LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Unconditional Election


If God chose a people unto Himself in the Old Testament, why is it not reasonable that He Himself again chooses a people unto Himself after the rejection of Jesus by His Old Covenant people?


"Even tomorrow the LORD will show who are His, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto Him: even him whom He hath chosen will He cause to come near unto Him." – Numbers 16:5

"For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth." - Deuteronomy 7:6 (and 14:2)

"I have made a covenant with my chosen," - Psalm 89:3

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." – Matthew 20:16

"Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits." – Matthew 21:43

"And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days." – Mark 13:20

"For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth." - Romans 9:11

"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." – Romans 11:5

"What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened." – Romans 11:7

Labels:

39 Comments:

Blogger RCSJackson said...

So who has he chosen?

July 26, 2007 8:57 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

His elect.

July 26, 2007 8:58 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I don't know if it's relevant to know whom God has chosen.
What's relevant is that God Himself does the choosing, and therefore we ought to repent, beg His mercy on our souls, and humbly submit ourselves to Him.

July 26, 2007 9:00 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

I don't know if it's relevant to know whom God has chosen.
What's relevant is that God Himself does the choosing, and therefore we ought to repent, beg His mercy on our souls, and humbly submit ourselves to Him.


Amen sister!!!!

July 26, 2007 10:18 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Rob,
Thanks for visiting. From visiting your site, I take it you are not a believer. I would like to refer you to a series that began here on May 29, 2007 for more on Christianity.

We all must start by asking the question: "Why is there something instead of nothing"

I hope you will take time to look over that series that is called Christianity 101.

July 26, 2007 10:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a question of "If God chose a people" but why and how anyone gets chosen.

July 26, 2007 3:09 PM

 
Blogger RCSJackson said...

OK. Who are his elect? Why wouldn't it be relevant to know whom he has chosen? If we knew, then we'd know which is the one true faith. If there is no one true faith, then how can there be a chosen people? Unless the chosen are all beings.

Jazzycat:
Before referring me to whatever it is you're referring me to, perhaps you should pause and consider what religious background I may or may not already have. I've had more exposure to Christianity in my life than most families have combined. It's due to this exposure that I decided Christianity wasn't for me. Christianity is right for some, but not for everyone.

July 26, 2007 3:19 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"I've had more exposure to Christianity in my life than most families have combined. It's due to this exposure that I decided Christianity wasn't for me."

Which doesn't mean that you were ever a Christian. That may sound mean, but it isn't meant that way.

"If there is no one true faith..."

That would be an assumption based on your own preferences. With such an attitude of subjectivism, may I ask how you would ever expect there to be any other conclusion?

"then we'd know which is the one true faith."

We know based on the death and resurrection of Christ, which is not subjectivism. Christ has been raised. For more help see here:

http://garyhabermas.com/

True Christianity is being united by faith in our crucified and risen LORD. His death was for the sin debt of all those who would believe. His death also removes the wrath of God from off the person who place their confidence in Him. John 3:36 states that to refuse to believe in Christ means that person abides, or lives, under that wrath. That wrath entails judgment and condemnation (which means that sentence has already been carried out). But the cross is the place where the wrath and love of God meet. Once more, to have that wrath removed, and stand completely under the loving grace of God, you must turn in faith to the crucified and risen LORD of all -- Jesus the Christ. And once more, that means turning to Him placing your faith (confidence or trust) into who He is and what He has done. To do otherwise leaves one, not only wondering if there is one true faith, but also under wrath for their sins.

July 26, 2007 5:00 PM

 
Blogger RCSJackson said...

Gojira: Points well taken.

"...you must turn in faith to the crucified and risen LORD of all -- Jesus the Christ...To do otherwise leaves one, not only wondering if there is one true faith, but also under wrath for their sins."

I gather that this means any who don't believe that Jesus was the Christ are going to suffer the wrath of God. What about Jews and Muslims?

I'd still like to address the problem of using the terms "chosen ones" and the "elect." Please explain these terms further in relevance to this particular blog post.

July 26, 2007 5:11 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Anon: "It's not a question of "If God chose a people" but why and how anyone gets chosen."

Why is that the question?

July 26, 2007 5:29 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Anonymous,
You might look at Romans 9 and Eph. 2.

Why? "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy"

How? intervention and regeneration: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—"

July 26, 2007 5:43 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

I like a few posting rules thta I found on Stve Camps blog.


4. No anonymous posting allowed. For those who are "confused" about what "no anonymous posting" means let me help you: you must fill out and complete the Blogger bio form on all the essential categories completely (email, blogs, city, state, vocation, etc.) in regards to name: first name only is acceptable-last name can be included at your own discretion. AND, you may only post under one name at a time--no multiple "nicks."

7. No drive-by posting. Say what you will, but be ready to be challenged to support your views and/or claims biblically, historically and theologically; or, simply do not post.


Perhaps we should suggest this to Mark...Anon, you get the point...

July 26, 2007 5:55 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Gojira...you beat me to the punch!

July 26, 2007 5:56 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

"I'd still like to address the problem of using the terms "chosen ones" and the "elect." Please explain these terms further in relevance to this particular blog post."

Rob, I'm not sure it's a problem to use those terms. If it is, then you might neet to take it up with the Lord, as it were. Those terms are His, not ours.

I bet you're a smart guy. Perhaps you could do an online search of the words, 'elect' 'chosen' and even 'chose' and 'choose.' As you search the Sciptures, I would encourage you to just talk to God. Ask Him to reveal Himself. You'll know if He is stirring your heart.

"I gather that this means any who don't believe that Jesus was the Christ are going to suffer the wrath of God. What about Jews and Muslims?"

Anyone who has not placed his faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation will indeed suffer God's wrath. Again, this is God's plan, His deal, His design.

Please understand that 'exposure' to Christian teachings or principles or what have you does not a Christian make. Please, please be really clear on that. It's also not a matter of 'deciding' it ain't right for you either! Again, if God, in His wisdom and mercy, decides to reveal Himself to you, you'll know, and there's no escaping Him! (so to speak)

God bless you in your studies and endeavors.

July 26, 2007 5:58 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"I gather that this means any who don't believe that Jesus was the Christ are going to suffer the wrath of God. What about Jews and Muslims?"

Anybody who refuses Christ, no matter who they are. You can't have the Father without having the Son. If you like I can give you the scriptural account of this. Perhaps a summary would help: Jesus the Christ, as God the Son, at His incarnation, is the only one who has ever pleased God the Father. It is the Son in whom the Father is well pleased. It is in the Son, Jesus, that the Father is made known. It is in the Son that we behold the face of the true God of the universe, the God of all creation. Should there be anyother way than through Christ, then that love between the two would be a mockery, because that would in effect mean that God the Father would not love His own Son supremely. But all humanity is in rebellion against God, and the penality for that is death, which is not only seperation from the body, but seperation from the presence of God. (Did you know that is what makes Heaven be Heaven? While Heaven is certainly a real place, Heaven is better defined as being in the presence of God, and it is being in full union and undisturbed fellowship with God.) Christ came to do away with that penalty. For there to be anyother way would mean that the sacrifice of Christ, as well as Who He is, was not the total and supreme love of God.

That is just a summary. More should be said with greater clarity. I hope you will forgive my befundleness.

"I'd still like to address the problem of using the terms "chosen ones" and the "elect." Please explain these terms further in relevance to this particular blog post."

Broken down, it simply means that God is a real Being, or better Person, who reigns supreme, and who Himself has a plan that He is going to bring to pass. You see, God, as the Creator is supreme, and we, as fallen creatures, are inferior to Who He is in Himself. That is, He is God, we are not.

Thanks for stopping by. :-)


"

July 26, 2007 6:05 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Correct:
"as well as Who He is, was not the total and supreme love of God."

Should be:
"as well as Who He is, was not the ***object*** of the total and supreme love of God."

There that's better.

July 26, 2007 6:10 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Rob,
First of all, welcome. Fair questions you ask.

Why wouldn't it be relevant to know whom he has chosen?

Because we are not the object of the faith; He is. We are but creatures, He the Creator.

If we knew, then we'd know which is the one true faith.

No, not so. The Scriptures answer this in many places. See specifically as an example the parable in Luke 16:19-31, of which I will repeat the relevant text here:

Luk 16:24 And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. … I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house -- for I have five brothers--so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'
But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'
And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'
He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'" (Luke 16:24, 27-31)

If Scriptures do not convict and convince you, then you will be neither convicted nor convinced.

If there is no one true faith, then how can there be a chosen people?

There is one true faith. One God, one people of God, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. And only through God's Son can we come to Him. “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

July 26, 2007 6:14 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I've had more exposure to Christianity in my life than most families have combined. It's due to this exposure that I decided Christianity wasn't for me. Christianity is right for some, but not for everyone.

Rob,
I too had quite a lot of exposure - quite a lot of it unpleasant and not among my good memories - to Christianity in my growing up years. I left the faith - converting to Judaism, not out of belief in God but a love of the Israeli people and a love of their morals and culture. Even moved to Israel.
After a time, through many bad and even more unpleasant experiences (and now most distasteful memories), I recognized the sinner that I was. At some point I had to separate the faith as I understood it then to be from the God of that faith and try to come to terms and understanding of what He about and if I had any place or relationship to Him. All I knew - at the depth of me - was that I was in need. I was in lack. And He had the answers.
Even though I was raised in the faith, I really knew very little. Sure I knew verses, but meaning? Application? Significance?
I knew I needed God. And a Savior to save me from myself.
So just having grown up in a faith and having bad experiences doesn't mean the faith or object of that faith is in error. People are. They are fallible.
Thankfully, God is not.

With respect to your last sentence, Christianity (or any religion for that matter) can't be relatively moral - that is, relative to the person holding that faith. In other words, it's not possible that it's "right for some but not for everyone."

Although in His word, yes, God Himself states that He chooses a people unto Himself, He does not say that this way is okay for some and for others, that way is okay. There is no moral relativity. That would be akin to saying I think Washington DC is the capitol of the US, and your saying, I don't think it is. Just because you think it isn't doesn't make it so. It either is or it isn't. Likewise, if Billy Graham says there is a God and Madeline Murray O'Hare says there isn't, both can't be right. There either is or there isn't.

All faiths can't possibly be true.

July 26, 2007 6:29 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I second Scribe's motion to ban anonymous comments.

July 26, 2007 6:30 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Is corporate Israel ever said to be chosen by God in the OT? If so, how should this impact our understanding of God choosing a people for Himself in the NT?

July 26, 2007 7:31 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jonathan,
Good question indeed.
The first Scripture verse that came to my mind was Romans 9:27:
"And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,"
So I would have to think that based on what Paul writes, although God elected a people unto Himself to carry forth His Word (which they did indeed, although not always faithful to it), not all corporate Israel will be saved.
I would see today's elect as the saved remnant of the Jews alongside God's elect from among the Gentiles.

July 26, 2007 7:49 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Jonathan,
Wouldn't election to eternal life be an election of individuals? The covenant promises would thus be to the elect only. The remnant that Susan mentions would be the elect individuals from the Jews. This is where we get into the two peoples of God as opposed to one people.

Does this mean you and Susan are going to get the debate going again? Just kidding. I enjoy and learn when yall go at it.

How's Auburn going to do this year?

July 26, 2007 8:44 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

This was one of the issues that Dr. MacArthur raised during his talk on Calvinism and Premillennialism. In essence, if God is not faithful to a chosen people in the OT, why would He in the NT? It's basically an Arminian viewpoint.

As for my Auburn Tigers, I think they are pre-ranked #5 or something. One thing is for sure - they will wip Miss St.

July 26, 2007 9:25 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jonathan,
I don't understand.
Why is there any presumption of God being unfaithful to a chosen people in the OT?

July 26, 2007 10:19 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Susan, for those who hold to "replacement theology" or "supercessionism," the Jews forfeited their claim to the covenant by rejecting Christ. Consequently, all promises given to the chosen people (Israel) are now transferred to the church.

Point: disobedience resulting in the loss of God's promises is the hallmark of Arminianism. The unconditional nature of God's promises are the hallmark of Calvinism.

July 26, 2007 11:22 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

The best answer I have read on the subject is of Unconditional Election is...


Question: "Unconditional Election - is it Biblical?"

Answer: Unconditional Election is also known as “Unmerited Favor” or “Sovereign Election.” The New Testament alone (depending on translation) uses the word “elect” [“eklektos” – “chosen ones”] fifteen times. “Election” is used three times. “Chosen” is used twenty three times, and out of those twenty three, eleven are referring to Christians. The word “chose,” as in John 15:16, appears around fifteen times. Out of those fifteen times, eight refer to God’s choice of believers. Finally, “predestined” appears five or six times (depending on translation), and four of those usages refer to people being predestined to salvation!

Unconditional Election teaches that before the foundation of the world only a limited number of people were chosen to be recipients of God’s saving grace, while the remaining population were destined to be left in their depravity (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 9:11-13; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 13:8). Also, only a select number of people were foreordained or predestined to salvation (Ephesians 1:5; Acts 13:48) to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and to be adopted as sons (Ephesians 1:5). All those who are predestined will unquestionably and certainly be saved (Romans 8:30; John 6:39). The “elect” are described by Christ as those who are “given to Him by the Father” (John 6:37-39; 17:2). “Given” is referring to God giving an elect people to Christ for Him to come and redeem.

The salvation of some is determined from the beginning (1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Predestination is a result of God setting His affection on certain individuals. This is called “foreknowledge” (Jeremiah 1:5; Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2). God knows of all individuals because He is omniscient, but He only personally knows relationally the elect. Notice in Matthew 7:23 the Lord tells false prophets that He never knew them. This special knowledge is based only on God’s sovereign choice to know whom He wants (Exodus 33:19). The most important thing to understand about election is that it is for the glory of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:6, 12). If God is going to be glorified in His grace, under the true definition of grace (Romans 11:6), then the only way that man can be saved is by unconditional, unmerited, and sovereign election.

If man contributes anything to his salvation then he has grounds for taking credit (1 Corinthians 1:29; Ephesians 2:9). God alone will be glorified in the end; therefore, predestination is the only means by which God can save. Although 1 Timothy 2:4 teaches that God “desires all men to be saved,” we must not forget that God desires to be glorified just as much. 1 Timothy 2:4 in no way undermines Ephesians 1:4-5. God chooses to be just as glorified in His justice and wrath as He is in His grace and mercy. Although election might seem unfair and unjust, God has the right to do to anyone whatever He pleases (Daniel 4:35; Romans 9:19-21). Men are sinful and deserve nothing less than eternal hell. Therefore, the question should not revolve around why God chooses only some, but rather why God chooses any. A final thing to remember is that election only refers to salvation, never condemnation! God never elects people for hell, only heaven. Although God predestines all things, including every man’s destiny, He only elects unto salvation. Predestination and election is not the same thing. Unconditional election is the basis for regeneration and answers the question of why some come to Christ while others remain in unbelief.

Misconceptions:

Unconditional Election does not negate evangelism, but confirms it! An amazing text is found in Acts 18:9-10: “For the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.’” This is why Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:10, “I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ…” Election encourages and guarantees the success of evangelism. This is what Christ means when He says, “I have sheep not of this fold” (John 10:16). Unconditional Election is not based on foreseen works. Some will assert the age old objection that says God elects because He foresaw who chose Him and elected based on foreseen faith. In this sense, faith dictates election rather than election dictating faith. This is impossible because Scripture does not support it.

Also, according to Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace, foreseen faith is impossible. Some say that they believe that election is unconditional, not according to foreseen faith, and that Unconditional Election was established before the foundation of the world, but they will say that the election was of all men in the purpose of salvation. To put it another way, all were chosen and predestined to be saved, yet they have the ability to spoil that election by their own choice. This argument falls quickly in the face of Romans 8:30. If predestination means all men are chosen for salvation, then this means that all will be saved, because all who were “predestined were called…justified…and…glorified.” Unconditional Election does not teach that God sends men to hell. Yes, God has predestined all things, but this does not mean that He is making men sin. This is where you find the paradox of the sovereignty of God and human will. God predestined that Christ would die on the cross (Acts 2:23, 4:28; Isaiah 53), yet men willingly nailed Him to the cross. Men willingly hated Christ, and that hatred fulfilled the predestined plan of God. The way men’s willful actions carry out the sovereign plan of God is a paradox.

Unconditional Election does not imply that there will be men in heaven who do not want to be there but had to be because they were elect. There will also not be anyone in hell angry with God because He didn’t elect them. As mysterious as it may sound, the Bible explicitly teaches that all will willingly choose to believe or reject according to where God has predestined them to choose. Unconditional Election does not negate praying but confirms it. This truth is seen along the lines of evangelism. God uses prayers for the lost, accompanied by the Gospel message, to gather His lost sheep. Finally, no one can ever label anyone as non-elect until they die in unbelief, and no one can label anyone as elect until they truly believe! Election is a mystery. Therefore, we preach the Gospel message to all people (Mark 16:15).

Logical Transition:

So far we see that men are incapable to accept Christ on their own. Thus, a non-believer must be reborn to see the kingdom of God and believe. We also have seen the answer to why some are regenerated and others are not: Unconditional Election. Now, we must ask a very crucial and controversial question. Does Unconditional Election effect the atonement? For whom did Christ die? Did He die in hopes to redeem the whole world? Or, did Christ die for the sins of those given to Him before the world began? We now undertake the discussion of the doctrine of Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption.

http://www.gotquestions.org/unconditional-election.html

God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation

Cristina

July 27, 2007 5:08 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Like Jazzy, I hold to the "one people of God" in Scripture. Always His chosen, whether from among Jew or Gentile population. Even in the OT we see chosen Gentiles (Rahab, Ruth, Job).
But I hold to chosen individuals, not nations. Yes, Israel was (and is) a national and ethnic group, but I don't believe that Scripture holds that they will all be saved (born again) as a nation or ethnicity.
And that's the relevant point for me - the born again part.
As for myself, I don't see the progression of the spread of the gospel to Gentiles as any replacement or superceding.
I'm sure there are some folks who believe that the church has replaced Israel, but I also know that there are many people who hold to the Gentiles being grafted in and joining the faithful believing branch of Israel.
Just because we're now sharing the name of "church" - perhaps better stated "called out ones" - doesn't mean that "church" supercedes Israel.
At least that's how I see it. As a progression, not supercession.
I don't think that folks who hold to the "one people of God" and that is the "church" should all be considered "replacement theologians" or "supercessionists."
I'm not saying that's what you're doing. I just want to make that point clear, since you brought up the subject.

July 27, 2007 7:49 AM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Jonathan,

A quick question, and I am not wanting to challange your answer. In regards to your last post, would that prsuppose God still opperating under the old covenant?

July 27, 2007 7:52 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Another thought on all this Jonathan. Rereading your comment, this jumped out at me:
"disobedience resulting in the loss of God's promises... "
Allow me to state up front that I really don't want to get nit-picky and start going into each and every promise throughout the OT. That could get long and laborious and probably would be ill-suited for a comments section.
BUT, since I'm currently reading about partial preterism (and amill-), I think there are legitimate ways to look theologically at Scripture as being fulfilled in ways other than the classic pre-mill or dispensational position that still holds to God's keeping His promises but fulfilling them other than the ways in which these systems suggests.
Many systems would hold that God always keeps His promises. They just don't see their fulfillment in the same way.

July 27, 2007 7:57 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Gojira, no, my point would not necessitate that God operate under the old covenant. It is a matter of God being faithful to His promises, regardless of the dispensation/covenant.

Susan writes, “Many systems would hold that God always keeps His promises. They just don't see their fulfillment in the same way.” This is the rub. As you know, I believe that the NT justifies the interpretation that the OT promises to ethnic Israel will be fulfilled to ethnic Israel.

July 27, 2007 9:06 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I don't see "ethnicity" in there. I see a "remnant."
But, as always, I love discussing with you, Jonathan. You're a dear brother in Christ to me.

July 27, 2007 10:09 AM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Jonathon,

You write:
"As you know, I believe that the NT justifies the interpretation that the OT promises to ethnic Israel will be fulfilled to ethnic Israel."

Once again, I don't see how you can distance yourself from presupposing an old covenant rule, since the OT promises were given under the context of the Old Covenant. The question, as I would see it, has nothing to do with God being faithful since everyone would agree to that.

Also, I don't see how you can escape, based upon what you have written above, the notion that the New Covenant is strictly and only for the Jews, as many early dispensationalists saw it.

Anyway, thanks very much for answering my question.

July 27, 2007 12:17 PM

 
Blogger Phil said...

Here are some of my favorite Bible passages. I try to live through ALL of God's words:

* Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
-- I Corinthians 14:34-35

* If a man [meets] a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her ... He must marry the girl ... He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
-- Deuteronomy 22:28-29

* If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son ... Then shall his father and his mother ... bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.
-- Deuteronomy 21:18-21

* If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
-- Leviticus 20:10

July 28, 2007 12:17 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Phil,
Are you a Christian?

July 28, 2007 8:29 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Phil,

You forgot a few:

The Bible also says to surrender to your enemies (Jer 38:17), ask God for a sign (Isa 7:11), tie a red cord in your window (Josh 2:18), eat food cooked over human excrement (Ezek 4:12), don't mourn when your wife dies (Ezek 24:16), and marry a prostitute (Hos 1:2).

What you neglected to do in your mockery of either the Bible or Christianity or both is take into account that each of the verses you (and I above) wrote were given in a context - to a certain person(s), at a certain time.

Which means that you can accept the Bible "at face value" and not be forced to stone your impudent son or marry a harlot.

Although I suspect you don't really "try to live through ALL of God's words," you may want to consider Matthew 12:36:

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,”

July 28, 2007 9:10 AM

 
Blogger Phil said...

I grew up Catholic (which I've been told is not a Christian denomination...but that's for another day).

Honestly, I'm very open-minded when it comes to faith. I'm usually scared off by organized religion. I have lots of FAITH...but I don't see why we need to focus so much on a specific religion. I know to a Christian this probably sounds ridiculous, but I think it's enough to believe in God and not worry so much about how to get there. Every religion, whether it's Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc, has ridiculous specifics that must be followed. I happen to think its more important to be a good and caring person who believes in God than worry so much about hating gay people, pointing out sinners, and recruiting new 'members.'

I realize I'm opening myself up for attack when I post Bible passages like what I had above. My point is that people who take the Bible absolutely LITERALLY are simply missing the point. You're absolutely right, it's outdated, like our second amendment. Most of it was written for a specific time period. I wish more people took the Bible for what it is; valuable life lessons and STORIES.

July 28, 2007 11:31 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 28, 2007 4:20 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Phil,
Wow! Where to start? Let’s start where you mentioned you believe in God. Theology is the study of God while all the religions you mentioned are the response of man to God. Has God revealed himself is a good first question if someone believes in God but views it as you do. Is their any historical proof of God’s revelation being true? I would say yes he has and the proof is in the historical person of Jesus Christ. The proof of the New Testament claims comes directly from the resurrection of Jesus and Paul goes into that in Chapter 17 of Acts. There are many reasons to believe the claims of the Bible are true about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

You said…….
“I happen to think its more important to be a good and caring person who believes in God than worry so much about hating gay people, pointing out sinners, and recruiting new 'members.' “

The Bible tells us that being a “good person” is not good enough for salvation and in fact tells us we should be perfect if we plan on salvation through our performance. This of course is impossible which is why God came to planet earth as man to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sin. This allows us by faith and trust to receive the benefit of the work Jesus on the cross and gives us the free gift of eternal life. You see it is by faith and not being a “good person”.

I am typing this in a hurry as I have got to go, but let me invite you to my Jazzycat site to read a brief explanation of Christianity called Christianity 101. I do not mean to insult you, but you seem to have a few misconceptions about Christianity and God. Look directly under the photo of Jazzy and you will see it in the Photo Devotional index.

July 28, 2007 4:23 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Like Jazzy, where to start?

Well, I hope - truly I do - that you don't feel you're going to be attacked here. That certainly wouldn't be in keeping with Scripture as the Bible says we are to speak and deal with others.

But I think you're taking the way people have presented Christianity to you (for all their failings or inaccuracies) as what God Himself may be portraying in His Word. And truthfully, only one can come before Him for yourself - if sincerely desirous of knowing who He is and Who He might be to you - and baring yourself to Him, not us.

I think you need search the Scriptures honestly for yourself. See what they say about whether God is the same god for "everyone" - Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims. Do they bow the knee to Jesus? Are they sinners? Do they need a Savior?

You equate all religions as getting to the same place in the end (if I read your comment correctly), but it's impossible for them to do so. Allah is not God. (Any quick Internet search on Allah or Mohammed will probably be able to give you a good brief history on Islam, it's rise and spread, and especially its origins. Allah is a moon god - hence the crescent atop minarets - and was the one god chosen over all the desert gods. Just because Islam has one god and Jews and Christians one God does not make them the same god.)

The Bible will tell you that there is no "good, caring person," and therein is the mistake that modern humanism enjoys. The human heart is at its core evil and selfish. Only God can clean us and save us from ourselves.

I would ask you to just search your own soul and look around you at creation. Could this all be by chance? If you believe in God, then what does He Himself say about His world and about you in it? These are things I would hope you would explore for yourself. No one can answer them for you but God Himself.

Lastly, I think the whole thing with respect to gays has less to do with "hating gay people" (I've read "fear of gays by Christians" as well) as much as it is a genuine fear of God and desire to obey His Word. Being gay is just a sin like any other. But that's another discussion.

Just like the "recruiting new members" and "pointing out other sinners," I don't think it's so important to worry about what this church or that church does or doesn't do as much as it vital to know who God is to you and what you are to do with your short life.

Like Jazzy, I need to go, but if you want to talk more, please feel free.

July 28, 2007 5:25 PM

 

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