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8 Ways To Leave Church Without Not Going to Church

I was inspired to write this I saw an article called 8 ways to leave church without anyone noticing. Initially I ID-10065951thought it was a good simple article, but on second thought I feel that the issues it raises are more the fault of those holding the individual accountable. In fact I feel there is a problem with the title, because if an individual is declining in attendance, showing signs of lack of growth, disobeying Scriptures admonition regarding dating, it shouldn’t be unnoticed as the article implies; and those who are spiritual should restore the weaker brother/sister.

Far more sinister is the fellow who is at church and serving, but is not actually at church. So here are my 8 ways to stop going to church without leaving church.

1. Get really involved in some church ministry

Be part of a really important ministry, maybe Sunday school, Youth or a special prayer team… anything really, so long as you appear to be serving the body of Christ. All the while you will miss the primary means of grace, which is the preaching of God’s Word, and the enjoyable discipline of the sacraments (Communion and Baptism) every week. Your real goal here is to try to feed others with the Word while you remain malnourished.

2. Be Hyper Orthodox

This is a particular temptation for pastors who listen to other pastors preach, but we are all susceptible to this. During the preaching notice all the things the preacher leaves out. “He could be more Christ-focused; he could have gone deeper into that point; he is missing such a great point/reference; I wonder what my study Bible says that shows the preacher wrong”. Be critical instead of striving to see Christ for yourself, and feast on the good points made.

3. Avoid thinking about the Word

Straight after the sermon avoid at all costs talking about what was preached or bringing it up in conversation at a later time. Make sure your brain shifts to sports or music or jokes and swiftly as possible.

4. Give up at the first difficulty

As soon as something doesn’t make sense, or things are not going at the right pace for you, turn off and write-off the rest of the service. But don’t try at all to get over your immediate weakness and tiredness and seek the Lord’s face.

5. Avoid Accountability

Make sure you don’t foster any genuine relationships, and avoid becoming a member at all costs. After a service try to dawdle by yourself in a secluded area, but not in such a way that invites concerned brother/sisters to talk to you.

6. Use Twitter and Facebook

Social media makes for a great distraction during a service when the means of grace are present. Use them both on your phone or tab to zone out the Worship service and check what’s going on in the world.

7. Take Communion while living in unrepentant sin

This is one of the most effective ways, since you really enlist God to remove you from the church militant (Christians that have not gone to heaven). In 1 Corinthians 11, there is a word of judgement given to those who take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. If you get this right, God may just remove you from the church through sickness or death; mission accomplished.

8. Don’t forgive others or seek peace in your relationships

Peter writes to “live with your wives in an understanding way that your prayers may not be hindered’[i]. And Jesus warns that you should “leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.[ii]” So put on a spiritual face, sing your heart out, and pray till you cry, but avoid seeking Christ-centred relationships with those who are made in God’s image.

 


[i] 1 Peter 3:7

[ii] Matthew 5:24.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Christianity, Counselling, Devotional, Religion

 

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This Week in Africa (14/11/13)

- News relevant to Christians in Africa

The Church Kept Nigeria TogetherPresident Goodluck Jonathan says that were it not for the church, Nigeria would have disintegrated.

‘Live by faith’: The Ebenezer Hannah Home in South Africa -  In the suburb of Ennerdale located in the deep south of Greater Johannesburg The Ebenezer Hannah Home strives to give hope to those trapped in poverty.

5 Ways the Prosperity Gospel Is Hurting Africa – An interesting piece dealing with ways the Prosperity “Gospel” (I feel bad even using that word with gospel) is messing up Africa.

                                                 “Even on the cross He did not hide Himself from sight; rather, He made all creation witness to the presence of its Maker.”

- Athanasius

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in This Week in Africa

 

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Book Review: City on a Hill

City on a Hill, is a book in which Ryken sets out to simply explain what the Biblical pattern for a Christian church should be. There are three major areas of emphasis: proclamation, worship and reaching out which form the skeletal structure of the book. Ryken does a good job of expanding those three subjects into a fully-orb picture of what church life should look like in a contemporary context.

Ryken also goes about defining the contemporary culture the church finds itself in. He describes post-Christian culture as basically being narcissistic and relativistic, two themes he repeats in the book to show the biblical patterns aptness at dealing with modern culture as expressed in these two manifestations of it.

In the middle of the book, in talking about Christian discipleship Ryken comments, “Many Christians think of their Christianity as an important part of who they are, rather than everything they are. But God wants all of us.” I feel that could typify his ethos in the book with regards to the church- his book points out in a very non-confrontational fashion, and actually only by showing the right way as opposed to trashing practices he might disagree with, that ‘many churches think of church work as an important part of their church practice, rather than everything they should be doing as a New Testament Church’.

Ryken touches on pastoral work, preaching, worship, shepherding, fellowship, discipleship, missions, mercy work and why the church needs to keep the gospel central. It is a very helpful overview of what should be on the priority list of churches that seek to be God honouring.

Instead of bowing to contemporary culture and making church fit it, Ryken calls us to go back to Scripture as the only source of doing church in such a way that culture is meaningfully helped. He does this brilliantly by taking us back to Scripture and demonstrating how it answers the questions in a way that other ‘band aid’ remedies could not.

His section on pastoral care is a good example of this, as he shows the biblical emphasis on membership as vital to caring for a large group of people placed under the elders of a given church. He shows how this also brings belonging and identity, which is a sorely missed feeling in contemporary society due to the prevalent narcissism and relativism.

It is worth the read for anyone new to the question of what the church should be about, or is looking for a sane, biblical, simple case for what God intended churches to be, and how churches can escape the entertainment crazed, chocolate-fudge programs that they are often pressured into using.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Book Review

 

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Worship #5: Where to From Here?

I promised in my last article to write about the apparent short comings on the ‘Baptist Confession of Faith’s’ section on worship, however, the more I have been looking at it and comparing it to other creeds I feel that I would be making a mountain out of a mole hill. The real issue still lies in other places…

I think that a tradition, whether it is 500, 100 or 10 years old, suffers from the same problem; We start with Scripture, but eventually put our final authority in our own traditions or views.  This may be one of the reasons why we have such a hard time figuring out what God wants us to do when we worship.

Every generation of the church is responsible to weigh its tradition and practice against the final authority of God’s word, and to be honest God has not been as specific in this area as some might prefer. The bible doesn’t give an order of service that applies to all cultures at all times. Similarly the Bible commands us to respect one another, but in African culture respect is shown by not looking someone in the eye when talking, in European culture, one should maintain a degree of eye contact, so just as the way respect is shown varies in those two cultures, it will also vary in the way worship is preformed. For example the Old Testament is full of choirs, musicians, processions, priests, robes, annual celebrations and instrument praise; but how relevant are these things since the New Testament doesn’t even mention them? Should we come before God with singing, dancing and instruments like Psalm 149? Or are those things now forbidden in the New Testament command to worship God ‘with reverence and awe’ (Hebrews 12:28)?

I find so ironic, that some of my own reformed brothers would use the ‘regulative principle’ to forbid instruments in Church along with hymns and spiritual songs… and then only sing unaccompanied Psalms which constantly mentions instruments, dancing and the like? AT the same time my Charismatic friends would sing about the holiness of God and His majesty, and then treat worship in a cavalier, superficial and sentimentalist way.

Some Christians think God has said nothing about worship, but the need for me to refute this thinking is useless now since if anyone has read the bible in even a superficial way they will see the folly of this thinking (I pray). God hasn’t told us everything, but He certainly hasn’t been silent on the topic.

PRINCIPLES FOR FORM

I would like to at this point suggest the guiding principles for how the ‘form’ of worship should be decided upon and evaluated. (It is helpful at this point to have read my article on the varies parts of worship). What principles guide, not the ‘elements’ or ‘circumstances’ of worship, but the ‘form’?

  1. Do what God clearly commands (regulative principle without the exclusivity part)
  2. Don’t do what God clearly forbids (Normative principle)
  3. Use SCRIPTURAL wisdom for everything else

We need to recognize that God has not given us a prescribed order of service that defines biblical worship. However we must seek to faithfully apply biblical principles and examples.

Furthermore, we must grasp the vital role that faith plays in corporate worship. Thus we never want ‘our way’ of doing things to replace vibrant real trust in the finished work of Christ to make our worship acceptable.

The next few blogs will be on how I think these principles should be applied in around 9 different tensions (I hope to make these blogs on worship more regular than once a week as we climb to the crescendo now). I also intent of shortly releasing a questionnaire that I trust will cause us to evaluate if indeed we are applying certain principles in our church.

For the growth and maturity of the Church as we all strive for the unity of the faith.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2010 in Christianity, Doctrine, Worship

 

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Worship #2: WHY ARE WE WHERE WE ARE?

If you are starting to read this blog now, I encourage you to start on Worship #1, to get the full gist of the development of my thought. Today I wish to consider what I think we are  three major reasons for why we are where we are in worship… and why the subject is so controversial.

1)      Reactionism: People see an error and assume that the opposite must be truth, so they swing. If the Protestants had done this when they reacted against the heresies in the Roman Catholic Church of the 1500’s we would have abandoned the doctrine of the Trinity. Sometimes people are in a church where there is cold dead orthodox worship, and because they feel no heart there, they assume the opposite must be right, and go to the extreme of pure emotionalism.

On the other hand some people go to a charismatic type church and see people swinging and swaying and dancing and barking like dogs and all manner  of things, or perhaps they just hear endless choruses of empty words that sound no different to contemporary love songs, so they assume the opposite must be right, and go over to the cold dead guys.

2)      Ignorance of History: Some people enter the whole realm of dealing with worship as if they are the first people in history to get into the debate, they often end up trying to re-invent the wheel so to speak, but never really get anywhere. Imagine every scientist began his/her study, starting off with trying to work out the table of elements! There are confessions of faith and major articles written by godly men in history who have thought deeply on some issues we don’t even know are applicable to the subject. Works like the 1689 Baptist confession of Faith chapter 22, or the Westminster Confession of Faith

3)      Ancientariansim: This is the word I assign to those who think that, because we have always done things like this, it must be the right way to do it. Because we have always understood this way of doing worship to be biblical , our older understanding must be right. This is also a major error, praise God that Luther didn’t think like that when he started challenging the Romanists on their ‘old’ errors. Really what often happens in this case is that peoples ‘older style’ (which exists due to limitations of the time) become equal with Scripture or at least the supposed sole application of Scripture.

Let me say that perhaps the major issue relating to worship, which summarizes the three mentioned above, is a lack of going back to the Scriptures, as well as a lack of love and understanding. Till next time, mull these things over

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Christianity, Worship

 

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Worship #1: Where is the Church?

I have been in Christian churches long enough to know there is much debate about worship, worship styles and such things. The spectrum ranges from people who say that Biblical worship must be boring and cause you to long for the 2nd coming, or the other group that says worship should be like what we all did in Sunday school, just a wish-washy of good feelings and fun. Have you ever wondered about what is God honoring worship? Has it even crossed your mind that the way you practice worship may be displeasing to God?

I think most of us (though by grace not all) would not be able to say we have thought about it. Because we are in the ‘worship-culture’ that we are in, and we have given ourselves the’ necessary proofs’, we feel we are okay, all the others must be wrong. This is a natural problem, and when looking at people in history we often remark that ‘they are a product of their time’. It is with this in mind that I wish to write about worship for the next little while and add my 50c to the discussion as we all strive to the unity of the faith. I will attempt to be brief and yet simple so that I don’t lose people who are new to the historic aspect of the debate, or who are not familiar with tons of theological jargon.

There are two extremes of people who are reading this, and both are coming at it from different angles, I wish to address the extremes, and hope that I hit every one who is in the middle as well.

Moving Along

There are people who say, “It doesn’t matter how you worship, as long as your heart is in the right place”, “It’s all about sincerity” etc. Have you ever thought that way? I mean surly we must not worship God with insincere hearts right? I agree that we must worship with our heart, we must worship with sincerity, and in Spirit, Scripture teaches this:

Psalm 24:3-6 gives us a picture of true worshippers, and the repeated phrase are those who have a clean pure heart and clean hands.

• Back in John 4:22b Jesus says, “We [Jews] know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.” Now the Jews were just the opposite of the Samaritans. They accepted all thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and had the whole revelation of the teaching of salvation. They had the truth – but they lacked the spirit. Just read Matthew 6:1-8, and you’ll see that they were cold, legalistic, and hypocritical. They went through the motions, but their hearts weren’t in it. Now I admit that there were some Jews who had a zeal for God, but the basic existing religion of Jerusalem was lifeless. They had the truth, but their hearts were empty.

However, we also must avoid the danger of reacting against cold clinical worship and thus end up saying, only the heart matters and not practice. But the Bible warns of that extreme as well:

• In John 4:22a, Jesus says to the Samaritan woman, “Ye worship ye know not what.” Now, what did He mean by that? Well, He acknowledged that the Samaritans were worshipping, they just didn’t know what they were worshipping.You see, the Samaritans only accepted the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) as coming from God. So their knowledge was limited.They had enough to know some of the truths about God, but not enough to have the full salvation revelation. They were worshipping, but the didn’t know the fullness of what they were worshipping.Samaritan worship, then was enthusiastic worship without proper information. Their worship was aggressive, enthusiastic, excited, and faithful, but they didn’t have the right content. In other words, they worshipped in spirit but not in truth.

2 Samuel 6:1-9 tell of how Uzzah tried to stop the Arc of the Covenant from falling to the ground, and God struck him dead because God had instituted a way for the Arc to be handled, and it was part of that was no one was allowed to touch it. Now we can see Uzzah’s heart, but it seems like the sincere thing to do, yet God was not pleased.

Leviticus 10:1-2, shows God consuming the two sons of Aaron because the may fire which was to be used for incense in a way “which He commanded them not”.

For sake of time let me summarize what I am trying to say. God desires to be worship, with our hearts in the right place, part of having our hearts in the right place is desiring to do things the way God commanded us to. So two things need to be in place: Heart and Hand, right attitude and right action. To exclude either one is to make false worship.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2010 in Christianity, Worship

 

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A Response to Rising Islam- Pt 2 (Better Titled: What’s Wrong with the Church Today)

What is the problem with the church of this generation? I posed this question in my post responding to the rise of Islam. If you read that post, you will notice that Islam does not so much concern me. However, it did raise for me, the question, of the Church? Why are we not having as much of an impact as previous generations? Where are the dvtnSpurgeons, Whitefields, Luthers, Calvins, men like the apostles? Now granted, we are plagued by much heresy today, the emergent church is striking away at an entire generation, those who are a generation above are still bewildered by and getting up from the failure of the seeker-sensitive movement. Arminianism is rife, liberalism is still going. But this is no excuse, when God used men in the past, there were also many heresies and evils about.

For argument sake, let us consider, a doctrinally pure and sound church. Accurate to the letter. Why do they not experience such impact? Why do the preachers, who have all their theology worked out and their Greek Grammar down, not rock the country? Friends, I write this to myself as well. The problem is not theological (while if we let that slide, it will be a problem too, some kind of ‘holiness’ without the ground of good theology would be just as useless), the issue is holiness.

I heard a sermon recently, and these words struck me, it went something like this, “The power of the preaching of a man, will be directly proportional to the holiness of that man.” Think of it friends, Paul wrote to Timothy and said two things he should watch, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). To your teaching (KJV

has it ‘doctrine’) and to yourself. Is it any wonder that the qualifications for pastors in both passages where the qualifications are listed, starts with holiness and its practical manifestation? Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2 both start off with the qualification ‘above reproach’ or ‘blameless’, not doctrine or theology. Wiersbe explains, “This word literally means “nothing to take hold upon”; that is, there must be nothing in his life that Satan or the unsaved can take hold of to criticize or attack the church. No man living is sinless, but we must strive to be blameless, or “above reproach”[i]

In both of those passages Paul goes on in the same verse quoted to talk about the external manifestation of holiness. How a man runs his life, and rules his family, and controls himself. I could go on writing for hours, but I feel this is already getting to long. How long do we pray for? Or do we feel it is pointless and we can do without God’s power? How long do we read the Holy Scriptures for? Or are we wise enough and equipped in and of ourselves to deal with all life should throw our way? Do we cut off our hand, and pluck out our eye when they cause us to sin? Or do we whimper in the closet and scratch a bit at our hand, keep our eye lid closed for awhile? If we truly hated sin, we would destroy that means whereby we sin, we would go without, and in want, but by no means make provision for the flesh. How often do our thoughts wonder onto senseless and futile things? As if there were no treasures above, no glories to think in Christ, but ah, we cannot think of these things since we have not been in the Word to find the jewels.

The words also struck me, that you cannot be a clown, and a prophet. Now Spurgeon was a man who had quiet a sense of humour, he was even criticized for making too many jokes, but this is not what I mean. Al Matrin points, that it is the man who always wants to make people laugh, always wants to be a joker, how can someone then take you seriously, when you want to tell them of the fires of hell, and the depravity of their nature, and the glories of the only true God, and the pre-eminence of Christ?

lbrtyI am not here hoping to solve the problem, but merely make it known, if you wish to have an impact for the world around you, then you best not worship the same idols it does. Money, riches, wealth, reputation, class, stuff, security, safety etc. Oh that we would have a tenacious fight for holiness, then we will see the world take notice, then we would ‘…save ourselves and others’


[i]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. 1 Ti 3:1

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2009 in Christianity, Devotional, Doctrine

 

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Is Doctrine that Important/ The Distaste of Doctrine (Part 5)

- QUESTIONS – (I recommend you read part 1,2,3 and 4 before this, unless it makes sense first time)

A Christian with a faith grounded in reality doesn’t steer clear of questions, he runs to them because He knows that God invaded the human world and became a man. He knows that God gave a perfect revelation of Himself in His word so we could have all the questions we need answering answered.

Questions are not daunting

What is daunting is when there are no answers.

What is heartbreaking is a faith that can’t stand up to them.

The other day I was sitting in a university first year philosophy lecture, I got into a conversation with a guy next to me, he saw I was reading a book which argues for the historical proof of Jesus and His resurrection. This guy told me how its good to ask questions about these things but His church doesn’t really let him ask those kind of things ( some churches want questions, just for the fun, but they don’t want to answer them, just enjoy not knowing). He went on to explain how the philosophy classes had made him think, that maybe Jesus wasn’t real, maybe God wasn’t real. After I said that there are answers, he got real excited, for the rest of the lecture he wrote down questions instead of listening, to ask me after the lecture ended.

He asked:

How does one become holy?

How do you know what is right and wrong?

How do you know if your interpretation of the Bible is correct?

Some other questions I have had asked:

Why do good people die in tragic ways?

Why do evil people prosper and good people suffer?

Why is there war and poverty if God is loving?

If God will forgive us when we ask, why not life any way we want, and ask him for forgiveness in our dying moments?

Since God controls all things, why is there evil, does God make evil happen (that sounds terrible right?) or do we have free-will and God has no control (cause that is also rubbish)… What’s going on.

These are a few questions, I have had hundreds upon hundreds thrown at me in my short life. I’ve spoken to heart-broken people, angry people, humble people, intellectual people, philosophical people. Let me tell you, the joy I have knowing that my God invaded this messed-up, crazy, painful, really real world and He didn’t bring a placebo, He brought the truth, a truth that can set us free from the pain, anger, lost-ness, intellectual burnout-ness.

This is why peter goes out of his way to point out that this is all real, he said, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” We were eye-witnesses? He saw it, it was real it happened. What an amazing truth.

Am I saying that I know everything? No.

Am I saying that God has given me everything I need for life and godliness while I’m here on earth? YES (2 Peter 1:3)

I remember at school when I was young, they always said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but as I got older, they started saying, that smart questions make one smart.

The truth of God’s word being a freedom, a freedom that I’m not lost without answers in a world that is full of questions. However some people ask questions like that ad, where the child just keeps asking ‘why?’ for the sake of it, not really to learn anything.

A question that doesn’t come out of the hunger for an answer is not a real question, it’s a heart with no blood.

Humility is saying, God you have the answer, I’ll accept what you say, no matter how hard it is, because you are the potter and I am the clay.

Trying to deny that there is an answer in the name of humility is like a student who doesn’t want to show his marks, or see anyone else’s, because ignorance is bliss, and I don’t want to know if someone is better then me, and I don’t want others to know I’m not so good.

Oh, that we would humble ourselves like little children and come to God to learn from Him.

Most often God brings questions to our lives about reality so that we have to throw ourselves at Him and learn more about Who He is? Like with Abraham in Genesis 18, God goes to Abraham, and by God’s actions brings a whole lot of questions up in Abraham’s mind, and each time God answers, Abraham knows God a little better.

Central to our Christian Faith, is that we have the truth incarnate. And so we bring our dead daughter to Christ and ask Him to bring healing, we bring our confusion about meaning and hope and ask Him to answer, because that’s part of why He came, to show us the way, the truth and the life.

Robert Brownings wisely said, “I thirst for truth, but shall not reach it till I reach the source.”

The Christian faith is something which makes a difference and is real, but more then that… its true. Otherwise it would be easier to just believing something else, if there was some natural nobility in believing something.

Pauls said that we should answer each person (Col 4:6). The problem is when people sometimes attempt to answer back to God (Rom9:20).

Many people today would like to turn Christianity into a mystery, they would like to turn God’s revealing of Himself and His answers into mystery…

And to be honest, it is, as we saw earlier, the natural man does not understand the things of the spirit! They are foolishness to him. It was once said in the Scriptures that no one understands (Rom 3:11).

But what does it say to believers? 1Co 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” Wow, what a gift, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).

Where do we discover the mystery? Where do we find the answers? Paul said, “Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,

Oh, Christians, are you left on earth to reveal in questions? Did the all powerful, loving God decide that the best answer for mankind would be mystery?

Build the boat!

Take the cruise!

It will save you!

Two possibilities: One; oh, wow, God is so big, I don’t understand how he is going to save or bring hope or life, I’m trapped in despair, and now I feel free to share it with everyone.. its so exciting to be lost without an answer and hope!

Two; Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages

Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–

Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

This has always been the understanding of Orthodox Christianity, a group of God loving holy theologians put this in a plain way in a great Christian confession, they said:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word

This tell s us a very obvious thing: If we are going to travel the distance Jesus traveled, if we are going His way, we need to make sure our ship has the right equipment to travel across the ocean. Then we can take our feet off of the firm ground of this worlds sinful and dangerous ideas, and put our faith in something ‘more sure’, we are aliens and travelers on this world, it is not our home.

In a world where the pieces don’t matter, and the focus is more just about the journey, we would be led by a group of people who are very much like kids about to go on holiday with their parents. They don’t know to pack the spare tire, or fill up, or do checks on the car, or pack medicine.

Now, as I have said, somethings are not as important as others….

Whether Jesus comes back before or after the tribulation, or after the millennium, is not an important issue… whether Jesus is coming back at all,, is a very important issue….

This is why Paul under the control of the Holy Spirit wrote these heavy words: Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2008 in Christianity, Devotional, Religion

 

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Is Doctrine that Important/ The Distaste of Doctrine (Part 3)

- PARTS OF A BOAT-

(if you have not read them, then reading part 1 and 2 will be helpful to follow the thoughts)

Not all the parts on my boat were essential, the boat could sail and get to where it going if it was missing a velvet couch, and maybe if I didn’t put the stickers on to distinguish between the guys and girls bathroom (although it make for some weird situations)

Take for example the piece of our boat called ‘baptism’. Some think we can baptism babies, and others think we can’t. I think if we all went honestly to the Scriptures and wrestled it out together we would come out with the same conclusion, but at the moment there are more important pieces to be sure about, so instead of fighting about that specific piece I link arms with someone who might not understand it like I do and fight to get the doctrine of the trinity on our boat.

Some guys make a piece that’s not important become important though… imagine if on a bot a guy put ‘no-entry signs’ with a toxic symbol over all the bathroom doors! That could cause all sorts of major problems and in the end even cause sicknesses and all crazy things on the ship… I’ll leave it to your imagination. That would be like people who say baptism is essential for salvation, they do not build the ship according to the manual, but their mistake in construction will jeopardize the whole voyage

Paul wrote to Titus and said one of the most amazing things about the connection with doctrine and living a righteous life… he said, “…showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Paul was writing to slaves and telling them to be obedient and not to steal, before that he spoke to young men, young women, older men and older women, telling the Christians of all walks of life to live is such a way that adorns the Doctrine of God our Savior.

I think that’s so beautiful, its like how a husband would not look at other women and always speak highly of his wife, loving her by his actions all the time, and so he adorns the truth of the vows and marriage he is a part of.

The truth that he is married is important, its vital, if he wasn’t but was living like he was married that would be fornication. But if one has the truth as a ‘thing’ its made beautiful by the actions.

Paul when he was teaching Timothy showed the importance of doctrine, he said that Timothy should watch his life (the way he lives) and his doctrine closely, and by doing that he would save himself and those that heard him teach. (1 Tim 4:16)

Wow! The lights come on… Timothy, make sure you follow the instructions in that boat, that why lives will be saved. Paul could have said, “Timothy, the instructions are important, but the boat is a whole lot more then just a set of instructions, the boat is big and glorious and magnificent!” People die on big magnificent things…

But then comes the question…. And questions are vital….. What is the essentials? What pieces does our boat really need?

I may have opinions, you may have opinions, but what did God say?

Paul wrote down God’s out-breathed words and said, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. ( 1 Cor 15:3-7)

Some people say that it doesn’t really matter if Jesus rose or not, some ‘christians’ say that they could continue to be a Christian if this were not true, if Jesus didn’t historically rise. Well.. Paul said, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (1 Cor 15:17).

From those verses I see some stuff of first importance, do you?

It seems like Christ dying for our sins is rather important as well as His rising.

Because, he explains, both of those have to do with our salvation, that is, with how man is made right with God

So when someone says, you have to be baptized to be saved…. That’s adding a wrong piece to the boat, that’s going to cause people to suffer and never make it possibly

When someone says that you can get your sins forgiven by saying a prayer, or by eating a piece of bread, or doing good things, that’s not Christ dying for our sins. That’s taking things from other parts of the baot and putting it where its not supposed to be.

We can pray to communicate with our heavenly father whom we love and fear

We can eat bread in remembrance of Christ at communion

We can do good things because that’s why God made us His children, to do good works (Eph 2:10)

But if we take those things and put them where they don’t belong, we can make a very dangerous ship, on that can even make shipwreck of peoples faith (1 Tim 1:19)

In history a man named Martin Luther was on a really messed up ship, but he got hold of a manual and saw how wonderful it was meant to be! He tried to get the people who ran the ship to put the right pieces in the right place, but they wouldn’t. They didn’t understand the things of the Spirit and so they treated Luther like Jesus was treated, the rejected him and even tried to kill him.

This was called the reformation, it wasn’t a time of coming up with new pieces for the ship, it was a discovery that things when they are put in their right place, when the doctrines are understood correctly, leads to having a cruise the way Jesus intended it, the way God revealed it, the most glorious and life giving exciting way. Many people, called ;’reformers’ saw how beautiful this was saw how things were meant to be, and they were so amazed at the beauty of how God revealed Himself in His word that many many many of them died painful deaths, trying to show a so called ‘church’ how the boat was supposed to look.

I’m trying to convey a message to you through these blogs, but I’m limited, my vocabulary, the length of the blogs, my background, but there is a good chance that this blog will not convey all that I intend for you to know. Let me ask you a question:

Do you think God is limited by all of the things that limit me and you?

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2008 in Christianity, post-modernism, Religion

 

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