Saturday, November 26, 2005

#113: Needed Comments & Questions

This section is a response to comments and questions from ‘bluejay537@gmail.com’ which needs logical and Biblical answers. I will attempt to give answers to the best of my abilities. And if I don’t have an answer, I will humbly say so.

Thanks for your inquiries. We both have one attribute in common: inquiring minds. Although I use the word “inquisitive,” I think your use of the word “inquiring” is a better term when discussing spiritual matters. Your letter is a much-needed, well written asset and complement to this blog. Our belief system may not be identical, and that’s what makes it interesting.

I am a college student and a Christian (Southern Baptist). I stumbled across your website today, and I was just wondering about its purpose. Across the top it says, “For Christians who hunger for spiritual substance, but don’t care to belong to a church,” and “For those wanting to be sure they are being told the whole gospel message.” I also read a few of your comments on Democracy in America, and I plan on reading more of your writing. But I have a few questions, especially regarding your views on church and government:

To answer your first question, the multipurpose reason for this blog is to expose inadequacies that have been passed off as Christianity, for years, by many large denominations. To put it another way, the main reason is to let readers know exactly what the New Testament openly dictates on many Christian issues. Another important reason is to explain the need for the activation of these theological doctrines (a needed remedy) and why they have been kept on a low-/no-key status for so long.

Your statement about not belonging to a church is a little odd to me. The Bible says not to forsake the gathering together of ourselves, as is the manner of some. I’m guessing that you’re familiar with the passage and so church attendance is not what you’re opposing, but probably denominationalism is what you’re against. Is that correct? Why?

No. I oppose both; the reason is that by attending a church, one is condoning what is not being preached: the stuff that does not make one feel good to listen to—the stuff that makes one think, “I am not coming to this church again.” The stuff that is difficult and unnatural to live by. As you continue to read this blog, you will in no time see what I mean. I am sure many Christians who can’t find a church to attend would love to gather with Christians of like mind/belief. Could I attend your church with a clear conscience, just to fulfill the command in Hebrews 10:25 that you sited? No. Here is the reason why. I am not sure if Southern Baptists believe as those up North do, but if they do, there is a myriad of unbiblical teachings they propound. I will name just one: “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED.” This teaching makes most—regardless what type of life they are living—feel secure as to their eternal salvation, and even worse yet, leaves the door wide open to consider obedience as commanded in the Bible as something not absolutely necessary. This teaching has done more damage to the work of Christ than almost any other heresy. For your spiritual welfare and hopefully others’, please justify this teaching with New Testament Scripture. Once you have done that, I will produce over a dozen verses that say absolute obedience is paramount in the Christian life. In other words, I could not attend any church that does not subscribe to New Testament teaching. Even though most churches claim to believe the Bible, they preach it in a highly selective way (as a form of spiritual entertainment). A desire for a large attendance and lucrative collections should never influence what is preached or believed. That is what has been happening in most churches. I understand it is only natural to desire all the pews filled every Sunday, because to the world, that means success. And who wants a meager collection instead of one that produces a surplus? We must remember that the teachings of Jesus Christ turned the world’s values upside down. To prove my point, read the Beatitudes, Matthew chapters 5 through 7, and Luke chapters 12 through 21. This system of living is difficult for anyone to accept or understand unless they have Almighty God living in and through their bodies. And again, I understand. In fact, this upside-down value system is one of the main reasons many rich Jews, then and now, cannot/could not accept Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah.

You seem to proclaim yourself so bluntly. Do you hate us (other Christians that aren’t as smart as you)?

I do occasionally discuss off-the-wall subjects the Bible does not mention. I hope I don’t present them in a dogmatic fashion. If and when I do, I am wrong. But when it comes to what the Bible speaks of loudly and clearly, I will proclaim that with brutal honesty (bluntly). Do I hate you? Absolutely not. In fact, my heart goes out to dedicated, loyal, devoted, churchgoing people for giving their hard-earned money; that giving is a well planned Biblical ploy that works like spiritual mafia extortion: give 10 % or God will get you at the end; and don’t forget that God loves a cheerful giver. There is also devotion to an incomplete—or I could go even so far as to say a false—gospel; remember, a half-truth is more deceitful than no truth at all. Your comment as to my intelligence is false. I have built homes most of my life and am not an academic person. But when it comes to spiritual matters, God is starting to allow me to know what is in His heart. And if He, for whatever reason, chooses to give me wisdom, I will receive it gracefully and attempt to share it with people like you.

The church acts as God’s body on Earth, as you say in one of your posts. It is deserving of love because of that, even though it may be filled with hypocrites.

Turn to Matthew chapter 23. Read the complete chapter to see what Jesus thinks of hypocrites and how He addresses them. Does He still love them? Yes. The only thing is, the love He has for them is His desire for their Salvation, and if there is not a turnaround in their belief and their lives, that love will have no eternal value. A hypocrite is more dangerous and damaging, even more so than an atheist, to the cause of Christ. There are no ambiguities in an atheist’s life as to what they don’t believe. Consequently, a church full of hypocrites is in no way the body of Christ. Should we/I still love them? You bet: by desiring the very best of what God has to offer them, which is His life.

About denominations: So why is it wrong to have labels for our beliefs? This is what I was taught about denominations: When I say that I’m a Southern Baptist, I am saying that I believe in Salvation by grace through faith, full atonement, believer’s baptism, a symbolic Lord’s Supper, democratically controlled local congregations, etc. So when you, as a fellow Christian, hear that I believe these things, you can then seek to be unified with me as much as you can, barring any doctrinal differences we may have. Then, when we meet our local congregations that are also associated with this denomination, we are unified with them in doctrine and so are free to teach well what we believe. Is this not biblical? I believe it is biblical. Then why do you seem to oppose it?

Denominations are man-/woman-made organizations that tend to separate more than unite. Above, in all that you said Southern Baptists believe—salvation by grace through faith, full atonement, etc.—still one crucial sacrament is missing. Until implemented—if it could ever be—the absence of it will nullify all the blessed work of God. As already mentioned: OBEDIENCE. No obedience, no Salvation. Without obedience to all that the New Testament commands, your aforementioned statement is of little value. The only unity there is the unity of heresy. I apologize for being so blunt. If you can Biblically prove me wrong, as stated in a previous paragraph, I promise I will change my belief. A small footnote: Repeating, I believe MOST denominations are interested in mainly two assets: money and numbers, while devotion to God’s complete Word comes last, if at all.

You also mention people being sure they are being told “the whole gospel message.” Why? Do you believe that other churches aren’t doing a good job? Certainly many, if not most, churches don’t do a good job, but I wonder if that justifies a stand against all churches? If we saw 100 married couples, and 99 of them were abusive or adulterous, etc., and one was righteous, then we would not be justified in condemning all 100. And certainly that situation would not give us reason to condemn marriage, either, for this is a godly practice. Nor could we say that the church is evil, even if 99% of congregations don’t teach the gospel, and that would be an exaggeration, for the church is God’s love affair, and His passion, along with every member in it, hypocritical or not.

To answer your first question, for years I was searching for a church, denomination, cult, etc. that was completely honest with the laity. After many years of searching, I gave up and finally became a voice of one calling in the wilderness of spiritual compromise. Even though I truly believe there are many genuine Christians in the world (the 1%), it could be that the majority are not in the USA. They could be scattered in small enclaves here and there, and, most likely, are rejected by the Christian church per se. If there is any condemnation of the other 99%, it is not I; they are self-condemned by reading God’s Word.

Unfortunately I’m not very good at explaining my viewpoints, but perhaps you get the idea. I know that most churches are very perverted according to my view above, but that doesn’t mean that denominationalism itself is wrong. It means we should propagate its true Biblical form, and make sure we are attending a church which supports both the teaching of sound doctrine, and unity with other believers. Please explain your views.

You are doing an eloquent job of explaining your views. As to my views, I would briefly say that in general, keep away from organized churches; that doesn’t mean they are all perverted. I would save a lot of printed words and answer your question by asking you to read more of this blog. I am pretty sure I cover what you are asking for. If not, be more concise as to what views you are asking for.

Now, about government: In your posts about “American Democracy’s Fatal Flaws,” you state that, “When The Declaration of Independence was being signed, the war with Great Britain was raging for almost a year and the 13 Colonies were losing. But if they didn’t fight the Revolutionary war, they would have continued to be under the thumb of King George 111, and we would never have become a great nation. Therefore, they had to ignore the Bible-even if they knew what it said-and fight. That is OK, but don’t ask or expect God’s blessing, protection, or providence, to what you are doing.” So are you saying that God didn’t want/approve of the Revolutionary War? That sounds odd to me, because I was taught a concept the biblical concept of sanctity which applies to life, marriage, government (perhaps called sovereignty in context of government), etc.

If their actions do not coincide with New Testament teachings, as to how to treat one’s enemies, how can America/ns have God’s blessing? Jesus Christ is not in the least bit ambiguous as to this teaching. I will say this: God might have allowed this ungodly but great country to come into existence, just as He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so as not to let the nation of Israel leave Egypt, so He could fulfill His secret purposes. If one reads between the lines and more, in the New Testament, it becomes obvious that Christianity could never become a/the dominate religion in a large or rich country. The reason is that Christians were never taught to fight their foes to preserve their turf, but to flee or be chased out. Here are a few verses to corroborate my views: “When you are persecuted in one place flee to another,” Matthew 10:23 “. . . because Claudius had ordered all the [Christian] Jews to leave Rome.” Acts 18:2. “Because they would not disavow their allegiance to Christ, nor give their allegiance to Caesar.” Some American Christians would counter that by saying, “Can’t we pledge our allegiance to both?” That is exactly what has happened in America. “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution. . . .” Acts 11:19. “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered through Judea and Samaria.” Acts 8:1. One thing we must always remember when attempting to decide what is right and what is wrong in this religion that is full of luscious deceit: “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29, and a similar verse in Acts 4:19. Other than Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, He never advocated violence of any sort. Jesus had a very special purpose for His action in the Temple of God, and I believe that it was not only to restore honor to God’s house, but to incite the Jews to anger as a valid reason to crucify Him. As for Biblical credence to concepts of sanctity of government coming from the New Testament, you have to show me where it even hints about that in the New Testament. Or am I misunderstanding you? My college dictionary describes the word “sanctity” as saintliness or holiness. Do you know even one government that fits that definition? I am sure you are aware of the word “sanctified” as it pertains to Christians; it means that a person is made pure and holy (clean slate, carte blanche) in the eyes of God. In other words, we are given the status of Jesus Christ. If we truly believe what God has done for us by His loving grace, we will start to live up to that perfection more and more each day. Therefore we must be very careful where and how we use that holy word “sanctity.”

I explained it to a friend who asked me about the war in Iraq. This is an edited form of what I said:

Well, this is in response to your question concerning the war in Iraq. To answer it, I must inform you of the Bible’s definition of government. If you will turn to Romans 13:1-7, you will notice several things. First of all, in verse 1, it says that God created all governments. Secondly, in the verses that follow, you will notice that the governments Paul is talking about are clearly good, in that they follow a specific purpose to punish evil (and be nice to good people). Obviously, we know that God wouldn’t have created a government such as Hitler’s Nazi Germany (although He let it be created). Therefore, we can reason from these verses that God only creates governments that exist to punish evil. Because Romans 13:1-7 defines governments as being good, then we can also reason that “bad” governments such as Hitler’s are not real governments in God’s mind…

The book of Romans was/is a private letter to Christians that live/d in Rome. It was written in A.D. 57 or 58. This is my off-the-wall paraphrase of the section in chapter 13: Paul was simply telling this new fledgling church that they must obey whatever that wicked Roman government dictated. But they should never obey Rome when it came to immorality and giving their allegiance to Caesar instead of to Christ; they must instead “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21. Or to put it another way, to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” is not a blanket rule to do bad things in order to obey bad governments. That is what Bush did by starting the senseless Iraq war. We must also remember that God is a hands-off operator when it comes to establishing anything. It would have been more accurate if Paul said that God allows all governments, good and bad; if a bad government orders Christians to do bad things such as killing people, possibly good people that are ordered to fight for another bad government, they must resist to the point of death. And I am certain they did, as is documented in the second and third century and beyond. One extremely paramount, unequivocal truth is that God never creates evil, though He must allow it because of our free will; otherwise we would be nothing but automatic puppets. God can receive no glory from puppets. Therefore, for Paul to say that God created bad/evil governments, at this point, I will disagree with the wording of this section until a more exact explanation is given. If you disagree with my belief in this section, I will understand.

Now, on to the subject of sanctity. …you know that sanctity involves a purpose for things, and there can be violations of that purpose. For example, God created marriage, but there are many illegitimate unions in the world. God also created the church, but there are many false churches in the world. In the same way, God created government, but there are illegitimate governments in the world.

Now, just as it is proper to prevent/fight illegitimate unions and churches, it is also necessary to destroy false governments that do not have sanctity. Sanctity is lost when an entity violates the sanctity of another entity. (This is also the biblical argument for the death penalty.) When the American Revolution was fought, this was the rationale of the war: England had lost its sanctity by violating sanctity of life. When WWII was fought, this was also a valid argument: Hitler’s government lost its sanctity and the Nazis themselves lost sanctity of their lives by violating sanctity of the lives of millions of Jews. That’s why it was okay for a soldier to kill a Nazi.

Now we all know that Saddam’s government has lost its sanctity, for it has violated sanctity of life many times. Therefore, just as homosexual marriage is a mockery of true marriage, so was his government a mockery of governments. It should have been done long ago, when the atrocities were committed. Remember, in God’s eyes, Iraq’s government was not a government at all and was in fact a mockery of an institution He created for good. As far as the U.S. being involved, I am proud that a government that is historically associated with Christian ideals was the one to finally do the necessary job.

I get the idea from reading a bit on your blog that you don’t agree with the War in Iraq. I see your quote, “If this section angers someone, and it should, give me a rebuttal.” Well, I am in no way studied enough to adequately address your statements, and I’m not even sure if I’m in opposition to you or not, having only read a few of your posts, but if my statements are in opposition to yours, then please post my message as a semi-educated rebuttal. Thanks so much for your time in reading this message.

Concerning wars: I am glad you brought up the subject. The Second World War, I believe, was a justified war, although not in God’s eyes, and possibly the Korean War. The Vietnam War and the Iraq War were not justified, either in God’s eyes or in man’s eyes. Who do we think we are? Do we think God appointed America to be the guardian of the world? No. With our excess and waste, we are the role model and spoiler of the world. And with President Bush claiming to be an Evangelical Christian, this war, for all practical purposes, is being fought in the name of Jesus Christ. What a disgrace to the most beautiful name in the world who is the Savior of love, not war. If you read more of this blog, you will see how I bad-mouth Bush as the great pretender (hypocrite). Let me give you something to think about: We in Christian circles think of when, and who is, or will be, THE antichrist (the one against Christ). We may be in error. Listen to what John says in 1st John 2:18, “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now MANY antichrists have come.” As I see events happening in America and the world, and what a lying and corrupt administration we have, along with the possible exaggerated reasons Bush used to start the Iraq War, he is against all that Jesus Christ stands for. I am sure many genuine Christians could easily accept an atheistic president starting a war with Iraq, but not one who claims to be a “born-again Evangelical.” Anyone who claims Jesus Christ as boss and does things that are directly contrary to His teachings is an antichrist. With this definition of what an antichrist is, there are many antichrists in America, and George W. Bush is one of the most powerful antichrists in the world. I love my country, although I won’t pledge my allegiance to it. My allegiance is to Jesus Christ. I believe the precedence Bush has set (American Christians as warmongers) will do/has done more harm to the Christian religion than all other events and people put together. That is a hard assessment. If I didn’t say what I just now said, I would be a liar with my silence. Please forgive me for being bold about my belief. We may disagree on some major issues, but if you are sincere and have the right motives, your inquiring mind, and the New Testament as your guide, you will come to the correct answers to many of life’s mysteries and problems, regardless of what religion teaches. I hope you still can glean some good out of this blog. Looking forward to hearing from you again.

10 comments:

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