hotrodhell

the Beleaguered Believer

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on May 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

There are enough Religions choose any one you want it’s like clothes pick the one that suits you!

(Eph 4:11-25 AMP)  And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead. Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love. So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.

 Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is be clouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].  In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand]. But you did not so learn Christ! Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. [Zech. 8:16.]

 

Henry Ford “People can have the Model T in any color –so long as it’s black.” One more “History is more or less bunk!” His point People don’t want the constraints of the past getting in the way of living in the moment. Do what makes you feel good, has been tearing at the fabric of our society ever since the counter culture movement of the 60’s. The response to this from the Christian community has also moved from the proper doctrine, traditions and dogma of the church into panic mode. Some churches have made traditionalism their doctrine and we will fight any change their battle cry. Others have moved to destroy their doctrine by removing the concept of sin, repentance, and salvation. With marketing companies and demographics statists the Emerging church preaches a dogma of accommodation.  And sadly a lot of churches are closing their doors and giving up the fight. It seems to me at the very heart of this the Beleaguered Believer isn’t being instructed on how to respond to any of this. 

For example this some would say “ That’s just your opinion” and the Beleaguered Believer is left with a statement that on the surface seems intelligent but if we let the truth of scripture renew our minds and the Holy Spirit control our thoughts we find an answer. (1st) clarify the position taken: Are you saying there’s no truth only opinion? If so, how do you know this is so? (2nd) we can raise questions about obviously wicked or false ideas: What if some people fell like the Holocaust or the genocide in the Sudan never took place? Should we accept their feelings or opinion as truth? Should we be tolerant and accept their opinion and how does it match up to reality? (3rd) We should respond to this issue as we do skepticism: Your opinion is a statement of knowledge: it purports to be truth not just opinion. The opinion holder adopts a position of intellectual and moral evasion, the easy way out of taking moral responsibility seriously. We as God followers can remind people it’s OK to speak of true and false beliefs without being arrogant or disagreeable. We’re designed to be truth-seekers, not truth-deniers.

(Rom 16:16-20 AMP)  Greet one another with a holy (consecrated) kiss. All the churches of Christ (the Messiah) wish to be remembered to you. I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simple-minded [people]. For while your loyalty and obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you well versed and wise as to what is good and innocent and guileless as to what is evil. And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you.

Have you ever heard this statement before: “I’m not into religion but into spirituality” or organized religion, with all their doctrine, creeds, or “tradition” really are unnecessary. These are people who prefer experience, follow an “inner voice” or the “divine within”. Or even people who have been raised in the church treating it like a “have it your way” picking and choosing from a menu. They give no more thought to what they believe other than the music is good the preacher seems excited and I feel better when I’m done. A preference based (over truth based) approach means a pick and choose, who cares if it’s inconsistent syncretism. (the fusion of diverse religious beliefs and practices. Instances of religious syncretism—as, for example, Gnosticism (a religious dualistic system that incorporated elements from the Oriental mystery religions), Judaism, Christianity, and Greek religious philosophical concepts—were particularly prevalent during the Hellenistic period (c. 300 bc–c. ad 300).Many of our youth today are choosing to avoid biblical theology in favor of syncretic, culture based theology and sadly such choices put them further away from genuine reality. It seems easier to make God into our own image and make Him more comfortable for us to worship. The only problem with making God look like you is you become your own God. Many feminists refuse to refer to God as Father because many women have been oppressed and abused by men apparently due to a belief in a male-favoring deity. Rather than adjust to God’s revelation, people may shape God into this or that image or impose their own experience. Yes men have abused women, but this is a deviation from true divinely designed masculinity. And it’s precisely the fatherhood of God that must orient our understanding of how human fathers can and should act toward their children. The crucifixion was not a form of “divine child abuse” as many feminists argue, it reveals the relational triune God who suffers with his creatures, and Father and Spirit shared in Son’s suffering. The Trinitarian language of Scripture reminds of God’s personal nature, his relationality, his authority, and his special revelation in Jesus the Christ.

(2Co 5:18-19 HCSB)  Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

If God is the worship-worthy Creator of all, then we are to live by his terms as Lord rather than seek to define the terms ourselves from a safe distance. There are many things that are unsafe in our society that may nevertheless help us to draw near to God. If God the Father didn’t challenge us then our natural bent towards self fulfillment our self centered orientation would not be kept in check making us depend less on God and more own ourselves. The invent –a religion- idea assumes experience-not truth is the bottom line. Jesus always challenges us to consider who He is.

 (Mat 16:15 HCSB)  “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” not “Who do you want me to be?” He is to be the object not subject of our faith.  The trumpeting of experience over truth means tortured affirmation of conflicting belief systems. As Lewis wrote in his Screwtape Letters (here the experienced demon, Screwtape, writes to his apprentice, Wormwood, about how to handle his human project):

Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church.

‘This theological mushy-mindedness is the result of the create-your Own philosophy, which destroys the soul and sucks the evangelistic life out of the church. Then the church becomes a philosophical club of errant pseudo moral do-gooder who practice moralism based on what’s convenient and comfortable. That’s how we end up with modem slogans like “personally I am against abortion but I support a woman’s right to choose”, “You can’t legislate morality” or “It’s arrogant to say your values are better than others”.

Have you ever heard the claim that “morality can’t be legislated”? I have heard it too many times, and it has often been said by religious people. I’m afraid the majority of people in this country have bought into this lie, which has been propagated by the liberal left.

Those who argue in favor of abortion often insist that morality should not be legislated. They say that the pro-life movement should not force their morals on society. In fact, the Supreme Court seems to have bought into the lie. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court said,

Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code…at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

But to say that morality cannot be legislated is to betray an ignorance of what laws really are. All laws declare one behavior right and one behavior wrong, which is the very definition of morality. When people say morality cannot be legislated, they should be saying that legislation cannot change hearts. While this is true, changing hearts is not the purpose of laws. Regardless of one’s personal convictions, laws encourage a certain behavior by citizens. Legislation cannot be divorced from morality. All laws mandate morality. The question is not then can we legislate morality, but whose morality do we legislate?1

 

The language of “freedom of choice” doesn’t make sense we are letting culture redefine the language to exclude moral imperatives. The words of freedom or rights seem empty and without content. The right to choose what? The termination of a pregnancy is not a morally neutral act or decision. We as humans don’t have the abyss of moral neutrality something is either right or wrong. Thankfully we do legislate morality so we can co-exist in free society.

The sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) declared:

It can no longer be maintained nowadays that there is one, single morality which is valid for all men at all times in all places. We know full well that morality has varied ….The purpose of morality practiced by a people is to enable it to live; hence morality changes with societies. There is not just one morality, but several, and as many as there are social types. And as our societies change, so will our morality. It will no longer be in the future what it is today.

My first response is really? This was the man who established sociology as a science in France, a friend of Marx and a supporter of the Communist system of economics and social construct. It seems the absurdity of history can reveal how stigmas attack dogmas and we are left to rebuild the dogma. Moral values have different cultural expressions (how we honor our parents in Eastern and Western cultures).

At the same time there are some things ought never to be practiced in any culture this would present a defect in that culture. Beating women for not wearing appropriate clothing in public sin reveals itself in all societies and pretending to tolerate (ignore) it doesn’t mean we are black balling the entire society. We can affirm and reject moral beliefs based on an absolute truth standard. One philosopher comments: If (members of a particular tribe) think that it is acceptable to engage in practices like the sacrifice of firstborn children, then their grasp on the conception of morality is somewhere between inadequate and nonexistent. Moral truths are not dependant on a cultures acceptance of them. For the true relativist there is no virtue or vice, only the quest for autonomy the pop culture maxim of “have it your way!” The test of truth for morality is what kind of moral hero does your moral system produce?

(Eph 4:17-32 ESV)  Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!– assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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