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Vain Christian Superstitions

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Father's Image, Sep 6, 2002.

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  1. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    To all,

    Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. (1Sam.16:7). We are naturally focused on the physical, and superstition is the result. Superstition is alive and well in the Church today.  For examples, there are ministries that will send you a "prayer cloth", or "healing water", to facilitate the miraculous power of God in your life (as if God needed help fom things). One "denomination" teaches that unless the correct words are spoken in the correct sequence over you during your physical baptism, then your baptism will be null and void and you will not be saved (as if God was concerned with the words of lips rather than the faith of hearts).
    You have requested Scriptural support for my position that such things (as those listed in the original post) are superstition. I am surprised that you would need any. I "hold these truths to be self-evident." Atleast you know where to look for the ultimate standard of truth - the Word of God. I have provided Scriptural support for your consideration, below.
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    First, let's consider from Scripture how much weight our words carry with God.
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    Matt.15:8, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
    Matt.7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
    .
    What is important is not the words in our mouths, but the relationship to Him in our hearts. If a persecuted church in some remote land were to suffer having their tongues cut out, would baptism cease? Would the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous cease? If they had faith to move mountains while they still had tongues, would their faith cease without tongues? Would salvation cease without tongues?
    "Be still and know that I am God."
    .
    Many were healed by Jesus, without using any words. Many were healed by touching the hem of His garment. No doubt, many a superstitious soul would like to find that very garment today, believing that it must possess some miraculous power. The power is in Christ, not in the garment.
    When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, He said, "In this manner, therefore, pray". He did not teach them to recite the exact words. Yet, this prayer is the most recited prayer. Usually, it is not even necessary to know what the words mean. The prayer is recited in some church services like so much tinkling brass and sounding cymbals. Now, many churches are obsessed with the prayer of Jabez. It is claimed that because God answered Jabez's prayer to be blessed, then God is somehow required to bless us as well, if we use the words that Jabez prayed. Why did Jesus not refer His disciples to the prayer of Jabez? God is no respector of words, but God knows our hearts. God's power is not bound up in words, waiting to be unleashed by the lucky one who finds the right formula to speak. Pray from the heart, and do not worry about the words!
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    Rom.8:26,27, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
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    Next, let's consider from Scripture how much weight our rituals carry with God.
    The first ritual was the ritual of sacrifice.
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    Isaiah 1:11, "'To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?' Says the LORD. 'I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats."
    1Sam.15:22, "So Samuel said, 'Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams."
    Hosea 6:6, "For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."
    Micah 6:6-8, "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be please with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
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    Not only did God reject their sacrifices, He also rejected their sacred feasts, sacred assemblies, and even their sacred songs and music.
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    Amos 5:21-24, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
    Psalm 51:16,17, "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-- these, O God, You will not despise."
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    Let's look at the ritual of circumcision, which is the Old Testament counterpart to baptism.
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    Rom.2:28,29, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God."
    Deut.30:6, "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
    Phil.3:3, "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, ..."
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    Abraham was the first man to undergo the ritual of circumcision. Was it the ritual that made him righteous?
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    Rom 4:9-12, "... For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe,..."
    .
    The ritual was merely the outward sign of his inward faith and relationship with God.
    In light of this, do you really believe that our Christian rituals of communion and baptism are any different? I submit to you that he is not a Christian who is one outwardly, nor is baptism that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Christian who is one inwardly; and baptism is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose immersion is not in water but in Christ.
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    Matt.3:11, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I,... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
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    That is all I have for now. Time is short. May God bless you!
    Ken
     
  2. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    Chrono & MrMalone,

    You asked for Scriptural support, and I have given it. What say you now?

    Ken
     
  3. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    I would observe that Christ himself was baptized, and surely what God does is not useless or irrelevant.
     
  4. Chloe

    Chloe The whole Bible is the Whole Word of God

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    Amen
     
  5. Smilin

    Smilin Spirit of the Wolf

    +242
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    Another I'd like to add:

    The notion of 'demonic possession'.....
    seems this belief is alive and is still being taught.

    Mental illnesses are still misunderstood
     
  6. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

    +412
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    Ken,

    Once again, let me say, that not only do I agree fully with your Scriptural support I would like to add that it was very well put together.

    Thanks for the post,

    God bless,

    Don
     
  7. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    While I agree that superstition is a bad thing, there is a fine line indeed between superstition and faith in many cases. Many of the things listed strike me as beliefs certainly consistent with Christian doctrine and belief. Are they required for one to believe in God? No. Are they true? Perhaps; I certainly don't know.

    I think it is inappropriate to condemn the sincere faith of others as "vain superstitions".
     
  8. Crono

    Crono Regular Member

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    The point that I wanted to make was that a person must have a basis for his or her beliefs and be willing to share it when needed.  It is pointless to tell someone that he is wrong without telling him why he is wrong.  Far too much heresy has spread because a person has told others what to believe and they blindly followed without researching for themselves the validity of these beliefs.

    The points from your initial post that you did expound upon were well written and thorough, and I am not in a position to argue.  However, I will disagree when you say that we should not need Scriptural support.  What one person calls "self-evident" another person may find ridiculous.  Indeed, there are many who would say that it is self-evident that you are wrong in some of your statements.  Saying that something is self-evident means nothing to someone who disagrees with them, because how are they to know that what you state is always the truth?  Just because it makes sense to you does not necessarily mean that it is correct.  In addition, when you say that truth is self-evident, you run the risk of basing your interpretation of the truth on your own inward beliefs and not on what God has said.  I would argue that many Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and the Resurrection defy logic and common sense, but I believe in them anyway because of what is taught in Scripture and through the church.

    In spite of this detail, I was satisfied with your explanation.  I would hope that you continue to stick around the forums since you clearly have much to contribute here.
     
  9. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    Seebs,

    I was not "condemning" anyone's faith in God. It is faith in things, rituals and words that I was "speaking" against. Baptism, communion, and such are very appropriate activities stemming from our faith in God, but the power is in God alone, and our faith should be in Him alone.

    Ken
     
  10. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    Smilin,

    I agree that mental illness is not understood. However, demon possession is Biblical. Christ spoke to demons who were possessing people, and He cast them out. Often, they called Him the Son of God, and He told them to be silent. Not all mental illness is demon possession, but not all demon possession is mental illness.

    Ken
     
  11. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    Reformationist,

    Thanks! With such a tough crowd, it is nice to have some strong support!

    Ken
     
  12. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

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    Crono,

    Point well-taken! Thank you. I don't have the time that I would like, but I'll check in from time to time.

    KEn
     
  13. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Crono,

    I would like to commend you on your response.  It was intelligently written and obviously offered in a spirit of love and encouragement.  I pray that we all, especially myself, can follow your example in our future posts.

    God bless,

    Don
     
  14. 12volt_man

    12volt_man Well-Known Member

    +245
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    When I was caught up in the WoF mess, this was a big one.

    Not only is this not taught in scripture, I actually got in a lot of trouble for asking my pastor, "So, if we keep binding Satan in Jesus' name, then why isn't he staying bound? Who keeps letting him loose?"
     
  15. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    Wow !

    This thread is three years old. Been lost in the attic 12v ^_^

    Since we are here, I shall address a comment in the OP:

    The insistence on the separation of the spiritual and the physical is rooted in gnosticism, and at it's core denies the Incarnation and therefore our Salvation.

    Heresy, plain and simple.
     
  16. katherine2001

    katherine2001 Veteran

    +965
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    What was Christ thinking when He worked miracles through physical things, such as picking up dirt, mixing it with His saliva, and then rubbing it on a blind man's eyes to give him his sight; multiplying the loaves of bread and fish to feed the 5,000; or using bread and wine at the Last Supper and saying "Take eat this is My body" and "Take eat, this is My blood."

    Oblio is right in all that he said. God created the physical world and called it good. When the Son came in the flesh, He saved it as well as brought salvation to humankind. Why try to box in God by saying that He can only work through certain things? God can work through any medium He chooses to.
     
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