“Why I’m a Christian’



66 thoughts on ““Why I’m a Christian’

    • Bryan and all,

      Now I want my readers to understand that I am not criticizing the theory or the experience of this blog. But I would like the Christians to understand just how it can be PERCEIVED by non-believers. The text can resemble a politically correct Christian OPINION and all the faithful must never lose sight of its truths. However to the rest of us, it must inevitably appear way out of touch with all human values and understanding, as the implications are that not only we ourselves, but as well, all those who we love and treasure, but who are not ‘saved’ Christians, are simply lost in the next world.

      I can recall with a certain discomfort and even disbelief when certain of my Christian friends and colleagues, obediently repeated what they see as an essential Christian ‘mantra’ of faith. I think of my mate Rod who mutters over and over, and in an extraordinarily boring but necessary humble fashion, – “I’m a miserable sinner, I’m a miserable sinner’. All the time convinced that he is repeating a crucial fact about himself, that will preserve him from self-importance, and in the process will endear him to the deity. Surely it has to be realized that the repetition of a sentence like this will attract absolutely no outsider to his cause, and would seem to us like a practice that will denigrate his inherent dignity and even his rights in our society. We wonder just how much the person really believes it underneath. It sounds like a certain pride in one’s humility.

      The sort of benefit and salvation sense that is described in Bryan’s text, is clearly to be seen as a Privilege and not as a Right. (am I not correct there?) Recall that in the world at large, we tend to look a bit askance (and enviously) at individuals who through no effort of their own, are uniquely privileged. They perhaps inherit wealth, or perhaps they find or manage by luck or favour some unique source of getting power and possessions. Maybe somehow they manage to gain the patronage or favour of the person in power, and all doors open to them. Of course, it must be added that all can see very clearly the benefits that they have. Pleasing one’s chosen deity for his patronage, seems little different TO THE OUTSIDER, from pandering to any earthly despot or absolute ruler.

      So therefore, that genuinely ‘saved’ Christian is to be described as a person who is uniquely favoured or privileged by the Deity. In the viewpoint of the Christian faith, those who are ‘saved’ claim to have something that money or effort simply cannot buy. All others lack that benefit regardless of their virtue or their efforts, and regardless of just how they may bear no responsibility whatsoever for their impecuniousness in the sight of God.

      He/she can seem to be rather smug in being given a free pass to ‘heaven’. It has to be admitted surely that Christians can erect a big big division between themselves and the rest, seemingly forgetting that the crucial thing is that they are still human like all the rest. To me that latter fact is actually something of a genuine privilege. It actually can feel offensive to the rest of us when we hear someone state ‘I was saved in August of 1985’.

      I know, I know, I know, davinci and the rest of you. It is all perfectly in accord with the essential Christian principles of human sinfulness and the great gift of God, which is eternal life etc. I know your theory perfectly well. But Bryan’s blog here does automatically offend the non-believer when he reads the precise wording that is there. And it does not sound convincing when one endeavours to picture what the principle has to mean when applied to the many persons around us whom we most love and respect – perhaps our parents or offspring or spouse, but who stand a high likelihood of dying in a state of damnation, without accepting the Christian offer or demand. No, it can readily read to us just like a creed one must recite, and which is obligatory, and politically correct Christian OPINION.

      Cheers, Rian.


      • Dabs asked me why I was a Christian a few months back. Just like that, out of the blue, and his question caught me by surprise as no-one had ever asked me that before. And of course when Dabs asks a question he gives you about ten seconds to answer. If you don’t answer straight away then you are judged as an imbecile/brainless twit by him. 🙂

        I just blurted out “because I am not a ‘good’ person, and I need Jesus to make me a better one.” His reply was, “but you are a good person” and I said “no, I’m a sinner and weak, but Jesus is my strength.” I wouldn’t have a clue if that was the right answer, but it’s certainly heartfelt and the truth as I know it. I have absolutely nothing to boast about being a Christian except that I know, that I know, that I know, that God loves me, in spite of my failings.

        If you see that as a boast Rian, then that’s not my problem. It’s yours, really, as you are the one who rejects the concept of fallen man and the need of a personal Saviour, Jesus Christ and thus you simply cannot ‘receive’ His love or be spiritually blessed by a ‘Christian’ no matter how much we may try to be a blessing. It always comes down to free will. No-one can force you to believe….not even God.


      • Myth #3 – Heaven exists, Hell does not?

        A.C. Nielsen survey results published in 2009 showed that 56% of Australian respondents said they believed in Heaven, but only 38% believed in Hell. Life-after-death has, for nearly half of the population, been abandoned. Nearly two thirds of us see no place for Hell as a place of final justice, for unforgiven wrong-doing and permanent rejection of God.

        We may well ask at this point, is our behaviour and belief really relevant to our eternal destiny after this life? Can we actually “raise hell” now and yet expect “Heaven” later?

        Firstly, the most powerful argument for Hell’s necessity comes from the simple demand for justice. Without an afterlife, mass murderers receive the same final fate as charity workers. Everyone receives the same for their wrongs in this life, no matter how serious they are – physical death, alone.

        Further, if there is a Heaven but no Hell, there is still no complete justice. In the end the mass murderer and the petty criminal are punished the same – no Heaven. But Hell, with its preceding judgement, addresses all human evil as to degree and frequency through God who sees, knows and judges perfectly.

        Secondly, what is it like? Jesus described it in very daunting terms. He said it was a place of “outer darkness”. He spoke of sorrow in terms of “weeping and grinding of teeth”. He said it was “prepared for the Devil and His angels” thus not designed for humans. The last book of the Bible, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ”, calls the final place of the rebellious “the lake of fire”.

        Lastly, it is described in several places as a prison. Why? God has (ten) laws, as every ordered society does. And when God’s laws are violated it is called “sin.” The “wages of sin” is physical, death, after which comes the “second death” which is “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20, verse 14). However, Hell is also unlike earthly jails – there is no parole, no escape. The duration is forever and that is Hell’s worst feature. Wishing Hell is not there will not help. Public opinion cannot change it; only avoiding it will – God’s way.

        English writer C.S. Lewis once said that “Hell is locked from the inside”. In part, it is true because, as he says elsewhere, God has done everything necessary to enable you to avoid this place. You can avoid it, as you can earthly penalties, through a pardon.

        While God is just and cannot ignore the guilty, He can actually satisfy justice and offer mercy. How? If you can accept that Christ went to Hell on the Cross as full payment for your breaches of God’s Laws (justice), you can be forgiven (mercy). If you will cease from sin and submit to His will, you can avoid eternal “jail.” If not, you must justly suffer for your own sins as He said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

        CHALLENGE newspaper—April, 2015


      • Oh Rian, Me thinks you miss the point. If Jesus was living in this day and age I am sure he would lovingly say to you, “Rian, K.I.S.S.”


      • Right on Sammy. The opposite of joy is cynicism. Cynicism is a sense that, at its core, all life is disconnected and without meaning and value. Cynicism lives for dis-integration and distrust, it feeds on, and flourishes in a world of suspicion.
        To understand Christian grace does not mean to be nonchalant and uncaring. It is to refuse to accept the currency of cynicism and despair. It is to be caught up in the wonder of our world and in the great power of God’s love to bring healing and wholeness to us and to our world.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heaven and Hell.
        The beliefs of the Jews about hell, formed from Gehenna, the tip outside Jerusalem where rubbish was constantly burned, and where followers of Ba’al, Moloch and other Canaanite gods still sacrificed their children by fire, was used by Jesus.

        But that was a local cultural thing. Just as cold is the absence of heat, as evil is the absence of good, hell is the absence of heaven, yet just as tangible as cold or evil, causing suffering. I was taught Hell is an absence, a separation, a sense of loss and desperation, misery.

        Jesus was using such analogies as his listeners were familiar with, speaking to their own understanding. That’s if we can trust correct reporting of his words.


      • Bryan, Monica and Sammy,

        You know, I felt quite certain when I penned my posting above that the readers would fail to observe the provisos and qualifications I put into it several time. Note that I said in the first sentence – ‘just how it can be PERCEIVED by non-believers’. Then I went on that ‘the text can resemble —‘. And in the next paragraph, I stated that ‘pleasing one’s chosen deity seems little different TO THE OUTSIDER …..’

        In the next paragraph, I said that ‘He/she can seem to be rather smug —‘. And then I went on to say ‘it actually can feel offensive to the rest of us…’ The final line I wrote ‘it can readily read to us just like …..’

        On the other hand, I opened my posting with ‘…to understand that I am not criticizing the theory or the experience of this blog’. And in the final paragraph, I said that ‘It is all in perfect accord with the essential Christian principles…..’ So if you think about it, I’m not accusing Christians of boasting at all.

        In contrast with many non-believers, I do actually understand what you folk are saying and the basis for it. Doesn’t it count as interesting or useful information for evangelizing Christians to understand more clearly just how some of their common affirmations may come across to the outside world? And thus isn’t it a rather useful point to consider that ‘repetition of a sentence like this will attract absolutely no outsider’?

        I had a bit of a chuckle Bryan when you wrote your little paragraph there following Sammy’s posting, though the greater part of what you said fits in very closely with my own philosophy and spiritual conviction. What you apparently cannot be the slightest bit aware of, is the fact (I would say well known to all of my friends and relatives) that I am one of the least cynical folk that you’ll ever run across.

        I hope that Monica will be able to vouch for that at least, especially since she has read my book, and met me. I tend to have the reputation of being one of the most unworldly, naive and unsophisticated persons around. (Probably unusual for an Actor). Both my Humanistic and Pantheistic tendencies fully encourage my sense of joy and faith, in People, in Nature and in the Divine.

        Mon, you quoted that piece from CHALLENGE Newspaper, regarding Hell. Well, I would remind you all that just because one rejects the idea of a literal single everlasting Hell, the concept of Justice is not automatically done away with. There are other theories or doctrines with a long royal tradition about the afterlife that do not require a specific Heaven and Hell for Justice. But I have discussed my views on that matter before.

        Anyway, in future can you all make a point of reading exactly what I write instead of what you think that I’ve written. (Incidentally, good to meet you, Sammy.)
        Cheers, Rian.


      • “That’s if we can trust correct reporting of his words.”

        1 – does that include all the gospels or just the canonical ones ?

        2 – pretty big if.


      • Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein: ‘What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos.’


      • Goodness Rian,

        So we aren’t very good salesmen then?

        I’d rather be transparent and tell the truth than con anyone. No slick salesmen here, thank God. No, just your everyday fishermen, tax collectors, tradesmen, housewives, carers; ordinary folk. Heck, one is even a political zealot. None of us are theologians! We are prone to mistakes, faults, misstatements, and lapses in faith. We are remarkably unremarkable! 😉


      • Some further thoughts, Bryan and Monica,

        Good for you Monica, on just telling the truth! But not very good salesmen? Hm, well I guess one way to find out would be to get Bryan to describe just what evangelical results his column has had over the years. I’ve been with you for some two and a half years, and to date, I’ve observed no indication of any of our non-believing posters actually converting to the Faith.

        For myself, I’ve not felt any impulse that has impelled me towards Christianity during the time. If anything, I think I am more deeply confirmed within my own faith than ever. There are still certain areas of Christianity I greatly admire, but all too many that I simply cannot go along with. Like any good Pagan, I simply add the most suitable and appropriate Christian things to my faith. (LOL) I do always leave myself open though.

        Now, next, – It really seems to me that Christians are mixing incompatible arguments when in one breath, they state categorically that there MUST be a Hell to be sure of an ultimate Justice. (Notice there that this concept of Justice is a specifically HUMAN demand or expectation. It is linked in with our human perceptions and codes of morals, and the indignation we naturally feel when we see the evil about us not getting its due) In the next breath the Christians will maintain, as Bryan described some weeks ago, that on the other hand, Grace is something that goes totally against the human expectation. – God’s ways are not our ways. It seems illogical and surprising and undeserved.

        So one argument about Hell is based on human feeling. The other is based on the presumed views of the Deity and is contrary to human feeling. Are both concepts still equally valid, or fairly posited? Just maybe, Christians need to give away their human concepts of Justice, because they are not ‘seen’ by God in the same way. Humans can never really be sure of just what the God truly thinks about the matter of just who ‘goes to heaven’ and who doesn’t. They should just look or wait for the Divine Command on the matter, or just leave it in trust.

        It was with the object of challenging these principles, that I posted my little parable of the two Cambodian brothers the other month. I concluded that ‘Hypothetical’ by asking whether Justice had actually been done when they went their separate ways at death, to Heaven and to Hell. If you yourself happened to be some poor devil who had suffered badly under the Pol Pot regime, and who had seen his wife and children as well as his friends and colleagues ultimately and cruelly tortured and done away with, could you possibly feel that Justice was done to that military brother, when he ‘got to’ heaven, through his last minute repentance? You cant logically argue the human concept of Justice one moment and then argue against it in the next.

        Now the reference you gave Mon, in the CHALLENGE quote, about the Nielson Poll brings up an interesting point. Some 56% of Australians believed in Heaven, but only 38% believed in Hell. Now is it your conviction that belief in Hell is absolutely necessary for Salvation? In any case, just because one duly believes in both Heaven and Hell, surely there is still no guarantee that they are otherwise right with the God, and will actually ‘get to Heaven’? It still sounds like a smaller and smaller select number of ‘saved’ Christians as we go on, regardless of their ‘right’ belief. It is a Christian ‘truism’ that belief (however right) alone just doesn’t do it?

        Cheers as ever, Rian. (resident bad boy of the blog.)


      • To ‘The resident bad boy of the blog’ (I love it Rian) 🙂

        “Now is it your conviction that belief in Hell is absolutely necessary for Salvation?”

        No, of course not Rian. Actually, I don’t think many Christians believe in a literal Hell anymore and in fact, I think many believe that a God of love would never send anyone to Hell. But not me. Coming from the background that I do (Prophetic/Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance), I know that pure evil exists, and my reasoning is that if pure evil exists, then so too must a literal Hell exist. Notwithstanding the inerrant Bible and personal supernatural experiences and revelation knowledge. That’s my evidence, so subject closed for me.

        “In any case, just because one duly believes in both Heaven and Hell, surely there is still no guarantee that they are otherwise right with the God, and will actually ‘get to Heaven’?”

        Agreed Rian. Even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19). It’s not enough to just ‘believe’, one must, by faith, commit their life to Christ and trust Him alone for their salvation.

        “It still sounds like a smaller and smaller select number of ‘saved’ Christians as we go on, regardless of their ‘right’ belief.”

        Reminds me of the ‘remnant’—“the true Church, the body of Christ, chosen out of the millions who have lived and died over the centuries. Jesus made it clear that this remnant would be small when compared to the number of people on the earth throughout history. “Many” will find the way to eternal destruction, but “few” will find the way to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can, with great peace, rest in the fact that we belong to the “remnant.”” Got Questions Org Yes, no doubt this part is offensive to the non-believer.



      • I think that was very well said Mon.

        And Rian I hope you know where Mon is coming from….a place of love.

        The world can see that even Christians sometimes don’t agree on what is to be a Christian.

        “God wants you to be rich,” say some. A green Christian might ask what would Jesus drive.

        Jesus has become for some just a kind of hood ornament on a vehicle we are driving to our own destination.

        Mon, on the other hand, knows that To be a Christian is to be others centred. It’s become instinctive for her now and she expresses that love so beautifully.

        Contrast that to the world system which is the love of power. The kingdom of God is about power of love.


      • Bryan,
        I really dont know why you imagine that I might not know where Mon is coming from. I grew up in a very loving Christian family. I’ve worked with and talked with numerous Christians in my life. The ones who worked from Love were very clear. Sadly there were many for whom Love was singularly absent or very sparce.

        But all the same, even an excess of Love may not, in evangelical Christian terms, be enough to get the unbeliever over the line IF at the same time, they dont share the right beliefs and faith. Luckily I am not bound by the conclusions of 2000 years of Christian theory.

        I sadly fear, Bryan that you just dont yet have the slightest conception of what makes me tick. Let me say, though, that I still very much look forward to meeting you in person. (And I wont hold your Christianity against you.)

        Cheers, Rian.


      • Rian,
        I’m not trying to “drag” you over the line. It’s not my job. Or my intention.
        I think I do have an idea of what makes you tick though. It seems pretty obvious.
        I just hope and pray the spirit gets on through to you. That’s a different thing entirely.
        And yes, I’d hope we’d meet in person. And I wouldn’t hold anything against you



      • Thanks Bryan for your kind words. You made my day.

        Yes, I still spit the dummy sometimes, but I do love and think the world of Rian. Strewth is wonderful company too. She has such a calming presence about her, always willing to just listen. I do hope you get to meet them one day.


  1. “When I say that “I am a Christian, I am not shouting that I am clean living” I am whispering that I was lost, but now I am found and forgiven”.

    Actually, as a Christian you should shout that you are clean living.

    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ” 1 John 1:9.

    Cleansing us from all unrighteousness is actually part of being forgiven. Jesus Himself, when forgiving sins, He often added “go and sin no more”, indicating that He gave power to live clean lives.

    The above statement separates that which should not be separated. Forgiveness of sins + clean living. You cannot have clean living without forgiveness of sins first. You cannot have forgiveness of sins without clean living afterwards.


    • That’s very black and white, Davinci, but God has created a world of all shades, of all colours. Only He knows the reasons behind someone’s lapse or falling away from ‘clean living’.

      You can’t tell me that someone who has recognised their own sinfulness and sincerely repented, does not then want to ‘go and sin no more’. Do we know the causes of their failure?


      • Strewth, there is no black and grey about it. Jesus’ mission on this earth was to save us from sin, both from the penalty as well as the addiction to it if you like.

        The Bible says that all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. There is no such thing as falling away from clean living. We are already fallen.

        Actually, apostle Paul tells us that “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15. This is the situation that one who has repented sincerely finds themselves in. That is until such person overcomes their sins.

        The question is whether we should try to overcome our sins, or as you say “God created all shades and colours” hence there is no need to overcome, just ask to be forgiven, sin again, ask to be forgiven, sin again, ad nauseaum.

        This is where we come to Bryan’s next statement:

        “When I say that I am a Christian I don’t speak of this with pride. I am confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.”

        How does the Bible say that this guidance takes form?

        Through a knowledge of Scripture. This is how Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry.

        Through the avoidance and putting away of all things that might seduce one in giving in to the temptation to commit the sin one has allegedly repented of (see Psalm 101:3).

        Prayer and vigilance against falling into temptation (Mat. 26;41).

        The testimony of those who have gone before us and overcome (see Hebrews 11 and 12).

        Confession of our faults to righteous people; not so that they absolve us from sin, nor so that they talk us out of believing that what we have done is a sin, but rather because the prayers of some carry more weight than that of others with God (James 5:16).

        By imposing the duty of lifting up the fallen, on other church members (see Galatians 6:1).


    • Actually you do not need to live a clean life, you need to have the intention to live a clean life. You may fail but the intention needs to be there.


      • That might be Islam but not Christianity. Speaking of your sort of faith in God, the apostle James said:

        “You believe in God? Good! The devils believe in God and tremble” (James 2:19).

        Here in Australia I think you have a proverb that the way to hell is paved with good intentions.


      • Dom on April 16, 2015 at 11:20 said:
        “Actually you do not need to live a clean life, you need to have the intention to live a clean life. You may fail but the intention needs to be there.”

        That’s how I interpret Christianity too, Dom. Looking at the whole picture rather than flinging single quotes around.

        How can we judge others? Let alone “Actually, as a Christian you should shout that you are clean living.”


      • Actually

        way to hell is paved with good intentions

        was made in the 18th century by James Boswell.

        What he was saying was people do not act on their good intentions.

        James 4:17
        If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

        That is right about the devil believing in God. I am also sure that the Devil would have complete confidence that God can do anything God wants. Belief is not enough. Needs to be backed by action. To do an action you need to make the intention first. Make a true intention, not a whimsical one and God will reach out to help.


      • Dom,
        Sometimes people have good intentions but act badly on them. The example is Abraham and Hagar. God had told him that he would have a son through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.
        Somehow the promise of God was translated in Abraham marrying Hagar and trying to execute God’s promise himself, instead of letting God fullfill His promise in His own way and time.
        And now we have the descendants of Isaac and those of Ishmael tearing themselves to pieces and creating a hell on earth, because Abraham paved the way through his good intention.


      • Strewth,

        I am not merely flinging quotes about, anymore than Jesus was flinging quotes about when He resisted the Devil in the wilderness.

        Jesus manifested the grace of God to us by giving us an extremely powerful example how to resist temptation when He “flung” quotes at the devil.

        The Bible tells us that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”. What does this phrase actually imply? “Flinging quotes around” perhaps? You will never understand what the “man shall not live by bread alone…” passage actually means unless you understand Jesus.

        Until you understand Jesus and study His way of resisting temptations you will only see people like me “flinging quotes about” and not understand what it’s all about.


      • Da Vinci Have a read of those verses again concerning Ishmael and Hagar with a critical eye. Keep in mind that Ishmael was a teenager of about 17 years old when all the alleged problems with Isaac occurred and they migrated to Paran.


      • No Bryan, there is no mixed messages.

        There are three schools of thought within Christianity when it comes to how we are saved.

        School of thought 1 – Believes in works as a means of scoring points with God. This was attacked by apostle Paul, particularly in the gospel of Galatians. Catholics and Greek Orthodox are the main advocates of this sort of salvation.

        School of thought 2 – Believes in faith alone, without the need of regeneration. This is usually called “once saved always saved” school of thought. Basically it results in no difference between the infidel and the Christian. Mainstream Protestant religions believe this. Attacked by apostle Paul in Romans 6:1 and James’ epistle.

        School of thought 3 – Believes in faith in God to forgive past sins (part of school of thought 2 above). But then it believes in grace given to overcome present and future sins, particularly in times of stress, and when temptation to throw in the towel and sin is strongest. Because the practical manifestations of grace to overcome seem like works, it is often confused with salvation by works by those who would not overcome their sins. However School of thought 3 is the school of thought that is taught by the New testament.

        As for the statement that I made in regards to losing one’s salvation note the following passages:

        “21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
        22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
        23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
        24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die”. (Ezek. 18:21-24)

        Now have a look at how Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 18:21-35. In particular notice that forgiveness was cancelled for him that had been forgiven.

        And then we have the apostle Paul who said:

        Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.

        This verse is not applicable for those who struggle against sin, (although they might fall time and time again) but rather those blatantly persist in sin believing that once saved always saved.


      • Dom,
        You confuse the following things:
        1. Abraham migrated from Padan Aram to Canaan not from Canaan to Padan Aram. Padan Aram is in Mesopotamia not South of Canaan.
        2. Ishmael after being banished from Abraham’s camp settled in Padan. No proof that Abraham travelled to where Ishmael eventually settled.

        Maybe you should read the Bible with a critical eye.


      • “Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.

        This verse is not applicable for those who struggle against sin, (although they might fall time and time again) but rather those blatantly persist in sin believing that once saved always saved.”

        I learnt this first-hand. God confronted me one day and commanded me to stop wilfully sinning and unbelievably, I defiantly said no! In an instant I was in Hell….being tortured by two demons. It was so horrendous that to this day I still swear that my heart was giving out with fright; that I was in the process of having a heart attack, and God in His mercy stopped the supernatural experience just in time. It only lasted for seconds……….

        So all the nay-sayers here can pooh-bah the notion of a literal Hell all they like, but I know better. “Hell is a real place. It is not mere unconsciousness. It is not temporal. It is eternal torment. Perhaps that is why Jesus spoke more of hell than heaven and spent so much time warning people not to go there. After all, if people just stopped existing, why warn them? If it was temporal, they’d get out in a while. But if it were eternal and conscious, then the warning is strong.”

        Jesus said, “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt. 5:29-30).


      • You have a skewed understanding of grace, Dom.

        Either that or you are being deliberately dishonest because you were once a Christain.


      • The apostle James made the comment that “faith without works is dead”. Our works should come as a result of our obedience to God, and should be motivated by grace and faith in God.

        What you are describing is a type of belief system based on either scoring brownie points with God, or trying to execute God’s commands without bothering to check with God whether that is the way He wants it done.

        And Monica, sadly what Dom said, is how many Christians practice their faith


      • Dom on April 16, 2015 at 11:21 said:
        “Da Vinci I thought Christians believed in faith not works so it does not matter what sort of life a person leads.”
        I can see a tongue in your cheek, Dom.


      • My statement is how I see my close Christians friends and family act. They go to church at Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals. Those are the days set aside for God. All future sins forgiven was what one blogger said on faithworks.


      • Dom,
        Not every one that calls themselves Christian is actually genuine.

        Which is why I keep stressing that people should study their Bible. Just as there are standards by which counterfeit coins and banknotes are detected, the Bible is used to determine what is and what is not a genuine Christian.

        As for future sins being forgiven, this is where the majority of Christians are wrong, once again because they have not studied their Bibles. Had they studied their Bibles they would have found out that one can lose his/her salvation. Not because God abandons them, but because they choose to abandon God.

        Eventually God leaves them to their own devices and their sins.


      • So from all your posts above DVinci I am seeing that you believe faith alone is not enough. You need works as well ?


      • Hey Mon,

        Google and read some of Jack T Chick’s stuff, it would seem that there are some people who call themselves Christians who also believe that faith and grace are far more important than works.


      • Saved by Grace, Sanctified by Works. Room for both.
        Are all the saved able to mix it with the saints?
        In my Father’s house are many mansions. You might prefer a house near the top of the hill to a shack down below.

        This is an analogy given me by a clergyman, though not one that interests me, but it might interest others.

        I have no expectations of the unknown. I just believe that it’s up to God to decide if He has a useful spot somewhere for me!


  2. CHINESE CHURCH ELDER QUNSHAN XU oversees a large prayer ministry with over one million followers—the “Highway to Yerushalayim” movement. Although he has only a second-grade education, Xu taught hiself to paint and today he is mighty in the Kingdom of God.

    He came to faith in Jesus in 1981 while his body was wracked by nine diseases and paralyzed. When he asked to be baptized, Xu rose up from he frezing waters totally healed! Since then, Xu has devoted himself to ministering in poor rural villages acoss China. For the past sixteen years, he has eaten only one meal per day as he travels around to speak and pray for the sick in village churches all over China.

    Xu has been detained 14 times by Chinese authorities, yet every single time his prison guards have come to faith and released him. He has led many government officials to the Lord and pastored them for long periods. He once started 100 churches in Mongolia in one 45-day period.

    Today, Xu keeps his house open to receive those sick with cancer and incurable diseases. He lets them stay in his home to hear Bible studies and receive prayer until they are healed. Xu finds that many are just in need of repentance.

    WORD from Jerusalem—March 2015


      • GEORGE PELL: Look, a soul is not like putting a spot of gin in a tonic. The soul is the principle of life. So whenever there was a principle of life that could question, that could be open to awe, that was able to communicate then we had the first human. Now, we believe that the first humans developed in South Africa. I’m not quite sure how long ago and that all, you know, humans have developed from that. We know most about that. There aren’t remains. We know most about that because of the drawings they left on the on walls and caves and that sort of thing. No such thing from Neanderthals, so we can’t say exactly when there was a first human but we have to say if there are humans there must have been a first one. They might have been equal first but if there is a progression there’s got to be first.

        TONY JONES: So are you talking about a kind of Garden of Eden scenario with an actual Adam and Eve?

        GEORGE PELL: Well, Adam and Eve are terms – what do they mean: life and earth. It’s like every man. That’s a beautiful, sophisticated, mythological account. It’s not science but it’s there to tell us two or three things. First of all that God created the world and the universe. Secondly, that the key to the whole of universe, the really significant thing, are humans and, thirdly, it is a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and suffering in the world.

        TONY JONES: But it isn’t a literal truth. You shouldn’t see it in any way as being an historical or literal truth?

        GEORGE PELL: It’s certainly not a scientific truth and it’s a religious story told for religious purposes.

        TONY JONES: Just quickly, because the Old Testament in particular is full of these kind of stories, I mean is there a point where you distinguish between metaphor and reality? For example, Moses receiving the Ten Commandments inscribed directly by God on a mountain?

        GEORGE PELL: I’m not sure that the Old Testament says that God inscribed the Ten Commandments but leaving that aside it’s difficult to know how exactly that worked but Moses was a great man. There was a great encounter with the divine. Actually, with Moses we get the key that enables us to come together with the Greeks with reason because Moses said who will I tell the Egyptians and he tell that my name is “I am who I am”.


      • Some great comments there lately, Strewth. And a very good Pell interview.
        I must say that you are very brave. (and they go crook at me for sticking my neck out from time to time, here.)

        Cheers, Rian.


      • Great Strewth!

        You reject a “thus said the Lord” for ‘thus said Cardinal Pell”. Cardinal Pell, a man who admitted that he knew of paedophile priests being moved from parish to parish, and that evidence of paedophilia was covered up by the Catholic Church.

        But what would you expect from a man who doesn’t believe that the Ten Commandments were written by the hand of God (in spite of the fact that the Bible says God did it)?

        The minute one disregards the authority of the Bible as God’s word, anything and everything is permissible, even perhaps Paedophilia.

        Fine example of a man you have chosen to replace God with!


      • “Cardinal Pell, a man who admitted that he knew of paedophile priests being moved from parish to parish, and that evidence of paedophilia was covered up by the Catholic Church.”

        Are you still looking for the evidence George used utilitarian ethics to justify the parish moves davinci?


      • Excellent davinci. We’ll let the Catholics off on this one, and chalk it up as another baseless assertion on your part.


      • To Stu

        Here’s an idea … suppose there was a TV debate tonight between Jesus and the former archbishop of Melbourne, Cardinal George Pell. The topic: do you endorse the Melbourne response to child abuse by the Catholic Church?

        Pell will appear before the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the s-xual abuse of children by members of the Catholic Church and other institutions this afternoon; Jesus will not. But both are on the record when it comes to their views on abuse —  well-researched in biblical and contemporary records.

        Some inside and outside the church believe it has lost its moral authority because it no longer represents the views of its founder, Jesus Christ. The purpose of this thought experiment is to allow some fresh thinking to see if this claim is valid. Some of the following statements are quotes by Jesus (with the language freshened up for a TV audience), some are direct quotes by Pell. The others I have created for this thought experiment …


        MODERATOR: Cardinal, your church has admitted that it had upheld 620 cases of criminal child abuse by your clergy in Victoria during the administrations of your predecessor, your successor and yourself. Your fix was called the Melbourne response. Is that correct?

        PELL: Yes. In 1996 I announced a strategy whereby the Catholic Church in Melbourne would offer justice, compensation, counselling and professional support services to victims of s-xual abuse by Catholic priests. That is what we called “The Melbourne Response”.

        MODERATOR: Did the Melbourne response include transparency or were victims required to sign confidentiality agreements?

        PELL: Well, many of them did sign confidentially agreements but we’ve now waived them for this royal commission.

        MODERATOR: That’s nice. So my first question to you is: did you endorse the Melbourne response?

        PELL: Yes, I did endorse it. I launched it and authorised it to be used on many occasions.

        MODERATOR: Whom do you consider to be the founder of your church?

        PELL: It is well-known that Jesus is not only the founder of the church I administer in his name but that I proclaim him also to be My Lord.

        MODERATOR: OK. I will now turn to you, Jesus, for your viewpoint. So many words have been put in your mouth by so many people. When we look at the vast multi-billion-dollar global Jesus industry, we can see so many vested financial and power-based interests that we can be forgiven for wondering what is your real point of view. The big problem has always been that you, Jesus, left no account of your life or your teachings in your own hand. Your sayings, which you spoke in Aramaic, had to wait for many years to be written down in Greek and Latin. What we have to go on was recorded by your disciples and your disciples’ disciples so we can only make educated guesses about the accuracy of your sayings after their subsequent translation and editing. Do you see our problem?

        JESUS: Yes, of course, I do.

        MODERATOR: OK. Now let us proceed to the issue of child abuse and the Melbourne response. I will now put the question to Jesus. Do you endorse the Cardinal’s approach to child abuse of an independent investigation, counselling plus confidential compensation?

        JESUS: No, I have never said that I would endorse such an approach.

        MODERATOR: Well, can you tell us what you have said?

        JESUS: This is a subject on which I really have had a lot to say. You will not have to stretch a point to understand my views about the value of children. I have given very clear instructions to my followers. The Cardinal and his predecessors have squandered my reputation and that of the church by their procrastinations, dissembling and shortcomings on this real issue which is so close to my heart.

        MODERATOR: You seem very passionate about child abuse.

        JESUS: Well aren’t we all? Sadly, my bishops have chosen to ignore the authority I have expressly given them about children and their abusers.

        MODERATOR: What have you said about this issue?

        JESUS: One day I was teaching my apostles. These were the first bishops — my own bishops whom I personally appointed. They were curious about rank and precedence in heaven. Naturally, they wanted to know who I thought would secure the most favourable positions in heaven. They kept asking me about who’d get to be in the inner sanctum? Who would sit closest to the Father Himself? I saw this as a good opportunity to assert my authority. I spoke to my bishops ex cathedra giving them one of my core teachings. Later these teachings were recounted first by Matthew and then corroborated by Mark and Luke. I saw a little kid watching me so I called him over and sat the kid in the middle of them all and then I taught them the following important lesson:

        “Listen! I’m telling you disciples the truth now. Unless you change and become like little kids, YOU won’t ever be getting into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever makes himself as little as this little kid, he’s the one who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And anyone who welcomes one little kid like this one, in my name, also welcomes me.” (Matt 18:1-5)

        MODERATOR: What did you say about the abuse of children? And, in particular, what did you say about the abuse of children that follow your group?

        JESUS: Well, here I became most passionate. I said to them:

        “But if anyone is the downfall of one of these little kids who believes in me, it were better for him that he drowned in the deep of the sea with a great millstone tied round his neck.” (Matt 18:6)

        MODERATOR: Did you really say that?

        JESUS: Yes, I am on the record in Matthew, Mark and Luke in the New Jerusalem Bible which is the official Vatican version of the Bible.

        MODERATOR: Child abuse can be emotional, physical or s-xual and there have always been abusers of children. What else did you tell them?

        JESUS: I said:

        “It’s a great pity for the world that there should be such causes of kids falling. Causes of falling indeed there must be, but pity help anyone who provides them!” (Matt 18:7)

        MODERATOR: Did you prescribe any preventative measures?JESUS: Certainly.

        “If your hand or your foot should be your downfall, cut it off and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” (Matt 18:8)

        MODERATOR: What about those, like your bishops, in positions of responsibility for the protection of children? What about those who just turned a blind eye?

        JESUS: I told them:

        “And if your eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matt 18:9)

        MODERATOR: What about consequences from heaven? Are those who have abused children likely to go undetected? Are those who have failed to protect children in their care likely to get away with it?

        JESUS: Well, what do you think? I said:

        “See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in Heaven.” (Matt 18:10)

        MODERATOR: Cardinal, over to you. Recently your church has had to face these issues in a damning report you call Facing The Truth where you admit for the first time that there are not merely a few cases of child abuse in Victoria but hundreds — maybe as many as 620 children who have been abused. This report has exposed the organised and institutional abuse of many children. You have heard what your founder has had to say, Cardinal, so what can you now report to Jesus that you will do about your Melbourne Response?

        PELL: I will wait to see what the royal commissioners say and then I’ll have further discussions with my legal advisers.

        MODERATOR: Jesus, are you satisfied with this response?

        JESUS: What do you think?


      • Too Stu

        No we won’t let the Catholics or you off on this one.

        definition of utilitarianism:

        “the doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct.”

        Whenever the topic of child abuse by clergy rears its ugly topic, watch how many people rise up and accuse those who raise the topic of being anti-Catholic and point to the amount of good works the catholic church does (as if that is a good defence of covering up child abuse).

        If you live in parts of the world where parishes have been bankrupted because of compensation to child abuse victims, watch for disgruntled Catholics who complain that their church would be able to do much more for the community if the scandal had been covered up in the first place.

        Look again at the theoretical debate between Pell and Christ. One has to ask why Pell never acted in accord with what Christ had said, instead of covering up abuses within his church. Why? Because the happiness of too many people in the RC church is dependent on being blind to immoral conduct, both in their fellow lay members as well as clergy.

        Whilst Pell talks about hiding child abuse confessions under the seal of confession, Jesus laid strict rules about dealing with sin including public exposure, censure and excommunication. Jesus’ procedure with respect to sin does not include hiding the sin under the seal of confession and moving the priest from parish to parish until the crime cannot be hid anymore.

        Why doesn’t Pell and his cronies follow what their founder Jesus said with respect to children? The Bible said that they loved evil more than they loved good (john 3:19). Utilitarianism, by its lack in defining what constitutes true happiness lends itself to injustice, whenever people love evil more than they love good.

        Rather than promoting happiness, utilitarianism actually promotes unhappiness.


      • No worries. The mock TV debate certainly makes its point. Child abuse should never be covered up, in ANY organisation. The Catholic Church is not the only one to have covered up such abuse.


      • Davinci. First, happiness is only one possible measure of utility. Second you made the claim that the church justified certain actions based on utilitarian ethics. I’ve asked several times for evidence to support your claim. None has been provided.


  3. To Stu,
    As I said, you are too brutish to understand why we charge the Catholic Church with utilitarianism when they defend child molesters.

    You probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words”. What you’re looking for is words, what I am describing to you are actions.

    To Bryan,
    You’re right no organisation should defend this type of behaviour; but understand this, the Catholic Church is supposed to live and advocate a higher standard of behaviour as opposed to the non Christian. Therefore we expect of them as we expect of any other Christian more examples of clean living on this issue. The non Christian does it because they know no better standard than that of animals, but why does the Christian have to sink to the level of the Bestial?


    • Davinci:

      “As I said, you are too brutish to understand why we charge the Catholic Church with utilitarianism when they defend child molesters.”

      Without evidence your allegations can be dismissed accordingly. Resorting to personal attacks does nothing to improve your position.


      • To Brutal too Stu

        Is there something wrong with your eyesight?

        I also said “actions speak louder than words” which you seem to ignore because it serves your argument to do so.

        And don’t confuse brutal with brutish.


      • Davinci.

        “Is there something wrong with your eyesight?”

        It’s good enough to read your comments and comprehend your inability to back up your allegations with evidence.

        “I also said “actions speak louder than words” which you seem to ignore because it serves your argument to do so.”

        I haven’t ignored anything. You’ve just refused to provide any evidence to support your claim that the actions or inactions of the Church constitute the adoption of utilitarian ethics.

        “And don’t confuse brutal with brutish”.

        I didn’t. I was using poetic license.


      • Sometimes we learn how to interact with others on this blog from observing how a person of patience reacts to ridicule.


    • To Stu

      Why does the Christian have to sink to the level of the Bestial? To fill pews, many sins of the clergy have to be swept behind the carpet. There are too many churches where the majority of the pews are empty. If it be possible to fill the pews by sweeping the sins of the clergy under the carpet, why not? It is argued that everyone wins. The clergy have a large congregation (and which clergyman does not desire this) and the laity are happy because they are a big happy party.

      Viewing it as an outsider, it is hard for you to understand the issues which lead to utilitarianism within Christianity.


    • davinci on April 20, 2015 at 12:54 said:
      Great Strewth!
      You reject a “thus said the Lord” for ‘thus said Cardinal Pell”.

      I am no supporter of George Pell, but as a Cardinal I cannot imagine that he would publically put forward teachings contrary to the Roman Church. That is, that the Eden story is a beautiful, sophisticated, mythological account, that it’s certainly not a scientific truth and it’s a religious story told for religious purposes.

      Here is another extract from the interview-

      GEORGE PELL: Well, I know from the Christian point of view, God loves everybody but every genuine motion towards the truth is a motion towards God and when an atheist dies, like everybody else, they will be judged on the extent to which they have moved towards goodness and truth and beauty but in the Christian view, God loves everyone except those who turn his back turn their back on him through evil acts.

      TONY JONES: So atheism is not an evil act?

      GEORGE PELL: No, not – well, no, in most cases it’s not.

      TONY JONES: So I guess to get to the point of the question, I suppose – I mean he may be having a little wager here but is it possible for an atheist to go to heaven?

      GEORGE PELL: Well, it’s not my business.

      TONY JONES: You’re the only authority we have here.

      GEORGE PELL: I would say certainly.


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