Wow.

What games are you playing? This can be anywhere from card to video games. And for the online gamers, you might find some company as well.

Re: Wow.

Postby camper on Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:27 pm

You didnt...I just haven't had time to respond yet...will when I get a chance to do it right, you made good points.

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Re: Wow.

Postby andrwfields on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:47 am

First of all, agreed. Wow. I know this really isn't the subject of the post anymore, but why not! :lol:

Camper wrote:What it all comes down to, is people do not want to be told they don't/you shouldn't/thats wrong/stop/etc to something they WANT to do, and if being Christian means they cant smoke pot, they cant have sex with whoever they want, pornography is wrong, getting drunk every friday is wrong, living with your boyfriend is not a good idea, nudie bars are bad, homosexuality (real or fasionable type) is a no-no, you shouldn't swear, gambling is bad, stealing is wrong, etc then they're instantly at odds with becoming a Christian if they enjoy and/or want to do the above...

So when a church decideds to go after Harry Potter, they're really starting small so as not to rock the boat, because if they pastor gets up and says "Anyone here having sex outside of marriage, doing drugs, committing adutery, lying, cheating, or stealing, needs to get up and leave right now if they are not willing to begin changing today" will have an almost empty church and he knows it. And, so does the world.


I start by saying, like Sam, this is all in debate. Not an attack on you, Dan.

As Christians, what's wrong with being told what we shouldn't do? Yeah, I don't like hearing it. I don't like taking out the garbage either, but you won't see mountains of trash sitting in my house. These are just things that have to be done.

Why can't a pastor say "Anyone here having sex outside of marriage, doing drugs, committing adultery, lying, cheating, or stealing, needs to get up and leave right now if they are not willing to begin changing today"? Cowardice. That's why. If he, like you claim all Christians should, wants to so badly be separated from the world, then why is he not willing to let the world separate? It's not that easy. We HAVE to be in this world and mix with it. That doesn't mean we do all of those evil things. It just means that we put ourselves out there so other people can see Christ in us.

I see so little of Jesus in a t-shirt or somebody always talking about church. I see it in the guy who not only tithes, but gives money to the starving family living at the homeless shelter. I see it in the woman who is an accountant by day, and a foster mom to kids not even related to her by night. I see it in the guy who is willing to give up everything he has to work with some kids after school, so they're not out on the streets doing drugs. These people look just like everyone else. It is in their actions that we see Christ.

As for this Harry Potter business. How many of you read and liked the Odyssey?

You're going to hell.

That book teaches us about Greek and Roman mythology and mythical creatures that in no way can exist. By reading that story, by reading a Steven King novel, by reading the Lord of the Rings, by reading Gone with the Wind, or ANY other book of fiction, we are condemned by association.

Okay, maybe, just maybe, Harry Potter didn't teach us how to cast a spell. The story-line says we have to be accepted to a special school, given a wand, and know all the proper hand movements and incantations. No kid in the world meets that criteria. Steven King didn't tell us how to use superpowers given to us from aliens. J.R.R Tolkien didn't tell us how to find Middle Earth, and Gone with the Wind... (Actually, I don't have a clue what that story was about. But you get where I was going with it, right?) These books just taught us to use our imagination. To dream. There isn't one Christian reference in LoTR, yet nobody is going to dispute that Tolkien was a Christian alongside his best friend, C.S. Lewis.

You want the sources of what causes people to "practice" Wicca or claim that there is no God? I'll give you a hint, it starts with "http://www..." Our youth spends so much time on the internet and watching TV. Who's protesting that? Who's getting upset when they're kid stumbles across that website causing them to question their faith? Who's doing something about it?

Google search a fun Christian website. Good luck.
Try to get your child to be interested in TBN at all. You're kidding right?

Stop pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong, get up off your crapper, and do something right. A start in the right direction would be realizing that you're not going to find the material in a "iPray" "He Saved Mii" or "Pray Hard" t-shirt, or in one of those lousy Bibleman videos.

*For the Record* Wicca has more in common with Vegans that is does with Harry Potter. Hillshire Farms! Go MEAT! :lol:
"...An Apology. If you met me between 1987 and 2005 and I told you, "I'll pray for you," that was a lie. Never happened. I probably didn't pray for you. And that's not cool." - Prodigal Jon from StuffChristiansLike.blogspot.com
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Re: Wow.

Postby Darko on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:52 am

camper wrote:The only way you can tell a great many christians apart from non christians these days, is only by a t-shirt and the off-handed remarks about church.


I agree entirely with what you're saying here, but, as per usual, our theological opinions diverge at this point. Because I don't think people should know we are Christian by our staunch obedience or our legalism or our perfection. Of course there are certain rules which Jesus asks us to follow, but that's not what we're supposed to be known for. That's what the Pharisees made themselves known for. Here's what we're supposed to be known for:

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.


Perfection was never a requirement for being Christian. In fact, one of the central tenets of Christianity is that we are, distinctly, not perfect. If we start holding the definition of Christian to the fire of how well we follow the Law, I'm pretty sure the number of Christians in the world would have to be dropped to less than the number of people who subscribe to that religion where you worship a snake puppet in a box. It's pretty easy to get caught up in the legalism, and I'm not excluding myself in that. But that's not what Christianity is about, and when we're known by the 'thou shalt nots' then we're not being known by what should be at the core of our faith. Christianity isn't about condemnation, it's about salvation. It's not about being the man who prays, "God, thank you for not making me like THAT horrible sinner." When we make our beliefs about these things, then the atheist critique that Christians are hypocrites is correct, because we are most certainly not perfect, and when we act as otherwise, when we condemn people for the easy sins (the ones we ourselves don't commit, and most of people in our families don't commit) we open ourselves up to judgment of the sins we do commit.

We are, to paraphrase the famous line, to be known by our love. Real love doesn't condemn. Real love leads to Christ, shows the love, forgiveness and salvation possible through Him, and Christ, not us, will illuminate for the person their sins. I can only speak on personal experience, but I can say that every sin that I have ever felt convicted of, ever felt the need for forgiveness for, it's been because Christ has opened my eyes to my sinfulness, not because someone else has. Every time another Christian tries to convict me, my heart hardens, and I become more galvanized that my behavior is correct. And I don't think I'm unique in this. I've seen many people become more brazen in their sinful behavior because another flawed, sinful human has attempted to convict them. I would doubt that, in the whole history of Christianity, any one has come to Christ because of how judgmental a Christian was towards them.

Now some scripture...

Romans 13: 8-10: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


Galatians 5: 14-15: The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.


Mark 12: 28-31: One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."


And, of course....

Luke 10: 25-37: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
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Re: Wow.

Postby camper on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:30 pm

I hope this comes out clear...its too late at night and there's too much to repsond to all in once.



RevSears wrote:A simple question for you, who hung around with Jesus?

Seems to me the church isn't like that today. Why? Jesus did shy away from the truth, he clearly told others to stop

sinning, but he went about teaching the word and drew sinners to himself. While he did (twice) drive some money

making "thieves" out of the temple for the most part his focus was telling people to repent. He was not out

protesting every sin out there, or certain sins that are more despicable than others. Showing people with your own

actions that you love them can go a lot farther than listing everything they are doing wrong, If that wasn't the

cause we would be more excited to read about the old testament than the death and resurrection of Jesus.


One thing you have to keep in mind, is that Jesus told the people they were all sinners, they were all destined for

Hell, and they needed to repent. He didn't hide it, he didn't try to break it to them easily, He was very open and

honest about all of it. He clearly said that those who committed sins (some specified in particular) would never go

to Heaven. Yet He also said that this was never the intent, and that God would welcome them with open arms if they

were to repent and turn away from their wicked ways. If asked if Harry Potter (since it's the example brought up)

was offensive to God and to Him, do you believe he would have said no? Where do Harry and his friends get their

strength, through God or from within themeselves?

Now, I'm no expert and I'm no genius or anything and while I certainly know less than I do know I consider myself to

be somewhat observant, and what I've observed of the years is that the more 'soft' with the Christian message the

church (all branches & denominations) is, the more blurred the line between the world and the church becomes.

The reason why people believed in and followed Christ was because he spoke the truth, was not dishonest in anyway,

and loved them despite their faults and their problems. He told them their actions were wretched in the eyes of

God, but that God still loved them and he wanted them to come to Him. He showed by clear example that God is a

loving God who wishes none would perish but instead would be drawn to him, yet he spoke often about how the path of

the world leads to death and destruction.

Being a Christan means you can't do those things, why not tell people what it does mean! I'm not going to buy

something sight un seen! give sinners the free tour by explaining your own relationship with Christ and how it is

been great for you! The reason prostitutes, tax collectors, and the like went to Jesus is that alot of people that

fill there life with that kind of sin, know what they are doing is wrong. to the so-called "righteous" they might

not be convinced the christian life could be better than theirs, but the lowly, poor, and lonely? They will gladly

trade up! The key is praying for them, the Holy spirit's intervention, and presenting the gospel to them, and having

a good walk before them.


Of course we should focus on the positive, but we should never shy away from the negative either. I could tell you

just how wonderful and marvelous Baghdad is this time of year, and tell you all about the great dinners, with

lobster and steak every friday, how you get extra money simply by being here, the nice temperatures and how on our

nice walk back from breakfas how we feed the fish in the river. I could get you excited to come here, but I'm not

being honest about it either. I'm not telling you how when the dust kicks up and it can be hard to breathe, or how

the ground gets loose under foot. I might not even mention that the reason the extra money is there is due to the

mortars and potential for violence.

Doing the above, focusing purely on the positive, is why so many people leave the church as soon as they hit a rough

patch or any hint of adversity--all they were told is that paradise awaits, and they immediately assumed that the life of a Christian would be easy. These people end up being the most dangerous, harshest critics.

I refuse to blame lost people for how bad the world has got, it's our fault for not doing our Job as the body of Christ.

I agree....but what is it that we are doing wrong? Is being too judgemental and not showing our love, or is it being too permissive out of fear of coming across as being judgemental?

What you listed are problems. Why not address the ones in Church rather than the ones outside of it first? We look like hypocrites other wise. But that's what we like to do today, attack abortion on the outside of the church but it's perfectly okay to let hateful people murder others with their words inside the church.
I don't think we disagree on this point, what we seem to disagree on is what to do, where to draw those lines your

talking about.


We need to face once simple fact, and I'll type it in all caps not ebcause I'm yelling but to ensure it is abundantly clear: WE WILL ALWAYS LOOK LIKE HYPOCRITES TO THE WORLD.

We're not perfect. We will never be perfect. I'm just as guilty of everything that I said in my previous post as millions of other christians and non-christians. By pointing out what others do wrong that I have done I'm a hypocrite to the world. By not pointing out the sins of the world and emploring them to change I'm being hypocritical to the christian faith I say I hold dear.

Each of us are hypocrites. Paul was a hypocrite. To greatly paraphrase him, "I find myself doing the things I do not wish to do" is hypocrassy at its finest. Why? Because he's postelizing the Christian faith and telling others how to avoid sin...yet he's sinning and admitting clearly that he is.

The only thing that bypasses all of that is the fundamental truth that Christ hugn on that cross for the worst of us just as quickly and eagerly as he did for the best of us.

Christ drew people to him because he is the way the truth and the light. People listened to Paul because he spoke the truth, about Christ as well as himself. We as the church, are not so quick to do so out of fear of being branded hypocrites, when in fact we are by our very nature. It is an inescapable truth and one of the many reasons we need a savior to begin with.


Cleaning up the world has got to start in the Church. We can't eliminate temptations outside in the world, in fact James 1:1 would indicate that would be a blessing if we are greatly tempted, we need to better equip the church and stop worrying about shielding or protecting them.


I agree...however one of the things we need to realize is that when we look around at the pews on sunday you have no real way of knowing where the person in front of you, next to you, behind you is on their walk of faith. You minister may have more doubts and uncertainties than the teenager to your right, and the old man who has been a God fearing man for 60+ years might be an infant compared to the 24 year old recent convert further up the aisle.

It isn't so much 'shielding' or 'protecting' is it may be making the church aware of what is in the world. There are musicians you don't know about. There are TV shows you've never heard of. There are books you may never be inclined to read.

When something is popular, people in the church will want to know and hear about it, and many will want to know--to risk using an abused phrase--"what would Jesus do?" because of one simple reason: They do not want to dissapoint He who has given them more than they deserve.

The chrisitan walk doesn't end when you finally get through the Bible in a year...it never ends. Learning and growing should never ever cease. When things come out or are released to the public and become popular, young chrisitans (young not necessarily relating to age) can easily be misguided and drawn away from Christ because they do not fully understand the risks and/or meaning behind certain things.


I gotta be honest with you Dan. While what you said, "Sounds nice" here it actually isn't it. It's a load of the theological bull crap that's been preached from behind pulpits for years and it's simply not true. Most of it has been directed at Christians for not being separatist enough. A separatist church is not what Christ had in mind,

that's an Essene Doctrine.

CHRISTIANS HAVE NEVER BEEN AUTOMATICALLY RECOGNIZABLE.

1 John 2:19 (New International Version)

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have

remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

They blend right in with us at first glance, and we blend in with them too, at first glance.


I think you have this wrong, Rev. You can blend in with anyone and 'fake' a belief until it gets difficult, or until the rubber meets the road and you get called on your non-christian behavior. Do you realize that the above passage could easily be the response to "If you do not wish to stop sleeping around, living with your boyfriend, doing drugs, drinking, etc and learn to live the life God wishes then leave this church" that I mentioned in my previous post?

If a person claims to be a chrisitan and doesn't want to change their ways, where is the evidence of conversion?

It takes actions to show that a Christian is different from a lost person, not just words, not just dress. In fact a

lot of those actions can even be in secert! what does Jesus say about praying and fasting in secret?


This was to illustrate that a person who shows off how 'christian' they are is doing so to impress men, whereas a person who does it without possibility of being seen is doing it out of a true love for Christ and a desire to please God.

Christians look different in God's eyes. From our brief vantage point we can only look at fruit, and we likely aren't seeing all of it even in those we are close too. So be careful next time you judge someone, they may be having a bad time, be a little (or very) backslidden, or they really could be lost, treat them with love!


No, IMHO, we don't. We look the same, the only difference being that we recognized that we need a savior, and have accepted the gift he offered freely and without strings. Christ loves me as much as he loves the Pope, the DC sniper, Osama Bin Ladden, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, etc.

Jesus sounds pretty radical here Dan, which do you think he would do, Launch an attack on Harry Potter (which is getting kids to read, something we have failed to do) or tell the problem members of his church off?


If a church promised sex with their stable of volunteers to get them to come to church every sunday (getting people back into the pews and fill the offering plates, something many churches are failing to do) would that be a good thing? There is a Biblical reference to this, which Paul actually spoke about. So this isn't a flippant repsonse, it is rooted in scripture ;)

Personally, coupled with what the Bible has stated regarding witchcraft and 'leading children astray' I'm sure the "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out" verse would be the same radical response, and not so much the chastising...though I'm sure the judge not lest ye be judged would come out, especially if a couple involved in an affair was part of the protest.


Besides if we eliminated all the struggling sinners from church who would be left? I hope no one is raising their hand here, unless of course it has a nail scar in it. we all fail sometimes, Christians shouldn't be noted for

eating our own. We should help them up, not condone, but aid them. As far as actually kicking them out? How often

are the biblical principles for church discipline carried out? and even at the end of that aren't we treat them like

a publican or sinner? Meaning we should witness to them and try to win them back for Christ!


There is a difference between those struggling with their sin, and those happily involved in it. If you were living with a woman who wasn't you wife or having premarital sex, and you knew this to be wrong yet continued doing it by 'not thinking about it' or 'putting it out of your mind' or 'doing it knowing its wrong' are you really struggling with what you're doing, or are you simply doing it because you like to and choose to ignore the 'wrongness' of it?

also we might want to take a gander back at this thread

http://www.army4one.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=788&hilit=harry+potter


Yeah, my opinion on potter is exactly the same, hasn't changed a word. Potter was just the example brought up in the thread was all :)





andrwfields wrote:I see so little of Jesus in a t-shirt or somebody always talking about church. I see it in the guy who not only tithes, but gives money to the starving family living at the homeless shelter. I see it in the woman who is an accountant by day, and a foster mom to kids not even related to her by night. I see it in the guy who is willing to give up everything he has to work with some kids after school, so they're not out on the streets doing drugs. These people look just like everyone else. It is in their actions that we see Christ.


Agreed...these are those who are living by example, and could care less what the world thinks...they do it because they know it pleases God to share His love to others and for no reason other than that.


You want the sources of what causes people to "practice" Wicca or claim that there is no God? I'll give you a hint, it starts with "http://www..." Our youth spends so much time on the internet and watching TV. Who's protesting that? Who's getting upset when they're kid stumbles across that website causing them to question their faith? Who's doing something about it?


Plenty of people do ;)

Harry Potter...it could be anything else. Potter is just an analog for any highly popular, non-christian material aimed at a large target audience which contains material and situations diametrically opposed to christian theology.

Google search a fun Christian website. Good luck.
Try to get your child to be interested in TBN at all. You're kidding right?


The reason why the Christian Struggle is a struggle and not a breeze is because mcuh of what the world offers is appealing. Supermodels are vastly more appealing to many than their wives. Getting lucky over the weekend is vastly more appealing than waiting until you're married, even if that means you're 35.

You've watched the Simpsons, "What is it with you kids and my forbidden closet of mystery" rings true because the 'off limits' and 'forbidden' is appealing because it excites us, and makes us wonder what we're missing out on, and when others say is good we're eager to see for ourselves. Its how the serpent tempted Eve and how Eve won over Adam.

Think about this...why is Christian rock getting popular? Because it sounds an awful lot like what the world is offering.

Thats not to say its all bad, I'm not implying that at all--not even trying to. What I mean is that if people are execting Christianity to be 'fun' then its not so much that being a christian means you're missing out on a good time, its that the idea of a good time is often contradictory to what christianity means. There are a lot of people who would rather burn in hell then sit in a church service worshiping God for eternity.

*For the Record* Wicca has more in common with Vegans that is does with Harry Potter. Hillshire Farms! Go MEAT!

:lol:


LOL...when I first read that I thought you said "Vegas". Just thought that was funny :)






Darko wrote:Perfection was never a requirement for being Christian. In fact, one of the central tenets of Christianity is that

we are, distinctly, not perfect. If we start holding the definition of Christian to the fire of how well we follow

the Law, I'm pretty sure the number of Christians in the world would have to be dropped to less than the number of

people who subscribe to that religion where you worship a snake puppet in a box. It's pretty easy to get caught up

in the legalism, and I'm not excluding myself in that. But that's not what Christianity is about, and when we're

known by the 'thou shalt nots' then we're not being known by what should be at the core of our faith. Christianity

isn't about condemnation, it's about salvation. It's not about being the man who prays, "God, thank you for not

making me like THAT horrible sinner." When we make our beliefs about these things, then the atheist critique that

Christians are hypocrites is correct, because we are most certainly not perfect, and when we act as otherwise, when

we condemn people for the easy sins (the ones we ourselves don't commit, and most of people in our families don't

commit) we open ourselves up to judgment of the sins we do commit.


Never said perfection was a requirement, and I certainly am not invoking leagalism here. However, if a person claims to be a christian and is constantly and consistently involving themselves in the same sin over and over again, with no desire to change that behavior, where is the evidence of Christ int heir lives?

Like I said before, those who do not want to be christian will always point to the negative, the 'thou shalt nots' or pulling the 'you're a hypocrite' card. Its inevitable.


We are, to paraphrase the famous line, to be known by our love. Real love doesn't condemn. Real love leads to

Christ, shows the love, forgiveness and salvation possible through Him, and Christ, not us, will illuminate for the

person their sins. I can only speak on personal experience, but I can say that every sin that I have ever felt

convicted of, ever felt the need for forgiveness for, it's been because Christ has opened my eyes to my sinfulness,

not because someone else has. Every time another Christian tries to convict me, my heart hardens, and I become more

galvanized that my behavior is correct. And I don't think I'm unique in this. I've seen many people become more

brazen in their sinful behavior because another flawed, sinful human has attempted to convict them. I would doubt

that, in the whole history of Christianity, any one has come to Christ because of how judgmental a Christian was

towards them.


Conversely, has permitting sin and condoning it by silence caused it to spread, or to end? The Catholic church is famous for (but certainly doesn't corner the market on) the live like a sinner Mon-Sat, pray like a saint on Sunday mentality. Mafia movies go out of their way to have the catholic mass scene, a mob movie that doesn't isn't a mob movie.

What you're describing...the "I'll sin more if you point it out" goes right back to the "I'll do what I want, no matter what you have to say" type of attitude I was talking about before in the first post, which becomes problematic in the church if the church doesn't speak out against it.

I'm certinaly not advocating a holier than thou attitude or whacking peopel with the inquisition stick...all I'm saying, is that the church is losing ground and losing members not because it is being too stern, but because it is being too permissive.

All must be done in love and patience, of course, but really if we do not stand our ground as a church we may as well say "Say the jesus prayer and you're saved, so here's your ticket to vegas...the bunny ranch is a must see, and the dealer on 3rd street has the best stuff."

Now some scripture...


I'm certainly not disputing any of that scripture, but you have to remember that the fear of being branded a legalist is like the fear of being labeled a hypocrite...you will be called both no matter what. The church needs to teach the truth and speak the truth, and it needs to not be afraid of either. It needs to make sur etha t legalism and hypocrisy doesn't take over, but we can't be afraid to say "don't do that" or "that's not right" out of fear of being branded a hypocritical legalist.

dan
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Re: Wow.

Postby Darko on Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:42 pm

I'm certainly not disputing any of that scripture, but you have to remember that the fear of being branded a legalist is like the fear of being labeled a hypocrite...you will be called both no matter what.


It's not the fear of being labeled a legalist or a hypocrite that we should worry about; it's the fear of BEING a legalist or a hypocrite. There is nothing Christian about legalism, and Jesus spoke against it quite frequently. The Bible says the world will call us foolish. It doesn't matter what we're called, but it does matter what we ARE.

all I'm saying, is that the church is losing ground and losing members not because it is being too stern, but because it is being too permissive.


I highly disagree. I've heard more people turn away from their churches because of hypocritical stances on certain sins over others. Love and forgiveness belongs to the liar and the adulterer, but persecution and condemnation is all the homosexual or the woman who has had an abortion gets. Love your neighbor, as long as your neighbor is a heterosexual American Christian of the same denomination as you are who reads the scriptures in the exact same way. These are the hypocrisies that drive people away, and it is not a case of the world incorrectly calling us hypocrites. It's the same thing Martin Luther did, pointing out a serious disconnect between the church's message and the church's behaviors. When the only time churches open their mouths to the greater world is to condemn or persecute, that is all it becomes; a instrument of persecution and legalism. And they're not incorrect. Jesus spoke against this during His ministry more than almost anything else. Almost all of his sparring with the pharisees was over their legalism.

Conversely, has permitting sin and condoning it by silence caused it to spread, or to end?


No one has said condoning sin. It's not a binary choice between condoning and condemning. The church is designed to be welcoming to all, just as Christ was. That's not the same as saying all behavior is acceptable. But the Bible warns us several times about the dangers of judging others ("Judge not, lest yet be judged," "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"). If church is not for sinners, then who is it for?

However, if a person claims to be a christian and is constantly and consistently involving themselves in the same sin over and over again, with no desire to change that behavior, where is the evidence of Christ int heir lives?


It's a very dangerous game to play trying to decide who is and who is not a "true Christian," who has or does not have Christ in their lives, or who does or does not belong in church. Like you said earlier (...I think it was you...the quote tags on your last post broke and it's hard to tell who said what), there's no way of telling where someone is in their life with Christ. It's not our responsibility or even our right to set a time table on how long it should take someone to start exhibiting (in the way we think they should) signs of Christ's work in their lives. Sure, it's great to see someone instantly turn their lives around when they accept Christ, but more often than not it is a long process. People built up a pretty thick armor around the parts of their mind that justify their behaviors (and Christians are included in that). It can take a long time for that to erode.

It goes both ways, too. Someone can look like a perfect shining example of Christ's will and be so far from Christian that it's frightening. Remember, the pharisees were very good at following the law. They were held up, before Christ came, as shining examples of how to live, obeying each and every one of God's orders to the letter. But, as Christ convicted them of, they totally lacked the love that was to back up those orders. I once spoke with a man who was, by all accounts, a model Christian. He had served for a long time as his church's counsel president, and had been a pillar of their community. But then, one day, seemingly out of no where, he left the church entirely. By his own admission, he had never really believed in God at all, and had only been part of the church because it was the social expected thing to do, and behaving in a pious manner gave him the positive attention he desired.

And, of course, you run into the problem of letting your own prejudices, fears, and moral upbringing get in the way. The Bible is not a simple book; it is, I would say without question, the most complex piece of written work in existence. Not only is it the only book with both a divine and a human component, it is also an anthology of historical retellings, poetry, allegories, prophecies, and letters all mixed into one, written by people from a society, culture and time utterly alien from our own in three different languages that are not commonly spoken today. Some things are not as clean cut as we'd like to think they are. That's why we could get five very devote, learned, committed Christians in the same room, give them the same translation of a Bible verse, and get five completely different readings. It doesn't mean they're all correct, it just means that we should be aware that sometimes we bring baggage to our readings. For example, when I was dating my now-wife at the Christian university we went to, I kissed her in public one day (...actually, several days, but this one particular...). Right after, a complete stranger came up to her and told her that she was behaving like a harlot and should turn from her promiscuous ways and pray for forgiveness. Now, I've read the Bible, as has my wife, and neither of us in either of our readings see anything wrong with what we were doing. This person, however, obviously does. Or, let's use the example du jour, Harry Potter. I love the Harry Potter books. I don't see anything wrong with them. I don't see them as advocating sorcery or witchcraft any more than Tolkien or Lewis' works do, or any more than Star Wars advocates Jedi-ism. They do not hold themselves out to be anything but fiction. If they were promoting themselves as true, then I could see how they would be sinful. If they were written for the purposes of driving children (and adults) to a non-Christian lifestyle (like the His Dark Materials books), then I could see why they would be something to worry about. I see nothing in them that promotes, on a thematic level, anything non-Christian. The magic and monsters are just details of the story, not the overall message, the same way The Chronicles of Narnia's message isn't, "It's totally safe to become friends with a lion." I see the messages in Harry Potter (that good will triumph over evil, that friendship is a most valuable treasure, that power can corrupt) completely compatible with Christian teachings.

The thing that's driving people to wicca, or just away from Christianity, is not Harry Potter. Or Twilight. Or the internet. Or rock music. Or reality TV. It's the fact that the only time the church is vocal (the church universal here...just about every denomination is guilty of it) is to condemn and persecute. Entirely absent is the love and spiritual charity. People--and I'm not talking about Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and their ilk who are deadset against Christianity from the get go, I'm talking about people who may not know a lot about Christianity, your average non-religious person, or even people raised Christian who don't know much about their own beliefs--see that flee, because no one, myself included, wants to be part of an organization that exists only to persecute. There will always be those out there who hate us no matter what, but there are a whole lot more who don't fall into that camp and judge us by the face we put forth to the world. Isn't there another thread on this very board talking about how hard it is to view Islam as a religion of peace when all we see is violence from them? The same thing goes for us. We can't always control what people will think about us, but we can make sure we're putting forth a face that embodies the true values of Christ--love, forgiveness, charity and compassion.
I support the separation of Church and Hate.
Darko
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:16 pm

Re: Wow.

Postby camper on Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:22 am

Darko wrote:It's not the fear of being labeled a legalist or a hypocrite that we should worry about; it's the fear of BEING a

legalist or a hypocrite. There is nothing Christian about legalism, and Jesus spoke against it quite frequently. The

Bible says the world will call us foolish. It doesn't matter what we're called, but it does matter what we ARE.


I agree, but I think I was responding to too much in too short a time and wound up not getting my point out right.

What I meant there, was that fear of being called one thing or another by christians and non christians prevents a

lot of rightful admonishements from taking place. Some might look at that single guy in the church choir making his

rounds with many of the women in town and think "I shoudl talk to him about his behavior, but gee...I had premarital

sex so doing so would make me a hypocrite". So nothing happens, and the world sees a self proclaimed christian

man--one who even sings in the choir--growing his list of conquests each weekend.




I highly disagree. I've heard more people turn away from their churches because of hypocritical stances on certain

sins over others. Love and forgiveness belongs to the liar and the adulterer, but persecution and condemnation is

all the homosexual or the woman who has had an abortion gets. Love your neighbor, as long as your neighbor is a

heterosexual American Christian of the same denomination as you are who reads the scriptures in the exact same way.

These are the hypocrisies that drive people away, and it is not a case of the world incorrectly calling us

hypocrites. It's the same thing Martin Luther did, pointing out a serious disconnect between the church's message

and the church's behaviors. When the only time churches open their mouths to the greater world is to condemn or

persecute, that is all it becomes; a instrument of persecution and legalism. And they're not incorrect. Jesus spoke

against this during His ministry more than almost anything else. Almost all of his sparring with the pharisees was

over their legalism.


Hypocritical stances have nothing to do with what I was saying about being permissive. IMHO, when the Bible teaches

clearly that something is a sin and you allow that activity to take place that's just as hypocritical as what you

said.

Should the church be accepting of and love those who are homosexual, have had abortions, sex offenders, etc?

Absolutely. That's the message of Christ and its not only open to one or two types of people. However, when you have a person or people who blatantly and flagrantly say "I like this sin, I'm giong to keep doing it, and I'll rip the page out of the Bible that says its wrong so I don't have to feel bad about it" should the church do likewise?

Do you honestly think that new christians sitting in the pews and learning about what it means to live the christian

life aren't going to think "Geez, the Bible says that XXXX is sinful and should be avoided, if that's OK then this

over here must not be so bad"?

The reason Christ spoke so much against legalism as He did, was because the pharisees weren't NOT doing something because it was wrong, but because the rule book said not to. Their hearts were set more on doing what they could get away with rather than actually understanding why they were forbidden to do those things. They believed following the rules were the key to salvation, rather than putting their faith and trust into God because its NOT POSSIBLE to live by all the rules.


No one has said condoning sin. It's not a binary choice between condoning and condemning. The church is designed to

be welcoming to all, just as Christ was. That's not the same as saying all behavior is acceptable. But the Bible

warns us several times about the dangers of judging others ("Judge not, lest yet be judged," "Why do you look at the

speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"). If church is not for

sinners, then who is it for?


At some point it is a binary choice. Yes, Christ said judge not lest ye be judged...but does that mean don't judge

at all? Isn't being offended at how other christians in other denominations interpret the bible in an of itself

judgeing?

There is a process and procedure for doing so. Christ never says 'never judge', but instead makes it clear that the motivation for doing so should not be rooted in a desire to control or distort a persons faith, and any correction should be done with a pure heart and for the purpose of teaching and spiritual growth. Likewise, it is an admonishment to those who say "Don't commit sin A" while they themselves are guilty of the same.

Likewise, at some point you are going to have to either water down the message so as not to offend the congregation or call the congregation to be in the world but not of this world.

More then talking about legalism, Christ taught that we are essentially 'stranger in a strange land'. We're instructed to be salt and light, not just another version of what the world already is.


It's a very dangerous game to play trying to decide who is and who is not a "true Christian," who has or does not

have Christ in their lives, or who does or does not belong in church. Like you said earlier (...I think it was

you...the quote tags on your last post broke and it's hard to tell who said what), there's no way of telling where

someone is in their life with Christ. It's not our responsibility or even our right to set a time table on how long

it should take someone to start exhibiting (in the way we think they should) signs of Christ's work in their lives.

Sure, it's great to see someone instantly turn their lives around when they accept Christ, but more often than not

it is a long process. People built up a pretty thick armor around the parts of their mind that justify their

behaviors (and Christians are included in that). It can take a long time for that to erode.


James 4:4, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Then verse 8 "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded."

Like I said before, it's not right to hide the message or pull punches. Treat with love and respect, ALWAYS treat with love and respect but the church should NEVER feel that it has to figure out a nice, politically correct way to tell its members "What you're doing is wrong, according to God's word."

It goes both ways, too. Someone can look like a perfect shining example of Christ's will and be so far from

Christian that it's frightening. Remember, the pharisees were very good at following the law. They were held up,

before Christ came, as shining examples of how to live, obeying each and every one of God's orders to the letter.

But, as Christ convicted them of, they totally lacked the love that was to back up those orders. I once spoke with a

man who was, by all accounts, a model Christian. He had served for a long time as his church's counsel president,

and had been a pillar of their community. But then, one day, seemingly out of no where, he left the church entirely.

By his own admission, he had never really believed in God at all, and had only been part of the church because it

was the social expected thing to do, and behaving in a pious manner gave him the positive attention he desired.


Of course there are those like that. Its inevitable. Which is why each and every action, word, and behavior is to be modeled after Gods word, and Gods word needs to be second nature to the church and its congregation. This man you're talking about is NO different than the pharisees. He was merely acting in a way that he felt would serve HIM best. And that's really no different then the people sitting in the pews who are believers, yet still partake in things that are contrary to the faith.

Consider this....Jenna Jameson, probably the most famous porn star around right now, would often go to church on sundays. While she was actually filming adult videos and whatnot, mind you. At some point, the priest of her local church asked her to leave until whe was willing to stop partaking in a lifestyle contrary to the church's teachings, and she had stated she was not willing to change. She said that she was shocked, because she was raised to believe that the church was accepting of everyone.

Was that the correct thing for the priest to do, or not? Why or why not?

(Keep in mind, this is a stroy I was told by a guy I work with a while back, so I don't know how true it is but it still serves as a good example)


And, of course, you run into the problem of letting your own prejudices, fears, and moral upbringing get in the way.


This is the key, right there. We are NOT to let our own personal predjudices, fears, etc get in the way--if the word of God is the truth, then that is what we need to use as our guide and test and examine everything by it. It is VERY difficult to admint when we're wrong, each of us suffer from that in varying degrees. However, if we are to grow in our faith we're going to have to compromise our beliefs that are contrary to it. My issue is that IMHO I see a lot of churches compromising the integrity of the scriptures so as not to offend the beliefs of the members. That is SOOOO dangerous, the church should *never* compromise unless it is running contrary to the word of God and his love as exemplified by christ.

That situation with your wife kissing on a bench, that was that womans personal opinions obviously. Had you two come out of a motel room, a comment may have been justified but NEVER one so inciteful or beligerant as what she said, and it should have come only after she had talked with other christian brothers and sisters to come to your wife in love.

Believe me, I'm not saying christians are not prone to being quick to judgge...obviously we are. And, I personally don't see an issue with the potter books--but I like the movies. The Golden Compass movie on the other hand, I found that to be extremely offensive. I do believe that churches should address the potter books, but not in an accusatory of inflamatory way but in a way that could teach what in the books go against God, His will, and His plan for us and how certain aspects of the story could be different had they looked at the situation according to God's purpose will and plan. Personally, I think that the witchcraft/sorcerty things are something to be mindful of, but not from a panic standpoint that some churches have taken.



We can't always control what people will think about us, but we can make sure we're putting forth a face that

embodies the true values of Christ--love, forgiveness, charity and compassion.



This is of course true. And while I didn't save the rest, you also need to remember that the churches who are out protesting potter could be doing the above in a way that puts every other church to shame....but which do you think will make the news at 6pm...churches doing amazing charitable events, or that same church having a guest speaker to talk about things to be mindful of regarding harry potter?

Look at how the media portrays politicians they side with or positions they like--you don't think they do the same to churches or religions despite what OTHER things they do? Calling for a ban on potter will get the press to look at those 'silly christians', whereas that same church doing more to feed the homeless in their city than anyone else 'isn't newsworthy'.

Not saying those are the particulars in this instance (I don't even know what church is calling for a potter ban) but thats the way it is. I rememebr a story about how a church was having an open forum for teenagers regarding the dangers of promiscuity, and other than a couple sound bites purposefully used out of contet to make it seem like a "God wants this, don't do that" type talk when that wasn't even the purpose of the talk, and more air time spent on how abstinence doesn't work and how teenagers will do what they want anyway.

How can a church struggling to pay the janitor compete with a billion dollar news industry that has its own goals and agenda which is often contrary to the church's?

Hopefully that made some sense, I'm all over the place today..hard to keep on track iwth a lto going on at work so hopefully I didn't lose too much coherancy.

dan
camper
 
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:02 pm

Re: Wow.

Postby Darko on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:02 pm

Absolutely. That's the message of Christ and its not only open to one or two types of people. However, when you have a person or people who blatantly and flagrantly say "I like this sin, I'm giong to keep doing it, and I'll rip the page out of the Bible that says its wrong so I don't have to feel bad about it" should the church do likewise?

Do you honestly think that new christians sitting in the pews and learning about what it means to live the christian

life aren't going to think "Geez, the Bible says that XXXX is sinful and should be avoided, if that's OK then this

over here must not be so bad"?


They might say that, but look at anyone long enough and you're going to see *some* sinful behavior that they could say that about. And it's not about the church saying that it's not wrong, it's about the church not persecuting those who are sinners. Obviously we are supposed to teach what God wants from us behavior-wise, but to go after someone or a group of someones for an individual sin is creating an artificial hierarchy of sin (as in, "XXXXX is much worse than XXXXX"). Sin is sin. If we start removing people left and right for sinning, won't the new Christians start asking, "Gee...I wonder how long it is before they discover something about me which causes them to boot me out the door" ?

The reason Christ spoke so much against legalism as He did, was because the pharisees weren't NOT doing something because it was wrong, but because the rule book said not to. Their hearts were set more on doing what they could get away with rather than actually understanding why they were forbidden to do those things. They believed following the rules were the key to salvation, rather than putting their faith and trust into God because its NOT POSSIBLE to live by all the rules.


That last thing you said. That's why we run into big trouble if we start pushing people out the door when they fail to live by all the rules. If we do, we'd better follow them out.

At some point it is a binary choice. Yes, Christ said judge not lest ye be judged...but does that mean don't judge

at all? Isn't being offended at how other christians in other denominations interpret the bible in an of itself

judgeing?

There is a process and procedure for doing so. Christ never says 'never judge', but instead makes it clear that the motivation for doing so should not be rooted in a desire to control or distort a persons faith, and any correction should be done with a pure heart and for the purpose of teaching and spiritual growth. Likewise, it is an admonishment to those who say "Don't commit sin A" while they themselves are guilty of the same.

Likewise, at some point you are going to have to either water down the message so as not to offend the congregation or call the congregation to be in the world but not of this world.


There's a very large difference between judging behaviors and judging people. Of course we're supposed to judge behaviors to know whether or not they are sinful (mainly in ourselves...much more than we should be in others, because, ultimately, we can't change others), but when that starts extending to judging the sinner, then we start creating divisions. I've been in churches where pastors will give a rousing sermon on some sin that is most likely not represented in the congregation (homosexuality and abortion are the popular two) for the purposes of morale-boosting. The people leave saying, "Yeah! Those homosexuals are all horrible sinners! I'm glad I'm not like them!" We are in no place to judge the sinner, since we are all sinners. We may exhibit our sinfulness in different ways, but deep down, we all have the same stain of sin.

James 4:4, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Then verse 8 "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded."

Like I said before, it's not right to hide the message or pull punches. Treat with love and respect, ALWAYS treat with love and respect but the church should NEVER feel that it has to figure out a nice, politically correct way to tell its members "What you're doing is wrong, according to God's word."


Not certain what you were addressing with this, or with the scriptural pull. What I was saying above it was that we don't know what is going on in someone else's heart. It may look on the outside like they are an unrepentant sinner, they may even state that they feel no guilt for their actions. Or it could be that they're letting pride get in the way of admitting to others that they are ashamed of themselves. Or they could look like a perfect saint and be hiding all sorts of sinful actions and deeds. That's why it's dangerous to judge people, or to create a definition of a "true Christian" beyond, "Someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior."

Consider this....Jenna Jameson, probably the most famous porn star around right now, would often go to church on sundays. While she was actually filming adult videos and whatnot, mind you. At some point, the priest of her local church asked her to leave until whe was willing to stop partaking in a lifestyle contrary to the church's teachings, and she had stated she was not willing to change. She said that she was shocked, because she was raised to believe that the church was accepting of everyone.

Was that the correct thing for the priest to do, or not? Why or why not?

(Keep in mind, this is a stroy I was told by a guy I work with a while back, so I don't know how true it is but it still serves as a good example)


I've heard a similar story, can't remember the woman's name, though. At any rate, I do not think it was the correct thing for the priest to do. Yes, what she was doing (and, I assume, still is) is sinful and contrary to church teachings. And he had the right to tell her that. Here's the problem, though; it's always easy to see what's *not* being done. In the woman's case, she had not given herself enough to Christ for this particular sin to be illuminated for her as a sin (or, equally likely, she was letting her pride fight back). But what sins had Christ's love caused her to turn away from? It's very easy to look at someone like this and say, "Wow, that adulteress is a horrible sinner, I'm glad I don't do those things!" But what sinful things do you do (or did the priest in the story do) that she had turned away from because of Christ? Turning someone away from Christ ranks just under "Genocide" on my list of things I never want to be a party to. I'd rather have someone who is an unrepentant sinner sitting in the pew next to me, where they may at some point learn the error of their ways, than drive them out into the world where they never will, just because I find their sins more repugnant than my own. I think the only reason that someone should be removed from a church entirely (special accommodations can be made for people who are a physical threat to others to keep them ministered to but away from the main congregation) is if they are trying to teach others that either God doesn't exist, Jesus Christ was not His son, or that there are other ways to salvation other than through Christ. And even then, I think it needs to be done only after much prayerful counseling of the person and the minister.

This is of course true. And while I didn't save the rest, you also need to remember that the churches who are out protesting potter could be doing the above in a way that puts every other church to shame....but which do you think will make the news at 6pm...churches doing amazing charitable events, or that same church having a guest speaker to talk about things to be mindful of regarding harry potter?


Of course there will always be some bias somewhere against us (or any group). But we can hardly blame all of our negative publicity on the media. To use an example from today's news, Carrie Prejean, the Miss America contestant who spoke against gay marriage and held herself up as a moral leader before having topless photos and a sex tape leaked to the media. Some people are saying, "Oh, the media is just going after her because she's taking a stance they don't agree with! They're just looking for things to make her look hypocritical!" Well, that may be, but if she hadn't posed for those pictures or made that tape, then there wouldn't have been any pictures or tape for the media to find when they went looking. Likewise with the church. Of course there will always be some twisting and skewing, but they couldn't get video of protesters standing outside of Sasha and Malia Obama's grade school with "GOD HATES YOU" signs if those protesters with signs didn't exist. And as much as sometimes the media can seem to be out to get us, we have to be fair and admit that sometimes they have a point, and that maybe we ARE showing the wrong face to the world. An old professor of mine (who was also a pastor) once said something to the effect of, "Preaching love inside the church is worthless if you're preaching hate on the outside." Or, as Francis of Assisi said, "It is useless to walk anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."
I support the separation of Church and Hate.
Darko
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:16 pm

Re: Wow.

Postby camper on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:29 am

Darko wrote:They might say that, but look at anyone long enough and you're going to see *some* sinful behavior that they could say that about. And it's not about the church saying that it's not wrong, it's about the church not persecuting those who are sinners. Obviously we are supposed to teach what God wants from us behavior-wise, but to go after someone or a group of someones for an individual sin is creating an artificial hierarchy of sin (as in, "XXXXX is much worse than XXXXX"). Sin is sin. If we start removing people left and right for sinning, won't the new Christians start asking, "Gee...I wonder how long it is before they discover something about me which causes them to boot me out the door" ?


I'm definitely not saying that sin A is greater than sin B in the eyes of God, even though I often fall into that trap of thinking it myself. The church, obviously, thinks the same way. (And when I've been saying church, I'm not pointing at catholics or any other denomination I mean the church universal--as in the body of believers)

And I'm definitely not saying point out the fornicators and let the drunks keep coming either...all I'm saying, is that the church needs to start being abundantly clear that the couple who have been living together for the past 8 months is sinning just as badly as the ones they point to as an example out in the world who are going off to the homosexual orgies each and every night.

The church used to be a place where the word of God was taught. Now, its quickly becoming a social gathering place, where more discussions on bake sales and the amount it costs to run the place. Look at the places where Christianity is thriving--China, India...these are places where the people want to know about Christ and they want to learn about what He's done and what it means. The ministry people there KNOW that these people don't know much, and are teaching them. Ministry people here in your local church simply assume you already know if you're sitting in the pews.

That is not to say that there is not a time for fellowship and gathering, thats vital to growth as well...however in an hour service, between the announcements and the choir and the collection of donations....you're gettting 10-15 minutes of teaching at best, most of which is the same thing you'd here on the same day a year ago and the same day next year.


Not certain what you were addressing with this, or with the scriptural pull. What I was saying above it was that we don't know what is going on in someone else's heart. It may look on the outside like they are an unrepentant sinner, they may even state that they feel no guilt for their actions. Or it could be that they're letting pride get in the way of admitting to others that they are ashamed of themselves. Or they could look like a perfect saint and be hiding all sorts of sinful actions and deeds. That's why it's dangerous to judge people, or to create a definition of a "true Christian" beyond, "Someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior."


I understand what you're saying, and I agree...however look at the movie "40 days and 40 nights" where the guy decides to stop sleeping around for lent. He's considering himself to be a 'good christian' by doing so (not overtly said, if I remember right), as do all people who stop doing something they shouldn't be doing anyway "for the big guy" during lent.

Should that attitude never be addressed by the church, or should the church call them out and say "Hey...you're missing the point, this is what it is and why you need to stop your behavior"?

I've heard a similar story, can't remember the woman's name, though. At any rate, I do not think it was the correct thing for the priest to do. Yes, what she was doing (and, I assume, still is) is sinful and contrary to church teachings. And he had the right to tell her that. Here's the problem, though; it's always easy to see what's *not* being done. In the woman's case, she had not given herself enough to Christ for this particular sin to be illuminated for her as a sin (or, equally likely, she was letting her pride fight back). But what sins had Christ's love caused her to turn away from? It's very easy to look at someone like this and say, "Wow, that adulteress is a horrible sinner, I'm glad I don't do those things!" But what sinful things do you do (or did the priest in the story do) that she had turned away from because of Christ? Turning someone away from Christ ranks just under "Genocide" on my list of things I never want to be a party to. I'd rather have someone who is an unrepentant sinner sitting in the pew next to me, where they may at some point learn the error of their ways, than drive them out into the world where they never will, just because I find their sins more repugnant than my own. I think the only reason that someone should be removed from a church entirely (special accommodations can be made for people who are a physical threat to others to keep them ministered to but away from the main congregation) is if they are trying to teach others that either God doesn't exist, Jesus Christ was not His son, or that there are other ways to salvation other than through Christ. And even then, I think it needs to be done only after much prayerful counseling of the person and the minister.


Likewise, what damage does the unrepentant sinner cause to the rest of the congregation?

1 Corinthians 5:9-12 "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

We are to do the above. If we don't, it taints the church. Its important to make the distinction that you should never PREVENT a person from coming to church to learn about God...that's fricking evil...but if we continue to accept the sin along with the individual, we end up Episcapalians ;)


Of course there will always be some bias somewhere against us (or any group). But we can hardly blame all of our negative publicity on the media. To use an example from today's news, Carrie Prejean, the Miss America contestant who spoke against gay marriage and held herself up as a moral leader before having topless photos and a sex tape leaked to the media. Some people are saying, "Oh, the media is just going after her because she's taking a stance they don't agree with! They're just looking for things to make her look hypocritical!" Well, that may be, but if she hadn't posed for those pictures or made that tape, then there wouldn't have been any pictures or tape for the media to find when they went looking. Likewise with the church. Of course there will always be some twisting and skewing, but they couldn't get video of protesters standing outside of Sasha and Malia Obama's grade school with "GOD HATES YOU" signs if those protesters with signs didn't exist. And as much as sometimes the media can seem to be out to get us, we have to be fair and admit that sometimes they have a point, and that maybe we ARE showing the wrong face to the world. An old professor of mine (who was also a pastor) once said something to the effect of, "Preaching love inside the church is worthless if you're preaching hate on the outside." Or, as Francis of Assisi said, "It is useless to walk anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."


I agree 100% on all the above. Thats WHY we need to separate ourselves from the Phelps "God Hates Fags" and the Wright "May God Damn America" types. By their actions they show that they are not one of us even though they claim to be, and they pollute the teachings of Christ and the word of God by them. And while I certainly think they dug deep for Carrie Prejean, there was still something to find. She could easily have taken the high-road and said "No, I don't agree with their lifestyle but God loves them anyway and we all make mistakes and we all do things we will someday regret--yet Christ loves us despite all of this." Instead, she made it about her opinion and her being persecuted for her thoughts instead of letting the word of God and the love of Christ speak through her. WE ALL need to examine what we say and do through the light of Christ. Not sometiems, not when it comes to church things, but when it coems to EVERYTHING. And to get back to that potter thing, I believe that is what some churches are trying to do, by starting small. Yet the church members who like and enjoy the books, will be dismissive in that examination if it means they will have to stop reading or watching something they don't like...just like the porn star who sees nothing wrong with selling her body for money. Its not our views that matter, its what God wants and intends. And it's hard, so VERY hard, which is why WE cannot do it without HIM.

And that is why I'm saying the church needs to take a stronger stance against sin--ALL sin, not the 'nobody does it here, so we're free to talk about it sin--so as to wake up the congregation and say "You are all part of the Body of Christ, let us live our lives in that way so as not to give shame to our Lord...and if any of us are being a hand or an eye which is causing us to sin, we must cut it off or pluck it out."

IMHO, the church is creating a lot of lukewarm christians out of fear of driving people away. Speak the truth and speak it with love, ABSOLUTELY...but consider what God has to say about lukewarm christians: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot. I wish you were either one of the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Why the admonishment? It is a warning to change their ways. The congragation becomes complacent when the church becomes complacent, and a lot of churches are looking at what the world does to draw people and keep them there when it is God who draws people near to Him. God will not draw people to a house where he is not often found.

Thats all my opinion, of course.

dan
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Re: Wow.

Postby RevSears on Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:29 am

camper wrote:You didnt...I just haven't had time to respond yet...will when I get a chance to do it right, you made good points.

dan

good deal, disagreement doesn't meandislike, I worry I get too blunt or harsh sounding on the net sometimes. This thread has exploded! I agree with Darko on so much but I probably should pick out some things and discuss more.
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Re: Wow.

Postby RevSears on Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:47 am

camper wrote:
Darko wrote:They might say that, but look at anyone long enough and you're going to see *some* sinful behavior that they could say that about. And it's not about the church saying that it's not wrong, it's about the church not persecuting those who are sinners. Obviously we are supposed to teach what God wants from us behavior-wise, but to go after someone or a group of someones for an individual sin is creating an artificial hierarchy of sin (as in, "XXXXX is much worse than XXXXX"). Sin is sin. If we start removing people left and right for sinning, won't the new Christians start asking, "Gee...I wonder how long it is before they discover something about me which causes them to boot me out the door" ?


I'm definitely not saying that sin A is greater than sin B in the eyes of God, even though I often fall into that trap of thinking it myself. The church, obviously, thinks the same way. (And when I've been saying church, I'm not pointing at catholics or any other denomination I mean the church universal--as in the body of believers)

And I'm definitely not saying point out the fornicators and let the drunks keep coming either...all I'm saying, is that the church needs to start being abundantly clear that the couple who have been living together for the past 8 months is sinning just as badly as the ones they point to as an example out in the world who are going off to the homosexual orgies each and every night.

The church used to be a place where the word of God was taught. Now, its quickly becoming a social gathering place, where more discussions on bake sales and the amount it costs to run the place. Look at the places where Christianity is thriving--China, India...these are places where the people want to know about Christ and they want to learn about what He's done and what it means. The ministry people there KNOW that these people don't know much, and are teaching them. Ministry people here in your local church simply assume you already know if you're sitting in the pews.


I really think a lot of us (me too in the past) have deluded into believing in a golden age of the Church. Like I pointed out earlier, those people have always been there. It does go up and down, and I'd say we are in a bad spot right now, that's what revival and crusades are for. But I don't think we should lift up peroids in the past. We tend to look through golden lenses when we do that. God is still taught in plenty of places, if it's not where you are, go where it is (if you can't ensure it's taught at the original place)

We also can't remove all fellowship. Fellowship is important. We weren't meant to be alone, we can encourage each other and some of that is just in simple conversation and laughter.
That is not to say that there is not a time for fellowship and gathering, thats vital to growth as well...however in an hour service, between the announcements and the choir and the collection of donations....you're getting 10-15 minutes of teaching at best, most of which is the same thing you'd here on the same day a year ago and the same day next year.
I'm very pro teaching. I think Christians need to let pastors know what's right with their feet. Your church focus's on fluff too much? Leave. I think we need to be pickier about where we go. Pastor's also need to be more willing to discipline leaders. "Screaming" preachers are the bane of existence, it's in no way bibilical, but it's popular where I'm from. Even more normal preachers let it go on as to not make waves. I'm pretty picky about what Church I go to, and it's caused me a lot of headaches, but I also feel better when I'm in a good worship service.
Not certain what you were addressing with this, or with the scriptural pull. What I was saying above it was that we don't know what is going on in someone else's heart. It may look on the outside like they are an unrepentant sinner, they may even state that they feel no guilt for their actions. Or it could be that they're letting pride get in the way of admitting to others that they are ashamed of themselves. Or they could look like a perfect saint and be hiding all sorts of sinful actions and deeds. That's why it's dangerous to judge people, or to create a definition of a "true Christian" beyond, "Someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior."


I understand what you're saying, and I agree...however look at the movie "40 days and 40 nights" where the guy decides to stop sleeping around for lent. He's considering himself to be a 'good christian' by doing so (not overtly said, if I remember right), as do all people who stop doing something they shouldn't be doing anyway "for the big guy" during lent.

Should that attitude never be addressed by the church, or should the church call them out and say "Hey...you're missing the point, this is what it is and why you need to stop your behavior"?

I've heard a similar story, can't remember the woman's name, though. At any rate, I do not think it was the correct thing for the priest to do. Yes, what she was doing (and, I assume, still is) is sinful and contrary to church teachings. And he had the right to tell her that. Here's the problem, though; it's always easy to see what's *not* being done. In the woman's case, she had not given herself enough to Christ for this particular sin to be illuminated for her as a sin (or, equally likely, she was letting her pride fight back). But what sins had Christ's love caused her to turn away from? It's very easy to look at someone like this and say, "Wow, that adulteress is a horrible sinner, I'm glad I don't do those things!" But what sinful things do you do (or did the priest in the story do) that she had turned away from because of Christ? Turning someone away from Christ ranks just under "Genocide" on my list of things I never want to be a party to. I'd rather have someone who is an unrepentant sinner sitting in the pew next to me, where they may at some point learn the error of their ways, than drive them out into the world where they never will, just because I find their sins more repugnant than my own. I think the only reason that someone should be removed from a church entirely (special accommodations can be made for people who are a physical threat to others to keep them ministered to but away from the main congregation) is if they are trying to teach others that either God doesn't exist, Jesus Christ was not His son, or that there are other ways to salvation other than through Christ. And even then, I think it needs to be done only after much prayerful counseling of the person and the minister.


Likewise, what damage does the unrepentant sinner cause to the rest of the congregation?

1 Corinthians 5:9-12 "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

We are to do the above. If we don't, it taints the church. Its important to make the distinction that you should never PREVENT a person from coming to church to learn about God...that's fricking evil...but if we continue to accept the sin along with the individual, we end up Episcapalians ;)

On the flipside though we can prevent sinners from coming to church because they feel they won't fit in with these perfect people or fear discipline and judgment if we have disciplined church members to much. It's not an easy answer, we have to balance things out.
Part of the key is doing things in love. The leaders and teachers need to be lifted up to a higher standard, but new baby believers need the time to fall and slip and the hand back up.


Of course there will always be some bias somewhere against us (or any group). But we can hardly blame all of our negative publicity on the media. To use an example from today's news, Carrie Prejean, the Miss America contestant who spoke against gay marriage and held herself up as a moral leader before having topless photos and a sex tape leaked to the media. Some people are saying, "Oh, the media is just going after her because she's taking a stance they don't agree with! They're just looking for things to make her look hypocritical!" Well, that may be, but if she hadn't posed for those pictures or made that tape, then there wouldn't have been any pictures or tape for the media to find when they went looking. Likewise with the church. Of course there will always be some twisting and skewing, but they couldn't get video of protesters standing outside of Sasha and Malia Obama's grade school with "GOD HATES YOU" signs if those protesters with signs didn't exist. And as much as sometimes the media can seem to be out to get us, we have to be fair and admit that sometimes they have a point, and that maybe we ARE showing the wrong face to the world. An old professor of mine (who was also a pastor) once said something to the effect of, "Preaching love inside the church is worthless if you're preaching hate on the outside." Or, as Francis of Assisi said, "It is useless to walk anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."


I agree 100% on all the above. Thats WHY we need to separate ourselves from the Phelps "God Hates Fags" and the Wright "May God Damn America" types. By their actions they show that they are not one of us even though they claim to be, and they pollute the teachings of Christ and the word of God by them. And while I certainly think they dug deep for Carrie Prejean, there was still something to find. She could easily have taken the high-road and said "No, I don't agree with their lifestyle but God loves them anyway and we all make mistakes and we all do things we will someday regret--yet Christ loves us despite all of this." Instead, she made it about her opinion and her being persecuted for her thoughts instead of letting the word of God and the love of Christ speak through her. WE ALL need to examine what we say and do through the light of Christ. Not sometiems, not when it comes to church things, but when it coems to EVERYTHING. And to get back to that potter thing, I believe that is what some churches are trying to do, by starting small. Yet the church members who like and enjoy the books, will be dismissive in that examination if it means they will have to stop reading or watching something they don't like...just like the porn star who sees nothing wrong with selling her body for money. Its not our views that matter, its what God wants and intends. And it's hard, so VERY hard, which is why WE cannot do it without HIM.

And that is why I'm saying the church needs to take a stronger stance against sin--ALL sin, not the 'nobody does it here, so we're free to talk about it sin--so as to wake up the congregation and say "You are all part of the Body of Christ, let us live our lives in that way so as not to give shame to our Lord...and if any of us are being a hand or an eye which is causing us to sin, we must cut it off or pluck it out."

IMHO, the church is creating a lot of lukewarm christians out of fear of driving people away. Speak the truth and speak it with love, ABSOLUTELY...but consider what God has to say about lukewarm christians: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot. I wish you were either one of the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Why the admonishment? It is a warning to change their ways. The congragation becomes complacent when the church becomes complacent, and a lot of churches are looking at what the world does to draw people and keep them there when it is God who draws people near to Him. God will not draw people to a house where he is not often found.

Thats all my opinion, of course.

dan

Dan we seem to agree on a lot of things, what worries me though is that some of your arguments sound word for word arguments i've heard against other Christians by Christians who veiw themselves as more holy. I'm not saying that's what you feel like, but it may explain a bit of I disagree on what I do.

We've come a long way from Harry potter. Going back to that, i still don't feel it's a bad deal. We do agree with a lot of other things that need to be pointed, within the church and think that means actions, not reading fiction books or playing video games. Andy man an insanely good point with the Odessey . We need to pick our battles wisely.
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