Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Faith

Arguments/positions in defense of Evangelical Universalism.

Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Faith

Postby [email protected] » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:58 am

I have written a defense of the victorious gospel at http://www.dgjc.org/optimism.
I have answered objections here http://www.dgjc.org/optimism/appendix.
Here is a reprint of one of my answers for further feedback.

Others> Wow... so what do you really believe? If you have parted ways with contemporary orthodoxy, then what else have you parted with?

Me> Yes I have parted ways with both Calvinism and Arminianism. However, I hope that I have not unneccessarily parted ways with the thoughtful conclusions and hard-won discoveries of Christians through the ages. Disagreement over one point whether major or minor is not reason to disagree cart blanche. For example some Universalists claim that there is no punishment in Hell after death for the unbelieving because a God of love would never do such a thing. However, the Scripture plainly says otherwise in Luke 16:19-31. Other Universalists abandoned the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity to claim that God is one and only one person and became Unitarians. And sadly the Unitarian Universalist movement has lost all anchor to Scripture. They have abandoned the good conclusion that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, yet one God, Deuteronomy 6:4, Romans 9:5, Acts 5:3-4.

In short I believe...

1. In one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, John 14:9-21.

2. That the Old and New Testaments are the unique, inerrant, inspired Word of God in the original autographs, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct, 2 Tim 3:16.

3. In the sovereignty and active rule of God in creation, the fall, history, revelation, redemption, and final judgment, Romans 8:20-21. That man was created by God in His image, but that since Adam's sin, all men are sinful and by nature objects deserving of God's wrath, Ephesians 2:3.

4. That Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, fully human and fully divine, eternally existing as God, yet born in time of a virgin, and that He lived a sinless and perfect life, 2 Timothy 2:5.

5. In the historic death of Jesus as the full and only atonement for the sins of all mankind, in His bodily resurrection from the dead, and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, 1 John 2:1-2.

6. That all mankind is justified by the grace of God and redeemed on the basis of the death of Christ alone, which is received through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9.

7. That the Holy Spirit is the effective agent in regeneration, bringing individuals to faith and transformed lives, 2 Corinthians 3:18. In one invisible, universal church, the Body of Christ, to which all true believers belong, and in local churches accountable to God, governed by officers with the authority to rule in matters of belief and discipline, Hebrews 13:17.

8. That believing mankind is rewarded in paradise after death, while unbelievers suffer punishment in Hades after death merited by their sinful nature and their rejection of the grace of Christ, Luke 16:19-31.

9. In the future, visible, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Titus 2:13.

10. In the final resurrection of redeemed mankind to the enjoyment of God forever, and the damnation of the unredeemed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, forever, Matthew 25:31-46.

Curiously it is rare to find a Christian that says they are 100% Calvinist or 100% Arminian and so most Christians find some dispute with these theologies and an alternative compromise. Yet will most Christians be willing to seriously consider the creed above as I have defended from the Scripture? Will you return with me to the true historic faith and Scriptural doctrine that Christ is the Savior of all mankind?

Sincerely,

Jeff
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Re: Wow... so what do you really believe?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:04 am

You can find my beliefs on this forum at My Theological and Philosophical Framework
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:41 pm

I think I am tempted to think that a carefully worded statement of faith could somehow build unity and fellowship around the Biblical gospel message. However, some of the attraction to this and other forums is strong debate over Biblical interpretations and epistemologies. While strong debate is not necessarily wrong, in fact it can be useful in pursuing the truth, however, it is not the most conducive to fellowship and worship.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:39 pm

Hi Jeff, you wrote:Other Universalists abandoned the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity to claim that God is one and only one person and became Unitarians.


Why do you call Trinitarianism a Biblical doctrine. Nowhere is the doctrine found in Scripture. It is not even hinted at, with the exception of of 1 John 5:7. But that verse wasn't written by John. It was added much later as a note, and then copied into the manuscript of 1 John in the ninth century.

And sadly the Unitarian Universalist movement has lost all anchor to Scripture. They have abandoned the good conclusion that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, yet one God, Deuteronomy 6:4, Romans 9:5, Acts 5:3-4.


One would never come to that conclusion from the passages to which you referred above. Nor would these passages even suggest this conclusion to anyone who had not already believed Trinitarianism as it was handed down to present day believers from the fourth century when it became a church doctrine.

In short I believe...

1. In one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, John 14:9-21.


I cannot find any thing about "one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in that passage. Please explain why the passage seems to say such to you. Rather this is what I find the Son of God Himself prayed to the one true God:

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Jesus called his Father "the only true God" and when He referred to Himself, He added that little word "and" to indicate that He was Someone other than the only true God.

As for the Unitarian-Universalist organization, I'm sure they didn't become ultra-liberal just because they denied the Trinity. Indeed anyone can become a member of their churches, even atheists. There are many secular humanists who are members. It is because of the Unitarian-Universalist organization that I don't identify myself as a universalist. For in doing so, one risks being viewed as believing what that organization believes. If it is necessary for me to accept a label for my belief in the eventual reconciliation of all to God, I usually call myself a "reconciliationist".
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:59 pm

Hi Paidon. Good to chat with you again. Hope all is well.

It is not even hinted at, with the exception of of 1 John 5:7. But that verse wasn't written by John.

Yeah good point about 1 John 5:7. That is a nasty KJV verse. Though 'not even hinted at?' That is a strong statement.

I cannot find any thing about "one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in that passage. [John 14:9-21] Please explain why the passage seems to say such to you.

Three persons are discussed in the passage, the Father, the Son, and ANOTHER Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Seems plain to me. Acts 5:1-11 also attributes Deity to the Holy Spirit, but I'm sure you've debated that passage as well. We likely will have to agree to disagree on this one.

As for the Unitarian-Universalist organization, I'm sure they didn't become ultra-liberal just because they denied the Trinity.

Perhaps not. But I understand it to be a step in the wrong direction.

It is because of the Unitarian-Universalist organization that I don't identify myself as a universalist.

Same here.

I usually call myself a "reconciliationist".

I like that.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:43 pm

God the Father, the Son of God (not God the Son), who is the man Jesus Christ, the mediator between God the Father and mankind, and the Holy Spirit are all mentioned.
I see no hint at all of a trinity as set forth by the councils.
Like you said, we will disagree - in a gentlemanly way - on this.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:48 am

I am with Paidon and Dave on this one. Not much I can add to their posts.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:53 am

DaveB wrote: Like you said, we will disagree - in a gentlemanly way - on this.


Is this the gentlemen's way you are referring to :?: :lol:



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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:53 am

For a few dollars more, I could think of that man's name...

But let me be clear - I am NOT willing to shoot another human being over a doctrine! No way! Once was enough, by golly! :D
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:30 am

DaveB wrote:For a few dollars more, I could think of that man's name...

But let me be clear - I am NOT willing to shoot another human being over a doctrine! No way! Once was enough, by golly! :D


I guess we can learn a lesson here :D . Sometimes heated arguments over doctrine are as frivolous as:

    A debate on whether a person is laughing at a mule and needs to apologize to it
    Or one's perspective on counting horses. Whether you are "shy one horse" or "brought 2 horses too many".
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Geoffrey » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:54 pm

I believe everything proclaimed in the voluminous liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Universalism with no post-mortem punishments is taught therein, so I can be classified as an "ultra-universalist".

Those of my fellow Eastern Orthodox believers who are not universalists sadly ignore the clear teachings of the Church in favor of fallible and erroneous writings. :(
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:16 pm

Randy, I didn't consider the disagreement expressed about "the Trinity" as "a heated argument over doctrine." Indeed, I saw no semblance of anger from any of the participants.

Or did you post those videos in an attempt to joke about it?
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:18 pm

Paidion wrote:Randy, I didn't consider the disagreement expressed about "the Trinity" as "a heated argument over doctrine." Indeed, I saw no semblance of anger from any of the participants.


I was just expressing a "general" sentiment - in a humorous way, of course! :D
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:20 pm

Okay. That was a quick reply. I revised my post with an additional sentence, and then I saw that you had beat me to the punch. :)
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:42 pm

so what are you fellas actually saying?

... that Jesus is not a person or that he is not God?
... or that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person or that he is not God?
... or both?

I know A. E. Knoch led a movement believing that the Holy Spirit was not a distinct person.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby steve7150 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:29 pm

so what are you fellas actually saying?

... that Jesus is not a person or that he is not God?
... or that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person or that he is not God?
... or both?



Well I am the world's greatest expert on my own opinion so here it is,

Jesus is a person and is The Word of God and deity/divine. As far as God, my math tells me One God means the Father is the one true God but the Lord Jesus is God because as the Word of God he emanated from Father God at some point in the distant past.

The Holy Spirit or Spirit of God also emanated from Father God at some point in the distant past. I'm undecided if He is a distinct person because although bible translations call him "he" I have heard the original greek is gender neutral and can be translated as "it."

So IMHO to say all three are persons and eternally God simply does not reconcile with "One God" therefore to explain it by saying "it's a mystery" is not acceptable as an answer.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:52 pm

Hmmm. I know this point has been strongly debated in centuries past. So we may not have any new ground to cover in this forum. Here is a short article that makes sense to me, https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Did%20Jesus%20Emanate%20from%20the%20Father.pdf. However, if you are certain of your conclusions I may not have much time for further persuasive efforts right now.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:54 pm

Well nobody follows links but if you really are interested, here is a statement of basically where I as a Christian Monotheist am coming from:
http://www.christianmonotheism.com/medi ... usBook.pdf
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:09 am

Probably nothing anyone is saying is really different, from what has been historically said, by other theologians and philosophers throughout history. The same can probably be said here, about most folks positions that embrace universalism. And the same can be said of counter arguments, by both historical and contemporary philosophers and theologians. So any arguments for or against your position, have already been recorded in history.

Of course, I like how the 2 western heroes I shared videos of, settled their arguments, No more laughing at a mule, without apologizing afterwards. Nor would you get into a dispute about counting horses. Horses and mules are taboo subjects. :lol:
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby smalltownpastor » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:13 am

[email protected] wrote:10. In the final resurrection of redeemed mankind to the enjoyment of God forever, and the damnation of the unredeemed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, forever, Matthew 25:31-46.


Going back to the original post, is #10 something most universalists/reconciliationists/whatever-you-call-yourselves can affirm? How can you say that the unredeemed will be damned forever, and yet believe that all will be saved in the end? Aren't these mutually exclusive?

I can see how some universalists say that there will be people in hell as long as they continue in unbelief, but to use the word "forever" seems to clearly state that this will always be the case. But perhaps "forever" only applies to how long the Devil and his angels will reside there. Or, do you use the word "forever" to mean something other than eternal? In either case, it seems a little misleading to me.

I was right there with you up until the last word, which I can affirm, not being a universalist, but was confused as to how you can affirm it.

Also, in #6, if the purpose is to show how you still believe what most Christians believe, the word "all" may be divisive.

[email protected] wrote:6. That all mankind is justified by the grace of God and redeemed on the basis of the death of Christ alone, which is received through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby steve7150 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:08 am

8. That believing mankind is rewarded in paradise after death, while unbelievers suffer punishment in Hades after death merited by their sinful nature and their rejection of the grace of Christ, Luke 16:19-31.







Is the duration of this unknown or is it until the resurrection?
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby steve7150 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:11 am

Or, do you use the word "forever" to mean something other than eternal? In either case, it seems a little misleading to me.







The greek word for "forever" is usually "aionios" and "aion" means an age so adding the "ios" in my understanding means "pertaining to the age" although there are other related definitions but none meaning literally forever.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby smalltownpastor » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:15 am

steve7150 wrote:The greek word for "forever" is usually "aionios" and "aion" means an age so adding the "ios" in my understanding means "pertaining to the age" although there are other related definitions but none meaning literally forever.


Yeah, I'm asking particularly of Jeff's use of the word "forever" as in #10 of his beliefs.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:29 am


I didn't see how this article explains how Christ can be worshiped if he is merely a created being and not very God. Also seems like the article ought to address Romans 9:5 which clearly assigns both full humanity and full deity to Christ. I am not buying it.

smalltownpastor...
How can you say that the unredeemed will be damned forever, and yet believe that all will be saved in the end?
Aren't these mutually exclusive?

Good point. My understanding is that fallen angels are not redeemed... OR at least Scripture ends with their damnation and the complete realized redemption of all humanity. In history past Irenaeus also held to the complete salvation of mankind, but the eternal damnation of fallen angels. I also think the Scriptures are worded to preach fear to the unbelieving elect. That is, since unbelievers reject their election and their savior, Christ warns them that IF he is not their savior, then they will share the destiny of the unredeemed fallen angels. Of course Christ and believers know that Jesus IS their savior! So I believe humans will never enter the LOF, but apart from confident faith, they do not know the Father's love, but only fear... fear manifest as false religion and atheism.

That said you have moved me to make an adjustment to the proposed statement. I will replace 'forever' with the 'The Ages of The Ages' in the case of the fallen angels. That is a better match with Revelation 20:10 Seems to me that the Scriptures end with Satan and his angels burning in the LOF, which I believe is prepared soley for them. They are the goats on Jesus left, Matt 25:41. So am I not dogmatically saying that Christ could not also save the fallen angels sometime beyond the last page of Scripture. But I do not think the Scripture say enough to make a conclusion about the eternal destiny of fallen angels, http://www.dgjc.org/optimism/hebrews-2-16-does-not-say-fallen-angels-are-damned.

Thank you for that comment. My goal in posting a statement of faith was to stimulate effort toward fellowship around essential truth.

Also, in #6, if the purpose is to show how you still believe what most Christians believe, the word "all" may be divisive.

I believe the justification of all mankind, every individual human being, happened once for all at the cross. All mankind is justified whether in belief or unbelief. So as far as God is concerned all mankind has been elected, predestined, and is legally righteous before holy God right now. In fact, since Christ was 'slain before the Creation of the world', that is his work in time was guaranteed to accomplish its purpose before time even started, all mankind has never been outside of the Father's love.

How should we word #6 better in the statement?

The problem instead is the heart of man and each individual's willingness to receive grace. So no one is a Christian until their heart has been changed by the Holy Spirit and they have received their justification. I've written a couple of articles that speak directly to this point...

http://www.dgjc.org/dgjc/in-doctrine and http://www.dgjc.org/dgjc/justified.

I will post a revised statement.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected]org » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:34 am

Ok, thanks for the useful comments. Trying to work toward a statement and making a revision below. Hey here is a crazy suggestion. Sometimes the discussion in these channels goes wild... and unfruitful. I don't want to sound controlling, but since I started this post, why not try to persuade me to make changes to the statement and let me post back. If you want a radically different statement (such that Jesus is not God or something) then start another post.

===
1. In one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, John 14:9-21.

2. That the Old and New Testaments are the unique, inerrant, inspired Word of God in the original autographs, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct, 2 Tim 3:16.

3. In the sovereignty and active rule of God in creation, the fall, history, revelation, redemption, and final judgment, Romans 8:20-21. That man was created by God in His image, but that since Adam's sin, all men are sinful and by nature objects deserving of God's wrath, Ephesians 2:3.

4. That Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, fully human and fully divine, eternally existing as God, yet born in time of a virgin, and that He lived a sinless and perfect life, 2 Timothy 2:5.

5. In the historic death of Jesus as the full and only atonement for the sins of all mankind, in His bodily resurrection from the dead, and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, 1 John 2:1-2.

6. That all mankind is justified by the grace of God and redeemed on the basis of the death of Christ alone, which is received through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9.

7. That the Holy Spirit is the effective agent in regeneration, bringing individuals to faith and transformed lives, 2 Corinthians 3:18. In one invisible, universal church, the Body of Christ, to which all true believers belong, and in local churches accountable to God, governed by officers with the authority to rule in matters of belief and discipline, Hebrews 13:17.

8. That believing mankind is rewarded in paradise after death, while unbelievers suffer punishment in Hades after death merited by their sinful nature and their rejection of the grace of Christ, Luke 16:19-31.

9. In the future, visible, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Titus 2:13.

10. In the final resurrection of redeemed mankind to the enjoyment of God forever, and the damnation of the unredeemed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, for The Ages of The Ages, Matthew 25:31-46.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:39 am

Jeff, I'm not asking you to buy it. I think it does justice to the full biblical teaching, and you quoting a verse or two which are open to interpretation does not undo the weight of the article one bit. You did not attempt to argue with the points that were made, I notice.
However, I'm not going to pursue it. One of us is wrong on this point, but it's not a point that should drive us apart from our Christian bonds. :D


Jeff - sorry, I guess our posts were done at the same moment. I apologize for wandering off-point; somehow I thought I was going along with the thread, but hey I'm old, cut me some slack, K? :lol:
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:21 pm

Sure enough. Slack given. I didn't mind your post at all. To clarify as I posted a revision to the initial 12 point statement I was only asking the forum to honor the initial post and try to persuade me to make adjustments to the statement. Otherwise everyone will be posting back entire revisions which could get confusing.

Now I did consider the goal of the 12 point statement was to list doctrines essential to a right understanding of God and to hold Christian faith. To be sure real Christian faith is much more than mental agreement to truth, that is a bowed head, but also a bowed heart and knee. However, agreement to truth about God, ourselves, and his world is still a very important exercise.

That said, statement #1 highlights the trinity. Frankly I don't think someone can be a follower and worshiper of the Christ who actually is and deny his divinity. Though I look forward to further friendly discussion.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:02 am

[email protected] wrote:I will replace 'forever' with the 'The Ages of The Ages' in the case of the fallen angels.


Honestly, between the two, I prefer "forever." :lol: "The Ages of The Ages" almost seems overly wordy and ambiguous, and therefore one would be suspicious of a hidden bias. Given your explanation that it in your beliefs applies to the devil and his angels, I see where you're coming from. My beef was that the "forever" seemed to apply to the unredeemed of mankind, which is how most people would take it, I think. So I think the solution could be to reword it so that the forever is more clearly referring to the LoF prepared for the devil and his angels. Perhaps something like this? "In the final resurrection of redeemed mankind to the enjoyment of God forever, and the damnation of the unredeemed to the Lake of Fire in which the Devil and his angels will remain forever."

[email protected] wrote:How should we word #6 better in the statement?


By including the word "all", it seems you're implying that all will be justified. Or, if you want to keep the word all, perhaps something like this. "That all mankind can be justified only by the grace of God, and be redeemed on the basis of the death of Christ alone, which is received through faith alone."
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:26 am

Jeff - this question is not a criticism of you at all, but is a question I've wondered about as I talk with various Reformed folks:
Why, in most of the creeds/confessions, as well as in your original list above, is LOVE not addressed as one of the articles? I have a rather perverse sense of humor, and have on occasion baited other believers by bringing up the fact that God is Love - and knowing that their next words are going to be - "Yes, He is, BUT,,,," and then an excursis on sovereignty, and thence to fear of some sort, almost always follow the "but." Have you noticed that?

Sovereignty is always primary? Why is it that many people believe that? Why not say that Love is primary? Or 'sovereign love' or something like that? Someone has pointed out that, of all the many scriptural evidences that Calvin presents in his Institutes, one verse he does not even mention is: God is Love 1 Jn 4.8.

Now I don't doubt that Calvin believed that verse; it's just that Power triumphs Love in the arena of creedal presentation. That seems backwards to me.

Isn't LOVE what the whole show is all about?? Doesn't everything flow from that - justice, power, - everything?
Yes, but..... :D
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:41 am

DaveB wrote:Jeff - this question is not a criticism of you at all, but is a question I've wondered about as I talk with various Reformed folks:
Why, in most of the creeds/confessions, as well as in your original list above, is LOVE not addressed as one of the articles?




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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:44 am

:lol: Well said.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:52 pm

DaveB wrote:Jeff - this question is not a criticism of you at all, but is a question I've wondered about as I talk with various Reformed folks:
Why, in most of the creeds/confessions, as well as in your original list above, is LOVE not addressed as one of the articles? I have a rather perverse sense of humor, and have on occasion baited other believers by bringing up the fact that God is Love - and knowing that their next words are going to be - "Yes, He is, BUT,,,," and then an excursis on sovereignty, and thence to fear of some sort, almost always follow the "but." Have you noticed that?

Sovereignty is always primary? Why is it that many people believe that? Why not say that Love is primary? Or 'sovereign love' or something like that? Someone has pointed out that, of all the many scriptural evidences that Calvin presents in his Institutes, one verse he does not even mention is: God is Love 1 Jn 4.8.

Now I don't doubt that Calvin believed that verse; it's just that Power triumphs Love in the arena of creedal presentation. That seems backwards to me.

Isn't LOVE what the whole show is all about?? Doesn't everything flow from that - justice, power, - everything?
Yes, but..... :D


The men who developed creeds were not heavily invested in love. They were too busy codifying, organizing and positioning themselves over the people of God through dogma and ecclesiastic hierarchy- to pay much attention to the primacy of love :)
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:07 pm

I think there's a lot to say in favor of your statement. :D
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:58 pm

1. Good point about the love of God. My apologies for that. I copied the statement from another starting point and over-looked that.

2. The 'all' in #7 is exactly my meaning. I understand that ALL mankind, every individual human being, was justified at the cross. Faith does not cause of justification, but instead receives our justification.

3. I thought 'The Ages of The Ages' is cumbersome also in #12. However, that is the most that the Scriptures say and so in the effort to build a statement that more could agree with perhaps that is best.

4. While agree with clarification of #12 making it explicit that all humans are saved on the right and fallen angels damned on the left, I personally think that the Scripture intentionally allow the unbeliever to fear that they are damned along with the fallen angels as long as they continue to reject their election. Since the Scriptures are worded to allow for this fear, it seems a statement of faith should allow for it as well.

Again revised statement following
===
1. In one true God, existing eternally as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, John 14:9-21, who is in essence spirit, John 4:24, light, 1 John 1:5, and love, 1 John 4:8.

2. That the Old and New Testaments are the unique, inerrant, inspired Word of God in the original autographs, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct, 2 Tim 3:16.

3. In the sovereignty and active rule of God in creation, the fall, history, revelation, redemption, and final judgment, Romans 8:20-21.

4. That man was created by God in His image, but that since Adam's fall, all men are sinful and by nature objects deserving of God's wrath, Ephesians 2:3.

5. That Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, fully human and fully divine, eternally existing as God, yet born in time of a virgin, and that He lived a sinless and perfect life, 2 Timothy 2:5.

6. In the historic death of Jesus as the full and only atonement, guaranteeing loving forgiveness for the sins of all mankind, in His bodily resurrection from the dead, and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, 1 John 2:1-2.

7. That all mankind is justified by the loving grace of God and redeemed on the basis of the death of Christ alone, which is received through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9.

8. That the Holy Spirit is the effective agent in regeneration, bringing individuals to faith and transformed lives, 2 Corinthians 3:18.

9. In one invisible, universal church, the Body of Christ, to which all true believers belong, and in local churches accountable to God, governed by officers with the authority to rule in matters of belief and discipline, Hebrews 13:17.

10. That believing mankind is rewarded in paradise after death, while unbelievers suffer punishment in Hades after death merited by their sinful nature and their rejection of the grace of Christ, Luke 16:19-31.

11. In the future, visible, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Titus 2:13.

12. In the final resurrection of redeemed mankind to the enjoyment of God forever, and the damnation of those excluded from the Book of Life to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels for The Ages of The Ages, Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:10.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:56 pm

I think it stops short. Just off the cuff.......

13 That every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Chist is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11, John 12:32)

14 That every adversary, thus subjected, will be gathered into one in Christ and that God will, at the conclusion of the ages, have reconciled all through the blood of the cross and will have become all in all.(Eph 1:9-11; Col 1:15-20; 1 Cor 15)

15 That when the ages have are complete entire creation will have been restored, and death(including the second death/lake of fire) will be destroyed- all things being set free from futility into the glorious freedom of the children of God(Rom 8:19-22; Rev 5:13; Rev 21:5; Acts 3:19-21)
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:14 pm

Hi Jeff, you wrote:I know A. E. Knoch led a movement believing that the Holy Spirit was not a distinct person.


I am somewhat familiar with Knoch's work, but didn't know Knoch believed this. Are you sure he started a movement based on that belief?

I, too, do not believe Spirit of God is distinct from the Father and the Son. Indeed, I believe the Spirit to be the extended Persons of the Father and the Son. Jesus said to his disciples that He and his Father would come and make their dwelling with them. How would the Father and the Son do this? By extending their very Persons into the disciples. That extension is the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that the Lord [Jesus] IS the Spirit.

In his work, "Dialogue with Trypho," Justin Martyr indicated that he debated with a group of Jews led by Trypho—a debate which lasted several days.
Both Justin and Trypho made reference to the Holy Spirit many times. Now certainly Trypho did not believe the Spirit to be a distinct divine Individual, since as a Jew, He believed in only One divine Person—Yahweh. But what did Justin believe about at?

Most of the discussion stemmed from Justin's attempt to show them from the Hebrew scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah, is divine, and can be called "God." Then at one point in chapter 68, Justin asks Trypho, "Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called "Lord" and "God" in the scriptures, except the Maker of all, and Messiah, who by so many scriptures was proved to you to have become man?"

To which Trypho replied, "How can we admit this, when we have instituted so great an inquiry as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?

Now if Justin had been an Trinitarian, this would have been the perfect occasion to have introduced the Holy Spirit as a third Person of the Trinity.
But instead, Justin replied, "I must ask you this also, that I may know whether or not you are of a different opinion from that which you admitted some time ago."

So it seems that Justin didn't believe in the Spirit as a third divine Individual either.

Indeed, Justin referred to the Spirit of prophecy speaking from the Person of Christ (chapter38) and also of prophets speaking from the Person of the Father (chapter 37) but never "speaking from the Person of the Spirit."
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:37 pm

I also don't believe the HS is a person. The scripture used to support it is weak, in my opinion. I am with Paidon on his reply, again in this matter.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:49 pm

Jesus being "the fulness of the deity in bodily form" is God and substance of God then, but the Spirit which is God's very substance and the active agency in the formation of and indwelling of Christ is neither the Person of God or the Person of Christ but the union of their persons. I have thought of this also in the couple of instances where angels spoke in the first person voice of God and speaking first person in the prophets "for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

God "broke off" a piece of Himself and planted it in the womb of mary. Then when the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the water's of baptism He was filled with the Spirit of God, then when He ascended He received the Spirit without measure..... meaning I guess that the absolute unity of the Father and the resurrected ascended Son is like the Lamp and the Light.

Almost a classic Bi-nitarian view altho I don't like that term because it implies inherent equality between the Father and the Son, whereas I see the Sons equality and authority(and even being) as "bestowed" by the Father.

I dont claim to really know for sure at this point where all the nuances lead in terms of a "definition" or "term"(like trinity). I would hesitate to choose between any of them, so i wonder if the unity of the faith can be built around creedal definitions at all, but rather, as DaveB wrote, the actual experience of the Spirit in the dimension of "love sown in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given us"(Rom 5:5) might be the highest creed, or the foundational "creedal statement". Then anyone who confesses(and means it) Jesus as Lord and believes God reaised Him from the dead..... stands on the "holy ground" worthy of communion and fellowship in the house of God.

Unity could be built there.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:45 pm

Hi Eaglesway, you wrote:Jesus being "the fulness of the deity in bodily form" is God and substance of God then, but the Spirit which is God's very substance and the active agency in the formation of and indwelling of Christ is neither the Person of God or the Person of Christ but the union of their persons.


I really appreciate your thought about the Spirit being "the union of their persons." Indeed, I think that is usually the way it is now. But when the person of Christ was confined to his body while He was still a human being here on earth, the Spirit descended upon him during his baptism. In this case, it had to be the Spirit of the Father alone.

Also, in two instances in the New Testament, the Spirit of Jesus is identified:

Acts 16:7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Philippians 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:17 pm

In that context I see the Spirit more like "living water". If God is a Person it is His Spirit that permeates all persons(He is not far from any of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being)

So I have to ask myself, is there a "Spirit of Christ("the Spirit of Christ was indicating to them"- Paul speaking of the prophets in the OT), a Spirit of God, a Holy Spirit and a Spirit of the Father? I dont think so(but i am open, still considering), The Spirit of the Father, YHWH, is the One Spirit(for God is spirit), He is the ocean to the seas, rivers, tributaries, raindrops, etc.

God is the "Father of lights" and the "Father of spirits". God is Light and God is Spirit. His spirit is the active manifestation of the infinite reservoir of God's being, from which all beings are created("God breathed the spirit into the man and he became a living soul", 'who makes his angels winds and his ministers flames of fire"). He is the Light, He is refracted through beings. The Spirit of Christ being a refraction(the greatest single source of light). "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp."

God outside the Lamp is the Spirit of God, God shining out of the Lamp, the Spirit of Christ. God(who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.) shines(becomes visible) through the Lamp(For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,) so that the I AM- who God is becomes more visible( He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power) and indeed, by sharing blood(family, inheritance) "connects" us, body, vine, spirit and nature.

...but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.....

We dont know what we will be, but in the ALL IN ALL our spirits will all be in union, harmony, individual but also in union, mingled together- God will be "over all in all and through all". Thats how I think it is with Messiah and YHWH.

As I see it presently when the Spirit came on Jesus at His baptism, He was given a very powerful firehose, like the "double portion"(first borns share) of the Spirit with Elisha. When He ascended, He became the fountainhead, "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear."

I believe the Father, YHWH, breaks off a piece of Himself for every being He creates. His spirit coalesces into something out of His creativity and purpose. I believe Jesus coaleced within the spirit of YHWH as the first thought(LOGOS) in the process of creation- but all these terms are fuzzy(first, second etc) because in eternity we cannot see how the lines are drawn....

That whole creation process in Genesis. The earth was without form and void and the Spirit was moving over the waters.

Waters separated from waters. Then dry land appears. This is the creative existential nature of God- and I think our western bricklap mentality makes it difficult for us to see it. We like lines and distinctions, God like harmonius blends, fusion and mingling, light refracted and distinct yet the exact division in the gradient unfathomable, impossible to delineate, perfectly integrated and alive with motion.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,

"Light shining out of darkness"(2 Cor 4) is another way of saying "invisible, unseeable, unfathomable, unreachable"- becoming - "visible, seeable, comprehensible, touchable". Gradient levels of the One Spirit being Father, Son, the Body, mankind, angels(altho for now man is little lower than the angels, Hebrews 2)

We find perspectives, and traits and we try to outline them and box em up :o) I think in the case of Deity we need a more mystical mind-set.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:56 pm

Thanks again for expressing your thoughts, Eaglesway. I can see that you are indeed a thinking person.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:11 am

I hope you are not suggesting that I am not a thinking person for my belief in the Trinity.

How do you explain that Jesus said he is sending 'another comforter'?
Is that not a clear reference that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person from himself?
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Paidion » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:26 pm

Hi Jeff, you wrote:I hope you are not suggesting that I am not a thinking person for my belief in the Trinity.


I assure you Jeff, that I am NOT suggesting that. But perhaps I was suggesting that many just accept Τrinitarian belief because they were taught it and not because they arrived at it from Bible study or reasoning. I was one such Trinitarian.

How do you explain that Jesus said he is sending 'another comforter'?
Is that not a clear reference that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person from himself?


I am going to use the word "advocate" which I think is a better translation of παρακλητος. Indeed, even the King James translators rendered the word as "advocate" in 1 John 2:1.

So according to 1 John 2:1 Jesus Himself is our advocate. So in what sense was He going to ask the Father to send another advocate?
When we examine the verse in its context, I think it becomes clear that Jesus WAS the advocate when He was with His disciples, and continued to be the advocate after His resurrection. It is written that the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor 15:45). It is also written that the Lord (Jesus) IS the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17,18). So why another advocate? When He was an advocate for His disciples as a man, his Spirit was confined to His body, and they were aware of his advocacy only when He was with them. But after his departure, He promised to come again to them and be with them permanently. When that time came, his presence was a different presence—a spiritual presence rather that a physical presence; it was another presence and in that sense another advocate, but not a different Person. Here is the passage in the ESV (which translates παρακλητος as "Helper":

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.


First He says that he will ask the Father to send them another advocate, and then He tells them that He Himself will come to them. So is He not that "other Advocate"? How will He come to them, if not by his spirit? Thus is not the spirit whom the Father will send not the spirit of Himself as well as of the Father? Didn't they extend their Persons into the disciples? Was that not the Holy Spirit?

19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

Why would the world no longer see Him? Because after his death, He would no longer be physically present. In what way would his disciples see Him? They would experience his indwelling presence.

20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.


Judas is trying to understand. He wonders how Jesus can disclose Himself to disciples and yet remain hidden from the world. Jesus explains that He and the Father will come and make their dwelling with those who love Him. How do They do that? They extend their very Persons, real but physically invisible into Christ's disciples. Is that extension of their Persons not the Holy Spirit? If so, what need is there to presume the existence of a third divine Person?

Have you ever noticed that in the New Testament record, much prayer is made to the Father. There is at least one instance in which Jesus (after his death) is addressed in prayer (Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Acts 7:59). But NEVER is a prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit. Isn't that rather odd than no one prayed to Him, if He is a third divine Person? Of course in our day, Trinitarians pray to Him and He is addressed in several of our hymns. But there is no record of that having been done by Christians in the first, second, or third centuries.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:12 pm

I really don't have a problem with the concept of the trintiy as a general explanation of deity if theire is some fluidity allowed. For me no single position fully explains the mysteries hinted at in the scriptures concerning God, who is alone immortal, dwells in unapproachable light, and generally hides His face in a shhroud of mystery because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.... Who has known the mind of the Lord?

But it seems some systematic theologians would counsel Him as to how He is built HAHAHAHA, what a riot, as if mere terminology could contain and define utterly those thoughts.

No really, we ought hold our beliefs on such things quite lightly, and discuss them as slightly ignorant friends standing around speculating about what sits atop a high tower that we can barely make when it is clear of clouds LOL.

Other wise we find ourselves building strongholds and towers against the true knowledge of God and think we are doing Him a service by darkening the landscape with them and imprisoning the masses within.

I find it hard to believe anyone was ever ex-communicated or worse yet- even murdered, over the way they defined hypostasis. :x
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:32 pm

Sure, but neither should we discount what has been revealed. The first major heresy against the Christian faith was to attack the physical humanity of Christ the God-man. Paidon, I see your logic, but the plainer understanding still seems to identify the Holy Spirit as distinct to me.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby Eaglesway » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:28 pm

[email protected] wrote:Sure, but neither should we discount what has been revealed. The first major heresy against the Christian faith was to attack the physical humanity of Christ the God-man. Paidon, I see your logic, but the plainer understanding still seems to identify the Holy Spirit as distinct to me.


No, we don't want to ignore what has been revealed. But that is what they said as they burned Michael Servetus. Revelation is debatable. Orthodoxy is not, because orthodoxy is decided by power, more than truth. So rightfully, we continue to discuss and examine that which is entrenched by the powerful- like the etrnal torment of the wicked for instance. In the field of the world we are the heretics, for believeing in the restoration of all things and the salvation of all. But the truth about the restoration of all things goes deeper than just the duration of ages and the purpose of "hell" and that everyone will eventually be saved. It goes into why God has done all that He has done and how He works with us and what He is after in us and indeed the entire creation. The mystery extends into all that and beyond these traditrional debates and I am not saying we cant know, or understand, I am saying the understanding is beyond the traditional poles.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby [email protected] » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:32 pm

orthodoxy is decided by power, more than truth

Sadly sometimes, but always?

Other motives could include fear, pressure, ignorance, etc. There are 'camps' of division even within universalist / restorationist thought. Does power cause these divisions? Sometimes these camps form because they discover an important truth, but other times because they found a common enemy. And what if one universalist camp gained the power to become the prevalent new orthodoxy? What would future disgruntled seekers then follow?

Hopefully we each seek to follow Christ and grow closer to each other as we grow closer to Christ.

For myself I find it better to not fear orthdoxy and even to respect the efforts of Christians in the past, even if some of their conclusions are wrong. Of course if I think something is wrong, then I chose not to believe it. Yet if we disregard dialogue with orthodoxy we lose much. Satan is our enemy, but not our neighbor, and not even the powerful orthodox Christian friend we disagree with.

Pray for me that I would seek to be teachable, winsome, and loving towards those of a different opinion.
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:15 pm

I'm wondering how any of us reconcile the following with the story of the virgin birth?

1 Therefore being a prophet [David], and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. Acts 2:30
2.Of this man's seed [David's] hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus. Acts 13:23
3.Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Romans 1:3
4. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David. 2 Timothy 2:8
5. For verily he [Jesus] took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Hebrews 2:16
6. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David. Revelation 22:16

In any case, I find it really strange that God would impregnate (I don't mean that in any lascivious manner, needless to say) a woman. Yes, the bible tells me so - but coupling my strange feelings about it with the scriptures above, I find myself unable to be dogmatic about it. In fact, when we read about human leaders around the 1st century, we do find that some of them were given supernatural birth stories, to draw attention to their deeds and greatness. I try to read from the original writer's frame of mind.

Anyway, I'm not trolling, just expressing my puzzlement. Any ideas?
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
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Re: Wow, so what do you really believe? ...Statement of Fai

Postby DaveB » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:41 pm

No, I'm not. I've read a bit on the subject and I'm still perplexed. I do know that this is a sacred cow (so to speak) and I'm not up to arguing about the teaching - I just want it explained.
No trolling. If noone wants to pick up on this topic, fine with me! :D
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3159
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 6:07 pm