A Voice from ‘Another Planet’

I just returned from an awesome weekend in Sacramento. While I went there to primarily spend time with one group of believers that are wearied of the status quo and seeking a more authentic faith and community, I also got to spend time with people from at least three other groupings of believers that are going through some wonderful transitions as well. I talked with four current or previous ‘pastors.’ I wish those who are ready to write people off who are still trapped in the system, could have been with me to meet people who are taking huge risks personally and corporately to follow what Father has put on their hearts.

One of the themes that kept coming up in personal conversations is how complicated we make the life of Jesus in our day. Jesus gave us something so simple, and we humans build all kinds of structures around it that rob us of its simplicity and power. Instead of freeing people to be dependent on Jesus and trust him to bring it all together our fear that he won’t makes us create complicated systems that weary people in endless strategizing, heated debates and time-consuming maintenance. Part of that has to do with building ministries today by making people dependent on certain models or personalities. While it may make good business sense, it makes lousy kingdom sense. And unfortunately many of those ‘outside-the-box’ continue with the same methods in smaller boxes and the same fragmentation.

I returned home to an email from a brother on the coast in northern France. He said some hard things about Christianity in America, but I do think he hits the nail on the head. I also think what he says is true not only of American Christianity but also other ‘Christianized’ cultures where I’ve traveled. It seems wherever Christianity has dominated the landscape we can get easily lost in the things that divide us rather than in the life of Jesus itself. I found his perspective from a different culture to be incredibly refreshing even though the mirror he holds up for us may make us cringe. In his words, I heard the voice of Jesus and commend them to you:

Here there is a handful of us meeting in our homes. Our assembly is small but the Lord is blessing us. We gather on the ground of Christ and on no other and let me tell you: what a safe ground that is! I think there is too much of “Christianity” and “churchianity” in your country, too many organizations, too much of “organized Christianity”, too many religious systems; the Christians in general seem quite confused about it all. It’s hard to believe what actually goes on.

You may know that France is extremely poor spiritually. 90% of the population is Catholic, 20% of these actually go to mass on Sundays. The second religion here is Islam. Third comes the Protestant churches, most of them are spiritually dead. Most of the pastors are not even born from above. Then comes the Evangelicals (a few thousands), most of them are federated into some religious institutions and have lost touch with spiritual reality. I would imagine that in France (60 million people) there are only a few hundreds truly seeking believers. France is one of the poorest country in the world spiritually, and one of the hardest missionary fields. All the missionaries I have known did not last long here, simply because the French will only listen to the French…

I wanted to say that here we have no time to waste about arguing and bickering, the situation is too grave. I feel that somehow there is something that most American believers miss, and that is the simplicity of being in Christ. Christians makes all sort of things their ground of gathering, but even the (Scriptures) is not the ground of gathering—only Christ is! And this simplifies things to the extreme, it puts man aside, it puts Christ first in all things, and second it puts my brothers and sisters before me. As a fellowship we are trying to maintain the simplicity of the truths as they are found in the Word. We don’t agree on everything – we don’t have to – the main thing is to make sure that Christ has His full place in our individual lives and in us collectively.

I hope that you will not misunderstand me. I am not criticizing what you do, in fact I enjoyed most of I have read on your site, and I do not want to sound too critical about my American brothers and sisters. What I mean is that when I observe what goes on in America spiritually and what goes on here, it would seem that we are on a different planet!

That sounds like a planet I’d like to be on. Living deeply in Christ is not rocket science. We miss it so easily, not because it is too difficult but because it is far simpler than we’ve been allowed to believe. Authentic Christianity in our day is also more rare than we know. If we truly lived like the counter-culture Jesus demonstrated we wouldn’t have time for bickering, wouldn’t have the heart to maintain religious machinery and wouldn’t fragment into small camps of Christians that can only walk with those who see everything the same way we do.

Let Jesus simplify your perception of him and your journey in him. And while you’re at it, pray for the brothers and sisters in France. I’ve been there. His observations fit what I tasted of as well. So many people are lost in the emptiness of religion, and that includes many who claim to be Evangelicals, so that the voice of Jesus is not often heard in the culture. But we probably have no idea how many groups of people just like he walks with are hidden all over the world.

Share this Post!

Related post

42 Comments
  1. Jason September 15, 2004 at 9:32 pm

    I have to admit that my first reaction to what this brother was saying was one of pride. Instead of focussing on the Truth spoken, I focused on the French guy and wondered who he was to talk that way about us. However, that only lasted for about a second because I soon realized that this brother was correct in his observations.

    I would have to agree that we as Christians compromise way too often, myself included. There are too many idols in our lives. Jason Upton has a song called Dying Star that basically states the fact that far too many of us Christians are our own idols. Lord please forgive us.

    I love the Lord but find myself struggling to persue as the Apostle Paul speaks about in Phillippians. Is it all the privilage that we have? What makes us compromise all to readily?

    One of my best buddies, a fellow teacher, came back from Nepal where he spent the summer with some Neplaese Christians. He left here last June totally defeated, but came back in August in glorious victory. From what he described to me, he found the simplicity of Christ.

    In particular, he made a friend with a Hindu girl. At first she was a student of his in his English class, but soon she became a friend and the English class soon turned into a Bible class. I believe that one of the reasons that the kids took to him was because he took the time to get to know them. He had a sincere heart that just wanted to truly care for people in practical and loving ways. Not only did he share his faith, he allowed them to share theirs also. They really appreciated this and this can be evidenced by the fact that the whole class opened up and wanted more of what he was sharing.

    He took the time to have many of these kids over for dinner at his Nepalese friend Barney’s house. He also took the time to go visit them at their houses when it was safe to. This did not just happen once, but over the course of the entire summer. Also, it was not a huge spectacle where it was turned into a show. Instead, they got together for practical and simple reasons.

    The Hindu girl did not personally accept Jesus as her personal Savior, but she does believe that He is real. He did not let that discourage him. As a matter of fact, he is very encouraged because he simply made a friend. My friend Gene did not convince anybody to learn about Jesus as a result of just what the Bible says. Instead, he reached them because of what he did. He allowed Jesus to be in front of each and every one of them through his daily living.

    I believe that because of his willingness to be used by God, the kids that he has made friends with could very likely become Christians. He will be heading back there next summer to continue to enrich and further establish the relationships he found waiting for him.

    Lord please help us all find the simplicity and life changing power found in a relationship with Your Son.

    P.S. Wayne, this is Jason. When you come to visit us, I will make sure that Gene is there so that you can meet him. He is awesome.

  2. Jason September 16, 2004 at 12:32 am

    I have to admit that my first reaction to what this brother was saying was one of pride. Instead of focussing on the Truth spoken, I focused on the French guy and wondered who he was to talk that way about us. However, that only lasted for about a second because I soon realized that this brother was correct in his observations.

    I would have to agree that we as Christians compromise way too often, myself included. There are too many idols in our lives. Jason Upton has a song called Dying Star that basically states the fact that far too many of us Christians are our own idols. Lord please forgive us.

    I love the Lord but find myself struggling to persue as the Apostle Paul speaks about in Phillippians. Is it all the privilage that we have? What makes us compromise all to readily?

    One of my best buddies, a fellow teacher, came back from Nepal where he spent the summer with some Neplaese Christians. He left here last June totally defeated, but came back in August in glorious victory. From what he described to me, he found the simplicity of Christ.

    In particular, he made a friend with a Hindu girl. At first she was a student of his in his English class, but soon she became a friend and the English class soon turned into a Bible class. I believe that one of the reasons that the kids took to him was because he took the time to get to know them. He had a sincere heart that just wanted to truly care for people in practical and loving ways. Not only did he share his faith, he allowed them to share theirs also. They really appreciated this and this can be evidenced by the fact that the whole class opened up and wanted more of what he was sharing.

    He took the time to have many of these kids over for dinner at his Nepalese friend Barney’s house. He also took the time to go visit them at their houses when it was safe to. This did not just happen once, but over the course of the entire summer. Also, it was not a huge spectacle where it was turned into a show. Instead, they got together for practical and simple reasons.

    The Hindu girl did not personally accept Jesus as her personal Savior, but she does believe that He is real. He did not let that discourage him. As a matter of fact, he is very encouraged because he simply made a friend. My friend Gene did not convince anybody to learn about Jesus as a result of just what the Bible says. Instead, he reached them because of what he did. He allowed Jesus to be in front of each and every one of them through his daily living.

    I believe that because of his willingness to be used by God, the kids that he has made friends with could very likely become Christians. He will be heading back there next summer to continue to enrich and further establish the relationships he found waiting for him.

    Lord please help us all find the simplicity and life changing power found in a relationship with Your Son.

    P.S. Wayne, this is Jason. When you come to visit us, I will make sure that Gene is there so that you can meet him. He is awesome.

  3. Donna W. September 16, 2004 at 7:44 am

    At one point in my life I would have reacted with anger to this post from a French brother. Who does he think he is to tell us! Praise be to the Father! I can agree with him and see the beginnings of change in this country. There are more and more people seeking Jesus and what true life in the Son really means and that is no accident. The Lord has always had a remnant from the very beginning of time and how blessed we are to be a part of that. Oh the beautiful peace of knowing I belong to him and no one can snatch me from his hand. I’m getting a little pentecostal now and shouting GLORY,GLORY to God in highest heaven!

  4. Tim P. September 16, 2004 at 8:36 am

    Help me out, friends. The French brother said, "As a fellowship we are trying to maintain the simplicity of the truths as they are found in the Word. We don’t agree on everything – we don’t have to – the main thing is to make sure that Christ has His full place in our individual lives and in us collectively."

    How do we maintain the simplicity of the truths as they are found in the Word, if we do not agree on everything (those truths?) we find there? In order to see that Christ has His full place in our lives as a Body don’t we need to agree on truths about Him? And who is to decide what truths are the main thing for Christian unity?

  5. Donna W. September 16, 2004 at 10:44 am

    At one point in my life I would have reacted with anger to this post from a French brother. Who does he think he is to tell us! Praise be to the Father! I can agree with him and see the beginnings of change in this country. There are more and more people seeking Jesus and what true life in the Son really means and that is no accident. The Lord has always had a remnant from the very beginning of time and how blessed we are to be a part of that. Oh the beautiful peace of knowing I belong to him and no one can snatch me from his hand. I’m getting a little pentecostal now and shouting GLORY,GLORY to God in highest heaven!

  6. Allen September 16, 2004 at 11:21 am

    Tim,

    I’m no theologian and I struggle with the question you raise and others like it too. But I’ll try to offer something that I think God is teaching me, in the hopes that it might be of benefit to you.

    Obviously, we cannot be "unified" if we don’t agree about something — at least one thing — around which we unify. So lets start there. Is there at least one thing that all CHristians who are seeking to be the body of Christ and live in His spirit do agree on? Yes. Obviously such a group or groups of people must agree on Jesus. Specifically that He is our lord, that he lived, died, rose again and that he paid the price for our sins and offers us grace. That is the foundation upon which we are all agreed and stand.

    Paul made this point when wrote to one group of people that were fueding and arguing about various things that he endeavored to know nothing among them other than Christ, and him crucified. In other words, when we get to fueding, lets back up to the basics — Christ. THere is also a place in the new testement (I can get the cite for you later if it would be helpful) where it talks about Christ being the foundation upon which men build and then, one day, what we have built will be put through the fire and it talks about different rewards and results based on what we have built. But it goes on to say that even those whose works are erroneous and destroyed by that fire, will, nevertheless be saved themselves. I think that is saying that we start with the foundation, then we have some freedom as to what to build on that foundation. We don’t all have to be in agreement on the floor plan of the second story, we just have to be agreed on the foundation.

    I am a preacher’s kid. And I long wondered how good Godly Calvinist ministers I have known could pray daily for God to give them the word to give to the people each SUnday and continue to hold for years that God told them to preach Calvinism. Meanwhile, an equally godly preacher from another denomonation prays just as earnestly and just as earnestly concludes that God has urged him to preach that calvinism is a dangerous and false theology. Some good and Godly men I know, sincerely believe that traditional church is essential, while others, just as godly (the host of this blog, for one) believes otherwise. Interstingly, even Wayne once believed that traditional church was the answer all while he was sincerely seeking God. Paul and Peter had some disagreements on certain matters. I am unwilling to brand any of them as being insincere in their beliefs and there desire to follow Christ. That leaves the question of why GOd allows the differences to exist among people trying to follow Him.

    I have a few theories on that. One is freedom. God is leaving us free to manuver and think and study and interact and discuss and build, we just need to be sure that we allow our brothers the same freedom to work through things, even when we believe they are in error. God simply has not, and I think, will not, give us all the answers NOW!

    Another theory is that it is all a part of the plan to encourage interaction. Each of us is given peices of a puzzle made of a large and beautiful picture. When we get together, we can look at our own little peices and argue about what the big picture is. You can look at your peice that has some flowers and insist that the picture is of a flower garden. I can look at my peice that shows a part of a rafter and insist that the picture is of a barn and somone else can look at their peice that shows a candle and insist that the picture must be of a candle factory. When maybe in reality, the picture is abeautiful picture of a gorgeous wedding (lamenated arches, flowers, candles,etc.) that is so much more beautiful than any one of us imagined with our little peices.

    Instead of arguing, we can start sharing the peices we have been given and will be given over time. We can try to fit them together. If you have ever put a puzzle together, you know this will entale many occassions where something seems to fit but upon closer inspection doesn’t. You try it here, then there, are sure it goes in the right top cornor, only to find out later that it, in fact goes in the lower left. But as you keep working at it, eventually it all goes together and forms the picture. And, perhaps most importantly, you have whiled away many pleasant hours witha child, a spouse or loved one, working together, sometimes disagreeing about where apeice goes (but pleasantly so) loving each other and just being together.

    Yet another possiblilty is that Jesus said the world would know us by our love for each other. If we absolutely agreed on absolutely everything, "loving" each other would not be remarkable or even visible. What makes love really shine through is when it shines despite darkness, adversity and disagreement; when you can love me and interact pleasantly even though we disagree on some things.

    I hope this has been of some help.

  7. Tim P. September 16, 2004 at 11:36 am

    Help me out, friends. The French brother said, "As a fellowship we are trying to maintain the simplicity of the truths as they are found in the Word. We don’t agree on everything – we don’t have to – the main thing is to make sure that Christ has His full place in our individual lives and in us collectively."

    How do we maintain the simplicity of the truths as they are found in the Word, if we do not agree on everything (those truths?) we find there? In order to see that Christ has His full place in our lives as a Body don’t we need to agree on truths about Him? And who is to decide what truths are the main thing for Christian unity?

  8. Allen September 16, 2004 at 2:21 pm

    Tim,

    I’m no theologian and I struggle with the question you raise and others like it too. But I’ll try to offer something that I think God is teaching me, in the hopes that it might be of benefit to you.

    Obviously, we cannot be "unified" if we don’t agree about something — at least one thing — around which we unify. So lets start there. Is there at least one thing that all CHristians who are seeking to be the body of Christ and live in His spirit do agree on? Yes. Obviously such a group or groups of people must agree on Jesus. Specifically that He is our lord, that he lived, died, rose again and that he paid the price for our sins and offers us grace. That is the foundation upon which we are all agreed and stand.

    Paul made this point when wrote to one group of people that were fueding and arguing about various things that he endeavored to know nothing among them other than Christ, and him crucified. In other words, when we get to fueding, lets back up to the basics — Christ. THere is also a place in the new testement (I can get the cite for you later if it would be helpful) where it talks about Christ being the foundation upon which men build and then, one day, what we have built will be put through the fire and it talks about different rewards and results based on what we have built. But it goes on to say that even those whose works are erroneous and destroyed by that fire, will, nevertheless be saved themselves. I think that is saying that we start with the foundation, then we have some freedom as to what to build on that foundation. We don’t all have to be in agreement on the floor plan of the second story, we just have to be agreed on the foundation.

    I am a preacher’s kid. And I long wondered how good Godly Calvinist ministers I have known could pray daily for God to give them the word to give to the people each SUnday and continue to hold for years that God told them to preach Calvinism. Meanwhile, an equally godly preacher from another denomonation prays just as earnestly and just as earnestly concludes that God has urged him to preach that calvinism is a dangerous and false theology. Some good and Godly men I know, sincerely believe that traditional church is essential, while others, just as godly (the host of this blog, for one) believes otherwise. Interstingly, even Wayne once believed that traditional church was the answer all while he was sincerely seeking God. Paul and Peter had some disagreements on certain matters. I am unwilling to brand any of them as being insincere in their beliefs and there desire to follow Christ. That leaves the question of why GOd allows the differences to exist among people trying to follow Him.

    I have a few theories on that. One is freedom. God is leaving us free to manuver and think and study and interact and discuss and build, we just need to be sure that we allow our brothers the same freedom to work through things, even when we believe they are in error. God simply has not, and I think, will not, give us all the answers NOW!

    Another theory is that it is all a part of the plan to encourage interaction. Each of us is given peices of a puzzle made of a large and beautiful picture. When we get together, we can look at our own little peices and argue about what the big picture is. You can look at your peice that has some flowers and insist that the picture is of a flower garden. I can look at my peice that shows a part of a rafter and insist that the picture is of a barn and somone else can look at their peice that shows a candle and insist that the picture must be of a candle factory. When maybe in reality, the picture is abeautiful picture of a gorgeous wedding (lamenated arches, flowers, candles,etc.) that is so much more beautiful than any one of us imagined with our little peices.

    Instead of arguing, we can start sharing the peices we have been given and will be given over time. We can try to fit them together. If you have ever put a puzzle together, you know this will entale many occassions where something seems to fit but upon closer inspection doesn’t. You try it here, then there, are sure it goes in the right top cornor, only to find out later that it, in fact goes in the lower left. But as you keep working at it, eventually it all goes together and forms the picture. And, perhaps most importantly, you have whiled away many pleasant hours witha child, a spouse or loved one, working together, sometimes disagreeing about where apeice goes (but pleasantly so) loving each other and just being together.

    Yet another possiblilty is that Jesus said the world would know us by our love for each other. If we absolutely agreed on absolutely everything, "loving" each other would not be remarkable or even visible. What makes love really shine through is when it shines despite darkness, adversity and disagreement; when you can love me and interact pleasantly even though we disagree on some things.

    I hope this has been of some help.

  9. Tim September 16, 2004 at 4:44 pm

    Allen,

    Thank you very much for the time and effort you took to try and help me with this issue of unity among differences, even from different angles. I still have questions and am not resloved on this yet, but it is helpful to know that you too and maybe others struggle with these things.

    In line with the illustration of puzzle pieces or various pictures of a larger one, I think what I have experienced from others when I have shared my picture or puzzle piece is the suggestion that my picture or piece is not really an important part of the larger or whole. Does this make sense?

    Tim

  10. Tim September 16, 2004 at 7:44 pm

    Allen,

    Thank you very much for the time and effort you took to try and help me with this issue of unity among differences, even from different angles. I still have questions and am not resloved on this yet, but it is helpful to know that you too and maybe others struggle with these things.

    In line with the illustration of puzzle pieces or various pictures of a larger one, I think what I have experienced from others when I have shared my picture or puzzle piece is the suggestion that my picture or piece is not really an important part of the larger or whole. Does this make sense?

    Tim

  11. Jason September 16, 2004 at 8:13 pm

    Tim,

    I agree with Allen about unity. I am writing to you about your statement that sometimes others make you feel as if your "piece" is not important. Don’t listen to them. After all, how big or important does a piece have to be to be a part of the whole puzzle? Does it have to be with color? Does it need to be bigger than others? Does it have to have a symetrical shape, or can it be lopsided?

    I know that several of us have put a puzzle together, only to find out that it was missing a piece. What kind of feeling does that leave you with? I know that for me it would leave me feeling like my puzzle was missing something. I don’t care if it is a 100 or 25,000 peice puzzle. It would still not be quite right. Would it really matter which piece was missing? I do not think so since they are all so important for the complete picture, Christ Himself.

    That is exactly how important your "piece" of the puzzle is. Since all Christians are a part of the Body of Christ (i.e. the Puzzle), we would not be the same without your contribution. You would not be the same without my contribution. So it really does not matter how important they view your "piece" is. The truth is that it is of vital importance!

    Your loving brother—Jason

  12. Jason September 16, 2004 at 11:13 pm

    Tim,

    I agree with Allen about unity. I am writing to you about your statement that sometimes others make you feel as if your "piece" is not important. Don’t listen to them. After all, how big or important does a piece have to be to be a part of the whole puzzle? Does it have to be with color? Does it need to be bigger than others? Does it have to have a symetrical shape, or can it be lopsided?

    I know that several of us have put a puzzle together, only to find out that it was missing a piece. What kind of feeling does that leave you with? I know that for me it would leave me feeling like my puzzle was missing something. I don’t care if it is a 100 or 25,000 peice puzzle. It would still not be quite right. Would it really matter which piece was missing? I do not think so since they are all so important for the complete picture, Christ Himself.

    That is exactly how important your "piece" of the puzzle is. Since all Christians are a part of the Body of Christ (i.e. the Puzzle), we would not be the same without your contribution. You would not be the same without my contribution. So it really does not matter how important they view your "piece" is. The truth is that it is of vital importance!

    Your loving brother—Jason

  13. DL September 17, 2004 at 2:58 am

    Tim,

    I personally don’t think that you can make the Word of God as such the ground of fellowship, simply because, as you know, the Word is opened to interpretation. One example will suffice: where does it say that we have to be baptized in the Spirit? Now a question like this one could provoke the reactions of many, you’ll have those you will "prove" that Spirit baptism is scriptural, and others will "prove" other wise. Now if we want to take this kind of thing as a ground for fellowship, we are going to cut ourselves off a lot of brothers and sisters.

    But if you accept one another on the ground of Christ (ie of being born anew, of being a Christian), and you agree together to reject any other ground, you will be on a higher ground. Doctrine is vitally important, the Word is crucial especially in small assemblies meeting in homes, but we know that the head is Christ (Eph. 1:22), and that the foundation is Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

    Your brother, DL

  14. Tim September 17, 2004 at 4:04 am

    Dear Jason and DL,

    Thank you for your blogs, brothers. And I thank you, Allen, again, too. You provided some helpful illustrations. But let me make some further comments about basing our unity upon Jesus Christ and His Word. Allen, you wrote, "Obviously such a group or groups of people must agree on Jesus. Specifically that He is our lord, that he lived, died, rose again and that he paid the price for our sins and offers us grace. That is the foundation upon which we are all agreed and stand." I totally agree with you. But we must understand that when some people in confessing Jesus as Lord mean different things than you and I. For example, do they believe that He is Lord over all creation? Do they believe He IS the Creator, who created the heavens and the earth and all they contain in six days and that all He made was "very good" (perfect), just as we learn in Genesis 1, Ex. 20:11, John 1:1-5 and Col. 1:15-18? Or, do they believe that He "created" by utilizing evolution, or by progressively creating and recreating, utilizing death in the process, over millions of years. The latter would affirm that Jesus is Lord, but is He the same Lord Jesus of the Scriptures. Is He the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that we read about in Genesis, or is He one that conveniently fits into our contemporary traditions and notions of science and history? Furthermore, if the Jesus we say is Lord is one who, as some believe, did not create all things to be "very good" (absent of death, disease, corrruption of any kind) untill death entered through man, then all of creation does not need to be redeemed. But this runs counter to what we learn about Him in the Sriptures (Rom. 8:19-21, Col. 1:20), which declare that the Creator of all things is also the Redeemer of all things. This affects what we think about Him as the Savior and of the gospel. Does all of creation need to be redeemed and does Jesus have the power and will to do so? In other words, is He really Lord of all? If so, how do we know it? Do we not know this because of what has been revealed to the prophets and apostles, beginning in Genesis.

    Brothers, a few years ago, the Lord showed me through the guidance of another brother into a closer study of Genesis that it IS very important to Jesus what we believe about Him and what we teach others to believe about Himself, beginning with His being the Creator. The piece of the puzzle I referred to earlier is to help other believers have a greater foundation and trust in God and His word through developing and leading Bible studies through Genesis. I have been told that these are not really that important for the greater work of winning people to Christ, or for unity with others in order to do the former, but I wonder if God thinks the same way. Does He not care what we think about Him? what He has spoken about Himself? I think He is, or He would not have taken the time to reveal and preserve it for us.

    So when we talk about being unified around Jesus, alone, I totally agree, but I DO think we need to agree about Who this Jesus is that we are unified in and that can only be based upon the truth of what He has said about Himself.

    Tim

  15. DL September 17, 2004 at 4:52 am

    Tim,

    I believe that the Word is sufficiently clear as to who Jesus is. There are passages which are beyond arguing and interpretation, here are just a few:

    John 1v1-5, Colossians 1:15-22, 2:9, Hebrews 1:1-4.

    And you could go on quoting all the verses that declare hi deity, his humanity, his sacrifice for men etc…

    There some spiritual truths plainly decalred in the Word that re beyond interpretation. Now if we have problems with such basics with others, then would it be better to remain on our own?

    There are things which can be discussed, but others which are beyond this. I think that 1 John was especially written because some started to question the basics of the Christian faith, John’s recommenda-tions are weighty and should be meditated.

    DL

  16. Allen September 17, 2004 at 5:11 am

    Tim,

    You raise some good points and tap into a lot of issues that we could discuss and agree or disagree on. I would just offer these observations.

    Is it really neccessarry that ALL of us know ALL there is to know about Jesus RIGHT NOW? Can it be enough that we together acknowledge him as our saviour and seek to follow him where ever he leads and whatever he reveals to us about himself? The disciples had no idea of the full extent of who Jesus was when he first said to them: "follow me." They just followed. Even years later, they still didn’t really know who he was or what he was all about. They just kept following and learning.

    I think we error when we give into the fleshly desire to know it all and have it all properly catergorized and analysed and understood right now, instead of just following him, sometimes through darkness and confusion, and loving one another as we go.

    That problem is manifested in the people that tell you the part of the puzzle you want to study and relay information about (Genisis) is unimportant. That is something they probably don’t know about and they may be just wanting to be content in what they already know and believing that is all there is, rather than face the challenge of learning something new. If God lays something on your heart as a subject he wants to study and discuss with you and reveal things about to you, follow him.

    But here is the other side of the trap. As the host of this blog makes clear time and again in his writings, neither you nor I have any obligation to make sure others accept what we believe God has revealed to us. (NATO; not attached to the outcome, living) We just need to follow him. When he teaches us something and gives us opportunity to share it, we share it. It is then up to god to use whatever we have shared or not use it as he sees fit to help others along the journey.

    Going back to the puzzle analogy: there are times when I am certain a peice goes in a certain area but my wife thinks otherwise and keeps rejecting my peice. Eventually, we discover one of two things: I was right and it eventually goes where I thought it did or I was wrong and it ends up where she thought it would go or where neither of us thought it would go. We had two choices originally: 1) insist that we settle the issue NOW when it first comes up and get in a big ugly fight early on arguing about where that peice fits in and end up hating each other in the end or never getting the puzzle built, or 2) Understand that someday, if we are patient and keep at it, the truth will be revealed and just keep working together pleasantly until that day when it all comes together and we know. Then we can laugh about where we thought it would go and how certain we were it did or did not go where we thought it did. We have loved one another through the process and had a pleasant time despite her rejection of my "wisdom" 😉 in the early stages of the journey.

    Keep following him regardless of what others do or say.

  17. DL September 17, 2004 at 5:58 am

    Tim,

    I personally don’t think that you can make the Word of God as such the ground of fellowship, simply because, as you know, the Word is opened to interpretation. One example will suffice: where does it say that we have to be baptized in the Spirit? Now a question like this one could provoke the reactions of many, you’ll have those you will "prove" that Spirit baptism is scriptural, and others will "prove" other wise. Now if we want to take this kind of thing as a ground for fellowship, we are going to cut ourselves off a lot of brothers and sisters.

    But if you accept one another on the ground of Christ (ie of being born anew, of being a Christian), and you agree together to reject any other ground, you will be on a higher ground. Doctrine is vitally important, the Word is crucial especially in small assemblies meeting in homes, but we know that the head is Christ (Eph. 1:22), and that the foundation is Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

    Your brother, DL

  18. Tim September 17, 2004 at 7:04 am

    Dear Jason and DL,

    Thank you for your blogs, brothers. And I thank you, Allen, again, too. You provided some helpful illustrations. But let me make some further comments about basing our unity upon Jesus Christ and His Word. Allen, you wrote, "Obviously such a group or groups of people must agree on Jesus. Specifically that He is our lord, that he lived, died, rose again and that he paid the price for our sins and offers us grace. That is the foundation upon which we are all agreed and stand." I totally agree with you. But we must understand that when some people in confessing Jesus as Lord mean different things than you and I. For example, do they believe that He is Lord over all creation? Do they believe He IS the Creator, who created the heavens and the earth and all they contain in six days and that all He made was "very good" (perfect), just as we learn in Genesis 1, Ex. 20:11, John 1:1-5 and Col. 1:15-18? Or, do they believe that He "created" by utilizing evolution, or by progressively creating and recreating, utilizing death in the process, over millions of years. The latter would affirm that Jesus is Lord, but is He the same Lord Jesus of the Scriptures. Is He the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that we read about in Genesis, or is He one that conveniently fits into our contemporary traditions and notions of science and history? Furthermore, if the Jesus we say is Lord is one who, as some believe, did not create all things to be "very good" (absent of death, disease, corrruption of any kind) untill death entered through man, then all of creation does not need to be redeemed. But this runs counter to what we learn about Him in the Sriptures (Rom. 8:19-21, Col. 1:20), which declare that the Creator of all things is also the Redeemer of all things. This affects what we think about Him as the Savior and of the gospel. Does all of creation need to be redeemed and does Jesus have the power and will to do so? In other words, is He really Lord of all? If so, how do we know it? Do we not know this because of what has been revealed to the prophets and apostles, beginning in Genesis.

    Brothers, a few years ago, the Lord showed me through the guidance of another brother into a closer study of Genesis that it IS very important to Jesus what we believe about Him and what we teach others to believe about Himself, beginning with His being the Creator. The piece of the puzzle I referred to earlier is to help other believers have a greater foundation and trust in God and His word through developing and leading Bible studies through Genesis. I have been told that these are not really that important for the greater work of winning people to Christ, or for unity with others in order to do the former, but I wonder if God thinks the same way. Does He not care what we think about Him? what He has spoken about Himself? I think He is, or He would not have taken the time to reveal and preserve it for us.

    So when we talk about being unified around Jesus, alone, I totally agree, but I DO think we need to agree about Who this Jesus is that we are unified in and that can only be based upon the truth of what He has said about Himself.

    Tim

  19. DL September 17, 2004 at 7:52 am

    Tim,

    I believe that the Word is sufficiently clear as to who Jesus is. There are passages which are beyond arguing and interpretation, here are just a few:

    John 1v1-5, Colossians 1:15-22, 2:9, Hebrews 1:1-4.

    And you could go on quoting all the verses that declare hi deity, his humanity, his sacrifice for men etc…

    There some spiritual truths plainly decalred in the Word that re beyond interpretation. Now if we have problems with such basics with others, then would it be better to remain on our own?

    There are things which can be discussed, but others which are beyond this. I think that 1 John was especially written because some started to question the basics of the Christian faith, John’s recommenda-tions are weighty and should be meditated.

    DL

  20. Allen September 17, 2004 at 8:11 am

    Tim,

    You raise some good points and tap into a lot of issues that we could discuss and agree or disagree on. I would just offer these observations.

    Is it really neccessarry that ALL of us know ALL there is to know about Jesus RIGHT NOW? Can it be enough that we together acknowledge him as our saviour and seek to follow him where ever he leads and whatever he reveals to us about himself? The disciples had no idea of the full extent of who Jesus was when he first said to them: "follow me." They just followed. Even years later, they still didn’t really know who he was or what he was all about. They just kept following and learning.

    I think we error when we give into the fleshly desire to know it all and have it all properly catergorized and analysed and understood right now, instead of just following him, sometimes through darkness and confusion, and loving one another as we go.

    That problem is manifested in the people that tell you the part of the puzzle you want to study and relay information about (Genisis) is unimportant. That is something they probably don’t know about and they may be just wanting to be content in what they already know and believing that is all there is, rather than face the challenge of learning something new. If God lays something on your heart as a subject he wants to study and discuss with you and reveal things about to you, follow him.

    But here is the other side of the trap. As the host of this blog makes clear time and again in his writings, neither you nor I have any obligation to make sure others accept what we believe God has revealed to us. (NATO; not attached to the outcome, living) We just need to follow him. When he teaches us something and gives us opportunity to share it, we share it. It is then up to god to use whatever we have shared or not use it as he sees fit to help others along the journey.

    Going back to the puzzle analogy: there are times when I am certain a peice goes in a certain area but my wife thinks otherwise and keeps rejecting my peice. Eventually, we discover one of two things: I was right and it eventually goes where I thought it did or I was wrong and it ends up where she thought it would go or where neither of us thought it would go. We had two choices originally: 1) insist that we settle the issue NOW when it first comes up and get in a big ugly fight early on arguing about where that peice fits in and end up hating each other in the end or never getting the puzzle built, or 2) Understand that someday, if we are patient and keep at it, the truth will be revealed and just keep working together pleasantly until that day when it all comes together and we know. Then we can laugh about where we thought it would go and how certain we were it did or did not go where we thought it did. We have loved one another through the process and had a pleasant time despite her rejection of my "wisdom" 😉 in the early stages of the journey.

    Keep following him regardless of what others do or say.

  21. Tim September 17, 2004 at 10:25 am

    Good to hear from you again, Allen. What is important is that we all believe what Jesus has already clearly told us about Himself. Sure there are things He has not, as yet, but how do we handle what He has shown us, particularly about His character and works in the past (history). The future (eschatology) is a different matter. We see those things more through a darkly colored glass. But we should unify around the Jesus who has been revealed to us. Otherwise, we will unify around a Jesus who fits our own image of who we want him to be.

    I disagree that it is a "fleshly desire" to want to know all that the Scriptures say about Him. We should make it our heart desire to know them with the same passion David had for the law. It is not for knowledge’s sake, but for the sake of knowing our Creator and Savior more accurately so we might truly follow Him and worship Him, not only in spirit but in truth.

    It is most certainly true that we cannot make others believe what we believe. But we do need to believe that there is truth that may be known and that there is a way to find it out. Otherwise, what or who is our basis for truth. We believe it is Jesus, right. Well, then what does Jesus tell us, for example, about the origin of all things. If we say we follow and believe Him then we need to follow and believe what He has said on this matter. Some will say that we really can’t know what He meant on this matter. Well, then we sure can’t believe and follow Him in that then. So, what can we believe Him in. Where does is start and end, our faith in Him that is? Do we only believe Him in the things we want to believe Him in. In the latter case He is not our Lord.

    In regards to the puzzle analogy, I would sy that much of the puzzle has already been put together (what Jesus has doen and said), now we are waiting to see Him fit the remaining pieces which will come in the day of the Son of man.

    Tim

  22. Allen September 17, 2004 at 11:10 am

    Tim,

    I fully understand your concern about making a Jesus that fints our own desires or image rather than finding the real Jesus. I certainly did not mean my "fleshly desire" comment to be interpreted as a discouragement to seeking to learn as much about Jesus as we can. The seeking, however, must be individual and we must allow others the freedom to seek and learn and not insist that everyone accept our own level of knowledge and revealtion right now. As we all learn and study and walk with Jesus, we may have some disagreement on the details of what Jesus has to say to us on any topic. The "fleshly desire" I spoke of is the one that wants to be able to say: "I now know everything there is to know of any importance. I have nothing left to learn. THere is no possibility I am wrong on any point. And (worst of all) everyone must agree with me or they are not really following Jesus."

    If you mean to say that the truth on any topic can be fully known by all us, or found out by our own hard work and study within our lifetimes, I would have to disagree. THe full truth about some things will not be known until eternity.

    Seeking to follow CHrist daily is not as neat and clear as being able to point to statute # 325 that says you shall drive your car on the right hand side of the road. Or statute #645 that states in precise detail the duties of a particular public office. Particularly since Jesus does not alsways ask the same of all of us at the same time nor does he reveal the same things to all of us at once. If we do not allow for freedom to disagree on details as we all work this out, even on issues as to the origin of all things, then we will (have) disolve(d) into fueding and fighting.

    Should we dismiss Peter and his writings? Peter was "following Jesus" throughout his ministry but did not always fully understand what Jesus was about. Peter insisted that Jesus should not be allowed to be crucified and Jesus had to tell him that he did not understand what the whole thing he had been observing was about. Jesus rebuked and taught him but didn’t kick him out of the group or insist that he understand the full truth right here and right now. Then Peter gets it wrong again when he whips out his sword and tries to "defend" Jesus. A well meaning act of a follower of Jesus, but erroneous. Jesus didn’t kick him out of the group, He just spoke to him and kept on teaching. Then Peter does the really bad thing of forcefully and repeatedly denying that he even knows Jesus. And, yet, once again, he was not kicked out of the group. And when Jesus saw him the next time, there was no condemnation, no recrimination. There was only continued teaching and loving. Should we dismiss Peter because it took him so long to finally get it?

    So if you run into a brother who is endevoring to follow Jesus in his walk today, but who disagrees with you on the origin of all things thousands of years ago, do you insist that he if does not accept what you have to say that he cannot be a "real" brother and that he must be following a false Jesus? Or do you accept him as a brother, allow him the freedom to learn over time as Jesus leads him, while you keep gently teaching and providing information and let God persuade him in God’s own time?

    The foundation of our unity is Christ and him crucified for our sins and resurected.

    I haven’t had a good discussion like this with anyone in a long time. It is enjoyable and helpful to me to do so.

    In Christ

  23. Tim September 17, 2004 at 1:25 pm

    Good to hear from you again, Allen. What is important is that we all believe what Jesus has already clearly told us about Himself. Sure there are things He has not, as yet, but how do we handle what He has shown us, particularly about His character and works in the past (history). The future (eschatology) is a different matter. We see those things more through a darkly colored glass. But we should unify around the Jesus who has been revealed to us. Otherwise, we will unify around a Jesus who fits our own image of who we want him to be.

    I disagree that it is a "fleshly desire" to want to know all that the Scriptures say about Him. We should make it our heart desire to know them with the same passion David had for the law. It is not for knowledge’s sake, but for the sake of knowing our Creator and Savior more accurately so we might truly follow Him and worship Him, not only in spirit but in truth.

    It is most certainly true that we cannot make others believe what we believe. But we do need to believe that there is truth that may be known and that there is a way to find it out. Otherwise, what or who is our basis for truth. We believe it is Jesus, right. Well, then what does Jesus tell us, for example, about the origin of all things. If we say we follow and believe Him then we need to follow and believe what He has said on this matter. Some will say that we really can’t know what He meant on this matter. Well, then we sure can’t believe and follow Him in that then. So, what can we believe Him in. Where does is start and end, our faith in Him that is? Do we only believe Him in the things we want to believe Him in. In the latter case He is not our Lord.

    In regards to the puzzle analogy, I would sy that much of the puzzle has already been put together (what Jesus has doen and said), now we are waiting to see Him fit the remaining pieces which will come in the day of the Son of man.

    Tim

  24. Allen September 17, 2004 at 2:10 pm

    Tim,

    I fully understand your concern about making a Jesus that fints our own desires or image rather than finding the real Jesus. I certainly did not mean my "fleshly desire" comment to be interpreted as a discouragement to seeking to learn as much about Jesus as we can. The seeking, however, must be individual and we must allow others the freedom to seek and learn and not insist that everyone accept our own level of knowledge and revealtion right now. As we all learn and study and walk with Jesus, we may have some disagreement on the details of what Jesus has to say to us on any topic. The "fleshly desire" I spoke of is the one that wants to be able to say: "I now know everything there is to know of any importance. I have nothing left to learn. THere is no possibility I am wrong on any point. And (worst of all) everyone must agree with me or they are not really following Jesus."

    If you mean to say that the truth on any topic can be fully known by all us, or found out by our own hard work and study within our lifetimes, I would have to disagree. THe full truth about some things will not be known until eternity.

    Seeking to follow CHrist daily is not as neat and clear as being able to point to statute # 325 that says you shall drive your car on the right hand side of the road. Or statute #645 that states in precise detail the duties of a particular public office. Particularly since Jesus does not alsways ask the same of all of us at the same time nor does he reveal the same things to all of us at once. If we do not allow for freedom to disagree on details as we all work this out, even on issues as to the origin of all things, then we will (have) disolve(d) into fueding and fighting.

    Should we dismiss Peter and his writings? Peter was "following Jesus" throughout his ministry but did not always fully understand what Jesus was about. Peter insisted that Jesus should not be allowed to be crucified and Jesus had to tell him that he did not understand what the whole thing he had been observing was about. Jesus rebuked and taught him but didn’t kick him out of the group or insist that he understand the full truth right here and right now. Then Peter gets it wrong again when he whips out his sword and tries to "defend" Jesus. A well meaning act of a follower of Jesus, but erroneous. Jesus didn’t kick him out of the group, He just spoke to him and kept on teaching. Then Peter does the really bad thing of forcefully and repeatedly denying that he even knows Jesus. And, yet, once again, he was not kicked out of the group. And when Jesus saw him the next time, there was no condemnation, no recrimination. There was only continued teaching and loving. Should we dismiss Peter because it took him so long to finally get it?

    So if you run into a brother who is endevoring to follow Jesus in his walk today, but who disagrees with you on the origin of all things thousands of years ago, do you insist that he if does not accept what you have to say that he cannot be a "real" brother and that he must be following a false Jesus? Or do you accept him as a brother, allow him the freedom to learn over time as Jesus leads him, while you keep gently teaching and providing information and let God persuade him in God’s own time?

    The foundation of our unity is Christ and him crucified for our sins and resurected.

    I haven’t had a good discussion like this with anyone in a long time. It is enjoyable and helpful to me to do so.

    In Christ

  25. Tim September 17, 2004 at 3:25 pm

    Hey Allen,

    What I am trying to say is that there should be no disagreement among believers in Christ about certian historical truths, such as 1. Did Jesus die, was buried and raised in three days? There should be no dispute to that historical fact. 2. Did God create in six days? Similarly there should be dispute to this historical fact, yet there is today. Why? This is what I mean.

    Great discussion brother.

    Tim

  26. Allen September 17, 2004 at 6:00 pm

    Tim,

    I’m with you on 1. I am not sure that a belief about a creation event thousands of years ago, whether it took place in a literal 6 24 hour day period is essential to a walk with Jesus today. Clearly there is a truth on that issue; either it did happen in six literal days or it didn’t. Clearly one side on that issue is dead wrong. But I don’t think all of us have to be on the right side of that one right now in order to fellowship in unity in the spirit of christ today. Like I said before, Peter was dead wrong about what should or should not happen to Jesus in Juresalem; he just di not get it. But he was not cast aside for his error on that point. There has to be room and freedom to make mistakes about things, and learn them over time.

    I’m with you on the need to work on this issue and study it and educate people on it. But I would hesitate to make immediate acceptance of your position on it a matter of unity or disunity with another brother. tell him what you think, certainly. Tell him you thing he is inerror if he disagrees, then love him, affirm the common ground you both share and let God reveal the truth to him in God’s own time.

  27. Allen September 17, 2004 at 6:01 pm

    Tim,

    I’m with you on 1. I am not sure that a belief about a creation event thousands of years ago, whether it took place in a literal 6 24 hour day period is essential to a walk with Jesus today. Clearly there is a truth on that issue; either it did happen in six literal days or it didn’t. Clearly one side on that issue is dead wrong. But I don’t think all of us have to be on the right side of that one right now in order to fellowship in unity in the spirit of christ today. Like I said before, Peter was dead wrong about what should or should not happen to Jesus in Juresalem; he just di not get it. But he was not cast aside for his error on that point. There has to be room and freedom to make mistakes about things, and learn them over time.

    I’m with you on the need to work on this issue and study it and educate people on it. But I would hesitate to make immediate acceptance of your position on it a matter of unity or disunity with another brother. tell him what you think, certainly. Tell him you thing he is inerror if he disagrees, then love him, affirm the common ground you both share and let God reveal the truth to him in God’s own time.

  28. Tim September 17, 2004 at 6:25 pm

    Hey Allen,

    What I am trying to say is that there should be no disagreement among believers in Christ about certian historical truths, such as 1. Did Jesus die, was buried and raised in three days? There should be no dispute to that historical fact. 2. Did God create in six days? Similarly there should be dispute to this historical fact, yet there is today. Why? This is what I mean.

    Great discussion brother.

    Tim

  29. Allen September 17, 2004 at 9:00 pm

    Tim,

    I’m with you on 1. I am not sure that a belief about a creation event thousands of years ago, whether it took place in a literal 6 24 hour day period is essential to a walk with Jesus today. Clearly there is a truth on that issue; either it did happen in six literal days or it didn’t. Clearly one side on that issue is dead wrong. But I don’t think all of us have to be on the right side of that one right now in order to fellowship in unity in the spirit of christ today. Like I said before, Peter was dead wrong about what should or should not happen to Jesus in Juresalem; he just di not get it. But he was not cast aside for his error on that point. There has to be room and freedom to make mistakes about things, and learn them over time.

    I’m with you on the need to work on this issue and study it and educate people on it. But I would hesitate to make immediate acceptance of your position on it a matter of unity or disunity with another brother. tell him what you think, certainly. Tell him you thing he is inerror if he disagrees, then love him, affirm the common ground you both share and let God reveal the truth to him in God’s own time.

  30. Allen September 17, 2004 at 9:01 pm

    Tim,

    I’m with you on 1. I am not sure that a belief about a creation event thousands of years ago, whether it took place in a literal 6 24 hour day period is essential to a walk with Jesus today. Clearly there is a truth on that issue; either it did happen in six literal days or it didn’t. Clearly one side on that issue is dead wrong. But I don’t think all of us have to be on the right side of that one right now in order to fellowship in unity in the spirit of christ today. Like I said before, Peter was dead wrong about what should or should not happen to Jesus in Juresalem; he just di not get it. But he was not cast aside for his error on that point. There has to be room and freedom to make mistakes about things, and learn them over time.

    I’m with you on the need to work on this issue and study it and educate people on it. But I would hesitate to make immediate acceptance of your position on it a matter of unity or disunity with another brother. tell him what you think, certainly. Tell him you thing he is inerror if he disagrees, then love him, affirm the common ground you both share and let God reveal the truth to him in God’s own time.

  31. Tim September 18, 2004 at 4:36 am

    Allen,

    Thanks for discussing this with me. After my last blog I realized that this discussion was probably not going in the direction that Wayne’s blog is intended to go. And I do appreciate his passion on the things that are here.

    I love those who disagree with what I believe the Scriptures teach us. I do not remove myself from fellowship with them. I do this by God’s grace and love, for it is natural for me not to. For I believe that God has given me freedom to believe what he has written in his Word from the very beginning. I used to be bound by doubt with the Genesis record due to evolutionary brainwashing that all of us in the West have been exposed to. So, my new found freedom to trust the Word of God gives me a desire to help others find that freedom, just like Wayne desires to help people find freedom from the "institutionalization" of the Church. And I so appreciate this, for I want to experience more freedom in my relationship with Christ and others. Now there will indeed be those who think that he is being divisive, like there have been those who have thought the same of me. But that is not his or my goal. It is freedom! I hope you will come to understand this about me, as imperfect as I am in describing these things.

    Tim

  32. Tim September 18, 2004 at 7:36 am

    Allen,

    Thanks for discussing this with me. After my last blog I realized that this discussion was probably not going in the direction that Wayne’s blog is intended to go. And I do appreciate his passion on the things that are here.

    I love those who disagree with what I believe the Scriptures teach us. I do not remove myself from fellowship with them. I do this by God’s grace and love, for it is natural for me not to. For I believe that God has given me freedom to believe what he has written in his Word from the very beginning. I used to be bound by doubt with the Genesis record due to evolutionary brainwashing that all of us in the West have been exposed to. So, my new found freedom to trust the Word of God gives me a desire to help others find that freedom, just like Wayne desires to help people find freedom from the "institutionalization" of the Church. And I so appreciate this, for I want to experience more freedom in my relationship with Christ and others. Now there will indeed be those who think that he is being divisive, like there have been those who have thought the same of me. But that is not his or my goal. It is freedom! I hope you will come to understand this about me, as imperfect as I am in describing these things.

    Tim

  33. Allen September 18, 2004 at 7:49 am

    I can’t resist one more response.

    Your first paragraph made me chuckle because as soon as I hit the "submit" button the thought went through my mind: "We’ve gotten off the topic of this blog entry." Then your reply says the same thing.

    As for your second paragraph, I am in total agreeemnt with everything you say. We have acheived unity! 🙂 That seems like a good place to stop.

  34. Allen September 18, 2004 at 10:49 am

    I can’t resist one more response.

    Your first paragraph made me chuckle because as soon as I hit the "submit" button the thought went through my mind: "We’ve gotten off the topic of this blog entry." Then your reply says the same thing.

    As for your second paragraph, I am in total agreeemnt with everything you say. We have acheived unity! 🙂 That seems like a good place to stop.

  35. Jason September 18, 2004 at 11:25 am

    Tim,

    You make very good points. However, why is important for you to know that a real brother is one that believes in a 6 day creation? There is room for disagreement here. Some real Christians view the 6 days a long period of time, but not a 6 literal days. An example of days meaning more than literal can be found in Daniel (at least in many Christians perspective).

    To be fair, I also do not know what to think about Christians that believe in evolution. I think they are misinformed and dead wrong, but it is not my job to convince them. As a matter of fact, you CANNOT convince anyone that does not want to be convinced. In the mean time though, we should continue to love them, and they us. If they insist on making the meeting one centered around their theories, then I feel you have the absolute right to have a problem. However, if it is just an underlying belief of theirs that you disagree about, love them and maintain your fellowship. I believe that God will show us all through a process. That is why Christ is a mystery to us. In many ways, it is straight forward, but then again, we are limited in our humanity to fully comprehend the Almighty God.

    As far as this blog not being intended for discussion like this, no way. If we were trashing each other, then I would agree with you. However, there has been some wonderful fellowship going on. That is exactly why this site is here.

    Your loving brother—Jason

  36. Jason September 18, 2004 at 2:25 pm

    Tim,

    You make very good points. However, why is important for you to know that a real brother is one that believes in a 6 day creation? There is room for disagreement here. Some real Christians view the 6 days a long period of time, but not a 6 literal days. An example of days meaning more than literal can be found in Daniel (at least in many Christians perspective).

    To be fair, I also do not know what to think about Christians that believe in evolution. I think they are misinformed and dead wrong, but it is not my job to convince them. As a matter of fact, you CANNOT convince anyone that does not want to be convinced. In the mean time though, we should continue to love them, and they us. If they insist on making the meeting one centered around their theories, then I feel you have the absolute right to have a problem. However, if it is just an underlying belief of theirs that you disagree about, love them and maintain your fellowship. I believe that God will show us all through a process. That is why Christ is a mystery to us. In many ways, it is straight forward, but then again, we are limited in our humanity to fully comprehend the Almighty God.

    As far as this blog not being intended for discussion like this, no way. If we were trashing each other, then I would agree with you. However, there has been some wonderful fellowship going on. That is exactly why this site is here.

    Your loving brother—Jason

  37. Tim September 18, 2004 at 5:21 pm

    Hello Jason. I appreciate your spirit!

    I do not recall that I ever wrote that a "real brother" has to believe that the creation days were literal 24-hour days. Did I? Please correct me if I did.

    However, I believe that the Lord through Moses communicated that to us. See Genesis 1:5 for the definition of a day: the light portion of a dark/light cycle and the whole cycle itself. It seems to me that the Lord spelled it out from the very beginning of the week just so there would be no confusion about it. Then, notice what the Lord communicated to Moses by His own handwriting on stone tablets as we read in Ex. 20:11 and 31:17. The commandment would make no sense if the days of creation were not literal days. Then, Notice what Jesus says in Mark 10:6-9 about Adam and Eve being created at the beginning, not some millions or even thousands of years later. We read in Luke 11:50, 51 that Abel was killed from the foundation of the earth, again, not thousandsd of years later. I think Jesus believed that Genesis 1 was literal history, not figurative.

    Consider the alternatives to a literal-day understanding of Genesis 1. Every other old-earth theory of which I have become aware incorporates death in creation, apart from man, before sin. Are you aware of any view that does not? What that means is that the world we live in is pretty much the way God made it, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, famines, etc.. What does that tell me about the character of God. Is He good? When it says in Gen. 1:31 that God looked upon all that He made and it was "very good" does this mean the natural disasters we experience are "very good"? And what do we have to look forward to in the new heavens and earth? More of the same? Not much to look forward to, from my perspective.

    And is Jesus really the Creator and Redeemer of all of creation, or of just man? It seems like Paul in Romans 8:19-21 and in Colossians 1:20 says that all of creation awaits His full redemptive work. And He will do it. Hallelujah! We have a glorious future ahead. He will make all things new again.

    You should also know that up until the latter part of the 18th c. and into the 19th that the majority view of the Church of Jesus Christ and its most learned scholars looked upon creation as having been done by God in six literal days. What began to occur in science during those centuries? Old-earth views of geology, which led into evolutionary views of biology (Darwin). Various Church scholars began to "buy into" this innocently, not knowing where it would lead, to the undermining of the authority of the Sriptures. So, who now is authoritative when it comes to origins? Holy infallible God, or fallible man? Unfortunately, most of us are more comfortable in following the traditions of man, including evolutionary theories of science than the words of God.

    And again Jason, I do not believe I ever wrote that I hate those who do not believe that creation occured in six days. Did I? Please correct me if I have forgotten. But I do think they are wrong. The reason why Wayne is effectively ministering to us is because he has certain convictions about the Church and what it should be. These are based upon Scriptural truths that run in the face of contemporary notions. And he is willing to take a risk of being rejected by the establishment in order to help set others free to really enjoy the Lord and His people. I’m grateful for his work and how the Lord is using him.

    In like manner I do believe that there are others out there like myself who have found it difficult to fully trust God and His word because they know exactly what Genesis 1-11 says, but cannot reconcile it with what they have been taught all their lives. I’m not suggesting everyone is in this situation, but I believe there are many, because I have talked with them. I do not blame them for I understand where they are coming from. But I do lose my patience with those who are in leadership positions and will not discuss the issue or consider its importance, for they keep the people under them in bondage. Jesus dealt more sternly with the religious leaders than the other people, as you know.

    Finally, Jason, yes there are many things about Christ that are still a mystery to us, but why should we make mysteries out of things that have been clearly revealed?

    Brother, we’re not thrashing each other, are we? 🙂

    Thanks for inviting me to continue on.

    Tim

  38. Tim September 18, 2004 at 8:21 pm

    Hello Jason. I appreciate your spirit!

    I do not recall that I ever wrote that a "real brother" has to believe that the creation days were literal 24-hour days. Did I? Please correct me if I did.

    However, I believe that the Lord through Moses communicated that to us. See Genesis 1:5 for the definition of a day: the light portion of a dark/light cycle and the whole cycle itself. It seems to me that the Lord spelled it out from the very beginning of the week just so there would be no confusion about it. Then, notice what the Lord communicated to Moses by His own handwriting on stone tablets as we read in Ex. 20:11 and 31:17. The commandment would make no sense if the days of creation were not literal days. Then, Notice what Jesus says in Mark 10:6-9 about Adam and Eve being created at the beginning, not some millions or even thousands of years later. We read in Luke 11:50, 51 that Abel was killed from the foundation of the earth, again, not thousandsd of years later. I think Jesus believed that Genesis 1 was literal history, not figurative.

    Consider the alternatives to a literal-day understanding of Genesis 1. Every other old-earth theory of which I have become aware incorporates death in creation, apart from man, before sin. Are you aware of any view that does not? What that means is that the world we live in is pretty much the way God made it, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, famines, etc.. What does that tell me about the character of God. Is He good? When it says in Gen. 1:31 that God looked upon all that He made and it was "very good" does this mean the natural disasters we experience are "very good"? And what do we have to look forward to in the new heavens and earth? More of the same? Not much to look forward to, from my perspective.

    And is Jesus really the Creator and Redeemer of all of creation, or of just man? It seems like Paul in Romans 8:19-21 and in Colossians 1:20 says that all of creation awaits His full redemptive work. And He will do it. Hallelujah! We have a glorious future ahead. He will make all things new again.

    You should also know that up until the latter part of the 18th c. and into the 19th that the majority view of the Church of Jesus Christ and its most learned scholars looked upon creation as having been done by God in six literal days. What began to occur in science during those centuries? Old-earth views of geology, which led into evolutionary views of biology (Darwin). Various Church scholars began to "buy into" this innocently, not knowing where it would lead, to the undermining of the authority of the Sriptures. So, who now is authoritative when it comes to origins? Holy infallible God, or fallible man? Unfortunately, most of us are more comfortable in following the traditions of man, including evolutionary theories of science than the words of God.

    And again Jason, I do not believe I ever wrote that I hate those who do not believe that creation occured in six days. Did I? Please correct me if I have forgotten. But I do think they are wrong. The reason why Wayne is effectively ministering to us is because he has certain convictions about the Church and what it should be. These are based upon Scriptural truths that run in the face of contemporary notions. And he is willing to take a risk of being rejected by the establishment in order to help set others free to really enjoy the Lord and His people. I’m grateful for his work and how the Lord is using him.

    In like manner I do believe that there are others out there like myself who have found it difficult to fully trust God and His word because they know exactly what Genesis 1-11 says, but cannot reconcile it with what they have been taught all their lives. I’m not suggesting everyone is in this situation, but I believe there are many, because I have talked with them. I do not blame them for I understand where they are coming from. But I do lose my patience with those who are in leadership positions and will not discuss the issue or consider its importance, for they keep the people under them in bondage. Jesus dealt more sternly with the religious leaders than the other people, as you know.

    Finally, Jason, yes there are many things about Christ that are still a mystery to us, but why should we make mysteries out of things that have been clearly revealed?

    Brother, we’re not thrashing each other, are we? 🙂

    Thanks for inviting me to continue on.

    Tim

  39. Jason September 18, 2004 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for your refreshing spirit too. Good fellowship is centered around good discussion so therefore, we are not out of bounds. I appreciate the conviction you have for certain truths. I sort of used to buy into the theory of evlolution. That plus my sinful lifestyle is what kept me away from God. I then had a change of heart, but some of the scientific evolutionary theories still left me with questions.

    Since then, I have read the Bible and many books on some of the theories proposed by science. I have read SEVERAL from an old earth and new earth point of view. After much research, reading and prayer, the conclusion that I came up with is that Jesus created the world and universe, He died for me (us all), that if I accept His free gift that I could never earn, I will spend all of eternity with Him. Oh yah, I should go ahead and "Follow Him". In other words, I still have not come to a certain conclusion on certain things dealing with the age of the universe. However, as stated, I certainly do not buy into macro-evolution.

    I don’t need a reply, but just wanted to share my experience. If you want to respond, that is ok too because I sure have enjoyed our fellowship. I am not much enjoying the situation going on in the institutional church I attend. However, I do have a chance for fellowship with others looking for practical relationships in the Body of Christ. If you want to continue our discussions and fellowship about anything, my email is actstwo36@aol.com. Maybe we could learn about more of each other. In Jesus’s love–Jason

  40. Jason September 19, 2004 at 1:42 am

    Thanks for your refreshing spirit too. Good fellowship is centered around good discussion so therefore, we are not out of bounds. I appreciate the conviction you have for certain truths. I sort of used to buy into the theory of evlolution. That plus my sinful lifestyle is what kept me away from God. I then had a change of heart, but some of the scientific evolutionary theories still left me with questions.

    Since then, I have read the Bible and many books on some of the theories proposed by science. I have read SEVERAL from an old earth and new earth point of view. After much research, reading and prayer, the conclusion that I came up with is that Jesus created the world and universe, He died for me (us all), that if I accept His free gift that I could never earn, I will spend all of eternity with Him. Oh yah, I should go ahead and "Follow Him". In other words, I still have not come to a certain conclusion on certain things dealing with the age of the universe. However, as stated, I certainly do not buy into macro-evolution.

    I don’t need a reply, but just wanted to share my experience. If you want to respond, that is ok too because I sure have enjoyed our fellowship. I am not much enjoying the situation going on in the institutional church I attend. However, I do have a chance for fellowship with others looking for practical relationships in the Body of Christ. If you want to continue our discussions and fellowship about anything, my email is actstwo36@aol.com. Maybe we could learn about more of each other. In Jesus’s love–Jason

  41. Rich-man October 11, 2004 at 8:25 am

    Hello,

    I loved what the French bro was sharing.

    Apart from the Holy Spirit making known to us Him, the WORD, then it is "much ado about nothing"!

    Many know the scriptures, but not the Word Himself.

    It doesn’t say, In the beginning was the scriptures, but instead it declares, in the beginning was the Word!!

    The Holy Spirit does many things I’m sure, but two things for certain he does, was-is made clear by the Lord…"he will reveal and glorify ME", he said.

    Apart from Him no matter how good the things are, or the intentions are, it will inevitably revolve around my truth vs your truth, rather than a continuous revelation of Him the Truth.

    I am convinced no matter whether in France or wherever, many have had a Holy Ghost encounter with the Living Christ, but have no idea how this might fit or work out for them.

    Organized religion in any form stands in contention with Him the Father of our spirit, if one has been re-birthed. Rather than simply listening to him, the Spirit of Truth wanting to form this living Christ within, there can come a form of godliness, but devoid of any power.

    Anyone wanting to possibly share more on this can reach me via ptemailman on Yahoo Messenger or gonepostal on the Skype voice chat.

    In Him we move,live and BE,

    Richard

  42. Rich-man October 11, 2004 at 11:25 am

    Hello,

    I loved what the French bro was sharing.

    Apart from the Holy Spirit making known to us Him, the WORD, then it is "much ado about nothing"!

    Many know the scriptures, but not the Word Himself.

    It doesn’t say, In the beginning was the scriptures, but instead it declares, in the beginning was the Word!!

    The Holy Spirit does many things I’m sure, but two things for certain he does, was-is made clear by the Lord…"he will reveal and glorify ME", he said.

    Apart from Him no matter how good the things are, or the intentions are, it will inevitably revolve around my truth vs your truth, rather than a continuous revelation of Him the Truth.

    I am convinced no matter whether in France or wherever, many have had a Holy Ghost encounter with the Living Christ, but have no idea how this might fit or work out for them.

    Organized religion in any form stands in contention with Him the Father of our spirit, if one has been re-birthed. Rather than simply listening to him, the Spirit of Truth wanting to form this living Christ within, there can come a form of godliness, but devoid of any power.

    Anyone wanting to possibly share more on this can reach me via ptemailman on Yahoo Messenger or gonepostal on the Skype voice chat.

    In Him we move,live and BE,

    Richard

Comments are closed.