Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Church

Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

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  20. Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?
  21. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  22. Cultural Amnesia
  23. The Future of Governance
  24. False American Dream
  25. Thinking Critically about Marxism, Socialism and Communism (All in fewer than 1000 words!)
  26. The Missing Faith Dimension of the Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate
  27. A Broken system
  28. Psychological Warfare
  29. Humanities Retribution
  30. Walk The Path
  31. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (I)
  32. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (II)
  33. Editorial: what is humane socialism?
  34. The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism
  35. The Radical Left Needs to Call into Question Existing Social Institutions at Every Opportunity, Part Four
  36. End of capitalism as we know it
  37. The Future is History
  38. The true believer
  39. Research Resources: Communism in America
  40. “A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”
  41. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  42. So You Think Capitalism Is Evil
  43. Capitalism: The Ultimate Empowerment
  44. Capitalism: Misunderstood
  45. On the Current Conjuncture
  46. The discipled political church
  47. Veneration (Gilbert and Gilbert)
  48. Christianity and Idealism (Van Til)
  49. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)
  50. A Field Guide on False Teaching
  51. Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
  52. Evangelical: Leave It or Love It?
  53. How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
  54. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics – An Interview
  55. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  56. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  57. Warped Christianity
  58. The 10 Commandments in American Culture
  59. Communist Infiltration, What Did Bella Dodd REALLY Know – YouTube
  60. German priest contradicts pope and backs pornography as sexual ‘relief’ for celibates | Catholic News Agency
  61. Sports Star to Be Jailed 10 Months for ‘Transphobic’ Message
  62. What is at stake in the buffer zone debate? | Isabel Vaughan-Spruce | The Critic Magazine
  63. Win for Christian ministry after judge refuses to strike out discrimination case – Christian Concern
  64. Watch the body language in this heated exchange yesterday between Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Chinese Emperor Xi 👀 | Not the Bee
  65. Episode 21 – Stella(r) (Hypo)Creasy and the Gov Crackdown on Free Speech – YouTube
  66. Senate advances same-sex marriage bill amid religious freedom concerns – Catholic World Report
  67. America/Brazl – After 50 years, the mission of Cimi is still “to defend with courage and prophecy the cause of the indigenous peoples” – Agenzia Fides
  68. The Christian Father -Conferences of the Men’s Group – YouTube

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Economical affairs, History, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Our existence, the world showing up for us and holding up a mirror

The world doesn’t just exist, it shows up for us. It appears as the pure experience of the present moment. And one of the most amazing things about the world is that it changes – from age to age, generation to generation, over the course of a human lifetime.

We can not ignore the world. We live in it, and we have to face those things that happen in that world. Today it would even be very difficult to live on a desert island just to live on our own without any interruption or interference from other human beings.

We are here and though others can ignore us, we can not ignore them nor deny our own existence. We have our fleshy bodies within it our brains which enable us to think and reason. From the moment we are born we are confronted with the world and shall have to learn to live in that world. From that first step on earth, time does not let us on our own but however we want, time binds us to itself. It makes hours, days, months and years go by while we have to hold in it and come to the realisation that we are getting older. However, we turn it or turn it and look for the ‘why’ we are here and the ‘how’ we can make it true here, we are pulled in all directions to do this or that or to be here and there.

Sometimes we even wonder not only why we exist, but also why this world and this universe exist. Lots of people also wonder what there would be in outer space. In the darkness behind the horizon, stars and planets get us dreaming of other planets and perhaps also about other living beings. Why should we be the only intellectual beings?

When we see time passing, we often feel as if we are running out of time. Looking at how glaciers melt and how waters rise, but so many in the world do not want to believe climate change is a serious business and that we are heading for an unseen natural disaster if we do not act quickly to combat global warming.

If nothing existed there would be nothing to contemplate existence and no existence to contemplate. Now we have to think about a lot of things. In fact, it happens that our brains don’t let us rest easy and get our heads spinning with all sorts of (sometimes foolish) thoughts.

Why did anything happen?

Why didn’t nothing happen?

Why did all those planets came into existence?

Why does anything at all exist?

What does it mean to exist?

Why did man came into existence and why does he thinks he is superior to all other beings?

Why are we here?

What is life all about? or What is the purpose of existence?

Is that what we think to see realy there? Or is it just an illusion?

Philosophers through all ages have tackled this most fundamental question of existence. Many persons came to practice or investigate the systematised study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. There was and is the searching, the rational, abstract, and methodical consideration of reality as a whole or of fundamental dimensions of human existence and experience. We know of major Eastern philosophers, like Buddha; Confucius; Dai Zhen; Han Feizi; Laozi; Mencius; Mozi; Nichiren; Nishida Kitarō; Wang Yangming; Xunzi; Zhu Xi.

But in the West, they did not have to undercut and could in turn make others think and philosophise with a variety of thoughts. There were many Ancient Greek philosophers, like Aristotle and his followers, who brought a whole movement into being,  Aristotelianism. Epicurus and Epicureanism.
The Western world provided lots of major Western philosophers, like Peter Abelard; St. Anselm; St. Thomas Aquinas; St. Augustine; Noam Chomsky; Jacques Derrida; Duns Scotus; Michel Foucault; Jürgen Habermas; Martin Heidegger; David Hume; William James; Saul Kripke; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz; John Locke; John Stuart Mill; Friedrich Nietzsche; Hilary Putnam; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Bertrand Russell; Jean-Paul Sartre; Socrates; Benedict de Spinoza; Bernard Williams; Ludwig Wittgenstein, and so many more who request our attention.

Some of those philosophers from the east and west will tell you that everything that we experience as real is an illusion. Especially in Eastern philosophies, we find ‘masters’ or ‘teachers’ who will say this is all a dream.

Could it be that we are part of a dream or living in some surreal universe?

And is there some Being managing it all?

Is there a Creator or Manipulator? And are we just His toys?

We may see all this physical stuff around us, but in which way is it real, or do we get to know how it really is?

Over the years, mankind had to change its views about so many things. More than once, man had it wrong. More often there were groups of people or organisations, who wanted to have control over people and made it a rule or doctrine that people had to believe. The Roman Catholic Church was (and is still) a master in that.

Many people have high ideas about themselves. Sometimes it happens that they suddenly become confronted with themselves and have to come to see that their thoughts and emotions are ‘nothing’. It is all, they will say, the play of pure consciousness. John Locke considered “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind” man’s consciousness.

Pure being is all that really is. Everything else is an illusion created in an ungraspable field of consciousness, awareness and sentience. Some philosophers regarded it as a kind of substance, or “mental stuff,” quite different from the material substance of the physical world. From such philosophers’ ideas many started to believe we exist out of more than one element. They managed to have several people believe that when they die that there is a spiritual element (the soul) that will go to other places (like purgatory, hell or heaven) and another physical element that will transform into another body (incarnation and reincarnation). That reincarnation, also called transmigration or metempsychosis, in religion and philosophy, would be a rebirth of the aspect of an individual that persists after bodily death — whether it be consciousness, mind, the soul, or some other entity — in one or more successive existences. Depending upon the tradition, these existences may be human, animal, spiritual, or, in some instances, vegetable, depending on the way one lived before.

The French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher René Descartes for instance as one of the first to abandon Scholastic Aristotelianism, formulated the first modern version of mind-body dualism, from which stems the mind-body problem. Because he promoted the development of a new science grounded in observation and experiment, he is generally regarded as the founder of modern philosophy. We all know his expression

“I think, therefore I am” (best known in its Latin formulation, “Cogito, ergo sum,” though originally written in French, “Je pense, donc je suis”).

The medieval English logician St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033/34–1109), is at the heart of Descartes’s rationalism, the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge, knowledge about an existing thing solely on the basis of reasoning from innate ideas, with no help from sensory experience. Descartes has an innate idea of Allah Al-Aliyy or Most High God, being The Sublime God as a perfect being. For him, it is clear that God necessarily exists, because, if He did not, He would not be perfect. It is That God Who presides in the great assembly (Psalm 82:1) of human beings, who often think they are greater than others.

Jim Holt, the American journalist, author in popular science and essayist, who often contributed to The New York Times, wrote the nonfiction work and NYTimes bestseller for 2013, Why Does the World Exist?, presented the central question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’, which lies in the domain between philosophy and scientific cosmology. Also the English cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees looked at the big-bang theory of the origins of the universe. By examining the nature of existence itself Holt was following in the path of the philosophy called ‘Existentialism’, which stresses human existence in the world concreteness and its problematic character. for those writers ‘Existence’ is primarily the problem of existence (i.e., of its mode of being); it is, therefore, also the investigation of the meaning of Being. Going back to the intitial thought of previous philosophers

What is Being?

What does it mean to be?

To be is the question!

What does it mean to exist?

What is the nature of being?

For the German philosopher, counted among the main exponents of existentialism, Martin Heidegger, the human subject had to be reconceived in an altogether new way, as “being-in-the-world.” Because this notion represented the very opposite of the Cartesian “thing that thinks,” the idea of consciousness as representing the mind’s internal awareness of its own states had to be dropped. With it went the assumption that specific mental states were needed to mediate the relation of the mind to everything outside it.

Man philosophers had the above questions, bringing them to think about their own being and the being of others around them. Those people thinking and writing about those life questions bring the deep contemplation of what it means to be human. We think no other living being is concerned with such questions. Even pets don’t wonder what their role in the family might be (we think). Even though plants and animals have sentience, we suspect that they have no thinking capacity whereby they would ascertain their essence in this world.

On the other hand, it can well be that one of the reasons that other creatures don’t worry about the meaning of life could be that they don’t seem to have any choice about how to live it. Dogs and cats just live the way dogs and cats live. They respond to circumstances the way dogs or cats generally do. Sure they may differ one to the other, but generally speaking they act more or less predictably like dogs or cats.

But human beings can also be very predictable. We also could say human beings act in a similar way. Many people around us are also very predictable. Though we can notice that even when the majority lives a standard way of living, we can find people who follow a totally different course. There are human beings who stand out and surprise us. We also find several people who do not want to follow the tract the majority follows. They don’t live an ordinary life. They live an extraordinary life, that is remarkably new and different from the norm. And sometimes these rare human beings discover a way of being that eventually becomes the new norm.

Martin Heidegger was convinced that the history of Western thought has failed to heed the ontological difference, and so has articulated Being precisely as a kind of ultimate being, as evidenced by a series of namings of Being, for example as idea, energeia, substance, monad or will to power. He recognised that most of us live as ‘the one’, or that we do generally what ‘one’ does or what would be the general norm to do. Though we are often concerned with what ‘one’ tends to be concerned with.

He spoke about “Dasein” or “being there”, the most fundamental a priori transcendental condition or mode of being not so much to be seen from the point of being there but from the perspective of how the being essentially unfolds. As Heidegger puts it:

“A being is: Be-ing holds sway [unfolds]”.

The hyphenated term ‘be-ing’ is adopted by Emad and Maly, in order to respect the fact that, in the Contributions, Heidegger substitutes the archaic spelling ‘Seyn’ for the contemporary ‘Sein’ as a way of distancing himself further from the traditional language of metaphysics.

We all should be aware that somehow we come on this planet and have to make the best of it. We receive an overdose of information during our lifetime and are fed an untold number of knowledges and rules, with which and by which we try or must try to live. Through all these influences we have to go through, we have to try to build our lives and live a generic human life.

Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, a human being could, if they were heroic enough, choose to live a different kind of human life and could come to live a profoundly authentic and original human life. The American lecturer, poet, and essayist, the leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson called such human beings ‘representative’ because their lives represented new possibilities for being human.

I do not think “Life is But a Dream” even when we may dream that we live or imagine our life to be a certain way. When we are dreaming it can well be that we are not aware that we are asleep. But also when we are awake it can happen that we wonder if we are dreaming, because what we encounter seems to be so unreal. How often does it not happen that we must come to the conclusion that we were in a dream-world. And that dream world was not always to our liking. More than once the dream world that comes into our mind, is one that can cause fear, but luckilly there is also that dream world that causes joy, surprise, and myriad other emotions. Dreams take us, seemingly, to worlds we’ve been to and worlds that we have never experienced. In them we re-live what we lived before in that world we should recognise as the real world. But we should be aware that very often we are deceived by the real world around us. Often we do not want to know that this world has played tricks on us.

Every day we have doubts about certain things, often which we should recognise as facts. There and then we once more are confronted with those questions that come up into our mind so often. Oh, so often we are troubled, and question our own self and all the things we see happening around us. Then we might ask

What is our role in this all?

What happens when we become older?

As time passes we start getting in contact with other peoples and other cultures. Mostly how we grow up is decided by our parents and our surroundings. The culture of our homeland, the religion of our parents, and the friends we hang out with, all influence us and mould us in a form we do not mind or which bothers us. In case we do not like the form in which we are moulded we get frustrated and come into a stressful position. sometimes people would love to have been born in an other place or have lived in other circumstances. But the choice is not up to us. We are dropped in a time and place and have to find our way in it.

We have no memory of a previous life, because there is just not such another life.

Could we prove that we have ever lived if we did not have our memories?

No, there would be no way to prove it. There is not one person who ever could recollect and prove some previous existence. Even for those who are born, when young, their memory is too short and after some time they shall not be able to tell what happened in those first years of life. When you would ask a toddler to prove he lives, he would not be able to do so, because he has not enough memory and not enough knowledge. The very young cannot prove they live because they do not have memories. Memory starts to develop a bit later than the first few years of life. Memory is an essential component to the human mind, so important that we cannot say that we exist without memory. Knowledge and memory are two requirements to realise that one is alive and can be. In other words, our very existence is hinged on our capacity to remember. Without our capacity to think, or to have thoughts, we can not remember nor can we analyse. And to be able to know we live we need to be able to think, consider and to review.

Memory, as the encoding, storage, and retrieval in the human mind of past experiences, is unconditionally linked to thought and being. Without awareness, there is no knowledge of being. We can notice this when people have reached an age when they start to suffer from dementia. It is then as if their thinking but also their “being” falls away.

Memory is both a result of and an influence on perception, attention, and learning. It is those thoughts of past events and influences that help shape us, making us who we are. With that awareness and understanding of that event and of that personality we are confronted with, we ourselves are presented with a mirror, in which whether or not we will accept, love or hate that reflection. But dar we will recognise that this is that “I” that we wish, desire or curse.

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Preceding

With Positive Attitude

There can only be hope when there is a will to be and say “I am”

I and Thou

Our existence..

Leap

To come to live in the peace of fulfilment of our own Divine Identity

What is Existential Ergonomics?

On the Anxiety of Non-Being

Running out of time

Why does the world exist

Our real self ever perfect and free

Life’s Purpose

Modern Living

Quandary of Reflections

Existence in the non-existent and non-existence in the existence

Human experience maintained in a fragile existence

Soul-searching

Vivamos Videre, the more we live, the more we are a witness to life

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Additional reading

  1. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  2. Onsterfelijkheid – Immortaliteit – Immortality
  3. About The story of Creation 1 Existing cosmologies
  4. Genesis Among the Creation Myths
  5. Creator and Blogger God 1 Emptiness and mouvement
  6. Creation of the earth and man #14 Formation of man #6 The Uncreated One, neshemet ruach chayim and nephesh
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  8. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  9. Ability
  10. Ability (part 2)
  11. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
  12. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
  13. The Opinionated Truth
  14. God make us holy
  15. Two states of existence before God
  16. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  17. Wisdom Quote #21…..seeking within with Carl Jung!
  18. Living in this world and viewing it

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Related

  1. Who am I to…?
  2. Spike the obit
  3. Awareness is All
  4. Trouble being myself
  5. #being as details
  6. Conditioning and Consciousness
  7. Becoming
  8. What Descartes Proved
  9. The ABCs of Python: The Identity of “is”
  10. When I sleep, I think, I dream [A philosophy post?]
  11. Wisdom Collection Collection 26. Human thinking is a creation process with devastating results. Thinking is separation of myself from my source.
  12. Mind and language essays on descartes and chomsky
  13. Therefore (Quote Series)
  14. Essays on the philosophy and science of rene descartes
  15. Descartes proof for the existence of god essay
  16. My favorites: philosophy ideas
  17. I remember therefore I am
  18. Descartes, Perception, and Society
  19. Strange nonsense
  20. Perception and Reality
  21. How Ego Disrupts the Cosmic Brilliance of ‘Is’
  22. I am
  23. What is Left to Doubt?
  24. Life is But a Dream
  25. In here and out there
  26. Confusion of knights
  27. Awareness, Consciousness, Experience, Mind
  28. Interlude: Descartes’ Role
  29. Descartes
  30. Consciousness, Personhood
  31. St. Borges of Canterbury
  32. Spirituality of the Left
  33. Breakthrough
  34. The floating consciousness
  35. Useful Heideggerian Concepts
  36. At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell is a biography of existentialism
  37. Martin Heidegger, the Standing Metaphor, and the Politics of 1935
  38. Time and Being
  39. Heidegger and the Question of Being
  40. Existential Reflections: The Shadow Side of Human Existence (2)
  41. Second Principle- Freedom in Being
  42. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.
  43. The ‘Man for All Seasons’ and Ontological Exigency
  44. Martin Heidegger Quotes
  45. Religion, Consumerism, and Absurdism: Modernity and the Quest for Meaning
  46. Two reviews of The Early Foucault (Polity, 2021) by Colin Koopman and Jasper Friedrich – and a note on Heidegger
  47. [Reflections] Why Does the History of Philosophy Matter to Philosophy?
  48. Modern Transcendentalism
  49. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  50. American Voices: Ralph Waldo Emerson
  51. Transcendentalism literary origins in america and influence essay
  52. Living in Subversia
  53. Ernest Holmes and the Science of Mind Part One: ‘Ye Are Gods’
  54. What are the main features of Shelley’s Transcendentalism ?
  55. Autumn, Concord, and Transcendentalism
  56. Transcendentalism : An American Movement
  57. Self-Awareness, Self-Reliance and Non-Comformity

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Questions asked, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Spiritual affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

This is Church Unity?

At the beginning of the Christian church there was already the difference in the different Jewish families. Many had difficulties to come to read between the lines and come to grab the intention of certain words. Today there are still lots of people and church groups who have difficulties in interpreting the Scriptures. Today there are still the literalists as well as Pharisaic groups.

But the worst matter in Christendom today is still the schism of the 4th century when the majority wanted to go by the Greco-Roman traditions and the will of Constantine I. From the moment those leaders and false teachers agreed to make up creeds that were not in line with biblical teaching, making Jesus into their god, all problems started and made certain people and churches go for power and taking care with their false human doctrines that they could keep people under control.

Jesus never claimed to be God nor wanted to create a new religion. As a Jew he worshipped the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, and wanted all his followers to do the same.
Jesus did not want a restricting church. He came to liberate the people of all chains and especially of the curse of death.

Jesus wanted that people would come to know his God, the God of the Hebrews Who is One (and not two or three) and wanted a church true to his word and his way of life in accordance with the Will of God, in line with God’s Word.

We must grow towards this word of God as brothers and sisters in Christ, following the teachings of Christ and not particularly following the teachings of people, even if they call themselves theologians, bishops or popes.

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Preceding

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

Christian denominations as pots in the desert

Having to learn and benefit from other Christian denominations

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Additional reading

  1. Gates to different belief systems in this world
  2. Religion and believers #1 Lots of groups and forms of belief to be taken interest in
  3. Religion and believers #7 Independent and organised form of existence of a religion

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Related

  1. About the different denominations
  2. Christian denominations (sects)
  3. Are denominational differences a blot on the church?
  4. Denominations Losing Internal Influence
  5. Why are there so many splits in the Presbyterian Church? Here’s an Explanation
  6. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  7. Which Church Would Jesus Choose?

The #Heb10 Church

If you watched the series, The Chosen, then you’re familiar with the character of the Pharisee, Shmuel. This Pharisee did everything he could to create division within the synagogue and the Sanhedrin itself!

In the Sanhedrin, there were two schools of thought – the school of Hillel, which was the liberal wing of Judaism, and the school of Shammai, which was the more conservative side of Judaism.

Both schools observed the Law of Torah, but had differing interpretations. This is how the Oral Law came into being – this oral tradition became law based on which school had control of the Sanhedrin at the time. The rabbis would write their interpretation of a specific law, which would be added to the Talmud – taking 613 laws and creating thousands of laws that were required to be followed.

Growing up in this tradition, I’ve seen this firsthand.

Where did the prohibition…

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Filed under Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Remembrance Project Day 4: Paying it forward

It is not bad to have a look at the way how Roman Catholic teachings can make the lives of its believers oh so difficult and complicated.

They learn that there are 7 sacraments that RC kids can celebrate as they progress through their lives: Baptism, Confession, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage OR Holy Orders, and finally, the Anointing of the Sick, altogether with the goal to have a clean conscience when they die.

In lots of those Catholic Churches they do not take much time to study the Holy Scriptures, but lots of time is given in preparation of the first and second communion and offering their members all sorts of teachings which find their roots in human philosophy and writings from so-called theologists.

Very early in life, those Catholics are frightened with a waystation between our mortal body coil (purgatory)and a so called heaven, many not wondering why they always pray in our Lord’s prayer that God His Kingdom would come on earth as in heaven. Who would then be allowed to live on earth when everybody would go to heaven?

No wonder, many Catholics have difficulty coping with life and death. The writer is made to believe by her priests, that the way you get passage to the pearly gates is by the prayers of the friends and family, chipping away at any stain remaining on their soul, them believing that soul would be a second ‘me’ in themselves, another being that shall leave their body when they die. The writer also thinks that’s what All Souls’ is all about. Perhaps it is that what the Catholic Church wants them to believe. But All Souls, like All Saints, Halloween and the Day of the dead (Dia de los Muertos) are all heathen festivals the God of the Bible does not want to know about.

All lovers of God have to know that when we die our life comes to an end, and then is it finished, too late to do or say anything. Everything we have to do has to happen in this life, in the now and then before we fall asleep in the sleep of the dead.

“4 For him that is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun. 7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. 8 Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head lack no ointment. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou hast done under the sun. 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.” (Ec 9:4-10 KJ21)

That the writer doesn’t understand how their prayers are a good restitution for harm done she believes that if you die without having a final confession, you end up in Purgatory, which would mean that God would give those people another punishment after they received their first punishment for their sins, namely death. It also makes their god a very cruel one, loving his children once more being tortured, and this time even by an eternal burning fire.

And why should they pray for the souls in Purgatory as a whole, when it would just be a place of transition and not a permanent state or residence?

The writer questions:

“They can’t repent for their misguided ways anymore, so what if they don’t have anyone to intercede on their behalf?”

This makes us to questions if they do not believe Jesus is the best mediator for them, and why he did not judge them alright for entering the Kingdom straight ahead, when they paid already with their death for their sins, and Jesus also had paid for their sins, at the wooden stake?

 

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Find also to read

  1. Are we taken up into heaven straight after we die?
  2. Where do we go when we die?
  3. Biblical Ambiguity on Death?
  4. Realities concerning Human Life and Death
  5. The Dead — Where Are They? 24 Stories, first death and heavens
  6. What happens when we die?
  7. Autumn, Life and death, grace, regeneration and sanctification
  8. Halloween custom of the nations
  9. Allhallowtide with Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
  10. Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the dead
  11. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  12. In Coronatime thinking about death
  13. All Souls’ Day
  14. Thought for today November 4th Going to graveyards and people going to dust
  15. Today’s thought “Not stopping doing what is right” (November 5)

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Related

  1. November – a time to remember and a time for confidence rather than presumption
  2. Make the Most of November: 7 Tips
  3. Happy and Blessed All Saints’ Day
  4. Holy Souls
  5. All souls suffrage
  6. From Depths Of Hades, My Relatives Cried To Me
  7. Thought for the Day – 2 November – “Purgatory”
  8. What does the word “purgatory” mean?
  9. Quotes on Purgatory
  10. Uncle Steve Explains Purgatory
  11. Novena for the Holy Souls: Day 9
  12. Devotion to the Souls in Purgatory
  13. Devotion for the Month of November – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
  14. All Souls Vigil Service with Novena and Chaplet for the Dead – Free Options
  15. Thought for the Day – 3 November – The Pain of Purgatory
  16. Prayer for the Faithful Departed
  17. Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory — Lumen Fidei Ministries
  18. The shrine where you can send a card to the deceased
  19. Two Purgatory Anecdotes by Saint John Vianney 
  20. Why do we pray for the dead
  21. Catholic prayer for the most forgotten soul in purgatory
  22. Vatican again extends November indulgences
  23. The truth concerning the holy souls in purgatory

Sweary Parent Chronicles

Photo by ozundunyasina on Pexels.com

I have to say, every year during Hallowtide, I have to look up the difference between All Saints and All Souls.

So what is the actual difference between All Saints and All Souls? All Saints celebrates those who we believe are in heaven. All Souls is for those who haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not sure why my brain steadfastly refuses to store that information. I have far more useless information that bumps on up against the brain pan, and is stuck there for life. I tend to lump all three – Hallowe’en, All Saints’ And All Souls’ days – into the conveniently packaged Hallowtide, but if I’m going to find something pithy for us to chew on, I kinda need to know.

So here’s the thing. There are 7 sacraments that RC kids can celebrate as they progress through their lives: Baptism, Confession, Communion…

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Religion and the essence of devotion

Necessary parts in the daily walk with God

A proud Christ-follower who believes that we are all on a journey in life writes:

Religion is the essence of devotion. Our religious activities are to be an outpouring our our absolute devotion to God. Religion and relationship are necessary parts in the daily walk with God. And in speaking of religion in this way we can get a better glimpse at Christianity in a global sense. There are many traditions throughout Christendom that seem quite strikingly different than what any one of us may be used to, but they are simply unique ways to express the relational devotion we have to God. {The R&R of Christianity}

In the previous two writings, we talked about people who have a very restricted view of what a Christian would or should be. Lots of Christians are convinced that people who do not believe the human doctrine of the Trinity may not or can not call themselves Christian. They forget that the word Christian is made up of “Christ” and the suffix” ian”, denoting a follower of Christ. Then they should come to see and know who Christ is. For non-Trinitarians Christ is the Nazarene Jewish master teacher (or rebbe) Jeshua ben Yosef, Jesus the son of Mary (Miriam) and Joseph, born in Bethlehem. The word Christian gives an indication that it is about a follower of Christ or Kristos, the anointed Messiah. Naturally, it depends on what or whom, one wants to accept as a “follower”.

Christians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, and other followers

Normally a follower is considered to be someone who believes in a particular system of ideas, or who supports a leader who teaches these ideas. In the case of Christians it are people who follow the opinions or teachings of Christ Jesus, in particular, those teachings notated in the Messianic Scriptures (or New Testament: the four gospels and writings of the apostles and the revelation of St. John).

As the world accepts a Lutheran is a follower of Luther or a ‘belonger’ or accessory and supporter of the Lutheran community or Lutheranism, around that what was started by the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. When we speak about a Lutheran we think of a person of or relating to the religious doctrines of Martin Luther, or relating to the Protestant denomination adhering to these doctrines. especially the doctrine of Sola fide or justification by faith alone.

According to similar usage, a Christian is a follower or someone who has a strong interest or pays close attention to Jesus Christ and is willing to follow his guidance, command, or leadership. For that guidance of Christ the person must Not follow the rules of other human beings, but can follow the trusted Word like it is notated in the Holy Scriptures.

A Lutheran should follow the writings of Luther, but when we look at the Lutheran Church we can see there are a lot of changes in that church which would not be liked by Luther (take for example the role of the women in that church today.) With Christians we see a similar gross deviation from the teachings of the teacher Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus leading his followers out of a system of oppression

It should not be forgotten that Jesus came along to lead his followers out of the ungodly Roman system. He also wanted to show to Jews and non-Jews how important it is to come back to the Divine Creator and to worship only One True God instead of the many gods of that time. Jesus was a very devout Jew, who did not worship himself (as several name Christians want us to believe). Jesus remained faithful all his life to the God of Israel, Who is a Singular Eternal Omniscient Supreme Spirit Being. No man can see God, but Jesus wanted everybody to figuratively come to see God and to accept Him as their heavenly Father.

There was not only the Roman oppressor; there were also the priests, Pharisees and Sadducees, who wanted to have power over the people. Like many theologians today, they too wanted to make Scriptures more complicated than they really are. Jesus explained the scrolls and showed how people have to live more to the spirit of the letter, than to the interpretation of those temple workers. Jesus also preached an alternative form of government, speaking of a jurisdiction outside the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbours. He first chose Jewish people who believed in One Singular God, (the God of the Jews), the God of Abraham, Who is One and not two or three. A real Jew never would agree with the Trinity. At first, the people who joined the Jewish sect (or group) the Way, were all Jehudiem or Jews who did not betray their Jewish faith. It was only later when goyim or people from other nations, cultures and other faiths started joining the group of followers of Christ, problems raised under the Jewish community, of which many did not want non-Jews in their ranks and in their synagogues or prayer houses.

First-century Christians

The Way to God

Jesus always said people had not to thank him but God. He always said he was less than God, but that he was the way for people to come to God and the way to life, and that people should believe in him and be in union with him, like he is in union with God.

“I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (Joh 10:9 KJ21)

“But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”” (Joh 10:38 KJ21)

“Jesus said unto him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (Joh 14:6 KJ21)

“9 Jesus said unto him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.”

“12  Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

“15  “If ye love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” 17 even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him. But ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

“18  “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more, but ye see Me. Because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.”” (Joh 14:9-21 KJ21)

“that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” (Joh 17:21 KJ21)

“by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Ro 5:2 KJ21)

“for through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph 2:18 KJ21)

“by a new and living Way, which He hath consecrated for us through the veil (that is to say, His flesh),” (Heb 10:20 KJ21)

Following teachings based on Jesus his teachings

In the first century of this common era, more and more people came to follow the apostles their teachings, which were based on those of their master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They all agreed with the teachings of Jesus and became unified, forming the early Christian church with a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person would love their neighbour as themselves in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
Those joining the movement of The Way did agree to those Jewish teachings of Jesus and his apostles. For them, it was also clear that 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 the One Who made them alive is their Father Who is 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.

Not believing in a different God than the Jews

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.

Path to walk

For those early followers of Christ it was important to give worship to the same God Jesus worshipped and to leave all those other gods at the side, non touched and not glorified. For them, it was clear that all glory belonged to God. They knew they had not to bow down in front of graven images, and always had to keep their soul diligently, all the time loving Jehovah as their God of gods, and not somebody else. It was also clear they, like God’s People (the Jews), had to walk in God His ways and not following human traditions which were not according to God’s Will,  for they had to keep Jehovah God His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances. Their devotion should fully be for Jehovah God and not for any other god, be it the Caesar, Baal, Apollo, Zeus or any other.  Those who were drawn away, and came to worship other gods, and came to serve them, were turning aside from the way which Jesus and his God have commanded mankind. Though God warned already in the past that the world would turn away from God and shall have false worship. He warned that evil will befall mankind in the latter days; because they will do that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger through the work of their hands.

“”Only take heed to thyself and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach them to thy sons and thy sons’ sons,” (De 4:9 KJ21)

“16 in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17 But if thine heart turn away so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,” (De 30:16-17 KJ21)

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”” (De 31:29 KJ21)

“For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” (Ps 96:5 KJ21)

“He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul, but he that despiseth His ways shall die.” (Pr 19:16 KJ21)

“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1Co 7:19 KJ21)

A God demanding exclusive devotion

Today we see how lots of people have made or taken themselves other gods than the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Even from those who call themselves “Christian” there are many who bow down in front to graven images or kisses books and pictures as a sign of their devotion. They should know that Jehovah God requires exclusive devotion.

“But I had pity for Mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen whither they went.” (Eze 36:21 KJ21)

“”Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Now will I bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My holy name” (Eze 39:25 KJ21)

“God is jealous, and the LORD avengeth; the LORD avengeth and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies.” (Na 1:2 KJ21)

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the LORD thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me,” (Ex 20:5 KJ21)

“For thou shalt worship no other god; for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God,” (Ex 34:14 KJ21)

“For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (De 4:24 KJ21)

“And Joshua said unto the people, “Ye cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins:” (Jos 24:19 KJ21)

“And further, my son, by these words be admonished: of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh.” (Ec 12:12 KJ21)

“For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription: ‘To the Unknown God’. Whom therefore ye worship in ignorance, Him I declare unto you.” (Ac 17:23 KJ21)

The God greater than Jesus

Jesus not able to do anything without God

Jesus, his talmidim and the apostle Paul declared The God Who is greater than Jesus and without Him Jesus could not do anything.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (Joh 5:19 KJ21)

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, ‘I go away and come again unto you.’ If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, ‘I go unto the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 KJ21)

Jesus submissive to his God

Jesus his disciples also knew and wanted others to know that even their master was submissive to God and also submitted to Him whom he beheld as the only True God.

“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in the fashion of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death—even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:5-8 KJ21)

“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 KJ21)

“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son Himself also be subject unto Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:28 KJ21)

The churches and gods of man

But today many have several gods, like “material possession” (Mammon) or find themselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for their benefit. For many, their eye and worship is on material goods or on people who can gloriously show off their acquired wealth. Many covet their neighbour’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. They have traded their inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Their churches are not ordained by God, but are corporations granted status by the state. Many want even bigger churches and want to spread hate for those churches which do not want to align with them. In many of those main churches they denounce the followers of whom they consider an anarchist, because for them Jesus is God and all who contradict that are not just contradictors but objectionable individuals. Those Trinitarians do not want to see that real followers of Christ have to be like Christ, united with Jesus and be one with him the same way as Jesus is one with God.

God in Christians

For real followers of Christ, there is the belief that God is in all of them, and that they have to attract others to come also under Christ, to become children of God.

“3 Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, so we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this: that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Ro 6:3-7 KJ21)

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1Co 15:49 KJ21)

“But because of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who from God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption,” (1Co 1:30 KJ21)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2Co 5:17 KJ21)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Ga 6:15 KJ21)

United in Christ serving the God of Christ

Those in Christ should be united and serve the same God Jesus served. They should fully be devoted to Jehovah God, having no other gods than Him. Real Christians are those willing to have only One God and to study His Word, His ordinances so that they too can do God’s Will, like Jesus did not his own will but did the Will of his heavenly Father and asked his followers also to do the Will of his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. In case Jesus is God he naturally would always have done his own will and then he was all the time misleading people and praying to himself.

Jesus not knowing many who call themself Christian

Several people, calling themselves Christian forget that at the end times, when they would be coming in front of Christ, there could be a possibility that Jesus shall say not to know them, because they did not do the Will of his Father. To call oneself Christian or to become part of the Body of Christ one has to do the Will of God and be as a brother or sister of Christ Jesus and those following him.

“But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s.” (Le 27:21 KJ21)

“And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven. This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” (Ec 1:13 KJ21)

“”Not every one that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in Heaven.” (Mt 7:21 KJ21)

“For whosoever shall do the will of My Father who is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.”” (Mt 12:50 KJ21)

“And He went a little farther, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”” (Mt 26:39 KJ21)

“He went away again the second time and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, unless I drink it, Thy will be done.”” (Mt 26:42 KJ21)

“For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother.”” (Mr 3:35 KJ21)

“And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee. Take away this cup from Me; nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”” (Mr 14:36 KJ21)

“And that servant, who knew his lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Lu 12:47 KJ21)

“saying, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Thine be done.”” (Lu 22:42 KJ21)

“Jesus said unto them, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” (Joh 4:34 KJ21)

“38 For I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. 39 And this is the Father’s will who hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the Last Day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”” (Joh 6:38-40 KJ21)

“but bade them farewell, saying, “I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem, but I will return again unto you, if God wills.” And he sailed from Ephesus.” (Ac 18:21 KJ21)

“Take them and purify thyself with them, and bear their charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things of which they have been informed concerning thee are nothing, but that thou thyself also walkest orderly and keepest the law.” (Ac 21:24 KJ21)

Picking and choosing like a kid

Lots of people who call themselves “Christian” not at all follow the teachings of Jesus and pick and choose texts from Sriptures how it soots them best.

But you don’t pay attention to that do you my little lambs? No, you pick and choose like a kid going through a candy store deciding what to spend his quarters on. You choose what fits your sick sense of morality, and then toss the rest like it never existed. The fact that you become utter hypocrites apparently doesn’t bother you. Neither does the fact that it doesn’t fit my morality. But you care just as much about my definition of morality as I do yours. The only difference between us, is I’m not forcing you to try to live by my morality. {Of Christianity and Modern Morality}

rightly remarks someone who calls himself The Bastards 2013 (Where The Bastards come to share the word!) He, like lots of atheists saw how a bunch of Evangelical pastors were laying hands on Donald Trump in the White House and how one prominent evangelical leader immediately tweeted out the image with the caption:

“President Trump is bringing God back to America.” {In God We Obfuscate}

This “Bastards 2013” also wrote:

You talk about love and tolerance and yet your actions speak of hate and seclusion. You talk about America needing to find it’s moral center and returning to respecting one another and finding joys in the diversity of America. Then you back a man who is none of those. Donald Trump is your reflecting God. He is the face of your fake bullshit religion and from this day forth you will be forever known as the frauds and charlatans you are. Your speeches about god and love will be laughed at and ignored. Your attempts to say that this is Christianity will be endlessly mocked by those of us who know better. More importantly, when your god falls, and his presidency is nothing but a pile of ashes, you will have nowhere to run. Your sins will be laid bare and the scarlet letter of hypocrisy will be forever tattoed onto your forehead. While you preach the word of a megalomaniac, he is busy mocking Puerto Ricans as they struggle to survive after back to back hurricanes. As you attempt to speak about love and kindness (which you know nothing about) your god calls black men who are peacefully protesting inequality “Sons of bitches” and “traitors.” Meanwhile he speaks in front of a group of neo nazis and homophobes and says “It’s so nice to be around friends. So many friends.” You are the lowest form of human. ISIS is evil and should be eradicated, but at least they own who they are. They make no false speeches about love and acceptance when they don’t believe in it. They don’t shake the hands of the people while silently prepping to stab them in the back. You are nothing but low level talentless snake oil salesmen. You prey upon those who have been stricken desperate by your shitty unethical policies. You sell them a cure and make them believe that you and only you can help them. Then you sit back in your six homes, watching the peasants stumble around trying to find some sort of relief. {The Reflecting God}

Traditions of man

Throughout the ages, mankind had several gods and had celebrations for them. The Roman Catholic Church willing to capture as many heathen as they could, integrated many heathen festivals in their system. Christmas and Easter are the two most important ones still celebrated by the majority of Christians.

Lots of human traditions entered the life of those who call themselves Christian, though not many of them seem to wonder if they would be all right in the Eyes of God. That way Christendom became totally different from first-century Christianity.

A Religion of a relationship

Bringing a “Thought from a Pilgrim of Truth”, , a father, husband, and a pastor writes

There is another thing that tends to happen when someone views Christianity as a relationship rather than a religion. The terms of the relationship begin to get a bit blurry. God and King, Master and Lord, get discarded for the much easier to handle Friend. When God becomes solely our friend, we lose the fear of the LORD, and our relationship with Him becomes unbiblical. Again, this is where religious devotion comes in. We are His servants, His children even. We must remember that God has been and will always be great, higher and holier than we are. {The R&R of Christianity}

Christianity should be a religion of a relationship with Jesus Christ and with Christ his God, Jehovah the God above all kings and gods, but also about the relationship with others and other things (human beings, nature – plants and animals).

Fear God

Many who have made Jesus as their god have lost the fear of God or fear for God. Our religion should be an expression of that fear for God. In the end it will be Him that preserves the faithful, and plentifully shall reward him that deals proudly with the Truth, having the courage to speak out and show the world That Only One True God, the God of the kings David, Solomon and Christ. Strangely enough Trinitarians are giving the word Christian an othe meaning than then “ian” to the “Christ” would suggest. They do not see the fundamentals connected to being a Christian, nor the need to know about the God of Christ, Who is the God of the Bible. Those Trinitarians minimalise the act of Christ and do not value Jesus his act of submission to God and his complete sacrifice for humanity. Strangely enough many who call themselves Christian but worship a three-headed god dare to say, like the pharmacy student Teni:

God wanted His people to stand out from the people around them.

The bible makes us understand that God Almighty the creator of the whole universe is the One and Only true God. That means, every other god, is actually non-existent and made up by people’s imagination and craftiness. {4 Mmisconceptions that need to be cleared about being a christian}

though they do not believe in that Only One True God.

Bringing honour to the Only Right God

Bringing honour to such false gods is at the same time dishonouring God and misusing God’s Name and God’s Title. those who call themselves Christian should witness to the goodness of God in a world that has ceased to acknowledge His existence, let alone His sovereignty over the Cosmos. It was God’s son, Jesus who gave his followers an assignment to tell those around them about the Divine Creator and His promises, the good news of the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.

Those calling themselves Christian, should as followers of Jesus Christ, not only keep to his teachings, but follow the example of Christ, being servants of God, Jesus and others, and this even to their own peril. We should have a friendship realtionship with Christ as our brotherbut we are not to consider ourselves as equals with God, in the same way Jesus never considered himself equal with God. We owe only Jesus his God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, all of our devotion and allegiance.

 

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Preceding

Not About The Name Of The Godhead Of Jesus

Rhetoric and Biblical Truth

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

Religions and Mainliners

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Additional reading

  1. People are turning their back on Christianity
  2. Blindness in the Christian world
  3. Not liking your Christians
  4. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  5. Christian in Christendom or in Christianity
  6. Christianity is a love affair
  7. To be chained by love for another one
  8. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  9. Jesus and God
  10. Only one God
  11. A Father Who begat a son
  12. Jahushua, Joshua, Jeshua or Jesus an Immanuel or God with us an incarnated God or a human being?
  13. The sent one from God
  14. Knowing Jesus Rabboni
  15. Jesus son of God or God the son
  16. Jesus son of God
  17. Jesus Christ the Messiah
  18. Seeing Jesus
  19. Reasons that Jesus is Not God
  20. God son king and his subjects
  21. Not saying Jeshua is God
  22. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  23. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  24. On the Nature of Christ
  25. The Son can do nothing of his own accord
  26. The son of man given authority by God
  27. The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave
  28. Doctrine of Christ
  29. One Mediator
  30. Commandements of Christ
  31. Statutes given unto us
  32. Relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  33. Memorizing wonderfully – Additional verses: Psalm 34 Tasting and blessing Jehovah God
  34. Extra verses to remember by the reading of Psalm 45 A Great name to Praise God
  35. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  36. A learning process for each of us
  37. Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing
  38. Matthew 15 Calvin’s view
  39. Matthew 20 It is never too late
  40. Matthew 20 Are you willing to work for Jesus?
  41. Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready
  42. A strange thing might happen when you come under Christ
  43. As brothers and sisters showing that you are followers of the real Jesus or being a Jeshuaist sharing responsibilities
  44. Demanding signs or denying yourself
  45. Attitude of a Christian
  46. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  47. A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement
  48. Christianity without the Trinity
  49. Doubting and going astray
  50. Main churches losing population share
  51. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  52. Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
  53. Thought for today November the 6th: Indifference
  54. Is it a Jewish or a Christian faith
  55. Religious imagery used by pop artists
  56. Avoiding friction and distraction in the body of Christ
  57. Today’s thought “Fools despise wisdom” (March 23)
  58. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  59. How should we worship God? #14 True worship
  60. In a time when we must remain in our place
  61. Memorizing wonderfully 18 Proverbs – Fear of God, Wisdom and instruction
  62. Symptom of tzara’at a white spot on the flesh
  63. Today’s thought “Folly and Wickedness of Men” (January 06)
  64. Today’s thought “Sound an alarm for the day of Jehovah that comes” (November 19)

 

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Further related

  1. Pouring Into Others (comeawake.org)
  2. Being Christian
  3. Being Christian Takes Practice
  4. Being Christian On Day One
  5. What Does It Mean to be a True Christian?
  6. Being A Cultural Christian Is Not Enough
  7. The Quiet in the Land
  8. Martin Luther’s Seal
  9. ROFLMAO — what would Luther’s 95 Theses sound like in an corporate office email memo to all staff?
  10. Swedish Lutherans: Synodical and congregational minutes on baptism and membership in the 1850s
  11. A Bonhoeffer moment and a barstool conversation between Luther, Bonhoeffer and a Finnish theologian — links and quotes for future reference
  12. Lutheran Women and Their Impact on History
  13. Luther an’ Me
  14. Dear Church’: A tapestry of discipleship and a call for white folks to ‘do good white folk work’ to help dismantle racism
  15. Progressive Christianity
  16. Check Yourself, Christian
  17. Unchurched
  18. Come To Me To Have Life
  19. Sheep and Goats, Faith and Mercy
  20. Reformation 2020. The Righteousness of God at the Present Time
  21. It Matters
  22. Commitment to Christ Means Commitment to His Church (Blogs Revisited)
  23. What the Coronavirus Reveals about Protestant Piety
  24. Lutherans vs. Coronavirus
  25. Attitude is Everything
  26. Is the Trinity scriptural – or is it pagan nonsense
  27. Fully God and Fully Man
  28. December 11,2020: Finding the “O’s” in God’s message
    Satan’s Lie: You Can Become God
  29. Is Jesus God? – Adnan Rashid vs Samuel Green
  30. Proof that the disciples did not preach the trinity!
  31. How the Trinity Debate has Influenced Our Reading
  32. A Trinitarian Christian claims he can explain the trinity…guess what happens next?
  33. Mohammed Hijab vs David Wood, Tawheed vs Trinity
  34. Is Jesus God? Debate between Pastor Stanley Sjoberg and Sheikh Ahmed Deedat
  35. Trinity vs Tawheed, Adnan Rashid vs Samuel Green (Part 1)
  36. Trinity vs Tawheed – Adnan Rashid vs Samuel Green (Part 2)
  37. Of Christianity and Modern Morality
  38. 4 Mmisconceptions that need to be cleared about being a christian
  39. Matthew 20:26
  40. Heaven, work, and duty
  41. The Church – Body of Christ
  42. Funhouse God
  43. Our Heavenly Home 
  44. Listening While White: Respecting the Image of God in People of Color
  45. Deepening our Faith: 2nd Sunday of Advent 2020
  46. He is Faithful
  47. Catholicism – a False religion based on idolatry man made doctrines pagan traditions
  48. Completing the great commission
  49. Where is wisdom found?
  50. the high cost of not trusting God
  51. Above the voice of men
  52. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
  53. Fear of God – Temor de Dios
  54. The Fear of God
  55. Fear Brings Contentment
  56. Pleasing and Not Pleasing People for the Glory of God
  57. You´ve overcome

12 Comments

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

It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!

On one article we reblogged over here (and as such did not write it ourselves) and in which there were used popular words by youngsters, somebody felt offended. It looks like she could not feel any empathy with the generation we and the author of the original article were talking about and brought herself calling us stupid people, though missing the whole point of that article and the discussion around it.

Extended Coloured family from South Africa showing some spectrum of human skin colouration

In our world we see still too many people who want to differentiate between skin colour and race. They continue to demand that there would be called or named the differences between people who live at the same place, instead of accepting everybody who lives there for what he is and for how he looks like. They insist that people who live already for many generations in a certain country or area would still have a referral to that long ago place of origin as if that place of origin of so many generations ago brought a blemish on that person. It looks like many do want that lots of people keep running around with the stain of their past and long death ancestors.

Today we see again a movement going on to put on all people labels, like Moroco, Turkish,  Arabic, Berber, Afro-American, etc.. Though those people may already live here for the 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation. As we spoke about the trend the Dutch Press requesting not to use the word ‘blank’ (fair) but now to use ‘wit’ (white) opposite ‘zwart’ (black) instead of ‘kleurling (coloured). Whilst certain newspapers still shall continue words as ‘blank’ and ‘kleurling’ (coloured) not looking at the different skin colour as something negative. Clearly the colour of the skin has become again a point of discussion and we are back to the way of return and pre-Martin Luther King-times, or the time of racial segregation with Apartheid.

Darya safai-1480075466.jpg

Iranian-Belgian human rights activist Darya Safai playtoy of the rightwing political parties trying to limit the freedom of expression and freedom of religion

Several politicians are doing their best to come back to such a time and many migrants are helping them without them having a proper knowledge of what is happening. As such we may find the Iranian dentist Darya Safai who is used as a plaything by the Flemish Nationalists and/or right-wing political parties. The Iranian-Belgian human rights activist grew up in the Islamic Republic of Iran after the revolution of 1979. We can clearly see how she got traumatised with her experiences in Iran. There she experienced at first hand how it was to live as an oppressed woman in a religious dictatorship. But now she thinks this would also be so in Belgium or the countries around us. She insist that parents would have no say on the religious education they want to give at home and want to prohibit any person in our country to wear religious symbols or to have traditional attire.  She finds the schools must prohibit any religious dress-code. By doing so she wants the freedom of religion, the freedom of expression and the freedom of clothing restricted. By doing so see also endangers our democratic freedom.

After she was temporarily released on bail, she decided to flee Iran together with husband via Turkey to Belgium.  Instead of seeing that we want to be a free country where everybody should be able to live next to each other she now wants to create an other Iran where she shall be on the side of the dictators or decision makers. Though she says she wants to fight against discrimination she tries to bring in discriminating  measures, having children nor their parents the right to choose their own religion and how they want to be religious.

In December 2016, Darya Safai was awarded the title ‘Women Of Peace’ by the Belgian Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities at the Belgian Senate, for her fight for women’s rights, though at that time it was already clear she had a more unpleasant agenda.

Last week when  a state school was ordered to let 11 young girls (age 12) to wear their hijab to school inspite their ban on all religious symbols Safai went into heavy reaction again helping to have a growing stir in the debate

because when a judge rules that specific people can ignore a rule that counts for everyone, it will cause more division.

It is true that now other Muslim, Sikh, Jewish parents can go to court and achieve the same override for their kid. On the other hand by Safai her actions to forbid head-covering we now have Sikh kids in Sint-Truiden (Haspengouw Hesbaye), who cannot go any more to a state- or to a Catholic school because they are not allowed in with their head covering. For them and for those who want to wear a head-covering the only solution is to go to a private school. Safai forgets that this would cost the parents a lot more and that such private schools of a certain religion endangers our society more, because than there is no control by the school directorate and then the way to indoctrination is totally free and would be unnoticed. We also could see what happened already in one of the Antwerp Jewish schools a few weeks ago. We must be very careful with an overprotection and giving the opportunity to have youngsters drifting away.

Safai seems to think the same rules count over here as in her birthplace. She argues that the choice to wear a headscarf is not made by girls themselves. By this she underestimate the strong will of many Belgian girls. She says

“It’s not a free choice, when I see six-year-old girls wearing headscarves, I really wonder how they could decide that for themselves-it’s imposed on you and you live with them.”

For Safai the girls their head-covering is indeed a symbol of oppression.

“Men do not wear headscarves, that’s the best proof,”

Orthodox Christian pilgrim

said Safai, to which Vanhecke replied

“With Jews, only the men wear a yarmulke, and that is not seen as a symbol of oppression,”

Safai also forgets or probably does not know that in West Europe all kids from the 1940ies to 1960ies have had to cover their head as girls and we as boys had to cover (like the girls also) our limbs. No bare arms or are knees where to be seen and women at to sit on the left side of the church.  It is all still clear in our head also, how our parents and when we went swimming in the sea we had to cover most of our body. (Later, as hippies we went against those restrictions and ran even naked in nature.) And now a few years later what had to happen then suddenly should not be allowed any more. She also does it as if the head-covering is only a Muslim matter, forgetting that still today many religious Christian groups prescribe head-covering for their members.

Roman Catholic nuns

Roman Catholic nuns – Roman Catholic nuns singing in choir. – Smith2006

Throughout the centuries of Church history, women have worn head coverings during the meetings of the church – that is, when “praying or prophesying” take place. In Europe the wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was also universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century and in several Reformed churches, Baptists, Christadelphian, Brethren and various Mennonites it is still the custom for young and old. In the South of Europe we may find lots of nuns of the Roman Catholic churches with a covering of their heads, whilst many women in the South (like Spain and Italy) still often have the head covering by means of a headscarf. In Eastern Orthodox churches, all women still cover their heads. With the old believers this may only be a headscarf, with the other Eastern Orthodox it may also be a veil.

Vanhecke, with good reason, thinks girls are also oppressed if they are not allowed to wear the headscarf.

“A religion obliges the headscarf, a society forbids it, that is the same principle.”

“You interfere in a fundamental right of parents to make choices for their children,”

says Vanhecke.

That what Safai tries to avoid she helps to create. One should avoid that we get such private religious schools as only possibility for religious people to give their kids an education. When we would have such specific Jewish, Hindu and/or Islam schools we make it much easier to have them a specific religious education or indoctrination and creating a generation which would be less adapted in our culture than those who grow up together with all sorts of kids from different nationalities and different religions. Instead of integrating them in a multicultural society Safai shall help to create a divided society with lots of racism.

So needless to say this situation actually causes the very religious division that the ban on head-covering tries to avoid.

Mieke Vanhecke (CD & V), ex-top woman of Catholic education, pleaded in Terzake for the right to wear a headscarf at school. Darya Safai (N-VA) continues to see it as a symbol of oppression. Vanhecke argues that not only Muslims are victims of the headscarf debate.

“A ban on headgear not only affects Muslims,”

says Vanhecke.

“In Sint-Truiden there were never any problems, the Sikh boys came to school with a turban, because of the ban they no longer have access to our school.”

Safia is convinced that children and young women can not make up their own mind what to wear. For her children nor women who wear the hijab impossibly can do that of their own will and impossibly can be happy clothing themself that way. Many like her she see misogyny and are convinced that they must be under dictation of a male dictator or male bully. Often we hear voices like

Her husband must have forced her’

‘Poor girl, she may not dress like she wants’

Safia like many right wing people can only think of suppression, seeing men’s orders and their power over women. Others love to shout

Unveil yourself’,

‘Hide not yourself”

‘Let us see your beauty’

Why should they have such a need to see the beauty of that woman? Why can they not respect that woman like she wants to dress herself?

Those people thinking women or girls who like to wear a head scarf of hijab are pushed by their family, do forget that there are enough strong women in Belgium who can make up their mind themselves. They do not need their fathers or their male partner to dictate what they should wear but even less should they have others to dictate what they should wear or may not wear. That last bit is what Darya Safai and many Nationalists and Neo-Nazis love to do.

Lots of those who call themselves Christian but oppose the freedom of other lovers of God, do forget that by doing so they go in against the Law of God. Their strong actions against Muslims and Jews also clearly show that they do not bear Jesus his teachings of love in their heart. Lots of them also do not understand that wearing a covering on the head may represent an ordainment from God and a submitting to the Most High. There are enough places in Scriptures which talk about such covering and reasons why and when to do it.

Those who are an atheist or do not believe in the One True God should not try to put their law above the Laws of God nor should they urge all others to live like them and to dress like them.

Many also do forget the use of a head-covering can just mean those women liberated themselves from the world and its attitudes. For many believers in the One True God it can mean just empowerment, liberation and freedom. Too many underestimate the European female and think they would be like the women in the Middle East used as slaves by the male figures around them. But we can see strong women who have made up their own mind and by their own choice and by their own intentions they dare to show their faith to others and are not afraid to be mocked at or to be looked at as of ‘not of this world’. They do not want to be of this world but of the world of God. For them that is more important than being a slave of this world where every body assumes he or she is free when they can have sex with as many as they can or drink as much as they want to do all the funniest things one can think of.

Mrs. Safai does as if those girls, when they would wear a head dress, never would be able to integrate in our society or would never be able to get work. When they would not get work because they wear a head covering, does that not tell more about the party who does not want to give her work? And does that not show how certain people do not want others to integrate in our community?

By the way, lots of right wing people do as if those Muslim girls who want to cover their head are foreigners, but a lot are girls and ladies who were before ‘white Belgian citizens’ and even belonging to Catholic families.

That many people are so much afraid that there would be so many converts to Mohammedanism tells also a lot about the weakness of most members of that faith. Lots of Roman Catholics and Protestants even not knowing the Name of God and never having read the Bible. If they would be standing strong in the faith we see no reason why they and others should be so afraid. The other way, Christians should come out and proclaim their faith to those who are no Christian. They should show people that Jesus is the way and show that Jesus his teaching is one of love and of comprehension and compassion. But most Belgians, Dutch and French people just show the opposite, showing their hate against immigrants and people who are different than they or who think differently than they.

Lots of people seem to have forgotten how we and our parents had to cover our body a few decades ago. Lots of them also forget that just because their western values don’t fit with a woman covering her hair and beauty, it still could be a personal choice for that person covering herself. Many do forget that their Western values are way out from our Christian Western values and norms.

Today so many oppose people who have an other opinion. We also see the right wing people wanting so much that every body would dance to their will.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

These days we are going backwards because several people want to push their will unto others. They want an exclusive white state for themselves with only believers in that what they believe and in that what they call Christian values, but are not at all Christian values.

In Belgium we can find  more and more Muslim children in community education, especially with regard to other educational networks we may find a larger influx of students from other cultures in general in the state schools. When these children want to show their own faith in the form of clothing, they often do so out of their own convictions, but because these young people are not yet adults, they often take over the prevailing morality of their immediate environment and of society. If we compare this with the Flemish youths of indigenous origin, we notice a big difference, but according to us that is easy to explain. After all, with many Flemish young people there is a great ignorance of the church, while the Muslim children are more often socialized in their ideology.
The total banning of religious signs would thus be a violation of religious freedom. We should resist such a thing.
That a lot of inhabitants of Belgium, Holland and France do not want to stand open for other cultures we should try to avoid in the next generations by introducing the various cultures from the early years in childhood.

Dyab Abou Jahjah in 2008.

The Belgian-Lebanese Arab political activist and writer Dyab Abou Jahjah, claims that

‘hatred in Flanders is mainstream’

and

‘racism determines the agenda’.

When you follow certain reactions and talks it gives the impression not enough people want to react against that dangerous trend.

Christian people should let others know that all people have the same value because we are created by the same One True God. We all are being allowed to live on this globe and are given talents which can be used to help others. All people in a community have to complement each other.
Each person should know that racism devalues people. Non believers should come to see that Christ has broken down racial doors and overcomes divisive thinking by creating for himself a new nation through his death and resurrection. Every Christian should help to build a loving world by showing his love for others, be them of no believe or any other believe than Christianity.
When the politicians are not doing their job properly to build a multicultural peaceful state, the Christians needs to lead the way.
When you are a Christian do not wait until it is too late!

Let your voice be heard and speak up for the weaker ones in our society and for those who humiliated and shut out.

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Preceding articles

What is important?

Enough with the Clothes Shaming of Muslim Women

Anti-Semitic pressure driving Jews out of Europe

The Mountain: Radical Love

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Additional reading

  1. Vliegend spaghettimonster en Gelijke behandeling voor elke overtuiging
  2. Parenthood made more difficult
  3. Uncertainty, shame and no time for vacillation
  4. Migrants to the West #2
  5. On French beach French police forces woman to undress in public
  6. Pew Research: How People in Muslim Countries Believe Women Should Dress
  7. Allowing dress code according liberty of religion
  8. Coverings Worn by Muslim Women
  9. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran
  10. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  11. French showing to the whole world their fear and weakness
  12. Christians, secularism, morals and values
  13. Trusting present youngsters who are not necessary evil
  14. Overprotection and making youngsters drifting away
  15. Today’s thought “And he counted it to him for righteousness” (January 12)
  16. Listening to the lessons of the Bible and looking for ways to please God

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Related

  1. Hijab 1
  2. Hijab 2
  3. The Meaning of Hijab
  4. I Tried Wearing a Hijab (sort of)
  5. The hijab of ignorance
  6. Cultural Bias
  7. An Imagined Offence
  8. The Irony of Hijabs!!
  9. Transition: My Hijab Story
  10. Hijab: Oppression or Freedom?
  11. Hijab in Islam and other religions
  12. Hijab | Zanzibar, Tanzania
  13. Women unite for World Hijab Day, which is Today
  14. Happy World Hijab Day 2018!
  15. Pearls and swines – loose priorities – the hijab-saga in perspective
  16. Hidden Pearl Hijab Review
  17. Hijab ‘Attack’ Condemned By Canada’s Prime Minister Was A Hoax
  18. My Hijab Story
  19. The Secret Hijabi
  20. What My Hijab Means To Me
  21. Perspective: Hijab is Oppression or Freedom?Newspeak and the politics of fear

19 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Cultural affairs, Educational affairs, Fashion - Trends, Headlines - News, History, Juridical matters, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching

In Christianity pastors or preachers should be followers of Christ Jesus and spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Their first and most important book in their preaching should be the Greatest Book of all, the Bible.

It is not bad to look back at the several people who also tried to be a servant of Christ or to be a servant of God. But the main focus of the preaching may not be on the words of those previous preachers, but always should focus on the Words of God. Too often that is forgotten in several churches, where they shout only a few quotes from Scriptures and fill the main service with their own words and with music, in the hope to entertain the people in their church.

Today we have to ask all those elders, presbyters, expositors to come to preach That Most Important Word. all those who hope to have some mega church running should better remember those who did their best to bring the Word of God to the people: The evangelists in the Second and First Great Awakenings and the Reformers who preached the Word, like the apostle Paul preached followed Jesus who also preached the Word, him following Isaiah, Ezra and so many man of God who where not afraid to preach the Word of God.

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To remember

Martin Luther  = main spark to Protestant Reformation <=  95 Theses  > because the Word was unleashed.

William Tyndale, John Hus, + many others executed for translating or preaching the Word in people’s language.

Roman Catholic Church prevented Catholics from reading the Word themselves + from possessing a Bible > restricted for a thousand years.

Read word for soul’s health > solace

expository preaching > involves exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of Scripture => presenting meaning + intent of biblical text, providing commentary + examples => passage clear + understandable ==> expose meaning of the Bible, verse by verse.

 

Knowing the blood of the martyrs soaks the ground under thousands of stakes, how dare we insert our own words, opinions, fads, and stunts onto the pulpit? Men died for this Word to be preached. Jesus as the Word suffered and absorbed all God’s wrath for the elect so this word would go out and be preached.

 

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Further related

  1. The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching
  2. St. Luke: An Expositional and Devotional Commentary” by William Klock
  3. How Relevant is Your Church?
  4. 1810 5vols The Family Expositor or A Paraphrase and Version of the New Testament
  5. The Protestant Reformation and the Reformers: The Truth Restored
  6. Was the Reformers’ Gospel something new?
  7. A Swiss Reformer
  8. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  9. Scripture Alone, for the Reformers and us!

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Related articles

With the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation coming upon us October 31, many people are looking to history and learning Martin Luther and his the men that came before him.

Martin Luther is generally acknowledged to have been a main spark to the Protestant Reformation. Protestant comes from the word protest, which Luther’s 95 Theses sparked against the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses of indulgences (sin absolution for hire) and other abuses.

The Reformation didn’t happen because Martin Luther put the 95 Theses on the door to Wittenberg Chapel. It happened because the Word was unleashed. ~Mark McAndrew, North Avenue Church

Here, John MacArthur explains in a 1:33 clip How unhindered access to God’s Word changed history.

William Tyndale, John Hus, and many others were executed for translating or preaching the Word in the people’s language. The Roman Catholic Church prevented the Catholics from reading the Word themselves and…

View original post 597 more words

11 Comments

Filed under History, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

Since a year or five we do notice that the ten years of the growing ‘right’ has not only brought an aversion against immigrants and/or refugees. More and more the Jewish community became target of bullying and hate actions.

The deathly attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels was something which should have awaken the politicians. In Belgium the Jewish schools and centres could receive extra security measures from the Belgian government. That is nice but should be something that would not be necessary.

All over the West-side of the European continent we do see a growing resistance or hate against the choice of living of the Jews in Europe. Several young Jews found it already better to take everything together and to leave this part of the world to go to live in Israel, even when that meant also to go in the army for two years.

Many of us really wonder what we should do today in the face of global anti-Semitism?

There are those who still caution a “better to hush it up and make believe it isn’t there” policy. Giving it publicity, they claim, will only stoke the fire. A shrill response is counterproductive. When we show that we hurt, the argument goes, we’re giving our enemies comfort.
But they are wrong. They are as wrong as those in the early stages of the Holocaust who pretended not to see, who claimed Hitler can’t really be considered a threat, who were sure that the evil of Jew hatred was so obviously uncivilized and barbaric that it had no chance of succeeding. Wait it out, said those who counselled against protests, those who didn’t want to identify themselves as Jews with profound interest in saving their fellow Jews. It can’t happen here, they claimed. But it did – and they were proven wrong six million times over.

There are all too many Hamans today. Anti-Semites require the spotlight of our attention and the public scorn of our protests and demonstrations.

Today we see the growing  hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism as well as against Muslims, because of fundamentalist Muslims (Jihadists) defiling the Muslim faith and calling for a hate against Jews and non-believing people. It looks like we are also getting a revival of the rising nationalism like the one of the 19th century. Today we also see how the Roman Catholic Church, which in the 19th century sometimes subscribed to the idea of Jewish racial identity and sometimes denied it, like then not only fails to condemn European anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism, now the Muslim communities stayed too long silent condemning those Islamist fundamentalists who have nothing to do with real Islam. Balkans. Political/Physical map: regional, elevation.A problem by the Catholics is that in the East of Europe there are still some very right-wing priests and we must remember that in the Balkan several priests in the past had worked together with the Germans to get rid of the Jews. For Rabbi Giuseppe Laras this can well be the reason why the Catholic Church does not react stronger against the growing anti-semitism. He sees in it a continuation of a contempt towards the Jewish people that found genocidal expression during World War II, when Catholic Priests ran half the concentration camps in Fascist Croatia. Though we also should remember that this loathing also extended to Orthodox Christian Serbs, real or non-trinitarian Christians, like the Jehovah Witnesses, and also other minorities like the Roma who were slaughtered in these same camps by the hundreds of thousands.

By the threats of the jihadist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh or ISIS, and the big amount of refugees coming into Europe lots of poorer Europeans see their jobs threatened and are fearing they would loose out on them.

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need not only to shout out our pain, we should motivate others to open their eyes and to see what is going on. We have to call onto those who say they are lovers of God.

We need to assert our Jewish identity – not mask it – with increased passion and vigor. We need to make the elimination of anti-Semitism not simply a Jewish cause but the universal response to a heinous crime which for far too long has soiled the pages of history.

As we prepare to observe Purim this year, let us make the noise required to eradicate the genocidal ambitions of anti-Jewish hatred which still continue to plague us.

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference...

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, led by former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former US Secretary of States Colin Powell. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Preceding article

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

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Additional reading

  1. Religious Practices around the world
  2. Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp
  3. Migrants to the West #6
  4. 2014 European elections
  5. Hamas the modern Philistines
  6. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  7. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  8. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  9. French Muslims under attack
  10. At the closing hours of 2016 #1 Looking down at terror
  11. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  12. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  13. Objective views and not closing eyes for certain sayings
  14. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again

+++

Further reading

  1. Anti-Semitic threats towards Jewish Centers continue to rise in numbers
  2. anti-Semitism, the DNC, and Donald Trump
  3. Anti-Semitism row at Bristol University as lecturers rally round academic who claimed Jews should stop ‘privileging’ the Holocaust
  4. Jeffrey Goldberg on Mel Gibson: He is “Hollywood’s leading antisemite”
  5. This #Muslim interfaith activist knows more about #Zionism than most Jews
  6. France has passed the point of no return
  7. Far-right candidate sees a France sans kippas, headscarves — NZ Friends of Israel Association Inc
  8. Anti-Semites attack Philadelphia, USA Jewish cemetery
  9. Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia vandalized, more than 100 headstones toppled
  10. How has it come to this?
  11. Another day, another Muslim ban
  12. Meet ‘Based Stick Man,’ the Alt-Right’s LARP-y New Hero
  13. Mourning Oak Grove
  14. Israel: Boycotters are no longer welcome — Israel restricts visas — “If anyone insults us, we respond.”
  15. Israeli Apartheid Week in France — anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment has been high in France while Jews flee to the Israeli homeland — Under French law boycotting is illegal
  16. President Trump Vows to Give Up Denouncing Anti-Semitism for Lent
  17. In Israel, Lauding and Lamenting the Era of Trump
  18. American Liberal Jews: “staggeringly naive believing that marching at airports with signs that read “We love Muslims” will change those Muslims who hate Jews into Muslims who love Jews”
  19. Steve Cohen’s ‘That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic’
  20. Rochester Area JCC Re-Opens After Morning Bomb Threat
  21. A Sixth Wave Of Bomb Threats On Jewish Centers Also Targeted The Anti-Defamation League
  22. “The sad phenomenon of Jews accusing other Jews of provoking antisemitism can be found throughout Jewish history”
  23. Seattle Fed Says Kadima Purim Event Violates Promo Policy
  24. Donald Trump Is Not the “Least Anti-Semitic Person” Ever
  25. Switzerland funds NGOs that call for Israel’s destruction
  26. Glimmers of Hope
  27. Entire U.S. Senate Demands Trump Act on Jewish Center Threats
  28. The anti-Semitic Martin Luther
  29. So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head
  30. Tomb of Purim Heroes Esther and Mordechai Still Standing in Modern-Day Persia -Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.
  31. Why Is Purim Essential?
  32. Headlines — 3/08/17
  33. “If you talk privately to those who work in the Jewish organization world, many will confide that the greatest threat to the security of the American Jewish community is “changing demographics,” which is a euphemism for a growing population of Arab migrants to the United States”
  34. A Liberal Zionism for the Trump Era
  35. Cindy Jacobs Wants To “Harvest” The Jews
  36. Also in Media: “The View from Israel: The Inevitable Outcome of the Establishment of Palestine.”  March 7, 2017
  37. Anti-Semitism (by If we the people)
  38. Ilan Pappe asks “Am I an anti-Semite?”
  39. Four steps to reach mutual understanding
  40. In An Angry And Fearful Nation, An Outbreak Of Anti-Semitism (by K Street)
  41. Remembering Amalek’s oppression of us-and others
  42. Goucher’s Jewish community reacts to anti-Semitic attacks
  43. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  44. In an Angry and Fearful Nation, an Outbreak of Anti-Semitism (Reprint)
  45. The Story of Esther is Now
  46. United against Freedom…
  47. Activist: ‘Let’s free England from Jewish control’
  48. “A key teaching of the Book of Esther is that once the plague of Jew-hatred gets in the air, almost any environment can nourish it”
  49. Auschwitz
  50. Alternative Reality #5: Friends Indeed: Hoteps and Neo-Nazis Unite
  51. Islamophobia and its apologists
  52. Temple De Hirsch Hosts BDS Rabbi
  53. PewDiePie, Nazi?
  54. Show your love
  55. ADL plans Silicon Valley center to fight cyberhate
  56. A Sign That Reads ‘Beware of Jews’ Appeared in London
  57. Beware of Jews
  58. The Restless Ghosts of Baiersdorf
  59. Front National: Back to Holocaust Denial
  60. YouTube Grows a Spine
  61. Labour selects anti-Semite as New Plymouth candidate
  62. The enemy inside
  63. US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People’
  64. The Guardian: Why won’t YouTube and Google consider moderators to tackle online hate?
  65. What Type of Utopia Will Israel Be?
  66. Italian rabbis accuse biblical conference of fueling anti-Judaism
  67. 167 House members ask Trump to retain ambassador to combat anti-Semitism
  68. US Muslim vets vow to protect Jewish communities
  69. Jews Support Muslims against Trump’s border closure
  70. Organizations call for Sebastian Gorka resignation for ties to far-right group
  71. On anti-Semitism, anti-Islam and fictitious alliances in U.S.
  72. Money Sought To Protect Jewish Schools
  73. Praying for an anti- anti-Semitic Awakening
  74. Alliel – A Window Into Tribal Arrogance
  75. Jewish mentality: Charging Palestinians millions of dollars to have their homes demolished
  76. Culture Clashes Real and Imagined
  77. The Old Man and the Tortoise
  78. The Goy According To Hoenlein
  79. Lost Tribes of Israel, Blood and History
  80. Sanctuary: An Interfaith Movement
  81. Vienna – 1938
  82. Come in, Come in
  83. Not That Jewish
  84. Why Call it Judaism? The Case for Humanistic Judaism
  85. Legitimacy: the Struggle of Progressive Judaism
  86. Is Pope Francis ushering in a revival of Catholic anti-Semitism as it seeks to ally itself with Islam? Prominent Italian Rabbi Giuseppe Laras sounds the alarm
  87. Sermon: Anti-Semitism: Do We Have a Problem?

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Inquisition also bad for Jews

A Catholic bishop granting plenary indulgences for the public during times of calamity. Note the almsgiving in the background. Wall Fresco by Italian Artist Lorenzo Lotto, Suardi, Italy, circa 1524.

The Roman Catholic Pope in the 1200s was annoyed that there where people who called themselves Christians but did not want to worship Jesus as their god. Those true Christians said there was only One God, Who is one, and which was not the god of the Catholic Church but the God of Israel. This was a blow in the face of the Roman Catholic Church which also could see a lot of money not coming in their hands because those Christians who refused to worship the Trinity also said that people paid for their sins by their death and not by ecclesiastical indulgences.

The Pope not pleased with those lay preachers who could undermine his establishment got enough clergy interested to battle those who had other thoughts than they. He established the “Holy Inquisition Against Depraved Heresy” to deal with breakaway ‘Christian sects’. At first it was a judicial procedure set to be able to judge all sorts of people who did not want to go with the Roman Catholic Church. But later an institution was established by the papacy and, sometimes, by secular governments to combat heresy and to act like we now see Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL or Daesh, Boko Haram and other fundamentalist Islamic groups to press what they believe would be the only true faith everybody had to have.

First being relatively powerless, as secular rulers, suspicious of Papal meddling in their own internal affairs, did not allow it access to their countries, in a period of more than 200 years, very few heretics were burned at the stake. In 1481, at the peak of the Ottoman power, however, after extracting a promise from the Pope that the Inquisition would remain under the Crown’s control, thus ensuring that confiscated assets of heretics would revert to the throne, Ferdinand and Isabella established the Inquisition in Seville (Reconquista). While it is commonly assumed that the Inquisition was brought to Spain out of a concern that Jews were trying to influence conversos to leave the Christian fold, one prominent historian is of the opinion that by 1481 Jewish consciousness was virtually nonexistent among the conversos, and that Jews did not attempt any such outreach. Rather, he believes, the Inquisition was an outgrowth of the attitudes of Spain’s Old Christian population. In the words of one Spanish historian,

“The Inquisition was a genuine expression of the soul of the Spanish people.”

When we hear about the Inquisition we most often do not think of the Jews, with good reason, because most damage was done to sincere godly people who had taken Jesus as the son of God and their saviour and not as their god. Though the horrible action taken by the Roman Catholics, undertaken in the twelfth century and following centuries to find “Christian heretics” who would be punished or killed, had her eyes also set on the Jewish community. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract “confessions.”

These coming weeks we also remember how this coming up time to Pesach was a very dangerous time for Jews, because they could be caught cleaning their houses and linen and buying vegetables before Pesach, blessing children without making the sign of the cross, fasting on Yom Kippur, and refraining from work on the Sabbath.

Interestingly enough, Jews who never converted to Christianity were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, and could practice their religion freely and openly. It was only conversos who were considered heretics for forsaking the Christian creed and practising Judaism. Worse for the Catholic Church was that some of those converts did not become a Catholic but accepted rabbi Jeshua as the Messiah, the son of God but not a god son, like the Roman Catholics did. Those having gone in the water to become a Baptist, became with that group a target for prosecution, according to the Roman Catholics being a dangerous ‘cult’ and with other protestants to be removed from this earth.

Marranos: Secret Seder in Spain during the times of inquisition, an 1892 painting by Moshe Maimon

Mainly because of persecution, Muslims and Jews in Spain at that time found it socially, politically, and economically expedient to convert to Catholicism, but where not really practising that faith and at home kept their ow practice of faith. In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim (who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will) or Marranos, who converted to the Christian faith to escape persecution but who continued to practice Judaism secretly, but over the years spread to many countries. The Spanish Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Sevilla in Southern Spain.

All sorts of torture where good for the unsparing cruel fanatics, of which many also set their eyes on the Jews and certain Christian groups or monasteries their assets.

Differently with the present day inquisition groups of Islam the Roman Catholic Church did not want to spill blood, but only “save souls”. For not having their clergy to become accused for having blood on their hands they made use of civilians and secular authorities for the many executions, whereby they found it was best to use bloodless deaths, such as strangling and burning alive.

For ISIS the colour today is orange, but at that time the condemned people wore yellow sanbenitos, cloaks, with red crosses and the letter X painted on them. Those given the death penalty wore tunics with paintings of flames and devils. The procession marched through the town to the burning area where the judges sat. The cases involving lesser penalties were judged first, then those receiving strangulation before burning, and finally those condemned to be burned alive.

The first auto-de-fe was held in 1481, and the last in 1731, an old woman who was accused of

“being influenced by the Devil, after which she laid eggs with prophecies written on them.”

Torquemada.jpg

Tomás de Torquemada (Thomas of Torquemada) Castilian Dominican friar, and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain’s movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as “The Spanish Inquisition.” (Wikipedia)

In 1483, Queen Isabella’s personal confessor, the Dominican priest Tomas de Torquemada, was appointed head of the Inquisition. Of converso origin, Torquemada was a fanatic Jew-hater who was wholly incorruptible. He was convinced that only the total expulsion of the Jews from Spain could end Jewish influence in the national life.

Torquemada did not cut the grass from under the Jews’ feet and quickly began taking steps to weaken the unconverted Jewish community and eventually expel it from Spain. In 1485, he forced all rabbis, under pain of death, to report conversos who were practising Judaism, and to pronounce a rabbinic curse on any Jew who failed to notify the Inquisition of such behaviour. This cruel edict badly split the Jews of Spain. Alarmed by the greatly increasing power of the Inquisition, that year a group of conversos plotted to kill the inquisitor of Saragossa, Pedro de Arbues, hoping to begin a popular uprising against the Inquisition. However, the assassination had the opposite effect. The townspeople were enraged, rampaging through the streets, killing many conversos. All the conspirators were caught and executed, and the Inquisition grew even stronger.

Purity of faith became the national policy of the Catholic sovereigns, and thus came about the final tragedy, the edict of expulsion of all the Jews from Spain on March 31, 1492. Portugal promulgated an edict of expulsion in 1497 and Navarre in 1498. It was under de Torquemada his guidance that the Inquisition became such a terrifying institution, amassing enormous assets confiscated from its victims, much of it used to finance the war to conquer the last Muslim stronghold of Granada.

In 1680, the most spectacular of all autos-de-fe was held to celebrate the wedding of King Carlos and his bride. At that time, the Inquisition spread to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New and Old Worlds, with victims burned in Havana, Cuba; Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Goa, India. After 350 years, the Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834, the year the Liberal Wars ended in Portugal and pro-republic uprising fails in Piedmont. In all, more than 400,000 people were accused of heresy, with 30,000 of those put to death.

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Please do read:

The Spanish Inquisition by Yosef Eisen

Books on Conversos a listing by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  3. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  4. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform

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Further reading

  1. Individuality in the Age of Heresy
  2. Say it in Latin, Mortui Vivos Docent
  3. A Jolly Old Pope
  4. Moors in the Occitan
  5. Inquisitively Questioning Inquisition
  6. The Papacy: Inception to Inquisitions End
  7. Does torture work
  8. A Tribute to Galileo
  9. The Memoirs of Luis Carvajal
  10. Millions Executed During The Inquisition?
  11. The Spanish Inquisition According to Mel Brooks
  12. Silence (Scorsese; 2016)
  13. And of These Chains
  14. Anti Hindu Laws in the Christian State set up by the Portuguese in Goa
  15. Anne Brenon: Les Cathares
  16. Basque Country – Following The Converso Escape Route
  17. Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism
  18. Granada, Spain – The End of Sephardic Jewry
  19. Returning to Egypt: Conversos who Returned to Spain and Portugal
  20. Books on Conversos
  21. A Conversation between the Spice Trader’s Daughter and her Lover, a Fortnight after She Burned at the Stake
  22. When will the Catholic Church apologise for the Goa Inquisition? – Shefali Vaidya
  23. Vatican has never apologised for its crimes, and will not apologise for the Goa Inquisition – Aravindan Neelakandan
  24. Books on the Inquisition
  25. Another book about the Inquisition in France…imagine!
  26. Book Review: The Shadow of the Cross
  27. The Ancien Régime was Less Bloody than the Enlightened World
  28. Inquisition 2015
  29. Going Back in Time
  30. Inquisition: la torture
  31. Spare a prayer
  32. Inquisition 
  33. Plausible Deniability, the Jesuits and Citizen Cain – Missionaries of The Anti-Christ
  34. The 2nd Amendment and The Inquisition
  35. The Elder
  36. The world order inquisition
  37. Jihad in the cause of Allah – Maria Wirth
  38. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Sephardic Roots
  39. Feelings in a nutshell
  40. Who we are (Inq worldpeace)

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Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

Today lots of people tend to treat things such as Christmas trees and holiday gift giving as if they’ve been with us forever. While these are old traditions, they were once far more localized. In this world of media everywhere, we tend to forget that customs were once far more specific to the area. Lots of people also have lost the connection of those festivals and have transposed it to their group of people, believers or non-believers in Jesus Christ or in God.

From the Saxon days there was Yule for mid-winter and in the regions of West Europe the autumn storm brought many ideas alive to think about gods who controlled everything in nature. The days becoming darker demanded for and still demand for some more light bringing into it. In the old times to honour the gods it was custom to put all sorts of things in the trees as an offering to the gods. On December the 25th it was the day of the goddess of light. Time was taken to celebrate her.

Traditional Christmas card with holly and mistletoe. Circa 1880s

Druids, Celts, and even the Romans used evergreen branches made into wreaths in winter solstice celebrations. Because so many things lost colour and seemed to have died people looked up for those elements in nature which could be so strong that they stayed green. Pagan symbols as holly and ivy remained green and were taken as a promise of life to return in dead of winter. Holly – prized for its ability to bear fruit in winter and its healing uses – were the blessings people hoped they could have in the house and share with each other. Healing elements were very important to get through Winter.

While the Romans were holding the feast for the god Saturn — which occurred about the time of the winter solstice — they decked the outsides of their houses with holly. At the same time the Christians were quietly celebrating the birth of Christ, and to avoid detection they outwardly followed the custom of their heathen neighbours and decked their houses with holly as well. In this way holly came to be connected with Christmas customs. The plant was also regarded as a symbol of the Resurrection.

The missionaries coming in these regions quickly understood how the pagan traditions were so strong and how people would not like to give them up. This we still see today happening. As Christians should come to know more about traditions and about usages all over the world, plus having the Holy Scriptures to find what they could or could not do, we see that those who call themselves Christian still do not like to give up those pagan traditions and pagan festivals.

The Roman Catholic Church had already given in to Constantine the Great allowing the false teaching of the trinity be part of the Catholic Faith, so it was a further small step to adapt the Western Celtic and Saxon traditions to the Roman Faith. In 336 CE, during the time of this so called  first Christian Roman Emperor for the first time on December 25th “Christmas” was being celebrated.

A very early Christian tradition said that March 25th was the day when Mary was told she’d give birth to Jesus (called the Annunciation). And nine months later, of course, would be December 25th. But the Bible doesn’t mention the exact days of that annunciation, nor of the birth of Jesus, though from all the secular writings we do know when the cencus took place, when the falling star appeared and that it was in October that Mary and Joseph went to fulfil their duties. We can take it was in 4BCE on October the 17th that rabbi Jeshua from the tribe of King David was born. For those who would love to celebrate his birthday it is strange that they than not do this around the period Jesus was rally born.

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican...

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican in which Jesus = Mithras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is true that in many cultures we can find a festival of lights, also the Jews have such a festival of lights. Germans and Scandinavians had their yule festival. Celtic legends connected the solstice with Balder, the Scandinavian sun god or Norse god of light, son of the chief god Odin and his wife Frigg, who was struck down by a mistletoe arrow from the blind god Hödur (or Höd). At the pagan festival of Saturnalia, Romans feasted and gave gifts to the poor. Drinking was closely connected with these pagan feasts.

The Babylonian sun-god and god of agriculture and flocks, Tammuz, lover of Ishtar, born on the winter solstice according to legend was also celebrated on December the 25th and by the Roman Catholic Church his symbol was taken as the symbol for Jesus (the sign of Tammuz or the cross), placing Jesus as the bringer of light and god of light.

The leaders of the instituted organisation of clergy who accepted the trinity, agreed to adopted the saturnalia day of the ‘day of birth’ or ‘day of new life’ as a remembrance day of the new life Jesus has given to all mankind. For them it was easier to get more converts by keeping the folks from indulging in the old pagan festivals as part of the pagan culture, now transformed or redressed in a Roman Catholic dressing.

Branches that had thorns became to be the thorns Christ wore on the crucifix (sign of Tammuz) and the berries were stained red by his drops of blood. From the Norse and the Druids, the Mistletoe you may find growing here everywhere and at that time was considered special because of it found growing on the sacred oaks, was featured in several old myths and held to be sacred and associated with fertility, which led to kissing boughs.

Also today at the Christmas markets we can find the gangway where there is the kissing bough custom one holds that a woman who refuses the kiss shall have bad luck, and that those who kiss underneath it shall be having a blessed and fruitful year.

Not all the following years Christmas was part of Christian life. During Cromwell’s rule, Christmas was even banned. Charles II restored the holiday in England. However, the Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, to purge the church “of all superstitious observation of days”, and it was not restored as a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.

Julbocken, by John Bauer (1912)

From the 4th to the 19th century the tradition of the Northern people their celebration for their chief god and the father of Thor, (Thunor, or Thonar), Balder, and Tiw, Woden or Wotan became more and more also liked by the people from Holland and Belgium and the man with a long white beard who rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn became their Sint Niklaas (Sinterklaas) or Sint Nicholas  (saint Nicholas) and in the Anglo Saxon countries Father Christmas or Santa Claus/Sancta Claus.

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus

From the 20th century onward that Father Christmas started gaining more popularity and the presents became more and more the focus of the people for that season were the darkness seemed to have darkened their Christian sight. Lots of Christians enjoyed decorating the ‘Christmas tree‘ and telling their children the Saint from Spain had brought presents for all those who had behaved well the previous year. Later in the month it was the Santa who once more brought presents in the house.

History illustrates the awesome outworking of initial events from when the Divine Creator has declared

Zephaniah 1:17-18 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  “And I shall bring distress on men, and they shall walk like blind men – because they have sinned against יהוה  {Jehovah}, and their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.”  (18)  Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of יהוה  {Jehovah}. And by the fire of His jealousy all the earth shall be consumed, for He makes a sudden end of all those who dwell in the earth.

This comes from the Christadelphian bible reading for December 15 when we started reading this short and somewhat overlooked prophecy of Zephaniah. He would have been one of the prophets Peter referred to, as we read the final chapter of his second letter of the same day-reading, he told them they should remember

2 Peter 3:2 The Scriptures 1998+  (2)  the words previously spoken by the set-apart prophets, and of the command of the Master and Saviour, spoken by your emissaries,

Today we may find lots of people who have stress about the coming days when they have to present nice meals and many presents and have to fulfil many family visits and social obligations. Their eyes are closed for the real issue in life. Not a Santa shall bring salvation and he from the North has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the many Christmas markets we even do not see much what reminds us of the Saviour who was sent by God to this earth.

Ages ago holy prophets told about the eyes of people which would become blinded. Today we

“should remember their predictions

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding...

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding on a goat. Perhaps an evolved version of the Swedish Tomte. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We also should remember that they also warned for the time that scoffers were going to come and would lead people following their own sinful desires. About the promised one who was born, lived for a very short time here on earth, died, was resurrected from the dead and showed that he was not a spirit, but the one brought back alive by his heavenly Father, that master teacher is not remembered much these days and many do not think about his return or even do not believe in it.

Yes many laugh at us and say,

“Where is the promise of his coming?”

Many children have to promise their parents that they will be good next year. Then they also will get some present. But not many children learn about that man who died for our sins. Not many take time in this ‘Time of the year’ to read the Bible and to meditate on what God and his son Jesus had to say.

Today lots of people are concentrating on their self and do see all those refugees coming in our regions as a possible threat to what they can enjoy. Many are afraid they shall have to share with those poor people who travelled thousands of miles to find their luck in our Western world where money seems to flow like moulted butter.

Many people do not see what is really going on and how those set apart men of God had warned for certain situations we can see today. Also Jesus told about the signs of those days we have today. That time Jesus spoke about, may be much closer than many think. Many are blinded by the money this world is offering. Lots of people think everything can be said with presents and with the value of money. The real value for life they often do not see. Capitalism has put sand in their eyes.

The ways of godless thinking and living will be seen for all the foolishness they are; and we must never forget, there are only 2 ways: the broad way and the narrow way. Those on the narrow way are

2 Peter 3:12-15 The Scriptures 1998+  (12)  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of Elohim, through which the heavens shall be destroyed, being set on fire, and the elements melt with intense heat!  (13)  But according to His promise we wait for a renewed heavens and a renewed earth in which righteousness dwells.  (14)  So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,  (15)  and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him,

“waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (verses 13,14).

Included in what they (we) are waiting for, is what Job perceived and that we read today. He declared,

I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (19:25-27).

He believed in resurrection!

That final comment is most thought provoking. Our hearts will be in danger of fainting within us for multiple reasons, when God “bring(s) distress” – the experience will be awesome for believers! But how imminent then will be the time when they will “see God” through seeing his Son, marvelling in anticipation of the ultimate time when

God himself will be with them as their God … for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3,4).

Let us anticipate in faith the things that “our eyes shall behold” to carry us through the coming time of “distress”.

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Additional reading

  1. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  2. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  3. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  4. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  5. Focus on outward appearances
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  7. Christmas in Ancient Rome (AKA Saturnalia)
  8. Christmas trees
  9. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  12. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  13. The imaginational war against Christmas
  14. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  15. Manna from Sint Nicholas
  16. Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands
  17. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  18. Sancta Claus is not God
  19. Brits believe Santa present at Jesus’ birth, new poll reveals
  20. Wishing lanterns and Christmas

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Further reading

  1. Winter Solstice and Yule
  2. Yule is upon us!
  3. Dickens’ Christmas Story as an Intertexteme in Leskov’s Yule Short Story
  4. Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule
  5. Commercialmas
  6. Yule 2015 #15 performing magic
  7. Yule 2015#16
  8. A radiant vision of splendour
  9. Yule prep
  10. Yule Wreath and Garland
  11. 13 Trolls
  12. War Against Christmas?
  13. Holiday King of the Hill
  14. SGC Admin: From our inbox to you from: Patti Wigington: Paganism/Wicca Expert
  15. Yule – Wicca subject of the week
  16. Happy Yule 2015
  17. How to bring some real Christmas spirits into your Yule-tide
  18. 10 Ways to Celebrate Yule
  19. Santa Claus, Krampus,The Wild Hunt and Me.
  20. Vigil
  21. Use Yule Bells For Positive Energy
  22. Irish Christmas
  23. Christmas, the Weridest Holiday of the Year; Part one
  24. Holly Tree
  25. Holly, Plant of Saturn and Mars
  26. Symbol of Yule: Holly Mistletoe and Bayberry Candles
  27. Memories of Yuletide
  28. A Little history on the holly tree
  29. Let It Be Done Unto Me
  30. Annunciation
  31. Annunciation: a reflection for Advent
  32. This Annunciation
  33. The Annunciation, according to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
  34. Tuesday 15th December
  35. Wednesday Writings – Annunciation
  36. Mary’s Heart
  37. Angels & Advent: In His Shadow – a sermon podcast
  38. And the virgin’s name was Mary
  39. Angels of Advent: Encountering the Annunciation
  40. Somersaults /Wednesday, December 9, 2015
  41. Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
  42. Mary and a “Yes” to God’s Request
  43. Joseph’s Pregnant Advent
  44. The Overshadowing of Mary –Pentecost
  45. Christmas
  46. Saturnalia
  47. From Sukkot to Saturnalia: The Attack on Christmas in Sixteenth-Century..
  48. Togas, Laurels, Chariots and Some Roast Lambs’ Testicles
  49. Countdown to Christmas 17: Saturnalia
  50. Saturnalia Is a Fleadh by Another Name. Just Don’t Tell Jerry Buttimer
  51. By Jove! It’s Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor Appropriate..
  52. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  53. War On Christmas Memes: The Yule Tree
  54. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  55. Geranium Lake Properties, Saturn and Sol
  56. Advent Calendar Day 15: Christmas: The Perfect Excuse For A Fight? by Lucy Brazier
  57. Pig Washing 1, “Christmas”
  58. Christmas is Pagan!
  59. Christmas — Who gives a rip HOW we came up with the date we use?!?
  60. Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?

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