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Ralph_Volgstein
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  • Register:07/12/2008 12:56 AM

Date Posted:10/12/2008 5:49 AMCopy HTML

Article 1 - Introduction (to future articles):

I hope to post a number of concise and hopefully fairly simple articles on this website for people to read and to contemplate.

These articles are particularly directed at those people that are still caught up with all the ‘strange’ doctrines, practices and teachings propagated by many religious groups. Hopefully these articles will provide them with the ‘tools’ necessary to make rational and informed decisions about the state of their relationship with God. 

Unfortunately, I was also caught up in one of these religious groups for many years, until one day (through the testing of a particular religious practice with reference to the Word of God), my eyes were suddenly opened. From that day on, when I started to compare a number of other teachings and practices within my organisation with the Word of God, I realised that this so-called church, was really not right with God at all (and so unfortunately, neither was I).

Please note: I’m not directing these articles at a particular organisation or leader (although I could quite easily do that), but instead, I believe that by examining a number of teachings, doctrines and practices, which are common across many religious groups, and comparing them to what the Bible actually states (in other words – the real TRUTH, rather than the manipulated ‘truth’ of the organisation) should provide a better outcome (i.e. people within these organisations shouldn’t then feel affronted or offended and will be more likely to read and consider these articles).

Firstly, people should understand that if you find things amiss within your organisation (things that don’t really agree or sit well with the Word of God), and you happen to mention this to others, don’t be disheartened or become discouraged when these ‘others’ say to you;
“Do you think you know more than all the other pastors?”, or
“Do you think you know more than the apostle (the leader of the group) who has been ‘saved’ much longer than you?”

Now, just because some within your organisation have been Christians for longer, or are physically older than you, doesn’t make them more wiser than you, nor is their age (or number of years ‘saved’) a prerequisite (or a guarantee) for having acquired greater knowledge (I cite the case of Elihu and Job).

Wisdom and knowledge come with humility, with a desire to do God’s will and dependant of course on your personal relationship with God. Unfortunately, you’ll find that most (if not all) the pastors (the ministry) will follow (and perpetuate) the guidance and teachings of just one man (who in most cases is considered to be the spiritual leader of the organisation).

They (the ministry under this particular leader) really exhibit no independent thought at all, other than to carry out the desires and wishes of their leader (comments such as: “If he asks me to jump, I’d say; How high?” really demonstrates this sort of silly and unnecessary compliant attitude). This really is an unfortunate situation, because if the leader has gone ‘off the track’ (in other words; is spiritually wrong) then all of the other pastors and their assistants (i.e. the bulk of the ministry within the organisation) will also be ‘off the track’ (and wrong along with him) and those (i.e. the rest of the congregation) that follow their teachings and guidance will also be led ‘off the track’ along with them.

Remember, in the end it is all just about one man (the leader of your group) and what he himself has determined ought to be preached and practiced within your organisation. So you see; it’s not at all about you versus ALL the other pastors, it’s just about you versus the leader (the apostle, or whatever name he goes by) within your organisation.

Secondly (and this is important), don’t be deceived into believing the old ministry mantra of: “we’re not under law”. This is a misleading and an all-encompassing saying which they often use (obviously based to some extent on the scriptures – see verse below) which allows and enables them to deviate (i.e. deviate with their doctrines, teachings and practices) from the Word of God.

You might speak to them about a certain thing you’ve seen in the scriptures and say how the organisation isn’t really doing what the scriptures actually state.  They will then come back at you and say to you that “we’re not under law” – in other words, what they really mean is that “we (that is; they) don’t have to stick exactly with what is written in the Bible”.

Unfortunately for most people that hear this sort of comment, are brainwashed into believing it because it sounds plausible. However, it is a terrible misuse of scripture – it’s a trap!
Don’t fall for it!

Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

What this verse actually says I believe is that Christians are no longer under the Old Testament demands and conditions (i.e. under the old covenant which is regarded as THE LAW). Having now been filled with God’s Spirit, you are now under Grace – that is, under the New Testament promises which are implemented by faith.

Now, as men and women were expected to obey (although with great difficulty through their own strength, and by their own means) God under the Old Testament (i.e. the LAW); men and women today (those that have accepted the new covenant) are still expected to obey (although now by the Spirit, rather than by the works of the flesh (i.e. by their own efforts)) God in the New Testament.

In this matter there is NO difference between the New and the Old Testaments!

I Peter 4:17 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded (command, teach, instruct) you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

(The phrase; ”have commanded” makes it appear as though it is in the past tense.
In actual fact, there is no “have” in the original languages.
It is a present tense passage.
This means that as Jesus has taught His disciples in the past, he still continues to teach (command, instruct) them now, and He still expects them to observe ALL the things that He teaches them today!).

To clarify this verse in Matthew 28, the following passage is also important:

John 14:23-24Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”

So, what this means, is that if a man truly loves God, he will desire to KEEP Jesus’ words (and ultimately God’s words).

Now, a question I pose to you – does this mean that you can discard (or even disregard) some of what God has said and asked you to do (in other words, having asked you to do His will) and replace His words with some of your own words and thoughts?
Is this really KEEPING His Word?
I wouldn’t have thought so!
I wouldn’t have thought that by manipulating scripture to suit your purposes, that you were still obeying God!

I wouldn’t have thought that God would be pleased with this sort of behaviour.

This then brings me to the last point in this introductory part:

We see written in the verse below; that if a person wanted to worship God; that is to be acceptable to Him, to demonstrate their love for Him, to be pleasing to Him and so finally enter the kingdom of heaven (at some time in the future), then:

John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

Here we see in John 4 that to be able to truly worship God, a person MUST worship God in Sprit AND in truth.

It’s not sufficient to worship God just in Spirit.

So, what is this “truth” then that is spoken about by God in this passage?

Well, we see in the following verse that this “truth” spoken about in the previous verse is related to God’s own Word.

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

God’s Word (His truth) does NOT include, allow for, or even enable a mortal to introduce his own thoughts and ideas!

If a man does intrude his own thoughts and ideas and ways into God’s Word and work, then God’s Word is then not longer God’s Word, nor is it the TRUTH!

It then becomes a bit of a mixture – and we see that God is not pleased with the “many” that corrupt His Word (with their thoughts and ways)!

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

Now, if you perceive that the organisation that you’re in does something different to what is written in the Bible (some articles in the following weeks and months should highlight some of these ‘discrepancies’), then you also should be aware that these ‘discrepancies’ are really not acceptable with God.
He has given us His Word so that we might obey Him through the Spirit and to fulfil His will through the Spirit. In other words, there must be a keeping and a doing of His Word by the Spirit.

If you see things occurring within your group that are not in accordance with the Word of God, then you need to consider your position – urgently!

Do you wish to remain within this organisation that is steering you off God’s high way (and ultimately away from Him), or do you honestly and truly desire to follow God until the day He leads you into the kingdom of heaven. Staying within an organisation with their erroneous doctrines, teachings and practices is not going to get you to your intended destination!

So finally, I hope that people will bear with me in the coming weeks and months and I also hope that my articles on various subjects will be useful and will help them in their endeavours to follow God.

Ralph Volgstein

Ralph_Volgstein Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:15/12/2008 2:09 AMCopy HTML

Article 2 – Aspects of the Truth (pt1).

First of all, I’d like to start off part 1 with the following scripture:

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

What this scripture plainly states is that God’s Word is TRUTH!

Please note: Your organization’s practices, teachings and doctrines are only true (the TRUTH) if they can be shown to be God’s Word (His truth) put into preaching and practice. If the doctrines, practices and teachings of your organization are only ‘loosely based on’ God’s Word (some examples will be highlighted in this and later articles), then they are not true as such (i.e. they are not the TRUTH). They may have some relevance to, or some association with God’s Word, but ultimately they are not a manifestation of God’s Word – they are not a manifestation of the truth!

With that in mind, I’d like to have a look at the following statements made by the ministry within the organization that I was involved in.
I’m assuming that you may have heard similar things within your organization.

Ever heard one of your religious leaders say one or more of the following:

1.       Don’t examine me (or my family),

2.       Don’t make any judgments about the church (your religious organization),

3.       Don’t examine this or that (i.e. the doctrines, teachings, or practices or within your organization),

4.       You shouldn’t spend too much time looking through the Concordance,

5.       If your understanding of scripture is at variance with the ministry, then YOU must be wrong,

6.       Don’t question your ministry,

7.       Even if your ministry preaches the ‘wrong thing’ to you; if you follow and obey what has been preached (even though it may be incorrect), then God will still go ahead and bless your submission and obedience,

8.       If our apostle (our religious leader) tells us to jump, we respond to him and say, “How high?”

9.       If there is anything we (the ministry) don’t understand, then we contact the apostle (our religious leader) and ask him to enlighten us (i.e. we ask for his wisdom and understanding), and

10.   Do you think that you know more than your pastor or the apostle (the leader of the organization)?

I’m sure that you’ve come across many similar sorts of religious comments (said under the guise of ‘guidance’ or ‘ministry’), but the real intention in ministering or preaching such things is to make you compliant to your organization’s views, doctrines, practices and teachings (i.e. to make you compliant to your leader’s vision for your organization). But the bottom line is, is that many of the comments made above are quite silly, bizarre and unnecessary (especially if made in the context of the church that we read of in the Bible): 

1.       Don’t examine me (or my family) –

Response: Why shouldn’t you be able to examine a religious leader, his life and his ministry? Shouldn’t these things be aligned, or associated with what we read in the Bible?
If you do examine his life and his ministry, the Word of God should confirm that all aspects of his life are as expected from a man in this position and so scripture should support him. Unfortunately, if his life and ministry is NOT supported by the Word of God, then a problem arises – and this is why many will make such comments (about not examining them), because they realise that their life and ministry is not particularly in line with what the Bible states. They feel uncomfortable about things being uncovered in their lives and ministry; things that they’ve either tried to hide or not draw attention to.

2.       Don’t make any judgments about the church (your religious organization) –

Response: Similar to 1 above, but obviously on a 'grander' scale (involving the whole organization).

3.       Don’t examine this or that (i.e. the doctrines, teachings, or practices or within your organization) –

Response: Similar to 1 and 2 above, but more focused on the “products” or the “outputs” (the teachings, practices, doctrines) of an organization.

4.       You shouldn’t spend too much time looking through the Concordance –

Response: My immediate response is; “Why?”
All that the concordance does is help you to find a particular scripture, and if you have a Lexicon in the back of the concordance, then all this does is “convert” some of the 17th century words and phrases into their 21st century equivalent. I would have thought that this would be touted as a benefit for Christians, rather than being seen as a hindrance, or a spiritual problem!
My gut feeling is that they (the ministry) are extremely concerned that if you spend too much time with the concordance (in conjunction with the Bible of course), that you’ll uncover things that they would prefer remain “buried”. They would prefer that you read the Bible in relation to scriptures that they have already preached on. They feel that that this would be spiritually “safer” – safer yes; but for whom?

5.       If your understanding of scripture is at variance with the ministry, then YOU must be wrong –

Response: I wonder if Job had said that to Elihu, whether Elihu would have accepted that and just shut up? I remember giving a talk once (in my early days, before I was “indoctrinated” around to their way of thinking) where I obviously spoke on something that hadn’t been preached on previously. After the talk, the pastor said to me (as I passed by him, heading back to my seat), “We don’t preach that sort of thing here!”
Interesting thing was, that about six months later (after he had forgotten about this incident) that he preached on the very same thing that he chastised me about six months earlier.
Go figure!
The guiding principle here then, is that if you see something written in the scriptures (some examples will be mentioned in later articles), and it is at odds with what is being done, taught or preached within your organization, then the Word of God has to have the overwhelming authority (or have the pre-eminence) in your discussion with your ministry. This means that if your ministry comes up with some explanation which is at odds with the Word of God (with what you’ve plainly seen in the Bible), then it simply indicates that you are right in your understanding and that your ministry is wrong! Remember, just because they have had some sort of title conferred on them within your organization, does not make them automatically justified in everything they say or do!

6.       Don’t question your ministry –

Response: If they are doing things contrary to what is written in the scriptures (i.e. contrary to your expectations after having examined these things in your Bible), then you should speak to them. They ought to be able to clarify their position, but only in relation to the Word of God. Make sure they can justify their actions and preaching from the scriptures. It’s all very well them saying to you, “Don’t worry, just trust me, I have your best interests at heart”; if what they’re actually doing is leading you away from God and down a path of destruction.
Don’t forget, you’re not actually questioning them based on your own prejudices, or because you have certain likes or dislikes about what is being preached, said or done within your organization; you’re actually questioning them because you’ve observed things that are at variance with what you’ve read in the Bible. In other words, you would like some clarification regarding your observations (based on scripture of course). Now, in relation to what you’ve observed and about your concerns; your expectation ought to be that what your ministry has said and done in your organization is verifiable from the scriptures!

7.       Even if your ministry preaches the ‘wrong thing’ to you; if you follow and obey what has been preached (even though it may be spiritually incorrect), God will still go ahead and bless your submission and obedience (to bad ministry) –

Response: I’m sorry; reading this again just makes me laugh. I can’t believe that they keep promoting this sort of garbage – I’ve heard it more than once and from different pastors. They might as well say; “If I tell you to jump off a cliff (because at this point of time I can’t think of anything better to tell you to do), and you do what I say, then God will bless your obedience and everything will turn out OK (keep this in mind as you hurtle toward the rocks below)”.
However, I think I can safely say that it WON”T turn out OK!
If these men are truly guided by the Head of the church (that is, Christ), then the ministry you should expect to receive (and you should receive) should be from Him, it should be in line with the scriptures, and should be RIGHT!
God does not bless aberrant ministry!
If that was the case, then Peter’s ministry would have been blessed (when he told the Gentiles that they needed to start living and behaving like the Jews). His ministry wasn’t right regarding this matter, and so he was chastised (brought into line) by Paul (Galatians 2:11).
I just wish that Paul was still around today, chastising these ministers of religion for making their weird and bizarre statements.

8.       If our apostle (our religious leader) tells us to jump, we respond to him and say, “How high?” -

Response: Before committing myself to an action which is obviously suddenly and abruptly out of context with my normal mode of walking, I would like to know what the justification is for ‘jumping’ at all (even before you get to the “How high?). I understand that these ministers might say that it’s all a matter of faith; that they believe that their religious leader has been appointed by God and that everything he asks to be done is of God, but even the faith as presented in the scriptures has a point to it (e.g. a healing, guidance, deliverance etc…) – there is a reason for enacting faith! There is a reason that faith needs to be operated. However, to be asked by someone to jump (with no justification) and then to say “How high”; it is just so bizarre, it defies not only logic (and faith), but it also borders on the ridiculous!

9.       If there is anything we don’t understand, then we contact the apostle (our religious leader) and ask him to enlighten us (i.e. we ask for his wisdom and understanding in a matter) –

Response: This sounds all well and good (in theory), but there is a nasty downside to this. These ministers; having been successfully indoctrinated by their religious leader (when they were under his ministry), and having been ‘awarded a certificate of merit’ for their compliance to his ministry, are then rewarded by a position in the ministry (and so they end up propagating and promoting the teachings and doctrines of their leader).
However, if they occasionally come across a situation they do not understand, instead of praying and asking the Head of the church (Christ) for clarification, they instead speak to their religious leader. This can definitely be a “downside”. Because what happens, is that the same doctrines, teachings and practices that they were indoctrinated with (when they were under his guidance), keep getting passed on (not only to these men, but to all those under their ministry) – it never ends! This might not be a bad thing if what is passed on is verifiable and justifiable from the Word of God, but what if it isn’t. What if the things that get passed on from the leader, to his ‘underlings’ and then to their congregations is wrong? This is definitely then a “downside”!

10.   Do you think that you know more (inference being about understanding the Bible) than your pastor or the apostle (the leader of the organization)? -

Response: Well, if you see that the teachings and doctrines within your organization are not in line with what you’ve come to expect (as described in the Word of God), then you DO know more than your pastor or the leader of your organization. In Romans 1:18, it speaks of men that hold the truth in unrighteousness. So, religious leaders can either hold (possess) the truth in righteousness or in unrighteousness. Either way, they are in possession of the truth, and so are also in a position to able to find out the truth. That is, they know or (to be gracious) have the ability to find out what God desires, but in many cases (and for whatever reason) they make the decision not to implement the truth as is written in the Bible – they prefer instead to implement and preach their own ‘truth’.
Now; if your organization preaches things that are not according to scripture, then your ministry is holding the truth in “unrighteousness” (and are instead implementing their own version of the ‘truth’). If on the other hand, they preach and do what is plainly written in the scriptures (as far as the expected teachings and practices of the church is concerned), then they are holding the truth in righteousness. So, if you are made aware that you are in an organization that holds the truth in unrighteousness, then obviously you DO know (and understand) more than your religious leaders. Now, because you’ve come to realize that God is not happy with the commandments of men being promoted (instead of the doctrines of God) within His church, but rather that He is pleased with an organization that does His will; He will bless you and your endeavor in finding out what He wants, rather than what your religious leaders want!

Before going on to part 2, I’ll leave you with the following verses to consider:

II Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved acceptable) unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (expounding correctly) the word of truth.”

Q: Is the Word of God being "expounded correctly" within your organization?

II Timothy 4:3-4 “And they (the teachers spoken of in the previous verse) shall turn away their ears (in other words – your ears) from the truth, and (your ears) shall be turned unto fables.”

Q: Are you listening to the fables of men, or are you actually listening to the Word of God - the TRUTH? Are your ‘ears’ being turned away from listening to God’s Word, and instead listening to men?

Galatians 3:1 “O foolish (unthinking) Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey (believe) the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

Q: How can you believe or obey the TRUTH, if the TRUTH hasn't been preached? What you are really doing unfortunately, is obeying a mere man!

Funnily enough, most organizations will state that they stick pretty close to the Bible, or say that they are the only ones really who preach the TRUTH. But the only way you’re going to be able to verify that claim (that statement), is by examining your organization’s doctrines, practices and teachings in conjunction with the Word of God. I think you’ll find that once you start doing that, that you’ll be surprised how many of these things you were told (or were convinced) were in the Bible, really aren’t (or are merely a corruption of God’s truth).

Ralph_Volgstein Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:19/12/2008 4:26 AMCopy HTML

Article 2 – Aspects of the Truth (pt2).

I thought I might begin this section by quickly looking at why I chose the name Ralph Volgstein.
For those that are the slightest bit interested, it’s actually an anagram based on the scripture below:

I Thessalonians 5:21Prove (examine, test) all things; hold fast that which is good.”

There are three important aspects to this particular passage of scripture, and they are all related one to the other (I also want to look at some aspects of this verse in more detail a bit later on in this section – especially under the section: Judgment and Examination).

But Firstly, the word: “Prove”.
It literally means to: TEST or EXAMINE.
God actually asks that you test or examine things.
God wants you to examine your ‘environment’ – that is, things that surround you, things that might influence you and things that might have an impact upon you (things both in the physical and in the spiritual realm).

Secondly, the word: “all”.
It means EVERYTHING!
Everything includes the following; God, yourself, your natural surroundings, your spiritual surroundings, your organisation AND your religious leaders.
There are no exceptions to “all”!

To bring both these parts together; and put simply, God wants you to EXAMINE EVERYTHING! Nothing is to be excluded!

And thirdly, the phrase: “hold fast that which is good.”
You are only going to be able to make a proper decision (judgment) about holding “fast that which is good” after you’ve examined a particular thing and then made a judgment about it – that is, you’ve decided that this thing is either good, or this thing is bad.
This sort of judgment can only be made after you’ve examined your ‘environment’.
Without a rigorous process of “examination”, a proper judgment cannot be made.
In other words you won’t be able to make a right and proper decision about being able to hold fast that which is “good” (and discarding that which is bad), unless you examine what you’re seeing and experiencing.

So, don’t let your religious leaders dupe you into believing that you shouldn’t examine this thing or that thing (especially in relation to things going on within their organization). Frankly, they are wrong in preventing you from examining their doctrines, teachings and practices. In the end, they are just trying to hide things, or keep things from you.

In this particular article (which continues on from the previous article: “Aspects of the Truth pt1”), I’d like to have a look at some more aspects of the” truth” and how you might go about finding out what is actually true (the TRUTH) and what is not (i.e. the lies, deceit and the commandments of men).

Now, looking more closely at the passage in I Thessalonians 5:21:

From what I understand “all” to mean; it simply implies all, or everything – nothing is to be excluded!
There are no additional and special ‘exclusive’ clauses attached to (or related to) this scripture that would indicate that some things should or could be excluded from this “all”.

I’ll show you what I mean by looking at the following example:

In the scripture below, the same word “all” is used, but there is an exclusion clause attached to it - it has been added so that “all” ends up being not quite everything.
However, it does cover everything else (i.e. “all”), but this one exception.

I Corinthians 15:27-28 “For he (God) hath put all things under his (Jesus’) feet. But…it is manifest that he (God) is excepted…”

So that “all” (or everything) in this passage, is under Jesus’ feet – all except God Himself!
God is specifically excluded from being under Jesus’ feet!

Back now to the scripture in I Thessalonians:
We see here that NOTHING is to be excluded from your examination – nothing at all!
And this makes complete and perfect sense, because unless your surrounding ‘environment’ (i.e. both your physical and the spiritual surroundings) is supportive (or conducive) to your endeavor in following and worshipping God, then it could be a hostile environment and either needs to be ‘amended’, abandoned, ignored or discarded. Now the only way that you are going to find out what sort of an ‘environment’ you are really ‘dwelling in’, is through examination of that environment by applying the Word of God to it.

Now; in this passage, does it indicate that God should be excluded from examination?
Is it intended that He somehow or in some way be excluded?

Definitely not!
You’ll find that God Himself has actually invited (and specifically requested) that you examine Him.

Malachi 3:10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove (examine, test) me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

God has also asked that you not only examine Him, but everything else as well (this includes not only your natural environment, but also your spiritual one).
Remember: that in this instance, in this passage; “all is all”!

So what do we (or should we) examine?

Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind (eagerness, inclination), and searched (investigated, examined) the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

We read in the passage above that Paul commended the people at Thessalonica for their eagerness in accepting the Word of God (the truth) and especially for their examination of their “environment” against the Word of God to see if what they had seen and heard was true and right.

Was what these people were doing right, or was it wrong?
Was it what was expected of them?
Did the Bible support them in their investigation?
We
see written in the book of Job the following:

Job 12:11 “Doth not the ear try (test) words? and the mouth taste his meat?”

If you apply this scripture to yourself, then it suggests that the words that you hear, the doctrines that you are taught and the practices that you are subjected to, should all be scrutinized and examined!

But why all this examination?

I think the following scriptures make it pretty clear why this sort of examination is necessary (and absolutely imperative).

Luke 21:8 “And he said, Take heed (discern, consider, perceive, understand, examine) that ye be not deceived (led astray): for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”

Galatians 1:9 “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received (accepted), let him be accursed.”

Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves (of their own ranks (i.e. the ministry) – the apostles, pastors, helps) shall men arise…to draw away disciples after them.”

So who are these “men” that would draw away disciples after them?
Who are these “men” that would try to deceive you?
Who are these “men” that would preach some other gospel than that which God has presented to you through the Bible?
And who are these “men” that in a sense have placed themselves above God?
God clearly invites examination – yet these “men” (from my experience) shun it!

Something else for you to consider: In the process of shunning examination, these “men” try to prevent you (through various subtle and not so subtle means) from undertaking this very important process. For example, they may say to you that the Bible is a very difficult book to understand. They may make such comments as:
“You can only really understand it with our help and guidance”.
“If you personally undertake to try and work out what it says, you will end up in difficulty sooner or later”.
Yes, I admit that there are difficult passages in the Word of God, as the following passage illustrates:

II Peter 3:16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist, distort), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

But Peter also says that there are only “some things” that are difficult to understand.
He didn’t say that everything was difficult to understand in the Bible!
Also Jesus Himself expected that His disciples would understand the things that He said to them; as depicted in the following passage:

Mark 8:17, 18, 21 “And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?
Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?”

So you see; there are plenty of things written in the Bible that are simple and easy to understand (unfortunately, many of these things are made out to look difficult by religious leaders for their own agendas) and it is some of these “easy” things that I want to look at in future articles.
Don’t be fooled by your religious leaders into believing that you’re incapable of understanding the Bible!

One particular aspect of this passage in II Peter 3:16 that I would like to draw your attention to is this: “wrest (twist, distort), as they do also the other scriptures”.

Firstly, these “men” who come across as ‘knowing’ or ‘understanding’ the Bible, can be just as guilty of “twisting” scripture as anyone else. True, there are some things that are hard to be understood, and if these particular men don’t fully understand what a particular scripture says either, then they are capable of twisting it to support their point of view (and you, because you also don’t know what it means, accept their interpretation – because you assume that they; being a ‘leader’ within your organisation, must know what they are talking about).

Secondly (and this is really what I wanted to point out), is that they wrest not only difficult scripture, but they also wrest (twist) the “other scriptures” (i.e. the simple and easy to be understood scriptures). And why not? They’ve convinced you that they know what they are talking about, so if they extend this “wresting” to other scripture as well – who’s going to question them? Not you obviously!
But what are “scriptures”?
They are simply the Word of God, the Bible - they (the scriptures) are the Word of TRUTH.
So, what these men are in effect doing is that they are wresting or distorting the TRUTH.

But, does it matter if they twist a scripture here or there?
Do these men have a ‘license’ from God to do that to His Word? Does God really care?
I think the following passages makes it abundantly clear that distorting (wresting), and ‘meddling’ with scriptures is not on as far as God is concerned:

Jeremiah 23:28 “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully (truthfully, rightly, reliably). What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.”

If anyone is in a position where they minister the Word of God to others, then they need to be extremely circumspect that they only minister the Word of God. That is, they minister the Word truthfully! If they put their own interpretation (or spin) on scripture, or they leave off bits or they add bits to what we read in the Bible (see Revelation 22 below), then God considers this ‘new scripture’ to be “chaff”. Only when they preach the truth as contained in the Word of God, does God consider it to be “wheat” for the recipients.

Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto (impose or lay upon) these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away (remove, cut off) from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

We read in the above passage about the severity of God’s judgment upon those that ‘play around’ with God’s Word.

John 17:8 “For I have given (delivered, bestowed, brought forth, ministered) unto them the words which thou gavest (delivered, bestowed, brought forth, ministered unto) me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

So even Jesus Christ Himself (John 17:8) ensured that what God had ministered unto Him was what He ministered unto others. That’s why I indicated earlier, that in some respects, these “men” have placed themselves above God (when really they should have placed themselves “under his feet”). Jesus Himself refrained from changing the Word of His Father, yet these “men” have allowed themselves the liberty to change this or that, and say that God “hath said”, and then have the audacity to preach their brand of ‘truth’ as being the actual doctrines of God.
Unfortunately, there will be tears….

And unfortunately for you and I though, these doctrines (these man-made doctrines that we’ve submitted ourselves to year after year) that are being promoted by these organizations; these doctrines we thought were in the Bible, were in reality just a distortion of the truth.
And being a distortion of the truth they were and are in reality not the truth!
Don’t forget the truth is the truth – a distorted version of the truth is NOT the truth at all!

Please note: the process of drawing away disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30) doesn’t necessarily have to involve any sort of ‘hero’ (apostle, or spiritual leader) worship. In other words, there doesn’t have to be a ‘charismatic’ leader, who through “great swelling words of vanity” lures people to follow them and their teachings.

It may involve that sort of thing, but it can simply be that they promote doctrines, teachings and practices (that they themselves have thought up and put in place) as being the right or only way to worship God.  All they have to do is convince you that what they preach and practice is from the Bible (and since most people believe that the Bible is the Word of God), and so many people may be ‘hooked’ by these speeches.

However, If these things that have been put into practice place by these “men” (and have been promoted within your organisation as being the only way to worship God), and can subsequently be shown to be at odds with the Word of God; then you can be fairly certain that your particular religious leader is drawing you (and others) away from God - after himself, and after his way of thinking (i.e. after his ideas and his vision).

These “men” may be very sincere in their worship of God, and they may also sincerely believe that they (and you) are truly worshipping God, but in the end, unless they are worshipping God according to God’s commandments, or rather His instructions, then they are simply worshipping Him through a series of commandments made by men – it is exemplified in the following scripture:

Mark 7:7 “Howbeit in vain (fruitlessly) do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

So you see, if they preach and practice things not prescribed by the Word of God, then all they are doing is worshipping God through a series ‘man-made’ doctrines (i.e. doctrines and teachings based on “the commandments of men”). In other words, the commandments of men become the supposed doctrines of God (they will probably infer that they were inspired by God to put into practice their particular ‘man-created’ doctrines). Unfortunately, all they (and you) are doing is worshipping God in vain (fruitlessly). God looks for souls to worship Him in spirit AND in truth (i.e. via His way, His instructions, His will, His TRUTH).
I think the following scriptures clarify this:

I Corinthians 7:19 “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of (complying with) the commandments (instructions) of God.”

John 4:23-24But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a
Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

God is not interested in souls that want to worship Him in their own manner, in their own way – i.e. after the way they think God ought to be worshipped (some examples will appear in future articles).

He regards the efforts of the most ardent religious Gentile (non Christian), or even the most fervent Christian (in their worship of God) as being of no consequence; as of being of no relevance, unless they are able to keep the commandments (instructions) of God. So, if you attempt to worship God through a series of doctrines, which in reality are nothing more than the commandments of men; then to God, it is simply a waste of time – it is as nothing! It is empty and irrelevant! You really are wasting your time!

Fervour and zeal is important in your worship of God, but first and foremost what is important is that you worship God according to His way – according to His instructions, and according to His Word.

All the fervour and zeal won’t get you into the kingdom of heaven if you are worshipping God via a series of doctrines based on the thoughts and will of “men”. So that is why it is extremely important that you undertake a process of examination, followed by a process of judgment. Without these two processes, then it is possible that you are being led around in the dark, by men that are blind – having the net effect of rendering you blind as well!
And so that leads me to the last section -

Judgment and Examination:

I think you’ll find that examination and judgment really go hand in hand, with the process of judgment usually preceded by some sort of process of examination.

In simple terms, you look at something (examination); then you make up your mind (judgment) what it is, or what it does (and what you may need to do about it).
Both process (in a religious context) can be fairly quick, or they can be quite protracted – it all depends on the circumstances and also on how complex the thing is that you are looking at (e.g. do you need to refer to scripture, or can you make a decision on the spot?).

Remember; there is nothing in the Word of God that speaks against the process of examination. On the contrary, God particularly invites it and encourages it!

Now, you may have come across the following scripture where Paul says the following:

I Corinthians 9:3 “Mine answer to them that do examine (pass judgment, condemn, make a decree) me is this,”

He is NOT saying in this passage; “Don’t examine me!” he is however responding to those that already have examined him and have subsequently made a judgment (although incorrect) about him.
Just to take a step back at this stage: the word “examine” (in this passage) is not the same the word as “prove” in
I Thessalonians 5:21. The word “examine” in I Corinthians 9:3 actually implies the passing of a judgment, or even leading to the condemnation of a person (for what they believe he or she may have done).
Paul is expressly responding to those that have ‘examined’ him and have subsequently passed a judgment on him (even though both the examination and judgment process in this case were flawed).

Paul, in his strongly worded response, was in essence making a judgment on their poor (or lack of) judgment. You see, what they were doing was not making a righteous judgment based on scripture, but were instead making judgments based solely on what their eyes could see, and based upon their own prejudices, beliefs, ideas and opinions.
He even referred to a scripture in the Old Testament (in his response), to highlight the fact that if they had only used the Word of God in the first place (in their examination of him), then they would probably have arrived at a different judgment about him.

Please note:  God has not told us NOT to examine this or that, neither has He told us NOT to make judgments about this or that (although the following scripture might appear to contradict this):

Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.

But what God is actually saying here, is that we should make no judgments (especially in relation to spiritual things) based on what we think, on our desires, on our prejudices, or on our own human values. I believe that this is clarified in the following scripture:

 John 7:24 Judge (determine, decree) not according to the appearance, but judge (determine, decree) righteous judgment.”

So, if we examine something against what the Word of God states (using the Word of God as a plumb line, or yardstick), then we can make a realistic and valued judgment based on that proper (and informed) examination, and so in the end making a righteous judgment.

The following scripture highlights the use of the Word of God in making judgments (and it’s the same Word of God that you need to use in making your judgments about a matter):

John 12:48 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth (make a determination/decree) him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge (make a determination/decree) him in the last day.”

However, if we examine something (especially in a spiritual or religious context) based on what we think, want, or desire, then we are not really making a righteous judgment (because we are trying to look at spiritual issues with our own natural desires, thoughts, wants and points of view). We can in this instance, make false assumptions, and we can end up jumping to the wrong conclusions.
This is in essence why Paul spoke up and specifically aimed his epistle at those people that were judging him (and that is why God also speaks against this type of judgment)!
However, God does not speak against or prevent you from making righteous judgments!

We see that the Bible is full of judgments, and there are numerous occasions where God asks that you make righteous judgments about certain issues.

The following examples highlight this:

Judgments will be, and need to be made – there is no getting around that!

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

How are you going to be able to “think on these things” if you don’t first of all examine these “things” and then make a judgment about what is actually true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report?

Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

How will you know that men are “spoiling” you unless you examine what you are hearing and then making a judgment about what you’ve heard? You need to judge whether or not what you’re hearing is just plain philosophy “after the tradition of men”, or whether you are actually hearing God’s truth being spoken.

I Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”

Now, how are you going to warn those that are unruly within the church, unless you examine behaviours within the organization and then making judgments about their behaviour? How are you going to “support the weak”, unless you make a judgment about who is weak and who isn’t?

So, judgments need to be and must be made and they are important and necessary, but what is most necessary is that you make righteous judgments.

Now having covered the subject of “judgments”, it’s probably useful to go back a step and look once more at the process of “examination”.

As I’ve said before, examination is part of the process of arriving at a judgment. If you get the examination part right, then making a judgment becomes a whole lot easier and it ends up being a ‘right’ judgment. If you get the examination part wrong, then making a judgment can lead to all sorts of difficulties and problems, not just for yourself, but also for the thing (person or object) you were examining.

I’d like you to view the Word of God as a tool, which you can use to test and examine things to see if they come up to scratch as far as the TRUTH is concerned.
You can take your organization’s preaching, teaching, doctrines and practices and examine them under the microscope (the ‘microscope’ of the Word of God), or you can take your organization’s preaching, teaching doctrines and practices as accepted (i.e. by blind faith), but if you accept these things by ‘blind faith’, then it may not do you any good when you eventually have to stand before the judgment seat of God, and justify yourself as to why you didn’t do as He requested (as far as examining things and making judgments are concerned)!

Now, a final word about examination:

God requests that you do it, Paul the apostle doesn’t speak against it – he in fact commended the Thessalonians for doing it – so Paul expected you to do it as well.
The problem arises when you don’t do it!
The following passage is an example of just how badly things can get out of hand and just how irrational and inane things can become (in this case it involved the ritual of idol worship, and what it had developed into in Isaiah’s time).

Isaiah 44:19 “And none considereth (turns back) in his heart, neither is there knowledge (perception, discernment) nor understanding (intelligence) to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?”

It turns out that these particular idol worshippers burned part of a tree in the fire, baked bread and roasted meat the coals, and then probably carved the rest of what was left into an idol and worshipped it (or it may simply be that they bowed down and worshipped what was left of the tree – that is, the stump).
So this was the god that they bowed down to, that they expected would ‘bless’ them, and that they hoped would perhaps grant them a long and fruitful life. None of them actually considered or thought about how silly the whole process was.
Did they consider that they were actually burning their god?
Did they realise that they were probably polluting their god with their meat and bread?
How could a bit of wood (a stump) ‘save’ them (they’d already burned the best parts of the tree)?
No, they just accepted that this was the common practice, or ritual to follow, and so they did it repetitively year after year. No-one stopped to consider and examine this practice to see if it was right or not, to see if this was acceptable to their god, or in their worship of him. And none of them probably considered that what they were doing actually proved that this bit of wood was no god at all – that their worship was in vain!

Unfortunately many people these days have fallen into a similar sort of trap.

They follow the same sort of religious practices year after year without considering or examining the practices and doctrines to see if the Bible actually supports these.
They have allowed themselves to be subjected to doctrines and rituals that they have been told are in the Bible, when if fact if they had bothered to examine these things, they would have probably become aware (quite quickly) that they were not really in the Bible at all, but were merely the figments of the imagination of men, touted and promoted as being the doctrines of God.
And who among you would examines the preaching and teaching within your organisation, especially when your religious leaders preach from a Bible?
“Surely (you say) they can’t lead us astray if they preach straight from the Bible?”

I think the scripture in Luke 21:8 illustrates just this sort of thing; “…for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ…”
That is, many will come and preach Christ, saying that He is the Son of God, and say that they are Christians, but Jesus says to you, not to go after them!
Now, how will you be able to tell who is who, or what is what?
Who is it that you should be listening to?
You are only going to be able to differentiate between the true servants of Christ and false servants if you examine their preaching (and it’s particularly important if these “men” are preaching straight from the Bible).
Preaching from a Bible can lull you into a false sense of security. In other words you are more likely to accept what you’re being told if someone preaches from an open Bible, than if they are simply spouting forth their own ideas and thoughts.
So, don’t be fooled.
Whether they are preaching from what comes out of their heads, or they are preaching straight from a Bible, in both cases it is important that you examine their preaching and make sure it is the truth! Make sure the scriptures actually back up what they say!

Finally: It’s time to stop being indoctrinated by religious leaders, and time to look more closely at what they’re saying and doing (and making you do), and start making a righteous judgment about your circumstances and your future.
Even if you ‘trust’ in and believe your organization implicitly, and make a decision NOT to examine the doctrines, teachings and practices within your organization, you are really NOT doing the will of God! Not examining your organization’s doctrines and practices will end in tears.
Remember: God expects you to:  “Prove (examine, test) all things…”
And only those that do what God desires or expects, that is they do the will of God, will enter into the kingdom:

Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Sorry to have finished on this particularly dour note, but unfortunately too many people have been duped for too long into believing that they are following and worshipping God (when in fact they have been derailed from the following God).

My hope is that by ending the article in this way that it might ‘encourage’ and prompt people within their various religious organizations to start taking more proactive approach to what’s happening around them and so take a closer look at the doctrines and practices being promoted within their group. Perhaps in so doing, they may discover that the organization they are a part of is doing and promoting things that are really not acceptable with God!

The next topic I hope to write about is what some people might call: The Communion, The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist etc…
This is where Christ’s death and resurrection is remembered through the eating and drinking of certain elements representing His blood and body.
I think people will be surprised to find what the Bible actually has to say about these things.

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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:19/12/2008 4:31 AMCopy HTML

Looks like that one was a bit too long....

Previous article continues...

John 4:23-24But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a
Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

God is not interested in souls that want to worship Him in their own manner, in their own way – i.e. after the way they think God ought to be worshipped (some examples will appear in future articles).

He regards the efforts of the most ardent religious Gentile (non Christian), or even the most fervent Christian (in their worship of God) as being of no consequence; as of being of no relevance, unless they are able to keep the commandments (instructions) of God. So, if you attempt to worship God through a series of doctrines, which in reality are nothing more than the commandments of men; then to God, it is simply a waste of time – it is as nothing! It is empty and irrelevant! You really are wasting your time!

Fervour and zeal is important in your worship of God, but first and foremost what is important is that you worship God according to His way – according to His instructions, and according to His Word.

All the fervour and zeal won’t get you into the kingdom of heaven if you are worshipping God via a series of doctrines based on the thoughts and will of “men”. So that is why it is extremely important that you undertake a process of examination, followed by a process of judgment. Without these two processes, then it is possible that you are being led around in the dark, by men that are blind – having the net effect of rendering you blind as well!
And so that leads me to the last section -

Judgment and Examination:

I think you’ll find that examination and judgment really go hand in hand, with the process of judgment usually preceded by some sort of process of examination.

In simple terms, you look at something (examination); then you make up your mind (judgment) what it is, or what it does (and what you may need to do about it).
Both process (in a religious context) can be fairly quick, or they can be quite protracted – it all depends on the circumstances and also on how complex the thing is that you are looking at (e.g. do you need to refer to scripture, or can you make a decision on the spot?).

Remember; there is nothing in the Word of God that speaks against the process of examination. On the contrary, God particularly invites it and encourages it!

Now, you may have come across the following scripture where Paul says the following:

I Corinthians 9:3 “Mine answer to them that do examine (pass judgment, condemn, make a decree) me is this,”

He is NOT saying in this passage; “Don’t examine me!” he is however responding to those that already have examined him and have subsequently made a judgment (although incorrect) about him.
Just to take a step back at this stage: the word “examine” (in this passage) is not the same the word as “prove” in
I Thessalonians 5:21. The word “examine” in I Corinthians 9:3 actually implies the passing of a judgment, or even leading to the condemnation of a person (for what they believe he or she may have done).
Paul is expressly responding to those that have ‘examined’ him and have subsequently passed a judgment on him (even though both the examination and judgment process in this case were flawed).

Paul, in his strongly worded response, was in essence making a judgment on their poor (or lack of) judgment. You see, what they were doing was not making a righteous judgment based on scripture, but were instead making judgments based solely on what their eyes could see, and based upon their own prejudices, beliefs, ideas and opinions.
He even referred to a scripture in the Old Testament (in his response), to highlight the fact that if they had only used the Word of God in the first place (in their examination of him), then they would probably have arrived at a different judgment about him.

Please note:  God has not told us NOT to examine this or that, neither has He told us NOT to make judgments about this or that (although the following scripture might appear to contradict this):

Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.

But what God is actually saying here, is that we should make no judgments (especially in relation to spiritual things) based on what we think, on our desires, on our prejudices, or on our own human values. I believe that this is clarified in the following scripture:

 John 7:24 Judge (determine, decree) not according to the appearance, but judge (determine, decree) righteous judgment.”

So, if we examine something against what the Word of God states (using the Word of God as a plumb line, or yardstick), then we can make a realistic and valued judgment based on that proper (and informed) examination, and so in the end making a righteous judgment.

The following scripture highlights the use of the Word of God in making judgments (and it’s the same Word of God that you need to use in making your judgments about a matter):

John 12:48 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth (make a determination/decree) him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge (make a determination/decree) him in the last day.”

However, if we examine something (especially in a spiritual or religious context) based on what we think, want, or desire, then we are not really making a righteous judgment (because we are trying to look at spiritual issues with our own natural desires, thoughts, wants and points of view). We can in this instance, make false assumptions, and we can end up jumping to the wrong conclusions.
This is in essence why Paul spoke up and specifically aimed his epistle at those people that were judging him (and that is why God also speaks against this type of judgment)!
However, God does not speak against or prevent you from making righteous judgments!

We see that the Bible is full of judgments, and there are numerous occasions where God asks that you make righteous judgments about certain issues.

The following examples highlight this:

Judgments will be, and need to be made – there is no getting around that!

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

How are you going to be able to “think on these things” if you don’t first of all examine these “things” and then make a judgment about what is actually true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report?

Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

How will you know that men are “spoiling” you unless you examine what you are hearing and then making a judgment about what you’ve heard? You need to judge whether or not what you’re hearing is just plain philosophy “after the tradition of men”, or whether you are actually hearing God’s truth being spoken.

I Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”

Now, how are you going to warn those that are unruly within the church, unless you examine behaviours within the organization and then making judgments about their behaviour? How are you going to “support the weak”, unless you make a judgment about who is weak and who isn’t?

So, judgments need to be and must be made and they are important and necessary, but what is most necessary is that you make righteous judgments.

Now having covered the subject of “judgments”, it’s probably useful to go back a step and look once more at the process of “examination”.

As I’ve said before, examination is part of the process of arriving at a judgment. If you get the examination part right, then making a judgment becomes a whole lot easier and it ends up being a ‘right’ judgment. If you get the examination part wrong, then making a judgment can lead to all sorts of difficulties and problems, not just for yourself, but also for the thing (person or object) you were examining.

I’d like you to view the Word of God as a tool, which you can use to test and examine things to see if they come up to scratch as far as the TRUTH is concerned.
You can take your organization’s preaching, teaching, doctrines and practices and examine them under the microscope (the ‘microscope’ of the Word of God), or you can take your organization’s preaching, teaching doctrines and practices as accepted (i.e. by blind faith), but if you accept these things by ‘blind faith’, then it may not do you any good when you eventually have to stand before the judgment seat of God, and justify yourself as to why you didn’t do as He requested (as far as examining things and making judgments are concerned)!

Now, a final word about examination:

God requests that you do it, Paul the apostle doesn’t speak against it – he in fact commended the Thessalonians for doing it – so Paul expected you to do it as well.
The problem arises when you don’t do it!
The following passage is an example of just how badly things can get out of hand and just how irrational and inane things can become (in this case it involved the ritual of idol worship, and what it had developed into in Isaiah’s time).

Isaiah 44:19 “And none considereth (turns back) in his heart, neither is there knowledge (perception, discernment) nor understanding (intelligence) to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?”

It turns out that these particular idol worshippers burned part of a tree in the fire, baked bread and roasted meat the coals, and then probably carved the rest of what was left into an idol and worshipped it (or it may simply be that they bowed down and worshipped what was left of the tree – that is, the stump).
So this was the god that they bowed down to, that they expected would ‘bless’ them, and that they hoped would perhaps grant them a long and fruitful life. None of them actually considered or thought about how silly the whole process was.
Did they consider that they were actually burning their god?
Did they realise that they were probably polluting their god with their meat and bread?
How could a bit of wood (a stump) ‘save’ them (they’d already burned the best parts of the tree)?
No, they just accepted that this was the common practice, or ritual to follow, and so they did it repetitively year after year. No-one stopped to consider and examine this practice to see if it was right or not, to see if this was acceptable to their god, or in their worship of him. And none of them probably considered that what they were doing actually proved that this bit of wood was no god at all – that their worship was in vain!

Unfortunately many people these days have fallen into a similar sort of trap.

They follow the same sort of religious practices year after year without considering or examining the practices and doctrines to see if the Bible actually supports these.
They have allowed themselves to be subjected to doctrines and rituals that they have been told are in the Bible, when if fact if they had bothered to examine these things, they would have probably become aware (quite quickly) that they were not really in the Bible at all, but were merely the figments of the imagination of men, touted and promoted as being the doctrines of God.
And who among you would examines the preaching and teaching within your organisation, especially when your religious leaders preach from a Bible?
“Surely (you say) they can’t lead us astray if they preach straight from the Bible?”

I think the scripture in Luke 21:8 illustrates just this sort of thing; “…for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ…”
That is, many will come and preach Christ, saying that He is the Son of God, and say that they are Christians, but Jesus says to you, not to go after them!
Now, how will you be able to tell who is who, or what is what?
Who is it that you should be listening to?
You are only going to be able to differentiate between the true servants of Christ and false servants if you examine their preaching (and it’s particularly important if these “men” are preaching straight from the Bible).
Preaching from a Bible can lull you into a false sense of security. In other words you are more likely to accept what you’re being told if someone preaches from an open Bible, than if they are simply spouting forth their own ideas and thoughts.
So, don’t be fooled.
Whether they are preaching from what comes out of their heads, or they are preaching straight from a Bible, in both cases it is important that you examine their preaching and make sure it is the truth! Make sure the scriptures actually back up what they say!

Finally: It’s time to stop being indoctrinated by religious leaders, and time to look more closely at what they’re saying and doing (and making you do), and start making a righteous judgment about your circumstances and your future.
Even if you ‘trust’ in and believe your organization implicitly, and make a decision NOT to examine the doctrines, teachings and practices within your organization, you are really NOT doing the will of God! Not examining your organization’s doctrines and practices will end in tears.
Remember: God expects you to:  “Prove (examine, test) all things…”
And only those that do what God desires or expects, that is they do the will of God, will enter into the kingdom:

Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Sorry to have finished on this particularly dour note, but unfortunately too many people have been duped for too long into believing that they are following and worshipping God (when in fact they have been derailed from the following God).

My hope is that by ending the article in this way that it might ‘encourage’ and prompt people within their various religious organizations to start taking more proactive approach to what’s happening around them and so take a closer look at the doctrines and practices being promoted within their group. Perhaps in so doing, they may discover that the organization they are a part of is doing and promoting things that are really not acceptable with God!

The next topic I hope to write about is what some people might call: The Communion, The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist etc…
This is where Christ’s death and resurrection is remembered through the eating and drinking of certain elements representing His blood and body.
I think people will be surprised to find what the Bible actually has to say about these things.
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:20/12/2008 11:43 AMCopy HTML

 I think you might be an imposter!!!!
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:20/12/2008 12:24 PMCopy HTML

Sorry, too damn boring and so much to read about nothing becomes irritating.
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:21/12/2008 1:16 AMCopy HTML

Escaped,

Why do you think the poster is an imposter?
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #7
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:21/12/2008 1:46 AMCopy HTML

Ralph,

I've got to ask: what's your point? Your essays strike me as being rather bland, incredible tedious to read through, and altogether uninspiring. Who is your proposed audience, and what are you trying to prove?

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:21/12/2008 6:35 AMCopy HTML

Hey Ian,

Ralph by name and Ralph by nature:lol:

brolga
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:21/12/2008 6:38 AMCopy HTML

Reply to spitchips (21/12/2008 09:16:42)
Escaped,

Why do you think the poster is an imposter?
spitchips,

Check out RV profile


Ralph_Volgstein Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #10
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:23/12/2008 2:35 AMCopy HTML

Article 2: The Lord’s Supper, Communion, Eucharist…,

Now that I’ve set most of the groundwork in the first two articles; this and the following articles should end up considerably briefer.

I thought I’d start with this particular aspect of religious practice (some would say ritual), because it’s something that’s relatively common across all so-called Christian denominations, and from what I understand it appears in many different forms. However, there is really only one form of it in the Bible, and it’s this (the benchmark if you like) that you can use and rely on to measure your organization’s practice against (to see if it comes anywhere near what is described in the Bible).

In this article, and for the sake of maintaining scriptural continuity, I’ll refer to this practice as “The Lord’s Supper.” (See: 1 Corinthians 11:20)

The following scriptures are pretty much the only ones that I’ll use for this particular article.

Matthew 10:9-10
9: Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
10: Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats (clothes), neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Mark 2:27

27: And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

John 8:31-32
31:
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue (abide, remain) in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed (truly);
32: And ye shall know (perceive, understand) the truth, and the truth shall make you free (liberate you).

Matthew 26:26-28

26: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:22-24

22: And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23: And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24: And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Luke 22:14, 17-21

14: And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
17:
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do (the same practice / perform) in remembrance of me.
20: Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
21: But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

I Corinthians 11:20, 23-26, 34

20: When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
23:
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25: After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do (the same practice / perform) ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26: For as often as ye eat this (the same) bread, and drink this (the same) cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
34: And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Commentary:

1.    Jesus and the disciples SAT (Luke 22:14) while taking part in the Lord’s Supper.
They did not repetitively stand up and sit down (a milder version of genuflecting) – as if standing at particular times during the Lord’s Supper somehow demonstrates honour and respect toward God.

2.    Only Jesus and the disciples were present during this event.
It appears that this ‘”remembrance” meeting (Luke 22:19) was just for the disciples (and in fact they would really be the only ones who would be able to or be expected to remember the things that Jesus had done - an unbeliever would have no knowledge of Jesus and would therefore not be expected to attend this sort of meeting).

3.    The dusty clothes that the disciples wore (Matthew 10:10) in their sojourns were the only clothes they sat down in during the Lord’s Supper. They didn’t get changed into their “Sunday best” in an effort to try and honour and please the Lord. He didn’t expect it, and neither did they!

4.    It appears that there was no exercise of spiritual gifts during this particular meeting. From what I’ve read in the scriptures, the operation of spiritual gifts was undertaken on a separate occasion where unsaved souls (unbelievers) were particularly invited to attend and to listen to (and glorify) the manifestation of God’s presence (during these gifts).

5.    There was to be no eating or drinking at meetings where the Lord’s Supper was held (I Corinthians 11:34).
There was a particular principle involved (which I won’t go into here), which meant that if meals were eaten during the time when Christians had “come together” to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, then those souls eating meals were in fact subjecting themselves to the condemnation of God.
Of necessity, this meant that any meetings held during that day, would be relatively short (so people could go home at a reasonable time during the day to eat their meals).
These shorter meetings enabled families and friends to spend a significant portion of the day together, rather than being confined at meetings for a greater portion of the day. We see written in the scriptures that the disciples were not made to spend all day at the meetings on a Sunday, instead the day was ‘made’ so that they could not only rest from their labours, but could also remember God on that day – the same God who made it possible for them to rest and worship Him - Mark 2:27).

6.    In every scripture where it refers to the practice of communion (the Lord’s Supper), the bread is blessed (or thanks given) BEFORE the bread is actually broken and distributed to the disciples.
Also, the cup (which contains the grape juice) is blessed (thanks given) BEFORE the cup is distributed to the disciples. It makes perfect sense that Jesus would do it this way, as His life on earth was pleasing to God (and so God blessed Him).

So when it came to His death, we (in the remembrance of this event through the Lord’s Supper) are partakers (spiritually) of the same death.
Simply put, His body and His blood were blessed when He was whole and complete.
His body was then broken and His blood was shed.
So, in the application of the Lord’s Supper, this blessing (upon the bread and the cup – i.e. the blessing upon Christ) is remembered when the elements that have been blessed are passed on to the disciples – and so they are partakers of that blessed body and blood.

It seems that for sake of expediency, some religious organisations have felt the need to distribute the shed blood (the grape juice) and the broken body (the bread), BEFORE asking for God’s blessing on these elements. When they do this, then they cannot possibly ascribe a spiritual connection to these elements and to the process. There is no spiritual connection when they do it this way, because they are not following the process as described in the Bible.
So what they are doing in effect is merely distributing just natural grape juice and just natural bread – there is no spiritual ‘type’ – these elements do not represent anything!
However, if you follow the process the Bible way, then you are in effect distributing the blessed bread and blessed grape juice (representing the distribution of the blessed body and blood of Jesus).
It is an entirely different process and it is the right process to follow.

Some other points to note:

a.    If Jesus had wanted a different process for us to follow (that is to remember Him by), He would have made sure that this ‘other’ process would have been recorded for us in the scriptures.

b.    There is no anomaly in the scriptures as far as this process is concerned. They all follow exactly the same format. In each case, the bread is blessed, then broken. The cup is blessed, and then distributed.

c.    Christ also passed exactly the same process on to Paul who recorded it for posterity in I Corinthians 11:24-25.

d.    Now, if your organization makes some sort of ritual out of the Lord’s Supper (Communion), then why not do it Christ’s way? Why invent your own process? It makes no sense, unless you feel that your thoughts on the matter are more important than what is written in the Bible and that your desires are more important than what Christ wants.

e.    The process as described in Luke 22 appears to be a little bit more descriptive than some of the other references, and it is most probably the method I would have expected His church to follow.
In a nutshell; the cup was blessed beforehand and then passed around to the disciples seated around the table.
They then poured off (or distributed) a bit of that grape juice from His cup into their cups.
Jesus after this blessed the bread, broke that into fragments and then passed around the fragments to the disciples. Then they took and ate the bread, and followed this by drinking out of their cups (the cup that had been previously filled by them with the blessed grape juice).
Not really a difficult process to follow!

f.      Lastly, the passage in Luke 22:19 is interesting.
If you examine the phrase “this do in remembrance of me”, you’ll note that the phrase “this do” in the original Greek language implies the following: “the same perform / practice”. That is, what He did during the supper is exactly what ought to be followed by the church throughout all ages.
Even in I Corinthians 11:26, it implies that you should follow the same practice as prescribed in the scriptures; otherwise you are not really partakers of the same elements that the disciples accepted as being right when they first celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Ultimately, you can make whatever choice you like and practice anything you want (just like anything else in the Bible) in celebrating; The Communion, The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist, but just be aware that unless you do it as prescribed in the Bible (and what Jesus passed on to Paul), then you are really not  doing it according to God’s will (or His Word) and in the end you absent yourself from being one of Jesus’ disciples (as depicted in John 8:31-32 “…if you continue (abide) in my word…”).
If you do something else other than what is written in God’s Word, then it is impossible for you to ABIDE in God’s Word!


I’m not sure at what I’ll look at next, but at some stage I hope to have a closer look at the ministry within the church and specifically how these men get ‘elected’, and I’d also like to have a particular look at false prophecies (these are probably the surest indicator that an organization is not right with God, and is not the 'church' that you thought it was).

Ralph Volgstein
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:23/12/2008 3:00 AMCopy HTML

'Ralph',

Give it a rest, please! I know that you probably mean well, but for goodness' sakes, you haven't a clue about any of this stuff!

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Writing some articles for those still on the inside....

Date Posted:23/12/2008 4:39 AMCopy HTML

Ralph V has not been invited by myself (the owner and moderator of this forum) to publish his work here. In fact, I've a suspicion that he's a past nuisance poster who has already been asked numerous times not to contribute further here as his views are not wanted or welcome. They're a distraction and will be moved shortly to the archives.

RV, are you able to shed some light on your identity, without the use of anagrams?
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