Where 2 or 3 Gather and Agree…

This can only happen when the underlying Biblical truths are agreed upon” (Recovering)

I don’t think this is true whatsoever…the real problem is not what you believe but how you believe. Let’s say we all agree the bible is God’s word – okay – what does that do for us exactly? Does believing that one thing actually develop in us a value system of some sort? I would say no – believing that is equal to nothing happening in our lives. To be perfectly clear, believing that changes nothing about us (even agreeing on it does nothing).

Beliefs need to have substance – something Jesus points to in the Parable about the foundations (one proves to have substance and one does not). Or the tree’s analogy – one has fruit – the other does not. In these parables we see that belief means to produce something (without the production of anything we have nothing – ‘nothing’ is worth losing so it is wrecked or cut down). So we need to agree on ‘how to believe’ – this is the actual key to the process.

Jesus told us to love our neighbor and our doctrinal statement believes Jesus is in the Trinity – now which of these 2 beliefs require your involvement? This is where we see the idea about ‘what we believe’ and ‘how we believe’ diverging. I am under the assumption it is more important ‘what you do with truth’ than ‘what you believe is truth’.

**I wrote this a few days back and figured this is the best example I have written yet about what I think a Christian is and the difference between some of the beliefs we adhere to. Figured, mine as well see if we can agree on what it means ‘to believe in Jesus’.

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28 thoughts on “Where 2 or 3 Gather and Agree…

  1. I participated in another blog, about the nature of belief, and pointed out that our actions determine what our beliefs truly are. We can go around saying that we believe such-and-such. But those beliefs are only valid if they’re embedded within us, and if our actions are consistent.

    Now, we’re not going to see someone who is 100% perfect. But if we see someone making a sincere effort to be more loving, more compasionate, to really let Jesus’ teachings spill over their lives … can’t we judge their beliefs based on that? If we see someone instinctively responding with love? Or if we see someone start to lash out, then take a deliberate effort to calm themselves, and treat the opposing person politely?

  2. Theology really isn’t truth, it is an understanding of the truth that is intellectual and for many, second hand or third hand. The Bible is the firsthand truth and it first has to be accepted as truth, then studied, then actualized. Jesus is the Truth for in Him all of the truths of scripture were actualized. He is the Living Word. Belief in Jesus is also a process and I have found through my study of scripture that it is impossible to believe in Jesus unless the Father has drawn us to Him. Jesus speaks of us as having been given to Him by the Father. (The Gospel of John) Faith is not of ourselves and I believe, that is why it is so difficult for us to explain. It seems to be a choice but it is only a choice in response to an inner awakening to God that begins at the moment He reveals the identity of Jesus to us and in us. A dear older friend of mine taught me that salvation is like a door. When you walk up to the door, it says, “Who-so-ever-will may come.” Then when you go through the door to the other side and shut the door, the back of the door says, “I knew you from the foundation of the world.” We choose what we have been predestined to choose and the works we do thereafter are not our own but the works of God. Apple trees do not choose to produce apples they produce that which they are designed to produce. There is no difference between what we believe and what we produce. Words don’t demonstrate what we truly believe, we can study and mouth anything, the proof is in the pudding. Our works demonstrate to others and to ourselves if we have truly been born of God.

  3. I can put this in quite simple and easy to understand words. The difference between one who has studied and understood the gospel and one who is a child of God, is this; head knowledge and acceptance of heart.

    “The Bible is the firsthand truth and it first has to be accepted as truth, then studied, then actualized.” (Pam – I think)

    I know you know this but, one can do all of this and not have really accepted Christ as truth and Lord. It is like truly believing that Einstein lived and did wondrous things, they may even continue in his works. One who studies what is written about Jesus may do all these things and yet not really know the depth of His love for them. They may not truly believe that He was resurrected and is alive, inviting them to be a child of God.

    “I knew you from the foundation of the world.”

    Yes, there is a real change in a person walks through that door and accepts the Lord. That is the difference, and because it is a spiritual change and not an intellectual understanding it cannot be explained. You either have the love of Christ and have the Lord on your mind with all that you do, or you are trying to be connected to this group of people by understanding what they teach.

    I know many in the intellectual group, they are my family and dear friends. And I pray daily for some of them to see the light and love of Christ – in their heart not just in their head.

  4. Ken,

    Yes, it’s me. I agree with you except, it really isn’t possible to actualize the Word of God in the power of our own flesh, our own will. Some of it, maybe, on the outside but that isn’t enough. Like you said, it has to come from the heart and Jesus was and is the only man living that came to do the Will of His Father and never His own Will. He was begotten by the Holy Spirit and naturally equipped to actualize the Word of God. We too are so equipped when we are reborn from above. However, we are yet to be made completely like Jesus and we fluctuate from God’s Will back to our own. I tell ya, I will be sooo happy when I awake with the image of Christ and no longer fluctuate back and forth. This I realize about all others also and I know that I may recognize the fruits of the Spirit or the fruits of the flesh in another but only God knows what truly is in their hearts, whether in the midst of their stumbling Jesus lives there. Remember fruit trees have to go through a long period of growth and careful tending before they produce a bumper crop. Let’s all be patient with one another, watch and pray and wait for that bumper crop that Jesus will produce in each one of us. At the harvest, there isn’t much to be done but catch the fruit as it falls! It is God Who gives the increase.

    Pam

  5. **The Bible is the firsthand truth and it first has to be accepted as truth, then studied, then actualized.**

    Do we do this in any other area? I may be misunderstanding Pam, but with other things, I don’t just accept them as truth, I accept them on truth after studying the item. If you’re approaching something on blind faith, as in, it has to be truth no matter what contradicits it, then I don’t see how anything can be studied or actualized with any … well, truth. You’ve already determined the outcome.

  6. “I agree with you except, it really isn’t possible to actualize the Word of God in the power of our own flesh, our own will.”

    Pam, I didn’t mean to say there was anything we could do to save (or convert) ourself. I agree with you on this and everything else you wrote here (and practically all you have written).

    Anyway, maybe “acceptance of heart” doesn’t quite explain it right. How about this. It is kind of like the difference between knowing everything about someone and falling in love with them. One is a “head thing” and the other a “heart thing”. I think most people can accept that loving someone ( a mother or a child or a spouse, whatever) is spiritual and that it is something given to us not something we had anything to do with.

    I did want to address the whole idea of trying to determine who has been truly converted though. I think this is a great discussion and all, and it should be discussed so that we can come to our own understanding. I also see it relevant to this conversion. But I don’t think it should take up too much of our energy. We should all be able to express our belief on this and move on, it is just not really that important that we all know who is saved and who is not. I only say this because I have seen too much made of it in most crowds I have associated with.

    If you see someone professing God and yet their lives do not reflect it, tell them. If they chose not to listen, pray for them and try to show them a “better” reality of Christ in your life. Who knows, maybe the Lord is working a wondrous healing in that person without you knowing it.

    I once heard it said that we judge others by what they do and ourselves by our intentions. This I believe to be true for most of us, and knowing how to avoid this error can really help a persons growth in the faith.

    Yes, it is a process. I agree.

  7. “My question to you: Do you believe we are predestined to have the Spirit within us or that we choose to receive Him?”

    Farah, I hope Jason doesn’t mind me bringing this comment into this discussion but I do find it quite relevant and (I think) I have a different take on it than what others have said.

    You will get two camps on this and I am on neither, well a mix of the two. Camp Predestination will say that everything is predestined and there is nothing we can do to change to order of things to come. Camp Free will will say that all things are changeable and within our control. There is good biblical text to make a doctrinal stance on both of these teachings, but should we not consider that while most things are going to happen just as “planned”, there are some things that can be called interventions. These interventions may be of the Lords doing or ours.

    Anyway, what this has to do with this conversation is; I believe that the Lord intervenes into the lives of some people (the chosen) for His purpose. I feel I am one of those. Without Him (practically) grabbing me by the throat and proving His reality, I might never have come to true repentance – the first step in the 1-2-3 process.

    So, as it would seem to me, some may have really had no choice and others make the choice themselves. A study of this will, I think, prove that the Bible has examples of both types of conversions. They are both miraculous and beautiful. What does it really matter whether it was of the Lord’s doing or our own free will?

    I don’t mean to make it sound unimportant at all, it is. Yet, as hard as we try to understand it and explain it, will it change the fact that, once having accepted who Jesus is, we must change our ways to reflect His? Their can be no other response to the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. The Lords’ love for me makes me want to love others. Am I perfect? No. I just have a perfect person to guide me and give me the power to love others.

  8. Nothing wrong with that Ken – just more food for thought. You and Pam have an interesting discussion going – I think Burning Bush also mentioned some of that in the prior post and outlined it quite well (but you added in the intervention part).

    The reason I wrote the comments I did was that on another blog – recovering’s blog – they slightly went into agreeing about the ‘right belief set’ for the faith. I am not sure I can be down with that idea altogether – since it very human nature to disagree on certain ideas – ex: predestination.

    Also, to put it bluntly, predestination as a teaching has very little relevance as compared with teachings about ‘do not judge unless you want to be judged or do unto others as you would like done to you’. There is something different about those sets of teachings (which really hits home in the gospels) we all need to start to realize – one requires us to be involved and the other is a random theology play with no bareing on how we will live.

    So even of predestination was found to be true – there was nothing you or I could do to make that any less true (or more true). However, with the other teachings (ex: do unto others) there is something we can do to make that more or less true/real. Those teachings are not true/real unless we we can live them out and see the procedure happening and what it does.

    That’s why I think ‘what we do with truth’ is more important than what ‘we believe is truth’…it’s really something huge that church doctrine is stumbling over hard-core right now – I think it is the central problem in most church teachings or doctrinal statements. But if we figure that issue out and get back to the basics of the gospels – we will find that what Jesus taught he expected to be lived out first and foremost. That also why I think ‘belief requires itself to produce something or it is not a belief at all’.

    EX 1: Someone can believe that Adam and Eve are literal people- okay cool. That belief requires nothing on your part – as in – what do you do that makes that any more real? It kind of just ‘is’. That’s one form of belief – it’s like a ‘faith’ belief – we just don’t really know and in the end – doesn’t matter a whole speck of a lot.

    EX 2: Now someone can believe that being responsible for the wrongs they did (repentance) and they have to make them right. This requires actual action on the part of the ‘belief’ or one could say ‘they say one thing but do not do it at all’. If this is treated like example one (a faith belief) – then in the end you are a hypocrite (an actor). I would say firmly that a person that claims to be repentative and does nothing to make right the situations they wronged in – is lying and does not believe their own words – therefore – there is no belief existing (just some hot air).

    Do you see the fine line I just made out in the sand there?

  9. I see your line, Jason but I still see little disagreement, just different approaches to the same central Truth, Jesus. It is in Him that I find unity with other beleivers, in His person, even if we tangle on every other issue. I really don’t think complete unity of doctrine exists.

    Pam

  10. Pam, we will never have unity of doctrine – I am sure of this – but what does it matter anyways – as long as we strive to follow the one who taught us to love God, ourselves, and others.

    I don’t think we’ll ever agree about the ‘maybe’s and perhaps’ of the faith’s theology’ – but I know we can all agree on Jesus’ teachings – namely the 2 commandments – and that host of other things in the gospels – which actually lead us into better lives. This is where my focus is now – the teachings and what they mean to each of us – and how that helps to build our value systems.

    People can argue about the trinity or predestination from now until 3000 AD – and what will be bettered for it? The earth? My neighbor? My race? My gender? You? Me? God? I can’t think of a thing that will be bettered because we refined a belief that does nothing. We need to start finding out what Jesus meant in those teachings that ask of us something – mainly regarding to the way ‘we treat another’ or our focus on ‘power and money over and above the compassion for another person’. I actually think when I read that parable of Jesus at the young lady’s stoning maybe he was writing something like ‘what you do with truth means more than what you believe is truth’…just maybe he saw this problem a long time ago also.

    I am not sure – I just know my focus is going to be on the things I can do to make life better – and not upon things like ‘when will the end of the world come’ – cause I am aware if God is moving – He’s doing it ‘now’.

  11. As Pam said, I could find a different slant on what you just said Jason, but it wouldn’t be important enough to change the truth that we must live out what we believe or we are hypocrites.

    Doctrine that we teach as truth should only be based on; a) the main things, and b) the plain things.

    The main things are that which are taught and exampled over and over throughout the Old and New Testaments. Have no other God(s) and love thy neighbor as your self, etc. Few would argue things that fit into this category.

    Then there are the plain things. These are also hard to argue, as they are totally obvious. The teaching that Jesus is the Messiah (Savior) prophesied in the Old Testament could be an example.

    While some things should be left to the “followers” to figure out, the “leaders” do have to be sure to stand firm on the main and plain things.

  12. Jason,

    I believe it is all important and as the whats of my faith are refined so am I refined in the faith and the living out of my faith, what you call following His teachings and I call Jesus living in me and through me, becomes more and more natural to me. If I tell you about my doctrine, you will learn something about me and what I believe but if I am so committed to Jesus that when you are around me, you sense His presense and feel loved, then you have experienced God passing from me to you and visa versa. We really can’t teach Jesus to one another but with conversations like these from hearts willing to share our love for Him and His love for us, we are all encouraged as we point one another toward Him. This is what church is really all about.

  13. “we are all encouraged as we point one another toward Him. This is what church is really all about.” (Pam)

    True Pam…the key is going towards him. I guess for me that is what a lot of what i am writing is trying to do – remove the barriers to this faith – and see if we can get right on the same path he is trodding. It’s a tough one and I ain’t the answer for the whole issue – but that’s what community is all about – you see things I don’t, Ken see’s something I didn’t, same for Burning Bush, Heather, SlapDash, Trent, Timothy, SCP, Dorsey and Jefe (brothers of thunder), Recovering, Abu Daoud, David Hayward, Hineini, Yael, Jolly Beggar, Cinder, Tim @ Miracle Channel review (and Andre), The Ledge, Kevin Beck, Bruced, Dagoods, HIS etc…this list can go on for days really – but I learned from the feet of all of them – and I see the refining because of this.

    And that’s what my end goal is – finding what Jesus meant from all of this – it’s a crazy little mess – but I have learned things in the last 2 years I would have never had the brilliance to think – and I am humbled by walks others than mine.

  14. Jason, I think we should all keep the humble attitude you demonstrate in this blog. A child can demonstrate the love of Christ and utterly humble a mature Christian. That is a great thing, and you do a great thing here. You don’t get this in any church I have been to and they don’t know what they are missing.

    There are amazing little nuggets in the bible. Teachings and understandings that shed more light on who Christ is and what He wants us to be like. Only close examination into some of the text (Old and New) will reveal some of these nuggets. Many are actually sure they have discovered what God’s plan is for their life, or at least their purpose.

    Predestination? I think it at least probable that God nudges each of us into His ways. And if God did not have some sort of plan, then what about all the fulfilled prophecy?

  15. I appreciate you, Jason and I learn something every time I come here as well as other sites. One of the reasons we don’t get this in church is because we can’t. It is a lot different writing out what is in our minds and hearts than it is to try and speak it. Though, my experiences on-line have also made it much easier to express my faith verbally. I’ve been doing this for about five years or so now and you know, I can now talk to most anyone about Jesus and also listen to the other tell me exactly where they are with God and accept that and accept them where they are.

    We all have different functions in the body of Christ. As long as we each keep hold of Him and look to Him, Who is our head, for our individual instructions as we share Him with one another, we’ll be okay. It is when Christians start looking for uniformity and thinking that we all have the same function that things get uncomfortable and ugly. We all have a purpose and what I’d like to see among believers is acceptance and appreciation of one anothers differences, gifts, and personal callings as we learn to really love one another and encourage each other in our walk of faith. I love the word edify and I hope and pray that in all of my dealings with my brothers and sisters (even the confrontational ones)that I will in some way be of edification to them. Just as I have been edified greatly by all of you, especially in these most recent conversations.

    Pam

  16. Thanks Ken and Pam for the insight – a lot of what you have going in this faith is ‘good’. You have that essence to both of you – that compassion in the gospels – and I think that is something we should never overlook – that takes a lot on your part too.

    I also like the idea of the various functions we play in the ‘whole body’ (as an analogy). That is key to remember – some people do not do what I do – and I don’t do a lot of things other do. Put us all together and we get quite the painting!

  17. Pam and Society, yes some are able to contribute where others may not. It takes the whole body of Christ to be effective in this world and I also pray for and try to go for unity or at least appreciation of what others are doing that I am not. I do think though, that it is imperative that somebody challenges the leadership to biblically support what they preach, and walk the talk. The church is dysfunctional in a big way because the leaders have not been held accountable to what they teach, this has to be addressed.

    Though it is a small matter, I will ask you Pam why we can’t do this in church, or at least encourage it as a way to grow. I mean, we could just as easily be gathering and discussing our faith online like this as doing a bible study at someones’ house. I know there are many who would not or could not take advantage of it, but if this kind of interaction is advantageous over what is being done now then why not encourage it, at least in addition to what you have going now. Food for thought.

  18. Ken,

    I’d like to do that actually. I’m just not gifted at organizing people and getting them to do something…I’ve tried finding a house church but I don’t really know how to go about it. I’m presently attending a large church that has community groups that I’m going to look into. I sure hope that the study in these groups have more substance than most of what makes up the church service. Pray for me, okay? I’m floundering as far as meaningful fellowship in 3D. I have health issues that also make it kind of rough.

    Pam

  19. Pam, sorry to hear about the health issues 😦 I will pray for you. I didn’t really mean to suggest that you do something about it personally, I just wanted to address your statement that this sort of interaction cannot be done in church. Any experience I have had with church fellowships has been disappointing because there is always a study guide that controls the discussions. While the churches know that there needs to be discussion and interaction they appear to be afraid of losing control of what people believe. Would you agree that for the people to be challenged to grow the churches have to stop trying to control the teachings?

  20. Ken,

    Yes, I do and the Bible is enough. I have been blessed to be in churches where only the Bible was taught. They are really hard to find these days.

    As long as religion is a career choice though, you will have religous professionals trying to control their livelyhood. That much hasn’t changed since Jesus’ day.

    Pam

  21. Pam, I have not been so lucky in finding a good church. I am, though, now considering that you may have the right perspective. I mean, not be critical of the erroneous ways of the church. I have grown out of the church into a new path. Praise the Lord! Serious! Read my latest post on my blog (CCM).

    I do believe strongly that pastors should be supported by the church. I do though think they must be held accountable for what they teach. Find me a pastor that teaches that all giving should be voluntary, and I will at least listen to the rest of what he has to say, if not give him my first born.

    Yet, we are free of the worry of that in a way. As I think you said somewhere, I too go straight to the Lord with everything. The reason I can’t sit in a pew and listen to false teachings is that it hurts to see the others fall for such crap.

    Aren’t I just a wonderful guy to talk to? But, you know, I am just venting what I feel is real. Anyone shows me otherwise and I will repent of all my criticism. I bet though that there are many who just don’t speak out and feel the same as I do. They just are not the type that would cause any waves. It is the ones who are not strong that I feel for, and think the church should be mostly concerned about. Make sure they at least are not made obligated to give money.

    Praise the Lord! Love ya Pam!

  22. HORROR
    Three years ago I was wandering around [mental hospital] completely shattered physically, emotionally and spiritually. The mental torment I was experiencing was absolutely terrifying. Every waking second, I was having horrifying images from my past. I thought I was being punished for my past sins. My whole life flashed before my eyes and I felt I had failed miserably in my journey through life. The whole experience was an awakening [THE LONG DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL] a metamorphosis. God was slowly penetrating the shield I had put up all those desperate years. I had no “I” – that is what God wanted for me, to become Christ cantered, not “I” cantered [in retrospect]. There is nothing in this world, but the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He eventually delivered me from my HELL; when I got down on my knees and asked Him for mercy and forgiveness for my sins. Praise the LORD!!
    PEACE BE WITH YOU
    MICKY

  23. Micky, may I praise God with you!

    Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Your experience is basically what most (if not all) who come to Christ have to do. The “penetrating shield” is up, no matter who you are. In some it is actually a wall of good works. I was more like you. Years of confidently ignoring and even laughing at the ridiculousness of a superior God that I must answer to. Yet I found that God was not yelling at me but just waiting patiently for me to respond to His love. Then when I did, He needed to really grab me and show me clearly that Jesus lived and died for me.

    It would appear you had a similar experience. One thing you won’t hear from too many others; If you lose that zeal, you are going away from Christ and not toward Him. Most will try to bring you down to their mediocre way of living the faith. Don’t succumb to that.

    Praise God for testimonies like yours Micky! God bless you!

    P.S. If I had an interests list up (got to do that someday) mine would be quite similar to yours. I would have to add the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”

  24. I really like the song ‘man of constant sorrows’ from that film though – the film – not so much.

    Good to hear Micky that all things worked out for your best – nothing wrong with a re-valuating of perspective and finding one the sheds light on the troubles you experienced – I am under a similar belief and even had a similar experience – where I really felt I was delivered from a really bad time in my life (and this by turning to God).

    Ken, Good to see you active in these blogs and getting into dialogue – I know you were silent for a while – but it seems you hve come back with some fervor – awesome!

    Pam, also good to see you in the dialogues a lot also – I do appreciate what you bring to the convo and I am glad you always stop by.

  25. God is love and Jesus embodied that love like no one else. To believe in God is to believe in love. And, frankly, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t believe in love.

  26. Kevin,

    You haven’t met some of the emotionally battered kids that I have. There are many who desire love but the reality and harshness of their lives have caused them to quit believing in its reality.

    I also was one of those kids. It was Jesus that changed my reality.

    Pam

  27. Kevin said “And, frankly, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t believe in love.”

    Cher asked someone once, “Do you believe in life after love?” She felt something deep inside that said that she really didn’t think they were strong enough.

  28. I just saw this post for the first time today. I’m flattered to have a quote on your blog…I haven’t read each of the comments above as I don’t have that much time…

    However, I believe strongly that the “How you believe” is the house. The foundation of that house is “what you believe” – specifically when speaking about whether the Scriptures are God’s Word or not.

    So on details of doctrine – variety is the spice of life – let’s just all get along.

    But on the fundamental question of whether the Bible is God’s Compass and whehter it means what it says; I’ll repeat what I said on my blog: how can two walk together if they dont agree on which compass should guide them?

    I would encourge any of you to read my post (which was probably not the most articulate nor most eloquent post I’ve written) and then read each of the comments…it gets fleshed out pretty well I think.

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