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Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Pet Peeve

We are sure everyone has one or some. Here is one definition of the term:

A pet peeve is a particular thing that bugs you every time.(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pet%20peeve)

What bugs us this morning as we try to rest up is the idea that humans think that they are the owners of the keys to heaven and get to determine what or who is Christian. The owner of Formerly Fundie does this all the time and his most recent post is just another in a long line of his attempts to reshape Christianity after his desires and claim that he not God gets to determine who is or isn’t a Christian.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/you-cant-be-christian-if-youre-not-caring-for-the-poor/

Personal preferences do not qualify a person to replace God or his criteria for being a Christian and that is all that is contained in that post. He wants people to do as he wants not as God wants and that is very dangerous ground to walk as people are not called to follow other people but to follow Christ.

Here are a few quotes that need to be addressed:

#1. People often falsely assume that the word Christian has a clear, singular, meaning but that’s not necessarily true.

The word Christian does have a clear, singular meaning, the problem is that too many people do not accept that definition and alter it to fit their selfish desires. The altered definitions do not define Christianity but define the alternative belief masquerading as Christian.

#2. Of the thousands upon thousands of people who belong to the first two types of Christianity, (approximately 78% of Americans), fighting poverty isn’t high on the radar. Various studies over the years have actually shown that the number of Christians who tithe amount to approximately 5-7%. This means that at least 93% of Christians don’t even give money to the church they attend, let alone give money to fight poverty.

Not everyone is called to fight the same problem nor support the same problem.While Christians are to care for the less fortunate, they are also to care for the wealthy and the middle class and then those who do the caring need leaders to guide them, spiritually feed them and so on.People are called to care for those who care for the poor, just as there are people called to be evangelists, teachers and so on.

Tithing has always been a problem for the church but all the money tithed does not belong to the poor. Pastors need a decent, living salary and the Christian Post just had an article detailing how far too many pastors are part of the poor because their churches refuse to pay them properly. That is a disgrace to the church as much as not giving to the poor. God’s workers deserve better treatment than they are getting.

This does not mean that they get extravagant salaries that are so high that the church cannot take care of other needs but the pastor and other church workers should not have to live in poverty or take second jobs to make ends meet.How we treat our pastors and missionaries financially sends out a message to the secular world and it is not an advertisement the church really wants.

We do not use the words ‘they will get their reward in heaven’ as an excuse to not pay pastors and other Christian workers correctly.

#3. But here’s the problem: You can’t be Christian if you’re not actively helping and serving the least among us.

Really? So the Bible has been altered to say that salvation depends upon our charitable sacrifices instead of being saved by grace through faith and that salvation is not the result of works? This is what inspired our article title. This bothers us greatly as that writer thinks he is greater than God now that he has received his doctorate and other graduate education. Where does he get off making statements like that?

When did God die and leave him in charge of heaven and the Christian faith? People do not have the authority to change scripture to reflect their preferences. Nor do they have the right to use their preferences to bully those who disagree with them or have been called to other ministries into doing what they want  and forcing them to ignore what God has told them to do.

The difference between his website and ours is that we seek to help people grow in their faith and become better believers in Jesus. We do not tell people that they are not Christian unless they become teachers  or teachers to the ghetto population. There is a difference here and we must make sure that in our Christian lives we do not cross the line between being a follower of God and taking God’s place. No one can take God’s place for they are not the Creator of all things nor the owner/head of the Christian faith. The last we looked, Jesus was still occupying that position.

#4. Honestly, I think we have a problem that we must face here in American Christianity: 97% of Christians (noun) aren’t Christian (adjective). Jesus taught his disciples to first take the beam out of their own eye before worrying about the speck in their brother’s eye, and I think it’s time we get a crowbar and start yanking this beam out.

He needs to start with himself first and maybe he will see clearly enough to recognize that his preferences do not comprise the Christian faith and that God has his will for people and that will does not match with that author’s.

#5. For the one who desires to be Christian, we have a non-negotiable model to follow. Scripture tells us that Jesus lived his life in such a way that serves as an example for us to follow, and that we are to walk in his footsteps—even if that means sacrifice or suffering.

If it is a non-negotiable model, we must ask, why is he a progressive Christian, one who ignores God’s teaching and helps people disobey God? It seems he has taken a wrong tun somewhere and has gotten confused about what Christianity is all about.

#6. Well, Jesus spent his time preaching good news to the poor, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and helping the lame to walk again. In fact, helping the poor and sick was so absolutely central to Jesus’s ministry, that he commanded his followers to continue this tradition—and even warned them that if they refused to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or welcome the immigrant, they would find themselves facing an everlasting punishment on judgment day

His vision is a little colored by the selective rose-colored glasses he wears. Jesus did more than focus on the poor. He healed and fed all levels of society or is that author forgetting the healing of the centurion’s servant or that the Bible does not record what classes of people that comprised the multitudes that followed him? He also seems to ignore the fact that illness and other health problems affect the rich and middle class as well.

When Jesus healed the paralyzed man, whose friends had to go through the roof to get to Jesus, the Bible does not tell us what his financial status was. It does tell us through the recording of his friends’ actions that his friends were true friends and did everything they could to get their buddy healed but that is a point missed by that author as he focuses on his pet ideology alone.

#7. The fact that 93% of Christians in America are not doing something Jesus said was a requirement of being his disciple presents a major discipleship challenge for the next generation of pastors and teachers. It’s one that absolutely cannot be ignored—because you can’t be Christian if you’re not helping the poor.

Here is another point that author misses completely when he makes such blanket and generalized statements– the poor can’t be Christian then because they are not helping themselves or other poor people. This is the problem with such broad and narrowly focused declarations. It says no one can be Christian because they are not doing everything that author demands or expects.

#8. I’ve been traveling in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, and have been overcome with emotion at some of the stories I’ve listened to.

That author seems to forget that in Jesus’ instructions to help the poor, he did not say to ignore biblical teaching and partner with those who are going astray in their Christian faith. In other words, we do not ignore other biblical passages and sin in our helping the poor. Nor are we to give all that we have away so that we do not have enough to take care of ourselves or our families.

If we give everything away and become poor then who will help us take care of our responsibilities? We are adding to the problem thus blind care of the poor is not what Jesus taught here. There are biblical alternatives to just throwing money at the problem which will also help the poor.Sometimes the church  and people like that author get so narrowly focused all they can see as an answer is give money. But when most of the money is spent in administrative or other costs, how are we helping the poor?

{We understand that those running the charities need to be paid so that is not what we are referring to there}

But getting back to World Vision and that author. We do not give false teaching, sinful ideas a pass when those groups are helping the poor. The Bible is very clear about not partnering with those who do not believe. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked’ does not just apply to marriage.  When those who claim to be Christian go astray , we do not ignore biblical teaching to correct or rebuke them simply because they need money to help poor people.

We are not to sin when we help others nor do we accept, condone or partner with sin when we do charity work. When organizations stray from God’s teaching then we must act in correcting them not ignore their sinful behavior. We have other duties that need to be done and when we do those, the poor will be helped as well.

#9. Will you join me today in sponsoring a child through World Vision?

We skipped a lot to get to this little sentence. So that author’s whole article was not about helping the poor but to enlist people in working with an organization that is going off the rails of Christianity. How sad that he ruined his position with such a plea. There are more poor people than just the children of  World Vision and we take offense by World Vision’s use of emotion to manipulate people in enlisting in their organization.

If you want to help children then help the fathers get work so they can provide for their families. Or build wells to help a village provide water for everyone, and everyone includes children so you would be helping them as well. We do not ignore the needs of the adults when helping the poor. If that author wants to appeal to Jesus to encourage people to help the poor then he needs to paint an honest picture and show that Jesus helped adults, probably more than he did children, for he knew if he helped adults he was also helping their children.

Let’s not use Jesus to manipulate people to a selfish desire but be honest and paint the correct picture of Jesus’ ministry so that people can be open to God’s specific will for their lives. It is not smart to channel people to one’s personal preference at the expense of those people missing out on what God wants them to do. The poor will be helped as people learn to obey God in the right way and follow all of scripture not just the cherry picked verses fitting one human’s personal preference.

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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, family, General Life, illness, Justice, leadership, politics, theology

 

Truth vs. Interpretation

Much is made of interpretation. When this author was a pastoral intern and he often heard the words, ‘that is according to your interpretation’ when he spoke on biblical passages and topics. People also say that everyone interprets when they hear something from another person. If that were true then all people are doing is not listening to the other person and applying their own ideas to the words of the speaker and refusing to hear the actual intent of the person speaking.

The Bible speaks on both truth and interpretation and it does not teach what many may think it teaches. When we did a word search in the Bible for the word ‘truth’ we got back 137 responses. When we did the same for the word ‘interpretation’ we received only 11. Those 11 did not instruct anyone to use interpretation when listening to the Bible or other people.

What we are going to do here is quote as many verses as we can to show that God’s people are not to use interpretation to redefine what scripture is saying or to use it to avoid hearing the truth as so many people do now-a-days.

The first topic we will look at will be the word ‘interpretation’.

To tell the correct explanation:

Ge 40:16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread.

Ge 40:22 but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation

Ge 41:12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream

We grouped these 3 verses together for they all speak on the same idea for the word ‘interpretation’. And we will look at only key words in those verses.

Favorable interpretation:

Here we see that the chief baker liked what Joseph said , even though the interpretation was for another man and so he hoped to receive a similar explanation for his dream. This is the word we need to use here for the word ‘interpretation’. What Joseph was doing was explaining exactly what the dreams meant or were saying to each man.

He did not make things up as he went so the men would like him and that is evidenced by the exact results he foretold. Joseph was not placing his own ideas upon the dreams but merely used his gift of explanation to relieve the puzzlement of his fellow prisoners.

Just as:

In this verse is the recorded evidence that Joseph did not sin his own tale or place his own ideas upon God’s message to those men. The words ‘just as’ means there was no deviation from what Joseph explained. Everything went as Joseph ‘interpreted’.

 Giving each man THE interpretation:

Now we capitalized the word ‘the’ to make sure everyone gets how the word ‘the’ is being used here. If the word ‘a’ was used, then we would know that Joseph made up whatever he wanted and told the men something he wanted the dreams to mean and did not tell them the truth. The word ‘a’ is used to generalize and not be specific but the word ‘the’ is not general and tells us that Joseph is being very specific about the meaning of the dreams. He is not making anything up but explaining the exact meaning of what the men dreamed.

We can see that the word ‘interpretation’ in this set of scriptures does not mean to spin other people’s words to what you want them to mean but to tell the exact truth of what they experienced and were puzzled by.

Correct interpretation leads to worship and the right purpose:

Jdg 7:15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands

As you can see, when Gideon received the interpretation he realized that he was told the truth and when that realization hit him, he went on to worship God for God has given good news and confirmed Gideon’s appointment to leading the Israelites against their oppressors.

Gideon did not doubt for he knew he had heard the truth and that victory was assured, which brings us to the last line. The truth helps motivate people to action.  Any interpretation does not do this for someone will doubt the veracity of the interpreted words but with the truth, everyone will know it and they can draw strength from the interpreted words for those words spoke correctly and did not give someone’s subjective human ideas on what was meant by the dream.

 Knowing & understanding the truth:

Da 2:30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed k  to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind

Da 2:45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock-cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands, a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future.  The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy

Da 4:24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:

Da 7:16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation  of these things

The correct use of interpretation does not bring confusion but ends it. Everyone who hears the right interpretation knows and understands what is going to happen, there is no doubt about what will take place in the near future.

Everyone understands and everyone must make a choice on how they will respond to the information given to them.

Interpretation is a gift

1Co 12:10 to another miraculous powers,  to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits,  to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues

1Co 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.  All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church

The ability to correctly interpret comes from the Holy Spirit and is not a human ability. Its source is divine not earthly thus the use of interpretation is not to change what other people intend but to, as we have seen, bring the truth and understanding to all people involved.

The second verse there is not saying that a church member has their own ideas about what has been said but that an interpretation of what has been going on has been given to a church member so that the whole congregation can know exactly what God is saying to them.

The source of the interpretation is divine not someone’s subjective opinion on what has been going on. In other words, they are not providing commentary on the procession of events but explaining to all what has taken place.

Not human, not private but divine and open:

2Pe 1:20 Above all, you must understand  that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.

2Pe 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit

This is how we can determine if a leader is a false teacher or if cult leaders are speaking from God or not. Their words must be judged according to this criteria and if the words of religious leaders do not lead people to God, do not lead people to the truth, do not lead them to correct knowledge and understanding  then their words are not of God.

We have other tests as well to help us determine if they are of God or not but this is a good starting point for most believers. The believer must double-check scripture and with God to see if what is being said is of divine origin or coming from evil

A church leader is not to give his own ideas about what scripture is saying but to seek the truth and be led by the Holy Spirit in their explanation of God’s word. A good example to identify the difference is if the speaker says ‘I think…’ or ‘I believe…’ or something similar. If they have the words of God they would be speaking with real authority and with real knowledge of the passage.

They will not be interpreting as the word ‘interpretation’ is used in our modern age but they will be delivering the truth and everyone will know it is the truth. They will not be giving their own spin of God’s word  or being general in nature but stating exactly and specifically what God’s word means and bring everyone to the right understanding and the right message.

The word ‘interpretation’ according to the Bible means to seek, find and relate the truth. Interpreting does not fall under the category of what some people in the academic world have taught which goes like this: ‘what a verse means to you may be something different from what it means to someone else.’

No, real interpretation bring s people to the actual truth and that truth is the same for all people. God does not change his word to fit the lives of different people. His words apply to all people the same no matter what era or level of society/civilization they live in.

Real interpretation speaks the real truth.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, education, faith, General Life, leadership, theology

 

Was Hitler An Atheist?

The topic for this article comes from the following quote:

If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God’s work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God. (http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/tp/AdolfHitlerFaithGod.htm )

To answer that question we only need to go to any dictionary and look up the word atheist and see how that word is defined.

A´THEISM, n. The disbelief of the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.

Atheism is a ferocious system that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us, to awaken tenderness.      Rob. Hall.

A´THEIST, n. [Gr. αθεος, of a priv. and θεος, God.]

One who disbelieves the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.

A´THEIST, a. Atheistical; disbelieving or denying the being of a Supreme God.

(Webster, N. (2006). Noah Webster’s first edition of An American dictionary of the English language. Anaheim, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education.)

As you can see a good case for Hitler not being an atheist can be made BUT that superficial answer is not the end of the story here. If we limit the answer to this superficial finding then we are not only being dishonest but not presenting the whole picture.

An atheist can invoke God any time they want to. Being an atheist does not mean that they cannot use the term of God, Supreme Being, Jesus and other divine names or titles. Nor does it mean that they are restricted from invoking God when they want to motivate religious people to do their will.

For some reason those people who claim to be more rational and logical than Christians tend to use the worst logic and rational thought when talking about religious issues such as this. They purposefully distort what they are talking about in order to bring confusion to the thinking of the Christian. We see an example of this in the question that author asks:

If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God’s work? (Ibid)

The answer to this question is very simple. Germany was a very religious country, its people were very religious at that time thus he had to ‘identify’ with them in order to manipulate or convince them that his rule was legitimate.

Anybody can say that they believe in God, the Bible tells us that the demons believe yet they tremble thus one does not have to be a Christian to believe that God exists. Also, belief that God exists does not make one a Christian. Anyone can accept the fact that God exists but salvation only comes via faith and by grace when one repents of their sins and accepts Christ as their savior.

People accept the fact that the Bible exists yet that acceptance and belief does not indicate that they follow its words and abide by its commands and instructions. Hitler can say that he believes in God and that he had faith in him but words are cheap. Anh9ne can say those things and act like they are following God but the Bible describes those people as demons disguised as angels of light, wolves in sheep’s clothing and as false teachers. The Bible never describes them as actual true believers in God.

This is a fact that the atheist or unbeliever ignores in their haste to discredit God and the Christian faith. They leave out these details simply to cause trouble or justify their unbelief and rejection of salvation. But there are other problems that are found in that quote.

…and was convinced that he was doing God’s work…(Ibid)

The author there seems to claim that he can read minds and know exactly what Hitler believed by reading a few quotes. Of course Hitler may have said such things but we cannot tell if he really believed that or if he merely was putting the right words on paper or in his speeches to convince religious people of his supposed divine purpose.

Many political leaders invoke God, or claim they are doing God’s work but if that were so we would find a completely different attitude held by Hitler and those leaders. We could fix those misguided thoughts and objectives without having to go to war and killing millions of people. Or we can fix those erroneous ideas without exterminating whole groups of people.

With Hitler his attitude was not one that reflected misguided thinking about God but a cruel, use of God in order to fulfill his list for power and control over others. Atheists do not see this difference because they do not want to see for it means restructuring their arguments and viewing God and Christianity in a different light.

People may sound or write like they are convinced but that does not make it so.

Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God (Ibid)

This is another problem with dealing with atheists. They do not want to claim a evil person as one of their own so they do whatever it takes to make that evil person look Christian. First, off Hitler was not a Christian and we explained why in our article Was Hitler a Christian.

Hitler was nowhere near being a Christian theist either but simply used God to further his personal agenda. But those facts do not stop the atheist from misidentifying who Hitler was and laying false accusations against God, Christianity and Christians.

To have a discussion like this people need to be honest and open-minded about all the facts that surround and are involved in this issue. To claim that Hitler was a Christian ignores biblical facts about knowing believers by their fruits and other biblical instructions and commands.

Can we outright state that Hitler was an atheist is very difficult for mitigating factors like his Jewish heritage may undermine such claims. We can conclude that he may have had religious instruction when he was young and learned about the existence of God but we cannot be sure if he held to those views later in life or simply became an atheist like so many discontented pastors and missionaries do today.

His use of God can be put down to invoking religious ideas to manipulate the German people and to furthering his despotic agenda. These acts cannot clearly state that he was an atheist nor can they be used to declare that Hitler was a Christian. Then we need to define what the word ‘Christian’. Too often in this modern world people use the word Christian to apply to almost everyone who does not consider themselves an atheist or outright unbeliever.

Anyone who has darkened the door of a church once in their lives seems to think that they are Christian, even though they do not live by the rules and instructions of God. Everyone wants to consider themselves Christian and on their way to heaven because the alternatives are not so attractive.

Or that they do not consider themselves as evil people and hold up those people like Hitler as evidence that they are not bad people, even though God thinks differently. They do not feel that they need to repent of any sins for they are ‘good people’ in general or that they have been badly taught by the denominations they attended in their youth or still attend today.

The word ‘Christian’ is applied too broadly and that application distorts the issue and how we see other people. We will not say that Hitler was an atheist because we feel he had enough religious instruction in his life to know that God exists. We also do not consider Hitler a Christion for the reasons we have already state din the other article.

What we do is put Hitler down as a very evil man who was greatly deceived. We know this because of not only the following words but other words he has used in his speeches and writings:

Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality (Ibid)

People who are deceived by evil think that they are doing God’s will by disobeying God. Evil had a strong hold on Hitler and while we cannot say he was an atheist, we can definitely state that he was not Christian. He was evil’s tool at that time and who has been followed by many others who are evil’s tools even though they may claim to be Christian.

Atheists need to understand that those who claim to be Christian or use God and other words in their work does not mean that they are Christian or that God is behind their objectives. To label such people as Christian is to be very dishonest and demonstrates a lack of desire for an honest discussion on the issue.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, education, faith, General Life, history, leadership, theology

 

Was Hitler A Christian?

This is a question that has often been debated by others and their answer depends upon their religious persuasion or lack thereof. We are not going to debate this question here but point out two factors that bring the answer to a resounding ‘no’. These two points are not used in the articles we have read on this topic but are quite germane to the issue.

For any true Christian the answer to the above question is simple. No Hitler was not a Christian but to many of those who debate this inquiry the answer for them is not so easy to come to as they look at all the evidence with a superficial eye and come to a far different conclusion than any true Christian.

Those writers do not go beyond the surface when they look at all the quotes Hitler used in his book, Mein Kampf, and all of his speeches when coming to and after obtaining power. For the, the matter is solved. Hitler invoked the divine more often than not in their eyes, whether it be on belt buckles or other military paraphernalia or in his attempts to motivate both soldier and civilian.

His use of God and the Bible in those writers’ eyes, is convincing and no other alternative is looked at. But what those authors ignore or do not realize is that invoking God, using biblical passages in one’s writings or oratory, does not make one a Christian. This is our first point. Anyone, even atheists can quote and use the name of God or bible passages in their arguments, speeches or other literary efforts but that action does not automatically cleanse them of their sins and make them born again.

To be a Christian, one must do as Jesus told Nicodemus and be born again. Being raised in a Roman Catholic faith no more makes a person a Christian than one raised in the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist or any other Christian denomination. To make claims to being a Roman Catholic without being born again is not making a claim to being a Christian but merely a member of that church.

Hitler may have been a Roman Catholic but he was hardly a Christian. We find no evidence of his born again nature or experience in any of his early life activities and we certainly do not find it when he craved and sought power.

Our second point comes from the passage of scripture Mt 7:16 :

By their fruit you will recognize them

As we exam the life of Hitler we see that throughout his life, any fruit he left as evidence certainly did not speak of his conversion and love for Christ. We do not find anything that would tell us of his true spiritual nature except that he was a follower of evil all the days of his life.

Most assuredly, the extermination of 6,000,000 people from one nation does not provide any fruit that would show that Hitler was a believer in Christ.  Such action overwhelms anything to the contrary.

Invoking biblical passages and the name of God do not diminish the evil actions taken by any person, including Hitler. We can add a passage from I John to the one from Matthew to show that any Christian fruit was absent from the life, beliefs and actions of Hitler:

1Jn 3:11 This is the message you heard  from the beginning:  We should love one another.

1Jn 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.  And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous

Clearly the existence of the Gestapo, secret informers, kangaroo courts, extermination camps, and other NAZI organizations along with the forced wearing of Stars to separate a group of people from the rest of the nation are not acts of love but of hatred.

Love is not just a good feeling coming from someone who accepts you as you are and provides encouragement and support for one’s endeavors. Love removes hatred and racist ideologies, it removes injustice and provides honest representation and real evidence for real crimes.

Love does not kill those who are different from they or provide the means to eliminate such groups from existence. Love allows wisdom to help one govern well and equally for all people. Love does not encourage false witness against either innocent or guilty parties, nor does it invent evidence to gain a particular judgment.

And on it goes. As we look at those passages those who claim Hitler was a Christian have omitted we see a different picture of the man and why true Christians can come to their easy and simple conclusion that Hitler was not a member of their or any faith.

The Bible spells it out clearly for all to see if we let it. We can see that invoking cherry picked passages of scripture, meant to convince and motivate a hesitant population,  does not alter the sinful state a person is in, no matter their level or status in society.  By seeing the whole biblical  picture of what it entails to be a believer and follower of Christ, we can see past the disguises of those who claim to be a Christian yet do not act like one, and see their true colors.

We are not fooled because we have the truth and we do not let tricks confuse us or interfere with our judgment of other people’s claims, or use of God or scriptures. Based on these two points alone, we can say that the answer to the question: was Hitler a Christian, is an irrevocable ‘no’.  Everything he did was self-serving and not for the glory of God or to further his kingdom.

There was nothing of God in Hitler’s words or actions that would change that conclusion. If there was, we would not have had the second world war and millions of people would not have died protecting the rest of the world from Hitler’s madness.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, faith, General Life, history, leadership, theology

 

Of Being Seen

Introduction:

This article focuses upon God and some of the supposed contradictory things he says about himself.

#1. God be seen?

EXO 24:9,10; AMO 9:1; GEN 26:2; and JOH 14:9

God CAN be seen:

“And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts.” (EXO 33:23)

“And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend.” (EXO 33:11)

“For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (GEN 32:30)

 

God CANNOT be seen:

“No man hath seen God at any time.” (JOH 1:18)

“And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.” (EXO 33:20)

“Whom no man hath seen nor can see.” (1TIM 6:16)

 

This supposed contradiction is built upon a faulty use and abuse of the words ‘saw’, ‘appeared’ and ‘seen’. The unbeliever takes the most literal form of the word, where someone actually physically sees someone else and applies it to these words, when they should know that other meanings or applications of those words apply.

In the four verses heading this section, God could easily be ‘seen’ or appeared’ to someone without showing his actual form. God has appeared to people in a cloud and the people ‘saw’ God without actually seeing him. Others ‘see’ God work in their lives or the lives of their loved ones without actually physically seeing God direct the answer to prayer.

It is dishonest of the unbeliever to use one definition when they know that other applications exist and apply to the terms used in the verses in question.

Then when we come to the section titled God CAN be seen, we find the same dishonest use of the definitions of the words ‘see’ and ‘face to face’. In the case of Moses seeing the backparts of God the unbeliever in their attempt to claim there is a contradiction, ignore Exodus 33:20 which says:

But, he said, thou cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.?

As we see, God is not being inconsistent or contradictory but only allows Moses to see what he can of the physical nature of God. The unbeliever is also dishonest in the use of the verse in question as they leave out the rest of the verse which goes:

Ex 33:23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.

There is no contradiction here. God cannot be seen by human eyes while they live on earth in their fallible and corrupt bodies. The same idea applies to the term face to face. The unbeliever assumes that God is going to stand right in front of a person and talk to them unshielded.

if a person cannot see God’s face and live, then God will not stand there in front of a person without some sort of covering. Being in disguise does not undermine or deny the face to face meeting. During the Watergate investigations, the reporter Woodward came face to face with Deep Throat but at no time did he see the face of the man who claimed to be Deep Throat.

A face to face meeting took place but one face was not seen. This is the dishonesty that is encountered by believers when they deal with the accusations of the unbeliever. The latter will distort or misuse the definitions of words and phrases to prove their point when in reality they altered the rules and changed the nature of words in order to say the Bible is wrong.

Then for the section God CANNOT be seen, we see that the unbeliever has used the verse that he ignored in the first section. God is being very consistent here and has not changed his tune. His face cannot be seen by fallible humans.

We can ‘see’ God by feeling his presence, seeing the results of his power or we can see God through his representatives and so on but at no time do we actually physically get to see God. There is no contradiction in any of these verses, just the dishonesty of the unbeliever and their failure to accurately apply the right meanings to the words used.

#2. CRUEL, UNMERCIFUL, DESTRUCTIVE, and FEROCIOUS or KIND, MERCIFUL, and GOOD:

“I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy.” (JER 13:14) “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.”

“The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” (JAS 5:11)

“For his mercy endureth forever.” (1CH 16:34)

“The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (PSA 145:9)

“God is love.” (1JO 4:16)

 

Here we see that the unbeliever ignores the fact that mercy is a character trait that can be given or withheld, depending upon the situation at hand. They use the different situations and God’s attitude towards different groups of people to claim a contradiction exists; but what they fail to see is that mercy is not applied 100% of the time.

Of course we see the dishonesty of the unbeliever who has taken one version of scripture that says what they want it to say in order to make this claim. The NIV says:

Jer 13:14 I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the LORD. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.

The key words are in bold. In other words, God is still merciful, etc., but he will not allow those character traits to interfere with his upcoming actions. God is free to use mercy or not as he states in another part of the Bible, ‘I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.’ This means God chooses who deserves mercy, kindness and so on and who does not.

Just like we do in our criminal judgements and in bringing punishment to our disobedient children. But as you can see, those bold words paint a very different picture than the one the unbeliever is painting about God.

They are saying that God is without mercy, etc., when in reality God is still merciful, etc. but he just does not use those attributes for everyone. Some people sin so great that they are not worthy nor deserving of mercy and God withholds it.

Then we need to remember that being merciful and good does not mean we or God cannot bring justice and punishment to those who sinned or broke the law. Nor does the presence of those attributes mean that fairness and justice do not exist in our character.

The unbeliever distorts this issue because they may want mercy when they do not deserve mercy nor have given it to others.

#3. Tempts?

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.” (GEN 22:1)

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (JAS 1:13)

This is another example of using one translation dishonestly. It also shows a very lazy and dishonest investigation in to the word ‘tempts’. The unbeliever cherry picks the definition in order to make their accusation.

If we look at the NIV we see another word, a better one that expresses clearly what God was doing with Abraham. We read:

Ge 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham.

Again the key word is in bold. God was not tempting Abraham for how would asking you to sacrifice your son a temptation? Usually a temptation is trying to get you to do something you like not something you abhor so there really is no tempting being done here. A test is being done for God would like to see if we, and in this case Abraham, love God more than earthly rewards.

But God does not tempt people to do evil for God hates sin and punishes those who commit it. So we can see that the only reason a supposed contradiction may be seen here is because of the unbeliever taking the easy, lazy way out and misusing the word ‘tempt’ to bring a false accusation against God.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, faith, General Life, leadership, theology

 

Is the Bible a Human Book?

This is a continued look at the ideas expressed in Dr. Ehrman’s book ‘Forged: Writing in the Name of God and we will begin with the last quote form the article Objective Truth?

“But as someone who believed that truth was objective and who was unwilling to believe what was false, I came to think that the Bible could not be what I thought it was. The Bible contained errors. And if it contained errors, it was not completely true. This was a problem for me, because I wanted to believe the truth, the divine truth, and I came to see that the Bible was not divine truth without remainder. The Bible was a very human book.” (pg. 11)

The idea of errors in the Bible generally comes from very misguided and deceived minds as those who do not believe nor want to believe, refuse to listen to the truth when it is explained to them.  The first problem is that these people hold to an imaginary idea that there is something called ‘objective truth’ yet as we briefly saw in the other article.

One more point needs to be made about this so-called ‘objective truth’. If it exists then it seems to stand separate from God and is not under his command or rule. This concept would make ‘objective truth’ on par with or superior to God and that is heresy and false teaching at its best. It would also make God incapable of telling the truth and rendering him to being the devil.

The ramifications of the idea of ‘objective truth’ means that there is no God and that there is no such thing as truth. Every idea would be subjective, depending upon who was the strongest and had the most followers and the concept of objectivity would be lost and meaningless.

If Dr. Ehrman wanted to believe divine truth as he expresses in that quote, he would have to give up the idea that there is such a thing as ‘objective truth’ and that it rules over God’s word. But he was not really interested in the divine truth because he let errors trip up his faith but accept the correct explanations for why these supposed discrepancies existed in the Bible. He would have taken greater measures to protect his faith instead of letting it go at the first or second encounter with problems.

His conclusion that the Bible is a very human book is without merit because while human names are attached to each biblical book, there are also information that the Bible was not written by humans but were used to merely put divine words into human form so that God’s creation could understand what God was communicating to them.

There is nothing in the Bible or history that indicates that the Bible was the work of human hands alone. Even though some scholars insist that there were religious and political motives behind the writing of the Bible, they have yet to produce any credible evidence proving their declarations true.

Their accusations are built upon the sand and have nothing substantial to support them. if you look closely, those who make such accusations do so out of their position of unbelief and subjective, not objective, truth. Their bias and prejudices determine their conclusions not actual fact or truth.

“But the problems didn’t stop there. Eventually I came to realize that the Bible not only contains untruths or accidental mistakes. It also contains what almost anyone today would call lies. That is what this book is about.” (pg. 12)

To claim that something is untrue or is lying then one must have and hold to the truth but if ‘objective truth’ is really subjective and depends upon the person who adheres to it then there really is no other truth to use to accuse the Bible of lying.

Dr. Ehrman and others like him are not really using the truth to determine and point out these supposed errors and lies. They are using their own personal and very subjective thinking to say that there are errors and lies within the pages of the Bible.

“Accidental mistakes’ do not reflect upon the work of the Bible nor its message. If they are accidental then they were not placed in the Bible to alter what it says or to promote a human philosophy or political motive. These are not valid reasons to claim that the Bible is in error or filled with untruths.

Then when one accuses the Bible of lying they must be privy to and possess the real historical truth and be able to verify and demonstrate that they have the truth over God and his word. So far all they have presented are theories, hypothesis, assumptions, leaps to conclusions, conjecture and so on.

They cannot demonstrate that they have the actual truth and God is truly lying. Given the amount of evidence we do have supporting the biblical record, they won’t find that truth anywhere. Their idea of truth replacing the bible comes from personal unbelief and the rejection of the real truth. It does not come from anything objective or greater than God.

In fact, their ‘objective truth’ comes from the very accusation they make of the Bible—it is human sourced or totally human ideas and there is nothing of God or any supreme being in its construction. So the very reason they reject the Bible they use to accept alternative ideas and thought.

A few words on the ramifications if Dr. Ehrman and others are correct and the Bible is actually a human work. First, that idea means that there is no hope for mankind. There is no God, no Jesus, no truth. There is no eternal salvation, no heaven, no forgiveness of sins. Hope is destroyed and people are free to do as they please because there is no ultimate judge going to call us into account for our actions and words.

Second, since there is no God under Dr. Ehrman’s idea then that means there is no such thing as right and wrong, morality and immorality and good and evil. Everyone is free to do as they please and no one can be arrested for their criminal acts for nothing is right and nothing is wrong, etc.

Anarchy and confusion reign, not a well ordered society that knows where the lines are and people can be free and safe. Walking down the street would be a deadly act for one would never know if they will be attacked or worse because there will be no laws protecting them from those who think differently and want to live as they please.

This gives you an idea of what would happen if the Bible did not contain the words of God and was not the actual truth. I am sure you can think this through further and see the real depth of this situation if the Bible were not true. Everyone would do what was right in their own eyes for there would be anything to guide them to the right way to live.

Other religions cannot step in and fill the void because they have nothing divine or supreme contained in their words. False religions are again like the accusations made against the Bible, human sourced yet that fact does not stop people from accepting and following the false teachings taught by the leaders of those errant religions.

The only support for the argument that the Bible is a human book comes from the fact that human names are attached to many of the biblical books. There is no other physical evidence or ancient manuscript that provides any support for such a claim. That idea is made up from assumption, conjecture and other similar terms, as history does not supply any real documentation that there was a religious or political conspiracy.

We no such plans or strategies in any document from any nation, Israelite or other, that even remotely points to this claim being true. Not one shred of evidence exists to support this claim that the Bible is solely a human book or that it was cobbled together in the 5th to 7th centuries BC. That contention is made up by those who reject the Bible as truth and how it was written over the generations.

So is the Bible the product of human hands only? The answer to that is a sound ‘no’.  The idea that the Bible is a human book would not explain why it is so popular, why it sells so much, why it reaches just not the nation of Israel but attracts people from other nations and so on.

The fact that other religions are successful is because the Bible is true and evil works in the hearts of men deceiving and leading them astray. If the Bible was not true and divinely inspired then there would be no need for the false religions to exist.

We need the truth to have copies. As we saw with Aaron’s rod when it became a snake, evil copies true actions but as we read further in that passage we see that those copies are inferior to the truth and are destroyed by it.

The false religions existing today are inferior copies to the truth of the Bible and are easily destroyed when true believers stick to the truth and do not compromise. Nothing stands against the truth and the Bible backs this up. The truth is the Bible is the inerrant, inspired words of God written by him through human agents in order for humans to grasp what God wants them to know, how he wants them to live and treat others.

It also communicates to us warnings and instructions on how to avoid false teaching, about evil trying to deceive, who also uses human agents to do its dirty work and on it goes. Without the Bible being true we have nothing to base our lives upon and we would be in despair because there was nothing waiting for us when we die.

The purpose for our lives would be gone and any desire to take pride in our work would be absent as nothing would matter for any reward for our good efforts would also be meaningless and mean nothing.

True believers can take solace in the fact that the Bible is not a human work and that if there are any discrepancies or contradictions we know that God will provide us with the correct answer to solve those dilemmas. This is why we can have the peace that passes understanding, because we know that God is real, he does exist, he did write the Bible and every word is true. We do not have to worry nor lose any purpose to our lives because all that we do has meaning.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, faith, General Life, leadership, theology

 

Magazine Highlights

While we are vacation we will, in this internet session, be using material we have already written. These articles come from our magazine, one issue which is already on sale and the others are upcoming waiting to be published.

The first article, Is the Bible a Human Book, comes from our 9th issue titled -Frauds, Forgeries and Facts -which is already on sale and on our feeding flock website- www.feedingflock.com

The second article, Of Being Seen, comes from our 10th issue titled- Contradictions in the Bible- which will be on sale next month.

The third & fourth articles, Was Hitler a Christian? & Was Hitler an Atheist, comes from our 11th issue titled- Hitler & God- Look for that issue in late June or the beginning of July.

The fifth article, Truth vs. Interpretation, comes from our Women’s Corner section which is a feature we have in each issue, and this article is found in our 12th issue- The Emerging Church. This issue is slated for publication in late July or early August. This article will not be published here in its entirety but will be only the first part. You will need to get the issue to read the whole piece.

We hope you will enjoy these highlights and learn from them.

As we have said, we have taken these articles from our magazine and we have structured the sale of our magazine in a manner that allows everyone to read the information and let God teach them what they need to know but the free option is reserved for those who truly cannot afford the purchase price.

We have tried to keep the issue & subscription cost low and as you will see we do not have any advertising dollars to sustain our work. That option is available but so far we have not pursued it as we do not keep track of how many people read our magazine.

We try not to copy David’s sin when he numbered the people of Israel and so statistics about our readership, on any of our websites are really not available nor do we want to create statistics. So we cannot provide any numbers to potential advertisers.

We will not change that policy if we do get advertising sponsors. We hope you will take the time and check out www.feedingflock.com and like these articles.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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