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    In August 2016 … we (my wife and I) had fortieth wedding anniversary. There were forty or so people outside for a barbeque. I must admit I was well oiled. I was sitting next to Ann (Madeleine's Buddhistically inclined octogenarian guru). She's a really nice lady. Joseph would get on well with her. She was talking to two ladies, I did not know well, and explaining to them how they need the ability to be able to forgive themselves. I think the ladies were of a Christian persuasion. Anyway the conversation died down, and I knew Ann also did not believe in free will. So I quietly said to her something like, "If we don't have free will, then there is nothing to forgive." She replied "Baby steps".
  2. 1 point
    No, Rom............you miss his point :+}
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    Merry Christmas! I hope you have blessed holidays with your loved ones. God bless us all! 😃🤶☦️
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    The apostles walk in on Jesus getting a massage and accuse him of hypocrisy. Jesus responds by explaining his time is short. The mention of the poor is not a sermon and should not be read as such. Personally I never leave the house without a few half-dollars, silver dollars and $2 bills and give to anyone who asks.
  5. 1 point
    These are all great questions, Thomas. You ask these in response to... To answer your first question, this is not a hard statement to understand. Nowhere in Scripture do we find anyone having faith that did not first have the will of God revealed to them. This began in the Garden. God gave man His will for his life and Adam responded. I think the next questions will serve well to expand on the meaning of the statement. God is only immanent in those who have been born again, and this did not begin until Pentecost. And even for the Regenerate we see His intervention. The primary problem of man is that he is born separate from God and thus it is only God that can reveal truths to men by which men can be saved. The truth revealed to Adam was "The day you eat of this fruit you will die." Adam's response was wilful disobedience, thus death entered the world (death, not sin). We see this pattern throughout Scripture and in the case of everyone (which is everyone, lol) who comes into relationship with God. We do see the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and that He would come upon men and women to empower them for ministry (i.e., Prophet, Priest, King, Warrior, etc.) but that is distinguished from the eternal indwelling of God which was promised in the Old Testament and brought about by Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection. When He returned to Heaven He sent the Comforter to perform a ministry specific to this Age: John 16:7-9 King James Version (KJV) 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; When the Comforter comes He will convict men of sin...because they are unbelievers. They do not yet believe in Christ, and it is His ministry by which they come to believe. Few notice that the disciples of Christ, though ministering under Him for three years...did not believe the Gospel. Peter rejected the Gospel when the Lord told it to him... Matthew 16:20-23 King James Version (KJV) 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then we see Peter seek to keep Christ from the Cross by physical violence towards men in the Garden. Then we see Peter deny he even knows Christ. Then we see Peter (and the other disciples) disbelieve He had in fact risen again. How this is relevant is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the Hidden Wisdom of God, kept secret from the foundation of the world. It was a Mystery, previously unrevealed truth. While men could place faith in a coming Messiah/Christ, that is not to be confused with believing on and placing faith in the Risen Savior, that He died for you. So the distinct ministry of the Comforter is unique to this Age, and it is through receiving the Gospel that men are reconciled to God. They are not only brought into relationship with God, but one that is eternal. We are made one with God. So while truth was revealed to men in the Old Testament, and man's response to those truths determined their standing with God (as well as created belief and faith), today the revelation being provided men is the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is how Scripture describes man as he comes into this world. The natural man (unsaved) is contrasted with the spiritual man (saved: 1 Corinthians 2:9-14 King James Version (KJV) 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I post from v.9 because it is important to understand the context of this passage. Most view v.9 as speaking about how great Heaven is going to be, but this quotation is referring to the Hidden Wisdom of God...the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No man had an understanding of the Sacrifice of Christ. that His death is in view is stated before: 1 Corinthians 2 King James Version (KJV) 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. That is the central focus of not only the second chapter, but the latter half of chapter One. The point being that it is the Spirit of God that has revealed to us this knowledge, and that it was not revealed previously to men. Again we see the simple pattern: God reveals truth, man responds. The natural man cannot understand spiritual things hence it is God that enlightens his mind that he may respond. Apart from that intervention he would remain blind to the truths he desperately needs to know. When one receives those truths and is converted he stops being a natural man and becomes something he wasn't before, what Paul calls the new creature. Primarily we see the will of God for man revealed. All revelation has a primary goal of bringing man into obedience to God's Own will, which ultimately is for the good of man. How revelation is provided has, in my view, three primary avenues: First, we see revelation provided in Creation itself (Romans 1:20). Since the world began men have been able to understand there is a God Who created the world. Second, we see an internal witness provided to men, in which God reveals to man's conscience His will (Romans 1:19-20; Romans 2:13-15). That is what we would view as immanent. Third we have direct revelation, which occurs when God speaks directly to men, through men, or through the written Word. All revelation must be kept in the context in which it is given. For example, the revelation provided to men under the Law cannot be imposed as specific to our Age. If a Gentile tries to "keep the Law" he ignores that the Law was given specifically to Israel and that there are certain aspects of the Law they were commanded which is impossible for Gentiles to keep. A great example of revelation being kept in its context would be the Gospel of Christ. It is given in the Old Testament but the understanding of it was not given. Abraham believed God would give him a son and through his seed (offspring) all families/nations of the earth would be blessed. He believed it and had enough faith in Gd's promise that he was willing to slay his son, knowing that God would have to resurrect him (Isaac) in order to fulfill His promise. But he didn't understand that God would manifest in flesh, die in his stead for his sins, and bestow eternal life. Getting back to the OP, because of his belief and faith he was justified. He was declared righteous on a temporal basis, and this secured his eternal destiny. But he would not be justified through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus...until Christ actually redeemed him. Adam and Eve also received the Gospel: Genesis 3:15 King James Version (KJV) 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. But neither did they understand that the Son would die for their sins. It is not until the Comforter begins His convicting ministry that the Gospel is revealed to men. Notice that the disciples of Christ did not preach the Gospel, nor did the Church begin...until Pentecost. Well, believing is something both saved and unsaved can do. The devils believe...and tremble. People can believe Jesus is the Christ is the Son of the living God, but as we see in Matthew 16 this does not equate to believing on Christ in faith. It is just my opinion that many in the churches today engage in the "faith" the disciples had prior to Pentecost: they believe Christ is Who He says He is, but they have not yet placed faith in Him as Savior. As to the difference of the two in my statement, God reveals to men truths, they believe, but just because they believe doesn't mean they have faith. Abraham proved he believed by being willing to offer up his son. The Apostles proved their belief by being willing to die for Christ. Just because someone believes in something doesn't mean they have faith in it. I believe Satan is a powerful demon but I have no faith in him. Yes. In a salvific context placing faith in Christ is not just a matter of believing. Many Jews all over the world trust in the Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures, but as evidenced by the actions of the disciples (and all men) during Christ's ministry, the "faith" they had was shallow and weak. Consider... Galatians 3:23-25 King James Version (KJV) 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Paul makes it clear that faith in Christ is specific and contrasted to faith in general. While men were under the Law (and the implication being prior to the Law as well) faith was not possible. No man under the Law had the Faith of Christ. Many believed in the Messiah that was prophesied (such as the woman at the well, John 4), and as I said many Jews today believe in that Messiah, but... ...only those who believe and place their faith in Christ have received the faith which was not possible under the Law. In our culture it is not as evident what faith in Christ looks like, but in the First Century it was impossible to miss. Men and women were persecuted for their faith, so faith would have "looked like" men and women dying, being shut up in prison. In our culture it might look like regular attendance with a group of other Christians. In a general statement, for me, faith looks like keeping the commandments of Christ. This is not to be confused with keeping the Law, or keeping the teachings He gave in specificity (i.e., "do unto others..."), but generally keeping everything He taught and viewing it as irrefutable. This would include His doctrinal teachings. Many today, for example, do not "keep" His teaching concerning Regeneration. In John 3 Nicodemus asks how men can be born again and the Lord's answer is He must be "lifted up," or in other words die on the Cross. Yet no-one "keeps" that teaching. In another sense we might say that observing what placing faith in Christ is might be difficult. While I believe we can see evidence of genuine salvation, we (humans) have the bad habit of judging books by covers, as well as demanding more of others than we do of ourselves. We see someone smoking, for example, and we question their faith. But faith in Christ begins a growth process, so all believers are at differing phases of maturity in Christ. Genuine faith in Christ is expressed according to that maturity so it might be difficult to say for certain whether one is saved or not. Okay, sorry for the length, but as I said, great questions. Thanks, much for them. God bless.
  6. 1 point
    Paul quits. Thormas wins.
  7. 1 point
    You're delusion. "A man shall not lie with another man" is "a man shall not lie with another man".
  8. 1 point
    Howdy, STranger. >>pulls up gunbelt; spits tobacco<<
  9. 1 point
    You’re not wrong but you have not cleared anything up either. 1) All people are called to recognize the Christ within them through grace. 2) Justification is when one finally recognizes the Christ within: that personal connection with the ineffable which is both fully human and fully divine. 3) Faith (pistis) is a trust in that connection as a reliable guide to righteousness. Belief is nothing, but trust is everything. 4) Works of faith are when one acts according to faith. 5) With continued works of faith, prayer, worship inter alia the strength of the Christ connection increases. This ongoing process is sanctification.
  10. 1 point
    Welcome S.T. looking forward to your thoughts.
  11. 1 point
    There are many churches that fall short, but remember in Christianity the focus is on improving the spiritual condition of the Christian giver. The metric is not how much poverty is relieved (the poor will be with us always) but on how much suffering the Christian is willing to accept on behalf of the sufferer (widow’s mite). “Giving until it hurts” requires faith. The well-off who give much out of their abundance are merely acting ethically. The Buddhist understanding is similar. The poor provide the better off with an opportunity for spiritual improvement.
  12. 1 point
    Interesting. I see something similar concerning abortion and keeping the child. Life is believed to be sacred and abortion sinful. Yet shouldn't we applaud the woman or girl who has the courage of belief and keeps her child, shouldn't we as Church who professes the sacredness of life and putting others before self do everything in our power to house, feed, provide expert medical care and psychological/spiritual support for these women in their hours of need (particularly those women without family), shouldn't we build 'mansions' to house the pregnant women and eventually them and their newborn for a period of time, shouldn't we celebrate them, their decision, their sacrifice, their love?
  13. 1 point
    Welcome John (from an ex Brummie) Consider me your new devout agnostic friend.
  14. 1 point
    Welcome John good to have you join the group.
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    Can we eliminate it? No! Can we reduce it? Yes. The long term answer is to understand the myriad of causes which we might distil into a few proximate causes and tackle those. We can tackle the perception that the homeless are in some fundamental way the "makers of their own bed" and come to the realization that that it is in our own best interest to tackle the problem … it is not an SEP. Also those of us who have the most have the most to loose.
  17. 1 point
    The basic penitent’s cross symbolizes the intersection of the divine plane (vertical) with the temporal plane (horizontal).
  18. 1 point
    [SLC000018] Sunday Service 15.09.2019 01. Introduction 00:57 02. The Lion and The Lamb 03:49 03. Notices 05:00 04. Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah 02:51 05. Readings 06:12 06. Sermon 16:29 07. Prayer 05:01 08. As The Deer 03:27 09. Purify My Heart 04:15 10. You are Beautiful 03:40 11. You Give Life 04:04 credits released September 22, 2019 Speakers: Steve Morgan Reading: Cerys Hartley, Cled Morgan, Ken Hartley Vocals/Guitar: Alastair Cope Vocals: Amy Cope Songpro: Daniel Ames Recorded, Mixed and Mastered: Kristian Cole https://stlleurwgschurch.bandcamp.com/album/slc000019-sunday-service-1509-2019
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  20. 1 point
    Your friends should have been filling steins.
  21. 1 point
    Nice, short essay on the subject. https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/the-bible-is-not-a-book-of-answers/
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  23. 1 point
    God's essential being cannot be visualized- that's the most basic teaching in most Abrahamic religions. Islam and Judaism in particular are explict that God is more dissimilar to a human being than similar. When body parts are described for God, it is understood analogically.
  24. 1 point
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, primarily. Lately I've been trying to study more of Langdon Gilckey's thought.
  25. 1 point
    I am convinced that in most situations labels are at best unhelpful. Often we are viewed through the labels we accept. And more importantly it seems to be human nature that when we accept a label we tend to work to become that label. s
  26. 1 point
    Neuroscience supports dualism. Intellectual activity and products are inherently non-materialistic.
  27. 1 point
    There was an old man called Burl. Rom's great idea he could not unfurl. He thought so hard, His brain turned to lard. He could not understand the pearl.
  28. 1 point
    That was the point of my reply. It is your right to vote down a post without being sure what the author meant. But when we enter into this voting thingy, we are simply trying to reinforce a particular behaviour (positively or negatively). Why do we want to modify other people's behaviour? Do they not have their right? This is why I avoid (as much as I can) that particular game. This is why I don't accuse people of trolling even when I suspect they are. I am simply advocating evidenced based reasoning. I hope no one here is against this. Here is an opinion from my heart-throb on Sheldrake.
  29. 1 point
    "I am glad you kept the author's name anonymous" You assume this was to obscure something because he/she was not credible and your statement begs for the author's name to repudiate this false claim. "You saved him a bunch of embarrassment." You not only assume or suggest the worse, you state clearly that the worse is that the author's position is an embarrassment. Seems my points are made. Materialism is the underlying assumption. And, you clearly state that a hypothesis is speculative and contains assumptions. Sure a hypothesis is tested but the underlying assumption is that materialism ('belief') is reality. That is not the case and the author establishes that 'test' results are sometimes wanting and the conclusions disputed. It appears that materialism, rather than being seem as a belief has become unquestioned dogma. Again, I will go with the true scientist out of Cambridge.
  30. 1 point
    The burden of proof is yours, Rom. You provided no evidence for your opinion that love is a chemical reaction, or that it is elicited by external stimuli. There is a kernel of truth there, but you are far from a definition or an argument.
  31. 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
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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
  35. 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.
  36. 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)."
  37. 1 point
    As does obfuscation Burl.
  38. 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!
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 1 point
  42. 1 point
    I remember seeing a series called “The Cosmos” narrated by Carl Sagan, in which he stated that we are all made of the same “stuff” as the rest of the universe. In that sense we actually ARE the universe, as well as that part of the universe where conscious awareness of itself has been generated. The thought of that is actually pretty staggering to me. We are all separated from everything else by time and space, a unique property of the universe, but we still share its fundamental elements. I suspect that the universe has always had the ability to generate life and conscious awareness of itself. Apparently, all that is required is the right combination of elements and its formation by evolutionary processes. For me, to posit a “God” or other “outside” entity and label it “holy” or “sacred” to account for this ability somehow lessens its magnificence. I think I’m content to just let it be. Peace. Steve
  43. 1 point
    It is a fascinating subject. I know C.S. Lewis addressed it in his "Space Trilogy". Basically he had a solar system full of life, but only earth was fallen (we were called the "Silent Planet"). It allowed him to portray unfallen cultures on other planets, and he did a great job. I have read quite a few short stories over the years that have addressed the question. Some have Jesus incarnating as one of the natives to offer salvation, others have it being our job to carry the Gospel into the universe. No solid agreement, so the creative field is open. Until we have definite contact of one form or another it will all be speculation. But that can be good. Speculation in this area is a fun and creative way to deal with the question: how does God relate to us, what are that relations forms and boundaries? I am really undecided on this question. I believe there is extraterrestrial life. I believe God loves and relates to them as He does to us. But the exact nature . . . ahh, there's the fascinating part.
  44. 1 point
    I very much believe that there is life on other planets and in other universes. And I think it rational that wherever sentient life exists, God has revealed Itself to that life in such a way as is best for them. That is why the idea of the Incarnation means so much to me. Not the idea of Incarnation in Jesus only, but in all life. I just think from time to time that God punches us in the arm and says, "Here I Am."
  45. -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.
  46. -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?
  47. -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.
  48. -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?
  49. -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.
  50. -1 points
    Yes mine is an opinion, but it is based om observation, unlike your Cambridge man. Yes Sheldrake is given the right to be wrong. This is not clear. What cause would I have to give a this answer. But Spong does come to mind. Where on Earth did you get that?
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