Monday, June 30, 2008

Unchanging

Last night's news mentioned the risk of a split in the Anglican Church (Apostolic in the U.S.) over the issue of homosexual clergy and blessing homosexual unions, or 'gay marriage' as they call them. The commentator talked of division between the conservative faction and 'those who think the church should move with the times to avoid becoming irrelevant'. That way of putting it shows the commentator's bias. It implies that those who stand on what the Bible has always taught are obstinate anachronisms who are holding back the church and society.
This seems like a classic case of 'thinking themselves wise they became foolish'.
One of the most essential things about the Christian Gospel is that it is eternal. It does not change. That is one reason why we can trust and rely on it. God is the same yesterday, the same tomorrow. His teachings do not change, so that people can find themselves confused or caught on the wrong foot because they weren't there when the change was announced.
The Gospel does not change to suit society. Society needs to change to live by the teacings of the Gospel, which the Church should be teaching if it is truly Christian. God is not subject to social or political fashion. Or, if someone does not want to live by the Gospel, why insist on calling themselves Christian?
I covered this before in a post called "If you're going to do it, do it." No one has to be a Christian, in the free Western world. But if you want to be, then listen to what THE CHRIST said. The word itself means, follower of Christ. True vegans do not eat meat. True Christians do not set aside parts of the Lord's Word.
One friend said that she believed all children were born basically good, only a bad environment makes them behave badly. That is not what the Word says. True enough,
being badly treated can bring bad reaction out of people; but we are all told that human nature is prone to selfishness and bad actions. The belief above is humanist, not Christian. But the person saying that insisted that they were a Christian.
People have been trying to make up their own 'Christianity with a difference' since the time the Book of Revelations was written. I've caught myself trying to have it my own way, not God's. It doesn't work. After as much forbearance as a loving God sees as enough, the ones trying to have it their way find out that it's not going to work.
I must remember to seek God myself, and not get self-righteous. If I'm going to talk the talk, I'd better walk the walk.

9 comments:

Marshall Art said...

I could not agree more with the sentiments express in this post. I really don't know why they bother. One possibility is that no one wants to be wrong or sinful or considered so. They gloss over or totally ignore or twist those areas of Scripture pertaining to their own peccadillos. In addition, they want to believe that they are still cool with the Lord. It's a regular "cake and eat it too" scenario. (Never really understood that expression, but I know it applies here.) I imagine the hope is to legitimize their behaviors and positions by clinging to whatever semblance of Christianity they can. "Oh, he's a Christian, so that behavior maybe isn't so bad after all." False piety to distort their sinfulness before others.

A very similar theme was posted here at Eternity Matters. At the end of the post there's a link to still one more take on the theme by Charles Spurgeon, that I think you'll like.

Matt said...

Actually, I think they've been trying since before Revelation was written. But I get your poin.

Ahmonk said...

I actually have to disagree with the part about how you said that all people are naturally evil. Christ did say that the natural man is evil. But look at it this way, the natural man is a type of man, not all men. I do believe if God did not help his children we would all destroy ourselves. But I do think it is crazy to think that we are all evil little punks. People have spirits, and those spirits have natures too. And those spirits are good. Look at the war in Heaven talked about in Revelation. The Dragon (or Lucifer, or the Devil) took away a third of the stars. That one third were those that followed Satan and kept not their first estate (in other words didn't get a body). The other two-thirds (who did get a body) had already chosen God. If they chose God they can't be evil. There might have been some who half-heatedly chose God, but they had to choose either God or Satan. There are naturally good tendencies in everyone, and that is not the natural man. And the Humanistic view is all about one becoming who he/she is supposed to be. Wouldn't that make sense to be a person "putting off" the natural man and becoming who they truly are?

And also, the Book of Revelation according to fact was not the last book written in the Bible. The Bible is not chronologically written after the book of Acts of the Apostles. So the scripture saying that nothing could be added was meant to only the book of Revelation, thats the only way that works. Jesus is unchanging, yes, but He is unchanging in his purpose of saving us all. Keep in mind if his council never changed we should be living like the Jews. Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, and that is why we do not follow it. But Christ still has the power to say new commandments. For example, one of the most known of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shalt Not Kill. Was Christ changing when he expanded the revelation of that commandment later in Leviticus (I believe) when he explained how there are situations to kill others? (such as defending the life of your family) And then when he performs his mighty miracles that causes many to die is that being hypocritical? While of course Christ must FIRST say where his commandment doesn't apply (like the thou shalt not kill) and we should follow Christ by what he has said, it is defiently true that Christ has changed the commandments given to thsoe who followed him. There is always the purpose in mind of salvation for us, because that is Chirst's unchanging purpose. And there are things that are evil, and Christ does not change those. But there is a reaon Christ has given all the miracles around us today (for they wouldn't exist without his permission), and while there are trends going around that are deadly to the spirit and body, we don't have to be Amish (who are a people I must admit I admire incredibly), in order to follow Christ. Things like democracy were new ideas to the US and the world in barely over 200 years ago. Capitilism is fairly new. All of Psychology is new, even the points that are more supportive of Christ's teachings. Many principles in Biology, and even Chemistry and Physics are new. And many of these new findings are indsputally true. And those who cling so hard to what they think is what Christ said are either blind to the truth or have their beliefs shattered. While there are things I don't believe in, like humans are highly evolved amoebas, some things are indisputally true like some parts of the theory of Evolution that says we are highly evolved amoebas.

And one thing I want to say is that I do highly appreciate this blog. It is probably the best one I have ever found. I just have never really learned to keep my mouth shut on certain topics.

Democracy Lover said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ELAshley said...

I would like to know what books were written AFTER Revelation.

As to the "all people are evil" thought. EVERYONE is born in sin. Sin being evil, everyone is inherently evil... that is to say, everyone has that "Seed of Propensity" planted in the soil of his heart. But to clarify "evil" : Killing unborn children is evil. Murdering 6 million Jews is evil, but so is lying. So is petty theft. So is selfishness. ALL sin is evil in God's eyes, which is why God felt it necessary to take on mortal flesh and perform what no human could...

Tendencies for good do lie in every human heart, but so too are tendencies for evil...

An old Indian warrior once related to a prairie preacher that inside him lived two dogs constantly at war with each other. The preacher asked him which one was winning. The old man's reply was, "the one I feed the most."

The same is true of us. We may be good at heart, by man's standard... we may feed, in the sight of men, the dog that represents our tendencies for good. But the other dog is still there, unvanquished. Until Christ redeems our bodies, we will live in a perpetual state of war with the other dog.

Ahmonk said...

Ok, so I'm going to quote an apostle in my church (which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). He Jeffrey R. Holland and said it in a talk called "My Words . . . Never Cease" (which you can find at http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-851-30,00.html#1). He said, "One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of . . . this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. Perhaps there are even more than these."

He also gave a note to this comment which says, "See Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (1991), 46. The issue of canon is discussed on pages 45–56. Canon is defined as “an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. [2003], “canon”)."

And right now I'm trying to find a non-Mormon reference for what I said, because I can see that having only one sect's word could be questionable and Elder Holland said virtually all biblichal scholars thought this, so I'm sure I can find an another source.

And with the human tendency for evil, yes, I see the two dogs and agree with that. How I view it is there is the spiritual man and the natural man. And every person has both of those. So the two dogs. But I believe in order for any man to be called evil they must first commit a sin. And a sin is not when a baby cries for hunger and might have selfish desire, because no baby could not do this. God is a God of Justice (easily shown in Old Testament) and Mercy (easily shown by the New Testament) and it isn't just or merciful for God to send us to this earth and punish us for something we have no chance of not doing. Sin has to be something we choose to do, and it is something we all choose. And when we choose sin over God we then all become evil and carnal, yes, that is true. But a baby is born good because his spirit is good, and then becomes evil. There is a spiritual death because of a seperation from the spirit in the baby and God, but the full out spiritual death is when we choose to commit sin, because at that point we are inpure and no pure thing can enter into the Kingdom of God. But babies haven't sinned, so aren't inpure. And would not be just for Adam's transgression to be our sin, so there is not sin there. So babies, not evil, everyone else, in all reality yes. But from the original stem of this idea, the Humanistic school of thought states that people want to become their best self. So Humanistic ideas do state that people aren't perfect. And the slightest sin means that in all reality a person is evil. So again, I'm not seeing how the Humanistic idea is contradicting what was taught by Christ. I'm not saying someone should follow it over Christ's teachings, and if it said something else I don't know that is against Christ's teachings the humanistic theory is wrong, not Christ. People do have natural goodness though, even if evil, and a person isn't wrong for saying that people have naturally good tenedencies. And again, like I said before, I do believe that without God pushing us in the right direction the human race would destroy itself (in evil).

Andrew Clarke said...

Looking at what ahmonk says, I think we've come to the heart of the difference between some of the Faiths. I'm saying this in good faith, because I have no quarrel with the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, whichever title is prefered. But the Mormon position rests on a new revelation and body of Scripture coming to humans. Other Christian groups insist that we have it all. For the Mormon Church to believe it does, they must accept the Book Of Mormon as being divinely given. Others would say it can't be because of what is said at the end of Revelation. The best thing is not to quarrel over it, merely exchange our views. I would only add: if it's possible to add to the Scriptures, then how do you deny the claim of the Muslims to be the final true belief, to which the others are precursors? Possibly because their teachings contradict things in the two Christian Testaments. And that is a valid test of whether any revelation is from God as the Bible reveals him, or not.
Thank you all for visiting. I hope to talk with you again. It is good to hear these views and debate them. Blessings

Ahmonk said...

Sorry for not responding for a long time. I was dead busy finshing a class. Sorry if I was argumentitive in tone, thats just how I write. I really do not mean to be, especially on these topics. And I have grown up in Utah where almost everyone is mormon and while I enjoy it in many ways, I also lose the ability to know other religions well enough to have tact in what I say. I guess the main point I was trying to say is the last comment Andrew said, just slightly different. So, as it is commonaly put within our religion, anything that testifies of Christ is good. So, I believe that the Humanistic belief testifies of Christ in the sense it gives hope for the human race, which is what Christ did. And there are many other modern ideas which testify of Christ, if only in the result of what they do.

This next part is just fulfilling what I said I would do (the finding a non-mormon source for the fact that revelation was not the last book written) Ok, as far as the book of Revelation being the last book written, if you look on Wikipedia the traditional view is that it was written 95-96. Others believe it was written it was written 68-69. 1st John is believed to be written 85-90. 2nd John's timeline wasn't mentioned. 3rd John was argued to be written between 100-110 or between the 60s and 90s. The gospel of John is considered to be written in the 90s-100.

So its not as clear shot as I said before. There is strong support for what I have said before. But there is strong support against it as well (from at least what Wikipedia said, which I know isn't the most reliable source). But even so, the idea that all revelation that is needed has already been said doesn't neccesarily mean that the book of Revelation was the last book. And I'm not saying its wrong to believe it is.

Alright, I hope I put things better this time. Sorry if not, again, I just sound argumentitive out of nature.

Andrew Clarke said...

Good to hear from you, Ahmonk. There's no need to apologize. You advance your arguments in good faith, and it's all part of learning and looking for truth and knowledge. As someone said to me, when we debate and exchange views on these things we keep going back to the Scripture and thinking. It's part of what keeps the brain and the spirit alive. Comment again any time.