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The Bible, The Church, Tradition, Authority, and the Canon - Page 9

post #161 of 300

 

Quote:
So do you think that the writers of Scripture and the people who canonized the books of the Bible intended for individuals to make private interpretations?  Or do you think that they knew the one correct interpretation and intended all believers to also know that one correct meaning of what was written?

I do think that actually. The first statement. I dont think of it as private interpretation tho, more like receiving divine understanding. I think there is depth to scripture, I believe the bible is what some would call the 'Living Word'. That every time you read even one specific piece of scripture it can, not mean something different, but mean something deeper or even teach us something new, reveal something we didnt previously know about either the nature of God, about us as an individual or anything to do with God and His kingdom, His ways, etc. I see it as growth. That we are at work with God (not necessarily church tradition as we are talking about it here) in 'working out our salvation'. So to say there is one correct meaning reallly doesnt fit, ykwim?

 

 

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If two people both read the Bible and both pray to be guided by the HS to understand it and then come up with two contradictory interpretations of some of the verses, how do you know who is right?

 

If I find that there is a piece of scripture that I see there is some confusion about, like the topic I brought up recently, women in church leadership, Ill pray about it. Sometimes Im not ready to hear the truth about it, thats a fact, not cool, but its true about me. I did the same thing when it came to origins theories. I was really confused about it because there are so many different opinions on the subject. I left those issues alone till I was ready to hear the truth from God about it. Eventually I got there. I needed to know for myself. So, I prayed, studied and recieved the info I was looking for, despite the fact that there are so many different 'interpretations'. I know now what I believe and I know that wont change, Ive grown in understanding and knowledge on those subjects. Ive also grown in confidence.

 

What I find is that while Im studying the Bible, what will happen is that Ill gain a certain understanding I hadnt realised before, then I find that others have learned the same things as me. Its actually quite exciting.

post #162 of 300
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Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post

 

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The reward is to enter into the wedding feast for 1000 years or the discipline is to be in outer darkness with weeping and nashing of teeth for 1000 years.  I think most believe this to be hell but I don't.  There is evidence otherwise.

 

Where does the 1000 years come from, out of curiosity? 

 

What do you think about Purgatory?  It sounds a lot like what your describing, especially with the verses 1 Cor. 3:14-15.

I didn't look at the link on Purgatory to see if it matches what I believe.  I will take a look later.

The scripture talks about Hades in the gospel.  Lazarus and the rich man can see each other.  Lazarus is resting in the bosom. The rich man wants to dip his finger to quench his thirst(?? from memory, need to re-read).  I think that when people die they are in Hades and there is a great chasm between the people who believed in Christ and the people who did not believe.  They are waiting for the judgement seat of Christ.  At the judgment seat, Christ will determine who has been pursuing Him, loving Him, growing and being transformed.  Some believers are transformed or ripened enough and will be received into the wedding feast.  Some need further perfecting and ripening, which is what they will experience for the 1000 years.  Someone once told me that they see it as kind of like summer school when you haven't passed the test and you have to take summer school.  It is a discipline from the Lord.  I take weeping and nashing of teeth to mean the person feels a great deal of regret.  These are all the dead believers.  The believers who are alive at the judgment seat will have another kind of experience.  I can't remember where, prob. in Rev., it talks about dead believers and believers who are still alive.  It talks about who will be raptured first.  I get confused and have to look it up.
 

post #163 of 300

 

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All of that said, I have no problem with believers who believe this and I can worship and enjoy Christ with them.  This is a doctrinal difference that can be over come.  The point is that everyone does need to be saved, born again and baptized at some point in your life.  We don't argue with people or reject people who haven't done it our way.   I am not saying that we don't have our way, but we don't insist on it and make it a requirement to be received.

Shami, have you personally experienced other believers refusing to worship with you because of difference in doctrine? I'm trying to figure out where you get the idea that other churches would reject people who haven't done it "their way". Because back when I was a Christian (independent fundamentalist, so probably pretty similar to your church) I traveled a lot and worshipped at all sorts of churches; I was never rejected. I remember taking communion in Catholic churches occasionally, no one asked me if I had gone through confirmation or been baptised. Naturally if I wanted to become a member of these various churches I would have to fit their standards, but by your description your church also has standards for who you admit into full fellowship (i.e. admit as a member) so you are the same. I wonder if you've gotten the impression from the board? Because we like to debate here - that's the purpose of the board, to explore religious issues - but it doesn't mean that Bluegoat and Smokering wouldn't be happy to worship together if they had the chance. Well, I suppose I shouldn't speak for them, but being Buddhist I can't speak for myself unfortunately so I have to pick on someone else redface.gif.

 

There's a lot of bad blood historically between the large divisions in the church, that is true. I wonder if the CC and EO are still as starkly at odds with each other now? If, for example, a Catholic wanted to worship (but not be a member - say, if they were traveling) in an EO church, would they be sent away? Or vice versa?

 

Quote:
What I find is that while Im studying the Bible, what will happen is that Ill gain a certain understanding I hadnt realised before, then I find that others have learned the same things as me.

Has it ever happened that a Christian whom you respect prayerfully and after study came to an understanding that conflicts with yours? What would you do in that situation?

post #164 of 300


 

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Originally Posted by Thao View Post

 

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All of that said, I have no problem with believers who believe this and I can worship and enjoy Christ with them.  This is a doctrinal difference that can be over come.  The point is that everyone does need to be saved, born again and baptized at some point in your life.  We don't argue with people or reject people who haven't done it our way.   I am not saying that we don't have our way, but we don't insist on it and make it a requirement to be received.

Shami, have you personally experienced other believers refusing to worship with you because of difference in doctrine? I'm trying to figure out where you get the idea that other churches would reject people who haven't done it "their way". Because back when I was a Christian (independent fundamentalist, so probably pretty similar to your church) I traveled a lot and worshipped at all sorts of churches; I was never rejected. I remember taking communion in Catholic churches occasionally, no one asked me if I had gone through confirmation or been baptised. Naturally if I wanted to become a member of these various churches I would have to fit their standards, but by your description your church also has standards for who you admit into full fellowship (i.e. admit as a member) so you are the same. I wonder if you've gotten the impression from the board? Because we like to debate here - that's the purpose of the board, to explore religious issues - but it doesn't mean that Bluegoat and Smokering wouldn't be happy to worship together if they had the chance. Well, I suppose I shouldn't speak for them, but being Buddhist I can't speak for myself unfortunately so I have to pick on someone else redface.gif.

 

There's a lot of bad blood historically between the large divisions in the church, that is true. I wonder if the CC and EO are still as starkly at odds with each other now? If, for example, a Catholic wanted to worship (but not be a member - say, if they were traveling) in an EO church, would they be sent away? Or vice versa?

 

Quote:
What I find is that while Im studying the Bible, what will happen is that Ill gain a certain understanding I hadnt realised before, then I find that others have learned the same things as me.

Has it ever happened that a Christian whom you respect prayerfully and after study came to an understanding that conflicts with yours? What would you do in that situation?


Visiting a church and wanting to become an active regular person are two different things.  Of course, no one is going to be rude and questioning to a visitor.  Well, I hope not.  But many groups have serious hoops you have to jump through to be on their membership list and receive the benefits of being a member.  This is a worldly organizational way.  The body of Christ is  the organism of the Triune God.  Where I meet we don't have any requirements like I am referring to.  But if someone comes among us  we get to know them and help shepherd them by eventually finding out if they have ever prayed to receive the Lord and if they want to be baptized and that's it.  Other than the email list that serves as announcements, that's it.  The elders oversee the church and are there for us to go to.  In the case of the brother practicing homosexuality, we brought him to the elders and I told the story above.  But that is the scriptural way to shepherd someone.  I don't view that the same as the 'you must tithe 10% to be on our list of members'). 

 

What I am talking about is the huge system of Christendom that has developed.  I am not talking about individuals or any one particular group.   God's church in the beginning of Acts has morphed into something else that is no longer God's design, but man's (with Satan's instigation) religious system.   This system damages the believers by annulling their function, by focusing on doctrine and not Christ, and by causing believers to have to choose which division to affiliate with.   I don't know how to word it differently for you to see the big picture.  I am sure that most believers could worship side by side.  The problem is that believers, or maybe I should say the leaders, are focusing on their differences rather than their common faith in Christ.  If all church leaders in one city, would come together and agree to disagree in order to focus on Christ, people in the world would be so amazed and drawn to Christ.  In order to do this we would have to drop a lot of practices or ways and be extremely simple.  We wouldn't be able to insist on a big band or just one piano, for example.  We may just have to have no instruments.  I know, I know...I'm dreaming.

post #165 of 300

 

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Has it ever happened that a Christian whom you respect prayerfully and after study came to an understanding that conflicts with yours? What would you do in that situation?

I have had that happen. There are times when I am so convinced that what Ive recieved is the truth, on certain subjects, lets say like origins theories and such, that I will simply respectfully disagree and still love them and fellowship with them. There have been other times, for various reasons, when I have had to move on from fellowshipping with a person or a group of christians. The situation with the female pastor in my church was a case in point. I had questioned those verses before, studied them and not come to any particular decision on what I personally believed about those verses. So, I prayed some more, studied some more, got an inkling, asked here, recieved further confirmation that I was on the right track. Now, in that instance I was willing to put that difference of opinion aside, even after recieving the 'revelation'. However, there were other circumstances that I felt I couldnt ignore which,I felt, forced me into a decision about whether to continue fellowshipping with this congregation. It was a very difficult decision for me, very emotional. I didnt want to leave and wanted to try to make it 'work'. In the end, again, thru prayer and study, a LOT of things were (what I call) revealed to me that one couldnt see on the surface of things. This pastor had a group (has a group) of people I used to go to church with (I didnt know them very well) who she has cherry picked because they 'Yes' everything she says and does. She bullied out those who questioned some of the things she did. Bc of the way I helped out in the church I was often there early. I witnessed things that were ...questionable, for a pastor. Id hear her screaming at someone behind the stage (from her office), often. I tried to gently tell her I saw these things and asked if we could chat. I only wanted to ask if she was ok. She started pushing me out too, treating me very strangely. In the end, I did have to discontinue fellowship there.

 

Ill try to clear up anything I wasnt clear on tomorrow morning, dh is giving me evils...

post #166 of 300

Quote from Purple Sage:

 

"So do you think that the writers of Scripture and the people who canonized the books of the Bible intended for individuals to make private interpretations?  Or do you think that they knew the one correct interpretation and intended all believers to also know that one correct meaning of what was written? 

 

This is my basic problem:  If two people both read the Bible and both pray to be guided by the HS to understand it and then come up with two contradictory interpretations of some of the verses, how do you know who is right?  Since we can't go back and ask Paul or John or anyone else what he meant when he wrote the words down, what then was left to us to be a reliable guide?  And since God does not contradict himself, and there are so many opposing HS-guided interpretations, obviously many people are getting it wrong, which indicates to me that private interpretation doesn't work whether you (general you) believe your private interpretation to be guided by the HS or not.  There has to be something else that was indeed protected by the HS which preserved the proper interpretation of Scripture to pass down to all believers.

 

Thoughts?"

 

Maybe we can go through this chronologically.  BTW do you see degradation in the church?  Just trying to understand you view a little more.

 

Old Testament-  Jews are practicing to uphold the law and the traditions in the Temple, orally and with written scriptures ? right?  Not sure when Jews had something in writing to refer to. They are waiting for the Messiah.

Jesus comes and appoints 12 disciples. 

He is not recognized as the Messiah and Jesus says because of your laws and traditions (your religion) you cannot see who I AM.

A Christ centered oral tradition begins with Jesus and continues with His disciples.

Paul comes along and see the church, the body of Christ, the house of the living God, which the other disciples either did not see much of or didn't write it down.

At some point the oral teachings were not enough and saints, the believers,  were going off track, the degradation was occurring already during Paul's time, maybe even earlier.

Some began writing it down, the gospels, the epistles were written mostly to churches, but some to individuals.  This is the apostles' teaching that we are to hold steadfastly.  Notice that it is the apostle's teaching that we are to hold steadfastly.  The church fathers at the time of the canonization were to hold the apostles' teaching just as we are in 2011.  Who were the apostles at that time?  I don't know.  I only know of the 12 disciples and the apostle Paul.     Apparently there were some at that time that the believers were exhorted to listen to.  In the original Greek, the word 'Apostle' means sent one. 

Acts 2:42

42 And they continued steadfastly in the 1teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the abreaking of bread and the bprayers.

Titus 1:9

9 1aHolding to the 2bfaithful word, which is according to the 3teaching of the apostles, that he may be able both to exhort by the 4chealthy teaching and to 5convict 6those who doppose.

Ephesians 3:5

5 Which in other generations was 1anot made known to the sons of men, as it has now been brevealed to His holy 2capostles and 2prophets in 3spirit,

 

The verses below from Peter was clear that the prophecy of Scripture was to be completely trusted. 

2 Peter

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of aScripture is of 1one's own 2interpretation;

21 1For no prophecy was ever 2borne by the will of man, but men spoke from God while being 2borne by the Holy aSpirit.

 

Decades pass and the believers still have the oral teachings, but they now have some letters to refer to.  I guess the letters were scattered around in different cities?? Did they get all the letters together at some point?

Centuries pass with different church leaders interpreting what the apostles' teaching is.  Every church leader who interprets, has his own interpretation.  Right? Unless you believe that the church leaders at that time were infallible then it is inevitable that there be some misinterpretations. Right? (I'm just thinking this through out loud with you)

A lot of things have effected the church by the time of the canonization.  Rather than having elders and deacons, there is now a hierarchy of men, the clergy. Pagan things. Money. Politics.

 

At the time of the canonization, were they just fed up with the confusion and heresy so they said, let's get together all of the apostles' teachings and the written letters/gospels  and form the core items of the faith?

 

Nicene creed and the other creed that starts with an A? is more complete.  Were there so many interpretations that they thought it'd be good to set it in writing what the core items of the faith are??

 

To me, it seems like there was a real need to get it all into one Book that the believers could refer to because oral teachings can become distorted quickly.  If the wrong emphasis is placed on the wrong item then a huge misinterpretation can occur.

 

Even the church fathers were disagreeing and misinterpreting the apostles' teaching so that they formed the Bible for us to refer to.  Likewise, now we have the Bible to refer to when we hear individual interpretations.

 

I don't see much difference in the church fathers' having their own individual interpretation and a christian in 1980 having their own interpretation.  A christian is a christian is a christian.  All Christians have the Holy Spirit in them.

1 John 2:27

27 And as for you, the 1anointing which you have received from 2Him 3abides in you, and you have 4no need that anyone teach you; but as 2His anointing 5ateaches you concerning 6all things and is 7true and is not a blie, and even as it has taught you, 8abide in 2Him.

Luke 12:12

12 For the Holy 1Spirit will teach you in that hour what should be said.

John 14:26

26 But the 1aComforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the 2Father will send in 3My name, He will bteach you call things and remind you of all the things which I have said to you.

 

Would you trust Billy Graham's interpretation? If not, why?  Is it because he isn't a church father or does the person have to go to a particular school?

 

I am not necessarily wanting answers to all my questions...it was just my way of thinking out loud in a systematic way.  I may be wrong on some things.  I am not a history scholar, but hoping to learn from you all about this.  Frankly, it's hard for me to say 'why' I trust an individual's interpretation.  It either makes sense in my spirit or it doesn't make sense.  The reasons may be that it is illogical (like the babies can't confess or believe example above) or it may be that there are many verses that could prove otherwise and it depends on the emphasis of the whole Bible.  You have to keep in mind God's eternal purpose or plan, which is to build up the body of Christ to ultimately be the New Jerusalem in eternity future.

Another example is Grace versus Law.  There are some verses that make it seem like grace is all you need, grace and faith and mercy.  Then some verses seem like the Law and keeping the law is important.  Keeping His commandments.  Well, maybe it's both!  There is a balance.

 

My point that I keep coming to is that the doctrinal differences divide us into different camps.   We need to focus more on Christ and all that He has accomplished, praising and thanking Him continually.  The practices divide us, too.  There are core items of the faith that all Christians have in common, and that is what really matters.

 

For you, Purple Sage, do you have believers in real life to fellowship with?  If not, you have to start somewhere. It seems like you are leaning toward the EO, then maybe you can find a group of women to study with weekly.  What is most important is to get nourished by the word and as you grow, the Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know.  I think of myself as a child, I don't know a lot, but I know some.  I have to eat to grow to learn.  The Bible is good for food, for you to grow, and the learning will come spontaneously.  It's okay to not know and don't worry if you make a mistake in choosing where to start.  Sorry if I am being to presumptuous to advise you.  I sense a seeking spirit in you and that's a good thing.

1 Peter

2 As 1newborn ababes, long for the 2guileless bmilk 3of the word in order that by it you may 4cgrow 5unto dsalvation,

3 If you have 1atasted that the Lord is 2good.

post #167 of 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post

There's a lot of bad blood historically between the large divisions in the church, that is true. I wonder if the CC and EO are still as starkly at odds with each other now? If, for example, a Catholic wanted to worship (but not be a member - say, if they were traveling) in an EO church, would they be sent away? Or vice versa?


A RC, or anybody else, would be welcome to come into an EO church and attend services there. Nobody is sent away on that basis. However, they (like any other non-Orthodox) would not be allowed to receive Communion or any other sacrament, or participate actively in the service. 

(Just for clarity, very recently there are some EO jurisdictions which are liberal or "reformed" EO, and may allow non-Orthodox to receive the sacraments, or even hold services in common with RC or Protestants. This is a new development, and still very much in dispute within Orthodoxy.)

The basis for this "bad blood" is the Orthodox concept of the Church, which does not really allow that divisions in the Church even exist. Since Christ founded his Church, promised to protect and guide it, and claimed "the very gates of Hell will not prevail against it," we believe that the Church of the apostles existed continually since that time; teaches the truth; and will remain unified until almost the end of the world. There were always splinter groups from the earliest days of the Church, who held beliefs which conflicted with those of the apostles, and we were (and are) taught to "regard them as pagans" - in other words, not as a parallel form of Christianity, but as people outside the Church. Forms of Christianity which were developed after the time of the apostles are excluded on the additional basis that they did not come directly from the original Church, but were formed many years later. 

Therefore, our approach to RC's is not that we are enemies or "at odds" exactly, but that they are outside the one Church, like most of the world. 

 

post #168 of 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post

There's a lot of bad blood historically between the large divisions in the church, that is true. I wonder if the CC and EO are still as starkly at odds with each other now? If, for example, a Catholic wanted to worship (but not be a member - say, if they were traveling) in an EO church, would they be sent away? Or vice versa?


A RC, or anybody else, would be welcome to come into an EO church and attend services there. Nobody is sent away on that basis. However, they (like any other non-Orthodox) would not be allowed to receive Communion or any other sacrament, or participate actively in the service. 

(Just for clarity, very recently there are some EO jurisdictions which are liberal or "reformed" EO, and may allow non-Orthodox to receive the sacraments, or even hold services in common with RC or Protestants. This is a new development, and still very much in dispute within Orthodoxy.)

The basis for this "bad blood" is the Orthodox concept of the Church, which does not really allow that divisions in the Church even exist. Since Christ founded his Church, promised to protect and guide it, and claimed "the very gates of Hell will not prevail against it," we believe that the Church of the apostles existed continually since that time; teaches the truth; and will remain unified until almost the end of the world. There were always splinter groups from the earliest days of the Church, who held beliefs which conflicted with those of the apostles, and we were (and are) taught to "regard them as pagans" - in other words, not as a parallel form of Christianity, but as people outside the Church. Forms of Christianity which were developed after the time of the apostles are excluded on the additional basis that they did not come directly from the original Church, but were formed many years later. 

Therefore, our approach to RC's is not that we are enemies or "at odds" exactly, but that they are outside the one Church, like most of the world. 

 

do you mind writing what some one has to do or believe to become a true member of the one church?  Just being lazy here and don't want to google it and read a bunch of stuff.  Can you bullet it out for me?  thanks.
 

post #169 of 300
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post

There's a lot of bad blood historically between the large divisions in the church, that is true. I wonder if the CC and EO are still as starkly at odds with each other now? If, for example, a Catholic wanted to worship (but not be a member - say, if they were traveling) in an EO church, would they be sent away? Or vice versa?


A RC, or anybody else, would be welcome to come into an EO church and attend services there. Nobody is sent away on that basis. However, they (like any other non-Orthodox) would not be allowed to receive Communion or any other sacrament, or participate actively in the service. 

(Just for clarity, very recently there are some EO jurisdictions which are liberal or "reformed" EO, and may allow non-Orthodox to receive the sacraments, or even hold services in common with RC or Protestants. This is a new development, and still very much in dispute within Orthodoxy.)

The basis for this "bad blood" is the Orthodox concept of the Church, which does not really allow that divisions in the Church even exist. Since Christ founded his Church, promised to protect and guide it, and claimed "the very gates of Hell will not prevail against it," we believe that the Church of the apostles existed continually since that time; teaches the truth; and will remain unified until almost the end of the world. There were always splinter groups from the earliest days of the Church, who held beliefs which conflicted with those of the apostles, and we were (and are) taught to "regard them as pagans" - in other words, not as a parallel form of Christianity, but as people outside the Church. Forms of Christianity which were developed after the time of the apostles are excluded on the additional basis that they did not come directly from the original Church, but were formed many years later. 

Therefore, our approach to RC's is not that we are enemies or "at odds" exactly, but that they are outside the one Church, like most of the world. 

 

do you mind writing what some one has to do or believe to become a true member of the one church?  Just being lazy here and don't want to google it and read a bunch of stuff.  Can you bullet it out for me?  thanks.
 



Here is a very short article outlining some basic beliefs of the Orthodox.  There are about two paragraphs and then some bullets.  I think it is good, as far as it goes, which isn't far!  Everything else I've seen is pages long though. 

 

ETA - I guess I should say accurate about Orthodoxy as far as it ges  I notice they have given a common but incorrect definition of sola scriptura.

post #170 of 300

Thanks Bluegoat, that was very helpful and easy to get the points.

I am also looking for how does one eventually become recognized as part of the one true church and not outside of it anymore.

Can anyone walk in and ask to be baptized as long as they confess a belief in Jesus Christ and his resurrection? and begin taking the Eucharist and then you are considered part of the one church? 

What are the steps?

post #171 of 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post

Thanks Bluegoat, that was very helpful and easy to get the points.

I am also looking for how does one eventually become recognized as part of the one true church and not outside of it anymore.

Can anyone walk in and ask to be baptized as long as they confess a belief in Jesus Christ and his resurrection? and begin taking the Eucharist and then you are considered part of the one church? 

What are the steps?

For the Orthodox Church, joining is by a case by case basis.  You work very closely with a spiritual mentor (a priest or monk usually) and the process could take anywhere from a few days to a few years.  Th Eucharist a very holy and serious thing and the Church wants to make sure that you are properly prepared.  It is worth waiting a lifetime for if that is hat it takes.   And in places with heavy persecution it was important to protect everyone from enemies.  Anyway, you may be baptized (or Chrismated if you have already had a proper baptism) at any point your priest feels it is in your best interest.  It is important to point out that salvation begins begins when your journey begins.  it is not a moment in time but a continual process.  You are saved, you are being saved, you will be saved.  Baptism and joining the church are graces given to you by God to help you on your way, to help you join yourself to Him and regain in yourself the image and likeness of God we were created with to begin with.  We do not believe you are doomed to hell just because you are not baptized or part of the One True Church.  God is big enough to save whomever he pleases.  You can get a job done with poor tools and lacking instructions but it is much wiser to seek out good intructions and good tools.

 

My family was baptized and Chrismated fairly quickly once the priest decided it was time.  We had been going to church for over a year. The first time I inquired i was told to wait.  The hope was that my husband would join with us.   Once it was clear it was no longer wise to wait things moved very quickly.  From the day we decided it was time until the event was about 2 weeks.  Which is generally considered very quick.  (often when people are marrying into the church the process is speed up.  for better or worse.)  Usually it takes about 6 months to a year.  It is important people know what they are getting into.  People often profess a belief in Christ but have no idea who he is or they are following a false Christ or do not really believe and then rest in false assurance of salvation from a false God and never seek out the real deal and miss out on salvation.  Declaring someone God and Lord are big steps and you really need to know who you are declaring as God and what it means to do that.

 

The general process goes something like this:

 

you are made a catechumen.  This means student and you are officially "joining" the church.  Some parishes do this weeks or months or years before someone actually joins others (like mine) do it a few minutes before you join.  It varies.  Its kinda like a betrothal.  (we also still betroth couples before marrying them.  But this too is often done just minutes before the official sacrament.)

 

you have to participate in confession (this is waved for the very young.  my youngest did not go to confession before our conversion.  She was 5 1/2) . My two oldest children (8 and 10) and I did.

 

If you have not been baptized (in the Name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit by a recognized, accepted, denomination, and this is entirely up to the priest and/or Bishop) next you will be baptized (our baptism services are long and include many prayers including an exorcism and declaration of faith including a declaration of belief in the Nicene Creed which demonstrated a proper understanding of who Christ and God is.)  We are fully immersed three times.  As naked as possible.  I was shocked to see women in Russia stripped down to their next to nothin's.  My girls wore swim suits. LOL  Children up to about the age of three though, naked as the day they were born.  

 

once you are baptized you are Chrismated.  Anointed with Holy oil.  more prayers, affirming beliefs and loyalty to the faith.  Your hair is symbolically cut as a sacrifice.  There are all kinds of symbolic other things that go on all with prayers and hymns and joyous stuff.

 

Then you recieive the Eucharist.  We were baptized and chrismated on a Saturday and did not receive until Sunday at church.  Not sure why we did not do it right away.  They often do.

 

We believe the baptism imparts Gods grace supernaturally to you to launch on the path to holiness and salvation.

 

I have pictures somewhere.  I will see if I can find them.

post #172 of 300

 

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This system damages the believers by annulling their function, by focusing on doctrine and not Christ, and by causing believers to have to choose which division to affiliate with.   I don't know how to word it differently for you to see the big picture.  I am sure that most believers could worship side by side.  The problem is that believers, or maybe I should say the leaders, are focusing on their differences rather than their common faith in Christ.

Yeah, I don't see what you are seeing. I don't think there is any more division or unity now than there was in the early days of the church. And for the most part I don't see it as a tribal, us vs. them thing, but rather honest differences in interpretation. In other words, it's not that Baptists are being forced to reject that nasty Anglican church up the road, rather that someone who attends a Baptist church simply prefers the Baptist doctrine and style of worship over Anglican doctrine and style of worship. They can still focus on Christ in equal measure.

 

I attended various churches regularly for 30+ years, and only very rarely heard criticism of other denominations or doctrines in the teaching (there was one very fundamentalist group that believed that the Catholic church was bad, but I didn't stay with them long).Other than that, the focus was always on Christ.

 

Naturally there are always some groups that will emphasize differences while others emphasize ecumenicism, and I'm with you that emphasizing similarities is better. But any human enterprise, as soon as it grows to a certain size, is bound to be beset by different opinions/traditions/preferences. I don't see it as degradation, just diversity. shrug.gif

 

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There are times when I am so convinced that what Ive recieved is the truth, on certain subjects, lets say like origins theories and such, that I will simply respectfully disagree and still love them and fellowship with them.

Do you ever wonder why the other person got a different answer from you when they prayed and studied? Did the Holy Spirit give them a different answer? Or were they somehow not seeking correctly? Remember that I am asking about people that you respect and recognize have a good relationship with God, not people who clearly are behaving badly like the pastor you describe.

post #173 of 300

Thank you for writing all of that out!  I would like to see the pictures.  This quote really surprised me:

 

" We do not believe you are doomed to hell just because you are not baptized or part of the One True Church.  God is big enough to save whomever he pleases.  You can get a job done with poor tools and lacking instructions but it is much wiser to seek out good intructions and good tools."

 

Do you mean that God can save you at any time quickly and you can be saved from eternal perdition?

I sort of understand the I am saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.  Although I have a different understanding of eternal salvation, I believe I am being saved daily from so many things and that I am in a transformation process to be in the same image as Him.  I guess it's the first, I am saved, part that we see differently.

 

Anyway, so if a person dies who has not become part of the One True Church, what happens to them.  I would have thought that they would be considered a non believer and perish.

post #174 of 300

 

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Do you ever wonder why the other person got a different answer from you when they prayed and studied? Did the Holy Spirit give them a different answer? Or were they somehow not seeking correctly? Remember that I am asking about people that you respect and recognize have a good relationship with God, not people who clearly are behaving badly like the pastor you describe.

Absolutely! Of coarse I wonder why. Sometimes I do think they are wrong and/or understanding a certain piece of scripture from a viewpoint different from my own, I still respect them and if its up for discussion and it doesnt get heated we talk about it. Sometimes it does make me question my own standpoint, but when that happens I go back and study some more, Im either corrected or my understanding is solidified. Does that sound strange? I actually respected that pastor, and to an extent I still do. I still pray for her, love her, I dont get the impression she feels the same for me, by the things she's said and done, but hey ho. And there are others who I still fellowship with, one couple who are in their seventies and have been christians longer then Ive been alive, who I have an enormous amount of respect for. They were the ones who hired the pastor lady, I told them how I felt about it when the church was considering her, but it didnt change my opinion of them. In fact that situation was one of those I had to go back and forth about in my own mind to discover whether I was understanding correctly or not. Thao, there are times when I obviously do wonder if Im wrong. Thats not unusual. I had some friends from a church who I met privately with on a weekly basis for prayer meetings. We didnt agree on everything, again origins, women in leadership, at that time those were things I was questioning, but they seemed ok with certain things that I wasnt so sure about, even tough questions. Then there have been times when *I* was most definately in the wrong. I had been involved in things I shouldnt have been involved in, not giving details publicly, but it was known among my group of friends that I was struggling with something and I was unwilling, for the time being, to give it up. They still fellowshipped with me. They still loved me and didnt treat me any differently. We still studied together. Its not like there were these giant white elephants in the room. And then there are times when there is an issue that makes people go their own ways.

 

Oh yeah, then there was an issue I didnt agree with my own husband about. For us, it did become a nasty little white elephant in the room and I had to concede that I could be wrong. Im still not 100% convinced on the importance of the issue he thinks is more important then I do. Ive come to see his pov, even if I dont agree 100%. Personally there are things Im 100% convinced about and nothing will change my mind on those, then there are things Im unsure about. You remember the 'Hell' issue I brought up a while ago, Im still not 100% certain on that one, but I know of christians who are certain their understanding is correct. I dont think most of these things are reasons for different denominations. I do think there are some issues within chrisitanity that do provide good reason for different groups of believers to meet up with some and not with others, for the division. There are obviously some things I cant, in good concience, compromise on.

 

I hope Im answering your questions alright. Maybe Im not understanding your questions? I guess I wonder what conclusion you think I should come to when things like this happen. Im not asking bc I want to change my methods, Im quite confident in the way I learn things about God, from God, etc. It may sound like arrogance, Idk, that doesnt bother me anymore, it used to, but it doesnt anymore. I guess there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. I may be way off base talking like this, Im just trying to understand you line of questioning and reasons for asking.


Edited by genifer - 1/6/11 at 1:41am
post #175 of 300

 

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Maybe we can go through this chronologically.  BTW do you see degradation in the church?  Just trying to understand you view a little more.

 

I don't see degradation or the history of the church the way you see it.  When you say that the Apostles' teachings were to be held on to steadfastly, I agree wholeheartedly.  The difference is that I don't think there was this tremendous degradation starting in the first century or shortly thereafter and now there remains only a remnant of true Apostolic teaching left which must be recovered.  I believe that the Church through the years has maintained and preserved the faith and continues to do so today, despite the many denominations that have emerged. 

 

That's why I keep asking on what basis Witness Lee says what he says about all of this.  When he makes a claim like the RCC was fully formed in the sixth century, I'd like to know what he's basing that on because, as far as I know, his knowledge of history is way off base.   Here's part of a book that gives an overview of the history I'm talking about.  I have this book and didn't realize it was online until recently. 

 

 

Quote:
This quote really surprised me:

 

" We do not believe you are doomed to hell just because you are not baptized or part of the One True Church.  God is big enough to save whomever he pleases.  You can get a job done with poor tools and lacking instructions but it is much wiser to seek out good intructions and good tools."

 

Do you mean that God can save you at any time quickly and you can be saved from eternal perdition?

 

This article is actually what got me interested in Orthodoxy.  I was just beginning to explore Christianity again after years of rejecting it, and this view of the afterlife made so much sense to me and is a big part of the reason I'm a Christian today.  It's very long and doesn't quite answer your question directly, but you might find it helpful nonetheless. 

 

 

Quote:
For you, Purple Sage, do you have believers in real life to fellowship with?  If not, you have to start somewhere. It seems like you are leaning toward the EO, then maybe you can find a group of women to study with weekly.  What is most important is to get nourished by the word and as you grow, the Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know.  I think of myself as a child, I don't know a lot, but I know some.  I have to eat to grow to learn.  The Bible is good for food, for you to grow, and the learning will come spontaneously.  It's okay to not know and don't worry if you make a mistake in choosing where to start.  Sorry if I am being to presumptuous to advise you.  I sense a seeking spirit in you and that's a good thing.

 

Thanks, I appreciate you asking about me.  I'm kind of in a weird position right now since my husband is not a Christian and has been very vocally opposed to Christianity for as long as I've known him (as I was also until just over a year ago).  He's not comfortable with me taking the children (we have four, ranging in age from a toddler to a teen) to church, and he works terrible hours for me to go on my own.  So, yeah, it's not an easy road at this point, but I have tremendous faith that things will change.  Nothing is impossible.  smile.gif

 

At this point, I feel like it's important that I keep my family life peaceful, so I don't push the issue with going to church or Bible study or any of that.  I'm just quietly studying and praying and letting God do the work in me and in our family. 

post #176 of 300

 

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I hope Im answering your questions alright. Maybe Im not understanding your questions? I guess I wonder what conclusion you think I should come to when things like this happen. Im not asking bc I want to change my methods, Im quite confident in the way I learn things about God, from God, etc. It may sound like arrogance, Idk, that doesnt bother me anymore, it used to, but it doesnt anymore. I guess there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. I may be way off base talking like this, Im just trying to understand you line of questioning and reasons for asking.

Oh, I'm sorry! You are answering the questions beautifully, Genifer, and I do understand what you are saying. It doesn't sound arrogant at all. I was asking because I'm interested in how we know what we know - what we base our knowledge on. So far in this thread we have talked about basing knowledge on Tradition and logic. Now you are talking about how you base your knowledge on personal revelation. If I may characterize it so, I'd call that feeling. By that I don't mean you just believe willy-nilly whatever you feel - I know that it is much different than that, a process of study and struggle and prayer and calling on God and often the answers go against what you feel you'd like them to be - but rather that the way you know God is speaking to you, or know that an answer is right, is a deep feeling of certainty and peace. So it's a feeling, God helping you interpret the Scriptures through that feeling.

 

Honestly I think that when all is said and done, it is that feeling that is most important. The Scriptures are important, and Tradition, and logic, but all of those things can reasonably be interpreted in different ways, they can only get us so far. The only thing we know for sure for ourselves is that feeling in our gut when we are sure, based on our study of Scripture and Tradition and prayer and logic, that God is speaking to us and telling us something is True.

 

Of course, it raises the question of why different people end up feeling that God has spoken to them in different ways. You didn't really give me an answer for that. But I honestly don't think there is an answer, so maybe no answer is the best answer one can give. redface.gif

post #177 of 300

 

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Of course, it raises the question of why different people end up feeling that God has spoken to them in different ways. You didn't really give me an answer for that. But I honestly don't think there is an answer, so maybe no answer is the best answer one can give. redface.gif

 

I dont think there is an easy answer to that question. Its a tough question and I dont know how to answer it.

post #178 of 300


Genifer, I just wanted to thank you for answering my question.  I understand what you're saying and appreciate your point of view.  smile.gif

 

 

post #179 of 300

 

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So far in this thread we have talked about basing knowledge on Tradition and logic. Now you are talking about how you base your knowledge on personal revelation. If I may characterize it so, I'd call that feeling.

 

In a way Thao your absolutely correct. Personal revelation, yes, but its not interpretation on based on my own merit. Not based on my own intellegence. Its based on my relationship with the One who knows everything, whose wisdom is so different from the wisdom we know. Im sure Im speaking a language you ...used to know, as a former believer. I try not to speak Christian-ese, on mdc, but Im sure you recognise what Im trying to say here. You would call it a feeling now, but for me its not a feeling at all. In a superficial way you could describe it that way, but its nothing like a feeling at all. Im not trying to 'diss' you, lol, but its really not a feeling at all. It produces feelings of joy, peace, comfort, and yeah, sometimes conviction and feelings that arent so pleasant, bc of a revelation of sin and how it effects my life, me, how I am a sinner, that isnt pleasant, but the knowledge of the fact that Im a sinner isnt a feeling in itself, you see how its different? Knowledge and wisdom is different from the feelings they produce. Im only attempting to break this down. Its just hard to explain.

 

You see, the phrase 'personal revelation' is something I kind of want to briefly explore. Personal revelation. Where is our 'personal revelation' coming from? I believe my personal revelation comes from a number of places depending on how close I am to God at any given point in my life. Sometimes Im far away, I admit it. Sometimes Im very close. When Im far away, Thao, I dont even realise it until later when I am closer to God and I can look back, hindsight is 20/20. When Im close to God, when Im spending time in His word (the bible, that is one of those things Im confident about, it doesnt make me immune to wandering away sometimes tho), I know what Im learning is from Him. I know its truth. There have been times when I have been far away. Those times I can look back at and see what was influencing my thought processes (sp). Speaking christian-ese again, but worldly influences (maybe that sounds naive, but its a very vague term for christians and means a LOT of things, I understand it, but non christians might not). Things of the 'flesh', which are personal feelings, preferences that arent 'godly'.

 

Totallly not sure if any of this is making sense. Im trying to put it in a way that is understandable. I have to go now tho. I hope it makes sense.

 

hugs, enjoying the discussion.

gen

post #180 of 300

Oh yeah and Sage... I didnt realise I answered your question.. Soz... which question is that? I didnt want you to think I was ignoring you...

 

loves you!

gen

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