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Pastorl5

Authentic Christian Believer
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  1. I'm just going to repost these examples of what non-Christians have that Larry can't have because he is a Christian. You cannot understand the Love of God like this if you are a Christian.

     

    Greetings Mary. I’m going to try something that may prove to be enlightening. Rev R had suggested to Pastor before trying explaining this without using the Christian language to describe it. I’m going to take some of the things you say and restate them and address my response to that.

     

    <snip>

     

    You say: ” However, the difference between a believer's experience knowing the love of Jesus and the non-believer's experience, is that the non-believer has never let that experience ignite the belief in Him, which is the seed for a real relationship with God.”

     

    Translated: ‘I don’t see that those who don’t believe as I do can possibly have experienced what I do with God, because how I believe results in this for me. Therefore because they don’t believe this that means that can’t experience this. Either the switch is on, or it’s off.

     

    Response: This is not the reality of life for others who don’t use the same system of belief. They do experience what you experience. And in cases, far deeper experiences of the Divine.

     

    Examples:

     

    1. Ralph Woodrow Emerson.

     

    “Beauty in nature is not ultimate. It is the herald of inward and eternal beauty, and is not alone a solid and satisfactory good…

     

    Nature is a symbol of spirit… Before the revelations of the Soul, time, space and nature shrink away… In the hour of vision there is nothing that can be called gratitude, nor properly joy. The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation, perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right, and calms itself with knowing that all things go well. Vast spaces of nature, the Atlantic Ocean, the South Seas, long intervals of time, years, centuries, are of no account…

     

    Let us stun and astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions by a simple declaration of the divine fact. Bid the intruders take the shoes from off their feet, for God is here within. Let our simplicity judge them, and our docility to our own law demonstrate the poverty of Nature beside our native riches.”

     

    These are the words of a man who rejected Christianity.

     

    2. Now the words of a Christian, however she would be considered as “not knowing God” by most Evangelical Christians because she was Catholic, a “non-Christian” according to many. The words of Mother Teresa:

     

    “ And now let us see what becomes of this silkworm. When it is in this state of cessation, and quite dead to the world, it comes out little white butterfly, Oh, greatness of God, that a soul should come out like this after being closely united for so short a time – never, I think, for as long as half an hour. For think of the difference between an ugly worm and a white butterfly; it is just the same here. The soul cannot think how it can have merited such a blessing – whence such blessing could have come to it, I meant to say, for it knows quite well that it has not merited it at all.

     

    ….

     

    But here it is like rain falling from the heavens into a river or spring; there is nothing but water there and it is impossible to divide or separate the water belongs to the river from that which fell from the heavens. Or it is as if a tiny streamlet enters the sea, from which it will find no way of separating itself, or as if in a room there were two large windows which the light streamed in: it enters in different places but it all becomes one.”

    These all are, by the way, expressions of direct experience. Not a theoretical speculation. I know this for myself.

     

    3. Sri Auribindo, Eastern Indian mystic/philosopher:

     

    “Its first effect has been the liberation of life and mind out of Matter; its last effect has been to assist the emergence of a spiritual consciousness, a spiritual will and spiritual sense of existence in the terrestrial being so that he is no longer solely preoccupied with his outermost life or with mental pursuits and interests, but has learned to look within, to discover his inner being, his spiritual self, to aspire to overpass earth and her limitations. As he grows more and more inward, his boundaries mental, vital, and spiritual begin to broaden, the bonds that held life, mind, soul to their first limitations loosen or snap, and man the mental being begins to have a glimpse of a larger kingdom of self and world closed to the first earth-life.”

    4. Sri Ramana Maharshi:

     

    “The Self is known to everyone but not clearly. The Being is the Self. “I am” is the name of God. Of all the definitions of God, none is indeed so well put as the Biblical statement I AM THAT I AM. The Absolute Being is what is – It is the Self. It is God. Knowing the Self, God is known. In fact, God is none other than the Self.”

     

    Again, these are expressions of humans who have experienced something that Transcendent Love, and is found regardless of religion. The effects of this are life transforming, by the way, not just for a moment like you suggested.

     

    Will you continue to say that they can’t or don’t experience God the way a Christian can? One more example:

     

    5. Meister Eckhart:

     

    “For in this break-through I discover that I and God are one. There I am what I was, and I grow neither smaller nor bigger, for I am an immovable cause that moves all things.

     

    Therefore also I am unborn, and following the way of my unborn being I can never die. Following the way of my unborn being I have always been, I am now, and shall remain eternally.”

     

    Now I repeat. A Christian cannot experience the Love of the Transcendent God described above so long as they are Christians. They will always be outside of that because their beliefs are in error.

     

     

     

     

     

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    So, let me ask this question Larry and End? The spirit in you, how does it feel to hear someone dismissing your experience of God on the basis of being or not being a member of this group or that group? Of not being a Buddhist or some other religion?

     

    This is you to us.

     

    You ask what have you not answered? The Truth of the Heart. What says your heart? I'll tell you mine, and it embraces you in that Light, regardless of how your mind holds it. It is fully yours as it is mine. I believe you experience it, and in all descriptions, it is not different. I have experienced it as a Christian, and as a non-Christian.

     

    And End, in no way can it be said I am against Christ. Whatever he expresses as a sign, that of the Divine, I embrace. How can you not know this, if you listen with your heart instead of the head and theologies of interpretation?

     

    A bad tree cannot bear good fruits. By their fruits you shall know them. Either you accept Christ in others, in whatever form that takes, or you reject it in them. But you cannot deny it. Who is against "Christ", End? Who is against God in others???? Not I my friend. It's the Christian who sees it in others and denies it on the basis of their beliefs. To me, this that 'Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit". To call that Love in others, the Antichrist.

     

    "By their doctrines you shall know them?"

     

    True or false?

     

     

    AM,

     

    Allow me to ask you this, by what knowledge to you base your experiences off of? What Has God spoken to you that would indicate truth?

     

    With all due respect, don't tell me I listen to more to the head than I do the heart. Ridiculous. I look more for a balance between the two, isn't that looking at all levels of self? Isn't that what you and others here have asked me to do?

     

    I do find it funny, however, that you declare that Christians who hold to their beliefs cannot experience the Transcendant love of God because of their beliefs. So you would suggest that there is a single truth out there that must be believed upon in order to be accepted? Hmmm, that almost sounds like the theology of Christ... only difference is you don't accept Christ as God.

     

     

    Let me say it again: Know Christ...Know truth; No Christ... NO TRUTH.

     

    Let me know when you want to experience the fullness of God, Jesus will always accept you back in His fold when you are ready to repent.

     

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

     

     

    P.S. - This discussion will never come to a happy median between us. You claim everything but the truth of Christ and I claim nothing but. So where does that leave us?

  2. I've been reading these posts over the last couple of days and I have to say that there is nothing here that I need to say that End hasn't (well done my friend). Yet I do wish to say this to those quoting Scriptures (Abiyoyo and Neon-Genesis specifically speaking):

     

    Please use context when referring to the Bible. Both of you asserted that Jesus was stating that you could have faith without believing in Jesus as Christ:

     

    Abiyoyo you said, "So, point is that people, though they may not proclaim Jesus to be the Christ, or walk right beside the religion; they, according to what Christ said, can and possibly do have faith, possibly greater than the ones that should have faith in Him"

     

     

    Neon-Genesis you said, "Mark's gospel portrays Jesus as recognizing that the "love of Christ" could be experienced by people who were not with his group and that the love of Christ was not something that was exclusive but could be expressed by different groups in different ways"

     

     

    That is a horrible exegesis of the text because in both of those texts you are referring to, both are referring to a belief in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, had these miracles occurred outside of the name of Jesus and Jesus would have had the same response I might agree; but read your Bibles correctly people! Jesus only blesses the work of someone that does work in His name (as He did in Mark) and only declares someone's faith great when they are declaring their faith in His work (as He did in Luke's account of the Roman Soldier).

     

     

    AM, I'm waiting for that post of yours but until then if there is something I haven't responded to yet that you would like me to do, let me know.

     

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  3. This is not a cop out:

     

    To explain what I experience is to explain God Himself. It is inexpressible yet the most enjoyable thing I have encountered in my entire life. You say I hide behind a flat text: to you maybe, but to me this text jumps out and speaks to my soul. It is what helps me describe what I feel and experience, so not flat at all. The Word of God is vibrant and alive in my heart as it is the basis of my experience.

     

    Now with that said let me try to explain what I have that Non-Christians cannot:

     

    It is a rush of emotion and enlightenment that has truly allowed me to see myself and others for what we truly are.

    It is a sense of hope and joy that goes beyond all understanding. Issues arise and I rest in the fact that I do not need to worry because God is in control.

    I feel a closeness to God that I have never felt before. Since Jesus lives within me I interact with His Spirit on a daily basis. That relationship alone and the experience that goes with it is good enough of an explanation as to what I experience that you simply cannot.

     

    Now I know what you'll say: "Larry I do experience though things." Yet this is will always be a circular argument between the both of us because you cannot measure the type of love that we are referencing. I know what I say is true because I have felt God, experience God, through the source - Jesus Christ. I know that what you say is not because you do not experience God, currently, through Jesus Christ. Again, Plain and Simple.

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  4. Bird Lady, I will be getting to your post in a minute but first I must respond to OddBird and AM:

     

    So let me get this straight, I have yet to answer the question? What a Short term Memory y'all have. Allow me to quote myself from page one of this post:

     

     

    "I would agree that the Love of Jesus, or what is meant by it, is a expression of human experience; however, as you would expect, this expression is not something humans can create. Now, I will be the first to admit that I see tons of people, who do not believe, who are genuinely loving and caring people. I have many friends who don't believe in Christ and they are people who share the same values as I do. So, at the least, I would suggest that the Love of Christ is not something that is shown in our higher morals or values; it is only something that we experience from God."

     

    You go on by saying this:

     

    "How is it that one person's not tying this to a symbolic figure "Jesus" means that they don't share the same truth? And of greater importance, how is it that the one who claims an embrace of truth by holding up a religious symbol, "Jesus", in this case, is unable to see it in others? How is it that because they hear someone challenge or dismiss the system of religious mythologies of gods and sacrifices of appeasement, that they leap to the conclusion that we don't know the nature of love?"

     

     

    Whether or not you believe in Jesus is the measuring stick of what I see as truth. If you don't believe in Jesus, how can you believe in the truth that He teaches? My truth (or I see it everyone's truth) cannot be truth without Jesus Christ at the center. It's not that I don't think non-Christians are unable to know the nature of love, I just think (and don't be offended) that you cannot experience the fullness of that nature without the truth of Jesus Christ."

     

    If you would have remembered that post you would have seen that I did answer your question: perhaps you misunderstood me. Allow me to explain myself a bit further and more bluntly:

     

    "What does this love of Jesus encompass that does not have a corresponding, experiential reality in non-Christian systems of belief?"

     

    The answer for the Christian is simple: You don't know Christ you don't know God. Allow me to quote Jesus:

     

    "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him."

     

     

    Taking that argument a little further:

    1 John 4:7-21

    7. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

    8. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    9. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

    10. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

    11. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    12. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    13. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

    14. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

    15. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

    16. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

    17. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

    18. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    19. We love because he first loved us.

    20. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

    21. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

     

    You see you cannot escape tying Jesus Christ into the Love of God. Therefore if you don't know Jesus, the Son of God, then God doesn't live within you. If God doesn't live within you then Love does not live within you. If Love doesn't live within you, then you can't experience the fullness of love that only Christians can possess

     

    Now do not try to take this and say that anyone who "loves" has God within them, notice how that this passage ties Jesus Christ with God living inside of you.

     

    So what do I have that you don't? What do I possess that a non-Christian doesn't? Perfect Love (see verse 18 above). It's as simple as that. You cannot possess love in it's perfect sense if you don't believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

     

     

    As I've said before (see first quote above) I know you can experience love and feel that love for one another, but you do not have the ability to possess the fullness of that love until Jesus, that is God, enters you and takes residence. It is only through this means that we can possess the fullness of love. Plain and Simple

     

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  5. Han Solo,

    You would be right if you worked under the premise that you're working with: that all "Gods" are basically the same. Yet, let me throw this at you: What if there was someone who was so against God that he did everything in his power to trick people into thinking that they were following the same God when in fact they were not? That would throw a wrench in the works of your argument, would it not?

  6. Well Han Solo, that gets into the thought of free will. God doesn't command our love, He asks for it. Thus there is a constant battle to choose God or to choose something else. That something else, when it replaces God becomes a false god (one that doesn't exist yet takes our love away from God). I would suggest that we are our only false gods. Anything that we put in the way of God is due to our own selfishness. Once we realize that it is God who deserves all that we have then we truly realize how "real" He truly is. Let me put it this way: Just because we don't value something doesn't cause it to cease to exist (nor does it conclude that it never existed in the first place). There are plenty of things that I don't value that exists just as much as you and me. Make sense?

  7. You know I have to agree with End here, The Bible says time and time again that we are to have no other gods, or false idols, and put them in place of God. You see we're not putting God into a box we are freely exposing God for He truly is. Wouldn't you agree that we are all looking for truth in one form or another? Yet, when a group of people find that truth you call them wrong.

     

    On that note, why do you tend to say that we are closed-minded (never actually said, but implied many times)? Just because God chooses to have one direct path doesn't make us closed-minded, if anything it means that we read the map the right way. We have to realize that there is one and only one Truth. When we find that truth, we embrace it. You might say, "Everyone claims to have that truth." Correct, but not every one is right. I, and i'm sure End (although I don't presume to speak for him) have found that truth in the form of Jesus Christ and anything else... well, just isn't truth. (Here comes the Heretical part...) If there is one truth and we all must find it, then it is assumed that anyone who cannot find that truth or refuses to accept it, will not be on that path and therefore, never come to fully know God.

     

     

    Christians must say these things or they are not Christians, plain and simple. We believe in Jesus Christ as the ONLY SOURCE, not one of many, to a full relationship and realization of God.

     

    So End, well done. Thank you for your posts and your willingness to defend our faith in Jesus.

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

    Larry

  8. Allow me to clarify something I said earlier so as not to mislead or be misunderstood:

     

    When I said that we don't know Jesus as well as we should, what I mean is that the institution of Christianity has confused the image of Jesus Christ. With that said, what I think to be the solution is that we need to get back to the Scriptures and teach Jesus as He presented Himself. Once we truly understand Jesus and His teachings we truly understand His theology, once we understand His theology we then understand what is meant by His love for us.

     

     

    The question was raised above, "what is discernibly distinctive and exclusive about the "love of Jesus" in Christianity?" The answer is simple: You can't experience that which you don't follow. If you are a follower of Buddha, then you gain the consequences of being Buddhist (both positive and negative, although the negative in my mind outweighs any positive). If you are a follower of Mohamed then you gain the consequences of Being Muslim (again, both positive and negative with the same results). So it would make sense that if you follow Jesus Christ then you would gain both the positive and negative (and in my mind there are none) consequences that follow. How can you claim that the "Love of Christ" is something that is for anyone when, at it's premise, you would have to be a follower of Jesus in order to partake in that love? What I mean by this is that anyone can be a follower, but not anyone can experience the love of Christ (you must first be a follower, which anyone can do, to experience that love first hand). You don't believe in Jesus? Fine, then search for the love somewhere else; but if you want to experience the love of Christ then you must first embrace the Christ in order to embrace the Love.

     

    I hope this clarifies my stance.

     

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

     

    P.S. Thanks for the kind words Oddball, it truly means a lot.

  9. AM and all,

    Just got back on tonight. Wow what a long couple of days! My wife went into pre-term labor so I've been at the hospital the last couple of days, but she is fine now and the baby is still in the womb! So, tonight I'd like to add another facet to this discussion that will hopefully allow all of us to better understand what the Love of Christ is all about.

     

    On Monday I was in Seminary (yes, I am a student) and my teacher asked this assertion: When I go to another country I am not a Christian, I am a follower of Christ. At first I was confused and a little shocked because I had always thought that you cannot separate the two, yet once he explained to me what that meant it made all the sense in the world.

     

    You see when we hear the word "Christianity" we tend to think many different things, mostly though we think of the Westernized Institution and not the original thoughts or ideas that are supposed to be associated with true Christianity (I say "true" because I see the way that we have almost ruined our religion by our own selfish desires and I accept the fact that the way we do Christianity isn't necessarily the correct way). So when we go to other countries, or to anyone really, we must strive to get away from the ideas of Westernized Christianity and instead focus on sharing what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.

     

    In light of all of that, my thought for all of you is this: In regards to the love of Christ, how much do we hold against Jesus for the institution of Christianity and how much do we misunderstand due to the institution? The Love of Christ is something that is great and wonderful, but what has the institution done to destroy that image? What has the institution done to mar Jesus Christ to the point where He is unrecognizable to those who claim to follow Him.

     

    Don't worry, this isn't a crisis of faith, but it is very revealing. We really don't know Jesus the way that we should, and I would suggest that when we truly find Christ (that is Jesus) that is when we truly find His love.

     

    Thoughts?

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

    Larry

  10. Pastor Larry and End,

     

    Throughout this discussion you imply that there is something that is completely inaccessible to the non-Christian. Some concrete "thing" that sets the Christian apart, and perhaps elevates the Christian above the rest of humanity.

     

    So let's turn the tables a bit from this talk of mysticism and symbols. Can either of you point directly to this thing that is inaccessible to the non-Christian without resorting to the use of Christian language or doctrine?

     

    Rev R,

     

    Good Question, yet it is difficult to address outside of Christian language being a Pastor whose been taught how to explain things through a Christian doctrine, but I'll give it a go:

     

    The thing that is inaccessible to the Non-Christian is a deep relationship with God. I believe, personally, that we all can experience God and probably do on a daily basis. But what separates a Christian from a Non-Christian is that deep relationship with God. That intimacy that comes from a direct interaction with The one and only Higher Being of this Universe. To me there is nothing more gratifying or pleasurable in this world.

     

    The reason I became a Christian in the first place was because of a spiritual experience I had as a Teenager. It was at that moment when I first experienced God that I gained a hint of what that relationship could be if I wanted it. Ever since that moment I have studied and experienced God in such a way that my love for Him and His for me has grown to where it is today.

     

    It is these experiences that I believe can only happen through a trust in Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is only accessible to those who are Christians and inaccessible to anyone else.

     

    I hope that helps, and sorry if there is some Christian doctrine sprinkled throughout. Getting me to not include that stuff is like telling the weather what to do.

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  11. Of course that is your argument, had you'd been reading the earlier posts you would understand that I was merely trying to answer some of the arguments others had made.

     

    oh, by the way, no one in their right mind would argue that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. Sure, the argument of who He Jesus was is a valid argument, but even the staunchest of atheists agreed that Jesus existed. So I'm sure that you are not suggesting the Historicity of Christ, just the accuracy of who He was, right?

  12. It doesn't matter if its "a" symbol or "the" symbol. It's function to us is the same as any symbol. I think there's confusion of what we mean when we speak of symbols. Here's a quick Wiki blurb on Symbols:

    "
    Psychology has found that people, and even animals, can respond to symbols as if they were the objects they represent. Pavlov's dogs salivated when they heard a sound which they associated with food, even if there was no food.
    Common psychological symbols include a gun to represent a penis or a tunnel to represent a vagina.[1] See: phallic symbol and yonic symbol.

     

    The psychologist, Carl Jung, who studied archetypes, proposed an alternative definition of symbol, distinguishing it from the term "sign". In Jung's view, a sign stands for something known, as a word stands for its referent. He contrasted this with symbol, which he used to stand for something that is unknown and that cannot be made clear or precise. An example of a symbol in this sense is Christ as a symbol of the archetype called "self".[2]

     

    The use of symbols is often attributed to being unique to homo sapiens. Humans use symbols in a variety of different ways. For example, written languages are composed of a variety of different symbols that create words. Through these written words, humans communicate with each other. Kenneth Burke described homo sapien as "symbol-using, symbol making, and [a] symbol misusing animal" to indicate that a person creates symbols in her or his life as well as misuses them (Burke 6). One example he uses to indicate his meaning behind symbol misuse is the story of
    a man who when told a particular food item was whale blubber, could barely keep from throwing it up. Later, his friend discovered it was actually just a dumpling. But the man's reaction was a direct consequence of the symbol of "blubber" representing something inedible in his mind
    (7). In addition, the symbol of "blubber" for the man was created by him through varies kinds of learning. Burke emphasizes that humans gain this type of learning that helps us create symbols by seeing various print sources, our life experiences, and symbols about the past (5).

     

    Burke also goes on to describe symbols as also being derived from Freud's work on condensation and displacement further stating that they are not just relevant to the theory of dreams, but also to "normal symbol systems" (7). He says they are related through "substitution" where one word, phrase, or symbol is substituted for another in order to change the meaning. In other words, if a person does not understand a certain word or phrase, another person may substitute a synonym or symbol in order to get the meaning of the original word or phrase across (7). However, when faced with that new way of interpreting a specific symbol, a person may change their already formed ideas to incorporate the new information based on how the symbol is expressed to the person."

    Whether one calls it "the" symbol or not is irrelevant. It still functions as a symbol to us.

     

     

    AM, we're thinking on the same wavelengths because I was just about to offer up a discussion as to what is meant by symbol in reference to this discussion. So, let me offer up a response to this article that you quoted:

     

    What I find interesting is the definition Dr. Jung uses the term symbol. If I understood it correctly a symbol is defined as something that better helps us understand a thing that cannot be understood or clearly defined. Then he does what I think you've been trying to say as well: Dr. Jung claims that Christ is a symbol of the actualization of self. That somehow Chirst is a symbol of what we as humans try to obtain through ourselves. Okay, I get it. I just don't agree with it.

     

    You see Christ is more than "a" symbol or even more than "the" symbol. As End puts it, Jesus is the Source. To put Jesus at the level of a symbol is making Him no better than a statue of a false god or some other thing that is worshipped for all the wrong reasons. If Dr. Jung's definition is correct, then in the view of Christianity, The Bible is the symbol of Jesus.

     

    Now you said that whether or not Jesus is "the" symbol or not is irrelevant, that Jesus functions as a symbol to you and others on this website. You know just as much as I do that making an assertion doesn't automatically make it true. As the saying goes, "I can take a crap and a box, wrap it up, and put a bow on it, but at the end of the day it's still crap."

     

    The Bible certainly does not infer that Jesus considered Himself "a" or "the" symbol. Yes, Jesus says that no one gets to the Father except through the Son. Correct. As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life (still refers to Himself as the Source). Yet, as you also know, this is part of the doctrine of the Trinity. As a person who has studied the Bible you must realize of all the claims that Jesus made of Himself that, in the context of First-Century Judaism, declared Him to be not only equal to God, but God Himself.

     

    Which brings me to the infamous "Logo" Text you keep referring to (and I keep avoiding). In the beginning was the Word(Logo) and the Word was with God and the Word was God. later on John tells us that this Word became flesh and dwelt among us, obviously referring to Jesus as that Word(Logo). Now if Jesus is the Word and the Word is God, isn't the Bible then suggesting that Jesus is God? Of course.

     

    Now to the conclusion: We talk of symbols here, but we must remember that Jesus never claimed to be anything but God. Even if you don't agree with the statement you cannot deny that the authors of this religion called Christianity certainly did not believe anything else about Jesus.

  13. You know Shyone, the actions of the person is not the fault of the religion. Jesus tells us to love those who are against us, to love everyone with the same Love that He loves us with. So those who people who find it hard to do so are not following the precepts of the religion, which then makes them wrong (and hypocrites). It is not God's fault we are hypocrites, it's mine and yours.

  14. Alright everyone, let's give this a go (and this post is 100% Theologian Free!):

     

    Today I was at a meeting of local ministers and all we did was talk about how ministry was going and really just caught up with each others lives. At the end of our meeting we gathered together, joined hands and prayed. Now I know that most of you are probably trying to keep from gagging, but there is a point here. Today I saw what truly unites people as Christians... Christ (duh, right?). I cannot say that I agree with most of the doctrines that were sitting around that table today, as a matter of fact I strongly disagree with some of them. Yet, I did not care. As I looked around that table today I saw fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and I truly loved them. Christian Churches may differ on a lot, but we all agree on one simple thing: Jesus Christ died on the cross and raised from the dead.

     

    Now I come to my experience here and this is what God has shown me: Love is not expressed through words on a page in a book (A book by the way that I hold to be infallible, inerrant, and one of the ways we access God), nor is it expressed in the doctrines that I hold close to my heart (even though I still think that those are essential for my faith), love is expressed through how we treat our fellow human: Christian or not. Jesus Christ tells us that true love is when we lay down our life for one another, when we truly come with a heart of compassion to those who need it the most.

     

    Thus the crux of this whole post: What is meant by the Love of Jesus? Just what I've been saying, the Love of Jesus is found when His followers do exactly what He has commanded them to do: Love others as you Love yourselves. When I love someone else I am truly showing them the Love of Christ. Yet this is only half the story:

     

    The Love of Jesus is meant by how Jesus loves us: We love because God first loved us. Tonight a girl put her trust in Jesus Christ and accepted Him as her personal Lord and Savior. She had questions, but at the end of the night all she wanted to hear was that God loved her and cared for her. You might think this is crap, but this is why many of us come to Christianity because we realize the truth of God's love for us and His call to love Him back (Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength).

     

    This is also the big difference between Christians and Non-Christians. Not the fact that we cannot love one another just as much as the other (and yes, I'll admit I was wrong on that account even in this forum). It's how we love God that differs and makes the most difference. God has set up for us a way to truly Love Him, that is by putting our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. You differ from me because you reject that view. You think you can find God's love some other way (if you even believe in God), I simply do not. There is one way, as I've said time and time again, and that is through Jesus Christ.

     

     

    Can you love just as much as I can? yes. My question is this: Where are you placing that Love? It can't just be our fellow humans, we must return the love that God has given us and love Him back through Jesus Christ.

     

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  15. BTW Larry,

    Christianity's Holy book (which I assume you take to be infallible) says "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay his life down for his friends".

     

    Do you accept that as true, with no religious strings attached?

     

    Okay, I'll bite: Yes I accept that statement as true, no religious strings attached.

  16. But what blinders is a "theist", "religionist" or "Christian" putting on when they have no idea of any preconceived notion of any dogmatic theology? What about those people in cultures that have no Christian theology established within them? What do you do with those converts?

  17. Snakefoot,

    That has to be one of the most ridiculous claims I have ever heard. So a person who has never known Christ, say a Muslim in the Middle East, who converts to Christianity based upon a new Truth he has realized, has put blinders on? There are many Christians, outside of Westernized civilization who have no idea of "dogmatic theology" and yet still embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Perhaps it's not them being blinded, but it is you by putting on your "blinders" towards Christianity. Be honest: If the truth of Jesus Christ showed itself to you, would you believe or would you bury yourself with your own blinders and regurgitate what you have been tricked into believing?

     

    Please do not come to me with your stereotypes of Christianity. They are useless and do no good to this discussion. Perhaps it is your unwillingness to bow to the Real Truth that makes it this way. Just a thought

  18. I am glad that you are in agreement with me that this has not been a waste of time. If nothing else I have gained a better understanding of what you and others on this site feel and believe. My eyes have been opened to a new world, and even though I don't agree with the principles I do better appreciate them.

     

    Until my next post (sometime tonight)...

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

    Larry

  19. AM,

     

    I have seen you quote people and link me to documents many times in this discussion. So, are you saying that it's okay for you to quote people to back up what you are saying but not for me? Doesn't seem fair does it? I will be researching all points of view as I continue to look into your arguments, that includes looking at far smarter men and women than me to see how they battled the fight. When I see something I agree with then I will quote.

     

    Look, I realize that I'm battling an uphill battle, and perhaps I'm wasting all of our time, but as for now I'm still in this and am going to use all of my resources available to put up a good, intellectual argument. You know it's funny, when you all read things, it enlightens you; yet, when a Christian reads the Bible or any other Theological book, it only blinds them to the truth that's really out there. Kind of hypocritical don't you think?

  20. Wow, I didn't realize I could tick off so many people with one simple post. Let me just say this: you all have upped the ante so I have to take my discussion to the next level. I need a couple of days (at the most) to digest what I have just read, research some Theologians on the topic, and then get back to you. However, in the meantime allow me to be personable for the first time on this post:

     

    I am not perfect (I know, I know a shocker). These last couple of weeks have been hard for me, I've been accused (not on this site) of being too harsh and too "militaristic" and not being compassionate enough. In no way do I perfectly reflect the love of Jesus Christ in anything that I do. Yet, at the same time I feel as if I do love and I always have been a "lover" of people. I would even argue with you, actually agree, that even before I was a Christian I still genuinely "loved" people. Perhaps you are right, perhaps it is because we are all created in God's image that we do have the ability to Love. But, what you have got to understand is that I have had a different experience with Christianity than everyone here on this site; that is only the case because I have grown stronger in "my religion" as you put it, instead of leaving. I don't believe that Jesus is real simply because the Bible or a person or a theologian tells me so, I believe Jesus is real because I have experienced Him and His Love for me. And it has been through this Love living inside of me that I have grown, matured, and experienced a higher form of Love than I ever have known. Christianity has never held me back, if anything, Christianity has transformed my love into what it is today.

     

    Now you would, or should say, "great Larry! That works for you, but it doesn't work for me and that's okay too." Let me say two things to that:

    Even if I did suggest that was an accurate statement, which I don't, that is the last thing that I have experienced while on this website. While I have been shown respect, I have not been shown Love (and yes I am guilty of the same thing and I know it's hard to do when you don't know me personally). If you are going to preach to me about what Love is truly about, then show it to me. The second thing I would say to the comment above is this: Because of my experience with Jesus Christ I believe that what He says is true. I have spent many years (probably not as many as most of you here) really studying this Jesus that I have put my trust in and I know for a fact that the Jesus I read of in the Bible matches up with the Jesus I have experienced. This is an Absolute truth that works for everyone.

     

     

    Most of you have questioned my love on this website. You say it's because I am a Christian that I cannot truly love people, especially those who disagree with me. Isn't that what you are accusing me of saying? Allow me to answer your assumptions about me and my love by saying this: It is because I am a Christian, because I love everyone with every ounce of my being, that I even attempt to come on a website that completely disagrees with my viewpoint so that I can enter into a debate. It is because I love with every ounce of my being that I sit here now and say that I love because God first Loved me. So what now? I may not understand this love thing yet, but I am trying. Through it all, I still hold the point that it is only through God that I can fully love, and that only comes through Jesus Christ.

     

    Some short post. I will be back on tomorrow with a theological response to AM and others. Until then...

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

  21. [quote name='DevaLight' date='28 November 2009 - 06:47 PM' timestamp='1259455638' post='508982'

     

    Wow, this is just a really strange statement. To "love correctly"? What is an example of correct love as opposed to incorrect love? Yet you say you cannot give any objective measures that would prove this remarkable statement.I think what you are really saying is that those of us who do not believe in Christ cannot really love, and you are just hedging around and trying to make it sound better.

     

    Any love I may have must be somehow deficient, right? That is rather insulting, particularly since you really don't know any of us other than that we are not Christians.

     

     

    DevaLight,

    You must remember what mindset I am speaking from. As a Christian I must ask myself this question: what makes me different than non-believers? Yes, it's the fact that I'm going to Heaven and non-Christians are going to Hell (yes I know a harsh statement but you all have always wanted me to be straight up with you), but the real thing that makes me, and all Christians different, is the fact that the Holy Spirit lives within us. That's the only reason why I as a Christian can love differently. From the Christian perspective we understand Love to be fully expressed and defined by God (God is Love as referenced in 1 John 4) and since that is what we see as Truth then we come to the conclusion that if God lives within the Christian (through the Holy Spirit) then the fullest expression and definition of Love also lives within us. Therefore, if a person is not a Christian, they cannot have that Love and therefore can not Love in the same way as a Christian.

     

    DevaLight, you are right I don't know you, but you are a non-Christian and therefore cannot love in the fullest sense of the word according to a Christian. Harsh, yes; but truth nonetheless.

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

    Larry

  22. Pastor15,

     

    Don't you have to stick your head in the sand, so to speak, in order to maintain this position? Don't you have to only be around Christians who agree with you, for the most part, in order to maintain this position? That is a very global statement to make and very few people have the means or the initiative to verify a statement like this.

     

    Have you got some sort of double blind study on which you base this assertion that a believer can " . . . love more fully than any other non-believer?"

    Have you sampled the fittest and the finest from amongst all the other faiths on planet earth as well as among those who do not confess to faith in any deity? Maybe they love more fully than you realize. Maybe they love just as fully as the best of the best whom you admire in the Christian faith? How do you know they don't?

     

    Larry, on what basis in reality can you make statements like these? It increasingly sounds as if "the Love of Jesus" is just another way to say "we're better than everybody else" without having to verify or support what you are saying in the real world.

     

     

    I guess that is what faith is all about. You're right, there is no way I can 100% show you that I love more fully than anyone else. Yet, because I believe in what God tells me (both in His Word and in my experience)I trust in the fact that there is a qualitative difference between Christians and Non-Christians (that being that Christians have the very essence of Love within us; see 1 John 3 and 4). This isn't blind faith, nor is it me sticking my head in the sand, instead it is putting my trust in the truest thing I have ever known: Jesus Christ. Therefore, if I have the essence of Love within me, and Non-Christians do not, then it only makes sense that I have something y'all don't, which leads to a fuller knowledge of what "Love" actually is.

     

    Again, this doesn't make me better than anybody, anyone can have what I have. As I have stated earlier, I am no better, I just realize the answer to the problem.

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

    Larry

  23. To all my fellow posters:

    I'd thought I would reply to all those who have posted thus far as I have seen some commonalities amongst what you have to say:

     

    First, I have heard it claimed that, and I would agree, Love is something that we all contain but is also something that transcends us as humans. You believe, as I also do, that anyone has the ability to search for this Love, and can grasp the fulfillment of it in their own lives. Yet, where I do not and cannot agree is that their is more than one way to achieve this Love outside of Jesus Christ.

     

    On that note, some of you have suggested that Jesus Christ never claimed He was God; that cannot be further from the truth. Jesus Christ, in many instances, gave referred to Himself as "I AM", and did things that only God could do. You see, you'd have to actually study the Bible and those references to actually see the metaphors and symbolism that Jesus used in reference to Himself to truly understand His claims (I know, most of you have studied the Bible, obviously not well enough if you have missed this obvious point found throughout the Gospels). Not only did Jesus claim it, but so did His disciples (see John 1). Jesus most certainly claimed He was God.

     

     

    Back to my point: I like the definition that was given earlier in this post that suggested this: that because of Jesus Christ love has meaning. That we as people, Christian and Non-Christian, can love because God first Loved us. Yet, as the Bible also mentions, it is only through God that we can truly Love in the correct manner. Now, not being God I could not give you objective measures that would definitively say that I love more correctly than any non-Christian. I just know that the Word of God, the Bible, has told me that Love, the fullness of Love, can only come when I put my faith and trust into one man: Jesus Christ, and anyone else who doesn't realize this will simply miss the boat.

     

    Another side point: There has been one or two that has brought up the old question: How can a loving God put people in Hell? Fair question; allow me to answer. It is not God's choice to send you to Hell, as a matter of fact the Old Testament (you know the one where God is supposed to be the evil bad guy) says that God desires for no one to perish (that is go to Hell). The reason that God allows people to go to Hell is because He is so loving (I know, follow me here). Most of you here have made the choice to not follow the one-true God and to not be in communion (or fellowship or relationship) with Him in this lifetime. Because you have made that choice, God is going to allow you to live out that choice for the rest of eternity. It's called consequences: for every choice we make, there is an eternal consequence.

     

    Again, Back to my point: I'd like to finish by saying this: You may be able to love without a relationship with Jesus Christ, but you cannot possess all that Love contains without that relationship. That doesn't make me any better than you, I just have something you don't (something that we all need); that is, the Spirit of God living in me. For that reason, because I have God within me, I can love more fully than any other non-believer.

     

    Have I obtained that Love, not yet. Will I, hopefully. I just know that as long as the Holy Spirit is within me then that opportunity is available to me, and it can be to you, if you are in relationship with the One-True God.

     

    That's it, I look forward to the flood-gates being opened in the form of responses. Until then...

     

    Peace, Love, and Soul

     

    Larry

     

     

    P.S. Please don't take this as an attack, I just had to say what is on my heart as I'm sure you will be too.

  24. As to your point on the many denominations, we may have those, but we all agree on the basics of Christianity (i.e Jesus is the Son of God, is God, who became a human, died on the cross, resurrected three days later, died for our sins, the way to salvation, will come back again, etc.). We may differ on the details, but we get the big picture.

     

    Good point, I hope I clarified these things for you.

     

    That is a very modern view. I submit you would never be saying such a thing if you were a Protestant living in the 16th century. Many people died over these "details". There are actually some big differences. It is not becoming of you to diminish them.

     

    By the way, it took centuries for the Church to work out what the nature of Jesus was, too.

     

    I am sorry, but it seems like you have never read any church history to make such a statement.

     

     

    I have in fact studied Church History and it context of unity within it. Yet the context in which we are in today has forced us to rethink what unity means for the Christian church today. We are still one church, universally, but we have to realize that we are not going to agree on all things all the time. We have grace realizing that we cannot get all right, but as long as the basics of Christianity are being preached and teached, we have no problems (for the most part).

  25. I apologize to all, and Pastorl5 especially for my emotional outburst yesterday. The death of a woman and her son caused me deep emotional pain, and I acted inappropriately. I had no intention to engage in a discussion, and I was instead venting. The thoughts were real, but they should not have been posted.

     

    This thread seems to bring out the worst in me, and I will henceforth not be posting in this thread.

     

    I too apologize for my outburst in response to your post. Thanks for the apology, I hope that you too can forgive me. I am deeply sorry for the loss you are going through and I hope you can find peace in comfort during this difficult time.

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