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RevivalDemeritPoints
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Date Posted:17/12/2008 1:42 AMCopy HTML

Dear Ian, (and All), this is a bit of a long post.

Apologies first up, because some of the questions may suggest I have not done enough reading on certain subjects which is true (free time is a big problem) and I intend, of course, to read much more on the issues at hand.

However, I *need* guidance. As my questions suggest, I *am* confused about the answer to some matters which are of particular urgence I feel, especially as, soo many people are asking *me* for such answers and I feel that to move forward I need such things to be set straight in my brain, and I do not want to be responsible for leading anyone astray or to be a stumbling block. However, I am interested in enlightening others to the the truth of the matter, as they continue to ask, what is it that *has* been so blatantly revealed to me, through much prayer and reading and reconsideration and suppressing of existing biases (hence my reference to 'confirmation bias' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias in the shoutbox ). Although, by far, I acknowledge freely that I am by no means qualified or at the moment in a position to 'guide' anyone as I do not wish anyone to be as confused as I am right now. Hence the 'urgency' and need to feel 'unconfused' about pertinent matters (no pressure though Ian, I understand its a crazy and busy time of year).

TRUTH is still the priority, despite what so many people are already accusing (this is why we have made the decision to leave RF -because we *have* to please God and not man, otherwise we would still be in RF -to those of you reading who may well have already worked out who I am). 

We love the Lord and we love everyone we are leaving behind but despite what it may seem, we must leave, to honour God's word and not continue to propigate the "untruthes" that are leading people to unnecessary condemnation.. not to mention the whole Galatians 1 issue (and I'll make it easier with this link for you: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=55&chapter=1&version=31 ).

So, not in any particular order and a bit random... (its ok if full answers aren't given as I don't necessarily want to be spoon fed but at least, directed where to go for the answers) (Thank you so much in participation)

The Questions

  

  • Infant Sprinkling/ Confirmation Classes –in Anglican/Catholic churches (for example) –is this scriptural?
    (I have since read about 'bapto' vs 'baptiso' but am still uncertain re this with respect to necessity for baptism of  infants). Also, what's the deal with having to be confirmed before taking 'Holy Communion'?

  •  As Ian mentioned it might be a good idea to check out a Catholic church: so some questions re Catholic Doctrine –what about:
    - “call no man Father”?
    - Idol worship? (Bible says not to)
    - Different levels of heaven/hell in Catholic dogma
    - Rosary beads (cultural? Surely not biblical??)
    - prayers to Mary Mother of Jesus?
    - Why do Catholic priests say to do a particular number of Our Fathers and Hail Marys –isn’t this just  vain repetition? again why hail Mary so much??
    - What about making people saints – who really IS a saint then (ie. sanctified in Christ)?

  •  Life after death –Sinner on the Cross –you shall see me in Paradise –so if Paradise is –“with the Lord in Heaven” is there other passages in the Bible that indicate that this is what happens to “believers” when they die?

  • What about “Concerning those who sleep” scriptures?? (check)

  • Women preachers?
    - Aren’t women supposed to keep silence in the church?
    - Is this what Ian referred to as “situational and contextual”?
    - do you mean that just those women who are in the congregation (as opposed to on the platform –although rare references to this if any..?)
    - who was this one woman in the Bible who was a teacher/preacher in the church (someone –probably Ian –mentioned) ??
  •  If not at the point of speaking in tongues, when does one receive the Holy Spirit? (seeming that if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His)  Ie. When does the power come upon you exactly- and how can you tell? Ie. If you are told this from an early age, at 2 or 3 even, and you believe without question, automatically what your parents say is correct, is it at this very point in time when you are told and believe it, automatically –ie. Without much thought, or even understanding, that you in fact receive the Holy Spirit?
    I find this hard to believe as one so young is probably not capable of understanding even about death let alone why God would send a man, his son to pay the sacrifice of death for our sins. Maybe a bit older? (in the meantime –saved by the believing parents, right?)
    Or, does one receive the Holy Spirit at point of “religious” baptism? (ie, by full immersion or dunking/dipping/sprinkling ie. “bapto” as opposed to “baptiso”).

    When I say religious baptism, I mean, does it have to be a public declaration? Or, does one simply receive the Holy Spirit when one acknowledges –comes to the realization in one’s own brain, that Jesus is the Son of God and acknowledges /accepts /is grateful for his sacrifice /death /burial /resurrection /opportunity given to us of eternal life?
    So, Ian, is “baptiso” given more weight/importance in the original Greek scriptures than “bapto” or not?

    - What does it mean to pray/sing etc in the Spirit Vs. to pray in the understanding? (RF suggest that this is obvious: tongues Vs. in your own language ie English)
  •  As Ian pointed out, it is important to view salvation in a community context (as the Bible seems to emphasise) –however this brings about a whole field of other questions..
    - what about those within that community ie. A family situation for example, who do not believe at all. How can God save the whole family if there are some that don’t believe?
    - Is an ‘unbelieving’ husband saved by his ‘believing’ wife? (believing meaning believing that Jesus is the Son of God and died and rose again for the remission of sins that we might have forgiveness when we ask for it for our sins, and whereby we also inherit eternal life?) –is that a correct summary of the Gospel – Jesus’ message? – the core of real “Christian belief”? 
  •  Regarding “Adiaphora” of Christianity (matters not pertaining to salvation, right?) so what IS and what Is NOT Adiaphora? Ie. What matters and what does not? Or essentials for salvation verses the non-essentials?

  • what about these verses: ?

    Romans 15:17

    "Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit."

    -verse 19 I guess this is where RF feel justified by their experiential eyewitness accounts.
    This verse, in light of recent new information- to me at least –I find confusing, because ‘the power of signs and miracles’ are what I have always spoken about –or rather given emphasis to… but this is wrong? Yes? No? (its called confusion)

    Also, this scripture:

    1 Corinthians 1:4

    "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed"
    -if tongues is a gift then everyone has it but just needs to utilize it? Is *that* what this means? Or, (again) nay?


    As you can see, post-revival there is much that can not be taken for granted as being right or wrong.

    I *do* want to untangle my brain. I *do* want to know what is right and what is wrong and I *do* want to follow Jesus and do what He says.

    Sorry if this post is as overwhelming as all the questions buzzing around my brain.

    Thanks, especially if you reached to here.

    God bless,

    RDP.

dogmafree Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:So Many Questions!!

Date Posted:17/12/2008 3:39 AMCopy HTML

Pity that God ( you know, the author NOT of confusion) didn't make it all a helluvalot more PLAIN!

In other words, perhaps stopping flogging your bedraggled brain with scripture and take in the wider understandings of a world that has learned much.  It is possible that endlessly assaulting yourself with more of the same will lead to more of the same.............. CONFUSION.  Despite what anyone claims to the contrary, the bible is as ambiguous as hell, and the more you bash your head against the wall..... well you know the outcome of that!

Think outside the square!


Dog.
"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:So Many Questions!!

Date Posted:17/12/2008 4:00 AMCopy HTML

RDP

Whilst I can't answer all (let alone 'some') of your questions appropriately, I can tell you that you're not alone. We've all had the same types of questions after leaving rf - but the questions don't all get answered immediately! I've learnt that we can 'hear' people's opinions and views expressed through here and in churches etc, but it is God who reveals the answers to us through His Word and through revelation.

When I left RF a couple of years ago there were a group of about 25-30 of us that left Woodcroft around the same time. We'd all been praying individually and had no idea that others felt the same way (apart from our husbands/wives). 
Once we began sharing our thoughts we got together to pray about the situations/issues in rf and prayed that the oversight would have the same revelations that we were having. The prayer meetings were amazing with a real sense of the Holy Spirit being with us. Eventually the pastors found out and some of the guys were threatened with being 'put out' for holding 'unauthorised' meetings - some were 'put out' and some chose to leave. It was not only here in Adelaide, it was happening in other fellowships at the same time.

I had been fairly 'lukewarm' for years in my relationship with God even though I did all the 'correct' things - got to all the meetings, coffee mornings bla bla bla.  But for the first time in my life, I began to know God and understand what He expected of me. I realised that for the 24 years I was in revival, I'd never FULLY appreciated what Jesus did on the cross for ME personally. The first thing I had to do was repent and bow down (spiritually and physically) to a merciful and gracious God and my walk really started from there.  We found a church that welcomed us and understood where we'd come from as many other ex-revivalists had made it their home -  some for 10-15 years and were walking on with the Lord.  I found that everything that I had been 'taught' had to be relearned again which is obviously not an instant thing but an ongoing process.

I think most of us here understand where you're coming from - the questions just churn through your mind and it all seems so confusing but just hang in there RDP and wait on the Lord - you're not alone.

God bless, Urch
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #3
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Re:So Many Questions!!

Date Posted:17/12/2008 5:26 AMCopy HTML

Hi, RDP.

Geez! And I thought your husband asked questions! Anyway, here are my brief responses for your consideration.

1.    Infant Sprinkling/Confirmation Classes – in Anglican/Catholic churches (for example) – is this scriptural? (I have since read about 'bapto' vs 'baptiso' but am still uncertain re this with respect to necessity for baptism of  infants). Also, what's the deal with having to be confirmed before taking 'Holy Communion'?

To begin with, try to understand that not everything that Christians practice actually needs to be 'scriptural'. Some Christian practices are properly cultural, some are simply historical legacies. The issue, I suppose, is whether or not the matter is beneficial, spiritually.

Confirmation, for example, is a very ancient practice, one universally performed in one respect or another since the late 2nd century. At its heart it remains strictly an ecclesial issue: a person is 'confirmed' by a duly authorised representative into a visible Christian communion, and then upon personally acknowledging one's dependence upon Christ. To answer the question, is 'confirmation' of itself 'beneficial, spiritually'? Centuries of continued use indicates that it certainly is.

Next, I always find the term "infant sprinkling" a little offensive. When you think about it, it's a pejorative expression, one that seeks to distinguish this practice from what is supposedly 'proper' baptism. The fact remains, however, that this form of baptism is also an ancient practice of the Christian Church. And we must bear in mind that baptism, no matter how it is performed, or upon whom it is performed; doesn't 'save' anyone. Salvation remains dependent upon faith (but more on this later). So baptism, whether of infants/children or adults, functions as a rite of identification whereby a person is accepted into a visible Christian communion. In this respect, the baptism of infants or children is perfectly legitimate. Incidently, Revivalists feel the need to hold "infant dedication" services, don't they? And what is such a service if not an "infant baptism" but without the water! Something to think about.

Finally, understand that the Greek words for 'baptism' and 'baptise' don't mean "to immerse", and that in spite of the vocal protestations to the contrary by ill-informed Revivalists! A very early (c. AD 70) orthodox Christian 'church manual' describes baptism as being performed by immersion, pouring or sprinkling; further, all of the early Christian art expressing baptism, from the late 2nd until the 7th centuries, invokes pouring. Surely this is significant?

2.    As Ian mentioned it might be a good idea to check out a Catholic church: so some questions re Catholic Doctrine – what about:
      - “call no man Father”?
      - Idol worship? (Bible says not to)
      - Different levels of heaven/hell in Catholic dogma
      - Rosary beads (cultural? Surely not biblical??)
      - prayers to Mary Mother of Jesus?
      - Why do Catholic priests say to do a particular number of Our Fathers and Hail Marys –isn’t this just  vain repetition? again why hail Mary so much??
      - What about making people saints – who really IS a saint then (ie. sanctified in Christ)?

Briefly, "call no man father" can't possibly be a reference to Catholic priests, given that no such animal existed when Jesus Christ spoke the words! Second, Roman Catholics/the Orthodox don't "worship idols", they "venerate ikons". There is a very significant difference. Third, I've not been to hell, so I don't claim to know how many levels there are to the place! But I will point out that the Jews of Jesus' time believed there to be different 'degrees' of hell, corresponding to the different degrees of punishment inflicted therein. "Rosary beads"? Simply a cultural practice that helps to facilitate and promote prayer. "Prayers to Mary and the intercession of the saints"? Have a read of Revelation 6:9-11, and tell me what it seems to present. "Our Fathers and Hail Marys"? Simply another eccelsiastical tradition. And for what it's worth, praying the Lord's prayer must certainly be much less of a "vain repetition" than is the Revivalists' jingle of: "hallelujah, hallelujah, praise the Lord". "The canonising of saints?" Again, simply an ecclesisastical tradition, one hoary with age.

3.    Life after death – Sinner on the Cross – you shall see me in Paradise – so if Paradise is –“with the Lord in Heaven” is there other passages in the Bible that indicate that this is what happens to “believers” when they die?

There certainly are, have a look at 2 Corinthians 5:6 and 8 and Philippians 1:21-25, for starters.

4.    What about “Concerning those who sleep” scriptures?? (check)

'Sleep' is used in Scripture as a euphemism for physical 'death'. The expression says nothing about the degree of consciousness that one experiences post mortem.

5.    Women preachers?
      - Aren’t women supposed to keep silence in the church?
      - Is this what Ian referred to as “situational and contextual”?
      - do you mean that just those women who are in the congregation (as opposed to on the platform – although rare references to this if any..?). Who was this one woman in the Bible who was a teacher/preacher in the church (someone –probably Ian –mentioned) ??

If women are meant to "keep silent in the churches" in an absolute sense, then why did Paul write that they are to both pray and prophesy? Such is hardly "keeping silent"! Further, if women are completely forbidden from teaching, then how is it that a Prisca could show an Apollos "the more excellent way"? And, of course, there is Junia to contend with, no less than a female apostle!

6.    If not at the point of speaking in tongues, when does one receive the Holy Spirit? (seeming that if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His) Ie. When does the power come upon you exactly - and how can you tell? Ie. If you are told this from an early age, at 2 or 3 even, and you believe without question, automatically what your parents say is correct, is it at this very point in time when you are told and believe it, automatically – ie. Without much thought, or even understanding, that you in fact receive the Holy Spirit? I find this hard to believe as one so young is probably not capable of understanding even about death let alone why God would send a man, his son to pay the sacrifice of death for our sins. Maybe a bit older? (in the meantime – saved by the believing parents, right?) Or, does one receive the Holy Spirit at point of “religious” baptism? (ie, by full immersion or dunking/dipping/sprinkling ie. “bapto” as opposed to “baptiso”).

A person receives the Spirit at the point of faith. Second, 'bapto' means "to dip", but it's nowhere used in Scripture to describe 'baptism'. 'Baptizo' means "to baptise" (but it doesn't mean, "to dip").

... When I say religious baptism, I mean, does it have to be a public declaration? Or, does one simply receive the Holy Spirit when one acknowledges – comes to the realization in one’s own brain, that Jesus is the Son of God and acknowledges /accepts /is grateful for his sacrifice /death /burial /resurrection /opportunity given to us of eternal life? So, Ian, is “baptizo” given more weight/importance in the original Greek scriptures than “bapto” or not?

If one wishes to press the issue, then one might suggest that Revivalist 'baptism' is null and void. To begin with, it isn't public given that it invariably takes place within private settings (i.e. Revivalist meeting places, halls, homes, etc). Second, a good many people in 'Revival' are 'baptised' before they've believed.

7.    What does it mean to pray/sing etc in the Spirit Vs. to pray in the understanding? (RF suggest that this is obvious: tongues Vs. in your own language ie English).

Read my article on this at 'Please Consider'. There's no point rehearsing the same information, here.

8.    As Ian pointed out, it is important to view salvation in a community context (as the Bible seems to emphasise) – however this brings about a whole field of other questions..
      - what about those within that community ie. A family situation for example, who do not believe at all. How can God save the whole family if there are some that don’t believe?
      - Is an ‘unbelieving’ husband saved by his ‘believing’ wife? (believing meaning believing that Jesus is the Son of God and died and rose again for the remission of sins that we might have forgiveness when we ask for it for our sins, and whereby we also inherit eternal life?) – is that a correct summary of the Gospel – Jesus’ message? – the core of real “Christian belief”?

To begin with the 'community' aspect is predicated on the cultural norm of the time, that being that the male head of the household unit (husband, wife, children and slaves) makes the decision for the unit as a whole. Individual choice, by the way, is a very recent and uniquely Western concept. Second, one needs to understand that the word 'saved' doesn't always invoke the idea of 'eternal, spiritual salvation'. Biblical salvation is much broader than many think. Finally, the biblical gospel is best described as the narrative that describes the pre-existence, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ as God. 'Salvation' takes place when one believes the gospel narrative, and places one's faith in the truths that it proclaims.

9.    Regarding “Adiaphora” of Christianity (matters not pertaining to salvation, right?) so what IS and what Is NOT Adiaphora? Ie. What matters and what does not? Or essentials for salvation verses the non-essentials?

The adiaphora encompasses those aspects of belief which aren't directly tied to the basic gospel narrative. Consequently, they include: how and when one is baptised, how a church is led, how and when one takes communion, what one believes (or disbelieves) about 'tongues', how one prays, which translation of the Bible one prefers, etc.

10.    What about these verses: Romans 15:17?

Well, what about it? I'd suggest that the verse can only mean what the contexts allows.

      - verse 19 I guess this is where RF feel justified by their experiential eyewitness accounts.

Read the entire New Testament and you'll find that 'signs' and 'miracles' don't function in the way that you've been led to believe. After all, didn't Jesus himself state, "...only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miraculous sign"? (Matthew 12:39, NLT).

... This verse, in light of recent new information - to me at least – I find confusing, because ‘the power of signs and miracles’ are what I have always spoken about –or rather given emphasis to… but this is wrong? Yes? No? (its called confusion)

'Yes', it's wrong. Completely, totally and disturbingly wrong. But I think you already know this.

Also, this scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:4? If tongues is a gift then everyone has it but just needs to utilize it? Is *that* what this means? Or, (again) nay?

'Nope'. The passage uses plural pronouns to describe that the Corinthian church, and not each individual believer therein, had been "enriched", etc. The subject of 'tongues' is grossly misunderstood, and a grossly over-stated 'thing' in Revivalism.

... As you can see, post-revival there is much that can not be taken for granted as being right or wrong.

I'd suggest that 'most' of what you've taken for granted during your time in Revivalism is actually wrong.

... I *do* want to untangle my brain. I *do* want to know what is right and what is wrong and I *do* want to follow Jesus and do what He says.

Cool. Then I'm certain that you will.

... Sorry if this post is as overwhelming as all the questions buzzing around my brain. Thanks, especially if you reached to here.

Well, it was a struggle!

Blessings,

Ian


email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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