Christianeze – Translator Please…

Okay people – time to address something – which I see floating in the comments and need some explaining – these Christian-isms – which border being ‘cliches’.

“true spiritual rebirth” (Pam) – Okay, I think this does happen but what is it? What are the qualifications for labeling someone’s conversion a ‘true rebirth’?

“just as you are” (Heather) – Actually Heather, I am not sure this line is in the gospels or letters at all – it’s a ‘made up thing by some evangelizers’. Do you think God has to accept us as ‘we are’? If so, why?

“image of Christ” (Pam) – What does this mean? A reflection of Jesus (like looking in the water) – or we shape out lives into his image? If so, how does he look? Do his looks change from culture to culture, person to person?

“Jesus as Lord of your life” (Ken) – Alright – this is pure cliché. Explain what ‘Lord’ means and what it all encompasses. How does this look exactly? How will someone know Jesus is actually Lord of their life – since we cannot see Jesus?

“perfect” (Ken) – This idea has been tossed around – so what is perfection? We can talk about perfect – but lets try define it.

**Christianeze – do we all look into what we are saying and do we personally define it? I was in the quest for the Law – but now I see we need some defining to do – so we can get to the heart of the quest – translate for me?

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46 thoughts on “Christianeze – Translator Please…

  1. LOL! Religio-babel…it’s a problem because we are trying to discuss such deeply held truths and amazing experiences that we don’t really have the right words to communicate them so we use phrases that we think are common and will be understood but we each have our own take on what the phrase means! God has confused our language to keep us from building towers to heaven.:)

    Spiritual rebirth is when we come alive to God. It is when Jesus becomes the center of our lives and our self-centered desire to please self is changed to a desire to please God. To be spiritual is to be in close and intimate communication with God.

    The image of Christ has nothing to do with what we look like but who we are inside and how we conduct ourselves outside. We are becoming like Jesus but we are still our individual selves. This takes place within every culture and it requires from most everyone to give up some of their previous cultural practices but not their entire culture. This is also between the individual and God.

    Pam

  2. “God has confused our language to keep us from building towers to heaven.:)” (Pam)

    I like this analogy – it would be a good explanation of the 100’s of denominations we see out there.

    “To be spiritual is to be in close and intimate communication with God.” (Pam)

    But can this faith be over-spiritualized? I think we do experience a re-birth (no doubts there) – but can the focus shift so to the spiritual world-view we lose sight of practicality? For example – the laws of God came from above – they were written on rocks – it seems there is a pattern of spiritual ideas breaking into reality via general things (ex: rocks). Just what is spiritual about this faith that cannot be done in practical fashion?

    “but who we are inside and how we conduct ourselves outside” (Pam)

    There is a type of dualism in this view – and some people do seperate the two so severly that all that metters is ‘who they are inside’ (what they believe) and not ‘who they are on the outside’ (what they do with their beliefs).

    I think this is key to the idea about becoming like Christ – just what does it say Jesus did and who was he (in the gospels)? If we looked at Jesus’ life and tried to ‘follow’ it – would we be accurate in the portrayal or is there more to this?

  3. I think there is more, it can’t be outward obedience only. It has to come from a change in our inward nature and that is a work of God.

    Are you familiar with the concept of the first Adam and the second Adam? The first Adam is carnal only and we all bear his image, we are born like him. The second Adam is Jesus and He is a Spiritual Man. In Christ, when we believe in Him (which is a gift of God) we become like the second Adam, spritual beings but we still also bear the image of the first Adam. We are a mess!LOL! As we live according to the Spirit, our carnal nature is subded and upon resurrection will be glorified as Jesus was glorified upon His bodily resurrection. It is all about the Spirit subduing the flesh so that our obedience is directly to God and not of our own will. Not according to human morality which is how Eve got us in trouble in the first place…of course, that was all within God’s plan too.;-} It’s all good.

    Jesus is the prototype of a new kind of human being and those of us who have been spiritually reborn to God thorugh faith in Him are becoming like Him. Just as death passed to all through the sin of Adam, so shall life be passed to all through Christ Jesus.

    We worship in Spirit and in Truth. If our actions don’t match our worship, the Truth is not in us. If we have good works, ‘good’ according to our own choosing, and we have not been made spiritual that our works be directed by God, then are works are useless to Him.

    That’s what I’ve been given to understand.:0)

    Pam

  4. Amen Pam.

    I would not say though that our works are useless to Him if we have not been reborn of the Spirit. He may use even our sinful ways for His good purpose. I think I do know what you were trying to say though. Was it something along the lines of; our good works are really not part of the conversion process?

    Jason. let me try to give you the simplest version of the gospel and define each component. Please forgive the scripture quoting, but I believe it to be the best way.

    Required understanding;

    We are all sinners. Rom 3:23 Sinner; one who has omitted to do something that they ought to do or has done something they should not have done. Even one instance of omission or commission makes you unworthy of heaven.

    The punishment of sin is death. Rom 6:23 Death here means spiritual death. We will all die physically, but this verse is directed at what will happen to our spirit after our physical death.

    The solution;

    All looks pretty hopeless for humanity if once you accept and truly believe the above two points. The gospel (good news) is that God has provided a way for this debt (of spiritual death) to be paid (redeemed). Read the following texts, the solution to our predicament lies within them.

    1 John 2:1,2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Rom 10:9,10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

    Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

  5. Hi Ken,

    Technically, God even uses our evil works to His purpose as He is working all to the good for those who are His in Christ Jesus. :0) But yes, we can’t do any work or enough work or our own to make us like Jesus Christ and that is the desired outcome God will accomplish through the faith He has gifted us with. In Jesus, we become the sons of the Living God. We are being refashioned by the Life that is Christ in us. His Work, not ours. This work made evident by the fruits of the Spirit not by the fruits of our flesh.

    Pam

  6. Kansas Bob that was a hilarious blog – and very to the point – funny and riddled with aspects of truth.

    “If we have good works, ‘good’ according to our own choosing, and we have not been made spiritual that our works be directed by God, then are works are useless to Him.” (Pam)

    I see…how do we decide on which works are ‘good’ and directed by God – even within ourselves? What if a non-believer does ‘good’ and it lines up or is better than the very works we see in our faith community? This adds a grey area to doing good.

    Ken, you pretty much lay-out a 3 piece plan to salvation – is it really that easy and if so, who told you this information – on what credibility do you base this? I see we are ‘sinners’, deserve ‘death’, now come to ‘Jesus’ and receive ‘life’. I am not sure the gospel is that at all – maybe this is a useful starting point – but that’s about it (it’s this kind of stuff that develops in good people an unwanted ‘guilt complex’ later on).

    I am not sure God does not like us prior to or while in our ‘sins’. The story of Jacob comes to mind off hand. This guy tricked his brother and lied to his father to steal his brother’s natural birth-right. He also wrestled with God – ie: struggled with Him. This same person becomes Israel and that community comes through him. As it is written ‘Jacob I loved, Esau I hated’. God loved this person even while doing things that were outright questionable – yet Jesus reflects he is in heaven in the idea ‘God is not the God of the dead, but the living’.

    I love Jacob personally – that is a great story of redemption. It goes to show that life is lived in all parts of life and all of it comes to reflect our faith – and in Jacob we have someone who does all this questionable stuff – yet is now the namesake for a whole nation – Israel (is there any greater blessing?). God used his behaviors and all of him to accomplish something rather special – and maybe that kind of stuff hasn’t changed?

    I think the gospel (good news) is there to reflect the idea we can live good lives in community with God and others (via Jesus’ teachings). Oh we will make mistakes and do questionable things – but like Jacob – we are still accepted – why? Cause God loves us so much…He might be able to use the weaknesses of ours for greater glory yet.

  7. I know when I’m doing what God wants me to do but most others probably don’t. I’ve no formula to give you. I have a feeling that you also know when you are walking with God and doing His bidding. I don’t judge your works. I do look for His fruit in your life.

    Pam

  8. Society,

    **Actually Heather, I am not sure this line is in the gospels or letters at all – it’s a ‘made up thing by some evangelizers’. Do you think God has to accept us as ‘we are’? If so, why?**

    The line itself “just as you are” is not something I find directly stated in the NT, no. I see it mostly used in evangelical circles to say that come as you are, don’t try to be perfect before approaching God and so forth.

    However, I do say that God accepts us as we are: but there’s a catch. I would define spiritual rebirth as the moment we realize we’re already alive in God, and always have been. We were just blinded to that before, following the world or the sinful inclinations and such. It’s not God accepting the sinful person, it’s God saying, “That’s not what you were created to be. This sin isn’t you — let’s lose it.”

    I do think that God has to do this, because otherwise, God wouldn’t be just. I’m defining justice in the sense of following a covenant, and eradicating evil to redeem creation. A lot of what I read in the Tanakh has the prophets criticizing those who aren’t just — those who ignore the widow/orphen, let evil suceed and so forth.

    The thing with the first Adam/second Adam is that makes me ask how much control God has over our initial creation — if we can only be in Christ’s image after the spiritual rebirth, then what was created the first time (whenever said creation occurs, be it at conception or birth). Does this mean that God specifically creates the first time in the carnal image, only? If carnal Adam is the only image, does that mean that sin plays a part in our creation? Regardless of how this is answered, I also think we should ask ourselves at one point we did inherit that sin (if we follow original sin. I don’t).

    I think we may want to define what gospel means, as well. The way I see it, the gospel is that sin/death/evil/the non-good parts of the world don’t get the final say. They don’t win. In examining everything that leads up to the cross, it’s all the power of the world attempting to crush the representative of God. They beat him, they humiliated him (because the cross itself was about shaming a person, in Roman times) and said, “Look, no matter who you are, we win. We’re in control.” Three days later, God resurrects Jesus and says to the world, “Think again.”

    Perfection is also an interesting notion … if we go back to Adam and Eve, could we honestly say that they were created perfect? I’m not so sure. When we say God is perfect, part of how we define that perfection is that God cannot sin, and God is not attracted to sin. Yet Adam/Eve not only sinned, they were attracted to it — after all, without that attraction, the serpent wouldn’t have been appealing. So I’m not sure we can say they were perfectly created, because then it means two different things when applied to God, and then applied to them.

    **How will someone know Jesus is actually Lord of their life – since we cannot see Jesus?**

    I tend to see this as a political statement — by saying Jesus is Lord, you are in fact saying that anyone in this world is not Lord, and saying that the evil cosmic powers (wow, that looks sci-fi) aren’t Lord, either.

    **how do we decide on which works are ‘good’ and directed by God – even within ourselves?**

    I think this is an incredibly grey area. Oftentimes, it seems to be set up that unless you are working towards God’s will, you are working towards a selfish will. It’s an either/or. But is it really that simple? Someone could be an atheist, see someone in need, and help that person — the atheist has done a good work, according to the Bible, and has done God’s will, according to the Bible. Non-Christians can demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit, as well, and not just in an outward fashion, but because they believe in their heart it’s the right thing to do. I do think that good works outside of a set belief can please God. Not in the sense of earning salvation, but because the person is behaving as they were originally created to behave.

    **The punishment of sin is death. Rom 6:23 Death here means spiritual death. **

    I’ve actually never read this section as a punishment factor. To me, it simply says that sin pays back death. That’s the end result of sin, regardless of what the sin is. If you hate someone, you are almost killing a part of yourself, and possibly even killing a part of that other person (depending on how obvious the hatred is). So long as we’re trapped in that cycle, we’ll keeping “dying.”

    Ken — I’m curious as to why you say it’s spiritual death. Do you say it’s only referring to spiritual death? Or both?

  9. “It’s not God accepting the sinful person, it’s God saying, “That’s not what you were created to be. This sin isn’t you — let’s lose it.”” (Heather)

    I really like that view – we move back to the original intention of the creation in this view. Sin seems to be a problem stuck in the middle and we can find new ways to do things – without having to fall back on devious ways.

    “does that mean that sin plays a part in our creation?” (Heather)

    I am under the assumption that ‘choice’ plays a part in our creation and not so much sin – but the choice to do good and evil is inherently part of us. Does the 2nd Adam deal with our sin – yes – Jesus shows us the path to living right.

    “In examining everything that leads up to the cross, it’s all the power of the world attempting to crush the representative of God.” (Heather)

    I think that is a good outline of the gospel – but again that’s a broad definition. I see it as being correct – but it’s standing up for the right things in life – and sometimes laying our lives down so another can have theirs. There are so many aspects to the gospel – but I follow the Matthew model of ‘follow me’ (or basically ‘follow these teachings Jesus taught’). There is so much in the gospel – love, healing, community, value systems, faith, hope, peace-making, sacrifice, etc…but in essence it’s all covered in the ‘follow me’ part.

    My actual definition of ‘perfection’ as used in that Matthew passage is to be ‘well rounded’ like God is. In the context there we see teachings about God making the sun/rain fall equally upon the good and evil in society…that type of thinking is ‘godly’ or a ‘perfect’ worldview. Perfection leaves no one out.

    “I tend to see this as a political statement – by saying Jesus is Lord, you are in fact saying that anyone in this world is not Lord” (Heather)

    I really liked this statement – and I think I will use it a viewpoint from now on. I think you have got to the essence of the idea there – Jesus is Lord – and any power is secondary to that conviction.

    “I do think that good works outside of a set belief can please God. Not in the sense of earning salvation, but because the person is behaving as they were originally created to behave.” (Heather)

    But what about the narrow road? Just kidding. I agree 100% here – I feel the same way too. Good works is just an outward response of who you are anyways – and Jesus makes it quite clear – the tree is defined by the fruit – and if it is good – then who are we to question the roots?

    “To me, it simply says that sin pays back death.” (Heather)

    I think I see this too – it’s an obvious ying becomes yang thing.

    “spiritual death” (Ken)

    Another cliche? This is a tough one to explain since none of us can say we died spiritually?

  10. Heather, yes I believe it is only spiritual death referred to in this text. Chapter 19 leading up to it sets the stage; “I put his in human terms because you are weak in your NATURAL selves.” It goes on to explain how our death is most final if we die without being freed from our debt of sin. The last two verses sum it up; “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in (or through) Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    I had it explained to me this way once; Everyone will die 2 deaths. We will die a physical death and a spiritual death. What determines whether you live in eternity with God is whether you die spiritually to your sin before you physically die. These are the two choices we have;

    a) If you come to believe in and accept Jesus Christ before your physical death, your NATURAL SPIRIT dies at that time and you inherit the SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT (Holy Spirit).

    b) If you do not accept Christ in your physical lifetime, then your sins will be counted against you and your spirit pays the ultimate penalty of death (as opposed to eternal life).

    In both cases you have experienced two deaths, yet only in the first case will you be granted eternal life.

    Jason, I don’t mean to make this sound simple. It is not an easy thing to explain or understand. And if a person were not spiritually open to hearing these words it would not matter how well it were explained, the spiritual conversion would not occur. Yet if one is ready to accept the truth, they would be converted by even the worst explanation and example of the truth.

  11. **I am under the assumption that ‘choice’ plays a part in our creation and not so much sin – but the choice to do good and evil is inherently part of us.**
    Then can we say that there was a point at which humans were created perfectly? Because if created perfect, could they have sinned? Rather, they were created with options, almost (I think I’d go with the word immature here, and as we grow, we become more mature, and get closer to the goal). The thing with saying that someone is/is not created perfect is that we say God’s standards are perfect. But if people are created imperfectly, is it just to have people follow perfect standards? Or should they rather be given standards they can follow? The catch here, is that if we’re also saying that the original intent was to be sinless, I’m not sure the mature/immature idea can work. On the other hand, can a being created perfectly actually fall?

    **There are so many aspects to the gospel – but I follow the Matthew model of ‘follow me’ (or basically ‘follow these teachings Jesus taught’).**

    Oh, I agree. Paul weaved quite a few concepts into the atonement idea, and if you just take the Gospels alone … it’s a complex view. The gospel, as I see it, is liberation (Luke 4:18). Part of liberation requires sacrifice and confronting evil.

    **Perfection leaves no one out. **
    Hear, hear.

    **I think you have got to the essence of the idea there – Jesus is Lord – and any power is secondary to that conviction. **
    Yup. We’re not higher or lower than each other.

    **But what about the narrow road? **
    Actually, I think that the narrow/wide road still works here. I take it this way: what’s in the narrow road, compared to the wide one? A lack of space. Part of following God, or repentence, is being willing to confront the sin in both yourself and others. In the narrow road, there is almost no space in which to get out of that confrontation. You can’t avoid it. You have to deal with it, be healed, and move on to the next encounter.

    In the wide road, you do’nt have that confrontation. You can hide, almost, and so when the confrontation finally occurs, it’s that much more painful, because you aren’t prepared. For those that do try to help others, they are on the narrow road, because they’re confronting evil, and possibly their own apathy. For those that aren’t … they’re on the wide road.

    Ken,

    Thanks for the explanation. Does this mean that you don’t hold to an eternal hell?

    I don’t think I see the Romans verse as dealing with a spiritual death for a few reasons: the concept of life as I see in the Garden of Eden was tied to a physical life. They were kicked out before they could eat of the tree, and thus live forever. The body and breath of God formed to make a living soul. But after they ate the fruit, that body did die. The word death seemed to be used once, in how the physical and breath of God were joined. There wasn’t that living soul without both.

    The other reason is because I read in the NT a huge focus on the Day of Judgement and a resurrection, and that was the driving point. Not that the spirit would leave the body and go to heaven upon death. The two there still seemed to be combined.

    **If you come to believe in and accept Jesus Christ before your physical death, your NATURAL SPIRIT dies at that time and you inherit the SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT (Holy Spirit)**

    I read this as you’re saying that we only have a natural spirit. As in, that’s all we’re born with? What about being born in the image and likeness of God? The complication I would have with this is that the idea is that God creates us and is responsible for the beginning of our life here. Yet this seems to be saying that if the natural spirit is destroyed, the soul is completely gone. But that would mean that we are only the natural spirit, and in that case, we weren’t originally created in the image/likeness of God.

  12. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in (or through) Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    But Ken, this would also fit ‘perfectly’ into the idea of following the teachings. The benefit being ‘holiness’ and sin leads to ‘death’ – well one could say ‘if we follow Jesus’ teachings – that he left with us – we could follow a path to holiness that results in eternal life – in Messiah Jesus’. How are we freed from sin? By following Jesus’ teachings. It could work that way also.

    “your NATURAL SPIRIT dies at that time and you inherit the SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT” (Ken)

    Then we cease to be our essence – what God created – since we have an added dimension there (a supernatural spirit). I think Paul says your body dies and you inherit an eternal one – but you would still keep the same essence of who you are.

    “If you do not accept Christ in your physical lifetime, then your sins will be counted against you” (Ken)

    So is that all it hinges upon – accepting Jesus via a prayer or something? Whatever happened to total responsibility (repentance) no matter who it is – I can’t see God playing favorites because someone used the right verbal formula and another didn’t. Plus this doesn’t line up very well with what Jesus teaches about judgment (you will be judged by your actions – which is proof of what you actually do believe).

    “Jason, I don’t mean to make this sound simple” (Ken)

    I know Ken – but it is too simple and straight-forward – like this is figured out correctly by churches we all came from. Ken, I have heard it all when it comes to salvation and accepting Christ – and I mean every path – and I found all of them ‘wanting’…wanting someone to come along and put some substance on them ‘dry bones’. And that’s what I plan to do – find out what is lacking and where – and fill in the pieces of the puzzle the best I can – with everyone’s help obviously (I mean – no person is an island after all).

    “Yet if one is ready to accept the truth, they would be converted by even the worst explanation and example of the truth.” (Ken)

    This is true – at least in my experience. There seems to be no stopping an open heart.

    “Then can we say that there was a point at which humans were created perfectly?” (Heather)

    I think they are perfectly created – in that they are created in God’s likeness. But if you look at Adam and Eve the one thing they were also created with was choice – and this was evident – even if they never knew the choice to sin until the serpent came along. Choice is the only reason sin appears – handle your choices correctly and sin fades into the forest – and one by one we cut down the tree’s until we have one left – the tree of life to pick from.

    “The gospel, as I see it, is liberation (Luke 4:18). Part of liberation requires sacrifice and confronting evil.” (Heather)

    I always loved that saying – actually I also think it lays out very well the gospel message. Or from Matt 11:5 “the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.” From Isaiah – but the gospel seems to speak to helping those in ‘need’.

    “For those that do try to help others, they are on the narrow road, because they’re confronting evil, and possibly their own apathy. For those that aren’t … they’re on the wide road.” (Heather)

    Love the explanation – never quite heard it put that way – again – I think I will go with this interpretation – awesome! This interpretation has depth and is well thought out.

  13. Heather, you sure ask some good questions! I will do my best to answer some of them but this really requires an in depth study to really understand. There is no guarantee that you would agree with what I believe anyway, but that does not seem to be necessary or the scriptures would have spelled it out in black and white in the first place.

    “Does this mean that you don’t hold to an eternal hell? “

    No I don’t believe that at all. Most do, but I studied with the Seventh Day Adventists for a few years and their belief on what happens after death for the saved and unsaved is the best I have heard. They teach that EVERYONE who has died is in an unconscious state. No dreaming, no looking down from Heaven on those you love, nothing. That is until the second coming of Christ.

    Heb 9:28 “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

    Most churches teach that you will go to heaven or hell the moment you die. How then could there be a resurrection of the saved (this resurrection is described in Revelations I believe) if everyone was already in Heaven?

    I find that this belief lines up with the scriptures better. We go into a sleep-like state. When we awake, we are either resurrected unto eternal life with God or not The end result for the unsaved is utter and final death. Physically and spiritually gone. No more. No eternal suffering as is taught by most. Does that not sound like a more loving and compassionate solution for the unsaved?

    “Then we cease to be our essence – what God created – since we have an added dimension there (a supernatural spirit). I think Paul says your body dies and you inherit an eternal one – but you would still keep the same essence of who you are.”

    That one is hard to explain. I am still me but I am no longer DRIVEN (or a ‘slave to’ as some texts phrase it) by a natural spirit, but one that is from God. It is not like our natural spirit is ALL bad, and it is not like you are completely free of sin with the Holy Spirit in you either. The difference is, well it is like with the Holy Spirit you are much more able to understand the Word of God, and much more capable to know the will of God. This is why many say things like; ” I was blind but now I see” and “Jesus is alive”, because they actually are able to feel His presence (in their hearts) and discern His will for them (by reading the scriptures, among other things).

    I am humbled by your thirst for understanding Heather. I could address more but this is getting too lengthy already.

  14. But Ken, this would also fit ‘perfectly’ into the idea of following the teachings. (Jason)

    Could this reward be described as a ‘gift’ if we had to do something to get it? If someone gave you a gift would you get your wallet out and try to pay him? No, because that would be an insult to the giver. There are many texts that describe eternal life as a gift from God and state that there is no way we can earn it. On the other hand, one who has the ability to do good works, and fails to do so, has not really accepted the gift have they? How can one truly believe that Jesus died for them and not want to lovingly sacrifice for others? The difference is motive. Unsaved people may do wonderful loving things, but it does not grant them eternal life. A saved person will do all they can to love others (but maybe less than the unsaved person above) but the end is eternal life with God. That is because salvation has nothing to do with what you have done (beyond accepting Christ) but everything to do with what Christ has done.

    “Then we cease to be our essence…”

    Oops, I answered that in my previous post to Heather 🙂

    “So is that all it hinges upon – accepting Jesus via a prayer or something? Whatever happened to total responsibility … Plus this doesn’t line up very well with what Jesus teaches about judgment (you will be judged by your actions – which is proof of what you actually do believe).”

    Many have trouble getting their heads around this one. We don’t do good works to deserve the gift of eternal life, but if we truly accept Christ into our life we will truly strive to do good works. The difference, again, is motive. Are you doing good works to be looked upon as a good person (by God or others) or are you doing good works in gratitude of what Christ has done for you.

    “I know Ken – but it is too simple and straight-forward – like this is figured out correctly by churches we all came from. Ken, I have heard it all when it comes to salvation and accepting Christ – and I mean every path – and I found all of them ‘wanting'”

    The churches are for the most part teaching this exactly the same as I have said it – they are right! The scriptures are far too clear on this for them to mess it up 😮

    The problem is that they speak these words and have not truly accepted Christ themselves. I can say that with surety, because I know there is no way them would have gotten so far off the track with the Holy Spirit in them. I think there are more people in the pews who are truly saved than there are in the pulpits these days!

    And yes, it sounds simple. But most of us will do almost anything in the world before we sill give our trust over to God in faith. It is easy to say but very hard to do, for most. By the time we realize that we need Christ (if at all) we have spent years building walls of separation and independence. Not an easy wall to knock down. But we don’t actually knock down ourselves, we just open a small door into our hearts and Jesus comes in! He is our strength and our life from that day forward, into eternity.

    I know, more Christian-ese 🙂

  15. Heather, after reading a bit of your blog I realize that I should have responded to you as a much more mature Christian. Please forgive me. I also responded to you for something that was posted by Jason, doh!

    Anyway, I want to also try chew off a bit of the first part of your last post about being created perfectly or not, etc.

    Here is how I see it. We were created just as God intended us to be and remain, not perfect as only He can be perfect. “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” We were created in their (God and Jesus) likeness but certainly not as Gods on an equal with Him. Why would there be a need for God to warn Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil if we were perfect? I am not arguing with you here just throwing out some foundation.

    So if God created imperfect beings that COULD fail, does our failure fall to Him as less than perfect? I don’t see that at all. To me it just means that He was willing to take the chance that we might see the value of trusting in Him rather than seeking after our own understanding. After all, all they had to do is not eat of one tree, how hard could that be? Well we know what happened and the result.

    So I believe that we were not born perfect but our relationship to Him was perfect and as intended. Before the first sin our relationship was perfect, after it was not.

    As far as having perfect standards to measure up to, Jesus told us this so we would know the standard you must achieve…if you want to do this on your own power. In essence, He was saying “only through my sacrifice for you will you be made perfect”. While Jesus was all about forgiveness, the sermon on the mount was not. There He turned up the notch on many things.

    Matt 5:43,44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

    I have tried to visualize the dumbfounded look on the faces of those in the crowd. He was teaching some really hard stuff here. Did He really believe that this was something everyone could uphold? Of course not. But He knew that in time they would realize their need for grace, that there was no way they could be perfect.

    God did not fail when He created us and He did not leave us to our own failure. He loved us in the beginning and He loves us to the end. He has offered us the perfect solution to our fall and He wishes that we all accept that gift. He will not force us to take Him up on that offer though, for the same reason He gave us a free will. A relationship is not based on love if it is forced.

  16. Society,

    **I think they are perfectly created – in that they are created in God’s likeness.**

    So you’re describing perfection as being made in God’s image/likeness?

    **Love the explanation – never quite heard it put that way – again – I think I will go with this interpretation – awesome! **

    Thank you. 🙂 I’ve never heard it put that way, either, but it made sense to me when I was thinking about the “narrow road” and such.

    Ken,

    **They teach that EVERYONE who has died is in an unconscious state. No dreaming, no looking down from Heaven on those you love, nothing. That is until the second coming of Christ.**

    THis is the idea that I get out of the NT as well. In fact, I think some of the early church fathers called the idea of going to heaven after one dies ridiculous. As you say, there’s a huge focus on the resurrection.

    **No eternal suffering as is taught by most. Does that not sound like a more loving and compassionate solution for the unsaved?**

    Yes. It does. Because then it means that God has created people knowing full well that they’ll suffer eternally and that, to me, is neither loving nor just (based on how the two are defined in the Bible).

    Could this reward be described as a ‘gift’ if we had to do something to get it? If someone gave you a gift would you get your wallet out and try to pay him? No, because that would be an insult to the giver. There are many texts that describe eternal life as a gift from God and state that there is no way we can earn it. On the other hand, one who has the ability to do good works, and fails to do so, has not really accepted the gift have they? How can one truly believe that Jesus died for them and not want to lovingly sacrifice for others? The difference is motive. Unsaved people may do wonderful loving things, but it does not grant them eternal life. A saved person will do all they can to love others (but maybe less than the unsaved person above) but the end is eternal life with God. That is because salvation has nothing to do with what you have done (beyond accepting Christ) but everything to do with what Christ has done.

    “Then we cease to be our essence…”

    Oops, I answered that in my previous post to Heather 🙂

    “So is that all it hinges upon – accepting Jesus via a prayer or something? Whatever happened to total responsibility … Plus this doesn’t line up very well with what Jesus teaches about judgment (you will be judged by your actions – which is proof of what you actually do believe).”

    **Are you doing good works to be looked upon as a good person (by God or others) or are you doing good works in gratitude of what Christ has done for you.**

    I realize this was directed to Society, but I’m going to touch upon this as well. I don’t think this is the right set up, because I don’t think there are just two motives. There are people who do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. Not to gain approval by God, not to gain approval by others: sometimes, people do the right thing out of instinct. They don’t think about it, it just happens. Yet if this person had not accepted Christ, does that mean they are condemned? I would say no, and it has nothing to do with earning salvation.

    The first reason why I don’t think one can earn salvation through good works is that the good works aren’t “yours.” You didn’t create your ability to do good works. God did. And anything you’re created to do is a gift. So how can you be responsible for how many good works you do that make it necessary to “earn” salvation?

    The other thing about grace being a gift, not earned, is that I see Paul doing that as a way to tell people, “Don’t brag.” If you think you can earn something, you start thinking in BRownie Points, and think about the works themselves. This leads to bragging, in that one person is better than another person. The good works become selfish.

    To me, repentence can occur in thousands of ways. If there is someone who is struggling to do the right thing, because they know it’s wrong, I see that taking into account by God. Because the person is trying to turn away from selfish inclications, and embrace the bigger picture.

    **after reading a bit of your blog I realize that I should have responded to you as a much more mature Christian. Please forgive me.**

    Quite all right. 🙂 It’s always difficult to determine, because if you answer at an advance level, you’ll lose the other person.

    **So if God created imperfect beings that COULD fail, does our failure fall to Him as less than perfect? **

    The interesting thing about this is that Adam/Eve were tempted by sin. There was something in them that had the ability to be tempted by sin. I would see that a part of them was created as less than “good” because of that ability to be tempted. They then follow that portion of their creation, and are punished for it. That’s what I always get stuck on. Clearly, as you say, if they were perfect, they wouldn’t have had the ability to be tempted. They wouldn’t have needed to be warned. But I keep getting stuck on the fact that God created beings with the ability to sin, since the creatures were imperfect.

    Now I’m wondering if this means free will can only be given to imperfect creatures. Had we been created perfect, there wouldn’t have been a choice in the Garden is the impression I’m getting …

    I’m not using this to say it’s God’s fault that we’re all sinners, and thus it’s okay to sin, because we were created that way. It’s not like, “Ah-HA, it’s God’s fault! Nyah.” I have seen people do this, in an almost childish fashion.

    **As far as having perfect standards to measure up to, Jesus told us this so we would know the standard you must achieve**

    However: can we say it’s just to expect imperfect beings to be able to meet perfect standards? Say I have a child, and I tell this child, I really want a relationship with you, but I can only have one if you can do calculus. Am I being just to that child? Or am I being just with telling that child, “I can have a relationship with you if you can tell me what 2+2 equals?” (Or simpler math, depending on the five year old).

    I suppose what I’m circling here is that imperfect beings are created by a perfect God. Can a perfect Creator even create imperfection? Wouldn’t that also make the Creator less than perfect? Can perfection create imperfection? Can an imperfect being ever sustain a perfect relationship?

    **But He knew that in time they would realize their need for grace, that there was no way they could be perfect.**

    I don’t see the Sermon on the Mount as explaining perfection. Rather, I see it giving the bigger picture. It was more of him telling people “this was the old view of God and yourselves that you had. Let me tell you the “right” view.” It wasn’t a matter of telling people they had to be perfect, but saying, “Here’s how to really behave like God. God doesn’t favor one person over the other, and it’s time to lose the concept that He does.”

  17. Heather, you got me thinking here too :0

    Let’s look at this in terms of the relationship between God and us. What if this was the best (maybe only) way God God create us to have the perfect relationship.

    They had already created a wondrously beautiful world with animals and all, and then (for some reason) they decided to create a being with intellect and spirit, mankind. The plan was that we would be so pleased with what God provided that they would be forever obedient and loving. What parent would not want to do this for their children? How perfect a family would be if their children would be obedient in response to loving and caring parents?

    The human family comparison is not exactly the same but it is the best for me to compare to.

    Now, for this relationship between God and His people to be wondrously valuable, do the people not have to have a choice? If we were not able to be disobedient would obedience mean anything?

    So if we focus on the relationship, can we see the ability to make the wrong choice as perfection? For the relationship to be perfect and wonderful, we must have the choice to opt out of it. Looking at the relationship, I can see us as having been created as perfect children of God.

    Now let’s skip over to today. We are still born with the ability to choose God’s ways or not. The world has become so full of sin that it is hard to even know God’s ways, but I believe that everyone has had opportunity to choose to let God into their life. God still loves each person forever, He just cannot allow unrepentant and disobedient children to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Are we not still created with the ability to have a perfect relationship? Are we not still perfect children of God?

    It is hard to nail this one down but I am nothing if God is not perfect, so I must continually look for perfection in God, his creation and His plan.

  18. Hi Ken,

    You know, God knew perfectly well that Adam and Eve would fall. I am not saying that God is the author of evil but He does allow it in the working out of His plan.

    I know people who don’t know love because they have never given love. I have also seen people who were raised in homes where their parents loved them and gave them everything always trying to prevent the suffering of their children. These children tend to grow up to be very self-centered, demanding, and unloving and they suffer greatly because they don’t know how to love. I see the wisdom of God in allowing the fall in that He desires above all else that we love. If He gave us everything and protected us from all evil, we would be receivers of His love but never fully developing that we could return that love back to Him and to one another. Let’s not forget that He is the Potter and we the clay and He is still molding us. When the human family is returned to the state that Adam enjoyed, constant communion with God and God supplying our every need, the fall will have no chance of ever ocurring again for we will love God in the same way that He loves us having been perfected in Christ. When we have learned to love God as He loves us, we will only desire to obey Him and never desire to be Him. That perfecting work is taking place now in those of us who believe and I also believe, that in another time, the reign of Christ on earth, this same work will return the entire Creation to God through His Son Jesus Christ at the end of that future age.

    Pam

  19. “scriptures would have spelled it out in black and white in the first place.” (Ken ) and “The scriptures are far too clear on this for them to mess it up :o” (Ken)

    Whoa…Ken – these 2 sentences were both written by you about the topic we are discussing here – about the fluidity of the gospel message. I notice in inherent contradiction in wording made out here – first it’s ‘not all spelled out’ then it’s ‘so easy clergy can’t it mess up’ – the interpretation – it can’t be both. Just thought I’d point that out.

    “You know, God knew perfectly well that Adam and Eve would fall. I am not saying that God is the author of evil but He does allow it in the working out of His plan.” (Pam)

    If God allows that grace to Adam/Eve then I am guessing you also believe He gives us that same grace or allows ‘evil’ of us to accomplish something? It’s a tricky thing to hold to that type of thinking – but then again – I used Jacob as an example – which is very similar. Maybe you are onto something with this problematic choosing on our parts and grace.

    “because if you answer at an advance level, you’ll lose the other person.” (Heather)

    So true.

    “Can perfection create imperfection?” (Heather)

    Yes. As a pre-requisite of perfection is it neccesary everything you make has to be ‘perfect’? If so, then what heppens in real ife makes no sense – since this is how a young child looks at it’s parents (they can do no wrong) – yet they do. I think in the ability to choose is that inherent problem – good and bad – is always a choice – even if the Creator has given them choice we cannot very well assume He created us flawed – the flaw is not the creating part – but our choosing part (right where the responsibility needs to be).

    “Are we not still created with the ability to have a perfect relationship?” (Ken)

    I think so – well at least an understanding anyways (in relationship). Perfection is over-rated by the way – when none of us is perfect anyways – let’s meet at a level where we can be realistic about the whole thing instead of reaching for a goal that has no meaning to us or is unreachable.

    “When we have learned to love God as He loves us” (Pam)

    But isn’t that an impossible goal? We can get fragments of the love accurate but the whole depth of it – well – then that would be like saying we ‘know God perfectly/throughout His whole being’. Jesus said something about a dog eating the crumbs from the tables – and this is similar to what I think happens for us and this relationship with God (we get the crumbs – pieces – but never the whole bread).

  20. Society,

    It won’t be impossible when His process in us is complete. We can also use the power of choice that He has given us to choose always in His favor. If we can’t love we can choose to love others with His love that lives in us.

    What I mean by allowing evil is that He does not simply eradicate it. It doesn’t come from Him but He is still Sovereign over it as He is over our choices but does not choose for us. He is working it all together for the good as He is working to make us like His Son, Jesus so that we will become persons who love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul and love others as ourself thereby, fulfilling His Law.

    Pam

  21. “Whoa…Ken – these 2 sentences were both written by you about the topic we are discussing here – about the fluidity of the gospel message. I notice in inherent contradiction”

    Jason, If you will note, I was talking about two different things. Some things in the scriptures are spelled out very clearly, and other are not. The requirements to become a child of God through the sacrifice of Christ are not argued by many. Actually, I do differ from many in that I do not limit God to having to accept or reject people on those requirements though. I believe there will be some who will be saved despite what most think and vice-versa. For example, I believe it was Abraham who’s godliness was “counted to him as righteousness”. I so see the simple (yet tough) 1-2-3 plan touted be most as the way for most of us though.

    All what we have been talking about here that is not so black & white is great discussion, but I don’t claim to believe completely. Some things I will not know for sure until God reveals it to me, but to discuss it is important for me as it helps me to know Him and His will for me.

  22. Ken,

    **Heather, you got me thinking here too :0**

    I think we can credit Society for this one, as he asked us to define our terms. 🙂

    **If we were not able to be disobedient would obedience mean anything?**

    But is obedience the prime reason behind a relationship? Do we have relationships with friends because of obedience? Or spouses? Or even children? There are certain rules that must be followed for any relationship to be sustained (such as with a spouse, the whole not cheating is a big one. Then again, if a spouse cheats, can we say that there was a relationship?) The way I see it, people tend to want obedient children as a means of protecting the child, because the child is naive. As the child grows older, and becomes less naive, the obedience is no longer necessary (if it worked right), because the child can make his/her own decisions. The child is his/her own person. The child also still has a relationship with the parent, but possibly even a much stronger one.

    So why is obedience one of the foremost requirements?

    We may also be looking at obedience differently here. Part of what has been presented to me in the past by others is that God wanted blind, perfect, unquestioning obedience — but is that any better than simply wanting a robot?

    The other thing is, “relationship” might not be the best word here. RElationships are all about give-and-take, and sacrifice, and change. Now, Jesus was sacrificed, yes. But if you enter a relationship with another person, isn’t a part of you changed? Isn’t that change a necessary element in a relationship? Yet God cannot change. You either choose to 100% follow His will, or there’s no relationship. But if that is the case, is it actually a relationship? You wouldn’t ever get a “say” in where the relationship with God goes, like you would with a spouse/friend/child.

    **So if we focus on the relationship, can we see the ability to make the wrong choice as perfection?**

    I’m not sure, because — okay, let’s say you really love your wife. If you have the choice between being married to her, or cheating on her for a million dollars, is each choice equal? Or is the latter option not even in the running, because it doesn’t even tempt you? I guess the question here is how closely connected are choice and temptation.

    **Are we not still created with the ability to have a perfect relationship? Are we not still perfect children of God?**

    I still think there’s two different ideas going on here, one with the perfect relationship, and one as a perfect child of God. I’m not sure the answer to the first question is “yes,” because of the atonement. My understanding is that we don’t have the ability on our own, which is why Jesus came. So isn’t the answer to that “no?”

    Society,

    **As a pre-requisite of perfection is it neccesary everything you make has to be ‘perfect’?**

    It might depend on one’s perspective of perfection. If we say that someone is perfect, we tend to mean that the person can do no wrong. Part of that “do no wrong” would carry over into anything the person creates. If the person is perfect, then what the person creates must be perfect, as well. I guess it comes down to if we say that the person does this thing imperfectly, can the person still be called perfect?

    **even if the Creator has given them choice we cannot very well assume He created us flawed – the flaw is not the creating part – but our choosing part (right where the responsibility needs to be)**

    Please note that in my response, I’m not trying to say that it’s all God’s fault and so forth. I know I said this earlier, but this is a tricky area, so it bears repeating. 🙂

    I guess I still come back to the fact that we have no hand in our creation. God completely created us. So to say that the flaw is in our choosing aspect is like giving us the power over that “flaw.” But we didn’t put the flaw within ourselves. We were created with that choice — and in order to be a choice, don’t both sides need to hold some sort of appeal? If we weren’t attracted by evil at all, would we really be choosing to not follow it?

    AGain, I ask these questions sincerely, and not in the “Look, look, it’s God’s fault!”

    Heather (I’ve changed my profile name)

  23. Heather, I didn’t mean to say that obedience was the primary reason for any relationship. However, I do believe that our obedience to God will always be required, and we will grow into wanting to be obedient in response to His love and care for us. Obedience may not even be the right word here as is has negative connotations for many in our human experiences.

  24. Hi SocietyVS,

    Church language seems to dress up simple things in such garish, ceremonial garb. I don’t know why we use ‘baptize’ when we could use ‘immerse’ or ‘pray’ instead of ‘ask’.

    On the other hand, that doesn’t seem to be what you are examining here … One would do well to remember that Christ often took normal words and made them to mean something different. When people asked for a definition (such as ‘who is my neighbor?’ or ‘what do you mean by being born again?’), he either asked the question back to them by means of a parable or he rebuked them for their lack of understanding.

    “What if a non-believer does ‘good’ and it lines up or is better than the very works we see in our faith community? This adds a grey area to doing good.” SocietyVS

    Of interest to me is the apostrophes you put around good. Are you suggesting they appeared to do something good to everyone else … or that they had truly good intentions? Remember Christ’s words, my friend, that only God is good.

    “Do you think God has to accept us as ‘we are’? If so, why?” SocietyVS

    Do you suppose the father had to accept his prodigal son when he returned before he laid out conditions for how he would change? If so, why?

    I also detest Christianese, but to me it’s more like when people pray these mantras like, “keep us from being blinded, and beguiled, and deceived” (and they say this very, very fast in every prayer) and they start invoking language that they never use when talking to other people like “undergird”. Jesus says to not pray in vain repititions like the pagans do because they think they will be heard because of their many words.

    Maybe your chief concern isn’t people using phrases like “image of Christ” so much as the casual, routine-like way it gets tossed around. In which case, I am with you completely.

    In Burning Sincerity,
    The Bush

  25. Hi BB,

    Your reference to the word ‘baptize’ made me remember a funny incident. When my kids were little, my sister and I took our kids to swimming lessons together. My neice loved to be dunked and when her instructor did so one morning, she started giggling and saying, “Baptize me! Baptize me again!”

    Pam

  26. “Are you suggesting they appeared to do something good to everyone else … or that they had truly good intentions? Remember Christ’s words, my friend, that only God is good” (BB)

    I think I am referring to how we equate the idea of doing good – that both a person calling themselves a Christian and an atheist have the same abilties in that regard. I see you added on the phrase ‘only God is good’ – I think Jesus might be pointing to idea God created us and the laws that person was following – in that sense – it is our core being to do ‘good’ (cause our Creator is) – and when we don’t – that’s troubling in some sense.

    “Do you suppose the father had to accept his prodigal son when he returned before he laid out conditions for how he would change? If so, why?” (BB)

    Good re-ittiration of my question. What I am getting at is ‘come as you are’ truly accepted as what it means in Christian circles? I have no problem accepting people as they ‘are’ – since I am well aware in order for them to recieve hope – they also need to see it happening (or as some call it ‘modeled’). But I am not sure how ‘matter of fact’ this is accepted in actual Christian circles…how many times can a fellow believer fail and we still take them back? What’s the limit or is there one?

  27. “How many times can a fellow believer fail and we still take them back?” SocietyVS

    As long as those who have the option of forgiving wish to be forgiven, they must forgive or they will not be forgiven.

    “Both a person calling themselves a Christian and an atheist have the same abilties in that regard.” SocietyVS

    There is only one thing an athiest may do that is pleasing to God: repent of his athiesm and have faith in God. The Scriptures are clear that without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

  28. “As long as those who have the option of forgiving wish to be forgiven, they must forgive or they will not be forgiven.”

    How far are you willing to take this BB? I know the focus here is on the church forgiving a member but there are times when a member struggles with having to forgive the church.

    There is a story in today’s local paper of a youth minister that has 14 charges of sexual molestation against three teenage girls. The incidents allegedly occurred at a church he previously attended, he changed churches and the new church, knowing of the allegations, allowed him to serve in youth ministry for another two or three years. Now that he has been formally charged, he has been removed from his position.

    Now, I may not have all the details correct (and I don’t believe all I read in the papers) but you get my drift. Should the people expect responsible church leadership or does forgiveness trump even that?

    I could also turn this around to be more in line of Jasons’ focus. How long do we support a church that is does very little in the way of serving the needs of the community?

  29. Brother Ken,

    I was seriously taken back by your question … you know when someone observes something in seriousness, it can be like looking with a new pair of eyes? I read everything but this part spoke to me:

    “How far are you willing to take this BB?” Brother Ken

    It was like a Munch portrait where all the details of the discussion went spiraling into the background and I was left with a single peeking-hole to eternity. You know what I mean?

    It’s like Jesus is standing there and he doesn’t want to start arguing about what’s heresy and what’s orthodoxy. He sees your understanding of the Bible (however meager it may be) and he says, “How far are you willing to take this?” Maybe it was just the way you said my name at the end … but somehow I was strangely singled out. It was just like something Jesus would say.

    The scenario you mentioned was excellent, like a true test of one’s resolve. On the one hand is Christ’s command and on the other a path that is totally unacceptable to society.

    Would forgivenness involve reinstating the criminal back into ministry? I certainly believe so, although perhaps not in the same venue. As believers we have a right to serve our Lord, and ethical distinctions among each other mean do nothing to impose on this right. This distinction is equally irrelevant in cases of leadership wronged by a congregation or a congregation wronged by its leadership.

    Should people expect responsibility from their church leadership? I agree, they should! But the way they accept it is of decisive importance.

    There is worldly expectation, which is nothing more than taking things for granted, systematically … and then there is expectation as if of the absurd, just as Abraham expected God to raise Isaac from the dead.

    If people can say, “I don’t understand it, but our leaders are responsible!” Not snidely, but in true earnestness, then so much the better for them. They have found the only true form of thankfulness under heaven.

    If people say, “What’s best for this group and society?” And, “What will the newspapers say?” And, “What’s best for our image?” Then they will only find anxiety, double-mindedness, and distance from the One who worries not about the opinion of the many.

    If the newspapers rant and rave against the absurdity of forgivenness, then what is that? Didn’t the so-called public rant and rave against Christ? Is it surprising that those who reject Christ also reject the obedience of His bride? I don’t think it is.

    Again, thank you for your response, Brother Ken. It was worded so well, and it demanded answers -just as heaven will demand answers from us on that Day. I intend to carefully and thoroughly consider you question, as I hope every disciple of Christ continues to examine it.

  30. If we want to be true to the gospels – that youth leader that did those things needs to face the law for the things he did (since he did what was not allowed by it – and he owes to it). We can forgive the person – but that doesn’t mean said youth pastor gets a free ticket from ‘repentance’ or ‘responsibility’.

  31. I agree he should face the law of the land, but this is not the responsibility of the church except perhaps as witnesses in court. The primary concern of the church should be forgiving him.

  32. Chruch discipline in accord with the NT would demand that he be put out of the church until he repents. I think a major part of repentance is accepting the just consequences of our actions. If he is truly repentant, then he will turn himself in and suffer those consequenses.

    There is a big difference between forgiveness and the cover up of wrong doing. I’ve seen the cover up occur many times but church discipline…well, never.

    Pam

  33. Ken,

    **Obedience may not even be the right word here as is has negative connotations for many in our human experiences.**

    I do think another word is required, at least in my mind. Obedience is too closely tied to “only following orders.” If people blindly follow … well, we’ve seen the damage that can do throughout history. So I tend not to like the word “obedience,” because of what I associate with it.

    **There is only one thing an athiest may do that is pleasing to God: repent of his athiesm and have faith in God.**

    Doesn’t this seem more along the lines of human behavior, though? I mean, we have this infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing God who created the entire vast universe caring whether a small portion of said universe believes in Him.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Creator to care how things function, or how closely things behave to the original design? Otherwise, we’re left with someone who may not believe that the Christian God exists, and yet earnestly tries to do good with no thought of his/herself — in fact, mirroring Christ in a lot of actions, and behaving as God designed people to behave … cast aside simply because of a lack of belief. Isn’t that essentially saying that it doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are — it just matters what you believe? I mean, take the Samartain. He had all the wrong beliefs according to that culture, and yet he was seen as the example to follow. (No, I am not saying that someone can earn their way to heaven).

  34. I think that in all walks of life we use language or interpretations that make things relatable to others. It is part of translation and language, and the barriers that come along with it. If you spend time in another culture it is the same, there is an element of making things relatable or easy to understand, or down to earth.

    Yes, it probably doesn’t come across the same to all, but at best in most cases it is a good effort that is being made…I think at the end of the day that is the intent of using these phrases.

    As a facilitator or a presenter I do it all of the time, especially when I know that the audience may not know English as their first language…
    But that is just be keeping it simple

  35. “The primary concern of the church should be forgiving him.” (BB)

    I know we pray “forgive us, as we forgive others that transgress against us”, but can a person be forgiven and yet removed from positions of responsibility? I have seen this work well in a church. A married man was having an affair with another man’s wife. The two were forgiven by the church but not allowed to continue in leadership roles.

    What I see going on in most churches is a high degree of focus on forgiveness (to the point of absurdity as in the example above) and hardly a mention of proper conduct and responsibility. Does there not need to be some balance? Maybe this does not reflect the degree of forgiveness we have in Christ, but then we are only human and we do not have the ability to see what is in the heart of another.

    After all, is not God the only one that can give the forgiveness that is needed?

  36. BB, I posted the last one before reading further up. You really are searching for a way to forgive this sex offender and allow him to be a part of leadership in a church aren’t you? This doesn’t surprise me as most really do not understand what I said in my last post about forgiveness. Please read what I said and see if it does not line up with scripture *and* the ministry of Christ.

    I apologize for my strongly worded response, especially since you were so considerate in yours. This is just something that has been on my heart for a long time.

  37. Wow… so many words…

    I love that a post on “Christianeze” is then followed by a plethora of Christian subculture talking points… almost completely unbearable to read or understand.

    The biggest issue here, is that when someone doesn’t understand our “Christianeze” we hide behind something like this:

    It is not an easy thing to explain or understand. And if a person were not spiritually open to hearing these words it would not matter how well it were explained, the spiritual conversion would not occur. Yet if one is ready to accept the truth, they would be converted by even the worst explanation and example of the truth. – Ken (now this isn’t to pick on Ken, b/c I believe his mindset is shared by most church people.

    So it’s not us… it’s them. If they don’t understand us, it’s because THEY aren’t open to it. Therefore, we have no reason to change our language, rationally explain what we mean or logically make sense of the message we are preaching. If people don’t “get it”, we are off the hook because their hearts are not open spiritually.

    And from my viewpoint… that’s BS and a cop-out.

  38. Steve, the reason why you make a great blogger is 2 fold: (a) great perspective and vision; and (2) you ‘cut to the chase’. I liked it man!

  39. Hey Steve,

    Suppose someone took a history test and was asked to explain the Norman invasion of England and they said, “The Norman invasion is not easy to explain or understand. If you were ready to understand it, even the poorest description would be enough …” That account would be suspicious, and truly deserving of a grade that reflects a cop-out.

    But suppose someone was given a test and asked to explain love in 100 words or less. Wouldn’t you agree that in some ways it would be easier to be that princess who was required to turn ordinary thread into gold? If they were to be truthful, they would have to answer indirectly, or ironically. The only direct answer would be to decline an answer or to say something like, “You’ll never understand love until you’re ready to understand it.” Which, from an academically objective point of view is a cop-out, as you say. Spiritually speaking, it is more true and real than anything an objective-minded teacher would ever communicate.

  40. BB – You can’t explain “love” in 100 words or less?? I just looked it up in my dictionary and found several definitions. For example:

    1) an intense feeling of deep affection

    2) a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone

    Now if you are asking me to explain why I love Person A for example… I certainly could (and should) give you logical and rational reasons to explain my intense feelings of affection and/or my deep romantic or sexual attachment to them. To not base our love for someone on logic or to not have it validated is immature and somewhat delusional in my opinion.

    Your sentence, “You’ll never understand love until you’re ready to understand it.” is doublespeak. It’s useless. It’s untrue. We know love from a young age (if we grew up in such an environment) and along the way we learn how to decipher those that truly love and care for us from those that don’t… and we do so based on understanding of people and getting to know them. It’s not arbitrary or pulled from thin air or grounded in feelings alone…. or at least it shouldn’t be.

  41. Oh by the way BB… I thought you were leaving…

    Or as you said in the previous post to SocietyVS, “I take leave of you”.

    Who the hell talks like that anymore??

    So pretentious… and that says so much.

  42. ‘just as we are’
    (comment was, ‘not sure if it’s in the gospels or letters’).

    ‘Accept one another as Christ has accepted you.’

    how did He accept us.
    As we were, in sin, imperfect.
    Does that mean He doesn’t desire for us to change and grow?
    No,
    Because He loves us.

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