Tag Archives: Calvinist Church

Many looking for the church of the world instead of the Church of God

Looking for the church

Someone has said,

“I looked for the Church, and found it in the world. I look for the world, and found it in the Church.”

The word ICHABOD has been stamped on many a local church door, but only spiritual eyes can see that the glory of the Lord has departed. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

That is the problem of our world or the problem of our nation … human beings always looking for other human beings and believing in human beings more than in the Word of the Highest all-knowing eternal God above all gods.

Coming face to face with God

Mankind is afraid to come face to face with God. It is impossible for man to see God, though man wants to have something they can refer to, see and feel or touch. They also want to have a god who has similarities with them, and therefore they took themselves a godhead they can grab. Of that god they created for themselves, a male figure, they can take pictures and statues. Even when the Bible tells mankind that he may not make any graven image of God, man prefers to ignore such demands and has made himself many images of their god.

The Holy Scriptures or Infallible Word of God – Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Too many people do forget or do not want to see that God promises to work through His Word and that This Word of God gives all the knowledge that we need to come to find God and to come to know what God wants from us. God wants to have a relationship with His creatures. He did not create them to be against Him, in the same way, He did not give them commandments of which He knew man would be able not to keep them.

Sinful people

By the first sinful act of Adam and Eve, sin came into the world. All those coming after them were sinful people. Still today it is like that. It would be very difficult to find someone who is without something doing wrong or without having sinned. We are all taken up by sin.

“As by means of one man, sin entered into the world, and, by means of sin, death; and so death passed upon all the sons of men, inasmuch as they all have sinned: — ” (Ro 5:12 Murdock)

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”” (Ge 4:7 KJ21)

“”If they sin against Thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and Thou be angry with them and deliver them to the enemy so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;” (1Ki 8:46 KJ21)

It is that sinning that is standing in the way to have a good relationship with our heavenly Father. To come to a better relationship God provided means. One of those was by creating a possibility for man to show his submission to God and his desire to please God by offering sacrifices to God. Later in the history of mankind, there came special places to bring such offerings to God and as such temples came into existence, where also special people took care of the services for God. Those priests were at first anointed by God Himself, though later man took care of themselves to appoint priests and to decide for themselves how those services to God and sacrifices were to be carried out. In a way such services would later become churchservices.

Houses of worship for the Only One God Jehovah

At first Jesus and his apostles went to those houses of worship. In those temples, they praised not Jesus but the God of the Hebrews, the God of Adam and Eve, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who is the Only True God. Jesus and his apostle were very well aware of that Name of That God. They worshipped Jehovah as the Only One True God.

“that men may know that Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps 83:18 KJ21)

“2 And God spoke unto Moses and said unto him, “I am the LORD. 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Ex 6:2-3 KJ21)

When Jesus was gone the apostle did not change their mind about Whom they had to worship and about Whom they had to pray to and call His Name.

“For “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”” (Ro 10:13 KJ21)

“and in that day shall ye say: “Praise the LORD! Call upon His name! Declare His doings among the people; make mention that His name is exalted.” (Isa 12:4 KJ21)

The way of worshipping did not change in the first century. It was customary for them to continue to go to the temple and to praise and glorify God there, as well as to continue to study the Hebrew Scriptures. They were convinced that such worship of God should come from deep within the heart and not be a mere passing fancy.

“God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”” (Joh 4:24 KJ21)

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

Yes, not Jesus was their god, but the Divine Creator of heaven and earth was their God. To them, it was as pure as a lump of sugar or clear as water, that this God is only one.

“”Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (De 6:4 KJ21)

One God and His beloved son opposite a god the son

They felt that they had become one in God by the sent one from God in whom they came to believe as that promised one from old times, who they now recognised as their saviour or that promised Messiah, by whom they now got the opportunity to get a new life.

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

It was several years after Jesus had died that certain people started taking Jesus as their god, forgetting the words Jesus himself had spoken.

“Jesus said unto her, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 KJ21)

Today there are still many people who do not hear or want to understand those words of that son of man, who gave his life for many, so that we can have hope for receiving a new life in the Kingdom of God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1Pe 1:3 KJ21)

Those who claim that Jesus is God, should better think about the fact that Jesus more than once prayed to Whom he called God. He did not pray to himself, neither cried to himself, or did not ask himself why He had abandoned him. (How would a person abandon or forsake himself?)

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”” (Mr 15:34 KJ21)

“1  These words spoke Jesus and lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour is come. Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee, 2 as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. 3 And this is life eternal: that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:1-3 KJ21)

The apostle Peter might be one of the first apostles who publicly professed who Jesus Christ was.

“16 And Simon Peter answered and said,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 KJ21)

A son of man as a way to God

It was such confession that the apostles required also from those who wanted to go in the footsteps of their master teacher. This way started of a group of followers of Christ. People who were convinced that Jesus was the way, like he more than once told others.

“Jesus said to him: I am the way, and truth, and life: no one cometh unto my Father, but by me.” (Joh 14:6 Murdock)

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1Jo 4:15 KJ21)

The apostles also wrote down how they came to understand who Jesus Christ was and how the world had come to see that he is the son of man and son of God. By writing it all down, those writings should give a clear picture of Whom God is and about whom Jesus is.

“And the angel answered and said unto her,

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that Holy Being who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Lu 1:35 KJ21)

“And I saw and bore record that this is the Son of God.”” (Joh 1:34 KJ21)

“29 Jesus said unto him,

“Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name.” (Joh 20:29-31 KJ21)

Accepting Jesus as son of God

That life which may come over us is by accepting who Jesus is, the son of God, and not by going all the fancies of the world. It are not the human doctrines we should take for the rules to follow, but the Biblical doctrines we should take for granted and to go by. It are those sacred writings that tell us that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God, being a mediator between God and us.

“5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 KJ21)

For those who continued to follow the apostles of Jesus it is clear that there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and that newt to This God there is the one Who God Himself declared to be His only beloved son, Jesus Christ the Messiah. (1Co 8:6)

Followers of false teachings and false teachers

Up to today there are people who want to follow the teachings of those false teachers who claimed that Jesus would be an incarnated God. Some of the present teachers or pastors even want to twist the historical truth and come to say that it were the non-trinitarian preachers who would have followed Greco-Roman philosophy, though it are the Trinitarians who took all sorts of believes of those philosophers in their teaching, like incarnation, separate souls who would leave the body after death, hell as a burning place of eternal torture, etc. . Instead of bringing people on the right path to God, they mislead their churchgoers and having them worship a false god.

Already in the first century, the apostles warned against such false teachers who violated the Word of God and often came to deceive people with things they liked to hear. Such a God made flesh appealed to many, and still does. Hereby lots of people forget how often in the Bible is told that Jesus is the son of God (something totally different as “god the son”) and how Jesus himself spoke about his heavenly Father, from Whom he came and to Whom he went again.

“Jesus said to her:

Touch me not; for not yet have I ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (Joh 20:17 Murdock)

Those teachers claiming that Jesus would be God destroy the value of Jesus’ act of sacrifice and make God a great comedian who repeatedly told lies to deceive people, let alone called Himself a “God of no lies” when He did see mankind as lying creatures. Those Trinitarian preachers seem to neglect that The God of no lies said Himself that Jesus is His beloved son.

“And lo, a voice came from Heaven, saying,

“THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”” (Mt 3:17 KJ21)

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written:

“That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Ro 3:4 KJ21)

Not only minimalise those preachers the self-sacrifice of Jesus the also make the resurrection of Jesus as a joke, because God can not die (Him being an eternal Spirit) and when Jesus is God we are still left with no proof at all that man would be able to step out of the dead. As such those trinitarian churches take away our hope for a resurrection, because we can not become God and do like Him, but are then still bounded to the grave (sheol or hell). The real followers of Christ continued teaching the Gospel or Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, by which there is the hope in the resurrection of the man Jesus Christ, as an example of what can happen to us.

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who in his great mercy hath begotten us anew, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, to the hope of life,” (1Pe 1:3 Murdock)

Not a schizophrenic God

Jesus was or is not a schizophrenic God Who came to pray and cry to himself. Jesus prayed sincerely to his heavenly Father, Whom he considered to be the Only One True God.

“And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said: [Il, Il, lemono shebakthone;]that is: My God, my God; why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mr 15:34 Murdock)

“1  These things spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: My Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee. 2 As thou hast given him authority over all flesh, that he might give life eternal to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they may know thee, that thou art the only true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Messiah.” (Joh 17:1-3 Murdock)

It might have taken some time before the apostles really came to see who their master-teacher really was and how they should behave and go into the world as his disciples and workers for God. It can well be that the apostle Peter was the first one to recognise for the first time in public Jesus real position.

“16 Simon Cephas {Greek: Simon Peter} answered and said:

Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

17 Jesus answered, and said to him:

Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jonas; for flesh and blood have not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 Murdock)

The religion of Old Testament not passing away

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

After that Jesus was taken into heaven by his heavenly Father and after Jesus promised helper came over the apostles they dared to come out in public again and started off their great preaching work.

Those who heard and/or saw Jesus preach and/or heard the apostles,  could not believe that the religion of the Old Testament, revealed by God Himself, should pass away. They indeed regarded Jesus as the Saviour of Gentiles as well as Jews. We could say that Judaism was for them considered the necessary introduction to their group (which we call today Christianity). Several people from all sorts of rang came to join the apostles. Their Jewish movement was called “The Way“.

But by joining more non-Jews the matter of circumcision and the observance of the whole Mosaic law came under discussion. The question was the sole condition of an interest in the Messianic salvation. And, offensive as Judaism was, rather than attractive, to the heathen, this principle would have utterly precluded the conversion of the mass of the Gentile world.  The apostles themselves were at first trammelled by this Judaistic prejudice, till taught better by the special revelation to Peter before the conversion of Cornelius.
But even after the baptism of the uncircumcised centurion, and Peter’s defence of it before the church of Jerusalem, the old leaven still wrought in some Jewish Christians who had formerly belonged to the rigid and exclusive sect of the Pharisees, to which the apostle Paul also belonged to.

Difficulties around gentile converts

The churches of Jerusalem and Antioch resolved to hold a private and a public conference at Jerusalem. Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas as commissioners to represent the Gentile converts. Paul, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, obeyed at the same time an inner and higher impulse. He also took with him Titus, a native Greek, as a living specimen of what the Spirit of God could accomplish without circumcision. The conference was held C.E. 50 or 51 (fourteen years after Paul’s conversion). It was the first and in some respects the most important council or synod held in the history of Christendom, though differing widely from the councils of later times. It is placed in the middle of the book of Acts as the connecting link between the two sections of the apostolic church and the two epochs of its missionary history.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

In the beginning, the people from The Way, like all the Jews, went on the Sabbath to the gathering in the temple. But after more goyim or non-Jews had joined that movement which confessed that Jesus is the son of God (Lu 1:35 ), and as such also came to abide in God (1Jo 4:15), they were not so welcome anymore in the temples and synagogues. Those non-Jews by their baptism in Christ being taken up in the group, which grew fairly quickly, and made others look jealous at them but also did not want those non-Jews in their prayer houses. Therefore The Way started also to come together in private houses and as such creating the first house churches.

Seeing and not seeing the man of flesh and blood

The apostles had after some years got a very clear picture of Jesus and with them many others had seen this man of flesh and blood (remember that God can not be seen by man). They testified that their master is the Son of God (Joh 1:34) and never said that Jesus would have claimed such a position, to be God. The amount of false teachers grew and began to argue with the true followers of Jesus who held to the sonship of Christ Jesus and did not wish to enter into the false teaching of Jesus’ Godhead.

In ancient time people could see and hear Jesus. We do not have such an opportunity anymore, though we should go by the material which is handed over to us in the Books of the New Testament. They provide enough information to learn about the man Jesus from Nazareth and his disciples. In connection with the Books of the Old Testament one should clearly come to see what Jesus role is in the history of mankind. Not having seen Jesus Christ, there were loads of people who came to believe in the son of God, that man of flesh and blood. Not having been able to see Christ we have to believe in him and accept him as the mediator for us by his heavenly Father the Only One True God.

“29 Jesus said to him: Now, when thou hast seen me, thou believest: blessed are they, who have not seen me, yet believe. —  30 And many other signs did Jesus before his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that when ye believe, ye may have life eternal by his name.” (Joh 20:29-31 Murdock)

“5 For God is one; and the mediator between God and men is one, [namely] the man Jesus the Messiah; 6 who gave himself a ransom for every man;  — testimony that arrived in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 Murdock)

Jerusalem consultation

The object of the Jerusalem consultation was twofold: first, to settle the personal relation between the Jewish and Gentile apostles, disciples and preachers, and to divide their field of labour; secondly, to decide the question of circumcision, and to define the relation between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. On the first point (as we learn from Paul) it effected a complete and final, on the second point (as we learn from Luke) a partial and temporary settlement. In the nature of the case the public conference in which the whole church took part, was preceded and accompanied by private consultations of the apostles.

Constantine period

In the fourth century the division between the real followers of Christ and the followers of those false teachers who mixed those teachings of Christ with other human teachings, had become so big that they called for a council to decide how the church would continue.

Constantine I (the Great) the founder of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire, and for someone of the most gifted, energetic, and successful of the Roman emperors, was the first representative of the imposing idea of a Christian theocracy, or of that system of policy which assumes all subjects to be Christians, connects civil and religious rights, and regards church and state as the two arms of one and the same divine government on earth. This idea was more fully developed by his successors, it animated the whole middle age, and is yet working under various forms in these latest times; though it has never been fully realised, whether in the Byzantine, the German, or the Russian empire, the Roman church-state, the Calvinistic republic of Geneva, or the early Puritanic colonies of New England. At the same time, however, Constantine stands also as the type of undiscriminating and harmful conjunction of Christianity with politics, of the holy symbol of peace with the horrors of war, of the spiritual interests of the kingdom of heaven with the earthly interests of the state.

He was the man who gave those preachers the choice to come with the world or to stay by their ideas of not being part of the world. The majority choose to be befriended and to walk in fellowship with the world.

Unquestionably every age produces and shapes its own organs, as its own purposes require and as such the Jewish movement of The Way had seen many people going astray and going their own way.  Constantine I did put himself at the head of the age, and was annoyed by the differences and discussions there were by those who claimed to be the followers of the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua ben Josef, Jesus Christ. He also clearly saw that idolatry had outlived itself in the Roman empire, and that Christianity alone could breathe new vigour into it and furnish its moral support.

Donatists and Arians

From the year 313 he placed himself in close connection with the ‘bishops’, made peace and harmony his first object in the Donatist and Arian controversies and applied the predicate “catholic” to the church in all official documents. The Donatists argueing that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Constantine, hoping to defuse the unrest, gave money to the non-Donatist bishop Caecilian as payment for churches damaged or confiscated during the persecution. Nothing was given to the Donatists; Constantine was apparently not fully aware of the seriousness of the dispute, which his gift exacerbated. The Donatists appealed to Rome for equal treatment; Constantine tasked Miltiades with resolving the issue, which led to the 313 commission.

Many non-trinitarians are often called Arians by Trinitarians, though often those Christians do not follow Arius his teachings but simply the Biblical teachings. The Christian priest Arius, whose teachings gave rise to a theological doctrine known as Arianism, also followed the apostolic teaching that God is One and that Jesus is His son and not God Himself. What makes Arainism so different with what many non-trinitarians are still following today, is that those real followers of Christ (including us) do not integrate Neoplatonism, nor are we inspired by Plato’s ideas or by pre-Socratics (who interpreted the world monistically in terms of nature as such), from the relativism of the Sophists, and from the correction of Platonism in a this-worldly direction carried out by Plato’s greatest pupil, Aristotle.

It is a very big misconception of Trinitarians that nonTrinitarians, or those who do not wish to accept Jesus as God, would be Arians, whereas they do not follow the teachings of Arius at all. The teaching those present non-Trinitarians follow is simply the teachings of Jesus and his apostles.

The only similarity in Arius and the present non-trinitarian denominations is Arius’s basic premise of the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent (not dependent for its existence on anything else) and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot therefore be the self-existent and immutable God.

“”There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun [a poetic name for the people of Israel, meaning ‘upright people’], who rideth upon the heaven to thy help and in His excellency on the sky.” (De 33:26 KJ21)

“33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?” 35 Or, “who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Ro 11:33-36 KJ21)

Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated according to Arius. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, according to Arius the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father, since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence. For the real followers of Christ there is the knowledge that Jesus was placed in the womb of that young girl and as such coming directly from God must have some DNA from God. Jesus was born in that very devout Essene family of the tribe of King David and had got a very thorough religious upbringing with the Word of God as an inspirational source.

Name change

Badly enough, most of the clergy wanted to come to an agreement with Constantine the Great in order to keep the peace and not to be persecuted anymore. This was done by the clergy to bring their religion more in line with the Greek Roman religion and their triple deity Zeus who was then the main deity worshipped by Constantine and his followers. In order to equate Jeshua (Yeshua) with that deity Zeus, his name was transformed from Jeshua to Issou or Yai_Zeus > Je-Zeus which means Hail Zeus. Since then, the false name (Jezus – Jesus – Chesu) has become fully accepted and in time it was also used by the non-trinitarians to make clear that they were talking about one and the same person as the Trinitarians.

Constantine was praised and censured in turn by the Christians and Pagans, the Orthodox and the Arians, as they successively experienced his favour or dislike, but the real followers of Christ saw in him a very dangerous despot who could easily subdue the false teachers and in unity oppose the true followers of Christ.

The ones coming under agreement with each other about the deity of Jesus and the wishes of Constantine, became the Roman Catholics, who claimed to be the only true church and continued to grow by making sure people from all sorts of tribes could find themselves at home, because many of their traditions were taken in or integrated into that religion.

The real followers of Christ Jesus did not like the name change but had to do with it. for many centuries they tried those who worshipped Jesus as their god to come to know the real Jesus from the Bible.

The groups which accented the absolute oneness of the Divinity as the highest perfection, with a literal, rationalist approach to the New Testament texts sought their way in the world. That point of view was publicized about 323 through the poetic verse of his major work, Thalia (“Banquet”), and was widely spread by popular songs written for labourers and travellers.

The non-Trinitarian aspect and the other Arian teachings (of Arius) and papal positions (Ursinus) brought forth further disputes and conferences, synods or councils. The Ursinians became established in Milan and rekindled their opposition to Damasus.

Damasus I presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of sacred scripture. He encouraged the production of the Latin Vulgate Bible with his support for Jerome.
He spoke out against other groups of Christians that had grown in popularity and denounced several major heresies in the church (including Apollinarianism and Macedonianism). In two synods (368 and 369) the unorthodox teachings of Bishop Macedonius of Constantinople and of Bishop Apollinaris (the Younger) of Laodicea were condemned. Among Damasus’s literary remains are 24 anathemas against various 4th-century heresies.  Apollinaris The Younger and his father (Apollinaris the Elder) had reproduced the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry and the New Testament in the style of Platonic dialogues after the Roman emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics.
Apollinaris the younger denied the existence in Christ of a rational human soul, a position he took to combat Arianism. Skilled in logic and Hebrew and a teacher of rhetoric, Apollinaris also lectured at Antioch c. 374. Their different ideas also brought forth several schisms.

Current Churches in a Torn Church World

It would not remain at all with these few schisms in the church community; in each century several schisms occurred. Today, many even regard certain breakaway groups as churches of the commons, such as the Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican Churches. They now belong to the generally accepted Protestant churches.

Lots of churches sought ways to get as many followers as they could, claiming that they are the only church by which people can be saved. They forget that it are no other human beings, than Christ Jesus who saves people of all races and people of all persuasions or from all walks of life. They claimed and still claim that their sacraments, religious signs or symbols, are the way to be saved. Many of those churches are convinced that their liturgy is the best one to prepare people to receive those sacraments, as visible symbols of the reality of God, as well as a channel for God’s grace and helps to understand what they are doing. Their liturgy is used to give the sacraments context and is there to allow folks to see them in action. Outside of the liturgy, the sacraments lose direction and application. For some that is the reason why a private baptism or communion is a sacrament without purpose or meaning.

It is a sacrament that is cut off from its intended goal. {The Role of the Church}

For non-Trinitarians, like the Christadelphians, there does not have to be a set of liturgical rules and order. Each church service can be done in a different order or different way. but what is most important is that the service is built upon the Word of God, and as such most time of the service should be spent on that Word, or readings from the Holy Scriptures and not on readings from human beings. Next to that Word of God people should be able to find, feel and see, that love of God and love of Christ present and shown by those people of that church.

The church is tasked with loving the Lord and loving its neighbor. The church takes what it receives from God and shares it with the world. Taken together, this means God acts through even-broadening layers to bring His grace into the world. {The Role of the Church}

Receiving God and being united with His son

But to receive God and to be united with God and His holy son, people have to do away with pagan or heathen teachings and traditions. In the Church of God, there can be no place for pagan rituals and false worship, like praying in front of pictures or sculptures. So, there has to be no place for crosses, paintings or portraits and statues of gods and saints, no idolisation taking place in the liturgy. Done away with a “Hail Zeus” or calling unto “YaiZeus” or JeZeus – Jezus or Jesus as a figure that would be three in one, a God the Father, a god the son and a God the Holy Spirit.

In case we want to hold on to that changed name of Jeshua, namely Jesus, that hopefully would be not too bad and shall be accepted by the Elohim Hashem Jehovah (That we can only hope and pray for – that he forgives us to use that name so that we shall be able to get others to get to know the Name of Jesus his God.) Better would naturally be that by the years coming closer to the end-times, people shall come to use more the real names of the Biblical characters and especially of Jehovah God, Whose Name is holy, and of the son of God, Jeshua ben Josef.

Sin is the opposite of God’s will, so to be a sinner means to be one who is opposed to God, who is an offense to everything God is. Sin is intolerable to God and so God destroys it, even if that means destroying the one who commits it. {Face to Face with God}

Having idols and false gods is “sin” because it goes in against the Will and Commandments of God. Real lovers of God have to keep tp those Commandments of God and not to the commandments, human doctrines or will of human beings.

Active in the world

The Role of the Church

In this picture, from a Lutheran pastor his site, you might see how far the church is gone away from God’s Word that forbids such pictures or reflections of people they call their god.

It is true that the Church or the community of believers has to be active in both worship and in the world so that God’s grace can reach those who need it.

This becomes the central work of the church and everything God does for His people is designed to facilitate that work. {The Role of the Church}

Though that does not mean the church has to think and act like the world! It is totally wrong to think you should be part of the Church of the world, because people have to be part of the Church of God of which Jesus is the foundation. Jesus should be the man whom we follow and whom we take as the cornerstone of our community.

“Jesus saith unto them,

Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Mt 21:42 ASV)

“being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;” (Eph 2:20 ASV)

Loving Christ is not only loving his word, it is living by his word that one fully accepts as a truthful word. And as such that one does not think when Jesus says God is greater than him that he (Jesus) is the greatest and that he can do everything because he would be God. all the thing Jesus did, we should appreciate and understand why he did it and how he wanted to be a faithful servant for God the same as he requires from his followers to be servants for man and for God.

Servants not doing bad things

Those who call themselves servants of God have to do their best to live according to the Will of God. In the last few decades, people should have had enough opportunities to see how many in those so-called churches of God have gone astray. In several Trinitarian denominations, being them Catholic or Protestant, we have seen that there were priests who used little children (boys and girls) to have sex with. Some churches thought that they could cover those paedophile acts by transferring those paedophiles to another church in another village. For centuries the Catholic Church has been a male bastion where male domination and tyranny were giving opportunities to defile the Name of God.

They thought to clean up the cesspool of sin in that religious structure, but the roots have gone very deep.

Furthermore many churches do not dare to speak out about certain Rules of God.

Sung Mass with the ordinations of two deacons and seven priests by the Bishop of Stockholm, in St Nicholas’s Cathedral (Storkyrkan)

In Europe’s largest Lutheran denomination, hundreds of clergies, staff, and congregates of the Church of Sweden, have declared, in an open letter that it is now a trans-inclusive institution.
While the hearts of the faithful Christians are broken, while heaven weeps, while the demons of hell dance in delight, the modern-day church is changed. Why? Because it is easier to change the local assembly than the eternal Word of God, which lives and abides forever. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

After all those centuries the Catholic church did not change one hair.

In Rome, the Vatican is now home to a woke Pope, who allowed South American animistic religious rituals in the opening of the recent pan-Amazon Synod. Kathy Clubb writes in the conservative Catholic publication, The Remnant:

Idol worship was on full display in preparation for the Pan-Amazon synod, with the tacit approval of Pope Francis. Although the Synod hadn’t yet started, the celebration of pagan ceremonies added weight to the concerns being voiced by prominent prelates and laymen that the Synod will be a vehicle for apostasy.”

{It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Strangely enough, when the Pope says something which comes closer to the Biblical truth, all the hairs of Catholic and Protestant (Trinitarian) priests raise up to heaven.

To embracing idol worship, Pope Francis is said not to believe in the eternal divinity of Jesus as the Son of God. Instead,

“Pope Francis conceives the Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once he took flesh, Jesus ceased to be a God and became a man until his death on the cross… {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Pope Francis has said to Eugenio Scalfari: ‘There is proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even a man of exceptional virtue, was in no way a God’.” (Mark Powell, CALDR@N POOL on the web; see also, Fatima Perspectives #1343) {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Several priest think wrongly that it would be changing Catholic dogma because the non-Trinitarians are gaining field in this world.

Why is the woke Pope Francis (b. Dec. 17, 1936), head of the Catholic Church, and sovereign of Vatican City, changing Catholic dogma?

Because it is easier to influence and change a vast religious institution than to change the Word of God, which says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Yes, the Bible is very clear about That! One may not have other gods before the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Lots of those learned people do not want to see how a person can be divine but not God. (Perhaps you might have a divine wife, though we hope you would not worship her as a god.)

There is no such verse in the letter of Paul to Timothy that would say

Concerning the eternal divinity of Christ, the Bible says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:18). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

The Bible words are as follows in the last verses of that letter:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1Ti 3:16 ASV)

giving an indication that Jesus is one way to come to “see and understand God“. Him being manifested in the flesh is the son of God who “gave himself for us.” Truly they are in harmony. The love of the infinite God could neither be created nor purchased but it could be and is been shown through the work of His son. The Spirit of the Father was manifest in Jesus and by the inspiration and power given by God, Jesus was able to speak wise words and to do many miracles.

All those things which are clearly notated in Scriptures are not to confuse us, but to bring us light. Jesus should be such a light for us, a beacon or a lighthouse in the surf.

When looking at churches we should check how those who call themselves leaders of that church, behave. We should check in which way a church has its teachings in accordance with the Bible and how the leaders of that church live according to those Bible Words.

For sure we should not choose for the church that wants to be fully in line with the world and its traditions. From the Bible, we can learn that most of those traditions are not in line with God’s commandments and as lovers of God we should want to go fully doing the will of God in the same way Jesus put his own will aside to do the will of God. (Naturally, in case Jesus would have been God he would never have put his own will aside. … Is it not?)

“And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39 ASV)

“And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words.” (Mr 14:39 ASV)

It is not Christ his will that shall be done on earth as in heaven. Also, Jesus prayed and learned others to pray that this Will of his heavenly Father would be fulfilled.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” (Mt 6:10 ASV)

Even in difficult times, Jesus asked his God that not his will was going to be fulfilled, but God His Will

“And he said,

Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mr 14:36 ASV)

We should know that like Jesus could not do anything without God, we too cannot do the important thing without our heavenly Father. (Though in fact even the little things we are only able to do because God allows them to happen.) Let us therefore not do our will, but have the courage to do like Jesus, going for the One Who had sent him, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, God His Word, God His Will and for God His Chuch, doing God His Will.

“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 5:30 ASV)

“For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 6:38 ASV)

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Preceding

A vital question for believers

The rock on which we stand

As near to God as you want Him to be

Religion and the essence of devotion – Necessary parts in the daily walk with God + Christians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, and other followers

Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation

After darkness a moment of life renewal

Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?

Christians saying Jesus is God giving food for atheists to prove there exist no God

Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters

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Additional reading

  1. Christian in Christendom or in Christianity
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. Only One God
  4. God is one
  5. God spoke to our forefathers and speaks to us
  6. Bible Inspired Word of God
  7. Word of God
  8. A Book to trust #12 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #3 Material evidence to survive
  9. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  10. The One Who divinely inspired the writers of the Bible can also preserve it
  11. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  12. The Bible’s View of Itself
  13. Words of God to stand and to be followed and to believe
  14. Vital importance of reading and following the Kitvei Hakodesh
  15. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #1 Exclusive Divine Eternal Unseen Creator and Sovereign Spirit God with set apart Name Jehovah
  16. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #8 Some more attributes of God
  17. Today’s Thought “That they may know that there is none besides Jehovah ” (June 21)
  18. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  19. Bible exceptional Book of books where nothing can be taken away or added
  20. Today’s Thought “Idols are nothing against the first and the last God” (June 20)
  21. Importance to read the Bible regularly and gain understanding
  22. Everything from the Bible is useful for humans
  23. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  24. With the Bible, honour should be given to God and not to people
  25. Deciphering Truth in Word and Concept – That we might see
  26. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  27. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Our world) = Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Some view on the World)
  28. Altered to fit a Trinity (Our world) = Altered to fit a Trinity (Some View on the world)
  29. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  30. Jesus son of God or God the son
  31. Jesus son of God
  32. The sent one from God
  33. Jesus Christ the Messiah
  34. One Mediator
  35. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (Our world) = Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (some View on the World)
  36. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  37. Behind a False doctrine – the Trinity
  38. The Trinity matter
  39. Trinity – history
  40. Living stones 4 Idols of wood and stone
  41. Iconoclast in the picture
  42. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  43. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  44. Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing
  45. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  46. Different wineskins
  47. The Development of Differences
  48. False teachers and false prophets still around
  49. Devotees and spotters
  50. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  51. An unbridgeable gap
  52. God’s forgotten Word 6 Lost Lawbook 5 Heretics
  53. Not studying an abstract and arcane text of the ancient world
  54. Demanding signs or denying yourself
  55. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  56. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  57. Roads leading to God
  58. Words to bring into a good relationship
  59. Why not quoting more from well-known theologians
  60. Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio
  61. Denominationalism exists because?
  62. Religious people and painful absence of spring of living water
  63. Living as a believer in Christ
  64. Jewish and Gentile Disciples
  65. Religion and believers #5 Transition to Monotheism
  66. Jeshuaists, Messianic Jews, Messianics and Christians
  67. Changes in the Remnant of Jewish Believers
  68. The belief of one going to heaven
  69. Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence
  70. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  71. Counterfeit Gospels
  72. Concluding thought by the article series “Key to the Bible”
  73. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  74. When found the necessary books to read and how to read them
  75. Looking for a biblically sound church
  76. Today’s thought “Using God’s words to justify actions” (April 1-2)
  77. Those Belonging to the called ones coming together
  78. Memorizing wonderfully 55 Exchanging the truth of God for a lie
  79. Extra verses to memorize Deuteronomy 4:15-16 Watching yourselves very carefully
  80. Deep sense of consciousness of the brokenness of our system
  81. Noahide Laws or Seven commandments incumbent upon all of humankind
  82. A Gentile and the Mosaic Law
  83. Face to Face
  84. Does God need you?
  85. Does God need your mitzvahs?
  86. Does God really care?
  87. Constantine a brutal sociopath getting the believers in a God man on his side and creating a Christian church
  88. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  89. a City full of the Pride of life
  90. Cyrus the Persian
  91. Today’s thought “A house of prayer” (March 27)
  92. Good or bad preacher
  93. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  94. One in God’s Hand
  95. Sacrifices in the Millennium
  96. Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age
  97. Pope Benedict will hide (Our World) = Pope Benedict will hide (Some View on the World)
  98. ast day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Our World) = Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Some View on the World)
  99. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers (Our World) = Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  100. French Catholic church covered up abuse of 330,000 children
  101. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  102. Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple
  103. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Our world) = Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Some View on the World)
  104. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  105. Kler the Polish Spotlight on Poland’s Clergy Sexual Abuse
  106. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #3 Cyberwars and prophesy
  107. Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Our wold) = Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Some View on the World)
  108. The abuses of priest make Catholics give up their religion 
  109. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  110. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews

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Related

  1. Why does the Bible need 66 books? Part 2
  2. Exquisite Uniqueness of God
  3. “The Eve of Christmas,” Matthew 1:18-25
  4. In the Incarnation, Humanity Received a New Dignity
  5. The Incarnation
  6. Incarnation and all that…
  7. The Mystery of Godliness: The Transformative Power of the Incarnation
  8. Incarnate Love
  9. Truth-less “grace,” or grace-less “truth”?
  10. Mystery and Clarity
  11. John 1:1-14 Sermon: Love Incarnate, Love Divine
  12. Adoption, incarnation, and growing in grace and truth (Growing Deeper with John 1:6-18)
  13. John’s Gospel and the Word made flesh (Growing Deeper with John 1:1-5)
  14. The Word Became Flesh. II: The Word Was God
  15. God the son, Part 1
  16. Epistle Reading for Sunday, January 30, 2022
  17. Hebrews: Superiority of the Son
  18. Creed // Jesus God’s son (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  19. Today’s Scripture – November 15, 2021
  20. All that he is triune
  21. Trinity – Trilogy – Triplet
  22. Definition of the day: Trinity
  23. Trinity
  24. Why a Triune God?
  25. God Who Is—is Triune
  26. Beyond Belief – What the Heck is the Trinity? Is God Three or Is He One?
  27. There are certain Christian preachers who want people to believe that all Christians would believe in the Trinity. Why do Christians beleive in the Trinity? Such a question let us see that the writer of that article either is not aware of other Christians who only believe in a binary god and neglects the most important group which worship only the God of Jesus and not a god the son, namely the unitarians and non-Trinitarians.
  28. Your Divine D.N.A. [Sermon]
  29. Am I headed in the right direction? [Sermon]
  30. The Incarnation in the Life of the Church
  31. He Was, He Is, and Forever Shall Be
  32. “The Word became Flesh,” John 1:14
  33. “Simeon’s Song,” Luke 2:22-40
  34. Statue Of Zeus At Olympia
  35. False Gospels: On Blindness > Antics > Compromise
  36. False Gods by Graham McNeill
  37. Reenacting the Way of Jesus
  38. Loving Christ Really IS Loving His Word
  39. Poetic faith
  40. How can Jesus be considered sinless when the Bible describes his anger
  41. “Jesus in the Temple,” Luke 2:40-52
  42. “Jesus, the Son of God,” Luke 4:31-44
  43. Know Jesus, Know God
  44. Hebrews: The Fulcrum
  45. Direct Access to the Father
  46. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  47. Does Denominationalism Blind You to the Truth?
  48. Nuanced beliefs
  49. Deceived
  50. Throwback Thursday ~ Finding a New Church- Starting from Scratch
  51. Law; Is It For The Rich Or The Poor?
  52. Division Among Christians
  53. From One Religion To Another

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Quotations from Holy Scriptures, Religious affairs, World affairs

Confrontation by people telling lies to force others to avoid the targetted groups

Many times in our life we have to make choices and do we have to be confronted by people willing to force us to make certain choices or to go certain directions. Those who want to re-direct people often are not afraid to use very offensive or intimidating language.

On the internet we do find lots of people who do not mind their way of speech. Some are convinced that their offensive manner of speech can attract more followers (what it seems to do) and shall get people so much afraid that they would not dare to give a negative reaction or would not dare to contradict the web-owner.

Dave Norris picturing Son. H. Spirit. Father. Christadelphians. Unitarians. Created Being. Mere Force. GOD. Jehovah Witnesses.

One such person is Dave Norris who seems to find pleasure in attacking Roman Catholics, Christadelphians and also seems to have a thing (or fling) with Mormons, because all people who dare to give an other reaction than what he expect he calls Morons and Mormons. Because this (seemingly very frustrated) author bombards the net with anti-Christadelphian material and provides several Christadelphian members with hateful or inappropriate language mails, the Belgian Biblestudents, after a lot of patience, did find it time to react on the net and to provide a special website to show people the many lies such people as Mr. Norris are presenting on the net as so called proof that Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other non-Trinitarian Christians are following false prophets, adhering false teachings and are people sent by Satan.

Too many people do forget that this matter about Trinity or not is a very old issue that came into existence after the death of Christ and became a terrible matter long after the death of the apostles, bringing clergy agreeing to a three-headed god for political and power reasons.

The clergy also found an interesting tool to keep people in their power and to please them with offering them all heathen pleasures, being able to have graven images to pray for, to use incense and do all sorts of rites taken from the pagan people and traditions. People also found more  pleasing answers in possibilities to have an other life after this life on earth, than the teachings of the Bible could offer them. The mixture of the philosophical writings, of the Greek and Roman cultures could find a nice amalgamation with the many pagan teachings and were blended in the Roman Catholic Church its teachings.

The Belgian Christadelphian Biblestudents (not to confuse with some other Belgian Christadelphian groups) are aware that lots of people do not have enough bible knowledge and therefore they would love to give an incentive to come to read the Bible, so that it can be examined who keeps most to the teachings of the bible, the trinitarians or the non-trinitarians.

Please come to know this website which want to come to the defence of all non-Trinitarians and in the near future also wants to present the different denominations which believe in only One God Who is One and not three.

Unmasking anti Jehovah sites and people

Showing the only One True God and the Way to That God

 

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Have a look at one way of Dave Norris reacting: Reaction to Vragensteller on Christadelphian Hogwash

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Find also

  1. Anti Jehovah sites
  2. For those who do everything to stop the work of Christadelphians
  3. The Trinity matter
  4. The Trinity – the Truth
  5. Altered to fit a Trinity
  6. Trinity – behind a false doctrine
  7. Trinity – History

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Related

  1. Unitarism [745] – Please take into account that the Belgian Christadelphians have no ties with the JW and that the Belgian Christadelphian Biblestudents may have connections with and have ex-JW members in the Biblestudent movement [those who returned after they first went with the schism group of the JW which was founded by Rutherford and not by Charles Taze Russell, the student of John Thomas (the founder of the Christadelphians)] Mr.
  2. Trinity, Logic, and the Transcendence of Transcendence
  3. What Constitutes a Cult?
  4. Moongazers and Sunflowers
  5. In which I cement my place in hell via Newton
  6. 18 May: Alison Patrick of the Unitarian Church in Shrewsbury: Unitarian? What’s that?
  7. Worship
  8. Please don’t call me a Christian
  9. I am an agnostic at heart
  10. Is religious faith madness?
  11. Letter of the Day: Government must probe trial process
  12. When Windows Become Mirrors
  13. All One InTent
  14. Open Minds, Welcome Hearts
  15. The Broken Pastorate
  16. Labyrinth #17: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Rock Tavern, NY
  17. A Rescued Life from Cult to Freedom: A Rebuttal of JW’s Beliefs
  18. Top Of The Morning: What Do You Know About Jehovah Witnesses
  19. Why Jehovah Witnesss confuse people 
  20. Jehovah’s Witnesses
  21. Denomination’s 5..Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  22. August Dickmann-executed without a trial.
  23. 10 Things You Should Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses (at that site once again we read the false statement that Charles Taze Russell would have been the first JW.)
  24. Leaked Documents Reveal Jehovah’s Witnesses A Pedophile Cult David Zublick Channel Leaked internal documents from the Jehovah’s Witnesses church reveal a cover-up of a huge pedophile ring operating within the …
  25. How Should We Act In The Face Of A False Teacher?
  26. Was Jesus the Archangel Michael?
  27. Do You Have to Believe in the Trinity to be Saved?
  28. Ep. 4 – Jehovah’s Witnesses
  29. More advice on dealing with Jehovah Witnesses
  30. Why I hate fundamentalist people so much
  31. Is the Watchtower Using (or Creating) Apocryphal Material?
  32. Enduring as a Transgender Christian
  33. OSC’s Watchtower street teach pt 1
  34. YouTube: Who’s Lying Now Stephen Lett?
  35. My Interview with Mick Pillar-A Survivor of the JW Cult
  36. Congratulations to Naomi!
  37. ‘Extremist’ Faith: Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses Report Wave Of Police Raids, Detentions
  38. Welcome! on a website to promote Unitarian Christianity as the best path to a personal relationship with God.

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Announcement, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Educational affairs, Headlines - News, Knowledge & Wisdom, Religious affairs, World affairs

Religions and Mainliners

In this world we have many sorts of religions and in each religion many subdivisions may be found. In Christendom there are groups which for good reason would prefer to speak of Christendom and Christianity and would prefer to say the world we are living in has also a Mainline Christendom instead of a Mainline Christianity.

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christendom is full of “Tradition” and has embraced the world whilst Christianity would prefer to stay disconnected from traditional worldly matters and though living in this world would not like to be “of this world”. In Christianity you also may find different groups or churches, which all want to honour God the Divine Creator. They would consider the main churches like the Catholic Church (Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Charismatic Catholics, Latin Catholic Church, etc.) Anglican Church, Church of England, Reformed Church, Calvinist Church, Lutheran ChurchBaptist Church, Episcopalian Church,  and Methodist Church, with the various Presbyterian groups.

English: Major branches within Protestantism (...

English: Major branches within Protestantism (excludes Restoration movements): Diagram of Protestant denominations and movements; see also Image:ChristianityBranches.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some might have been in a certain time of history bigger groups or not been considered out of mainstream, like the smaller denominations, such as the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers. Others like the Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and Pentecostals may have been at first very small groups, but have gained a firm place in certain countries and have even become the main church in a country.

The Charismatic protestant churches and certain Evangelical churches could be seen as separated from Mainline. Some people, like Joel L. Watts who is building up a (sorta) response to Thom Rainer’s 20 Influential Evangelicals list. Unsettled Christianity company wants to  include mainline Christians, but in asking the question on Facebook, the administrator was equally struck by the conversation about who and what is a mainliner.

Calvinist church

Calvinist church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conspicuous is that many many consider ‘Mainline Protestants’ having a different perspective. By many they are considered to have a more modernist theology. So, for instance, they would read the Bible, not as the inerrant word of God, according to Joel L. Watts, but as a historical document, which has God’s word in it and a lot of very important truths, but that needs to be interpreted in every age by individuals of that time and that place.

We would consider “mainstream religions” those which adheres to the orthodox standard teachings of the five major religions of the world. Those being the groups in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism which follow their biggest groups their core teachings. In those groups can be groups which do not want to belong or to take their mainstream teachings. In Christianity we can find the groups who stayed in the line of the Jewish thinking Jeshua, better known today as Jesus Christ. They believe like most Jews that there is only One God of gods Who is the Divine Creator of everything. Though the difference with the Jews, except with the Messianic (non-trinitarian) Jews is that they accept the Master Teacher Jeshua to be the son of God who has brought not only the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, but who also by the Grace of God brought Salvation for all humankind. In those groups or churches who want to distantiate themselves from mainstream church are the non-trinitarian Baptist which became nearly extinct by the strong hold of the Baptist Unions who pressured the trinitarian teaching on their members. In the 1980-90ies most non-trinitarian Baptist went over to other non-trinitarian churches, like the Bible Students, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of God, The Church of Abrahamic Faith, Assemblies of God, the Nazarene Friends, the Restoration Church or to the Christadelphians.

Those non-trinitarian believers worship the God of the Hebrews, Whom they consider to be an Eternal Spirit Who is universal and indivisible. This God Who can not be seen by man, or they would die, also ordered not to make any image of Him. Like Jews and Muslims they would never create image of God because it is in His Law and because the infinite cannot be expressed in a mere image. They, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, all exhibit practices and/or teachings that are not among the more “traditional” practices and teachings of the mainstream churches.

The majority of mainstream Jews do believe a Messiah will one day come. In the contemporary movement we can find Jews who do believe that Jeshua is the send one of God who is going to bring salvation and going to break all human ruling. By those messianic Jews to groups can be found; the ones who believe Jesus is the son of God and an ordinary person, not a divinity like the Christian trinitarian Jesus; and a group who strangely enough take Jesus also to be God, and do not consider it braking with the rules and regulations nor in contradiction with all the words said to the prophets, like Abraham, Isaac and Isaiah.
Those non-stream Jews and Christians, like the Muslims have a similar belief concerning the unity and infinity of God. They do believe in Jesus, and even believe he will return in the end times, but once again he is considered a mere mortal, just like any other prophet, brought back entirely through the Will of God, not through any power wielded by Jesus himself.

Lots of Christians take offence of those who do not believe in a trinitarian god. Several of them are as fundamental as we can find fundamentalists by the Muslims, who hate those who do not think and follow the rules they are following.

It is this hate between believers in a god or in the God, that made non-believers in a divine creature or Supreme Being, make to consider religion the base of all the violence in this world. But we do think in case God would not have been there as Divine Creator and several people following him, people anyhow would have created religions, because all those things they could not understand or explain were transposed unto gods, like the god of light, the god of thunder etc..

The thinking of man, philosophies, system of ethics, cultural norms, etc.would have in any case created the syncretism or the formation of new religious ideas from multiple distinct sources, often-contradictory sources.

Some neopagan religions are also strongly syncretic. Look for example at Wicca which consciously draws from a variety of different pagan religious sources as well as Western ceremonial magic and occult thought, which is traditionally very Judeo-Christian in context. However, neopagan reconstructionists such as Asatruar are not particularly syncretic, as they attempt to understand the recreate Norse beliefs and practices to the best of their ability.

Many mainstream religions created smaller groups of which some became quite big. From Islam came the Baha’i faith which recognizes Krishna and Zoroaster as prophets, though it really doesn’t teach much of Hinduism or Zoroastrianism as being Baha’i beliefs.

English: A colour-coded world map showing the ...

English: A colour-coded world map showing the state religions of applicable nations. Buddhism Islam Shi’a Islam Sunni Islam Orthodox Christianity Protestantism (in England: Anglicanism) Catholicism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Believers and non-believers should come to see that in a way all religions possess some degree of syncretism. It’s how humans work. Even if you believe God (or gods) delivered a particular idea, if that idea was completely alien to the listeners, they would not accept it. Moreover, once they receive said idea, that belief can be expressed in a variety of ways, and that expression will be coloured by other prevailing cultural ideas of the time.

Those who stand strong in their shoes, should not have to fear of others and should be able to go to others to give them their hand offering them peace. It are those who are afraid of their own believes that they or others around them could loose it that bring fear to themselves and others. They create a fertile ground for problems and more than once also of hate and negative attitude to others.

Non-believers may accuse the God or the gods as responsible for all trouble in this world. Because many Christians advocate their God is behind all that is good in the world, they think God should also be responsible for all the badness there is in the world. What they do not seem to understand that when God allows human beings to be free and to make their own choices, people themselves can make good or bad choices which will have their consequences for others in their environment as well.

It is not because in the Bible God gives His Word and tells us that He creates light but also creates darkness and that He makes peace, and creates evil, that it is God Who makes that badness or war in the world. It means that God allows it to be there because man has chosen to go his own way (in the Garden of Eden).  The God and the bad are in this world, created by God, but what can be bad for some one or something can be good for someone or something else. Certain plants are poisons for certain animals and people but for others they are necessary to survive. God claims not responsibility for wars, diseases, smallpox, bacteria, etc.; but He claims to be the One Who allows it to exist, and that is a big difference.

Those who want to call themselves “Children of God” do have to follow God His rules. He has given humankind His Laws which would make the best of the world and which would bring peace all over the world. In case much more people would follow the Laws of the Divine Creator there would be much more peace in the world.

Christianity Today

Christianity Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who call themselves Christian should have the Spirit of God in them which imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty. All Christians should in a way have the same aim to bring others to the narrow gate of the Kingdom of God and to show others the peace we all can have because Jesus nailed the agony, pains and troubles on the wooden stake (‘the cross‘). They all should Love and cultivate that which is pure. they should not be afraid to show Tenderness and kindness because they are not signs of weakness and despair. They should try to Work together with joy and pray with love, and Guard well within themselves that treasure, kindness.

First on the agenda of a Christian should be Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word. They all should consider themselves as part of the Body of Christ, all being as part of the same family of God. United people under Christ. We all, believers and non-believers or different believers, should try to Sow and harvests in the garden of our heart.

Some years ago you could find everywhere running on the streets people “speaking”, “running”, and coming up for Christ? Perhaps it is high time we could see again such runners or Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace.

Trying to bring peace, there has to be peace at first in the own heart. Also the person has to have respect for others their beliefs. No matter what they might believe they should be fully recognised as worthy humans deserving full attention and love. Every human being should come to the understanding that it has to respect any other human being, animal and plant. We should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. In case a person wants to have a religion to feel himself good or to be at ease, he should be able to do so, whatever religion that person may choose. We never may impose our beliefs on others. We should leave everybody the freedom to choose which way they want to go, what to believe, and how to build up their own life. Any religious matter should be an option for private belief, without any pressure from others, be it by reason, science or rational argument. But it would not have to mean we may not discuss it. Any argument should be made in a peaceful manner and with respect for the other person his way of thinking.

Be it adherents of main religions, smaller religious groups or no religion at all, all people should come to strive for the same peace, being able to live one next to the other, in peace and tranquillity.

+

Please do find additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  4. Only one God
  5. God is One
  6. God of gods
  7. A god between many gods
  8. Sayings around God
  9. Attributes of God
  10. God is Spirit
  11. The Divine name of the Creator
  12. God about His name “יהוה“
  13. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  14. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  15. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  16. Christianity without the Trinity
  17. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  18. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  19. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  20. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  21. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  22. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  23. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  24. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  25. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  26. Experiencing God
  27. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  28. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  29. Faith
  30. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  31. Christian values and voting not just a game
  32. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  33. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  34. God’s Salvation
  35. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  36. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  37. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  38. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  39. Who was Jesus?
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. Jesus and his God
  42. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  43. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  44. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  45. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  46. On the Nature of Christ
  47. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  48. Jesus Messiah
  49. A man with an outstanding personality
  50. One Mediator between God and man
  51. One mediator
  52. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  53. The wrong hero
  54. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  55. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  56. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  57. Christ’s ethical teaching
  58. Christianity is a love affair
  59. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  60. The task given to us to love each other
  61. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  62. Church sent into the world
  63. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  64. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  65. Are Christians prepared to Rejoice in the Lord
  66. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  67. Men of faith
  68. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  69. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #2 Roots of Jewishness
  70. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  71. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  72. The builder of the Kingdom
  73. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  74. The hands of God’s wrath
  75. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  76. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  77. Faith related boycotts
  78. Right to be in the surroundings
  79. Many churches
  80. Breathing and growing with no heir
  81. A Society pleading poverty
  82. Casual Christians
  83. Quakertime
  84. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  85. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  86. Roman Catholic Church at war
  87. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  88. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  89. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  90. Mormons again gaining some attention
  91. Mormons, just an other faith
  92. Myanmar imposing population control on Muslim minority
  93. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  94. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  95. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  96. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  97. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  98. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  99. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  100. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  101. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  102. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  103. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  104. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  105. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  106. Let me saw beliefseeds
  107. Bringing Good News into the world
  108. The Involvement of true discipleship
  109. Testify of the things heard
  110. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  111. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  112. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  113. A Voice to be heard
  114. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  115. Blogging for Jesus…
  116. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  117. Words to push and pull
  118. Good or bad preacher
  119. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  120. How should we preach?
  121. Breathing to teach
  122. Bringing Good News into the world
  123. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  124. Holland Week of billing
  125. Trying to get the youth inspired
  126. When discouraged facing opposition
  127. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  128. Who are you going to reach out to today
  129. Praise the God with His Name
  130. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  131. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  132. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  133. Belonging to or being judged by
  134. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  135. Preparedness to change
  136. Knowing where to go to
  137. United people under Christ
  138. Fellowship
  139. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  140. Pastorpreneur Warren
  141. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  142. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  143. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  144. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  145. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  146. Choose you this day whom ye will serveIt is a free will choice
  147. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  148. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

++

Further reading:

  1. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. We Have the Best Home
  4. Understanding faith for our salvation
  5. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  6. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  7. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  8. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  9. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  10. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  11. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  12. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  13. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  14. The Unholy Trinity
  15. God, the Trinity
  16. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  17. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  18. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  19. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  20. Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    Simply put a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ.
  21. Cult or True Religion
  22. The Whore of Babylon? (inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com)
    Baal-vs-The “Catholic” God
  23. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  24. Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
    +The Roman Catholic Church for example has been around ever since Constantine. He was a Roman emperor who used Christianity, which was a small cult at the time, as a means to impose his belief systems on the bishops; so he promulgated the council of Nicaea and thereby gained control of the populus. Now, over 1500 years later, people in Catholic churches today still recite the creed set down by Constantine.
    Many people question the Catholic Church and other religions, seeing them as some of the biggest cults in the World today: they are viewed by many as man-made constructs which have the potential to lead millions of people astray. Religion in its current form has become divisive due to it’s many man-made and dualistic doctrines which continue to divide, separate and cause wars.
  25. Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult
  26. Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list
  27. Is the Mormon “god” of Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck, the True God or a False “god”? Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?
  28. Can A Cult Member Be President Without Cult Influence?
  29. Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
  30. Billy Graham’s group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon ‘cult’ reference after Romney meeting

    +
    The removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.
    +
    When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

  31. Billy Graham’s Truce with Mormonism; Scrubs Cult Reference (crooksandliars.com)
    The Christian right has cried uncle and issued a truce on Mormons to try and help elect Mitt Romney.
    +
    During the Values Voter Summit in October, sponsored in part by the influential Family Research Council and the American Family Association, it caused quite a stir when Pastor Robert Jeffress, after introducing Rick Perry as a genuine Christian, called Mormonism a cult.
    +
    Christian political operatives are willing to throw away any trace of their contempt for Mormonism during the election cycle. This shows how much hatred they have for the left. They’d rather help elect a ‘cultist’ to the highest office in the land rather than stick to their alleged principles. Typically sickening.
    +
    To distinguish between a cult and a religion is to distinguish between influence and impotence. Both are, in fact, spawns of a smarmy fakery.
  32. ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  33. Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?

+++

  • Who is God? (richlewis3.wordpress.com)
    El Shaddai means God Almighty, God of the mountains.
  • “The God of Of Salvation, The Lord Of Death” (settledinheaven.wordpress.com)
    The God that we can call our own, is “the God of salvation” or, in other words, He is “the Mighty One that controls the deliverance of His people.”  Here, once again we can see a physical and spiritual aspect to this text…
  • Bush Era to Blame for Renewed Interest in Mainline? (religiondispatches.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
  • How America’s Endless Civil War Between Protestant Sects Is at the Heart of American Identity (alternet.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.

  • Make your pick: Do Mainline Protestants need a new name? (religionnews.com)
    Mainline Protestants  made up 18 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. Fifty years ago, its members were the church of the Establishment.
    +
    Forget labels: Everyone and his brother, left or right, calls himself an evangelical. No one will admit to being a fundamentalist since its original religious meaning was overtaken by crazies like David Koresh. It takes Pew Research experts 20 minutes to delineate who is a Jew and they still offer a definition matrix. So let the branding go.
  • Are there dividing lines between Mainline and Evangelical? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    There is a great move towards social justice in many Evangelical (sub)groups and for that, I thank God. Do you think the view on Scripture and Tradition (Scripture is infallible in all things, Tradition is near to worthless) is a good start for a line?
    +
    But the dividing line between Mainline (which seems not to be something negative) and Evangelical (some people use this correctly, others not) is not so easy to grasp. I’m guessing because “Mainline” means, for a lot of people, a dying breed of Christianity. Evangelical means… well, it seems for Mainliners it means those who go and witness/serve for the Gospel. For Evangelicals, this term helps to codify something different.
  • MainlineDecline, Decline-Talk, and Decline-ism — Sightings (Martin Marty) (bobcornwall.com)
    You have heard it many times Mainline Protestant churches are in decline, but then so are most other forms of religion.  Attendance has not kept up with growth in population, etc.
    +
    Why point out decline among the religions when Sightings’ role is to spot and explore religion in outstanding events? What goes on here with “decline?” A fad? Maybe “decline” is not occurring. This claim is hard to support. Maybe headline writers are concentrating on the wrong aspects of religion. Maybe they are exhibiting the old “be-the-first-kid-on-your-block” syndrome, seeking to be a jump ahead, to get a scoop. Maybe enemies of religious institutions of all sorts are enjoying mass Schadenfreude, enjoying the misfortunes of others. Whatever else is going on, noticing this phenomenon should be liberating: we are henceforth allowed to yawn when one more headline-writer tries to play catch-up.
  • When the Christian Global South Heads West (juicyecumenism.com)
    Between 1910 and 2010, the global center of Christianity shifted from Spain to Timbuktu. As far back as 1980, there have been more Christians living in the Global South than in the first world. On any given Sunday, there are more Christians attending church in China than in the United States or Europe.
    +
    Hanciles also noted, with some disappointment with how the financial and political power in US mainline denominations remains in West, even when Africans outnumber them. “We might have to challenge the term “Anglican”, which of course means English,” he said. Hanciles spoke approvingly of African churches in the United States, which he claimed were very little-e evangelistic in their outlook.
    +
    Professor Virginia Garrard-Burnett of the University of Texas-Austin spoke at length about the religious tendencies of Latino migrants, including the often overlooked Protestant Latinos. Roughly 1/4 of Latino immigrants are Protestant, most of which are Pentecostal. Catholic Churches in the US that cater to these immigrants often take on charismatic forms of worship, she noted, often causing friction with existing native Americans. Latin-American Protestant churches take part in almost “reverse missionary” work, where churches in the Global South send people to minister to those in America. She cited the example of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the third-largest denomination in Brazil, whose presence in the US is mostly mission work to Latin-American migrants.
  • Inoculated Against Christianity? (thelittleredblog.typepad.com)
    “The post-Christian world has been inoculated against Christianity because, over 1500 years, we never managed to give it true Christianity. ‘Found difficult and left untried,’ indeed. And this is to our demerit. There are also many, many things over these 1500 years to be proud about, and Christendom, for all its flaws, was probably better than the alternatives. But now we’re reaping what we’re sowing. We created this generation of post-Christians whom we vaccinated against Christianity. Thankfully, viruses mutate and occasionally beat vaccines.  In the meantime, if our aim is a fantasy of Christendom rather than Christ and His Cross, we are being idolaters.”I’m not sure that “probably better than the alternatives” is much of an endorsement.  Mr. Gobry’s point, however, is to distinguish between Christendom, Christianity, and following Jesus: a dilemma yet to be resolved for some 2000 years.  I await Gobry’s further insights with genuine interest.
  • The Coming Schism (wmbriggs.com)
    Maybe it’s not a schism but apostasy which I mean. Doesn’t matter. Continuing in our Curmudgeon Series, here are my guesses of the course of Christianity in the West over the next twenty years. Each point below deserves its own essay: these are rough points.
    +
    Since elites of secular institutions only truly care about elites at other institutions, the leadership of these churches won’t want to fall behind the CofE. They’ll issue cheerful press releases boasting love and then arm wrestle for who gets to perform the first homosexual ceremony. Most denominations already allow homosexual clergy.Theologically, since going to a service at a mainline Protestant church will increasingly be no different than reading the New York Times or Guardian op-ed section, which is more convenient and saves on gas, those willing to make the trek will dwindle and die off. If you’re in the market for an old church (aren’t they quaint?), look to the Methodists and Presbyterians. Besides, members are tired of being called stupid and irrational by the culture.
  • Stuart Murray on Christendom (abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com)
    Anabaptists identify the “Christendom shift” in the 4th century as the time when Jesus began to be marginalized.
    +
    Anabaptist are convinced that, whatever its undoubtful benefits, the Christendom system seriously distorted Christian faith: the price the church paid for coming in from the margins was allowing Jesus to be pushed out from the center to the margins – Stuart MurrayThe Naked Anabaptist, Herald Press, 2010, p 52
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  • Why converting Muslims is taboo in the Catholic Church (catholicherald.co.uk)
    What are they talking about at the Synod for Evangelisation? This article by Sandro Magister tells us that the Bishops have broached the taboo subject of conversions from Islam to Christianity. It makes interesting reading, despite the rather ponderous translation, (read the original here ) and I was particularly struck by this section of it, which I beg readers to consider carefully:“The Muslims do not see the difference between Christians and Westerners, because they do not distinguish, themselves, between what is religious and what is political and social. What precedes the Westerners is perceived by the Muslims as preceding the Christians. Now, Western behaviour, especially on the cultural and political level and in a general way, harms the religious and national sensitivity of the Muslims, their values, their ethics and their culture. Consequentially, this forms an obstacle to their openness to Christianity and to their possible evangelisation.”
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    Sociologists of religion use cult to refer to a religious group that does not regard itself as exclusively true yet has negative relations with the surrounding society. Those two factors—exclusivity and societal relations—form the basis for sociological definition of religions into four kinds of groups: church (exclusive with good relations), denomination (inclusive with good relations), sect (exclusive with bad relations) and cult (inclusive with bad relations). Yet almost no one uses these terms in the way sociologists of religion use them.
    +I think what is really meant by cult in most modern Evangelical parlance is “bad/weird religious group.” And of course perhaps such a definition is right in its own way.
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
    The election-year embrace of Mitt Romney by some evangelical Christians now borders on a bear hug, given a series of moves by Billy Graham and his family that appear to say it’s OK to vote for a Mormon.
  • Billy Graham website admits scrubbing ‘Mormons’ from ‘cult’ list after endorsing Romney (rawstory.com)
    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed all references to Mormonism as a “cult” from its website after their founder announced his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Why I Am a Christian. (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    I have to admit that it’s not always the most simple and straightforward answer to give, because there are many reasons that have led to my faith in Christ.  However, I guess the first place to start is with my parents.  I am a Christian because of my parents.  There may be nothing remarkable about that, and often times I, or many other Christians, would not like to admit that truth.  I am a Christian because my parents are Christians, and that’s what they raised me to believe, just like Jesus was a Jew because His parents were Jews.
  • Christ didn’t come to help us, He came to Include us (melwild.wordpress.com)
    a surprising few resonate so much to the more important fact that the Father’s plan was to substitute Christ for us and place us in Him. I think this is unfortunate.
  • Jesus Christ was an Anarchist (blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com) > Jesus Christ was an Anarchist
    Jesus came along to lead his followers out of this ungodly Roman system, preaching an alternative form of government. He spoke of a jurisdiction outside of the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbors. He unified the early Christian church in a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person love thy neighbor as thy self in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
    +
    Jesus was showing a way to untangle people from the captivity of the social contracts they had made with the state of Rome and Judea, and the tribute and obligations they had become snared by. He proclaimed to call no man “Father”, as they called their Roman benefactors, but stated that “thou Father art in heaven.” The perfect law of freedom indicated that man’s unalienable rights stemmed from God and nature, and not governments of men. This was a system of anarchy, by strict definition, without the complex system of tribute that led to the decadence and decline of society, and the corruptible force of the state to back it up.The early Christian church was not persecuted for their belief in a different God or a Kingdom in Heaven, but for their opting out of the mutual taxation system and seeking to live apart from the kings and overlords, the gods many, who demanded their tribute.
    +Today, most of us find ourselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for our benefit. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. We have traded our inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Our churches are not ordained by God, but are 501(c)(3) corporations granted status by the state.As we head into what is certainly going to be a volatile 2014, we are going to need to dig down deep and find that anarchist in all of us, with a little more loving thy neighbor as thy self to boot.
  • Fanatic hindu who hated christians is an evidence of Jesus (pciniraj.wordpress.com)
    I never liked Christian missionaries. I used to speak against Christianity and was organising people near the temples against the evangelism activites.“But Lord Jesus mightly fighting for His children, if anybody persecuting Christians, for which I am a clear evidence”, now I am witnessing this every corner to corner by holding the Holy Bible in one hand and showing my terrific stomach to the public. “I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant”. This is my testimony.
  • Pouring Into Others (comeawake.org)
    If you are a Christian, you are a disciple of Christ. You know Him, but what have you done to make Him known to others? And I’m not just talking about evangelism. I’m talking about how you can use your time, your energy and most importantly, your knowledge about who Christ is to help out a fellow brother or sister.The purpose of our lives is simply this: To know Christ, and to make Him known.
  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
    +
    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
    +
    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Are Esoteric Teachings Missing from Christianity? (jesusweddingthebook.wordpress.com)
    In my opinion, Christianity is the only tradition that openly celebrates both spiritual paths. I can agree that there is no secret teaching, because both spiritual paths are out in the open for everyone to see. However, by definition, the esoteric teaching is the second leg of the spiritual journey. The esoteric teaching does not have to be “secret” in order to maintain its mystery. The mystery of the esoteric path can only be revealed when the exoteric path or first leg of the spiritual journey is fully completed.
  • Discovering the Truth (cosmicmacduff.wordpress.com)
    for me it has been and is the walking that is important, not any place that I might arrive at or achievement I might accomplish.  I think that I have discovered  a lot since I started, but do not consider myself “enlightened”,  just aware of who  I am.  For me this primary truth, a recognition that there was/is something  more to me (my soul)  than my physical body, is what allowed me and still allows me, to find meaning and purpose in life.
  • Am I A Religious Person? (elephantjournal.com) + But is it my religion?
    I’ve heard it said that religion is having someone else’s spiritual experience and spirituality is having your own. It’s certainly true that some Buddhists venerate the Buddha or other teachers to such a high degree that they are just having the Buddha’s experience and not their own. I don’t do that. The Buddha warned us against doing that. He said, “Don’t worship me,” and right after his death, people started doing it.
  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    Atheism is my own personal belief and I understand and respect everyone else’s religious beliefs. I simply want to talk about the idea of religion shaping a person.
    +
    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and should live so accordingly!
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
    +
    Religion lies outside science and evidence, so you can’t prove it wrong. Why can’t you just accept this and that people want to live with a belief in a greater being?
    +
    I could believe whatever I want if it made me happy. But in all other ways, except for a religious conviction, the believer of a claim unprovable by science immediately pays a social price.
    +
    The absence of a belief is never a motivation, and while Communism may be a secular ideology, this does not mean that all atheists or secularists are communists and it certainly does not mean that we would wish to kill or destroy religious people or religious infrastructure.
  • All BEings are Divine (amuseinharmony.wordpress.com)
    all beings, including human beings are divine manifestations of Creator Source on the physical earth plane materialized in various forms for the purpose of expansion. the earth is mother to us all. we are organisms formed from her womb. as she ascends, so shall we. the mother loves her humans as she does all creatures or our existence would no longer be. our love and unity with her and all her inhabitants is our duty as earth walkers.
  • Dalai Lama speaks on harmony to religious followers at Tokyo temple (japandailypress.com)
    The famous leader went on to explain that most of the problems humans encounter are of their own making, and thinking that they are all different from one another. This kind of thinking has a tendency to separate people instead of uniting them. His speech centered on the essential “oneness” of all people and emphasized on the divisiveness that comes with focusing on the “them” and “us,” rather than on the “we”, as a whole. Religious harmony is one thing that His Holiness has committed himself to, and hopes that it is something that Japan can contribute to as well.
  • what is the happiest person in the world saying? (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
  • How to Argue for the Existence of God (omigassplus.wordpress.com)
    Anyone who feels God, can see and feel God inside them. They live inside God. God lives inside them. They see God as an energy that penetrates them and fills them up inside. They feel God as an energy around them and within them. They feel God touch them in their special places. They realize that God is a higher faith, a greater presence. They crave Him. They want to feel his love fill them up inside. Without God, they feel empty, unloved, lonely. Only with God inside them can they feel whole again.
  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’
  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.
  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.
  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown.

 

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