Why are Christians so different in attitude?

ENGLISH author and feminist Virginia Woolf wondered about the lack of empathy between some people.
“Why are we so hard on each other,” she asked, “when life is so difficult for all of us and when, in the end, we value the same things?”
Martin Luther himself was not kind about Protestant groups other than his own, particularly the Baptists who had won many converts from the Catholics.
But Luther also seemed to think that denominations were unnecessary. “I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call   themselves not Lutherans, but Christians,” he said.
But he had already opened a can of worms. The rise of thousands of denominations within the Christian faith can be traced back to the movement to “reform” the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th century, out of which four major divisions or traditions of Protestantism would emerge: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican. From these four, other denominations grew over the centuries.
You didn’t even have to be a Christian to be denominational. British writer Quentin Crisp said when he I told the people of Northern Ireland that he was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, ‘Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”
The word denomination is not found in the Bible. Jesus never taught there should be divisions in the church with significant doctrinal differences. The original church was a single congregation of Christ’s followers.
Some modern denominations emphasise slight doctrinal differences, but more often they simply offer different styles of worship to fit the differing tastes and preferences of Christians.
Most Christian churches have far more in common than they have in disagreement with each other. Research in the US a couple of years ago indicated that the majority of protestant/evangelical congregations shared at least 90 per cent of the same beliefs. The researchers found little disagreement over the most basic elements of Christianity — such as Jesus’ life and teachings, including His deity, death and resurrection.
There is a common Christian faith that is recognisable in a large outdoor church in Sri Lanka, an evangelical meeting in Latiin America, a small Anglican church in Melbourne or Hobart and a Catholic cathedral in Rome. The cultural “flavour” may be different but the heart is the same.
Diversity is a good thing in Christianity. Disunity is not.
The great theologian J.B.Phillips said he understood why some people could not understand why the churches can’t “get together”.
He said: “The problem is doubtless complicated, for there are many honest differences held with equal sincerity, but it is only made insoluble because the different denominations are (possibly unconsciously) imagining God to be Roman or Anglican or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or what have you.
“If they could see beyond their little inadequate god, and glimpse the reality of God, they might even laugh a little and perhaps weep a little. The result would be a unity that actually does transcend differences, “
One thing’s for sure. There will be no denominations in Heaven. But there might be plenty in Hell.

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72 thoughts on “Why are Christians so different in attitude?

  1. Well said Bryan.

    I bumped into an old ‘Catholic’ friend the other day. We used to be very close when I was a Catholic but she took offense when I left my Catholic religion. Anyway, we had a lovely chat and she said that she and her husband prayed for my husband and I every day. Well I thanked her because I truly felt humbled by her kind gesture. That was until she specified that their prayer was for the ‘lost’. Hmmmm…….knife in the heart!

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    • Thanks Mon. I know some Catholics believe that only Catholics are Christians. But I’ve met many who think otherwise. I’ve worshipped with Catholics and felt we are of one faith and one firm belief, despite some differences in doctrine.

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      • Bryan, I’ve skim read a lot of material this last three months. Some very disturbing scenarios. One of the things that pleasantly surprised me is the dedication of the Eastern Orthodox Church to one simple prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner”

        For all of our supposed differences, nit picking how many angels can dance on the head of a needle, is it a five fold church or an apostolic succession church, are bishops and deacons equal etc etc I think most Christians are remarkably receptive and agreeable to the most important bits of history. Hence Slavic people in black robes, funny hats, cultural structures very remote to mine can inspire me, another sinner on this side of the earth with their dedication to an ordinary prayer. If time is short, explanations are necessarily hurried and things seem upside down, I don’t think I’d want to leave a lasting thought different in any way to that one prayer. Through it we all share the one roof over our heads.

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    • Bryan,
      There are big problems that I see in your comments about the differing views of the various denominations. A bit too rash a comment I think there. Then Monica assured us that regardless of viewpoints a suitable Christian love still flows between them all.

      Over and over again I see debates between yourself and davinci or PG. Now, the comments by these two worthy posters here indicate that there is simply not any sort or degree of tolerance that they offer when they insist on their own readings of Scripture about some specific matters. And I just wonder whether either of these worthies would emphatically confirm that they have appropriate Christian love for ALL the rest of us???

      Davinci is a confessed ‘Seventh Day’ advocate, and presumably he would insist that, making the required day of worship as the 7th day each week, is unmistakably enjoined on Christians by the particular Commandment in the Decalogue. (Well, davinci, are you prepared to say that Christian Salvation literally DEMANDS that one celebrates one’s ‘day of rest’ specifically on the 7th day of the week? Please let us know).

      Then PG appears to be reading some of the message of the Bible in a different way from that in which you Bryan and others are reading it? (So PG, do you maintain that your correct interpretation is the only one that will bring about Salvation? Hm? It was you too, the other week who drew back from confirming that you ‘love’ our good friend Dom???)

      Then Monica insists that the Bible is inerrant, offering a different approach even to that of you Bryan. You bravely stated that you would ever be turning to Jesus for truth, rather than to the Bible, which is ‘JUST A BOOK’. Now I would challenge you both to affirm here just whether you carry the conviction that the belief in the Inerrancy of the Bible is or isnt necessary for Salvation.

      In particular as far as you are concerned, Bryan, although as you say, you defer to Jesus rather than to the Bible, so much of the time in debates on this blog, you still fall back for the most part on precise and pointed quotes from that Bible when answering the queries or comments made by the rest of us. That sounds just a bit suss.

      Speaking personally now Bryan, I notice that you are all too ready to debate with davinci, or PG or for that matter with any of the resident Atheists on the blog. I can only assume that you have a whole set of readily prepared answers and rebuttals to give them on your pet topics. However, it is very noticeable and informative that you blankly refuse to debate with me.

      It is all too clear that you are simply unable to answer my major points, since I have a set of much more difficult arguments to raise than they do. Maybe it is just because there is no point in merely quoting Biblical texts when you argue with me or the faithful of any other ‘religion’. Similarly you cant get anywhere debating with our good friend Dom either. Must represent a big frustration for Bible believing Christians! (just hope you are not worried about the possibility of upsetting a poor benighted Aspie! Just wont happen, you know!)

      Cheers as ever, Rian. (who has love for ALL his fellows despite being a consistent non-Christian.) More to come!

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    • Well, Bryan to continue.
      You quote there –
      “The word denomination is not found in the Bible. Jesus never taught there should be divisions in the church with significant doctrinal differences. The original church was a single congregation of Christ’s followers.
      Some modern denominations emphasize slight doctrinal differences, but more often they simply offer different styles of worship to fit the differing tastes and preferences of Christians.
      Most Christian churches have far more in common than they have in disagreement with each other. Research in the US a couple of years ago indicated that the majority of protestant/evangelical congregations shared at least 90 per cent of the same beliefs.”
      ———————————————————————————————–
      Now I queried some of this some months ago. Will you or any other Christian on this blog kindly inform me about three things. First. What exactly was the make up and the locality of that first ‘Original Church’ that you refer to? And Second – Just how long was this ‘Original Church’ active (as a ‘single congregation’)? And Third, – What exactly is your definition of a ‘SINGLE CONGREGATION’, (and further of course, just what kinds of problems would need to have arisen within it to refute that definition? keeping in mind there the common principle in Science about testing a proffered hypothesis by acknowledgement of just what would disprove it.)

      Now a further comment there mentions the sharing of the same 90 % beliefs; but qualifies it rather suspiciously by defining only a ‘majority of protestant/evangelical congregations as doing this sharing. This means that Catholics, many Anglicans (as good old davinci and others, keep reminding us) along with a huge number of ‘mainstream’ and liberal Protestants (along with many half-hearted and only nominally committed church people), simply do NOT. Then when you keep in mind that beliefs in and by themselves dont really count for a great deal when it comes to the accepted Evangelical definitions of Salvation, the numbers of those united and sharing Christians dont seem to be quite so convincing.

      Oh yes, and then you quote ‘different styles of worship to fit the differing tastes and preferences of Christians.’ Fascinating. Sounds just like the ‘shopping list’ approach to the choice of Christian committment and worship that has so often been condemned! (‘A way that seemeth right unto a man, but whose ways are the ways…….’)

      Cheers, Rian

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      • Thanks for the reference, Bryan. But I found the details rather mixed in their value.

        For starters, Got Questions tells us that the New Testament relates the account of the first Christian Church lasted from AD30 to AD90. Well sure, it gives some details from Pentecost up till perhaps the early or mid 60s; but the greater part of the information in it deals with the acts of Paul; and even then, his Epistles, which take up a great proportion of the Testament, detail far more about the church centres established by Paul, and practically nothing about the mother church.

        And then from the reported occasion of Paul’s removal on the ship to Rome in the 60s, it appears that there is no more information in the NT regarding the original Christian church of Jerusalem. There is a traditional understanding that prior to the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans, the members of the first church escaped to Pella or some such destination. But there is no account of this in any of the books of the NT.

        Then regardless of the traditional identification of the visionary author of the Apocalypse with one of the Jerusalem first Christians, there is simply nothing in that book to give any information about the early church, other than the implication that there was persecution or the possibility of persecution of the faithful.

        So I point out that Got Questions is simply wrong about the NT giving the history of the early first church up till AD90.

        The same article stresses however the essential disputes and divisions that occurred during those first (and only) 30 odd years, with false prophets etc plaguing the church, and indeed, whole congregations deserting, as Paul complains, in really giving the lie as I’ve argued here before, that almost from the beginning, the church was anything but single and united. I have before quoted some 30 odd texts from the infallible New Testament to demonstrate that, which no-one refuted.

        I still really need to know and understand just what exactly YOU mean whenever you refer to the first church as being single, united or undivided?

        And with the case I presented, doesnt it appear that the beautiful unity of essential faith or belief, that is supposed to exist between big numbers of Christians today, simply doesnt exist after all? It actually gets shared between members of a much smaller number of them.

        I wait with interest.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Rian,
        I think perhaps you have a view that you have been dying to express on the subject so go ahead.
        I don’t think you are really interested in what someone else = or the New Testament – says.
        As I’ve said several times. I’m not interested in debating with you.
        Discussion yes. Debate no.

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      • I can’t verify this, but I was told that when the New Testament was put together, an attempt was made to include as many points of view as could be termed Christian. No apocalyptic writings were at first included, and there were many of them about. Eventually it was agreed that Revelations should have a place.

        This link goes some way in confirming this
        Ihttp://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/13997/what-historical-reasons-resulted-in-revelation-being-included-in-most-christian

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      • And here are some other books that missed out, some narrowly, some by a long shot.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament_apocrypha

        Close candidates for canonization

        While some of the following works appear in complete Bibles from the fourth century, such as 1 Clement and The Shepherd of Hermas, showing their general popularity, they were not included when the canon was formally decided at the end of that century.

        1 and 2 Clement
        Shepherd of Hermas
        Didache
        Epistle of Barnabas
        Apocalypse of Peter
        Third Epistle to the Corinthians

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    • In hell a person will have so much pain and anguish at the chance they wasted; there is no thought of socialising.

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      • Are you sure? I haven’t seen the brochure.

        I do know I would rather not end up worshipping an unloving God for eternity. That opportunity can gladly pass me by.

        If God actually is loving and all-powerful, unlike the Biblical version of God, I doubt I have much to worry about.

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      • Heaven for the climate and hell for the company – isn’t that how it goes ??

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      • You can’t decide you don’t want to play. Everyone on Earth volunteered for this eagerly to prove they loved God. When your time is up you will see you have let yourselves down. The mental anguish of you failure will be just as great as the physical. Open your eyes to the truth before it is too late.

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      • Hey Dom,

        Sorry but I don’t recall ever volunteering to prove that I love a fiction.

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      • Before you were born Bubba. You were eager to show God you are ready to pass the test.

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  2. “Davinci is a confessed ‘Seventh Day’ advocate, and presumably he would insist that, making the required day of worship as the 7th day each week, is unmistakably enjoined on Christians by the particular Commandment in the Decalogue. (Well, davinci, are you prepared to say that Christian Salvation literally DEMANDS that one celebrates one’s ‘day of rest’ specifically on the 7th day of the week? Please let us know).”

    Rian,

    Yes I can. And I can categorically say that the Sabbath is the only commandment in the Decalogue that links salvation by grace with the establishment of the Law in our hearts. And I can categorically say that it is the Seventh Day Sabbath (and no substitute) that fulfils this role. That is because I know the God that gave the commandment, how He works and what is acceptable to Him. You don’t. The Sunday worshipping Christians assume they do, but don’t really understand the relationship between law, grace and God. And many of them are not interested to know either.

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    • “I, and I alone know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God!”……davinci 😉

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      • davinci,
        I’m afraid you will need to convince me that those old stories from the
        Bible are true, before I can accept any of your thesis. As it is, there is simply no evidence to validate them. Always fascinating just how many of the marvellous and wonderful things that are recorded, just had to have taken place both long ago and far away. Very convenient.

        Oh by the way, thanks, – I greatly appreciated the details you offered there about Seventh Day observance. The discussion that followed was also quite enlightening. I’ve always maintained that in any discussion about Christianity, the various contributors just need to make plain their views (or the teachings of their specific church) about the conditions for Salvation and damnation. It should also be one of the first things an Evangelical should make plain to his listeners. Good for you.

        For me of course, I hold to no such principles, since I belong to traditions that do not propose either a single heaven or hell following just one brief lifetime. I accept no specific doctrine about some hypothetical Salvation. And dont bother to remind me again that I am clearly lost for all eternity. I know your views perfectly well.

        Cheers, Rian.

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    • Rian,
      Your statement above is based on the premise that one does not need to take God seriously. God is not particular over trivial matters.

      But the Bible has something different to say.
      – Adam and Eve introduced death and destruction in the world because they did not take God seriously and failed what many today believe was a trivial test.
      – Hophni and Phineas were killed by God because they did not carry out a ritual in the manner that God prescribed. To those unfamiliar with Scripture it would seem a harsh punishment for a trivial matter.
      – Uzzah was destroyed for trying to steady the ark of the covenant whilst it was transported. Again we are dealing with a situation where it seems that God was punishing someone for a difference of opinion on how sacred things should be handled.
      – Solomon had his kingdom divided because he regarded the way God should be worshipped trivial. It became trivial whether he sacrificed to other gods alongside Jehovah. It became trivial whether the wives he married were believers or not. It became trivial whether building up his armies contravened what Jehovah had said about building up horses and chariots.
      – Jesus withstood the devil in the wilderness over matters that seem trivial to us. There are sections of Christianity that teach us to discard the Bible in order to get a feed. There are sections of Christianity that believe in making a spectacle of themselves (they would jump off the Temple if it would suit their motives). There are Christian who sacrifice Biblical doctrines in order to have political power despite the fact that Jesus made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world.
      – Ananias and Sapphira were killed because of lying to the Holy Spirit. To many Christians this is trivial; after all, what is a little lie they reason.

      And then we have Jesus claiming that “I and the Father are one”.

      For those who claim to be Christian and are reading this blog tell me:

      ” Is God not as particular today as He was in the past?”

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      • You’re no different to my Catholic friend who prays for hubby and I (me?) every day in her Prayer For The Lost.

        God has given us His Word, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit to guide us. We are under a NEW dispensation. No, God has not changed, but we are no longer under the LAW.

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      • That is good sense Mon.
        The Apostle Paul said that each individual Christian should decide whether to observe a Sabbath rest, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). We are to worship God every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday.

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      • Monica, re the new dispensation.
        I’m bringing this forward from the previous page.
        The Office of Prophet has been done away with in like manner as the office of Priest.

        Priest’s under the old order needed a tent of meeting or the temple. They needed the ark of the Covenant. Priests, the Levitical Order, Prophets,, Kings or Israel, have passed away RE the church.

        the new testament’s “five fold ministry” has somethings in common with the Old Order as you point out there is included prophetic anointing, gifts/ ministry.. These aren’t the OT Prophets – stone them cold dead for any mistakes.

        Dom, above, of course, thinks he has one of those OT prophets. The mental gymnastics to try to do that is beyond fantastic. Sad.

        Bryan, quoted, they have to be absolutely 100 percent right as a concept for OT Prophet writers. Therein lies no small amount of confusion.

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      • You are VERY confused Phil. Either someone is a prophet and accurate or they are not. The bunch you seem to believe in and proclaim get it wrong most of the time.
        Again, why would anyone trust you…or them?

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      • In 2000 years the Lord hasn’t called us to put our trust in any man.

        Moses had to be listened to or death.
        OT Prophets gave warnings, pay heed or die.
        There was one set of Priests, One tabernacle in the desert, One Temple. One order for sacrifices. Do it right or die. Then Jesus poured out His own Spirit on the Church

        Anyone with a gift of healings, knowledge, prophesy, discernment, pastoring, evangelism, apostleship can step up to the plate and have themselves questioned, tested, weighed, measured by any other believers. The first and foremost test is “Does it affirm positively with the bible”, “Does it edify, build up, admonish, correct, improve, empower, liberate, deliver, encourage, sustain, unite, calm, bring peace, joy, reconcile, forebear, forgive, set-free; is it fair, uniform, achievable, faithful and pleasing?” Each being yardsticks of church ministry.

        There are two witnesses in Revelation. but not called Prophets. Any message from God has to be received, won’t contradict what He has already said. [eg muhammad] . But like a Priest-hood, Prophesy is no longer a designated One Man is keeper of the Keys, GateKeeper, Listen to everything He says or all is Lost assignment. Before the resurrection that was how things worked. Hence, kill false prophets.

        If a Rick Joyner type fails in some prediction he says “God gave him”, I’d want him to apologise to the church, repent of what he said, explain his mistake. I wouldn’t reject “all of” anyone’s service, teachings, because they interpreted some events, dream or vision incorrectly.

        The visions might be 100 percent God, but the interpretation, the vision receivers biased interpretation, Hence the warning to test all things.

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      • Phillip,

        I am in agreement with you re the NT prophets. None are like the OT prophets, but I couldn’t imagine church life without their ministry. They are a gift to the church. But I would never presume to fix a date or time period for the Lord’s return, even though I was sure the Lord told me, fifteen years ago, that it would be in my lifetime. No way! I heard wrong.

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      • Yes Monica, you are no longer under the Law, that is why on the seventh commandment, the Anglicans and others believe they have the right to divorce and remarry. You are not under the law, therefore Henry 8 use of murder was legitimate in dealing with divorced wives.

        You are not under the Law. That is why the Catholics and the Greek Orthodox believe that they can worship God by praying to saints and images of saints in spite of the fact that the first commandment of the Decalogue prohibits other “gods” such as saints, whilst the second commandment prohibits worshipping God through images of any kind.

        You are not under the law, that is why Catholics, Salvos and other Christian denominations are full of scandals involving minors, etc.

        You are not under the law, therefore by disregarding the Sabbath, one can be both a Christian and an evolutionist, despite the fact that the 4th commandment points people to a literal 6th day Creation.

        Finally, you are not under the law therefore you can be dishonest with yourself and others (denominationally speaking) when it comes to the 9th commandment which prohibits lying. You tell people that the Word of God is infallible, yet you recant when it comes to what God said in regards to time it took Him to create this world.

        Yet you all preach from the pulpit that we need the 10 Commandments to be more rigorously enforced on society – the same commandments that this “not under the law” mentality teaches its laity to disregard.

        I don’t mean to be rude, but you either don’t understand the relationship between grace and the law or have not studied this. You merely quote what others have told you without studying whether what they have told you is correct or not.

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      • Bryan and Monica,

        For an explanation on Romans 14 I refer you to Tim Heggs article “Romans 14 and the 4th Commandment” found at Torah Resources and written from a Messianic Christian perspective.

        If you cannot see how this article can Scripturally correct, you both haven’t studied your Bible as you should have. Here is an opportunity to do so and be sincere and honest with yourselves.

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      • Thanks davinci, That’s interesting

        Another view from CARM https://carm.org/should-we-keep-sabbath-or-not

        It was the custom of the Jews to come together on the Sabbath, which is Saturday, cease work, and worship God. Of the 10 commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, only nine of them were reinstituted in the New Testament. (Six in Matthew 19:18, murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, honor parents, and worshiping God; Romans 13:9, coveting. Worshiping God properly covers the first three commandments). The one that was not reaffirmed was the one about the Sabbath. Instead, Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8).

        In creation God rested on the seventh day. But, since God is all-powerful, He doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t need to take a break and rest. So, why does it say that He rested? The reason is simple: Mark 2:27 says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, God established the Sabbath as a rest for His people–not because He needed a break but because we are mortal and need a time of rest–of focus on God. In this, our spirits and bodies are both renewed.

        The O.T. system of Law required keeping the Sabbath as part of the overall moral, legal, and sacrificial system by which the Jewish people satisfied God’s requirements for behavior, government, and forgiveness of sins. The Sabbath was part of the Law in that sense. In order to “remain” in favor with God, you had to also keep the Sabbath. If it was not kept, then the person was in sin and would often be punished (Ezekiel 18:4; Rom. 6:23; Deut. 13:1-9; Num. 35:31; Lev. 20:2, etc.).

        But with Jesus’ atonement, and justification by faith (Rom. 5:1), we no longer are required to keep the Law and hence the Sabbath which was only a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:16-17). We are not under Law but grace (Rom. 6:14-15). The Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus because in Him we have rest (Matt. 11:28). We are not under obligation to keep the Law, and this goes for the Sabbath as well.

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      • Oh Bryan, Bryan, Bryan,
        Again and again you tell me that you will not debate me. Discussion yes, but argument NO. Wowie. (Just what the heck is your definition of ‘discussion? Is it any interaction with no edge or confrontation to it?)

        Just looking back some three days back, I notice that you were engaging in a very elaborate and real debate (NOT discussion) over some 8 or 9 entries each, with our good mate PG. Sometimes you even put in two or three separate postings for your answers and rebuttals; while of course you found space for a number of Scriptural quotes. Oh, and I just loved your words on May 9th, at 20.27, when you queried PG ‘Afraid to answer?’

        Weeeeeelll, it sure looks like sheer discrimination, as you pick and choose those with whom you are prepared to debate. Representatives of rival/fringe and opposing opinionated Christian persuasions get the privilege of enjoying an all out verbal battle with you, just as have certain Atheists in the past. But for me? No.
        I am more convinced than ever that when you are confronted by some of the research I’ve done (and even simple NT texts scanning) you are clearly ‘afraid to answer’. I just cant believe that you are not normally prepared to defend your Christian position with clear answers. I’ll bet anything that confronted by anyone else, you would speak out.

        Oh sure, the other day when I queried certain of your comments about the unity of the first Christian Church, you provided me with a referral to a passage out of ‘Got Answers’, stating that it might just help, I discovered with three or four careful readings of the piece, that it said not a single thing about the UNITY of the first Christian Church. Sounds like a favourite theme that is uniquely yours.

        If anything, it just backed up my contention (which was amply supported originally by me with some 32 NT quotes) that the first church was anything but single and united. Paul constantly complains about the lack of conformity, with numerous tales of intruding teachers from without, puffed up schismatics from within, and heaven knows just how many rival teachers who came up with alternative accounts of the true faith along with new ways to gain salvation.

        The reference you gave me was NO help on my question, however useful or informative on some related issues. The other thing that was clearly and specifically stated by Got Questions, was the claim that the history of that first church is actually spelt out in the New Testament, lasting from about AD30 to AD90?????

        Okay Bryan, – or anyone else here….. Please explain to me just what is wrong with Got Questions? Am I missing something there? As I read the NT, the history of that first Church, (whether divided or united) is NOT accounted for therein, from just prior to the Siege and Sacking of Jerusalem, in the mid 60s, on to AD90. Please someone, either explain to me, or failing that, make some peculiar excuse for the lapse of accuracy on behalf of the Got Questions team.

        Doesnt anyone here want to improve on the accuracy of their Christian knowledge????

        I await with great interest and excitement. Rian.

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      • No, I don’t know a lot, but to say that I just follow what others say without inquiring of God and studying the Scriptures for myself, is just plain wrong davinci.

        After much prayer and seeking God for an answer re church attendance many years ago this is what the Lord said to me, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, so if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. And that settles it for me.

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    • Bryan, this is exactly what I was talking about when I stated that people don’t know their scriptures but merely parrot out what the Scripturally ignorant would have you believe:

      “But with Jesus’ atonement, and justification by faith (Rom. 5:1), we no longer are required to keep the Law and hence the Sabbath which was only a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:16-17).”

      Let us look more closely at the Sabbath commandment to determine whether it was a shadow of things to come.

      The commandment states:
      “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

      Note the following:
      – The commandment starts with the words “remember”, before pointing us BACKWARDS TO CREATION WEEK, instead of forwards to the cross. In other words the language conveys the message that its observance was forgotten during Israel’s stay in Egypt.
      – The reason the commandment is given is due to God’s resting on the seventh day, not because of sin, and certainly not because of what Jesus did on the cross.

      Before I explain what Paul meant in Col 2 14, 15, you need to explain why you believe that the Sabbath of the Decalogue foreshadowed anything to do with Jesus. Over to you Bryan.

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  3. Ps. I’ve had a small handful of dreams I thought prophetic in some small or personal way. Once or twice I’ve seen bits of things that came to pass. Other things, to this day, I haven’t got a clue what they mean.
    It is a big leap to stand up an say, “God showed me xyz…..” While the dream or vision might be 100 percent right to turn that into a “message for the church” could be very, willful, premature, dangerous

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    • personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if 15 May this year, saw one of this world’s biggest ever geotechnical events. Standing Up and saying Thus Saith the Lord, or taking dictation from God like an OT Prophet is another thing entirely. 15 May 2015.

      God isn’t doing dictation to one man standing armies time around. IMHO

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      • @ PG:”personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if 15 May this year, saw…”

        Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing of “geotechnical” significance happened on Friday to cause the vast majority of humanity any concern whatsoever.

        But we only have three days to wait unitil we find out if our new times prophet PG is right! Doom! The end is nigh!

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      • Hi Mag,
        Just couldnt agree with you more. And I was even more amused to observe our good friend PG claiming to speak out here (rather illegitimately) on behalf of the more mainstream Christians on the List.

        All the best and Cheers,
        Rian (Dissenter, Apostate, Heretic, Fake Atheist, Disturber of the Peace, Argumentative trouble maker and heaven knows just what else!)

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      • No Phil,
        Allah is the Arabic word for God (al ilāh, literally “the God The word has cognates in other Semitic languages, including Elah in Aramaic, ʾĒl in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.
        “Allah” is the same word used by Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs centuries before Islam came.

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      • The Arabic word for “god” is “ilah”, while “al” is the Arabic for “the”. Therefore, “Allah” combines “al” with “ilah” and removes the “i”, to literally means, “the god”.

        But much like “YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah” is the personal name of the God of the Bible, “Allah” was also the personal name given to the moon god, the highest of the 360 pagan idols worshipped in Mecca, Muhammad’s home town (see Muhammad False Prophet.

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      • I sat talking to an Egyptian Coptic Christian woman less than 10 months ago. Egyptians do not consider themselves Arabs even though they speak the language. She told me they commonly use the English God not to confuse the Christian God with the Arabic/ Islamic allah.

        allah told muhammad, not praising him, that there is not Holy Spirit and Jesus didn’t die on the Cross or rise from the dead.

        How will you personally receive allah? Like Muhammad did?

        Paul, asked and answered, how do you know the spirit of anti-Christ?
        It is to Jesus to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.
        That He is LORD, YHWH

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      • Moon God ? Someone better go make some changes to the Persian and Arabic bibles then.

        In Aramaic God is elahh.

        At some point you will hit the one truth.

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      • Yes, I too have heard all those teachings about Islam and their Sun God, courtesy of the Seventh Day Adventists (giggle) but I’ve been given the gift of ‘diverse tongues’ and at times of deep worship, I find myself uttering the name of ‘Allah’, over and over again and I can assure you that I am neither Arabic or a Muslim. It is the Arabic name of the One True God!

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      • God, Isn’t a name, it is an appellation-title.
        YHWH is the name. By my name YH.
        Abba, Father, is also a title – by which His children scripturally are known to cry out “Abba father – have mercy on us”
        YHWH is the name,

        So Mon if you are saying “Allah” is a name not title, then Allah does not equate to “God” – which is title.

        It is certainly interesting what God has told you Mon. Does it line up with what Allah told Muhammad? Have you received the same spirit into your life as the muhammad [no praise intended]

        The One True God, isn’t exactly into lying to His children.

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      • What is the gift of ‘diverse tongues’ Phillip?

        You obviously have no idea.

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      • And to think only a little while ago Don Rumsfeld would appear on your TV screen to tell you that he didn’t know where, or when, or why, or how – BUT something terrible was about to happen…….

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      • Hey Dom,

        Don’t you remember the vagueness of Rumsfeld’s terror warning ?

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      • Rian, good to hear from you after so long. I don’t get much time to participate in the forum much, as I am currently doing a course in an attempt to get a job at 60 . On the aside, I am constantly surprised by PG for the following reasons –

        1) he thinks that his brand of christianity is the only correct one and will constantly berate others.
        2) he dislikes evolution with a vengeance, and has proven that he has no idea what it is.
        3) he really dislikes the fact that atheism has a voice. I think that he misses the ‘good old days’ when atheists had to sit in the corner and shut up.
        4) he doesn’t like being contradicted.
        5) his ego is phenominal.
        6) he prattles on endlessly under the misapprehension that others don’t know the same histories.
        7) he doesn’t seem to understand that the same God is a commonality to all 3 Abrahamic religions.
        8) he will constantly tell others what they really ‘think’ and ‘know’.

        I think that about covers the arrogance and impertinence of this man.

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    • What about the 10 to 12 million Arab Christians today? They have been calling God ‘Allah’ in their Bibles, hymns, poems, writings, and worship for over nineteen centuries.

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  4. I’m always amused by Christians arguing with each other. The all have the ‘truth’, yet their particular ‘truth’ is ‘truer’ than the other persons ‘truth’, but they are still ‘truer’ than other religions ‘truth’.

    It’s all OK in the end though, you can all gang up agin atheists and have a united front using a common ‘truth’.

    After a reasonable amount of time congratulating yourselves on dispatching a common foe, you can start with the internal bickering all over again.

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    • While by comparison Sunnis and Shia are turning Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Libya, Yemen into Gay/ Atheist tourist destinations. Between communist utopias and Islamic Caliphates atheists have so many places to pick from for a relaxing holiday brushing up on Harris, Russell and Hitchens [insert your flavour of the month]. Perhaps scientifically rational North Korea attracts you?
      And dear Mag, we are all amused that you are amused. Why its like you are in a veritable petri dish while us sophisticates scoff laugh mock and insinuate. At least you get to eat jelly. Thanks for the contribution. It was all together original.

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  5. “The word denomination is not found in the Bible. Jesus never taught there should be divisions in the church with significant doctrinal differences. The original church was a single congregation of Christ’s followers.”

    Its this sort of false premise people fall on to falsly accuse Christians of a lack of unity. Mcdonalds is also not in the Bible. The ” original” Church was spread out and Paul spent much time sending letters and visiting these Churches with all thier different views. But He always united them in love through jesus.

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    • Fascinating that just for once, Alexie and I are in agreement over something. And since I’ve so far had no explanations or rationale for the discrepancy I found in the famous ‘Got Questions’, I wonder if any other of the Christians on this blog could tackle the matter.

      Again, when I queried Bryan’s repeat of his old statement that the original Church was single, united and undivided, he referred me to the interesting little commentary on GQs. As I pointed out, the Answer there at no time mentioned such a single undivided church.

      On previous occasions here, I quoted some 30 texts from the NT in which divisions, heresies and expulsions, etc etc are described within the early church especially by Paul in his Epistles. To further top it off, the Got Questions piece actually made a point of these same various divisions and problems.

      To top it off too, as I said before, the article stated specifically that the NT relates the history of the Christian Church from roughly AD30 up till AD90. Now, search as I may through the NT, and looking through the books of my library, I can see no details there of any of the history following the middle years of AD60s when the Roman sacking of Jerusalem was immanent.. I’m sure that every Christian historian would just love to get hold of detailed and verifiable information about the church between AD65 and AD90.

      Can anyone here give me some further information on all that and explain just how Got Questions could get it so wrong? That Internet site is tremendously influential, and it makes me wonder about its veracity on other matters.

      Cheers, Rian.

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      • Bryan is still correct in their unity. Unity in love with one Holy Spirt, one Word and one baptism.

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    • The early Christian church in the first three centuries after Jesus’s resurrection brought about the most amazing transformation of diverse social and religious cultures ever achieved by peaceful means in the history of the world. How did it happen? What kind of people were these? What was special about their way of living and believing?

      It would be a mistake to romanticize the early church as an age of purity to which we should seek to return. The churches always had their problems and internal struggles. Nevertheless, the early churches as a whole did represent something different in their world. It attracted both devoted followers and brutal persecutors. To see what these early believers were like, let’s go to the sources and hear what they were bold to proclaim about themselves.

      From the First Apology of Justin (c. AD 150)
      First, an early philosopher, Justin Martyr, wrote to the Roman emperor, Antonius Pius around AD 150 to defend the Christians. In the excerpt below we see how the believers were eager to invite the most intense scrutiny of their lives. At the same time note how he reminds the most powerful man in that world that he may not really be as much in charge as he thinks.

      Since you are called pious and philosophers, guardians of justice and lovers of learning, pay attention and listen to my address. If you are indeed followers of learning, it will be clear. We have not come to flatter you by this writing nor please you by our address, but to beg that you pass judgment after an accurate and searching investigation. . . . As for us, no evil can be done to us unless we are convicted as evildoers or proved to be wicked men. You can kill us. But you cannot hurt us.

      To avoid anyone thinking that this is an unreasonable and reckless declaration, we demand that the charges against the Christians be investigated. If these are substantiated, we should be justly punished. But if no one can convict us of anything, true reason forbids you to wrong blameless men because of evil rumors. If you did so, you would be harming yourselves in governing affairs by emotions rather than by intelligence. . . . It is our task, therefore, to provide to all an opportunity of inspecting our life and teachings. . . . It is your business, when you hear us, to be good judges, as reason demands. If, when you have learned the truth, you do not do what is just, you will be without excuse before God.

      How Did the Early Christians Describe Themselves?

      The Epistle to Diognetes, c. AD 130
      Here is a gem we are most fortunate to have as only one copy survived the centuries. We do not know who wrote it. It came from the second century. It was, like the New Testament, originally written in Greek. In this brief excerpt we have preserved a magnificent description of Christian living in what was expected in the early church community.

      For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life.

      They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word — what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.

      From the Apology of Tertullian, AD 197
      The “apology” was not saying “sorry” but was a defense of a viewpoint. One of the most colorful early church scholars was the North African Tertullian, who lived from around AD 160-225. He commended the Christian faith to the pagan world. In this excerpt we get priceless insight into the practices of early Christian worship, discipline, leadership selection and financial giving. But most significantly, Tertullian preserves the amazing pagan observation of the Christians: “See how they love one another.”

      We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This strong exertion God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation. We assemble to read our sacred writings . . . and with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more steadfast; and no less by inculcations of God’s precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when anyone has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are . . . not spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines or banished to the islands or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred. See, they say about us, how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves would sooner kill.

      Governor Pliny writes Emperor Trajan for advice in dealing with “The Christian Problem,” AD 112
      Pliny, the Roman governor in Bithynia, in present day Turkey, had a problem. What was he to do with the Christians who were spreading rapidly? He wrote to his emperor Trajan in Rome, seeking advice. He describes the Christian problem and shows how some under pressure were willing to renounce their faith and others were not. He then gives valuable description of Christian life, practice and worship at that time.

      An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years, They all worshipped your image and the statues of the Gods, and cursed Christ. They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit, fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food — but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition.

      And, finally, the observations of a prominent present day researcher.
      Sociologist Rodney Stark analyzed the survival and growth of the early church in the first few centuries. Here is his fascinating summary of the Early Church.

      “. . . Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear, and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world. . . . Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fire, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services. . . . For what they brought was not simply an urban movement, but a new culture capable of making life in Greco-Roman cities more tolerable.” Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, Princeton University Press, 1996, page 161.

      http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/what-were-early-christians-like-11629560.html

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      • Carla,
        a very good coverage of early documentation about the role and experience of the early church. Some good reminders there.

        However, you are saying not a word about the undoubted history of the church between AD65 and AD90. Interesting too, that there is no word in those quotes about an essential unity and single nature of the church at any time.

        But unfortunately it is simply fact that we have no primary records about the period in the church. And there are still no Roman writings or inscriptions dating within the first century specifically that even mention Christians or Christianity. All the earliest known ones date from the 2nd century only.

        Anyway, good material there Carla. Thanks

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • You’re right Rian. We don’t have any definite records of early Christianity apart from the Paul’s writings in Acts. I would consider that a primary source but I accept that you don’t.

        Anyway Cheers and sorry if I’ve been a bit hard on you of late. No hard feelings mate

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      • Carla,
        While it is easier to point to diversity than to simplicity or clarity among those who early expressed faith, it must also be said that from the beginning the believers insisted that they were—or were intended to be, or were commanded and were striving to be—united in their devotion to the essence of their faith tradition. There could not have been many final truths, and there were not many legitimate ways of salvation. It was of the essence of their tradition to reject other gods and other ways, and most defining of essence and identity occurred as one set of Christians was concerned lest others might deviate from the essential faith and might, for example, be attracted to other gods or other ways.

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      • British scholar, James G. Dunn says they would all agree that “the Risen Jesus is the Ascended Lord.” That is to say, there would have been no faith tradition and no scriptures had not the early believers thought that Jesus was “Risen,” raised from the dead, and, as “Ascended,” somehow above the ordinary plane of mortal and temporal experience.

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      • I quite agree John. if Jesus truly rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit just as the earliest eyewitnesses claimed, then the “”conflict” version of early church history could not be correct. The continuing headship of Christ over the worldwide church (Colossians 1:18) and the abiding presence of Christ through the indwelling Spirit (John 14:16, 18) both guarantee that the true church would remain united around the central doctrines of the Christian faith, even in the face of internal and external conflict. Irenaeus—a student of John’s disciple, Polycarp—described the unity of the church near the end of the second century in terms that still reflect the church today:

        The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father . . .

        As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. . . . For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.10.1, 2)

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      • Thanks for that Bryan,
        No hard feeling at all.

        Let me assure you that along with most historians and authorities I do acknowledge a great part of Paul’s Epistles as being legitimate primary sources. (that specifically refers of course to the proportion of them which are pretty universally acknowledged to have been written by him). My biggest problems come with parts of the Acts of the Apostles, which has been criticized and often dissected to its detriment by scholars in a fashion that is scarcely known by regular Christian believers.

        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

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