Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Elementary Teachings

It is no secret there are certain "hot buttons" that create discussion with very little effort among Americans of all different belief systems. I obviously hit on one of these with my audacity to suggest that homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality, along with abortion, are probably the 2 biggest political buttons that cause the most controversy and upheaval because of the deep convictions on either side of the arguments. I won't, as you probably can tell, hold back my beliefs on either issue. What is a major concern for me (in fact, I have had trouble sleeping since my "Prayer..." posting) is what many "professing Christians" actually believe. I am troubled by comments on my blog, what I hear people say on television and on the street, and things I read in the newspaper and magazines. Sadly, what is being communicated is what the majority of Americans think is truth (I use a lowercase "t" because "truth" according to most is like silly putty that can be manipulated to whatever shape someone desires).

The problem with some of the things people are saying is that they are teachings that are simply not found in Christian scriptures. By Christian teachings, I am referring to the full word of God, both New and Old Testaments. I am convinced more than ever that many people call themselves Christian but have absolutely no clue what the Bible teaches on most any subject, including the very basics of the Christian faith. I will be posting individual articles on some of these to attempt to show that what some people are holding so dear is in direct conflict with what Jesus and his followers believed, taught, and died for. Much of what people say is simply what they want to believe, not what is found in the Christian scriptures.

Hebrews 5:12 says that "by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again." It seems that "Christian" America could benefit from a return to the basics of what it means to be a Christian. If you are not getting the foundation of what you believe from the Word of God, then what you are claiming can be turned on its head at any moment.

You can usually brace yourself to hear non-truths when someone begins a statement of belief with "It doesn't make sense to me that God..." or "My experience has been..." It is the me/mine theology.

I acknowledge that God doesn't seem to make sense according to human logic and I am keenly aware that experience will shape one's character and worldview. However, if someone arrives at a place where logic and experience is given priority over what God says in His Word, then that person has put self in the place of God. It is the Christian's responsibility to study the Bible and align his/her thoughts, beliefs and actions with God, not the other way around. God doesn't make mistakes and He doesn't have to adjust to what we "feel" is right. It is in God's infinite wisdom that he provides the Holy Spirit to illumine our hearts toward such an enormous task.

If you call yourself a Christian or not, my recommendation to you is read your Bible for yourself and let God speak to you with the guidance of the Holy Spirit through His Word. He will guide you into Truth (now I use a capital T because this Truth is unchanging) if you are seeking it. Looking for something to back up your predetermined belief system will only fail you and frustrate you. Many people, some that are more crafty and intelligent than any of us, have set out to disprove the validity and Truth of the Gospel, only to find themselves on their knees in total submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

What America needs now is Christians who have their roots planted firmly in God's Word, persevering to the end in Truth, for the the Glory of God alone.


Brian said...

What it all boils down to is that when we humble and submit ourselves and concerns to God directly - He will answer us - Truthfully. I use the capital "T" because God is not going to lie to us nor mislead us with a trail of riddles. So much of the Biblical teachings as we know them are steeped in bias - one way or the other.

All religions, Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Mormons, Methodists...etc... they all subscribe to certain doctrine, some similar and some vastly different. The doctrines vary between each denomination as well as within the individual congregations. Just as I'm not willing to say one religion is "better" or more righteous than the other, I'm not going to presume that I have the ability to discern who is and isn't going to be welcome in God's kingdom.

Your convictions are obviously strong and very important to you, which I respect. Furthermore, it shouldn't matter to you if someone disagrees with your beliefs - that is between you and God. For the record, and not that you should even care, but I don't see you as being audacious. You are entitled to speak your mind - just as those who choose to read your blog are entitled to either agree or disagree with you.

That said I admire that you keep an open dialog and allow opposing ideas to be voiced respectfully. Obviously, you do care about hearing what other people have to say or you'd make your blog private and only allow access to those who share your same convictions and beliefs. But hey, that too is your right. Instead, you keep the comments open for discussion and civil debate - something there is too little of these days.


Anonymous said...

Very,very well said Jonathan. By reading over your blog site, it seems to lean mainly toward the christian viewpoint. Not everyone will agree and not everyone will understand what is being said. To fully understand the Word of God, an individual needs to understand who God is. That means digging into the scripture almost daily. We will never understand the enmormity of God until we are in heaven.....and it will be an eternity of learning. That being said, we can come to know God in as much as He has revealed Himself to us through the scriptures. By reading the Godpels, we cannot deny that sin is what seperates us from a holy God. The bible becomes offensive to most who do not know the Lord or even to those who know very little about the scriptures and call themselves christians. God is very direct when He expounds on how we are to conduct our lives, how we are to love, how we are to hate sin, how we are to pray, how we are to love the brethern and etc. Because of God's grace alone, we have been given the opportunity and priviledge to look into the scriptures so we can understand who we are worshiping. Are we worshiping God according to what fits our life style and what makes us most comfortable, or are we truly (in prayer) searching the scriptures wanting to know who God is and what He truly stands for and wants for our lives? There's no doubt there will be differences of opinions, but the one main truth we can all hold to is God is righteous, holy and just. God will not and cannot accept anything outside the bounds of who He is. If God in His righteousness could accept sin, then what was the purpose of Christ dying on the cross? God hated sin so much that He was willing to give His own Son to become a sacrifice for our sins. There's no higher love than that! But until we actually repent of our sins and accept God's forgiveness of our sins through His Son, we are not acceptable to God. We cannot pick and choose what we think certain sins are. If the scripture makes it clear what a particular sin is, then it is a sin. In our christian lives, we need to confess it to God and trust Him to keep us from entering into that same sin over and over. In my own personal life, I would have loved to have been able to claim that a lot of the sins I committed were not sins. I was having a ball. But in my heart, I knew they were being committed against God. Thank God that He is a loving and forgiving God. The sin of homosexuality is one sin amongst many. The bible makes that clear whether we want to accept it or not. If a person thinks he is bigger and more intelligent than God when it comes to giving an opinion of what God says is sin, then argue with God. For many years I worked with two different managers who were homosexual. They were part of my life every day. We were all friends at work and had some great times together. I didn't wake up each morning wondering how I was going to change their life style. In my heart I knew what I believed, but it never effected our friendship at work. They also knew I was a christian and were very open to my opinion should the subject be presented. (not that they agreed with anything I had to say) But as christians, I think we are more sensitive to homosexuality because of the fact it's being taught in our schools and churches and also being pushed through the courts. If christians make a stand against it, then we become labeled homophobic. In the end, we all have to face God on our knees. Alcoholism is just as serious a sin as being homosexual. Yet we seem to tolerate alcoholism because it is something that is not pushed on us through the court system or taught in our schools and churches. Both sins are sins named in the bible that classify a person of not being able to enter into the Kingdom of God. I Cor. 6:9,10. This particular scripture is not saying that an alcoholic or a gay person can never enter into the Kingdom of God, but if a person chooses to live his life continuously and habitually in that state of sin and does not turn his life around, it is evidence that he is not holy and does not belong to God. The bible says in Matthew "My sheep hear My voice"......those that truly belong to the Lord KNOW His voice and WANT to obey Him. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy Jonathan that you are taking a true stand for the word of God. In today's society, there is a downplaying concerning the truths that were once accepted as truths in the bible. It is being considered uncouth to voice strong opinions on spiritual, moral and ethical matters. Christians are expected to hold their most important convictions with as much slack as possible. Discernment of the scriptures is becoming a thing of the past in so many churches today. People rather be political correct on spiritual issues which ends up completely disorting the Word of God. The media talk shows would rather silence our voice, thinking we should broaden our minds and be more tolerant of what we believe is sin. Anyone who voices an opinion in oppostion to another's life style when using scripture is considered intolerant and is in comptempt of almost being a heretic. Churches today do not want the Word of God taught in black and white, but rather have right or wrong, true or false, good or bad taught in shades of gray. That way, it won't offend anyone. Zero tolerance has become the way of the world for biblical discerment of the scriptures. If it's not politically correct, and if God's teaching offends the audience, then it's better not said, than said at all. Yet the Oprah Show can broadcast a twisted gospel of what she believes concerning her so called faith in a higher power. Her website goes out to millions, and millions accept what Oprah's new found religion has to say because after all, she's Oprah. She made the statement that Jesus was not the only way to heaven. I believe she has over 2 million followers now which get on her website each day to get their daily "faith needs" from her "not so biblical" teachings. People will follow Oprah because of who she is, and they love her modern viewpoint because it does not offend. People want to hear more of what makes them feel good. They don't want to have to hear any negativity or anything that makes them squirm in their seats. For them, it's better to compromise the Word of God so they can walk out the door with a smile on their face. The basic doctrines of the bible have become too budensome for us the secular world says. Our generation today needs men and women who will take a firm stand on the Word of God and who will uphold the Truth. I find that you are one of these people Jonathan, And praise God for standing your ground on the Truth of His Word, and for not wavering. It's a blessing to be able to find a blog site where we can speak freely, and also a place where we have so much in common, and that commonality is believing that the Word of God is the only source of perfect Truth.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure all of us at one time or another has heard the phrase, "God is not the author of confusion." Something that has not been mentioned is the role Satan plays in this world. In I Pet. 5:8 he's depicted as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Imagine a lion capturing his prey, strangling it by chomping down on the neck, and then tearing it apart to eat it. That is exactly how Satan is seeking to conquer man. If he can get a stranglehold on our lives, Satan will have us exactly where he wants us. What better way than describing Satan's role on this earth as a roaring lion? It leaves us with with a pretty scary picture if we actually vision what it would be like if we had to face a lion in the wild. God knows Satan better than anyone. He created him and has been doing battle with him for eons. Satan and his host of demons love nothing more than attacking the human race, devising every plan possible to distort God's plan and the Word of God.....anything to keep mankind from knowing God. It all started in the Garden of Eden (for man). Satan has worked overtime through the ages to accomplish his own plan. Satan has opposed God's plan in every way imaginable and had gone out of his way through history to try to keep Christ from dying on the cross. But our victorious Lord arose from the grave dispite Satan's blatant attempts! Satan is the prince of this world and the entire world lies in his lap. His purpose is to stir up wickedness and to take as many unbelievers to hell with him. He knows his time is short. What better way than to confuse mankind by infiltrating the minds of those who seek God? Satan is mapping out his wicked strategy and scheeming this very moment in how he's going to make his next move to decieve us. He's called a liar and a deciever. What we mistaken at times for God's perfect Truth is actually Satan's version of God's word! It causes mass confusion between christians. If we do not search the scriptures ourselves and study the doctrines of the bible, our own humanview point is substituted for God's viewpoint. And Satan loves the division it causes. Satan has one purpose in mind until his end will come, and that is to decieve as many as he can, and that includes the christian, God's church. He's crafty and corrupt. As christians, we should be aware that there is a host of demonic activity going on in this world that is trying to twart the plan of God. God's plan will always go on to perfection until the end. The BIGGERNESS of God makes Satan look small. But God has also allowed Satan to influence and decieve this world. Satan is a very powerful spiritual being, and his evilness will abound to the extent that God allows it. This world can be so confusing because of all the things that take place, thanks to Satan. But the answers are found in the scriptures. We can find comfort and peace and strength if only we would open the bible and search out the Truth. We don't have to be confused. We have the Word of God.

B in Florida said...

So many anonymous comments make it hard to reply to any one in particular. As a consideration, nicknames or handles would be helpful. Moving on - all I can or rather will add at this point, is Thank God we live in country where everyone is still able to hold and to voice their convictions. Agree, disagree, and agree to disagree - or not. It is a blessing just to speak aloud our beliefs.

I could – but won’t enter into further debate, but instead will offer this scripture from Mark 12: 30-31, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment…And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Peace and Grace to all.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing greater than being able to love. The debt of love is something we will always owe, to God first, and then to one another. It is the heart of christian living.