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Like I said, repeating the same thing over and over.
I want to explain this well to you, and apologize if I am not. Sometimes I do not express myself as clearly through written word as speaking, which is why I do not join these discussions too often.
But I must ask, have you had your heart changed by accepting Christ as your Savior? Through the changed heart comes the opportunity for true understanding to occur. I use the term opportunity because there are many Christians that do not put in the time to get into the Scriptures like I feel they should. By the way that last sentence has not always made me real popular with people.
Gringo Mafia Strength Coach
CMXI? Ha! That kid would support drive trough abortion clinics and want you to pay for it.
Interesting. I can respect this point of view - for me, so much of the reason for my distaste with organized religion is the petty BS and suffering that results from schisms between different religions and different factions/denominations within religions. To hear someone reject such divisions while still reaffirming their faith is not something you often see on this site. Do you mind if I ask some more questions?
Even if you wouldn't attribute your views to one denomination or another, do you believe in a Christian God, specifically, or do you believe in a universal God? If it's the latter, how do you feel about the idea that each person can reach a relationship with God personally, without the ritual of church?
As for the answers to your question - I have not accepted Christ as my lord and savior. I went to church occasionally in my teens, but many of the people I saw in church every week were some of the most morally bankrupt, disgusting human beings who didn't live their lives anything like the pious, generous, caring ideal that Jesus advocated for. Far too many people that I knew used church and religion as a moral cover to justify their behavior - they could hate gays, reject charity, refuse to care about anyone but themselves, and in their minds, $10 in the offering plate and an hour on Sundays meant they were still good people.
I want to add that I am not here to denigrate any denomination. I have visited and worshiped in many different churches of many denominations. When I chose a church for my family to attend it is not for the name on the front, or the size of the sanctuary. We attend there because it is a place that encourages us in our growth and relationship with God.
I am a child of the one true God , YAHWEH, as He identified Himself to Moses in Genesis. I am very close-minded on this topic. But I will say that I do not believe church brings about salvation anymore than I think baptism brings about salvation. In John 14:6 Christ tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me."
Having said that I have been baptized out of obedience to Christ's teaching and to publicly proclaim my new life in Him. I also attend church because I have so much to learn, and like when I played sports I would go to practice to sharpen my skills and knowledge of the game. That is why I go to church, to be sharpened and grow in my relationship with God.
I really appreciate your personal story, I always enjoy learning about people. One thought that came to my mind, as I was reading your testimony, was more people would come to God if it was not for we Christians. (Sidenote not all people at church are Christians.) For Christians we are called to be an example of who Christ wants us to be here on Earth. Problem is, we Christians are sinful. We fail way too often in trying to model Christ for those around us.
It breaks my heart to read about your experiences with "Christians". But yes we all struggle with the same sins as the world. The difference is, Christians have accepted the free gift of grace (salvation) that God offered through Jesus Christ. Any Christian that says or lives like they are better than anyone else is not living the life we are called to live.
Sorry it took so long to respond my 10 month old woke up and I have been playing with him and my 3 year old as I typed this.
I would agree that there are overarching themes in the Bible that almost everyone in Christianity agrees upon, but any discussion on the Bible that includes assertions of "absolute truths" makes me twinge a bit.
I'll go back to Catholic vs Protestant as the example...
Catholics have to accept that any passage of the Bible that has been interpreted by “infallible authority” (read: the Church) is gospel.
Protestants have no such authoritative guidance. So the interpretations of passages that may be obscure, contradictory or confusing are often manifold. In essence, every man is his own ultimate Biblical authority. It’s called the “principal of private interpretation”. However you choose to interpret the bible, even if every biblical scholar in the world disagrees, isn’t truly contradictable.
This is why there is so much fragmentation in Protestantism. Why there are hundreds of sects. Disagreements over interpretation of scripture.
No worries, I appreciate your responses. They're much more well-thought-out and considerate than the vast majority of responses I get on this board.
If you don't mind, I'll keep asking questions, because this is very interesting.
You mention that you still go to church because you have so much to learn. Is this learning coming from the pastor/priest/whatever, the Bible itself, your fellow churchgoers, or some other source? (Or is it some combination of the above?) One of the things that I highly object to is the conception that I've experienced wherein some Christians tell me that I would fall from God's grace were I to fail to attend Church every Sunday. Personally, I don't see any difference between coming to know God in the privacy of my own home or my own thoughts, and I never understood how mere attendance in a church somehow made someone better than anyone else.
As a follow-up question, I have to ask: what is your definition of "Christian" - where does "Christian-ness" come from? Specifically, I ask because I'm always interested in the answer to this question: can a "Christian" (under your definition) commit atrocities or particularly egregious sins and still be considered a Christian?
But the "principle of private interpretation" is what leads to the idea of Universalism, would you not agree? Christ came and declared, matter-of-factly, that He is the one who brings salvation. Now if we allow for "interpretations" to that statement we begin to have confused people who feel they can water down who Christ was. And that leads to people thinking there are other ways to salvation. If we are not sound and clear on our foundation that is when there are disagreements and fragmentation.
Hm. Universalism as in the theological school of though or are you just saying there's a fundamental universalism to all of Christianity?
I ask because you capitalized universalism. There's a distinct difference between the two.
I view it from the perspective of Proverbs 27:17- "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." I am very close with the senior pastor of our church and I am challenged by him and sermons to the congregation frequently. I also meet with a group of men where we challenge each other and pray together. All of that helps me grow. Along with that i have my own time of prayer and Scripture reading. I do not think that missing church makes anyone a bad person, and it is our sin that has caused us to fall from grace not your attendance at church on Sunday morning or Saturday nights.
I am always concerned when I hear/read someone talking about meeting God and then just worshipping Him by themselves in their own way. Why would you not want the encouragement of others, or the guidance of older more mature believers. It goes back to a humility that we discussed earlier, admit we do not know it all. However, I also believe that humility is what keeps so many from accepting Christ.
My definition of a Christian would be a man or woman who realizes they are a sinner and that the only way to salvation (freedom from sin and eternal punishment) is by accepting Christ (back to humility) to save them. From there it is our wonderful opportunity to grow in that relationship with Christ.
I capitalized out of respect for the school of thought, although I very much disagree with the idea of an all encompassing way for everyone to meet God in his or her own way.
For Southern Baptist once a person is saved they are always saved. The thought process being that if they truly have come to Christ that they wouldn't commit atrocious sins. But of course everyone will still sin to some extent, but that if you are saved you would strive not to, therefore even though you would still commit some sins you certainly wouldn't do anything like kill someone.
It's more about are you trying to live more like Christ, if you were you certainly wouldn't do anything terrible, although you will slip up from time to time, maybe even often.
In response to your last question.
This post was edited by TroyTide 15 months ago
Makes perfect sense.
I think what usually confounds me is the accepting Jesus into your heart part. I mean my grandparents were very, very Catholic... Did they take Jesus into their hearts the same way as an evangelical? They were devout believers in Christ, lived meaningful lives, made the world a better place, etc... But to the best of my memory they never were big into scripture. They were big into the traditions of the Catholic Church. So are they all good, or did they eff up big time?
This post was edited by brem22 15 months ago
Quite a way to put it at the end there, I laughed. I wish I could answer that for you, I really do. We will all find out on the great day of judgement. I have family that is Catholic myself, some devout some not.
It comes down to, have we humbled ourselves before The Lord. Admitted our sin and acknowledged our need for Him. He saves, and He alone. Not church, not even Scripture, but Christ alone saves.
I'm just going to go ahead and believe they made it past the Judgement board, and that ALL your family will do likewise.
Via con dios
Absolutely understand my friend.
Republicans do that to Ronald Reagan. I wouldn't call it "creepy" though.
Yes they are, and a real threat to our country.
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