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  1. 1 point
    As a retired pastor, I got to select the praise choruses for our first contemporary service and the more traditional hymns and choruses for our 2nd service which featured blended worship. I like one pastor's definition of "blended worship:" "something for everyone to be unhappy about." Anyway, I thought I'd post videos of my favorite songs for congregational singing. Let me know what you think of them and feel free to post videos of songs you like to sing or hear sung in church. I will post a video a day for your consideration and entertainment and will do so by category, the first of which will be a series of "contemporary praise choruses." (1) "Better than a Hallelujah:" I love the earthy lyrics of his unique but simple chorus: https://www.bing.com/search?q=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&form=EDGNB1&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&plvar=0&refig=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&sp=1&qs=HS&pq=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&sc=2-32&cvid=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&cc=US&setlang=en-US
  2. 1 point
    This thread will present the many pivotal moments of my lifelong spiritual journey with special focus on my spiritual and paranormal experiences. (1) I was born and raised in the first Pentecostal church in Canada. I was born with congenital glaucoma in my right eye. My distraught parents were impressed by a famous faith healer named William Branham, who held healing crusades around North America. What set him apart was his clairvoyance. Before he laid hands on people, he accurately described one of their recent past experiences in awesome detail and he did the same for my parents. Mom and Dad were poor, but they spent their savings on a trip to Elgin, Illinois to bring me to a Branham crusade there. When I (age 3) finally made it onto the stage, Branham looked at my introductory note that said, "blind in the right eye," and shouted, "This boy is blind!" He then laid hands on my eyes and waved them in front of me. When I blinked, he yelled, "This little boy has been cured of blindness!" The huge crowd went wild but my parents were sick. Of course I blinked because I could see out of my good eye. This fraud devastated and disillusioned my parents. All this attention to getting me healed made me feel like they regretted my birth and ultimately created a deep desire in me to justify being born! It also sowed the seeds of a lifelong determination to discover whether miracles and divine healing were ever real and whether the Bible was trustworthy. God used those events to shape my calling in life.
  3. 1 point
    Hi, my names Dee and I live in Australia. I am engaged and my partner and I have been together for 5 years. I’m totally blind (I use voiceover to type and read text on my apple devices). I don’t let my blindness stop me from living my life. I hope to make friends and to learn about progressive Christianity.
  4. 1 point
    Let me begin with this disclaimer: I am an evangelical Christian for whom Christ's atoning death and resurrection are the anchor of my faith. But at their best, the verifications inherent in ADCs (=After-Death Contacts) and NDEs (near-death experiences) seem more evidentially probative even than the evidence for Jesus' resurrection and, in my experience of evangelistic witnessing, are far more effective than any Bible-based apologetics. To demonstrate why I will share some of the most mind-blowing evidential NDEs and ADCs I have encountered, including some of the most convincing which have not been published. But first, I will provide some biblical background for ADCs: (1) Apart from Jesus' resurrection appearances, the most obvious NT example of an ADC is the return of Moses and Elijah to be present with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9 and parallels). (2) "After His resurrection, they [deceased saints] came out of the tombs and came into the holy city and appeared to many (Matthew 27:53)." Whether their bodies were actually resurrected or their spirits simply appeared to the living in Jerusalem, these paranormal appearances qualify as ADCs. (3) Hebrews 12:1: "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and run with perseverance the race that is set before us." In part this image of "the cloud of witnesses" refers back to the list of OT saints discussed in chap. 11. But in Hebrews, the word "witnesses" (Greek: martyres) always refers to eyewitnesses and the witnesses in 12:1 do not precede the living spiritual athletes, but rather surround them. So "the cloud of witnesses" are alive and are currently monitoring the progress of the spiritual athletes competing in the arena below. Hebrews 12:1 is thus an important prooftext for the affirmation in the Apostles' Creed, "I believe in the communion of saints." We don't need to embrace the Catholic practice of praying to deceased saints to recognize this point. (4) In the Catholic OT Judas Maccabaeus has a vision of 2 deceased saints, the high priest Onias III and the prophet Jeremiah, whose encouragement and prayer support spur them on to military victory in Israel's decisive battle with the Greeks (2 Maccabees 15:6-19). True, this book is absent from the Protestant canon. But this visionary appearance of Jeremiah inspires speculation that Jesus in fact represents Jeremiah's return from the grave (Matthew 16:14). (5) NDEs are experienced as a form of OBE. Paul considers his visit to Paradise a possible OBE (2 Corinthians 12:1-5) and Ezekiel describes his visions like ADCs: e. g.: "Then the Spirit lifted me up (Ezekiel 3:12)." My next planned posts will document some of the most evidentially impressive ADCs and NDEs. Please share any ADCs or NDEs that you or your acquaintances have experienced and what you think of them. Reply
  5. 1 point
    (4) The major turning point in my life that I'm about to share is also by far the spiritual and emotional high point in my life. Even now, decades later, I constantly draw spiritual nourishment from the very memory of that fateful day I was "ambushed" by an experience of glossolalia at Manhattan Beach Camp in Manitoba. I was 16 at the time and felt I had lost my faith. I was determined to give it my best shot to find God real, but not to succumb to wishful thinking and emotionalism. That fateful, Tuesday, I went on a 7 mile walk towards Ninette, MB, pleading with God to make Himself real to me. That evening, I did something I'd never done before. I fasted for dinner and put my dinner money in the offering plate. After the service, I stayed at the altar and prayed to be filled with the Spirit as I had previously done in vain. After almost everyone (about 1,000) left the amphitheater, my heart still felt like stone as I tarried in prayer. Then suddenly I felt a warm breeze, but it wasn't the wind from nearby Pelican Lake; it was the Holy Spirit first warming me and then possessing me. I was forced against my will to speak in tongues at the top of my voice. More importantly, wave after wave of liquid love surged through my being with ever increasing intensity until I feared it might kill me. My ego seemed on the verge of collapse into the divine presence. A Lutheran pastor observed me, unseen, and quietly came and knelt beside me. He told me he was not Pentecostal and had only come to the camp meeting as an interested observer. He said he could tell God was doing a special work in me and he asked me to pray for him. The moment i touched his forehead, he exploded into tongues like me. Another lady was sitting in the now darkened amphitheater and just staring at me. Self-conscious, I asked her why? She said, "Don't you know? Your face is glowing in the dark!" When it was all over, I realized that God had said to me clearly: "Son, you long for answers to burning questions. But answers aren't good for you right now. They will make you live in your head, and I want to live in your heart. I want you to live your questions until they lead you to the center of my heart." That is the reason for my long educational pilgrimage from BA (U. of Winnipeg) to MDiv (Princeton) to doctorate in New Testament, Judaism, and Greco-Roman Backgrounds (Harvard). Interestingly, the experience made me a much better student than I had been. And like marijuana, that experience of glossolalia seems to have functioned like a gateway spiritual drug that soon led to other gripping experiences of other spiritual gifts, especially "the word of knowledge" (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). (5) Previously, I had not been a stellar student in school and was insecure about God's plans for my future. But shortly after the experience, I suddenly knew that I'd receive the highest GPA in Manitoba in my senior year. Decades later, my cousin, a psychiatrist, reminded me that I had shared "this word of knowledge" with him when I recounted my tongues experience. That experience evidently improved my mental capacity. When Premier Duff Roblyn publicly acknowledged that achievement at my graduation, I felt that my somewhat awkward attempts at Christian witnessing were rendered more effective and I became more confident in a calling to an academic life. But my next 2 experiences of "the word of knowledge" (premonitions) were as puzzling and disturbing as they were riveting. More on that in my next planned post.
  6. 1 point
    How can the Gospel of Mark be connected with eyewitness testimony about Jesus? Papias expresses his preference for eyewitness oral testimony about Jesus' words and deeds over written works: "What was to be gleaned from books was not so profitable to me as what came from a living and abiding voice." Papias distinguishes what disciples like John the son of Zebedee used to say orally from what still living disciples, Aristion and John the Elder were currently saying on their visits. Papias (c. 60-130 AD) is early enough to have conversed with the eyewitnesses or to have heard what they were saying during their visits. What Papias learns from John the Elder, probably one of the 70 disciples outside the circle of the 12, implies that Mark provides Peter's teaching notes: "[John] the Elder also said this: "Mark, being the interpreter of Peter, whatever he remembered, he wrote accurately, but not in order, that these things were spoken or done by our Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him, but afterwords, as I said, he was with Peter, who did not make an ordered account of the Lord's sayings, but constructed His teachings according to "chreiai" [= concise self-contained teachings]/ So Mark did nothing wrong in writing down single matters as he remembered them, for he gave special attention to one thing, of not passing by anything he heard and not falsifying anything in these matters (Eusebius HE 3.39.15)." Both Papias's testimony and the unusual number of Latinisms in Mark establish Rome as the most likely locale for this Gospel's origin. For that reason, Justin Martyr's reference to Mark as the memoirs of Peter is another important witness to its connection with eyewitness testimony to Jesus' life: “And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in his memoirs that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder (Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 106:3)." Mark (3:16-17) is the only extant Gospel that records Jesus' assignment of "Boanerges" (= the Thunder Boys" or literally "the sons of thunder") as a nickname for James and John. The nickname likely reflects Jesus' witty response to James and John's desire to call down a lightning strike on a Samaritan village for their rude treatment there (Luke 9:52-55). Justin's lifespan (estimated at 100-165 AD) is close enough to the NT era to have access to reliable oral tradition. What makes Mark uniquely credible are embarrassing details about Jesus that are not likely to be invented. Consider these 4 cases in point. (1) Mark implies that Jesus tried and failed to perform miracles in His home town: "He could do no deeds of power there, except that He laid hands on a few sick people and cured them (6:5)." NT scholars recognize the awkwardly worded except-clause as a later gloss. If this clause were authentic , we would expect the text to read, "He could do only a few deeds of power there." (2) the concession that Jesus' own family did not consider His ministry legitimate: "When His family heard it, they went out to physically restrain Him; for they were saying, He is out of his mind (3:21)!" Jesus: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own kin and in his own house (6:4)." John 7:5 provides further support of the skepticism of Jesus' family: "Even His own brothers didn't believe in Him!" (3) the implication in 8:22-26 that Jesus needs 2 attempts to complete the blind man's healing. (4) Mark's willing to quote Jesus as apparently denying His personal goodness and eve distinguishing Himself from God: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18-7-18)."
  7. 1 point
    As does obfuscation Burl.
  8. 1 point
    (3) At age 11, I realized that I should be baptized to please my parents and obey the Gospel. I had to attend a few preparatory catechetical classes and I was the only child among about 11 adult male candidates. The classes appalled me because the lecturer used poorly explained jargon like justification, propitiation, and sanctification which produceded excruciation in the mind of this young boy who couldn't grasp the meaning of these big words. Quoting Colossians 2:11 , the lecturer informed us that we needed to be "circumcised in spirit." That might have been helpful if I knew what physical circumcision was and if he explained this jargon. I would be the last of the 12 to be baptized by immersion in a large tank behind the platform before a crowd of about 1,400 people. I was petrified because I learned I was expected to share a personal testimony in front of that huge crowd and because, blush, the bottom of my baptismal robe seemed to float up, exposing my nakedness! All the men gave a formulaic personal testimony that I can recite even today. Then I nervously waded out to the pastor and he asked me, "Donny, would you like to share a word for the Lord Jesus?" I shook my head in the negative. So the pastor continued, "OK, let me ask you some faith questions." I felt publicly humiliated as the only one not to share a testimony and at that point I just wanted to get this ordeal over with to please my parents. But after the pastor dunked me, something amazing happened as I emerged from the water. I suddenly had a vision of Jesus, smiling at me, radiating love and conveying the feeling that He found my predicament rather amusing. I sensed His empathy for my confusion over all the poorly explained catechetical jargon and my groundless fear about my nakedness being exposed by the floating bottom of my robe. And years later when I became a theology professor, I reflected that Jesus must have found it amusing that a motormouth like me would be utterly tongue-tied at my youthful baptism. My first and only vision in my life transformed an unpleasant baptismal ordeal into one of the most sacred and treasured memories of my life!
  9. 1 point
    (2) By the time I was 6 I had learned to hate church. There was no children's church or Sunday school for my age and Church bored me because I couldn't relate to much of the 1 1/2 hour services, especially the sermons. So I squirmed and protested in our pew and made myself a nuisance to my parents. My parents were weekly attenders, but one Sunday they stayed home for reasons I never understood. I suspect the nightmare of dealing with my hissyfits was part of the reason! I was so glad to escape church that sunny and clear July morning! God was the furthest thing from my mind. To celebrate I zoomed up and own the sidewalk to the ends of our block on my little tricycle. Then I noticed the big new blue Chevy with huge tailfins parked behind the Jewish shoe store salesman's building. Evidently he had just waxed and polished it and it just glistened as it reflected the brilliant sunlight. To me it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen; so I constantly road back to it to stare in wonder. Once, when I returned, I had my first life-changing God moment. For some strange reason, my attention was directed to a patch of blue near the sun. As I gazed at it, wave after wave of liquid love surged through my being. Suddenly I became acutely aware of the presence of a God who loved me and I just basked in that love! I told my parents about my experience, but they didn't seem very interested. That all changed a few days later when neighbors came over to tell my parents how impressed they were that I was excitedly sharing my embryonic new faith with my playmates. I knew little about God and the Bible and I have always wondered what I was saying about God and my experience to my little playmates. This experience didn't make me want to sit through church, though. Now Dad sang in the choir and my parents now let me sit by myself. This was fortunate because it allowed me to I sneak out of church to buy lifesavers at the little grocery store across the streets from the church. As I ate them, I browsed the comic books on the store shelves. The owner eventually got annoyed by my regular presence and shooed me out his store. So I ate my lifesavers outside and began to meditate on the meaning of my life.
  10. 1 point
    Not to derail the friendly banter, my friends, (interesting though it is), but I don't think there is such a thing as one God-given or divine purpose to life. This, of course, goes against some Christian teachings that we are made to know and worship God, but it is a fact that, according to orthodox Christian, God is hidden (which implies that we cannot know such a God) and I seriously doubt that He has self-worth problems that could only be assuaged by continual praise. If there is a purpose to Nature, it just seems to be to be what it is -- an ongoing cycle of life and death. Death is the cost of experiencing life in our Universe. In this sense, I think God allows us to generate our OWN sense of purpose and meaning. Within that context, I believe that we derive our best sense of purpose and meaning in relationships with others - ourselves, our families, our friends, the world. Key to this could perhaps be Jesus' observations about how we treat other found in Matthew 25. Those who experience the kingdom do so in community with others, helping them along the way. To me, this is the closest that I could see Jesus' teaching about our purpose as human beings. Or, in other words, love one another.
  11. 1 point
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  13. 1 point
    Welcome! I am a big fan of the Apostolic Fathers.
  14. 1 point
    Welcome Lucian, I know the Easter expression differes from the Western in ways - that could provide some interesting discussions.
  15. 1 point
    As for the bolded part: If you had been delusional, you couldn't have critically examined your delusions and adjusted your thinking. You would have not had the option of adjusting your beliefs based on your evolving understanding. Delusional people also can't deconvert out of their delusions, like many people deconvert out of religious beliefs. The delusions are overwhelming and will override the delusional person's rational mind. The process how delusional mind develops, is a one-way street, like most mental illnesses are: the condition that makes people delusional typically only deteriorates and the delusions become worse and worse over time. Religious beliefs on the other hand have a wide variety of ways with how they develop, some people become more religious by age, some become less so. There is actually strikingly little in common in the nature of delusions and religious beliefs on a closer examination. The topic makes me think of the name of the famous pro-atheist book "God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. The name of the book is not an accident, it follows the anti-religious tradition of rhetorically equating religion with mental illness. Basically the name could be "Only crazy people can believe in God". It is typical of all bigotry to be rooted in ignorance, and the Dawkins-style "religious beliefs are delusions" - bigotry is not an exception, it's classic ignorant bigotry in the sense that it's based on (either genuine, or intentionally chosen rhetorical) ignorance about the nature of delusions and the nature of religious beliefs. Granted, there are superficial overlappings when it comes to how strong mysticism and some mental illnesses appear to the outside world. Mystics can come off as little bit nuts or at least wierd. But, I think part of the problem with that observation is the silly assumption that our views on God are supposed to develop in the same purist rational fashion as our views on atomic theory do. There are other areas in life that are driven by something else than reason, such as artistic inspiration or falling in love. A person who has fallen in love is also a bit "crazy" and so is a person who is in the midst of a deep artistic inspiration. But, people don't make as much of a problem out of those phenomenons because our culture is more used to people who fall in love, or express artistic eccentricity, than it is used to religious mysticism (in some other cultures, religious wierdness was much more acceptable). Healthy human nature as a whole is not a cold, hard, rational, facts - examining computer. There are highly extra-rational elements to human nature (artistic inspiration, falling in love f.e.). In my opinion, there is no reason to expect that spirituality or beliefs should be made of cold analysis either.
  16. 1 point
    Language is important. Every field of interest develops its own detailed language in order to communicate minute details with specificity. Medicine, physics, art, theology, psychology &c all have their own jargon which is necessary to communicate properly. Vernacular language often limited, confusing or have regional meanings. Consciousness has vernacular meanings, a theological meaning, a psychological meaning and a medical meaning inter alia. This causes problems in interdisciplinary conversations, but sorting it out is usually a profitable venture.
  17. 1 point
    This book has been quite eye-opening for me and I can think of lots of examples of these theories with myself and with others. So far he has looked a lot at reasoning, and I am interested in finding out what he has to say about the intuition side of it.
  18. -1 points
    Still having trouble looking things up yourself? Paul, if I spoon-fed you that trivia what use would you make of it? Better you look it up yourself and develop more meaningful questions.
  19. -1 points
    I'm waiting for you to explain how the name of a specific person will help you appreciate the physical nature of the Kingdom of God. I think you are just asking pointless questions as part of your general cynicism. You can pick any of the Apostolic fathers as it follows directly from the bible, and there is no shortage of information on the physical aspects of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I assume you were baptized in that wierdo church and wonder why you pray so many posts on this Christian message board. Those events are related. If I give you a specific name how will that help you?
  20. -1 points
    My precise point in not just naming someone. All of the Apostolic Fathers wrote meditations on Scripture. These were not cathechisms. They were lengthy prose ramblings written to people who were being severely persecuted and martyred. I believe there are about 12 volumes, and I am not about to go through my 80 semester hours of seminary notes to figure out exactly which lecture covered this for people who don't believe they even have a soul or any reason to be concerned with its care and training or consider divine revelation to be the primary source that it is. I told you a name was a useless response to a trivial question. Maybe now you believe me since that you have proven it to yourself. And for goodness sake give up on Wikipedia.
  21. -1 points
    Hope that thread title got your attention! I intend this thread to focus on these 2 issues: (1) Many progressives dismiss the effectiveness of petitionary prayer without even investigating the biblical conditions for a successful prayer life. In the Gospels, Jesus often wanders away outdoors from the daily grind of crowd demanding His attention, forcing His disciples to search for Him. Once when they track Him down and witness His intense focus on prayer, the ask Him to teach them how to pray. How well do you know biblical prayer principles and how often do you practice them? How many types of prayer can you identify and have you practiced? In his excellent book "Prayer," Quaker scholar Richard Foster identifies and discusses 22 types! Since my retirement as a UMC pastor in July, 2015, I have been part of a small weekly Monday prayer group (5 or 6 members) that has seen many healing miracles and other answers to prayer. I my well share some of these on this thread. But I'm not trying to win an apologetic argument here. Rather, I want readers to learn by doing, by applying these prayer principles to their lives, so that they have their own testimonies. (2) Of course if you've never experienced a miracle, it will be harder for you to accept Gospel miracle stories. Being brain-washed by so-called progressive NT scholars like Borg and Spong, many progressives blindly embrace the dogma that our Gospels are so far removed from the events that their miracle stories are full of myths and legends. They drink this Kool-Aid because they lack the intellectual integrity to examine both sides of the question. To demonstrate this claim I'm issuing this challenge: Do you even know how evangelicals establish a connection between our Gospels and eyewitness testimony? Why do I think I'll only receive facile straw man arguments that are easily refuted?
  22. -1 points
    I've been posting on other Christians sites lately because of the lack of engaging dialogue here. Remember, my earlier point was this: progressives seem to lack the integrity to even discover what the alleged conservative evidence is for an eyewitness Gospel connection. I've waited to see whether this critique is refuted by some progressive poster. Since it has not, I will provide my defense for this claim in my next planned posts here.
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