dimanche 9 novembre 2003

Theological smorgasbord

I must be extremely bored because I just read through a bunch of threads on Beliefnet's forums. While I certainly didn't read them all word-for-word (some were just tedious to get through), a lot of it was interesting. Especially on threads where there were upwards of over a hundred and something responses. I did notice however, that, Christians and non-Christians just went back and forth a lot of the time, using big words and complex theological or scientific ideas to prove or disprove their beliefs. Funny thing was sometimes, they would use the same concept to argue their point of view that the other side would use to prove theirs! I had the small urge to respond to some of these threads, but really, the non-Christians seemed to attack the Christian beliefs, which led to the Christians attacking back, meaning a full scale war was on in no time. So I will post what I think here where it's at least a bit friendlier :)

- "Jesus Christ is not God" thread: this belief subscribes to the heresy of Arius that the early church combated; this belief can be easily refuted by numerous Bible verses of which I will not be giving references because there's a lot and it's late; historical biblical Christianity believes that Jesus Christ is God, which means that anyone who calls them self a Christian will agree with this; as stated in the sidebar, I believe He is Lord!

- "I Am God" thread: started off as a joke by some guy claiming to be God but the topic moved onto the previous thread's subject; relating to the "I Am God" idea, that belief is pantheistic and monistic and in no way should be believed by those following Christ; this was what led to the Fall - "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5)

- "Catholic vs. Protestant" thread: this is something that has been personal to my life (if I get the chance, I will post something on this); I disagree with some things in the Catholic tradition but I think there is still a lot that can be learned from them, such as their reverential approach to God, the importance of confession (though the means to do so are different), as well as the sacred treatment of the sacraments (not saying that Protestants don't do so); there is a lot of hate between the two groups and that is sad because Jesus prayed in His High Priestly Prayer that there be complete unity for His believers (see verses); I still don't understand this though because if there are so many theological differences between the two, how can unity be achieved?

- "The KJV vs." thread: I think that God has carefully protected His truth throughout the ages so in my mind, I don't see an issue in terms of inaccuracies between the versions or anything; there are people who prefer the traditional version because it may communicate the holiness of God better for them (revered and traditional language); modern translations allow people to have a better understanding of the scriptures because it is in accessible language to them; overall, I think we should treasure the fact that we have so many versions and translations available to us to study from because those in other countries only have one, if any, so any bickering about which one is the best seems irrelevant to the big picture here; that said, I do like the NIV best because that was my first Bible and I love pouring over those familiar verses

- "Demons in Christians" thread: again, this is something that has been personal in my life (but not personally thankfully!!!) - maybe I'll post about that soon as well; I do believe that Christians can allow demons to oppress them if they are allowing themselves to be, are not plugged in to the power source (GOD), and are not guarding themselves with the full armor; I think it is impossible for Christians to be possessed though because the Holy Spirit dwells within them; "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

- "Speaking in Tongues" thread: yes, the gift of speaking in tongues was given to the believers at Pentecost when they were baptized of the Holy Spirit; Paul addresses this later on in 1 Corinthians, when he states that speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit or a spiritual gift; I don't think that it is evidence of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life because if so, I wouldn't be considered one!; I'm not a cessationist because I think God may still gift some today with this for personal edification; Paul does has clear guidelines for its use: interpreter must be present, must be conducted in an orderly manner, cannot disrupt a worship service, only one at a time, that sort of thing; so basically, I believe it to be a gift of the Spirit (just like gifts of teaching, administration, etc. are - but should not be given prominence over them or be considered the only true gift) that still exists today but should not be presented in a manner that is contrary to the guidelines Paul has set

Actually, I have a story about the last one. My best friend and I were at a Starfield concert a few months ago, and it was held at a Pentecostal church. I am in no way discriminating against this denomination or attacking its beliefs; I am only describing my experience. So we were sitting there in the foyer waiting for the concert to begin when we noticed that a bunch of adults were huddled together in a circle. We weren't really sure of what was going on until we noticed a man saying a bunch of weird stuff. He was quite loud and before long, we figured out that he was speaking in tongues. Then a woman (I think?) started interpreting for him just as loudly. The whole group seemed seized during this moment and it scared my best friend and me to the point that we had to leave the church. Now it could be that they were experiencing some sort of God manifestation then, but clearly, it made anyone there who was not exposed to that sort of behaviour uncomfortable. I think that there is a time and a place for such an experience but if it was enough to drive Christians out of that church at that time, then I wonder what non-Christians would have felt like if they were there. Though I think it is a valid gift (a pastor I know has it but would never use it in front of others in that sort of manner), I think it can easily be abused. Like at that moment in that church when we felt the need to leave. Or when many start speaking in tongues just for the sake of getting attention but they aren't really. Or when a crowd goes wild and starts speaking in gibberish all at once and it confuses the heck out of everyone.

Well this was a very long post! I'd break it up more but it's already 3 in the morning and I have to get up in three hours to go to church. Oh and when I mean that it's friendlier to post on my blog than to interact with non-Christians on those forums, I am not advocating that we shy away from places where truth can be imparted; I strongly encourage it for people who are able to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). I'll be honest - I'm a chicken. Plus, I know there is so much more to learn about my faith before I can defend my beliefs as well as I would like to before others. I don't want to sound like a babbling fool to others nor do I want to speak extensively about something that I have not spent much time on in study or in prayer. The things which I have written above on are my elementary thoughts on certain subjects. I am a learner and I am certain that when I look back on them a few months from now, I probably will have even more to add. So take them for what they are, coming from a believer in Jesus Christ, who is learning more each and everyday on her walk with Him :)

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