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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday message-getting to the point

Stop me if you've heard this one (not really), but last night I had yet another Facebook debate with a brother from another denomination.  What group or what the debate was on doesn't really matter.  It ended in (I hope) amicable disagreement, and I went to bed.  I turned on my radio.  And on the radio, a preacher named RC Sproul was debating another facet of the difference between the non-denominational (for lack of a better term, because we all have some form of the term attached to us) and my FB brother's denomination.  Which, in the beginning, encouraged me in my "rightness of points made" in our debate.  As he went on though, and no offense to his preaching because he was extremely well researched in the topic, I began to hear Charlie Brown's teacher going "wah wah wah wah WAH".

Rather than continue trying to trip over myself to keep it anonymous, my FB brother and Sproul's target were both the Catholic Church.  And I bring that up not to start "another Catholic bashing post", but so it makes sense when I say that Sproul was using the language of the Church (the actual Church laws in their Latin titles) in his debate.  And to an extent, I said to myself, "All that doing that is accomplishing is making it easier to split hairs."  Because, for a true believer, a lot of the Catholic/Protestant debate is no more than that.  But I only took it to an extent, and turned off the radio convinced I had just been vindicated in my points to my Brother.

Which I was, but...

When I woke up too early and turned on the radio again, another preacher was discussing Philippians 3:

Php 3:12  Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 
Php 3:13  Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before, 
Php 3:14  I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
Php 3:15  Then as many as are perfect, let us be of this mind; and if you think anything differently, God will also reveal this to you. 

This preacher made two points germane to this post.  The first was, Paul had now been preaching for thirty years, and admitted HE wasn't where he needed to be,  Which took me back to last night and both the debate and the sermon.  And that the only way to get there was, like a runner, to focus on what lie ahead- the prize.  "When you are a runner, you cannot look down at your feet, lest you trip and fall; nor at the runner on your side, because in doing so, the runner on the other side might overtake you.  You have to stay focused straight ahead."

And that's when the ol' "apply it to yourself" instinct kicked in and I saw why I had tuned in to Sproul's broadcast. We are acting like runners looking at the guy next to us, splitting hairs instead of focusing on the prize.  And the prize is this:

Rom 10:9  Because if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 

And all the rest is "wah wah wah wah wah WAH".  Or as one of the other commenters pointed out most excellently:

We as Christians know through the Word that this is accomplished on the Cross by Jesus. Going to the Blessed Mother brings comfort to the troubled Roman Catholic conscience, just as Sola Scripture does for the Confessional Lutheran. In either of these churches, and many others that proclaim the Word and properly administer the Sacraments, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the promise of life eternal. Of what importance is anything else?

The other part with relevance to this post in the passage in Philippians is the last verse.  The preacher pointed out that he believed that this was a bit of sarcasm on Paul's part to the Judaizers who thought they had the PERFECT way, that eventually God would show them where they were wrong.  Because we're ALL wrong somewhere.  Sometimes it is from our limited ability to comprehend.  Calvin had his iron view of predestination because, IMHO, he couldn't conceive of a God big enough to stand OUTSIDE of time and space.  Unitarians (and others) have a hard time with the Trinity, overlooking the simple concept that a) we are made in God's Image; b) we are body, mind, and spirit; and c) the logical following that God is thus "body, mind, and spirit", in a way we have trouble grasping.  I have trouble conceiving the need to pray to Mary, despite my Catholic upbringing, because of my own relationship with Jesus.

When I explain something to KC, I don't explain it the same way I would to Laurie, or Shenan... or you.  Why do we limit God by insisting He be explained the same way- or explains HIMSELF the same way- to everyone?  As long as the focus remains Romans 10:9, the rest is just "looking at the runner beside you."


    I agree with some of what you've written here, and I also disagree with some of it.

    As for the Catholic thing, I think I can sum up my view quickly and concisely:

    I do not have a problem with the average Catholic. I do have a problem with the Catholic Church. (Mother Teresa was a Catholic. Mother Teresa eclipsed my own Spiritual walk by leaps and bounds. The Catholic Church, however, has many problems, both in Scriptural teachings and in business.)

    As for the Trinitarian view, you already know I disagree. In the past, I recommended you read the book ONE GOD & ONE LORD. I recommend that still. You might be surprised to find just how strong the anti-Trinitarian evidence is. And even if it doesn't change your view (and I doubt it will), at least you will have learned most of the major and minor Biblical interpretations that we anti-Trinitarians use to base our belief upon.

    In short I will say that, yes, we were created in God's image, but our bodies are not permanent - they pass away - from dust to dust. The Image we were created By and In and Of is purely Spiritual Consciousness. There is no physical body. So, in my opinion, the body, mind, spirit argument is not sound as evidence for the Trinitarian concept.

    Anyway, no point in us debating this. But I do urge you to read that book and see (to a significant degree) where I and others are coming from on the question of the Trinity.

    Yak Later...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. "Anyway, no point in us debating this. .."

      Yep, and you know how against my nature it is to walk away from such a juicy debate. But, since the only thing it would prove is that ONE of us probably needs to apply that last verse from Philippians more better, I am going to stay faithful to the post above.

      And as a former Catholic, I agree completely with your first point.

      So, all together, I say, "At least I know you are focused foreward!" I'm certain we can meet up in heaven and dope out the details.

    2. >>... you know how against my nature it is to walk away from such a juicy debate.

      Not necessarily.

      I believe there is an inherent value in seeking to increase our knowledge simply for the sake of increased knowledge. I believe that making every attempt to gather as much information as possible and weighing it objectively in an effort to conform our beliefs as closely as possible to the truth is a worthy endeavor.

      That is why I have always evaluated BOTH sides of every disagreement after collecting as much credible information as possible and then weighing it in an intellectually honest way.

      As a result of this, I have had to change my views on several things over the decades as I came to learn that I had either not gathered enough information originally, or had not correctly interpreted the information that was before me. So, challenging my own belief system and being willing to alter it even after I thought it had been set in stone is something I can honestly say I've done, even when it's caused me embarrassment in having to openly admit that I'd been wrong before, and wrong for some time.

      Perhaps I'm mistaken, CW, but your response to me here left me with the feeling that you have zero intention of ever looking into the information contained in the book I recommended, 'ONE GOD & ONE LORD'.

      If that's so, please let me know and I'll try to remember not to mention it again anytime in the future when this topic of the Trinity comes up (which it likely will again at some point).

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    3. Actually you took me wrong. You see, the Martin genetic code is much like "Arguing the Facebook way." IOW, an often unproductive restating of all previous positions. I did hit the link and read the review therein. I cannot say for sure whether I would ever purchase the book, but am curious. My thing, though is the statement, "Before Abraham was, I AM." I've never seen a need to question that.

      I just know that we can both be a bit stubborn in closely-held beliefs and would rather not fight the battle with you. Learn from you, hear your opinions on, yes; but I know you know where my belief on the subject comes from, and didn't want to rehash. So any time you want to post up something more in depth here (with the understanding I will look into and refute if necessary/possible), feel free.

      I just spent a good deal of time this weekend dealing with misguided individuals on this and other subjects, and didn't want to "turn the wrath" on, Okay?

    4. I just saw your reply come up in my Email system, so I figured I'd respond now, while the topic's still warm, but (breathe easy) this will be my final post on this thread.

      The book would not necessarily need to be purchased. I imagine it's probably available free through a library exchange program. (I read the book some years ago, borrowing it from my friend Br'er Marc.)

      In my last comment I was making the case that I am NOT stubborn in closely held beliefs, but always open to changing my mind when better evidence or a better interpretation comes to me. The fact that I've changed previous closely held beliefs on important matters proves that I am not stubborn to the point of refusing to consider the other person's best evidence.

      >>... So any time you want to post up something more in depth here (with the understanding I will look into and refute if necessary/possible), feel free.

      I won't be doing that because I could write an entire book on the subject, but that would be reinventing the wheel because that book already exists - the book I linked you to.

      (Plus, I've noticed in the past that even well thought-out, highly-detailed examinations of non-mainstream Spiritual views usually get ignored rather than honestly discussed and considered. I'm not referring to you specifically with this, because I don't think you're aware of it, but years ago I posted a multi-part blog bit at 'Stuffs' where I examined Biblical evidence for reincarnation. My mainstream Christian friends never even considered it enough to question me further about it and engage in an honest discussion. I think it challenged their closely held, previously etched-in-stone belief system, so they tuned out and pretended that all that strong evidence I presented did not really exist. Stuck head in sand and fingers in ears and said "La!-La!-La!-La!" as loudly as possible.)

      As for the quote about Abraham, it's probably dealt with in 'ONE GOD & ONE LORD', although I can't remember for sure. However, that book is massive - could strike a person in the head with it and kill them - and covers nearly every verse that Trinitarians use in defense of their position, so it's probably covered in that tome.

      But I can say right now that The Bible seems to say to me that Jesus was the first of God's Creations, and in some way that we can't really comprehend, everything else that God created was somehow created THROUGH Jesus. Therefore, I don't believe that the single verse, "Before Abraham was, I Am", in any way proves the Trinitarian concept.

      So, anyway, this has been my final remarks on the topic. Peace out, Bro.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    5. Just sayin, not sayin' la la la. But in respect to your above, no further comment.

  2. "I do not have a problem with the average Catholic. I do have a problem with the Catholic Church. (Mother Teresa was a Catholic. Mother Teresa eclipsed my own Spiritual walk by leaps and bounds. The Catholic Church, however, has many problems, both in Scriptural teachings and in business.)"

    I don't think that could be said better,to be honest. All I will add is this, why do we have to be part of specific religion? Why can't we believe in Christ but not conform to a specific "brand" set up hundred, if not thousands of years ago?

    1. I've been a Catholic, a Baptist, and am currently an unchurched non-denom. And I think the answer- and it's not a good one- is that this is 21-st century America, and everything must have a label. Because society tells us so.

  3. I agreed more then I didn't agree but you are a wise man and say some insightful things and I am always glad I came for a visit

    1. Not so much a wise man as one that God wakes up at 5 AM that I may pass what He teaches me on to you. But, even though I'm not a dreidel, I'm glad you gave me a spin!

  4. Chris:
    An excellent discourse, and some very compelling comments.
    I've known my share of Catholics and been to many services (high mass is a gas...great choral music, nice incense, love the pomp, even if it doesn't "really" apply to me, personally).

    I also think what constitutes the "church" is the BIG issue these days, and with MANY of the religions.
    I think the TRUE church (of Christ) starts in the heart and mind (first and foremost), and can't really be corralled into anything that's solely "brick and mortar"..

    Always good to see honest debate on a subject that is often woefully misunderstood and misinterpreted.
    NONE of us have ALL the answers, and I think it's supposed to be that way for a reason.
    (a GOOD reason at that)

    Stay safe up there.