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Featured Questioning my Protestant heritage

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Mary Meg, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    Good afternoon Mary.

    I hope you are well in the Lord, and that your family is doing good.
    Anyways, to get down to the business at hand:

    Well, if a person was totally clueless who Noah was, and they were to stop at reading Genesis 6, they might think they would need to find Noah and get onboard his Ark before the flood comes. But by what they know from what others have said about Noah, and the global flood, and by reading all the Bible, they understand that Noah and the global flood narrative happened in the past. I say this because when you accept certain truths in the Bible, you then understand how things are.

    My case I was trying to make before is that we are in the last days (Which is a "last days" that is different from the time of the early church, which Peter thought was the "last days" See: Acts of the Apostles 2:17). 2 Timothy 3:1-9 and many other verses lays it out for us. Also, observational evidence by looking at the real world around you helps us to confirm this truth, as well.

    2 Timothy 3:1-9 says,

    1 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
    9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."​

    It says in the last days bad times are going to come. Men will be...

    (a) Lovers of their own selves.
    (b) Covetous.
    (c) Boasters.
    (d) Proud.
    (e) Blasphemers.
    (f) Disobedient to parents.
    (g) Unthankful.
    (h) Unholy.
    (i) Without natural affection.
    (j) truce breakers.
    (k) False accusers.
    (l) Incontinent (lacking self restraint).
    (m) Fierce.
    (n) Despisers of those that are good.
    (o) Traitors.
    (p) Heady (willful, or rash).
    (q) High minded.
    (r) Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
    (s) Having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.​

    This is not really describing unbelievers because it says they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. It also says they are lovers of pleasures more than they are lovers of God. So this indicates to us that these are believers and not unbelievers who deny God's existence or who believe in a false god (that really does not exist). For when the Scriptures talk about God, it is talking about the only one true GOD (i.e. the Trinity; For the Lord our God is one God, and He exists as three distinct persons: The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - See: 1 John 5:7).

    The point here is that it telling us that there is going to be a time when men (Men of God) will generally be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, and that they will have a form of godliness, but they will deny the power thereof. What power are they denying? God's ability and power to help them to overcome grievous sin in their lives. Like helping to stop them from lying, lusting, swearing, hating, and not forgiving, etc. Sure, many of them will not endorse murder, rape, theft, the abuse of children, etc. But the other grievous sins seem to be something that I hear mentioned on occasion as... "everyone does it" kind of a thing. This belief is most common among Protestantism. But you will see it in all denominations. You will see the list above as things as being a natural thing within many churches today.

    Nobody is training others to actually follow Jesus. Meaning: Nobody is training to go out on the streets, hand out tracts or to talk about Jesus or to pray for lost souls. Nobody is fixing to help the poor on the streets, or in signing up with helping a poor child online, etc. Nobody today is training others to live holy. It's all about putting on a show. Making you feel good. Looking religious either by preaching a really good message, or by dressing up to look holy and doing a bunch of chants. But what about the love of God? What about loving others? Loving your enemies? Jesus taught we are to love. Jesus taught that our love of others is a reflection of our love for God. We need to be like a King David and be a man (or woman) after God's own heart. To love the way God desires us to love and not our own terms by just singing a few songs every week and dropping some money in the collection plate. Our love for the Lord is a daily, hourly, every second kind of thing and not just on Sundays. Our every fiber of our being has to love the Lord with everything we have. This can be by praying in secret behind closed doors to be more righteous for the Lord and to not be led into temptation. This can be loving others by giving the poor guy on the street some food or water (with a gospel tract). There is so much that the body of believers are not doing today. Some are. But not many. There are only a few who appear to be even sort of close to what the early church followers were doing.

    Most are singing kumbaya or some spiritual song and looking to feel good on their own terms. This is not how it is supposed to be. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees,

    "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matthew 23:15).

    The thing is that while people may not think of themselves as the devil or as bad as this, the thing is that if they are not concerned about lost souls, or spreading the gospel in some way, and they are not helping the poor in some way, and they are caught in what they think are minor sins that everyone does like lying, lusting, indulging in sinful worldly things, hating, not forgiving, etc. they are being like a child of hell (in God's eyes) and they can teach others this and their new recruits can be even worse than they are. They think of themselves as "Sinners's (in the present tense) saved by grace." Why can they not be saints like the Bible says when it refers to believers?

    I want to ask you a few questions: Do you think we are in the last days? Do you think we are getting close to the return of the Son of Man? Granted, no man knows the day or the hour, but based off how bad things are in the world (morally speaking), I can say that the Lord is close to coming back. Maybe it is today, or tomorrow or 20 years from now. I don't know. But it feels so close. Especially with talks about the building of the Jewish temple.

    Jesus said, "...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

    Meaning, does anyone truly believe? Does anyone truly follow the words of Jesus? Jesus is not saying that nobody is going to be following Him, but what He is trying to say here is that it is not going to be many.

    When I have looked at finding that right church, they have all failed to measure up to doing the basics in what we see the early church doing. Spreading the gospel to all as a whole body, loving the poor, loving the brethren, loving one's enemies, training the brethren to live holy, etc.

    It's all just a show in a big building these days with programs.
    Many times you can walk into a church and they will not even know that you were there.
    We have sermons guilt tripping you to give more money.
    We have sermons that involves politics.
    We have church time that involves watching movies like the Chronicles of Narnia that promotes the sin of witchcraft (as being okay to watch and enjoy as part of our entertainment) just because it is fantasy. But what did God do with sorcerers in the OT? He had them killed. Men who worked sorcery or the dark arts were condemned by God; And God has not changed. Granted, we do not go around killing witches, etc. We are under a New Covenant that seeks to love our enemies now. But the point here is that we do not see what the early church did. We do not see large groups doing what the early apostles did. We see them creating their own strange traditions not found in the Bible. But we do not see them doing what the early apostles did. We see many (or most) justifying sin on some level.

    Even John MacArthur who appears to be for holiness with His Lordship Salvation teaching is not teaching true holiness according to the Bible. His Lordship Salvation doctrine is a trojan horse. For he believes and has always believed that a believer can commit suicide and they can still be saved. Is this a wonderful thing to teach our children? John MacArthur also believes in Once Saved, Always Saved. Granted, he believes a saint will generally live a holy life, but one or two grievous sins that do not go unconfessed will not keep them out of God's kingdom. This is a huge problem because Hebrews 3:12-13 says that we can harden our hearts by the deceitfulness of sin and depart from the living God. Meaning: Sin can harden our hearts and we can depart from God without even realizing it because of our justifying sin. God cannot agree with grievous (or serious) sin that we do.

    Anyways, the point here is that the bishops, pastors, and other spiritual leaders mentioned in Scripture is primarily in reference to the early church days whereby they are not in the "last days" time period that we are in where believing men will be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

    Maybe there are a few groups out there who are spiritual leaders. Maybe it is the underground churches in China who are being persecuted for their faith. Maybe it one or two small churches out there who are for holiness and who train their people to actually to follow Jesus instead of just putting on a show and not knowing who you are (even though you may have attended that church for months or years). But what I can say is that not many are following Jesus like we see with the early church (Hence, that means there are not many who are actually bishops, pastors, etc.). They are not your standard street corner church who is not helping you to actually follow Jesus. Most churches are not really helping you to follow Jesus. They just want your money and they want to make you feel good as part of some show or by partaking in some religious ritual by men who love to parade about in holy garments. Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;" (Luke 20:46).

    In any event, I say this not with hate towards anyone, but I say this with love towards all and with the hope that the brethren in the Lord will wake up and start to follow Jesus and to teach others to do so in love.

    I hope this helps you to understand where I am coming from.

    May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you this fine day.

    Sincerely,

    ~ Jason.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  2. Monk Brendan

    Monk Brendan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a friend who was raised a Southern Baptist, came to the same conclusions you did, and became Orthodox.
     
  3. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    I think you'ld probably find more appreciation for the early Church among American Baptists and other kinds of Baptists, than Southern Baptists. In fact in some parts of the US, there was almost a kind of liturgical emphasis in the Baptist tradition. But it never quite reached beyond certain insular areas.

    Here's an example of an American Baptist Church in New York that's of this type. It looks almost like a typical Episcopal cathedral, in fact, in terms of its use of Neo-Gothic architecture and art. Theologically, it's generally been very liberal, going back to Harry Emerson Fosdick:

    Riverside Church - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  4. Greenlee

    Greenlee Member

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    Hey Jason,

    Have you read Chan's Letters To The Church?
     
  5. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    I can't be the only one who remembers the iVangelists from the 2000's. It was a bunch of high school and college Millennials who would go out in public, strike up conversations with strangers and then share the faith with them. It was a pretty simple method and they posted audio they recorded of their encounters using their iPods on their message board. Then they'd trade comments with each other and help one another improve. There was a lot of support and constructive advice going on there.

    Of course, in the end they got shouted down by a bunch of old and crusty Baby Boomers. Because we all know that any technology that Boomers don't understand must be of the devil or something. And Heaven forbid people talk to each other.

    In any case, I haven't heard much out of the iVangelists in recent years. Considering the amount of abuse they took from nitwit, tech-illiterate Boomers, I don't blame them for allowing their groups and organizations to disintegrate.

    No, they weren't handing out tracts that people would politely accept and then throw away when they were out of eyesight. These kids actually made social connections with strangers and shared the gospel in a personal and intimate way.

    Irony of ironies, now they're getting dragged for not being around anymore. Life is weird sometimes.

    Um, what do you think happens right here on CF?

    The rest of your post isn't worth bothering with.
     
  6. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do know the difference, and I think sanctification is at least part of the point (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Ephesians 5:26, 1 Corinthians 6:11, etc.).

    It's not really a scale. Some people are just outstanding examples of His grace.

    Yes, it's God who is at work in them.

    Yes I do realize that, and I don't use it. Usually when I talk about the "Catholic" Church, I'm talking about the whole, universal, undivided Church of Jesus Christ... especially the one before the Orthodox split off in 1054, but sometimes the Church in the West too.

    Yes... though the Church was called Catholic ("the Universal Church") from a very early time... "universal" as attribute, not to distinguish it from some other Church.

    Regardless of what they said they wanted, they actually started another church. And not just one of them.

    Yes, it's true that there was a lot of arrogance and rigidity all around. And it's true that where there's arrogance and rigidity, people are bound to do the sinful thing. But I don't think that's necessarily inevitable.

    Yes, absolutely.

    Yeah, it's not clear to me who it said and when, but it seems to me that must have been the justification for starting a new church, in the end. I don't see how anyone can justify burning bridges and moving on unless they believe that what's behind them is really lost. Unless it's all really cold and calculating and frankly, atheistic.
     
  7. SteveIndy

    SteveIndy IndyWatchman.com Supporter

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    “I know the Protestant narrative very well...” For thirty years of my now 43 years of following Christ thought I had found the truth inside the walls of Protestantism; I too knew the Protestant narrative, but not well enough. I went to Bible college and studied the original language and history and how to prepare a sermon. We went to Church three times a week, did good works, paid tithes, and sent our kids to private Christian school, yet I was empty. Those around me and my teachers were Christians in good ole American way, flag waving and patriotic. I just couldn’t balance Jesus’ life and His words in the sermon on the mount with what I was seeing around me and in my own life; there had to be more. After a couple rocky experiences with my businesses the Lord called me to a very critical time of decision (none having to do with my marriage, my marriage is solid) and I found myself turning my back on a failing business and doing something radical in my faith that ended up with me in Mongolia. To make a long story short with me out of the way the Lord Himself, without my assistance solved my problems, not the way I would have done it, but the best way. But, what He also did was to open my eyes because of my trust. Little things in my Bible reading now became big things that stood out. Jesus called His followers a “little flock.” A little flock, wasn’t that just a rhetorical gesture and not really to be taken seriously? And, Paul’s words to Timothy, “If you live righteously you will be persecuted” and Jesus’ words “if they hated me they will hate you” There were many other things like this that now stood out. The Church was huge, it wasn’t a little flock and I didn’t know anyone being persecuted or hated. Sure, there were those who didn’t like Christianity but nothing really violent on a big scale. So, I started looking at history and the things that were common among the persecuted Church in every instance. What I found was basically (3) things: 1. Separation from the world and non-conformity. 2. Pacifism and non-resistance to the evil person. And, 3. Believer’s baptism. These three things if practiced according to the New Testament will earn you persecution. A rejection of the world and its activities, sports, and entertainment along with a simple modest dress code and demeanor will cause you to be rejected as snobbish and prudish. If you do not go along with the crowd in their worship of the flag and patriotism you will be tagged as anti-American; try not standing for the National Anthem or pledging allegiance to the flag. When you buck the system by refusing to serve on jury duty you will be held in contempt of court. When you refuse to vote or praise the military because you have decided to love your enemies you will be vilified and rejected by friends and enemies alike. These are the things that have gotten Christians hated and killed all through history and they still will today. Christians and non-Christians alike will dislike you and persecute you and you will learn what Jesus meant when He said My little flock. God bless you on your journey. "If you love me why don't you do the things I have asked you to do?"
     
  8. The Righterzpen

    The Righterzpen Jesus is my Shield in any Desert or Storm

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    There is error in all denominations.

    Although I believe Scripture has no errors in the Hebrew and Greek texts that have been passed down to us - (I.E. what would be called "the received text"); saints and apostles still made mistakes.

    Apostles and prophets wrote things becoming part of the canon of Scripture that we know (because Scripture tells us this) that they did not fully understand; if some of it they understood period?

    So if there were things in Scripture they wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that they themselves didn't understand; it's a safe bet to conclude that those trying to interpret what they'd wrote didn't totally get it either. This is why I say there are errors in all denominations.

    Now were there things they got right? Of course there were! Scripture tells us that revelation is progressive. "Knowledge shall increase"; and that's not talking only about things such as science, technology, medicine and general human knowledge. That's also talking about what we understand and know of God!

    Today, we live in an age like no other. We have the ability to access information like no other generation before us. The world wide web has enmassed the greatest library humanity has ever seen. You want to understand Scripture? What had taken scholars lifetimes to memorize and try to harmonize, we can do in 5 minutes with a pretty simple computer program! And because we have all these tools at our disposal, we have the technological capacity to be better students of the Scripture than anyone in history. What doctrine is sound and what doctrine is not? We have the tools to search those answers for ourselves.

    So, our challenge today is not whether or not we follow the lead of the voices of the past; but do we follow what the Scripture says? (That was actually the challenge to everyone through the course of the ages.)

    Now of course understand in your process of studying the Bible, you will also come across stuff you don't understand and will make mistakes too. Are you going to keep searching for the truth in the Scripture though; because that's the only place you will find the answer!
     
  9. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    This point has been assessed many times here, but what you said above is not entirely correct. In some cases, it was, but in others...no.

    Luther started no new church, and the Church of England was, at the time of the Reformation, approximately 1500 years old.

    But beyond that, the point about some church organization being superior simply for having avoided schisms has always seemed a bit disingenuous, considering that the Roman and Eastern churches had experienced a number of splits themselves in the years leading up to the outbreak of the Reformation and went on experiencing them after that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  10. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well both of those are matters of interpretation, aren't they? It depends on how you define the original Church -- and if you believe the churches that followed still have the identical attributes.
     
  11. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    No.

    And especially not if you want to bring in the point about "retaining original attributes." If that is to be factored in, it is evident that there is NO Christian denomination or communion, out of all those we have been looking at, that has not changed anything over the years.
     
  12. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Heh, they're not? :D From Rome's perspective, there certainly was and is a schism. You don't think they have a different interpretation than you?
     
  13. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I dont know what you are referring to there. Besides, I thought we were after the historic truth of the matter, not what one of the parties likes to think happened.
     
  14. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rome thinks both the Anglican Church and the Lutheran churches are in schism, right?

    The "historic truth" is a matter of interpretation.

    I didn't say there hadn't been change. There is a difference between retaining the original, defining attributes and being unchanging. Water is still water, it has the same chemical properties, it is the same substance, whether it's liquid, gas, or solid.

    For a really easy example: The Church of Rome says if you're not in communion with the bishop of Rome, then you're in schism from the Catholic Church. Easy peasy, right? So they have a different interpretation of the truth than you, no?
     
  15. David Cabrera

    David Cabrera Well-Known Member

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    Then Jesus lied when he said the gates if hell would not destroy his Church, and Paul lied when he called the Church the Pillar and foundation of Truth.
     
  16. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I haven't really made that argument (about any church being necessarily superior). But Jesus does pray and desire that all Christians be one (John 17:21) -- so schism is something that really ought to be avoided, not embraced or pursued. Historically, being "one" is one of the attributes of the Church (see the Nicene Creed). And yes, there were schisms prior to the Protestant Reformation -- but nothing really on the scale of what has happened in the Protestant world.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  17. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    You know, I am not certain what Rome's view of the Lutheran situation actually is. I do not think it qualifies as a schism as opposed to a heretical movement. But in the Anglican case, it was a schism...a schism caused when Rome broke away from Canterbury, not the other way around. The Roman Catholic Church is in schism, if that matters.

    There may be some unsettled issues in history (such as, who was Jack the Ripper) but history is not "a matter of interpretation." There are, however, a lot of people who want to rewrite history, that's true.

    Very well. There are no churches that have retained the original faith and practice. None. And that is not just a matter of interpretation.

    So would you say that the Mormons are in schism from the Church of Rome? That is your position, isn't it?
     
  18. The Righterzpen

    The Righterzpen Jesus is my Shield in any Desert or Storm

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    It's not the gates of hell assailing the church - it's actually the other way around.

    And the verse in 1 Timothy 3:15 makes no sense if you consider God to be an eternal entity. The church is not an eternal entity. So in order for something to be the pillar and foundation of truth - that has to be a reference to God Himself.
     
  19. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hmm. I would say that the Great Schism of 1054 was at least as significant as the Protestant Reformation. No?
     
  20. Mary Meg

    Mary Meg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Isn't "Romish" a pretty bad word? Pretty pejorative? :confused2:

    If they wanted to purge the church of corruptions, okay. Why didn't they try to do that in communion with the Catholic Church?

    Knowing even just a little about the Early Church and about Calvin -- I find that pretty laughable. Didn't Calvin deny the authority of bishops, and propose a whole different form of church governance? I'm unclear who exactly did what, but obviously Presbyterian and Refomed churches don't have bishops. And yet the one, single attribute that Ignatius of Antioch defined for being the "Catholic Church," at the very beginning of the second century, is being in communion with your local bishop (who is in communion with all the other bishops).

    If Calvin believes he can deny that and still "match the early church much better" -- then I think he's smoking something.

    Sure, the Church always needs to be reforming. But one major thing the Reformation accomplished is expressly at odds with the will of Jesus, and that's the disintegration of all Christian unity.
     
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