching uncertainty about the rules for human coexistence. From those times, only Pilate’s ‘what is truth?’ calls to us down the ages with a modern ring. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

Though he was the the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline, the 4th century church leaders did not seem to have much interest to keep everything logical and to keep just to what the words of the Bible said. Though the idea of the homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council of Council of Nicaea in 325, to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular, different emanations from God looked much cooler and by transferring the god Zeus into the person of Jeshua corrupting his name to Issou or Jesus (Hail Zeus),they could go with the Roman emperor his ideas and keep the minds at ease, not confronting the Roman merchants with the instructions of followers of Jeshua to their believers not to buy figurines or sculptures to have them as representation of God or gods in their house.

The raising and discussing of doctrinal difficulties became a popular pastime. It also created the possibility for church-fathers to create writings and to gain popularity in certain circles. But because they agreed to certain Roman elements they became in difficulties with the Aristotelian use of deductive reasoning proceeding from self-evident principles or discovered general truths; and syllogistic forms of demonstrative or persuasive arguments. On lie or false teaching made they had to crate an other lie or a doctrine people had to take for truth, with the saying that it is something to difficult to understand for a human mind and therefore Christians had just to believe it as a creed of faith.

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Early Christianity strikes me as inheriting much from Aristotle’s ‘think about it: it’s obvious’ approach. The Roman Catholic church added layer upon layer of specific rules, all underwritten by a claim to divine authority — the big ‘Because’ — as handed down by a clear and certain hierarchy of human office-holders. The Reformation at first aimed to replace Roman Catholic certainties with certainties of its own. But in time the Reformation produced so many competing answers to the big ethical questions that in the schisms, sects and splinters — the rival certainties — modern Europe’s sense of one great, shared moral certainty was lost. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

The early Christians had already became distressed by heresies and by men who liked to have the pre-eminence over others. This resulted in schism and fragmentation. When the apostles were alive they still could call others to order. They made every effort to rebuke and educate those in error, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Those they could not bring to order or following the teachings of Christ Jesus grew in number and as such more and more people preferred those teachers which allowed them to keep the heathen rituals and to enjoy the human traditions. Still today we see that this is the main reason why many Christians do not want to convert to the truthful Christian groups which only want to keep to Biblical teaching and not to the human doctrines.

Some people are convinced that Aristotle is the most wise man who was keenly attuned to the realm of the divine. They also want to think that the divine the philosopher was talking about would have been the same divine Jesus and other Hebrew prophets were talking about.

He might have thought the divine being the origin of the human and the human at its best approaches the divine.

The latter is a paradoxical truth at the center of human existence {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

writes who thinks

the more perfect a human life, the more it stretches beyond the human and almost touches the divine. One who sees deeply into human greatness can as it were see through it, to something beyond. For men can become like gods. Such a profound truth Aristotle saw. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Aristotle had confidence — though not certitude — that the gods will reward those who become like them, and the followers of Christ asked their disciples to become like Christ. For lots of human beings to become like God would be the most favourable and the climax in their life, the sum-mum. So, having Christ Jesus as their god would be better than the gentiles having their Roman or Greek gods, when they would equal Jesus with the God of Abraham.

All the preaching of the Hebrew prophets and rabbi Jeshua was about becoming one with the God Most High, building up a relation to last in eternity.

In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected: “when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics). It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Such idea makes some Christian philosophers or Christian teachers, also today, placing Aristotle as the visionist who not only could tell what is  truly virtuous and what is mistakenly thought to be so, but also could tell the world what the meaning of Christmas is.

And this, then, is what Aristotle has to say about Christmas, about its deepest meaning.  If men are ever to become more than just somewhat-like the divine, if we are ever (tremble at the words) to live one life with him, and thus be his friends, then something very specific has to happen. And there is no human ground to expect that it ever will. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

As you see, it was thought of that one could live with the gods and to be befriended with the gods and with God. In Ethika Politika speaks about that happening in what he calls the “first Christmas”. With that “first Christmas” he refers to what lots of Christians have taken as the birthday of Christ.

That celebration which is still popular by many Christians and is even seen as a Christian holiday by many non-religious persons is a pagan celebration with lots of figures which have nothing to do at all with the birth of the promised saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

But we can see or understand why many want to bring Aristotle’s thinking to that pagan celebration and to bring it in Christendom. For man it has always been a question why they lived, why they had to suffer so much and how they could bring an end to suffering and get a better life.

Many have searched for happiness and came to the conclusion it must also have to do with having friendly relationships to living beings and perhaps also to divine beings.

According to John Cuddeback

Aristotle had the key to understanding Christmas. His master achievement was a profound understanding of human happiness. It is as though he grasped as much as can be grasped by human reason alone. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Men are designed for greatness, a greatness that few ever achieve. True human happiness consists, simply put, in living virtuously. And virtuous living is the fundamental requirement and the necessary context for that deepest of human longings—true friendship. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

gods take an interest in the struggles of men? Here, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is more tentative:

For if the gods have any care for human affairs, as it seems they do, it would be reasonable both that they should delight in that which was best and most akin to them and that they should reward those who love and honor this most, as caring for things that are dear to them.

Remarkably, he has confidence—though not certitude—that the gods will reward those who become like them.

But this is as far as far as it goes. Surely the possibility of God and men entering into some sort of shared life never entered his mind. Right?

This is a subtle matter. In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected:

“when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics).

It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

When for Aristotle the happiness meant to become wholesome, the early church argued people could become complete went hey became like Christ, though we do not know if they intentionally would say by that that people could become like God, because they came to take Christ Jesus to be God.

For Aristotle, eudaimonia was about living in accordance with reason; fulfilling our sense of purpose; doing our civic duty; living virtuously; being fully engaged with the world and, especially, experiencing the richness of human love and friendship. {Hugh Mackay, ‘Why we sometimes need to be sad’Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

Today we do not see many Christians who understand that living the life Christ calls us to live as Christians is a very logical exercise. Many Christians do not want to believe Jesus when he says who he is and who is grater than him.

A 22 year old Catholic woman writes

 if He is indeed God, then it is only logical that I need to center my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

But than she makes a funny remark as if Jesus would not be saying who he is, but than says

On the other hand, if Jesus is not who He says He is, if He is not God, then He’s not a nice man, He’s a dangerous fanatic, and therefore I would do well to avoid centering my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

what she does not seem to see that Jesus never told lies, because according to the Holy Scriptures, which we take to be the infallible word of God, being from the Most High God of gods Who does not tell lies, Jesus would not have sinned and as such would not have told lies. Jesus tells very clearly how he relates to God and how we like him have to relate to his heavenly Father.

As a Catholic she believes that our hearts are designed for union with God. She has reason to believe that, but she takes the wrong person to be her god. She has to be in union with her brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ in union with God, like Jesus was in union with his heavenly Father. This will not make us to become Christ nor to become God, like Jesus was also not God, though one with God like we have to be one with Him.

This unity is the purpose of our existence that is inscribed into us; to love God and to be loved by God.

St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

And so, when we live in a way that we were designed to live, we experience a pervading joy and peace that the world cannot give. St. Catherine of Siena said,

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

In other words, to be fully alive is to be who we are meant to be. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

These days in darker times of the year man tries to look at light and hopes to find in it happiness. He has taken the day of the goddess of light as the day to celebrate and present a Santa Claus, who has taken the place of Christ and the place of God. Man has become so materialistic and thinking happiness lays in the material goods one can get, that he is blinded not seeing the light of Christ and the Way to God.

All those false teachings were many became victim of give them a false hope of their spirit leaving their body and going to a sort heaven where they shall be able to find happiness. They do forget that Christ Jesus came to safe us and liberated us already some two thousand years ago from the penalty of death. thanks to him we are able to receive here already lots of happiness and hope in a marvellous new world here on earth.

Christian joy is living in accordance with reason, in a way that fulfills our sense of purpose, living virtuously, being fully engaged with the world and experiencing the richness of love and friendship with God.  {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

A reason that follows with reason the words form the most sacred Book of books, the Bible and not from human dogmatic teachings and philosophies.

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Preceding

Focus on outward appearances

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

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

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Additional reading

  1. Integrity of the fellowship
  2. Gainsayers In Apostolic Days
  3. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment
  4. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  5. Politics and power first priority #2
  6. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  9. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  10. Experiencing God
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God

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Further related articles

  1. In the Family Way or Aristotle’s Ethics
  2. What Aristotle Says About Christmas
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  4. Deterring Determinism: The Freedom of Mankind
  5. 3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge: Round 2
  6. The Birth of Science
  7. The Good Life: You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
  8. Four-Part Epilogue
  9. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’s Oedipus
  10. Interrogation
  11. Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism
  12. Imagination defines humanity
  13. Some Thoughts about Two Old Guys
  14. Happy Holidays
  15. The Smiths’ Christmas Letter
  16. A really lovely yet simple day
  17. Out with the old, in with the new
  18. Solving the Unwanted Gift Dilemma – With Love
  19. Christmas Party 2015
  20. It could only  happen at christmas
  21. Deconstructing Christmas
  22. This Christmas
  23. Tales of Christmas
  24. Christmastime
  25. Twelve days of Christmas
  26. One Last Look at Christmas, 2015
  27. Attachment and Holidays
  28. Prepare the Way for Christ
  29. grandchildren, love, and being a “gift-hero”
  30. Where is My Christmas Joy
  31. Not ‘Feeling’ Christmas This Year?

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An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible

As human beings we do have to make a lot of choices in our life. the first one is who we want to follow and trust. First of all those we consider our parents, but next we can see many human persons asking for our attention. People have written loads of books, but none of them can really compete with a master-work which has different styles of literature bundled together to offer us a lot of knowledge and advice for life.

Many do ignore it and neglect what it can bring to them.

Believer or not a believer in the Most High Divine Creator of all things, that book which Christians consider to be the infallible Word of God, has a lot of knowledge, wisdom and idioms we should look at, in it.

The Bible actually presents itself as a very non-authoritarian collection of writings. It never pushes its ideas on others, contrary it tells itself that people are free to take it or leave it. It gives us one of those choices in life about which it speaks thoroughly. It let us see what happens if we go through life without seeing the many opportunities, without making use of the different choices laid in front of us.

The Best Seller of all times does not demand that we follow this or that rule or saying but it presents openly the different possibilities, the many choices we can make in our life and tells us also what the consequences are of our choices made freely or deliberately.

One of the difficulties of the Book of books is that in some way it can not be taken up passively. It is impossible to read or to go though it without having questions posed to yourself.
This amalgamation of works from the very old times is still accurate and actual, an authority that requires the participation of the reader — and, actually, the participation of many readers.

That it has certain powers can be seen throughout history. Many people tried to destroy it but never succeeded. Lots of people tried to break it down and bagatelle it, but did not succeed and even several negative people reversed their standpoint and became a believer in God, became Jew, Christian or Muslim.

This collection of books, as no other, can transform people. It has so much power, never seen by any other peace of literature or any written work of human beings.
Yes “Its power on its own terms—different from the power that comes from being expropriated by human authoritarian institutions — is power than empowers the reader. It is not power that lends itself to being concentrated in top-down structures but the power that enhances diversity and decentralization.”
The book of books breaths the Power of a much more higher Supreme Being, that surpasses all modern technology and human knowledge.

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To look at:

How the Bible works as an authority is a complicated and contested issue.

approach Bible as source of absolute truths that simply need to be heard and followed

“the house of authority” => three authoritative presences:

Bible revealed truth from God, official doctrinal statements (creeds, confessions, etc.)

Bible actually presents itself as a very non-authoritarian collection of writings.

pick up Bible and read from it =>one will be struck by what we could call an epistemological humility.

Bible makes few claims for its own truthfulness.

gives us a bunch of stories that upon reading together, numerous times, does seem to have a kind of coherence

Bible’s message is invitational. The reader can choose to enter the story or not.

The characters in the Bible are quite human— sometimes strikingly so.

an on-going conversation within the Bible where different points of view challenge each other.

Beyond the internal dynamics that humanize the Bible and present a non-authoritarian kind of authority, we need also to recognize that the humanness of the text for us is reinforced by the fact that what we have in our English Bibles are translations made by human beings from ancient languages that at best provide us with what has been called “dynamic equivalence” where the translators can do no better than approximate the meanings of the original.

authority of the Bible =anarchistic = requires participation of the reader

Its power on its own terms = empowers the reader = enhances diversity and decentralization.

reader of the Bible, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, may read the Bible and find direction from it for oneself

 

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Find additionally: Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform

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  • Food for Thought-3 Things to Remember Before Starting a Lenten Bible Study (richardsfoodforthought.com)
    The Bibles we use emerge from two distinct ancient communities. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) comes from the history, people, and traditions of ancient Israel. The text of the New Testament first originates in the early Christian church. When I say, “the Bible is the product of well-intentioned human beings”, I’m not denying the existence of God. Nor am I disputing the idea that God inspired humanity to do certain things then record those events for posterity. I am saying the Bible isn’t a divinely created product in the way Islam regards the Quran. The Bible is a collection of many different types of writing (politics, history, theology, poetry, genealogy) which tell the history of how people understood their relationship with God.  Fallible people wrote our holy book.  God didn’t write or dictate words to a scribe.  There are contradictions and errors throughout the Bible.  Once we realize that God works within our mistakes, we can read scripture with fresh eyes.
  • Think Einstein believed in God? You probably haven’t read this letter he wrote in 1954 (deadstate.org)
    Some religious figureheads such as Ray Comfort claim that Einstein believed in some form of God and acknowledged a higher power’s presence.

    “Although he clearly didn’t believe in a personal God [like the one in Christianity],” Ray Comfort says in his book Einstein, God, and the Bible.

    “Einstein wrote that he wanted to know ‘His’ thoughts, referred to God as ‘He,’ and acknowledged that He revealed ‘Himself.’”

    But in contrast, vocal atheist

  • Christianity book speaks ‘with conviction and eloquence’ (gospeak.org)
    On their Facebook page, the Jundiaí School of the Bible wrote Feb. 10 about our new book, Cristianismo Original (=Original Christianity), by Joel Stephen Williams
  • Did Plato influence the Book of Genesis? (lionoftheblogosphere.wordpress.com)
    Now the belief among Orthodox Jews is that the book of Genesis is very old, but as the web page points out, there are no outside historically dated references to the book of Genesis until the second century B.C., which is two hundred years after the founding of Plato’s Academy. This all fits in with a general pattern I’ve pointed out before that Judaism isn’t as old as people think it is.

    Thus it’s likely that Genesis was not influenced by God dictating Genesis to Moses (who probably never existed as a real person), but rather by the scientific research and philosophy of Aristotle, Plato, and other ancient Greeks scholars.

  • A Unification of Creation and Evolution (robertjrgraham.com)
    When people say that “god created the heavans and the earth in six days and on the seventh he rested”, who can say how long one of god’s days is. Why are we so egotistical as to believe that his day is the same as our’s. We don’t know god (Most of us who believe in god do so because we want to not because we have proof.) but if there is a god why can’t his, her or it’s day be a thousand or a million or even several billion of our years.

    Chapter 2, verse 7 of the book of Genises states “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” It does not state how long this took or what form the being we call man originally took. God’s image can be many things. We have no way of knowing. Additionally, although the bible is supposed to be the word of god, it was written by humans and therefore subject to human interpretation.

  • Big Brother has a lot to offer (georgehach.wordpress.com)
    We all have a big brother who would like to help us have a better quality of life.  His name is Jesus.  He inspired 4 books in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  They will give you great insight into how to live better.
  • A Conversation About The Nature of God (thehardincrowder.wordpress.com)
    God doesn’t need us in any way, shape, or form. God would still be God if no human being ever worshiped Him.

    I do, however, believe that human beings (and all of creation for that matter) were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As John Piper would put it “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

    God cares about what we think about him because:

    1. God is worthy of worship
    2. God loves us and knows that there is no lasting joy, fulfillment, or life apart from Him.
    3. God loves us and knows that apart from His love there is only wrath, destruction, and death.
  • Zionists Have Used Evangelical Christianity To Cheat Christianity (thetotalcollapse.com)
    It’s no coincidence that the rise of Zionism, that is: the impulse of the Jews to seek a homeland for themselves, began not long before the Scofield Reference Bible was published. In the late 1800’s, England is where Zionism first found political support. England was already awash with the erroneous “Christian” doctrine of British-Israelism, wherein the British Christians were taught that they were of the lost tribes of Israel; therefore they should support the Zionist Jews venture to create a Jewish state: Israel.

Thinking Pacifism

Ted Grimsrud—January 25, 2015

[This post is a continuation of the conversation about anarchism that I have started in this blog in months past—the most recent post was “More thinking about an ‘anarchistic’ Christianity” on December 15, 2014. It’s an introduction to a series of seven or eight posts that give a quick survey of some anarchistically-inclined dynamics in the Bible.]

I have become motivated to pursue, as a thought experiment, an anarchistic reading of the Bible, for several reasons. For quite some time, probably going back to my discovery of Christian pacifism now nearly 40 years ago, I have found the Bible to be a great resource for thinking politically. However, it has been rather difficult to find connecting points between biblical politics and our current political landscape. I don’t find attempts to link biblical politics with liberal democracy all that attractive; likewise with Marxism. Yet, I also am…

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