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Featured Are denominations like medicines?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Hmm, Nov 24, 2020.

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  1. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It may be this "healthy spiritual development" idea that bothers me. The whole idea of Christianity is following Christ because he is Lord and Savior. If we do not care to do that, what's the point? A bunch of friendships? Being part of an association that says "to thine own self be true?" What?

    It's the truth that is essential. That said, different people have come to different conclusions about what IS true. Free will vs. predestination, for example. And that one represents a big divide in Christianity. However, we were talking about how we come to either of those views.

    If it isn't because we are persuaded that this is the correct Christian belief--not just a viewpoint that seems to us as individuals more logical than predestination--there doesn't seem to be any particular reason to be a churchgoer, whether it's a Catholic or Methodist church or OTOH a Reformed church or some other denomination.

    But what about the "healthy spiritual development?" Well, how can it be healthy if it's wrong? How can the development be good if it's going in the wrong direction?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  2. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi :)

    Yes, a person's beliefs about free will and destiny can be very significant.

    But, in case you are with people who do not agree with you, Jesus wants you to be strong in His love so wrong people can not have power over you to hurt you and keep you from living and loving in God's peace.

    If you believe what is right, in the right way, you will be humble about it . . . not merely fighting other people with different ideas . . . not mainly comparing your group to someone else's. But with God's way of understanding, we keep busy with how we are becoming in comparison with Jesus and obeying His example or not.

    "For we dare not to class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves among themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12)
    Let's say you are where people are in your face with what you do not believe about free will. But you have not yet found the church where you are sure you belong.

    Possibly, in the church with the in-your-face people, there might also be really mature Christians you have not discovered, yet. They even might be much more mature than the pastor, who has immature beliefs and ways. But the mature seniors can turn out to be so beneficial to you, that you do well to stay with them and reach to the ones who are mistaken and not relating well.

    Or, you feed on their example while you find a church with leaders and members who are more with it.

    Now . . . about ones who treat free will and predestination like they are totally opposite to each other >

    Whether we are destined or free to choose, still we need to treat each person like he or she is welcome to make one's own choice to love and obey Jesus; real love is freely given, whether you think there is free will or all is destiny.

    And we need to willingly submit to our Father and how He rules us in His own peace > Colossians 3:15 >

    "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

    This is a Bible basic of our Christian calling . . . to all who are "called in one body". So, if your will really is free, then freely choose at all times to personally submit to our Father and how He rules us in our "hearts" in His own peace. And in case you believe you are destined, being submissive to our Father in His own peace is a basic of living as a child of God.

    And Jesus wants us to love and care with hope for any and all people. So, whether we are free to choose or not, and predestined or not, God's word requires us to submit to how our Father personally rules us in His own peace, plus love any and all people as ourselves, and be generously forgiving. And in the process of obeying God like this, He is changing us "to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (in Romans 8:29)

    But, I would say, there can be groups who are very strong about free will, but they are not choosing to stay submissive to how our Father rules His children in His own peace, and they do not love any and all people with hope for any person, at all . . . even though Jesus on the cross so suffered and died with hope for any awful person, at all. They might even preach that Christ died for our sins, but they do not use their wills to choose to love and have hope for any and all people . . . though it is written how love "hopes all things" (in 1 Corinthians 13:7). So, in case you are about free will, you can test if you and ones you meet in church are about constantly choosing to submit to God in His own peace and choosing to love any and all people like Jesus on the cross has done. After all, how Jesus loved us while on the cross is our example required of us >

    "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (Ephesians 5:2)

    I am sure a number of free will people who call themselves fundamentalists are not choosing this which the Bible says is basic Christianity.

    But, also, some number of predestination people are not living and loving the way God's word means . . . while they claim to be destined.

    So, more than your beliefs, you need to find people who feed you their example of how God is conforming them to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:28-29) while they personally submit to how our Father rules us in His own peace (Colossians 3:15) so we are caring with hope for any and all people (Matthew 5:46) while sharing as His family in doing this (Ephesians 4:2, 4:31-32), growing more mature in this.

    These are Bible basics which God is doing with every Christian, while we minister this to one another. So, share with ones who are doing this > "that we" "speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head---Christ" (in Ephesians 4:15).
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  3. Hmm

    Hmm Rapture Threat Level: ORANGE

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    I agree with everything you've said but I think on this point:

    I think maybe we just don't know what's wrong or right. As you say, free will is a huge subject of debate within Christianity. People, equally intelligent and informed, have different views on it and this says to me that the reason we hold the views we do can't just be for rational reasons alone. Otherwise, being equally intelligent, we'd all hold the same view after debating the issue. There must be something beyond reason, something more deep-rooted/existential that causes us to be persuaded by certain views and be repelled by others. And because we don't really understand this process we can't change it and so we need to find a church that suits us in these particular areas. Otherwise we'll be committing a kind of assault on ourselves.
     
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Yes, we cannot simply say that "the Bible says" as though everything in it is crystal clear to every reader. So, we get different denominations. My only reservation concerned the reason for choosing a church. If it's because we are persuaded that it's teachings are in accord with God's revelation, then I accept that even though different people will have different views as to what that revelation happens to be.

    And one more thing. I do respect your decision and your willingness not to refer to particular denominations in order to illustrate your thinking. You have a serious point you wanted to make and it was not about denigrating any particular church body.
     
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  5. Hmm

    Hmm Rapture Threat Level: ORANGE

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    Thanks Albion. I regard you as one of those more knowledgeable chaps I spoke about earlier so glad we're (largely of course!) in agreement :)
     
  6. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

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    The "prohibition" decreased for a while, but with this last leader it has really tightened. I worry about how long Hong Kong will be allowed religious freedom.
     
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  7. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I personally understand that a person's character has a lot to do with what someone can believe.

    And ones on both sides of the free will, predestination item can be very dictatorial.

    Meanwhile others of either belief can be humbled in how they understand what they believe.

    And my character can have a lot to do with which one I trust and promote, or if I promote what I believe.

    People who want to fight and look down on others can take either side, so they can then look down on someone else.

    I can stay more clear of one side or the other . . . so I can look down on everyone.

    So, what matters is the "therefore" of what we believe . . . what we do, and how we live, because of what we believe.

    But in case free will or predestination is incorrect, there is the danger of having that wrong belief in a wrong spirit so I am fighting, spiting, biting, getting hurt, never able to stay out of arguing. That is the fault, not of the belief, though, but having the character to give in to the wrong spirit!! But, like I mean, it is possible to have a correct belief but in a wrong spirit who has a person fighting and biting and spiting and not able to stay out of arguing and getting hurt and stressed out and worrying and hurrying and scurrying.

    But if there is a character issue, and if you settle in with ones congratulating themselves on having unity in ideas which are in fact not correct . . . the wrong spirit of that can keep you weak so you can be hurt and argue and give in to treasure pleasures which do not help you to find out how to love.

    So, I would say, first trust God to correct our character howsoever He knows we need His correction > Hebrews 12:4-14 > and with this discover how He has you seeing things.
     
  8. Hmm

    Hmm Rapture Threat Level: ORANGE

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    Yes, that is extremely worrying. Being from the UK, we have a big responsibility to protect Hong Kong's freedoms. I'm not a big fan of this government but I believe it's doing what it can (we're a small country) to do that. Also being from the UK, I've met many Hong Kong citizens, mainly students, and one of my best friends is from Kowloon.
     
  9. coronawatching

    coronawatching New Member Supporter

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    In some instances, that might be a self-centered view. It's about going to where the Lord assigns. I don't have to agree with everything that the pastor says to fulfill purpose.[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  10. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    Not at all. What makes you think that we are capable of knowing which one "works best" for us? If I truly know myself, then 1) I know how easily I'm deceived by myself and others, and 2) I know that any denomination whose teachings I fully agree with and/or totally understand can't possibly be the one that Jesus established.

    And make no mistake: Jesus established one church, not many; he called it to be one in its doctrines and he promised to forever protect it against teaching false docrines. The Apostles did not go into the world teaching contradictory doctrines, and we aren't given the privilege of deciding for ourselves whether or not they taught it right; if we do that, then we are our own anti-Christ.

    So no: the existence of disparate denominations is most certainly not a good thing. It's a grave evil. There is only one legitimate Christian denomination, and that's the one that's existed since the time of the Apostles.
     
  11. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    ...and of course it seldom has been "one in its doctrines," let alone protected against teaching false doctrines.

    But then again, Christ did not promise that the church would never make mistakes, only that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (which obviously has been the case, since Christianity is still the world's largest and most widespread religion).
     
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  12. nolidad

    nolidad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1 Corinthians 11:17-19
    King James Version

    17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

    18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

    19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.


    I can give you lots of pros and cons, but the bottom line is that if a church does not believe the bible as written and understood within the literal/historical/ grammatical understanding of the Word of God- flee!

    Churches that believe thusly may have minor differences in certain areas that are not worth a hill of beans, but they are generally the best churches to adhere to!
     
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  13. UnpopularOpinion

    UnpopularOpinion Member

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    You can compare them to medicine but like each of them has some side effect
     
  14. Hmm

    Hmm Rapture Threat Level: ORANGE

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    And does that happen by strange coincidence to be the one you are a member of perchance?
     
  15. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    Many, if not most, of the evangelical Protestant denominations in the city where I live are distinct from one another in their heritage, their cultural origins, and in their organizational structure, not in doctrine. We have, for example, Baptist organizations in the city that exist distinct from one another because they were begun by immigrant Swedish Baptists, or immigrant German Baptists, and now, even Filipino Baptists. They've hived off into a distinct denominational group, not because they don't hold to basic Baptist distinctives and orthodox Christian doctrine, but because of language and culture.

    The truth - God's truth, that is - is not a matter of preference. One's fidelity to a denomination should be ordered first and foremost by one's fidelity to God's truth, not by a feeling of sympatico one has personally to a particular church. The fun church, the exciting church, the "modern" church may not be a church that holds to the Truth. What did Jesus say about the "Narrow Way"?

    Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)
    13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
    14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.


    A big crowd in a church is by no means a sign that the church is honoring God and His truth. Often such a crowd is indicative of exactly the opposite. The church that is holding to, and teaching, the full counsel of Scripture is naturally repulsive to the God-hating World. A church in which the lost sinner can comfortably be a member, without conviction of their sin, without repentance, without surrender of themselves to Christ, is a church you should avoid like the plague, whatever good feelings you might have about it.

    Truth, God's truth, is not subjective; it isn't derived from what suits us, from our preferences. Thinking it is, comes from relativism and from post-modernism, both of which philosophies are fundamentally antithetical to the Christian faith.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  16. Taodeching

    Taodeching Member

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    Wonderfully said
     
  17. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I've said this in other threads, but it obviously applies here. I am member of an ELCA Church (Lutheran). Our services tend to be formal and I like that. I once visited a far less formal church. At one point during the service the minister said "now let us each worship God in our own way." The man behind me started jumping up and down while shouting "help me Jesus." Others were shouting similar things or just shouting gibberish. One woman was moaning over and over, a couple people were rolling on the floor. I just stood there and silently prayed "God, please don't let these people hurt me."

    I'm not saying that this church and the way in which the people worshiped was wrong, but it certainly wasn't the sort of church that I could ever join. Perhaps that is why we have different denominations--so that people can find a church where they fit.

    BTW, the girl who invited me to join her for church later apologized for not warning me about the type of service I would experience.
     
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  18. concretecamper

    concretecamper Member of His Church

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    It seems that some have taken exception to your proposition especially to this statement:
    "So I think that, in practice, we seek out a church that feels right for us"

    I think people do exactly that. It "feels right" for them because in their personnel view, it may align to what they believe scripture is teaching.

    People leave denominations for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they don't like the teaching on traditional marriage, abortion, the Eucharist, divorce and remarriage, worship, etc. They then look for a group to accept them. Then afterwards, to soothe their conscience, convince themselves that this new group has got it right when it comes to scriptural interpretation.
     
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  19. zoidar

    zoidar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I attend different churches. My home church is Lutheran even I don't share all the theology. At weekdays I attend the Catholic church and neither do I agree to everything there. I'm also connected to a Pentecostal church and prayer group, and yes we have disagreement on things. ^_^

    It's more or less impossible for me to find a church that shares the exact theology I hold to, but the similarities outweighs the differences. We are all children of God. And I have found to grow from seeing different views on things. I have not bought any written theology like Luther, Calvin, Westley (or Orthodox or Catholic) straight off. I have been open to listen, to see if it really fits the Bible, if possible without the glasses.

    God bless!
     
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  20. Aaron_Bethlhm

    Aaron_Bethlhm Active Member

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    As you mentioned in a way, would you compare denominations to doctors?
    In other words, if one doctor routinely tested people and corrected the causes of problems , so when possible they were healed simply, directly, at low cost,
    while other doctors failed to do that, and instead followed protocol of treating symptoms and not only few people got healed, but meany had side effects (problems) that they did not have before,
    which doctor would you choose to go to ?
    So likewise, if one denomination, or one congregation, or one small assembly of believers was likewise successful in new life in Jesus, increasing daily or contninuing every day full of joy and peace and righteousness (as written),
    i.e. also no depression, no willful sin nor any inappropriate behavior nor bad words,
    and other groups not only practiced sinful ways including prejudice, greed, divorce, idolatry, and so on,
    would all or any of that make a difference in choosing where to go , which one to seek fellowship in ?
     
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