Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do you follow the Book?

Does the book guide us on the paths we are to take in life?

Or does the book introduce us to a God who wants to live in us and guide us?

Does Scripture speak to this? Does the book tell us to follow the book?

What do you think?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sabbath vs Day of the Sun

I was just wondering what the reasons were for most Christians choosing Sunday as their holy day over Saturday the Sabbath.

It seems Constantine had a role to play in it. Constantine is known for being first Christian Roman Emperor. However history tells us there was a mix of sun worshipping going on as well.
Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was a Roman god identified in the later Roman empire[ambiguous] with Sol, accompanied with the epithet invictus meaning unconquered that was commonly given to Sol from the second century CE onwards.

Emperors portrayed Sol Invictus on their official coinage, with a wide range of legends, only a few of which incorporated the epithet invictus, such as the legend SOLI INVICTO COMITI, claiming the Unconquered Sun as a companion to the Emperor, used with particular frequency by Constantine. Statuettes of Sol Invictus, carried by the standard-bearers, appear in three places in reliefs on the Arch of Constantine. Constantine's official coinage continues to bear images of Sol until 325/6. A solidus of Constantine as well as a gold medallion from his reign depict the Emperor's bust in profile twinned ("jugate") with Sol Invictus, with the legend INVICTUS CONSTANTINUS

Constantine decreed (March 7, 321) dies Solis—day of the sun, "Sunday"—as the Roman day of rest [CJ3.12.2]:

“On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_Invictus#Constantine

What about the early church and Sabbath:

Both Days Observed.

One thing is clear: The weekly Christian Sunday--whenever it did arise--did not at first generally become a substitute for the Bible seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday; for both Saturday and Sunday were widely kept side by side for several centuries in early Christian history. Socrates Scholasticus, a church historian of the fifth century A.D., wrote, "For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."[2] And Sozomen, a contemporary of Socrates, wrote, "The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."[3] Thus, "almost everywhere" throughout Christendom, except in Rome and Alexandria, there were Christian worship services on both Saturday and Sunday as late as the fifth century. A number of other sources from the third to the fifth centuries also depict Christian observance of both Saturday and Sunday. For example, the Apostolic Constitutions, compiled in the fourth century, furnished instruction to "keep the Sabbath [Saturday], and the Lord's day [Sunday] festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection." "Let the slaves work five days; but on the Sabbath-day [Saturday] and the Lord's day [Sunday] let them have leisure to go to church for instruction in piety."

http://www.biblehistory.com/The%20Origin%20of%20Sunday%20Worship.html

OK, I'm not an expert on this by any stretch. These are just some quotes from my google research for the day. But I'll try to summarize what I've gleaned.

  • It appears the early church had a custom of gathering together on the Sabbath (7th day)
  • They also celebrated Christ's resurrection on Sunday (1st day)
  • Constantine's degree made Sunday the official day for the Roman Empire.
  • The reasons for the church in Rome switching to Sunday may have had more to do with 'Sun' worship than 'Son' worship.
  • I imagine within a few generations of Constantine's decree Sunday gatherings became the norm.
However Jesus was frequently accused of breaking the Sabbath. He didn't really give support to the religious leaders' Sabbath rules.

So it may not make much of a difference if we gather on Saturday, Sunday, or whenever.... as long as we gather, remember, celebrate and encourage one another.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God at His Computer

I saw this cartoon today.



Is this your view of God?

Does God pick some people to smite (or torture for eternity), and others to bless - for reasons unknown to us?

Monday, February 15, 2010

95 Thesis - Point 5 - Calvinism


Here's my 5th Point in My 95 Theses.

This point is not directed at all protestant evangelicals... but I am concerned at the level of influence Calvinism has. I’m concerned many are being influenced by this school of thought without understanding it.

So what are the 5 points of Calvinism (TULIP):
  • T - Total Depravity
  • U - Unconditional Election
  • L - Limited Atonement
  • I - Irresistible Grace
  • P - Perseverance of the saints
Total Depravity
When man fell, sin permeated his entire being. This fall was so complete that man had no desire for God and righteousness. Man is so totally enslaved by sin that he can only choose evil; he cannot choose good. He is incapable of choosing God and His salvation. Man is totally blind and deaf to the gospel. Apart from a supernatural intervention from God, the gospel message absolutely has no effect on a person. Total depravity is also called total inability.
Unconditional Election
God has chosen some people to go to Heaven and other people to go to Hell. This choice is not based on any qualities of the person being elected. This selection is not based on God’s foreknowledge of who will "get saved" in the future.
Limited Atonement
God limited His atonement to only those who are elect. When Jesus died on the cross, He did not die for the sins of the whole world; He only died for those He wanted to go to Heaven.
Irresistible Grace
The grace that God extends to the elect cannot be refused. God puts into the hearts of the elect an irresistible desire to turn to Him and accept His salvation. This desire is so overpowering that no one can refuse it.
Perseverance of the Saints
Since God has determined who will get saved and they cannot resist His call, they are unconditionally and eternally secure in that election. Therefore, those who have been chosen to be saved will always stay saved. They cannot resist or lose their salvation.
(Above points taken from http://www.biblehelp.org/tulip.htm )

Some Concerns I have with this:

1)I don't think it fits with God's character of love for all his creation. If we say we are saved by grace alone, that it is all God's doing and not our own...
Do we also say the wicked are doomed by God's lack of grace alone, that it is all God's doing and not their own???

2) Some then conclude that God hates sinners. If God hates sinners can we hate them too?

3) Where is free will? Why would God create humanity yet not allow us to exercise free will?

4) If God does everything, we don't need to seek and pursue Him?

5) How I've witnessed "once saved always saved" being applied goes like this: We tell children when they say a prayer that they are saved and nothing can change that fact... but then if/when that child grows up and falls away from the faith we say "well, I guess they were not really saved to begin with... maybe they didn't mean it".

6) Yes there are some verses that support these positions. But there are other verses that seem to be ignored. If God wanted us to believe this system of beliefs I think it would have been clearly laid out... however it took 1500 years before John Calvin and his followers came up with this.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) - Total Depravity?
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) - Unconditional Election?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
1 John 2:2 (NIV) - Limited atonement?
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Matthew 23:37 (NIV) - Irresistible Grace?
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."
Acts 17:30 (NIV) - Unconditional Election?
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) - free will? Ability to seek God? Yes!
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Related Posts:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Membership Questions

A few more questions on 'church' membership.

If a member of Christ's body meets together with an assembly of other members Christ's body, is it even possible that he/she is not a member of that assembly?

Or does this question make sense? What does being a member of an assembly mean?

When someone is a member of Christ's body, and they meet together with other members of Christ body, there is no question they are all members of Christ body.

And who makes who a member? To what degree does the assembly decide who the members of Christ's body are?

Can there be more than one body? I wonder where the idea of local membership came from...

If someone is a member of a different body (if you think there is such a thing), are you permitted to view or treat them differently than if they were part of the same body you are a member of?

Is it possible that 'church membership' does harm to Christ's body?

Who is the head of the body?

Those are my questions for today...

Here's some Scripture snippets that may help... are there more?? How has the Holy Spirit guided me in this matter? How has tradition?

Romans 12:5 (New International Version)
so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
1 Corinthians 6:15 (New International Version)
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
1 Corinthians 10:17 (New International Version)
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
1 Corinthians 12:12 (New International Version)
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 (New International Version)
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (New International Version)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Ephesians 3:6 (New International Version)
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:12 (New International Version)
to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Ephesians 4:16 (New International Version)
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:25 (New International Version)
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Ephesians 4:4 (New International Version)
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
Ephesians 5:23 (New International Version)
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Ephesians 5:30 (New International Version)
for we are members of his body.
Colossians 1:18 (New International Version)
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:24 (New International Version)
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
Colossians 2:19 (New International Version)
He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Colossians 3:15 (New International Version)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Related Posts:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hopeful Skeptic



"We need to acknowledge, even embrace, both the doubts and the hope of our faith, says Nick Fiedler, author of The Hopeful Skeptic. Thinkfwd host, Spencer Burke, and Nick talk together about some of the topics that Nick wrestles with in his life and book—like scripture, church structure, and prayer." - TheOoze.tv

I feel this video lines up with the journey I'm on.

I think a healthy dose of skepticism can be a good thing. Think about any influential leader of the past... Christian or otherwise... or even Jesus himself... and you will find a degree of skepticism... questioning and challenging the current state of affairs.

Yet spending too much time in a state of skepticism becomes unhealthy and unproductive. We need to recognize the good that God is also doing in His Church, re-focus, and follow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Playdough Scripture 2 John 1:7

"Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, but have other wrong teachings, like praying to Mary, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."

2 John 1:7 (Playdough Version)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dearly loved children

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God"
Children naturally imitate their parents. Sometimes good - sometimes we wish they didn't.

We are dearly loved children. Let's rest in that, and imitate it by living a life of love.

Not only would this be a great way to live, but can you imagine if the world recognized God's love in us?

Related Posts:

Monday, February 1, 2010

People of the book

Did Jesus want His followers to be a people of the book?

If He did, why didn't he write a book and tell his followers to follow that book?

What did Jesus leave with us to give us guidance?

John 15:26 (NIV)
"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. "
Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)
"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
We are supposed to be people guided by the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised he would leave for us.

What do you think?

From my experience I feel more emphasis has been placed on following the book than following the Word of God that indwells us. By being a people of the book we can do a decent job at being religious. But the goal isn't to follow the book. The book isn't Lord. The book is there to introduce us to the King of Kings who wants to be Lord of our lives.... and we can be a people who follow the personal leading of our Lord.