Christianity is not a religion

Christianity is not a matter of rules and regulations. Or jumping through the right hoops to please God.

Andrew Farley tried to do that and ended up nearly crazy.

As a young man Andrew Farley was consumed by the thought that God was disappointed in him. ,

He became addicted to evangelising on the street. He sometimes stood outside convenience stores until 4am, trying desperately to save someone.

“I’d stand up on the subway and preach to the entire train car, I was still empty inside,’’ he says.

He tried to keep the Ten Commandments and failed miserably.

He ended up losing his friends and hitting rock bottom, exhausted and burnt out. Doctors recommended pills or therapy.

Decades on, Farley has realized that he was a Christian legalist, He was trying to impress God by jumping through hoops.

Farley believes that’s a common problem for Christians. In his book Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear In Church, Farley writes that Christianity is more than a behavior-improvement program dressed up in religious clothing.

It requires as much unlearning as learning, and a willingness to peel away the layers of religiosity.

Farley believes his faith is now more about love and freedom rather than rules.

He controversially suggests that Christians don’t need a moral code to instruct them how to live righteous lives.

“Christians do not need the Ten Commandments as a moral guide, and in fact, Christians need to get over their fixation with what is actually about 600 Old Testament regulations,’’ Farley says.

“Loving your God and loving your neighbour as Jesus asked us to do covers all that. You’re not going to murder someone or cheat on your spouse if you love your neighbour. And if you love God, you’re going to live an upright life.

“As a believer, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more; and there is nothing you can do to make God love you less. God just loves you.  There is only one response to this kind of Love walking in it.’’

It’s a challenging thought. One that will not sit comfortably with the churches that push rules. Or those that argue that God will reward you if you just give enough money in the collection plates.

The gospel of prosperity is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Guilt about materialism has gone the way of belief in a literal hell. Pragmatism has replaced passion, and the Holy One has been homogenised.

Sociologist Robert Wuthnow, of Princeton University, wrote:  “At one point theologians argued that the chief purpose of humankind was to glorify God. Now it would seem the logic has been reversed. The chief purpose of God is to glorify humankind. “

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68 thoughts on “Christianity is not a religion

  1. “”Christianity is not a religion”””
    Aaah !!
    You would expect by now that people would stop saying or posting wide open statements.
    The holes in that claim are vast !
    A very important hole is the TAX BREAKS GIVEN TO THOSE DELIVERING “”placebo on the claim they are a RELIGION .

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    • To repeat what Ps. Frangipane says, there is no doubt that the world is watching how we relate to those who are morally wrong, even when we are biblically right. And they are watching to see if we sound like the Savior or like the Pharisees.

      But much more importantly than how the world sees us, is how Christ sees us. That puts things into perspective, I think…..and silences the irritating background noise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Do you have evidence for the placebo?
      Holes in the claims? Do you have evidence for holes? Are wide statements against the law?
      Is there really anyone asking?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” ~ Matt 22:37-40

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    • So how do you demonstrate this love in practical terms Alexie?

      When you consider the practical aspects of love, you always come back to the Ten Commandments.

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  3. RC Sproul describes the relationship well in Christianity. Although he believes its a religion too the description he outlines about our relationship is very good.

    What this aphorism, “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion,” is getting at however, is not only true, but important. That is, the Christian faith is not merely signing off on these historical events. “Yes, I believe this happened. Yes, I believe that happened.” The devil himself, along with his minions, can agree with the historical account (James 2:19). They can even agree with the sound interpretation of that history. They believe Jesus died for sinners. They believe men have peace with God as they repent and trust in His finished work alone. Trouble is, they hate the truths they can affirm (much like a godly person can affirm that the Baltimore Ravens are the current Super Bowl champions, and hate that truth). They know the religion. Their relationship is all hate.

    What we are affirming when we emphasize the relationship is that we delight not just in the truths about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but that we delight in them. What we affirm, better still, is that because of these historical truths, we have not only been forgiven, but adopted, that we have been made the very children of God. Because of these historical truths, because of His love for us from eternity, we are indwelt by the Spirit. Because of these historical truths, because of what He did, we are the very bride of Christ. Because of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we are together the very body of Christ. Christianity isn’t then a relationship, but a series of relationships, all grounded not in a religion, but the religion.

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  4. I believe it is a religion, though one that focuses on relationships, and uses historical events to proclaim itself. All religions worship. their god. All religions expect followers to serve a god, and ask that god to serve them in seemingly miraculous ways.

    Don’t most Christians see Jesus as Lord, and try to serve him? Don’t most turn to him for help in times of trouble and despair? Don’t they see in him both the suffering servant, and the Divine?

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    • No Strewth they don’t. They pay lip service to Him. And many only turn to Him when they are in distress, then turn their back on Him in prosperity.

      You only have to compare the church pews on an average weekend with the church pews on Easter and Christmas, and see what comes out of the woodwork and claims to be Christian at easter and Christmas only.

      Then you have what is known as “cafeteria Christians” who pick and choose what they want to believe.

      So no! Not every one that claims to be a Christian is. That is why Jesus said that not everyone that calls Him “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. That is why He said that we shall know people by their fruits.

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      • Davinci, it is easy for them to say they are Christians, perhaps even believe so. Only their words, not their inner sentiments, are taken into account. People can fail in their actions and of course still be Christians, but unless the heart is in the right place it’s hard to believe.

        Surely for a true Christian, Christianity is a religion? Don’t most true Christians see Jesus as Lord, and try to serve him? Don’t most turn to him for help in times of trouble and despair? Don’t they see in him both the suffering servant, and the Divine?

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  5. Definition of religion from Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition

    religion
    /rɪˈlɪdʒən/
    noun
    1. belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
    2. any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief: the Christian religion
    3. the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers

    So how does Christianity not encompass most if not all of these ?

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    • Other definitions vary, quite a few actually.
      One might say there is the “religion” called Christianity.
      But quite separate is the faith in a living God who saves.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_defn1.htmProblems with definitions:

      The English word “religion” is derived from the Middle English “religioun” which came from the Old French “religion.” It may have been originally derived from the Latin word “religo” which means “good faith,” “ritual,” and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin “religâre” which means “to tie fast.”

      Defining the word “religion” is fraught with difficulty. Many attempts have been made. Many people focus on a very narrow definition that matches the individual’s own religion, but few others. A humorous case is in Henry Fielding’s novel “Tom Jones.” where he has one character say:

      “By religion I mean Christianity, by Christianity I mean Protestantism, by Protestantism I mean the Church of England as established by law.”

      Many definitions focus too narrowly on only a few aspects of religion; they tend to exclude those religions that do not fit well. As Kile Jones 1 wrote in his essay on defining religion that was once included in our website’s visitors’ essays section:
      “It is apparent that religion can be seen as a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological phenomenon of human kind. To limit religion to only one of these categories is to miss its multifaceted nature and lose out on the complete definition.”
      All of the definitions that we have encountered contain at least one deficiency:

      bullet Some exclude beliefs and practices that many people passionately defend as religious. For example, their definition might requite a belief in a God or Goddess or combination of Gods and Goddesses who are responsible for the creation of the universe and for its continuing operation. This excludes such non-theistic religions as Buddhism and many forms of religious Satanism which have no such belief.

      bullet Some definitions equate “religion” with “Christianity,” and thus define two out of every three humans in the world as non-religious.

      bullet Some definitions are so broadly written that they include beliefs and areas of study that most people do not regard as religious. For example, David Edward’s definition would seem to include cosmology and ecology within his definition of religion — fields of investigation that most people regard to be a scientific studies and non-religious in nature.

      bullet Some define “religion” in terms of “the sacred” and/or “the spiritual,” and thus require two additional terms to be defined.

      bullet Sometimes, definitions of “religion” contain more than one deficiency.

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      • So when Census time comes again, what do I put down for ‘religion’? None, but I talk to God ’cause we have a relationship. Or, oh no, I don’t follow a religion, but I delight in my ‘gift’? Of course Christianity is a religion! Strictly speaking it is, and to say otherwise is absurd. Until we have been perfected and sin no more, ie., we are led by the Spirit of God 100% and our flesh has been well & truly crucified, we still need to follow a set of rules to keep us on the straight and narrow. Therefore Christianity will always be a religion this side of Heaven.

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      • Hi Mon

        Sets of rules. Yes, but so do Muslims, atheists and all of humanity.
        So there a difference? Yes.
        Our relationship with Jesus, which is not in any definition of religion.
        As for the census, this is a secular government document so we follow what they ask us to do and fill it in. Religion: Christian. But if that is all it is to you then one needs to ask, as the Bible states, to test our salvation.

        True believers have the Holy Spirit (4:13; 5:10-11). This is an over-arching test. Is there evidence that the fruit of the Spirit is present in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)
        In summary, one’s assurance of salvation does not need to be based on a past decision or an experience. It should rest first of all on one’s faith in the objective truth of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. Secondly, it should rest on the reality of a changed life marked by obedience, a love for Christ and His righteousness, and a hatred for sin. Take heart if these things are true in your life, and trust God to continue to work out His salvation in your life.

        You do not need rules to hate sin. You do not require religion to have faith in Jesus and His Word. You require the indwelling of the Spirit, a relationship of which is not our doing. When we said Yes it is first the renewing of our hearts that allows us to say yes. This cannot be religion.

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      • Mon,

        “Has Richard Dawkins got a point? I think so…”

        You quoting RD in agreement? I just did some checks to see if I was living in an alternate 2015. Parents as they were: Check. No DeLorean in the carport. Check. 😉

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      • Hi Dom,

        It is my understanding that Jesus was a good Jew. He attended the Synagogue faithfully, observed the feasts and festivals and religious holidays, kept the Law (better than anybody), and made it his mission to obey God perfectly. As someone said, you had better hope Jesus was super-religious, in fact, because it’s His perfect religion we rely on for our righteousness.

        For Christians, Christ is the reality of the Law. If we come to the Law without seeking Christ, that is religion. That’s what the Pharisees failed to do. This is something we all struggle with to some degree as well. The law functions to expose us, and also shows us the living portrait of who God is. When we dwell in Christ, then the law is fulfilled. But we can’t do it the other way around.

        We as Christians should make the right distinctions, lest we put ourselves in the Pharisaical place of saying “I thank you God I’m not like those religious people.”

        The above taken from comments on:

        http://gospeldrivenchurch.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/jesus-was-religious.html

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      • Monica,
        Yes Jesus was a good Jew.

        Yet He is our example for us to follow… from what point in His life?

        Certainly not from His birth, because He was circumcised and we are not obliged to do so. Certainly not from His bar Mitzvah till His Baptism, because the Bible is silent on the matter; His example in that era is sketchy or non existent.

        So we can only follow Jesus’ example from His Baptism onward. The only way we can determine His example for us before baptism, is by the things He did after His baptism (how He obtained victory over Satan in the wilderness for example).

        We can almost infer that His life before His baptism was preparatory for His life after baptism.

        As for the Pharisees. They received condemnation from Jesus because notwithstanding that they had the law, they weighed it down so much with human teaching/traditions that it became a burdensome yoke to follow. One only needs to have a cursory reading of the Mishnah to appreciate how much bulldust surrounded the law of God courtesy of the lawyers, scribes and Pharisees. Of course, when you are surrounded by bulldust, it is hard to see any objects obscured by the aforementioned bulldust. It was Jesus’ aim to dispel the bulldust, not dispel the law that was obscured by bulldust. “all that they teach you to observe do, but don’t follow after their works” He said.

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      • There was a crucial thing that the apostles needed in order to be the most effective instruments in the hands of the living Jesus. They needed to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

        “And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘You heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 1:4–5)

        Three years earlier John the Baptist had led a brief renewal movement among the Jewish people by calling them to repent and receive forgiveness for their sins and be baptized as a sign of their new relationship to God (Luke 3:3). But John made it clear that the Messiah was coming soon and would baptize the people not merely in water but in the Holy Spirit. In Luke 3:16 he says,

        “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

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      • Yes Bryan,

        But the Holy Spirit does not abrogate the Law of God.

        “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21.

        We understand that through the conscience, it is the Holy Spirit that prompts us to follow what is right and what is wrong

        The apostle Paul stated that it is possible to have a conscience that is seared with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2) meaning that it is insensible to promptings of right and wrong. The murderer, the adulterer, the thief also have the law. But unless the Holy Spirit convicts them that it is wrong to break the law, they will justify breaking it by regarding it on the grounds of situational ethics.

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      • For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
        Galatians 5

        But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit”

        (Rom. 7:6).

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      • Galatians 3:23 Until Christ came we were guarded by the law, kept in protective custody, so to speak, until we could believe in the coming Savior.

        24 Let me put it another way. The Jewish laws were our teacher and guide until Christ came to give us right standing with God through our faith. 25 But now that Christ has come, we don’t need those laws any longer to guard us and lead us to him. 26 For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, 27 and we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by him. 28 We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same—we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us.

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      • Either way davinci,

        It’s too late for someone with a seared conscience.

        “Paul identifies those who have a seared conscience in 1 Timothy 4:1–2: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” In this passage, we learn three things about false teachers who lead others into apostasy: 1) they are mouthpieces for evil spirits, since they promulgate “things taught by demons”; 2) they are hypocritical liars, since they wear a mask of holiness but are full of falsehood; and 3) they are unscrupulous, since their consciences have been cauterized. This explains much. How can false teachers lie with no shame and spread deception with no compunction? Because they have seared consciences. They are past feeling that lying is wrong.”—-Got Questions Org

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  6. Christianity is not a religion as it is a gift. We can choose to accept it or not of course.
    The gift is through Jesus. We may join a Church, obey and even call ourselves religious, but the gift ids not religion. It is pure love, joy and faith.

    “The Kingdom of God is a gift, and precisely because of this, it is great and beautiful, and constitutes the response to our hope. And we cannot – to use the classical expression – ‘merit’ Heaven through our works. Heaven is always more than we could merit, just as being loved is never something ‘merited,’ but always a gift.”
    – Pope Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013), Spe Salvi, par. 35.

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    • We also believe a person can only get into heaven through the grace of God. Nothing you can do can earn it. So not a valid excuse to say Christianity is not a religion.

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      • Very different in Islam. Upon death you do not know if Allah has indeed given you salvation. Whether your debts outweigh your good deeds.

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      • Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A prostitute saw a dog lolling around a well on a hot day and hanging his tongue from thirst. She drew some water for it in her shoe, so Allah forgave her.”

        Source: Sahih Muslim 2245

        Do you think giving a dog some water out weights any debt she may have ?

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      • No one alive is assured salvation. We pray for God’s grace.

        “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
        Matthew 7:21-23

        Seems to suggest to me a lot of people are going to find out they don’t have the salvation they thought they had. Only those who do the will of the creator in heaven.

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    • depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

      Would mean depart from me those who acted outside the law ?

      We can only get to heaven by the grace of God but we have to make an effort.

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    • Dom, I find it sad you have come back with an out of context verse from a sea of verse within the Bible. You will not answer if you are assured as you are not. I think your understanding of Grace and Mercy are not Christian ones. Your comment about a dog and prostitute make a mockery of your religion Islam which has no assurance for anyone.
      The Bible has many verse about being sealed, not being forsaken etc. On the cross a criminal accepted Jesus as saviour and was assured by jesus he would be in paradise with Him.
      I believe your own insecurity created the stimulus to come back with a Bible verse as you have and is the reason you will never say, “I have no assurance of salvation”. There is a way for that assurance if you would only accept.

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      • Alexie,
        The criminal on the cross did not ‘accept Jesus as Saviour’. You are reading an awful lot into the account.
        Rian.

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      • Bryan,
        On the basis of the text, there is no evidence that the criminal ‘accepted Jesus as his Saviour’. None of you happened to be there either. And so you simply dont know anything at all more than those two speeches attributed to the criminal and to Jesus. You are just working of assumptions and bias. You are adopting an anachronistic approach to a very old text.

        if the text is literally correct, then if that criminal was ‘saved’ then it wasnt because he had made any acceptance of Jesus as Saviour. Jews generally did not believe in the Christian viewpoint of Salvation, which was a later development. . To them, being ‘saved’ meant simply being on God’s winning side when the Romans were overthrown.
        Rian.

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      • Luke(23:38-43).

        And there was also a superscription over him, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? Save thyself and us. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

        The Penitent Thief is recorded as asking Jesus o “remember him” when Jesus “came into” his kingdom. The thief obviously recognises Jesus as the Messiah.

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      • The words reported for the saved criminal were “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”.

        This is of course only relevant if you take the bible as unquestionable truth!

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      • Now I start to see the ad hominem attacks. Usually a sign you really don’t have a come back. 🙂

        I come back with a bible verse because you will not accept anything else. As it turns out you don’t even accept that. I think that is why Christians love Paul so much. He explicitly states what Christians love to hear. You can have your cake and eat it. You can live it up in this world and then cruise into the next.

        Jesus pbuh message was simple and it appealed to the poor of the time. He is very clear; on judgement day, which will be a day of horrors that is 50,000 years long, people will come running to Jesus pbuh for protection believing they are saved and he will disown them. What is you interpretation of Matthew 7:21-23 Alexie ?

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      • “Now I start to see the ad hominem attacks. Usually a sign you really don’t have a come back.”

        False premise. Still no answer from you in your uncertanty.

        “I come back with a bible verse because you will not accept anything else. As it turns out you don’t even accept that.”

        To say this after what I mentioned about the verse out of context and my otters comments shows you are possibly belligerent or just having a go at us.

        But perhaps it is this:
        “You can live it up in this world and then cruise into the next.”

        If this is your view of Christ and Christianity then it is very little of the truth that is God.

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      • “What is you interpretation of Matthew 7:21-23 Alexie?”

        Well its not your out of context spin on it that is for sure. Then you try to reuse it even after the verse I used. Then you retort that I would not accept your commentary on it. Unbelievably arrogant.

        First of all you cannot lose your salvation. And we can be certain.

        It is clear that the apostles knew with absolute certainty that they were saved and they wanted their readers to know this as well (Luke 10:20; John 13:10; Rom. 8:31-39; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 2:12-14, 25; 5:13). Only a few amongst a sea of certainty.

        “He who does the will of My Father.”

        Jesus had had one act of obedience in mind: believing the gospel.

        “It is God’s will that none should perish but that all should come to a change of mind about the gospel (2 Pet. 3:9).

        Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).

        In John 3:36 John is quoted as saying, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe/obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

        The early Christians, the supreme disobedience was a refusal to believe their gospel.

        A person who trusts in Christ alone obeys completely the will of the Father to believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal salvation.

        So some may say Lord, Lord but do not have a belief in Christ as Saviour. In fact this applies to Muslims too. If they would call out to obey God’s anointed one they too can be saved.

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      • I guess ad hominem attacks must be one of the tools you use in your debating.

        I think I will take my time with your list. You of course will ignore it all and come back with something totally unrelated again and try to discredit me again but that is life.

        It is clear that the apostles knew with absolute certainty that they were saved and they wanted their readers to know this as well (Luke 10:20; John 13:10; Rom. 8:31-39; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 2:12-14, 25; 5:13). Only a few amongst a sea of certainty.

        Yes I agree the apostles may well have been given the glad tidings of heaven. They earned it after all. We are not in that boat. You can’t assume just because they were told, everyone else is. Remember there will be many disappointed people who were doing stuff in Jesus pbuh name that will get a rude shock.

        I’ll look at the will of the father next. I’ll give you a hint. Every prophet had the same message of what God wanted .. so it was important.

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      • Another False premise. Being shown to be wrong with verse from the Bible is hardly an attack on you. Repeating it does not make it true either.

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      • Being shown to be wrong with verse from the Bible is hardly an attack on you.

        No but calling me Unbelievably arrogant because I differed from you opinion is. By the way you have not shown me anything. You just threw in verses that spoke of Apostles being granted heaven. Nothing to do with my statement that no one today is guaranteed heaven.

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  7. “He controversially suggests that Christians don’t need a moral code to instruct them how to live righteous lives.”

    That is not what the Scriptures teach.

    While we need to point the sinner to Jesus as the one who can take away sin, we also need to explain to him what sin is, and show him that he can be saved from his sins, but not in them.

    1) He must be made to realize that “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Paul makes the inquiry, many years after the death of Christ, “Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Rom. 7:7. Thus Paul exalts the moral law.

    2) He must be pointed to Jesus as man’s example. But Jesus declares “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” John 15:10. And Jesus also stated that “I and my Father are one,” John 10:30.
    Meanwhile the disciple of love urges that every follower of Christ “ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6.

    3) He must be made to understand the relationship between the gospel and the law. Paul said that “the just shall live by faith” Hebrews 10:38. But Paul also said “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law.” Rom. 3:31. And again he declares that the “law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Rom. 7:12 (speaking specifically of the ten commandments).

    4) He must be made to understand that the law is a schoolmaster intended to drive us to Christ (Gal. 3:25). Let him who has a brain understand.

    In contrast we have Andrew Farley preaching a gospel that can be described by the following lyrics:

    “I don’t want to go to school
    I just want to break the rules”

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    • The obstacle to experiencing victory over temptation is the way in which we’ve gone about the battle. When we arm ourselves with the law, we set ourselves up for failure every time. We may call it self-discipline or accountability – or plug in some other inventive term. But when it’s anything but dependency on Christ within us, it’ll inevitably put the wheels of human effort in motion.

      Andrew Farley, The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 56

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      • “The obstacle to experiencing victory over temptation is the way in which we’ve gone about the battle.”

        Agreed.

        “When we arm ourselves with the law, we set ourselves up for failure every time.”

        Wrong. By the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 7:7). Sin is described as transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). If you don’t have the law, you set yourself for failure every time on situational ethics, moral relativity, etc. Half the battle in overcoming sin, is knowing why you take a certain path or not. Jesus overcame the Devil in the wilderness through obedience to the law, which said “thou shalt not tempt God”, “thou shalt only worship God”. Was Jesus faced with situational ethics? Yes He was.

        “We may call it self-discipline or accountability – or plug in some other inventive term.”

        Agreed. This fool thought he could keep the law on his own, without Christ. And when he realised that he failed to obey the law and thus overcome sin, he started teaching a gospel where law and Christ are separated.

        “But when it’s anything but dependency on Christ within us, it’ll inevitably put the wheels of human effort in motion.”

        Wrong. Because Farley also said “Christians do not need the Ten Commandments as a moral guide, and in fact, Christians need to get over their fixation with what is actually about 600 Old Testament regulations,’’

        But what does the Bible say? “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (jeremiah 31:33).

        And then we have Jesus on the question of murder and adultery where He broadens the same law to include thoughts of hatred, lust, etc.

        So while Farley is correct in saying that we need Christ’s dependency in putting the wheels of human effort in motion, these wheels are put in motion to keep the law, to write it in our hearts, to overcome sin.

        Like

      • Legalism in the act of putting law above gospel by establishing requirements for salvation beyond repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and reducing the broad, inclusive and general precepts of the Bible to narrow and rigid moral codes.

        Like

      • Monica,

        If he is spot on how do you determine what is a false Christ and what is a true Christ? Jesus warned us of false Christ, so powerful that if possible they could potentially deceive the elect. How do the elect distinguish between the false Christs and the true Christ?

        Come to think of it, by what standard do you believe that homosexualisation of the Christian Church is wrong? On one hand we have Bryan constantly insinuating that we as Christians should turn a blind eye to the homosexualisation of Christianity and society in general. On the other hand people such as myself and yourself agree that homosexuality should be overcome. Who is correct? Those who believe that homosexualisation of Christianity is correct, or those who believe that it is not?

        So who is right? And by what standard is that person or persons right or wrong? Could it be by the very law that Farley rejects as not necessary as a moral guide?

        As a self professed prophet can you not see how Andrew Farley is leading his readers into situational ethics?

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      • What does the Bible say about legalism?

        The apostle Paul warns us of legalism in Colossians 2:20-23: “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Legalists may appear to be righteous and spiritual, but legalism ultimately fails to accomplish God’s purposes because it is an outward performance instead of an inward change.

        http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-Christian-legalism.html

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      • ….. “But when it’s anything but dependency on Christ within us, it’ll inevitably put the wheels of human effort in motion”

        That’s the part I agree with davinci, because it’s to do with overcoming sin. I cannot overcome sin in my own strength, ie., acknowledge the Ten Commandments and then strive to follow them without God’s Spirit within me/ His grace and strength empowering me to do so, because I have no power apart from God to overcome; my flesh is just too weak to resist temptation at times. Oh sure, I can do it in my own strength for a while but sooner or later I succumb to temptation. So I cannot boast of my righteousness/works, as apart from Christ I have none.

        But I agree with you that until we are perfected, we need both God’s Law and His Spirit. Most modern theology discards the letter in favor of the spirit, but one extreme is as bad as the other. I believe that the true Christian needs both the written letter of the law as well as its spirit to keep it properly. I believe the Bible to be God’s written word so therefore I refer to it for direction. Holy Scripture is very important to me. But so too is the Holy Spirit’s leading and the charisms of ‘Discerning of Spirits’ and ‘Word of Knowledge’. All these things come into play through prayer, for only through God’s wisdom can we keep ourselves from falsehoods.

        Andrew Farley is not my problem. I’m not really interested in what he has to say. These days everyone has an opinion, which makes my head spin if I took everything everyone says on faith to heart. All that matters to me is what God says in His Word and to my heart. In my heart of hearts, after much prayer (and tears) and taking into consideration the profound struggles Christians have had to try and overcome this same-sex attraction to no avail for many, I still feel homosexuality is not what God ordained; it is sin, as His Word proclaims. Not a popular stance, I know.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. What does reading job tell us- a summary glance.

    That God controls everything in the universe, including Satan. “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
    Satan bows doen to God even though he prowls around roaring like a lion. In effect he has a bite but his growl is louder. Like some here.
    That God is love. God’s wager with Satan helps us to see something incredible. He harnessed evil and turned it to good (cf. Genesis 50:20), and He transformed Job into the most effective servant of all, one who took on God’s own redemptive character and loved his enemies. In fact Job is a shadow of things to come in Jesus. The mockers and haters will only see the short term. They growl and prowl around. They have the gnashing of teeth. But in the end God is God and He loves us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gee Alexie,
      I cant see The Satan bowing down to God in the book of Job? Well, so you are admitting that it was a wager that God had with the Heavenly Prosecutor. That at least is some sort of concession. Everyone else, please note! God actually indulging in a wager of any sort appears to be totally wrong and immoral to me.

      Now presumably you are taking it for granted that the story of Job is truly historical. That is a very big ask. Do you mean to say that every word of the account is a literal transcription of just what was transacted in Heaven? And every word attributed to Job’s friends, and to The Lord is literally accurate??? wow.

      Show me, old mate just where the Book offers the conclusion that God is Love? Job got to love his enemies??? It was all for good that all those family and slaves were murdered? So the deaths of huge numbers can be accounted for good, so long as just one individual might see things in a new light?

      As I’ve said over and over here, poor Job was battered into the ground over and over, until he was totally overwhelmed and indeed brainwashed – AS ANY OF US WOULD BE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, in order for him to see the light. Why I might ask, since that apparently worked in his case, doesnt this deity come and powerfully state his case overwhelmingly to lots more of us in order to make us see the light? Oh of course, it only happens in fairytales doesnt it!

      No mate, Job is clearly a clever and powerful folk tale, imaginately created by one storyteller or more perhaps in order to offer a forum on theodicy. Very few authorities allow that it is a ‘true’ story. (Bryan obviously doesnt! But there again, do you acknowledge our good moderator as a total Christian in your terms, hmm?)

      Cheers (and some bark), Rian. Woof.

      Like

    • God’s grace is marvelous in itself, but its most marvelous in the way it in flows:
      It runs down into the Dead Sea of sin and makes the waters pure.
      I invite you to notice first of all THE POSITION OF THE WANDERER to whom this special blessing comes.

      Like

      • When ye turn to the right hand … – When you shall be in danger of wandering from the direct and straight path. The voice shall recall you, and direct you in the way in which you ought to go.

        Amen!

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      • He is our shepherd. A shepherd walk behind the flock at times and will move from side to side to keep the sheep moving forward. This is where we get the greener pastures.

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    • “As I’ve said over and over”

      Well you are 100% correct there.

      “No mate, Job is clearly a clever and powerful folk tale”

      Clearly while walking through a blizzard with fogged up glasses maybe.

      “Very few authorities allow that it is a ‘true’ story”

      Ahh, very few authorities! Well, the ones you go to are shonky so I cannot in any way accept that comment

      “But there again, do you acknowledge our good moderator as a total Christian in your terms, hmm?”

      I have no worries knowing that Bryan is a man of Faith in Jesus Christ. I know 100% you are not. You cannot see God’s love as you are blinded, let alone see it in Job.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21.

    awesome words Davinci.
    Yes, walk in it!
    When ye turn to the right hand … – When you shall be in danger of wandering from the direct and straight path. The voice shall recall you, and direct you in the way in which you ought to go.

    Like

    • Wow Alexie,
      something you know, – obviously with the insight of God himself there. You just KNOW that I am blinded! – Along with a select few on this blog who shall remain nameless, but who frequently get pointed to by the Christians herein.

      Of course I agree that I am not any sort of a Christian today.

      Rian.

      Like

      • Yes, blinded. How do I know? The scriptures themselves describe you well, being blinded. No need to be all knowing like God as He has let us in on some of His knowing.

        Like

  10. First
    You require a Belief you are important .
    Then
    You have to be important to something.
    So you create a entity that you are important too.
    Then you delude yourself that entity will reward you for you are important.
    Now you want a reward for existing something more this existence is not good enough .
    You want that what not even this universe has ETERNITY..
    Delusion of grandeur .
    Then incomes the PLACEBO companies :- Religions .
    All they have to do is place a mirror to reflect back your own delusion of importance with their version as a overlay

    Like

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