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The Elephant in the Bible (Video and Discussion)

Discussion in 'Discipleship: Following Jesus' started by John Helpher, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    We do need to be willing to be homeless. Jesus himself sometimes stayed in houses, but he also sometimes slept out under the stars. He even warned a would-be disciple with this fact, making it clear that followers of Jesus need to be prepared to rough it. People often react to these teachings by referring to homelessness with a kind of incredulity which suggests they think it's disgusting and dirty. It often comes across to me as fear mongering (i.e. the homelessness monster will get you if you try to obey Jesus!). Yes, there is the possibility that God may lead you into a situation where you will be homeless. So? Is that the line you will not cross?

    So much of this requires sincere perspective. When you refer to employment, you mean work for money. The implication is that if you're not working for money, then whatever it is you do do is not really work. According to this standard, all that traveling and preaching and healing Jesus did wasn't really work, because he wasn't doing it for money.

    We need to move away from this concept that it is really money which puts the food on the table rather than God. Jesus addresses this quite clearly in Matthew 6:19-34. He says we cannot work for God and money at the same time without cheating on one or the other. This makes sense, right? You can't say you love someone if you only help them because they agree to give you payment. Work for love and work for money are inherently opposite concepts.

    He says we should not allow worry about food and clothing stop us from stepping out in faith. He says people who do allow this worry to stop them have little faith. He says we should consider the birds and flowers precisely because they do not work for money and yet God still feeds and clothes them. He even refers to Solomon, one of the richest men in history and says that he (Jesus) is offering something better than Solomon, with all wealth, could offer. He finishes by saying that our new, full-time job is to seek God's kingdom and God, our true employer, will provide the things we need.

    There is no shortage of work to be done. The question is, why do we work; for money or for love? In fear, or in faith? So, you should not continue with this argument that either I, or Jesus, is promoting laziness (i.e. unemployment). When you do that, it indicates that you are looking for a reason to reject the teaching.

    Obviously everyone gathering together in one spot is contrary to the concept of going out into the world to spread the gospel. But then again, Jesus did not say to gather in one spot in the same way you have suggested here (again, with that sense of incredulity which indicates that you are looking for a reason to reject the teaching).

    There may be circumstances where God calls a large group together for fellowship or inreach, but that is not permanent.

    And, what does this look like in practical life? The example of the church in Acts gives us perhaps the clearest scriptural indication.

    They shared "as every man had need". This would include clothing, food, tools, houses, skills, etc. Does that really sound so bad or unworkable? All it requires is people who want to do it. A desire for goodness is what makes it work.

    However, I feel that I probably have not really answered the question well. I'm sorry about that. I perhaps feel a bit jaded because I used to put a lot of effort into these kinds of discussion with what seemed to me to be very little enthusiasm in return. As a result, I've created a new thread with a video which deals with these issues in a more enthusiastic way. I hope you will feel as inspired by it as I do.
     
  2. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

    This suggests that Christian sharing can also involve working and then having something to share.


    God may call some to this, and may also call some to minister full time by entrusting their needs to God.

    Jesus still received from others, as did Paul, as did the 12:

    Luke 8 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, 2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
     
  3. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    There is however a concern that everyone in the church be sharing Christ, whether in full time ministry or otherwise.

    Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
     
  4. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    The Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head. And the twelve followed Him as well. So certainly God may call some to such.

    On the other hand, people with means also assisted the Lord, the disciples, and Paul, Timothy, etc.

    And some who work use that money to help those who are homeless due to need rather than calling.
     
  5. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    The only worthy person to give the riches to is God.

    Since giving to the poor is giving to God according to the scripture.

    This means the pastor doesn't get paid.
     
  6. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    The grammar here is weird. The first sentence is the first half of a conditional statement, like an if/then statement. You've stated with since, but you didn't follow it up with the condition that describe since.

    Well, you did, but in a completely new sentence following. Why would you break it up like that? It would make more sense to phrase it this way, "Since giving to the poor is giving to God, according to the scripture, then that means the pastor doesn't get paid".

    It's a weird argument because you're essentially saying it's either help the poor or help the pastor, but you can't do both. Like, Sorry, Jesus, I couldn't obey you because I needed to pay the pastor.

    I'm guessing this is why you broke the thought up into two sentences, as a kind of obfuscation. It's really not a competition. The idea is that everyone is helping everyone. It's not a choice between the poor and the pastor.
     
  7. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    The problem with this is that you are referring to making money. That is not sharing. Sure, once you've made it, you can then dish some out to others, but the process of making is not sharing. You can't say you'll do a job for someone and call it sharing while at the same time only doing it if they pay you.

    I'm not sure if you can see the contradiction there. Yes, Paul talked about work, but so what? No one is arguing against work. Yes, we should be producing something with our time and we should share that with others. But you've taken the word "work" and inserted "for money" in a way that is not consistent with the context of Paul's words.

    In other words, you're essentially saying that it's okay to demand payment for your help so that you can share with others. But, if sharing is what you want to do, then just start with that.

    Yeah, of course. That's what sharing is. There's no rule against that! What we should not be doing is demanding payment for our help. The text says the people shared with Jesus from what they already had. It does not say they went out to get jobs demanding payment so that they could help Jesus.

    Don't forget that Paul is writing to a community of Christians who are already living and working together. That is the context for all of Paul's letters. What is the "otherwise" that you mention? I don't see any otherwise in the text. He wants them to be united. That's the opposite of your conclusion where some people follow Jesus full time while others do this "otherwise" thing.

    Yeah, a lot of people make themselves feel better with this argument. I work for money to help God. But, that's not the way Jesus said to do it. That's the bottom line here; are you willing to do what Jesus told his followers to do. It's that simple.
     
  8. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    What you're talking about is willingness. That's not what the video was saying as I understood it. It was saying unless we all literally DO it then we're just like every other religion. If you agree with what's being said in that video, right now you should be without a home and not employed by any company. And that you should right now be totally reliant upon God through the body of Christ to be supplying all your needs.

    Again, the video is saying that's where we should all literally actuality be at right now. If we're all only just willing to do it, then nothing has really changed. The world is going to see us as being like everyone else. We're going to be just like every other religion.

    Just being willing to forsake all isn't cutting it. We all need to literally all forsake everything and pool together as a community. Basically like the nation of Israel when they were out in the wilderness. The fact that we're not doing that is the Elephant in the Room that we're all avoiding.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  9. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    Well, yeah. If you're not willing to obey Jesus, then you're not Christian. I mean, that's not controversial, is it?

    Can you see the contradiction here? You declare that I can't be a follower of Jesus if I have a home, while at the same time declaring that God will provide for what we need. There may be times when God will lead us into situations where we must be willing to humble ourselves, to be homeless, to go without a meal, to take insult or injury. But there are also times when God may lead us to comfort and success. Paul referred to it as abounding and being abased.

    The pharisees accused John the baptist of being demon possessed because he fasted often and then they accused Jesus of being an alcoholic and a drunkard because he drank and feasted. He said they were like little kids who didn't know how to control their emotions; they constantly saw accusation everywhere, but that a wise person knows when is the right time for feasting and fasting.

    These teachings are frightening to you, so it's tempting to do like the pharisees and see problems everywhere. But, the teachings of Jesus are good news. You should question all the worldly experiences you've had up to this point which causes you to view these teachings with so much trepidation. We've all been indoctrinated into a system where money makes the world go round. Have you ever heard that expression, "earn a living"? Have you ever thought about what that really means? If you're not working for money then you've not earned the right to live? Maybe it's not that bad. I mean, Paul said something similar, "If you don't work, you don't eat". But, consider the context of who he was writing to; a Christian community of believers who were already living and working together.

    I think you've probably experienced situations before where people kinda leech and mooch of the grace and hospitality of others, right? We all have. We know what that's like. Well, that kind of behavior is even more tempting in a communal setting of peace and love. It's easy for lazy people to think that everyone else will do the work for them. That's what Paul was addressing; you can live in the community of believers, but you must also work in the community of believers. The kingdom of Heaven is no place for lazy moochers looking to exploit the kindness of others.

    I don't remember that part. Can you post the time stamp so I can examine your criticism compared to what the video says?

    No other religion teaches that its followers must forsake all material possessions and start working for love full time. You will not find it in any other religion. I know; I've been looking. It's weird to me that such a unique, priceless jewel of Christianity is so easily cast aside as just another religious dogma. Why would you do that. You've got a pearl and you're casting it aside. Or, maybe I'm the one with the pearl and I'm casting it...

    Right. You have to actually do it.

    Yeah.

    Yeah. Let me know if you want to meet up.
     
  10. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My study of scripture informs me that Jesus did not call all to an identical "working out" of their salvation, in a practical sense.

    For instance, some are called to marry, ... and some are not.

    Also, the disciples fished (note the episode following Jesus' resurrection in John 21), and Paul made tents ... and encouraged believers to "work quietly and diligently with heir hands" ... to make provision for their lives ... and for the lives of their families ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  11. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's not true at all.

    The more accurate statement, I believe, is ... "If you're not willing to obey Jesus in any (rather than every) respect, ... you're not really christian.
     
  12. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think that what is more true ... is that believers ALL value the pearl, even if not all to exactly the same extent.

    It is only unbelievers who do not value the pearl at all ...
     
  13. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    You're not getting what the video is saying. It's saying that there's an elephant in the room that all of Christianity is avoiding. All of Christianity. Something that every single Christian church on Earth is completely avoiding.

    All the stuff you are saying is taught in many churches. It's taught in every church I've regularly attended in the last 40 years. I wouldn't regularly attend any church which didn't teach those fundamental standards of Christianity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  14. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  15. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    Can you list some of these many churches, because I've been looking, and I've not seen them.

    Wha?

    I don't want to assume anything. I'm just trying to think carefully about what people say and compare that to my understanding of what Jesus said. You seem to be suggesting that these teachings about forsaking all and working for love are really common, but have you seen what everyone else is saying? They're all saying that it's not for everyone, that Jesus didn't really mean what he said, that there's plenty of good people who do not follow these teachings, etc.

    I don't think it is common at all. That's why it's being referred to as the elephant in the room.
     
  16. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    If you're looking for a local church, I'd say to read their statement of faith and what they teach until you find the right one.

    Personally I've relied upon the Holy Spirit to lead me to the right church.

    From what I've observed you're not understanding what the video you posted is actually saying, not understanding what I've actually been saying, and not understanding what others are actually saying. Maybe you're skimming over things too fast.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  17. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As you illustrate, ... the apostles (and the prophets) are the foundation of the faith, with Jesus Christ Himself the chief cornerstone.

    Ephesians 2

    19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

    20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

    21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

    Believers in the world today make up the building of God, ... but the building only has one foundation ...

    1 Peter 2

    1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

    4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

    “Behold, I lay in Zion
    A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
    And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
     
  18. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    I think the thing is, I just have a different perspective than you do. So when I phrase stuff, it probably won't make sense.
     
  19. ~Cassia~

    ~Cassia~ pondering the things of God Supporter

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    Looking at what Paul actually did ... he didn't take a wage for preaching, but thought the work worthy of receiving from others. So no moochers praised there. But rather a commandment from God.

    1 Corinthians 9:4,11,14 “Don’t we have the right to food and drink? If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”

    Galatians 6:6 He had the right to use the benefits but didn’t. 1 Corinthians 9:12-18

    What Paul was recorded as doing was building tents alongside Priscilla and her husband. Acts 18:1-3 So rather than taking the privileges afforded him he worked within the symbolic in preparing for that which was to be replaced with that not made from human hands.

    2 Corinthians 5:1 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,…

    So I fail to see what Paul says to be commandments to others as being applicable to him personally …. but just the opposite being demonstrated in grace vs law portrait, noting also it was spiritual seed being sown.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  20. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    No, it's not just me. You started a since/then statement but didn't finish it, except after starting a new sentence but even then the connection was jarring. It was genuinely, grammatically incorrect. I was wondering if that's just a thing that is common in how you regularly communicate or if it was an expression of irrational explanation. I mean, we're essentially talking about the root of all evil. When people start playing around with weird grammar, it's usually an indication that they are trying to obscure the issues.
     
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