#2 different churches of different denominations
found what i think is a raven feather on my walk tonight :D also got some really nice photos of the graveyard which i will share soon :-)
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WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED
FAITH- JOHN 3:16REPENTANCE-ACTS 3:19
WATER BAPTISM-1 PETER 3:21-ACTS 2:38
THEN REMAIN FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH Revelation 2:10. Matthew 10:22
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▼ March (56)THE MAN OF SINPART III: THE REALITYby David Vaughn...
THE MAN OF SINPART II: THE HISTORYby David Vaughn ...
THE MAN OF SINPART I: THE PROPHECYby David Vaughn ...
UNREASONABLE POSITIONS by steve finnell Do some me...
INTOXICATING BEVERAGES? BY STEVE FINNELL Does Go...
ERRONEOUS BELIEF IS NOT A VALIDATION OF TRUTH STEV...
WISE MEN SEEK THE PREDICTED KINGby David Vaughn El...
HYPOCRISY AND CALVINISM by steve finnell John Calv...
Are You A Christian? GEORGE L. FAULL Jane and Bil...
PROPHECY: LITERAL OR FIGURATIVE?by David Vaughn El...
GRACE ACCESSED BY FAITH by steve finnell Faith to ...
7 Reasons to Believe in Godby Eric Lyons, M.Min. K...
GOD BELIEVES THAT AND IS A CONJUNCTION BY STEVE ...
SAVED BY GRACE ALONE. ARE YOU SURE? by steve finne...
WHY DID JESUS COMMAND WATER BAPTISM? by steve finn...
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS? by steve finnell What...
Transubstantiation GEORGE L. FAULL The Catholic C...
COULD PRIDE BE THE PROBLEM? by steve finnell Could...
Does God Speak to Us Today?by David Vaughn Elliott...
DOES MAN'S SINCERITY INVALIDATE GOD'S WORD? BY S...
ALLOWED TO PREACH? by steve finnell Would Jesus a...
WHO CONTROLS CLIMATE, GOD OR MAN? by steve finnell...
The Preacher And Charlie GEORGE L. FAULL The preac...
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND by steve finnellLuke 6...
SALVATION WITHOUT FORGIVENESS BY STEVE FINNELL I...
HE THAT BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED by steve finnell ...
LEARNED IGNORANCE? by steve finnell Perhaps the bi...
WAS NOAH SAVED BY FAITH ALONE? by steve finnell Th...
PREACHING AND TEACHING? by steve finnell If churc...
The Jehovah Witnesses And The Christian GEORGE L. ...
DENOMINATIONAL VIEW OF THE BIBLE by steve finnell...
JUST BELIEVE AND YOU WILL BE SAVED, REALLY? by st...
BENEFITS OF JESUS steve finnell What are the benef...
A DIFFERENT LOOK AT THE INQUISITION --GEORGE L. FA...
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS by steve finnell When i...
NEW COVENANT SALVATION by steve finnellAll men are...
Gospel Preached Everywhere Before the Endby David ...
DID YOU LEARN THAT FROM SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES? ...
Mother Teresa GEORGE L. FAULL Mother Teresa, the l...
THE TRUTH VERSUS DOCTRINAL POSITIONS by steve finn...
Who Can Take the Lord's Supper?by David Vaughn Ell...
SOCIAL DRINKING? BY STEVE FINNELL Is social drin...
PAUL'S MISSIONARY TRIPS? by steve finnell When the...
DID JESUS PRAY TO THE VIRGIN MARY? steve finnell ...
Land Promised to Israel Foreverby David Vaughn Ell...
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HOW DO YOU INTERPRET SCRIPTURE? by steve finnellW...
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Should You Buy Masquerade Masks On A Stick Or Without?
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Recently, in Tennessee, we seen unfortunate story connected with a charismatic pastor type, shot dead by "the pastors wife" as she will probably be known through the membership. I do not know what went wrong, but I'd personally bet it's got to do with wearing masks and along with or not living well with the other side. It will have to do with what was expected when compared to the thing that was real. I do know that churches and also the scripture place a totally unrealistic burden on and also women who feel called to perform a pastor and type of what a "Bible family," or marriage, or behaviors should be like.
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💕 get to know your mutuals!! when you get this, it means someone wants to know more about you, so list 5 things about yourself you want your followers to know. they can be as simple as your age or as complex as your deepest fear, as long as it’s something you’re comfortable with sharing. when you’re done, send this to 10 people you want to get to know better!! ❤️🥺🌤
1. I have moved four times, each to a different state.
2. I have a cat
3. I like to draw both traditional and digital art
4. My church denomination is Nazarene
5. My greatest fear is having my voice taken away, because one of the greatest weapons that I believe I have is my voice.
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Critical Race Theory, Apocalyptic Science and the Church
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”
1 Thessalonians 5:5 “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
Last June, my daily newspaper carried an article by Bruce Pardy, a law professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with the interesting title of “Apocalyptic Science”. As a retired scientist myself and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the title intrigued me because it placed together two concepts that in the minds of many, are opposites—science and the bible. What Professor Pardy meant by “apocalyptic science” is something we are hearing much about these days called “Critical Race Theory” now being widely adopted by governments, institutions, large corporations and media in traditional western societies. It is an attempt to redress what the theory’s adherents describe as the systemic racism that is inherent in all white people who were raised in traditional western societies. The theory is now being taught in universities, law-schools and even high schools as true and so our inherently racist thinking and behaviour must be eradicated through an admission of guilt and a willingness to redress both past and present wrongs! Critical Theory seeks to destroy much of what Judeo-Christian societies are based on and replace it with what is best described as a new form of communism. While you may simply want to dismiss all this as an ill-informed and in itself, a blatantly racist theory, we need to examine where it is taking our society and how far it has penetrated into the everyday thinking of those in control of our governments and institutions. It is in that sense the term “apocalyptic science” makes sense because Critical Theory destroys how we have understood “truth” over the last two millenia and it will ultimately end our freedom to worship and serve the Lord because the bible opposes its teachings and so will be judged as hate literature to be eliminated from public discourse. In the middle of this COVID pandemic, we are constantly being urged to “follow the science” but as we examine the tenets of Critical Theory, we need to ask ourselves whose “science” are we following?” What is this theory, what does it mean and how should we as a believers in Jesus Christ guard ourselves against its impact on our rights and freedoms? Let’s deal with these in turn.
Critical Race Theory
Firstly, Critical Race Theory has its roots in the economic theories of Karl Marx whose theories gave rise to the communist revolutions of the twentieth century and caused the deaths of millions of people. From these Marxist roots it expanded in the 1930's as the broader “Critical Theory” to include the areas of science and sociology under the writings of the German philosopher, Max Horheimer. From there, it continued to spread its cancerous influence into much broader areas of society and has now infiltrated our institutions, governments, universities and large corporations. It has changed laws, educational curricula and ultimately has called into question our understanding of what is “truth”. These changes have received broad acceptance and have led to the new fad of “woke” ideology, a term applied to those who are “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice” but also a term used to denigrate all others who aren’t! Woke-ism is spreading throughout western society, especially among the young and those who view western culture as corrupt and in need of radical change. These have also adopted Critical Race Theory to explain society’s perceived ills as seen only through the lens of racial discrimination so that whatever tragedies unfold, whatever actions are taken by the authorities to mitigate these, these are explained in terms of our inherent racial bias. As a result, it becomes socially acceptable for groups like Black Lives Matter to riot and burn down buildings and to call for the de-funding of the police under the guise of seeking justice. Any opposition to this viewpoint is dismissed simply as evidence of the opponent’s racism. Today’s tragedy of the Colorado mass murder was first described in most of the US media as having been committed by a man “who is white” followed by the grossly erroneous assertion that most mass murders are committed by men who are white. Unfortunately for the media, the culprit is now known to be a Syrian moslem. Critical Theory allows its adherents to believe that “truth” is a purely subjective concept open to interpretation according to one’s own subjective experience—if you believe it is true, then it’s true for you. Because of this, the adoption of Critical Theory by those in control presents a much greater danger to the Church than any new wave of COVID-19 or the impending collapse of the world economy because it’s ultimate aim—of which the Church appears to be largely unaware—is to radically change how communal “Truth” is perceived and defined, both in the scientific and biblical understanding of what is true. In that regard, it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel which defines “Truth” in the Person of Jesus Christ who said (John 14:6) “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Critical theory is radical in the extreme and would be widely laughed off by any normal thinking person but we no longer live in a society governed by normal thinking people and the centres of power in most of the above-mentioned institutions are already infected with its poison. We can no longer laugh it off! Even the 150-year-old Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK, of which I am a lifetime member, now carries comments admitting the racism inherent in white chemists and today, the Church of England announced it may institute a quota for black and minority clergy within its ranks and give anti-racism training to its white clergy following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s apology for the denomination’s “racist past”. Last year, in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, the archbishop ordered the removal of all statues and memorials in churches and cathedrals linked to the slave trade. Last year saw the destruction of multiple statues and name changes of multiple institutions, all as a mea culpa act of contrition for being white! If you are bewildered by this and the insanity of things like the “De-fund the Police” movement or the Woke movement, you are merely seeing the unfolding impact of Critical Theory, especially in its sub-discipline of Critical Race Theory.
We all grew up understanding that to be accepted as “true”, any theory must be provable by experiment; that is, whatever any theory says is true must be provable by performing experiments that produce the results predicted by the theory (“Theory Guides—Experiment Decides”). Until that happens, the theory is merely a hypothesis. Under Critical Theory, this is no longer the case. Critical Theory holds that truth is a subjective concept that is always tainted by the prejudices and biases of the person holding that truth so as a result, the theory cannot be “proven” in the scientific sense. This reasoning is applied in Critical Mathematical Theory where 2 + 2 does not necessarily equal 4 because someone else’s “truth” may see that it equals 5 and the difference between the two is merely the difference in each person’s inherent biases. If your reaction to this reasoning is, “What utter nonsense!” then, according to the theory, you are merely exhibiting your own inherent biases and you need to repent. Such is the case with Critical Race Theory which holds that racism is systemic among white people whose inherent colour prejudice is so entrenched within them it prevents them from recognizing it and so groups like Black Lives Matter, socialist politicians and much of present day media insist you correct your bad attitude. Denying that you are a racist is simply taken as proof of your blindness to it and therefore proof of your guilt. Also, under this theory, justice demands retribution for past wrongs, no matter how long ago these wrongs were committed. Past sins cannot be forgiven. Thus, Critical Race Theory has led to the “cancel culture movement” we are witnessing daily on our TV screens where past actions or comments, even in our teenage years, can result in loss of job, status and reputation, with no opportunity to defend yourself.
How Should the Christian Respond?
Having to answer to the absurdity of Critical Race Theory is like having to argue the sky is blue but answer it we must if we are to reach the multitudes who believe it. Answering it is best done not by attacking it but to some degree agreeing with it! Yes, agreeing with it—in one respect: “truth” is indeed in many cases, subjective. Scientific truth interprets the physical world around us and gives us the natural laws we were born into—fire burns and water quenches but for the believer in Jesus Christ scientific truth comes crashing down when it meets the spiritual truth of the Kingdom of God. In Daniel 3:24 - 25 fire didn’t burn: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” and in 1 Kings 18: 33 - 34, 38 water didn’t quench because when Elijah tested the prophets of Baal he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water...Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” We can avoid Critical Theory’s accusations of our blindness to our racism by stating that our “truth” is not based on our own subjective prejudices but on the One who is the ultimate TRUTH, the sum of all truth who has received us, changed us into his image and enlightened us to all that is right and wrong in this world. Jesus declared in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Paul declares in Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” and in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” and lastly, Peter declares in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Whilst others may be blinded to their prejudices we are not because there is One whose Spirit lives within us and reveals all things to us (1 Corinthians 2:10). As believers in Jesus, we bring light into other people’s darkness and relief to the confused minds of those ensnared in the pseudo-truth of Critical Race Theory. Our response to all of this craziness in a world going mad is the same as it always has been: the Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ but for it to be effective it must be spoken boldly, lovingly and unapologetically in answer to our accusers.
What's Going On In The World?
GEORGE L. FAULL
Antony Flew, world’s most respected atheist has changed his mind. He is now an admitted deist (one who believes God created the world and went off and left it to run on its own with no revelation of His will to His creatures.). The thing that convinced him was the design of DNA. He reminded journalists that even Darwin required a creator to start it all. He also says that the resurrection of Jesus has more evidential support than any other miracle. His stumblingblock is the problem of evil in the world. He regards Islam with horror and fear due to their desire to conquer the world.
Robert Schuller, of the Glass Cathedral.
Two of Schuller’s students are Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. Schuller says we do wrong in making people aware that they are sinners. He stresses mans value instead of mans unworthiness. The boys have learned well. Hybel, Warren, and Schuller have had more input in our Churches in the last 10 years than Paul or Peter. Incidentally, Schuller said it would not disturb him to come back in 200 years and find his descendants Muslims. That will never happen simply because he isn’t coming back.
Fuller Theological Seminary President speaks to Mormons.
In speaking to them in Salt Lake, Richard Moun apologized that evangelicals “have often misrepresented the faith and beliefs of the Latter Day Saints. We evangelicals have sinned against you.” Better think twice before you send your Preacher to a Fuller Church growth meeting. Our preachers are attending in droves to Rick Warren, Jack Hayford and other such gurus who espouse the Fuller attitude. They invite in every hue of sectarianism to these Church growth meetings including Mormons.
TBN’s Paul CrouchThe charismatic Paul Crouch of TBN attempted to conceal the fact that he was gay by paying $425,000.00 to Laverne Ford who eventually exposed him. Crouch also said, “I have come to the conviction that Martin Luther made a mistake, he should have never left the Catholic Church. I am eradicating the word Protestant from my vocabulary. I am not protesting anything. It’s time for Catholics and Non-Catholics to come together as one in the spirit and one in the Lord.” TBN is an apostate network that some of our men appear on for interviews.
Max Lucado, the new darling of the North American Christian Convention, used to be a Church of Christ preacher. In October, he changed the name of Oak Hills Church of Christ. He dropped the “Church of Christ” name in an effort to reach people hesitant to attend a Church of Christ. His Church jumped from 3,300 to 4,500 in 6 months. At a Charismatic Promise Keepers rally he said, “It does not matter about your denomination, it’s all about God.” Oak Hills has a booklet called, “
The Purpose of a Teaching Position
”. It says,
“A teaching position serves to articulate the convictions of the Oak Hills leadership on a particular doctrine or practice. This paper on the topic of baptism is useful for:
Those who have never been baptized.
If you want to become a member of Oak Hills and have not been baptized, we ask you to do so.
Those who have been baptized
, but not by immersion. We have many potential members who were baptized by sprinkling, usually as infants. This paper will help you see why we baptize by immersion. It also explains why we don’t baptize infants. We urge you to read the paper and consider adult baptism. If you choose not to be immersed at this time, we still welcome you as a member. We ask only that you respect this position and not be divisive. Members serving in instructional capacities (such as Bible class teachers, small group leaders, and ministry leaders, elders and staff ministers) need to be in agreement and compliance with the teaching position.
Those who have been baptized by immersion.
It is our prayer that this study will give you new insights into the beauty, simplicity, and significance of this demonstration of devotion.
Open membership was the hottest debated issue in the Restoration Movement in the last century. Today, the Brethren heading up our Colleges and conventions and camps have no conscience at all of bringing in apostates like Max Lucado, David Reagan and others of that persuasion.
They even bring in Tony Compolo, who even many denominational Churches will not use because of his stating that homosexuals were born that way. He has socialist agendas. He was brought to a heresy trial in 1985 for saying that Christ is in every human being. His wife promotes homosexual marriages. He often uses vulgarisms in the pulpit to shock and shame his listeners. His defense, “what’s worse, is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said [vulgarism] than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night!” This was repeated at one of our schools.
John Hagee of TV fame believes that the spiritual gifts still continues today is getting a larger following. He has raised thousands of dollars to move Jews to the Holy Land, uprooting Palestinian Christians in the process. He believes Christians should have no duty to evangelize Jews since eventually. “All Israel will be saved.” He is a Christian Zionist. He pals around with Benny Hinn and other Charismatic charlatans. He is best known for his pushing of the Jewish agenda, thinking they have a spiritual relationship with God that will bring about their redemption without Christ but by living only in the light of the Torah. He says,
“I’m not out to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith.” He adds, “In fact, trying to convert Jews is a waste of time. The Jewish person who has his roots in Judaism is not going to convert to Christianity. There is no form of Christian evangelism that has failed so miserably as evangelizing the Jewish people. They (already) have a faith structure. Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced by Christianity”.
Hagee is renown for taking on anti-Semetics but he is in reality, the true anti-Semetic for he will not evangelize the Jew and give them what they need for eternal salvation.
Rich Warren, of “The Purpose Driven Church”, and “The Purpose Driven Life” fame has changed the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ more than any fad for the past century due to gullibility of our preachers. He has been fellowshipping with John Templeton of the John Templeton Foundation. Templeton awards a million dollars to different persons who further the cause of harmonizing world religions. These have been awarded Agnostics, Pantheists, Hindu’s, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews as well as Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, and Mother Teresa.
Is Rick after such?
Who knows? Having sold millions of books, he certainly does not need the money. He is now one of the judges for a written essay contest that Templeton is holding. He will serve as judge in the contest with renowned left-wing radicals.
TV Attention Deficit DisorderPortland (Oregon) Life found that for every hour per day preschoolers watch TV, then chance of developing attention deficit disorders later in life has boosted 10%. This is an alarming fact. You need more than control. Abstinence may be easier than temperance.
Billy GrahamRobert Schuller asked Billy Graham this question, “Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?”
Graham’s reply was:
“Well, Christianity and being a true believer you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world. Outside the Christian groups, I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole word to Christ at any time. I think James answered that. The Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God’s purposes for this age is to call out a people for His name whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and I think they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they are going to be in heaven with us” (Billy Graham, televised interview with Robert Schuller, May 13, 1997).
In response to Graham’s totally unscriptural statement, Schuller explained, “What, what I hear you saying is that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life even if they’ve been born in darkness and never had an exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying?”Graham answered, “Yes, it is because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.” This was 1997. But even as far back as 1961 Graham said of infant baptism,
“ I have some difficulty in accepting the indiscriminate baptism of infants without a careful regard as to whether the parents have any intention of fulfilling the promise they make. But I do believe that something happens at the baptism of an infant, particularly if the parents are Christians and teach their children Christian truths from childhood. We cannot fully understand the miracles of God, but I believe that a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, made Christians, through infant baptism. If you want to call that baptismal regeneration, that’s all right with me.”
(Lutheran Standard October 10
Graham has for years turned over the names of those who came forward at his rallies to the Churches from which they came. In 1957 Graham said, “Anyone who makes a decision at our meetings is seen later and referred to local clergymen, Protestant, Catholic or Jewish.” (San Francisco news)
Yet many of our top leaders in our own Churches appear with Graham and support his crusades...SHAME!
You need to know that Alfred Kinsey, the hero of the movie, was a pervert, pedophile, wife swapper, bi-sexual and the one who deceived America with his false
. He is the one who made up the lie that 10% of Americans are homosexual. He used for his own survey prison inmates and prostitutes. He made his staff perform lewd sex acts on film. He employed no trained statistician. He himself should have been imprisoned as a pedophile. The American Legislative Exchange Council (2400 State Legislators) recently concluded the
was “illegal and criminal acts masquerading as science.” See proof of all this in a book by Judith Rusmar and another by Susan Brinkmann or contact the eagleforum.org website.
The above news information has been gleaned from
The Calvary Contender
The Sword of the Lord
The Eagle Forum
The Way of Life
magazines. These groups do a great service in marking those who teach contrary to what the Christian has learned from the Holy Apostles.
DENOMINATIONAL ECUMENISM? BY STEVE FINNELL
The contemporary movement formed to encourage cooperation between those denominations that believe Jesus is the Christ is the "Ecumenical Assembly"? Regardless of doctrinal differences those with the ecumenical mindset join together to feed and clothe the poor, gather together for preaching God's word, study God's word, and various other joint religious activities. Is that consistent with God's plan? Is believing that Jesus is the Christ the only essential doctrine of Christianity? I do not believe so.
Can you imagine the apostle Paul being involved in an "Ecumenical Assembly" with the Church of Judaizers, the Church of The Resurrection Is Past, or the Church of Knowing Only the Baptism of John?
1. The Church of Judaizers: Acts 15:1-5 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved.".........5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believe rose, saying, "It was necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."(NKJV)
The Judaizers believed that Jesus was the Christ. The apostle Paul did not join in joint efforts with them to feed and clothe the poor. Paul did not join in preaching the gospel, church revivals nor Bible studies with them. What Paul did, do, was condemn their doctrine, and point out their eternal abode. Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.(NKJV)
Simply believing that Jesus is the Christ does not qualify anyone as a coworker in Christ.
2. Church of The Resurrection is Past: 2 Timothy 2:17-18 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.(NKJV)
The apostle Paul did not encourage the followers of Jesus to join in ecumenical endeavors with the Church of of the Resurrection is Past, he said the opposite. 2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings...(NLKV)
Note: Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed from the truth. They did believe that Jesus was the Christ.
3. Church of Knowing Only the Baptism of John: Acts 18:24-26 Apollos.....25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla head him , they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.(NKJV)
Apollos was not permitted to continue preaching false doctrine, he was taught the truth. Simply believing that Jesus is the Christ is not good enough.
The apostle Paul came upon some of the men Apollos had taught incorrectly. And taught them the truth. They were baptized into Christ. John's baptism was no longer valid. (Acts 19:1-5)
The apostle Paul did not engage with ecumenical activities with the Church of Knowing Only the Baptism of John until they were taught and believed the true gospel plan of salvation.
Why do believers in Christ join "Ecumenical Assemblies" with denominations that hold various and sundry doctrines?
Ecumenical Assemblies include those who pray to the Virgin Mary, those who deny that immersion in water is essential to salvation, those who believe once saved always saved, those who believe only a select few have been individually selected for salvation, those who believe there are many ways to heaven other than Jesus.
Should the Lord's Church participate in feeding and clothing the poor, joint Bible studies, and other religious activities with those who teach doctrine contrary to the apostles doctrine?
The apostle Paul was not an advocate for "Ecumenical Assemblies". Romans 16:16-17.....The churches of Christ greet you. 17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them.(NKJV)
Simply believing that Jesus is the Christ is not enough, Satan and his demons believe that.
Why Preachers Leave The Restoration Movement?
GEORGE L. FAULL
Dear Brother Faull,
I am seeing a rash of preachers who used to be a part of the Restoration Movement who have left preaching for the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, who either have started preaching in denominational Churches, or are working for Para-Church organizations that are interdenominational, or quit the ministry all together and put their membership in Baptist or Community Churches which historically teach the absolute opposite of what the churches where they used to preach.
My mind staggers at this and has caused me such anguish of heart that I feel like I need to find a Juniper tree like Elijah but I know that the Lord would rebuke me and ask me what I was doing there. He would remind me there are 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Billy.
How does a man who stood for years in the pulpit preaching the Old Jerusalem doctrine, end up with those who oppose it in so many ways?
They get hurt at one of our churches and blame all Restoration churches for their pain.
They got fired and were treated bad for preaching truth and have compromised due to family obligations.
They met a friendly unique denominational preacher they liked and followed him.
They felt excitement at the music when they attended some function and stayed (bound by the sound).
Their kids got involved in a growing and going youth group.
They attended Promise Keepers and Max Lucado got them to repent of saying anything bad about another’s Church.
They read Calvinistic books and never read any of the books of the great Restorationists who refuted their false teaching.
They became Pharisees themselves when they saw hypocritical Pharisees among us.
Their colleges never taught them the difference and Restoration history was scoffed at by their professors.
They attended inter-faith preachers’ meetings and found a bunch of nice guys who couldn’t possibly be lost because they were “so spiritual”.
They totally lack discernment.
They followed fads.
Church growth became their idol instead of converting people.
Lack of commitment to objective truth.
Led by wives to compromise.
Their associate ministers and youth ministers, who had little or no Biblical knowledge, sucked their whole Church into the denominational vacuum.
Upon leaving their Church, they did not want to leave their community and sell their house so they sought out another Church in the area.
They married denominational women.
They went to denominational colleges that call us a cult.
20. They could not handle being called “legalistic”, “self-righteous”, “fault-finder”, “radical”, “separatists”, unchristian”, “unlike Jesus”, “sectarian”, “judgmental”, Pharisaical”, “bigot”, “troublemaker”, “intolerant”, “old-fashioned”, “narrow-minded”, “unloving”.
THINGS THAT ARE NOT NORMALLY PREACHED IN CONTEMPORARY CHURCHES BY STEVE FINNELL
What doctrines are usually avoided when preaching in today's churches?
1. The sin of abortion.
2. The sin of drunkenness.
3. The sin of premarital sex.
4. The sin of homosexuality.
5. The sin of adultery.
6. The sin of perverting the gospel of Christ.
7. Preaching that false doctrines taught in many denominational churches and cults.
8. Preaching about the sin of Christians who have membership in the church of Freemasonry.
9. Preaching against the false doctrine that infants are born guilty of Adam's sin. In other words the false doctrine of original sin.
10. Pointing out the false doctrine that unbelievers are subjects for water baptism. That being unbelieving infants.
11. Baptizing for the dead, by proxy.
12. The erroneous doctrine that sprinkling and pouring are simply additional modes of being immersed. All being water baptism.
13. Preaching against the false doctrine of salvation by faith only; therefore excluding immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins.
14. Preaching that men saved by grace alone is not found in the Bible.
15. Teaching that Christians need to repent in order to enter the kingdom God. That living an unrepentant lifestyle can prevent a Christian from inheriting eternal life.
16. Teaching that praying to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints is worship and that worshipping anyone but God is sin.
17. That the supernatural gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge ceased to exists at the completion of the Bible. God's complete revelation to mankind.
These 17 subjects are not normally preached in today's churches.
What normally is preached in the contemporary church?
Jesus loves everyone, do not worry, because Christians are sinners saved by grace.
All denominations and cults are going to heaven. They just taking different paths.
Just believe in Jesus and you are saved and can never be lost. Do worry about sin in your life. The warnings about falling from grace have been misinterpreted.
Just claim to be a Christian and you are on your way to heaven.
NOTE: 75% of people in the USA claim to be Christians.
We Would See Jesus
Bedford Presbyterian Church
3 / 21 / 21 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
“We Would See Jesus”
(A New and Right Spirit – Again and Again)
There is this song that used to be popular among church youth groups and college Christian fellowships. I admit that I used to sing it a lot, back in the day. I won’t sing the song right now, but the chorus goes like this:
I want to know You,
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more.
I want to touch You,
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more.
The song is catchy, and it carries a lot of meaning for some folks. But, I admit that my friends and I used to make fun of songs like this and refer to them as “Jesus is My Boyfriend” music because they are like these catchy pop love songs to Jesus, and this song doesn’t even mention Jesus or God by name. If you took the words out of context, it could literally be about somebody’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
Now, I know that I shouldn’t give the song so much grief because I know that the song is really about God and that the songwriter was just trying to express something that many people feel, whether we recognize it or not: a deep longing for God. Basically, whoever sings the song is saying that they want to be close to God. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
We see this at play in both of today’s scripture readings. In the reading from the Gospel of John. Jesus has just entered the city of Jerusalem and some of his disciples come to tell him, “There are some people who want to see you.” Now, Jesus is no stranger to people wanting to see him. He has been followed by crowds of people throughout his ministry – people who want to see him, and touch him, and hear his voice. But, in today’s reading, the people who want to see Jesus are from far away in Greece.
Jesus is not just a household name in Judea or Galilee anymore. Folks are talking about him in foreign countries. Word is spreading that God is up to something and there is something to this guy, Jesus. This is good news for Jesus, because when he hears about these foreigners who have come to worship at the Jewish festival of the Passover and who want to see him, he says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (John 12:23) In the original language, Jesus is saying that the time has come for the Son of Man to be “clothed in splendor.” This is an expression used by the early Christian martyrs. People who were preparing to die believed they were bound for glory. To our ears, I imagine that this might seem like a hard and strange thing for Jesus and these martyrs to say.
But, if you read the Gospel of John, you’ll see that a lot of hard and strange things are converging right here, at the same time. Jesus has just raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, the Pharisees and priests of the Temple are plotting to have Jesus killed, and Jesus has just ridden into the city on a donkey with people waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna to the King! (12:13) To top it all off, Jesus has his own agenda. . . God’s own agenda – one that will involve Jesus’ death and resurrection. So, as we look at today’s passage, we see Jesus filled with all of the emotions that all-of-the-above are eliciting in him. In one moment, he is talking about his own death and calling his disciples to follow. In the next moment, Jesus is telling them that his own “soul is troubled” (12:27) by it all. And, in the next moment, Jesus is talking about judgment, and driving out “the ruler of this world,” (12:31) and being lifted up from the earth, and drawing all people to himself. This is heavy stuff. . .
Here are all of these people who want to see Jesus – not just the Greeks, but his own disciples, and the crowds of people who have gathered around him – not social distancing, in the least – crushing shoulder to shoulder in the narrow city streets. They just want to be close to him, to see him, and hear his voice. And what does Jesus do? He talks about his own death – and ours, if we are willing to follow. “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” (12:25) Jesus says. As I said. . . this is heavy stuff. . .
Speaking of heavy stuff, I want to be clear about something: when Jesus talks about “those who hate their life in this world,” I know that this language might seem troubling. At this very moment in the life of the world, there are far too many people who are struggling, mentally and emotionally with the pandemic, and finances, and family, and plenty of other things. There are even those who are contemplating suicide. So, I want to be clear, and say that this is not what Jesus is talking about when he talks about hating life. And if you are contemplating harming yourself because there are things about your life that you hate, there are people like me – and so many others – who will stop and listen and help.
Life is “one of the highest of God’s blessings.” And Jesus came so that we may have “life, and have it abundantly.” (10:10) In other words, there is a way of life that Jesus offers us, again and again, that is different from the life that we see, and know, and are, perhaps, hating right now. The life that Jesus offers is a new life lived in and with God. . . a life that is lived apart from the violence and death and idolatry and pain and stresses of the world as we know it. We don’t have to physically die to live this new kind of life, but there are some parts of us that are better left behind.
This is the new kind of life that we heard about in today’s reading from Psalm 51, which is a prayer for a new life. Just so you know, these ancient words have a backstory. You see, King David commits adultery with a woman named Bathsheeba and has Bathsheeba’s husband, Uriah, killed on the battlefield – left there to die on David’s orders. David has done some bad, bad, bad things, and then he gets busted for what he has done, and he realizes the full and horrible extent of his actions, and just how far away he is from what God intends for him. David is ashamed, and he prays that God will take away his shame.
Shame can be a powerful thing with horrific consequences, both if we do not acknowledge our own shame – ignoring the hurt that our sin causes – as well as if we give shame so much weight that it crushes our spirits and brings out the worst in us. We saw shame play a major role in the horrific shootings in Atlanta this past week. A young man, ashamed of his sexual desire and not knowing what to do about it because of the inadequate and incomplete explanations offered by his faith tradition killed eight people. The church – even our own denomination – has a lot of work to do on thoughtfully building a sexual ethic that moves beyond the shame-soaked “purity culture” in which the young murderer in Atlanta was steeped. Mix all of this young man’s shame with the complications of race and racism – the sin of seeing other people as less-than – and the idolatrous glorification of violence and firearms and it all proved to be all-too-deadly.
The shame, and sin, and violence of “this world” is not what God intends for us. Far from it! Just as the world is filled with all the wrong things, though, the world is also crying out for something different – a different way of life, a different way of being and doing, a different future, if we’re willing to work for it. . . even a different present, if we’re willing to not stand for the world as it is – a world where innocent people die needlessly in Atlanta and in so many other times and places – laid low by shame and sin and pointless violence. Uriah lies dead on the battlefield, betrayed by David. Jesus dies on a cross, put to death by those he came to save. This is what happens in “this world,” as Jesus calls it.
Look, it is more than okay to not like the world as it is – to want a new and different life. This is why Jesus offers us an alternative – an alternative for which King David prays in Psalm 51. You see, this Psalm in which David’s shame is laid bare is a prayer of confession, but it is also a prayer of deep and holy hope in God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy, that David can somehow draw close to God again – that we, too, can draw close to God. We see in this Psalm how David wants to be cleansed of a way of life that was self-centered and sinful and be given a new way of life – with a clean heart and new and right spirit, lived in God’s presence, filled with joy.
It is this way of life that David is seeking and, in truth, what all of us are seeking, deep down. Even the Greeks who come to Jerusalem and want to see Jesus are seeking the same thing. But what the Greeks might not realize at the time, and what we so often forget is that just as human beings have a deep longing for God – whether they recognize that longing or not – the real gift that God offers us is the good news that no matter how deep our longing or what sin may be holding us back from fully drawing close to God, in Jesus Christ, God has already drawn close to us. If we want to know, and see, and hear, and touch God, in Jesus Christ, God has already known and seen and heard and touched us.
Friends, if we would see Jesus, we would see him in the middle of the most difficult and dark and desolate places in our lives and in the life of the world, because this is “the world” where we live – the world into which Jesus came and continues to be, for us. “I know how hard life can be,” Jesus tells us, “because I, too, have lived it. I have seen and heard the suffering of all of God’s children,” Jesus tells us, “I know it because I have lived it. I have touched the hurting and the hungry, those whose spirits cry out for peace and whose shame cries out for loving forgiveness,” Jesus tells us. “And in my touch, there is healing, and wholeness, and new and abundant life. I have thrown down the ruler of this world. . . there is nothing separating you from me. . . you don’t have to be ashamed anymore. . . there is no limit to my love and the life I offer. . . I am drawing all things – even you – into my loving embrace, arms spread wide on the cross.”
Friends, this is God’s greatest gift to us – not just the gift of the life that we have been given each and every day, even when it’s hard, but that Jesus has lived this life, too, and sees us and knows us and offers us a new and abundant life in each and every moment – the new and abundant life and fruitful that God calls us to use for good, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
May we, too, see and know Jesus. And, in our seeing and knowing, may God restore, in us, the joy of salvation, and sustain our spirits in this life and the life into which Jesus leads.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 Andy Park, “In the Secret” © 1995, Mercy / Vineyard Publishing. https://wordtoworship.com/song/1247.
 Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) 204.
 John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries – Vol. XVIII (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009) 29.
 See 2 Samuel 11-12.
 Some friends, B.E. and S.T. were discussing this on Facebook in the wake of the Atlanta shootings.
 See Psalm 51:10-12.
THE LAST DAYS-How to recognize the end times.
In 2021 there are so many viewpoints of once again mentionings of the end times or armageddon. I have only been alive over 4 decades but in that time I have heard over 4 times everyone was sure the end of times were upon us. Remember Y2K? Or the Mayan calendar ended in 2012? There is always someone saying the end is going to happen but it never does. That does not mean the end is not coming, I assure you it is. The bible has a perfect record of fulfilling prophecies. With over 2000 prophecies and counting having been fulfilled I am willing to bet my life on the remaining 500 unfulfilled ones.
I will admit things are looking very crazy now and where as I do believe we are nearing the end, I am also familiar with the prophecies regarding what to expect. So what should you be looking for to confirm the end of the world is upon us? First you must know, according to Mattithyahu (Matthew) 24:36 no one knows the day or the hour when the end will arrive. No one knows, not the messengers (angels) in heaven, or the fallen ones wreaking havoc on earth, not me or anyone claiming to know, only the Father. Elohim (Almighty God) did lovingly leave many prophecies for us to study if we were curious but also if we wanted to survive.
There are many scriptures to consider however, the majority of my focus will be on those that provide specific clues to look for:
Timotiyos 2 (2 Timothy)3:1-5 is quoted as saying, “in the last days hard times will come, people will be lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, thankless, wrong-doers, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, fierce, haters of good, betrayers, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Elohim, having a form of reverence but denying its power.” All of which sounds familiar but also has been present in human behavior as far back as I can recall from historical records. I assume that in the last days these stated things will be much more prevalent. Which honestly I have personally noticed all increased dramatically within the last 20 years or so. Think about it, there are entire churches and doctrine completely surrounding the pursuit and acquisition of money. The other traits are so prevalent now it's expected from everyone, there is no honor found anywhere.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 24:10-12 mentions many will stumble and shall deliver up one another and shall hate one another. Also there will be many false prophets and mislead many. Does your pastor rarely hold the bible or refer to it? Did your pastor buy his wife a luxury sports car worth $250k? Does he preach with $6000 sneakers on? It also goes on to state that because of the increase in lawlessness peoples love will grow cold.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 24:4-5 is summarized as Yeshua (Jesus) mentioning that we should be careful that no one misleads us because many will come in his name saying they are ha`Mashiah (The Messiah) and will mislead many.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 24:6-9 is Yeshua once more describing the times of the end as fighting or wars taking place and to not be troubled as they must happen. He also states that nation will rise against nation and there will be scarcities of food, and deadly diseases and earthquakes in places. He goes on to state that those nations will deliver up his followers to affliction and Kill us and we will be hated by ALL nations for the name of Yeshua. When you truly see the global oppression of followers of Yeshua know that the killings will begin and also know that is a definite sign that you are in the last days. Now Christians and Jews are being persecuted in various countries and some even to death but in the United states and elsewhere although true worshipers are not very popular they are not targets of death…..yet. It is coming and when it does, understand what is truly occurring. Did you know that France and Sweden are now the most dangerous countries to be a Jew? We all know that Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and almost the entire continent of Africa are dangerous to christians but did you know it is very dangerous to be a christian in India? Please pray for all being persecuted in the name of Yeshua ha`Mashiah. (Jesus the messiah/ Jesus christ)
Kepha 2 (2 Peter) 3:3-4 and Yahudah(Jude) 1:18-19 are summarized as stating that people will continue in their wicked ways, mocking believers saying, “where is Jesus? Nothing has changed since the beginning of time.” This sounds familiar.
Luqas (Luke) 21:11 starts to get into more specific prophecy stating,”there shall be great earthquakes in various places, and scarcities of food and deadly diseases, and there shall be terrors and great signs from the shamayim (heaven) and there shall be great tempests.” Great earthquakes in various places really have not occurred in my opinion but data compiled by the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the number of earthquakes per year has seen significant variation, and the overall trend shows an increasing frequency. I get the feeling we don't need to check stats to know if it's unusual. There are always some sort of famines on earth and usually man made so once again I assume that this reference will be based on something far more profound and global. I don't want to discuss 2020 and the corona virus because we still don't know what it is or what is going on for sure. If we get a global virus that actually starts to drop people so fast that I see bodies piling up with my own eyes on the streets, I will believe this prophecy is being fulfilled. There have been incredible storms all over the world, I mean in my lifetime I recall hurricanes that did not cover half of the United States and I now live in a time where not only is that the new norm, we sometimes get two at a time. NOAA data confirms that the intensity and frequency of North Atlantic Hurricanes have all increased dramatically since the 80’s. Considering that I still have not seen any terrors and great signs from the heavens yet and I get the feeling we will know it when we see it.
Yo`el (Joel) 2:28-29 and Acts 2:16-18 summarizes that Elohim will send his spirit on all flesh and men and women will prophecy and there will be wonders in the heavens above and on the earth below, mentioning blood and fire and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and splendid day of YHWH(Yahweh). I imagine this would occur towards the very last days before the end. This will be a time of little doubt in the minds of most im sure but also likely too late for reform. I would recommend getting your life in order before you see the sun disappear and the moon turn red.
Yohanan 1 (1 John) 2:18-19 where it clearly mentions that in the last hour as you may have heard, the anti messiah is coming (otherwise known as the antichrist). Christ is just a greek translation of Messiah which is hebrew. It goes on to say further that even now many anti messiahs have come and this is how we know that it is the last hour. I interpret this as just a further reference to false prophets misleading many. There is a mention of the antichrist in the book of Revelation but that is an entirely different ball game.
So there are many more prophecies in the bible that clearly state what to look for. There are many that believe we are living in the so-called last days and I agree but, by following bible prophecy it becomes clear many of those prophecies remain unfulfilled. There are three scriptures in the bible that mention the coming of the end of times or armageddon. In all three they refer to the coming as a thief in the night. This clearly means an unexpected arrival. So no matter how much you study you will be caught a bit by surprise. Do not take the warnings lightly, as all the prophecy foretold prior have come true so will these that remain unfulfilled and it will all come by surprise.
A Non denominational ministry keeping it strictly scriptual. The word of God has shown the way to salvation! No emotional, traditional, or religious bias shall keep us from following the light of YAH.
A rant against many Evangelicals and their behaviour
Sick and tired of their hypocrisy. They are nothing more than a bunch of self-righteous narcissists and bullies who use God’s name in vain and do not practise what they preach.
P.S.1: Dear anti-Christians who will use this post to spread hate against God and Christianity: God’s existence, omnipotence, grace etc are not defined by His followers, neither does Christianity’s truthfulness by its representatives.
P.S.2: Dear Christians of other denominations who will come here to demonize Protestantism as a whole, don’t even try to do so. I grew up as an E. Orthodox and what I was hearing during all my life was “OOOHH LOOK!!! UNLIKE THE OTHER HERETICAL DENOMINATIONS WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS, LOOK HOW PERFECT WE ARE!!!!! OUR DENOMINATION IS THE ONLY BIBLICAL ONE!!!!!!”. Simultaneously, I was -and still- experience the corruption of E.O. Church. Thus, don’t even dare to start comparisons.
P.S.3: Dear Evangelical Christians who will play the “there’s no perfect Church” card, the “who are you to judge card”, the “not all Evangelicals are the same” card, the “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” card and the “first take the plank out of your own eye” card.
I want you to remember 5 things:
I don’t search for the perfect church but for the one who is vigilant, humble, openly recognises its sins and asks for forgiveness, instead of being complacent and arrogant about their salvation, proud of how different they are etc.
Judgement belongs to God only but we are obliged to fight against what is wrong in a godly way.
I said MANY Evangelicals. NOT all of them.
I know very well that I am a sinner. To quote Paul the Apostle “I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
I was -and still- am persecuted by my family for having relations with Evangelicals and for joining their church. The persecution started EIGHT YEARS AGO and hasn’t ended yet. I ended up being SUICIDAL because of my parents’ behaviour against me. Thus, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE OR TO BELLITLE my situation. These people and the church I used to be a member of (for whom I decided to sacrifice the healthy relationship I had with my family to defend them) BETRAYED ME. AND I AM DONE WITH THEM - AT LEAST FOR THE NEAR FUTURE. So, I am open to advice but NOT to any short of gaslighting, belittling etc.
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Is One or the Other Actually More Harmful?
*THIS BLOG GOT RIDICULOUS WITH ALL THE DIRECTIONS I WENT. I ADVISE TO NOT READ SOBER. OR AT ALL*
First, I am going to pick apart the prompt a little. I do realize my blog posts tend to ask questions more than answer them, let alone even fully address them, but this week's chapters and last weeks discussion had my mind going in several directions.
“...others argue a difference is based on the ethics of persuading someone to do something that is either in line with or against their own self-interests.”
I think how we weigh the debate between propaganda and persuasion -- and how we define our perspectives on the matter -- should start with how we define or think if ‘self interest’
The basic definition of self-interest is:
: a concern for one's own advantage and well-being
acted out of self-interest and fear
: one's own interest or advantage
self-interest requires that we be generous in foreign aid
I spent perhaps far too much time on the Merriam Webster dictionary rabbit holes and I am quite stumped as to how *we* define or think of self-interest. I then took a more theoretical approach to self interest and...that was a strange rabbit hole and finally, centered my thoughts from a religious angle [being I am a member of an organized religion]
The dictionary links and “see also”’s seem to suggest that self-interest is not inherently defined as personal --but as the wellbeing and benefit of others -- but naturally “self” interest in our very individualist US society, we identify our personal selves with the definition. This has me thinking, would collective societies identify “self-interest” for the benefit of others outside of themselves?
Perhaps this is why charity is so emphasized in western societies, the US for example. I am going to pick on my own religion and research I have done for muse:
Just for reference/context & not terribly important as far as the point of the post*
*I am a practicing Mormon who researches gender constructs in the church and I focus on post WWII North American Mormon culture, policy and “teachings”. The “natural man” concept is something I have a difficult time agreeing with or seeing eye to eye with. But I disagree with a lot of what religion “says” on quite a few things. But, to highlight my own hypocrisy and bias, the Mormon view of “the natural man” is a lot less annoying and problematic. As a side note, I think Islam has it “right” with the concept of “natural man” and I lean more toward that area of thought. As “pseudo Buddhist” as I like to think I am and aspire to be, I feel even Buddhist theology on the state of the natural man a little empty sometimes.
I’m also kind of a combative asshole who can find a problem with just about anything*
My three younger children just came racing in from school so I completely lost my train of thought
Perhaps my point of “natural man” was to highlight how individualistic our society can be. The one universalist teaching of al Christian denominations is in Jesus Christ, His divinity and Saviorhood. This is the utmost core of Mormon theology as well, but -- like everything else -- we have to get weird with that too and it still differs from other mainstream Christian religions.
Because the natural state of man is [supposedly] self interested with pleasure and only in it for ones own gain is why the concept of charity is so emphasized; it’s good to do for others, as Christ does for *us* and helps us be closer to Him -- kinda thing. Charity for others saves us. And the resulting benefit of charity is our own personal gain.
But even the concept of charity and good works is riddled with self interest and personal gain. Charity gets YOU into “heaven” and what goes around, comes around kind of thing. In western society -- even in religious -- the concept of do unto others emphasises personal benefit.
This is something I leaned is quite unique within wester culture and is a direct result of our individualist society.
I spent some time backpacking Italy as a teenager and this was my first experience with this sort of thing. Charity being heroized in my youth until I left home (to be fair, my mother is crazy and took things really far…) and emphasis on charity and good works
for others was embarrassing for Italians. It was “just what you do”.
Italy may not be the greatest example of a collective society , since it has its classic overall traits of individualistic values, but the betterment of others for the sake of those others left a distinct impression on me as a 17 year old.
I am not trying to suggest we lack individuals in the states with those kind of qualities. From a religious person's perspective who has almost no strong relationships with other religious people, atheists tend to have the most honorable notions of self-interest on others behalf because they have nothing to gain, other than just doing the right thing.
So, all my rambling, gets to my point -- how does propaganda and persuasion encourage self interest and gain? Both Propaganda and Persuasion are centered on communicating a message to an audience.
But, it depends on how you look at it:
I think the difference between persuasion and propaganda lies within who receives the benefit in the end. And I also think the lines are too blurred and detailed gray to fully distinguish persuasion from propaganda if we were going by definitions alone. With of course, the exception of distinguishing between two extremes, IE - we can determine by definition the difference between Al Qaeda recruitment videos and Sarah Mcllaughlin ASPCA commercials (though both are almost equally miserable to behold)
I would think the knowledge of distinguishing the two would lie most on experience. But, don’t quote me on that latter comment. I’m sure that could be torn apart in five seconds.
Propaganda: The benefit of peddled propaganda is for the ultimate gain of those who created the propaganda message and their targeted agenda.
Persuasion: The benefit lies on behalf of the individual or individuals who are on the receiving end of the persuasive message.
With that in mind, is perhaps not the definitions between the two terms that are problematic and up for debate, but what *we* consider to be propaganda or persuasive messages.
Nazi Germany is the all too perfect example of direct propaganda and personal gain (albeit, a bit cliche for me to bring up, given I am giving such a surgaced synopsis) being the goal was for Hitler (amongst so many other things) to create an elite class of Aryian genetics and assume power of all of Eastern and Western Europe.
What is taught less than the mainstream genocidal politics of the Third Reich, was how extremely gendered it was. Women had progressional and educational rights stripped rom them under Hitlers rule and propaganda centered on the role of wife and mother was heavily thrown at women and young girls. You can’t create a master race without birth. And men cannot tend to their duties if they are distracted by a problematic home life, of course.
The NRA is another classic case of propagandist messages. The NRA has donor and investment ties to right wing and “conservative” media outlets, politicians and donors. Back when I was in International Relations, I had to watch hours of Taliban and Al-Qaeda recruitment videos and the scare tactics and enactments of fear centered language are nearly identical to the methods of NRA messages. The benefactors for the aforementioned were the ones propagating the message: the NRA get’s more money and political influence by membership numbers and political affiliations, Nazi Germany was dangerously close to eradicating the Jewish population and the systematic propoganda ensured his place of power until outside forces destroyed his carefully constructed regime.
Where does it blurry?
I think religion is the perfect example of the blurred lines between propaganda and influence.
Behold, the The Proclamation of the Family. A Mormon document that has had a resoundingly strong presence in my religion since 1995, when it was first printed and presented to *us* Mormons, VIA the Salt Lake City pulpit.
And I fucking hate this document so fucking much and so should you!
Though it has never been presented as doctrine, revelation or ever considered canon -- it has never even been submitted to the quorum of the 12 and First Presidency for vote to be considered doctrine, revelation or official church canon.
And THAT'S because it’s NOT! It’s a homophobic and patriarchal document that details the divinity of the family order by affirming romanticist, heteronormative gender roles. I mean preside? What is this, the 12th century? The ideal family structure is centered on a man and woman in the home? Oh WHAT.EV.ER. Furthermore, the FP was originally filed as an amicus brief in solidarity with Hawaii’s rejection of its first same sex marriage suit in 199(3?2?) one of those years. I always get them mixed up. Chieko N. Okazaki , the church’s then General Relief Society President (and one of the most badass women, ever) was always open with her disagreements with its wording, its place in the church’s narrative and how it was presented to the church’s worldwide membership. This stupid document is so prominent in my religions culture and practice, people have no idea it’s complete and utter lack of theological and doctrinal weight and how contradictory it is to Mormonism’s core religious tenets. I know people who can quote this bullshit better than they can Christ’s sermon on the mount! Ya know, teaching that actually does some good in this universe.
But...is it propaganda or influence?
Well...it could be argued as both, on the surface anyway. The church is famous for not even having to excommunicate members because it is hemorrhaging members in the US who remove their names from the church’s records or fall through the cracks of inactivity because of the church’s exclusionary views on heteronormative family structure and sexist, patriarchal centered gender roles. And by reinforcing the traditional unit of family theoretically, it has its hold on more membership numbers.
But oddly...or not so oddly, if you’re a Mormon who is actually on the inside of this institution and not a complete idiot...the church is losing members in countries that are more conservative. Countries that are more liberal with less negative emphasis and stereotypes centered on matters such as LGBTQ, gender, “modesty” and nudity, interfaith marriages, abortion etc, the church performs far better, though membership numbers pale in comparison to the states and Central and South America, retention rate and activity is statistically higher than its North American counterpart. With the exception of particular countries were colonialist rule and tribal relations still HEAVILY influence culture and local politics. Nigeria, for instance, falls in that line but the church outshines the states as far as retention rate of members. I don’t think this all points to positive reasons, but that’s another Oprah show.
IE, the church doesn’t actually get much benefit from the Family Proclamation. Aside from it’s image...which I mean, lets face it, isn’t that great.
At best, it is vastly short sided, damaging, yet wellmeaning persuasian. And you have to look at the church’s theology as a whole to understand the initiative behind the FP. The church’s theology is actually, quite collective and centered on social unity and family harmony. Family is important for societal and individualistic reasons that are too numerous to count. It is a religion that --theoretically anyway, not always in local practice and a quick google search on court settlements is proof-- holds accountability to those who mistreat their spouses and children. But the church has refused to not live in a romanticist gender role bubble since the first World War and is only now acknowledging LGBTQIA members that shouldn’t be driven from the flock (telling someone they can and should change their fundamental authentic selves because Christ loves them IS driving from the flock) and the Family Proclamation is losing weight for so many reasons.
Except in places it’s not. Mormons in Migrant communities in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East hardly ever noticed its presence because local ward and branch membership (that’s “congregation” in Mormon language) is up to 80% women. The fuck do they need a document telling them about the importance of a man presiding in the home, when the run the show at church and at home anyway? Paaaaasssssss…..
But in more patriarchal and tribal centered countries, the Family Proclamation is actually considered to be quite progressive because it is the first actually printed document that outlines notions of equality and presiding with love and women’s “roles” being declared equally important.
While Googling, I found a rather humorous “redacted” version of the Family Proclamation and I just love it on so many levels. But to highlight, I think this redacted version highlights the true intent of the family proclamation’s message at time and what the church would have said if it wasn’t on some legal, anti gay marriage agenda. This is what I take from Mormon theology concerning family unity. This is what I feel the ultimate goal of persuasion is meant to have in a religious organization.
Mormon Obsessions with Media Campaigns and Those STUPID Lesson Video Tapes
To stay on the Mormon train (I know you're all sick of it, I apologize) The church has had its share of actual propaganda, in form of something called Mormonads that ran from the 90′s through early 2000′s. And its benefit was strictly directed at the church’s carefully constructed obsession with image and to keep all those little Mormon kids in their place. Why? Mormon kids who keep their place go on missions (I did not, I was off fucking around and following bands which will remain unnamed before I got married -- in the temple -- and started having children) Mormon kids who go on missions recruit others for baptism and strong membership keeps the church’s credibility over its members. But what makes its media campaigns so distinct propagandist in nature, is the scare and shame tactics it uses in order to keep young adults on the Mormon path. Scare tactics that are born not from religious theology, but conservative and political cultural origins.
*I’m not even going to detail any of it. I feel I have been a broken record about colonialism, hierarchy, supremacy and patriarchy but so much of the churches structure in the US are built on those things. It’s so annoying. I’m making myself annoyed.*
Some of course would argue on the same grounds as the FP, that the Mormonad campaign was centered on persuasion -- meant to keep kids from falling into dangerous activities and lifestyles...absolutely no one benefited.
Or did they? Fear can be a persuasive and effective tactic and I have spent hundreds of hours interviewing ex Mormons who have mixed feelings about the church’s ad campaigns of the 80’s and 90’s. “It kept me from doing things I would have probably regretted had I not had that influence”. But there is still an element of begroaning and regret for having felt controlled concerning individual decision making.
As someone who left the church in my teenage years -- due to circumstances, not so much disagreement with the church -- this does hold an element of weight when it comes to persuasion for the sake of safety and straight and narrow. I was not someone who paid any mind to the Mormonad campaigns, even when I was a gung-ho active youth and there is room for argument that I am still paying consequences of bad decisions made in my youth and early twenties.
But I also had so much fun and valuable life lessons. So would that not be just “real life”? Had I not learned all the “lessons” of progressions and “bettering myself” that the Mormonads tried to hammer into Mormon youth by practicing my own agency? So, are these Mormonads truly propaganda or persuasion? And where on the richter scale would it all fall more fittingly under?
I had labeled the Mormonads as strictly propaganda earlier, but now I am not so sure, now I am asking different questions and making different distinctions. Which is difficult to do, considering the “gray areas” I fee this all falls under.
Is propaganda inherently good, and propaganda inherently negative? Who actually benefits the most from either, and do most companies or organizations actually benefit as well as they hope with release of their message campaigns? Can targeted persuasion be as harmful as propaganda campaigns?
These are the things I am considering.
Church Flies First Class
PIE Day Sermon
by Gary Simpson
Numbers 21:4-9 (CEV)
The Israelites had to go around the territory of Edom, so when they left Mount Hor, they headed south toward the Red Sea. But along the way, the people became so impatient that they complained against God and said to Moses, "Did you bring us out of Egypt, just to let us die in the desert? There's no water out here, and we can't stand this awful food!"
6 Then the LORD sent poisonous snakes that bit and killed many of them. Some of the people went to Moses and admitted, "It was wrong of us to insult you and the LORD. Now please ask him to make these snakes go away." Moses prayed, and the LORD answered, "Make a snake out of bronze and place it on top of a pole. Anyone who gets bitten can look at the snake and won't die."
9 Moses obeyed the LORD. And all of those who looked at the bronze snake lived, even though they had been bitten by the poisonous snakes.
John 3:14-21 (CEV)
And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.
For God So Loved the World God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son.
19 The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.
Our Lectionary readings include one of the best known and most quoted and loved passages of the Christian Scriptures, John 3:16. The King James Version resonates for me because I have heard it so often. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I am not sure if John 3:16 is why the Gospel of St. John is loved so much. For "many people," John's Gospel is "the most precious book in the Bible." (1) Scholar William Barclay observes that John can be "read and loved without any commentary." (2)
John 10:17-18 needs to be considered as we reflect on John Chapter 3. "The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so that I might receive it back again. No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly!" This means Jewish people are in no way responsible for Jesus' death, and you can tell that to people who dislike Jewish people because of Jesus' death.
To some people, John 3:16 is problematic because it sounds so bad - that Parent God would send the Son to die for humanity. Looking at this from a Trinitarian perspective might help. John O'Donnell sees the "death of Jesus as a Trinitarian event." (3) O'Donnell believes Jesus' death was "an event between God and God." (4) Both God, the Parent, and God, the Son suffer.(5) I think the idea of God and the Son suffering catches some people's attention. The cross "shatters our ideas about God." (6) We confront the theological problem that God suffers. "God literally takes suffering into" God's "own life." (7) Renowned Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar notes that the division between God the Parent and God the Son at the cross "rends the heart of God." (8) The general sense from theologians who view salvation from a Trinitarian perspective is that God takes upon God the weight of human sin and mistakes. I think a takeaway from these Catholic theologians is this: "The Being of God cannot be separated from God's acts." (9) God's impressive acts of love are an integral part of God.
While I grew up with a sense that Jesus loved people, I was less certain if God loved people. This passage helps establish a very different sense of God. According to the passage, redemption and the saving of humanity started with God. "It was God who sent" the Son, because God loves humanity.(10) I believe that John 3:16 is a universalist text because it shows the breadth of God's love. According to the text, God's love is not limited to a nation, to good people, and to people who love God. God's love is so extensive that it includes the entire world.(11) God's love embraces people we like. People we either dislike or fear are surrounded by God's love, just as surrounded by love as we are. People from every class, occupation, ability, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and gender are included in God's love. John 3:16 includes people who do not think that they deserve to be treated with love and kindness.
John 3:16 might be the perfect passage for PIE Day. Whosoever is an inclusive term, so inclusive that one of the largest and most popular pioneering LGBT+ Christian website is named Whosoever. The website used to receive over 500 thousand visitors a year.(12) The commission Jesus gave the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew is to take the Gospel to the entire world.
In the Numbers narrative, people are bitten by poisonous snakes, and they become very sick. The people admit that they made a mistake, and they cry to Moses for help so Moses prays. God tells Moses to make a bronze snake and to put it on a pole. Anyone who is sick from a snake bite can look at the snake, and they are healed.
Sadly, in contemporary Canada, many people are bitten by the poisonous snake of internalized societal self-hate. Because of the hate, the violence, and discrimination they experience, they believe that they are deeply flawed, that something dreadful is wrong with them. And they come to believe that they do not deserve what other people have.
The Hebrew Scriptures reading contains a narrative that perplexes some Jewish people. God forbids graven images, and God turns around and commands Moses to make an image of a snake. All of the people are to look at the snake and they are healed.(13) There are times when the only way we can find healing and the ability to move on is to face our problems. PIE Day is a day when Affirming Ministries tell their stories about their Public, Intentional, and Explicit work for members of sexual and gender minority people. By telling our stories, we face the problems of homophobia and transphobia. As we face the problems, we are able to work to help reduce homophobia and transphobia so that queer and trans people feel more accepted and welcome in society and in our churches. When we name the groups of people churches and society marginalizes, we can address the problems and find healing.
Troy Perry founded the largely LGBT+ denomination, the Metropolitan Community Churches. Anita Bryant had a job promoting Florida orange juice. In 1977, Anita Bryant successfully campaigned for the repeal of legislation prohibiting discrimination against gay people. As a result of her public campaigns against gay rights, gay bars across North America replaced screwdrivers with an "Anita Bryant Cocktail" made from vodka and apple juice.(14)
Troy Perry was on a late-night plane flight. When they brought him breakfast, he noticed there was orange juice. Troy Perry asked what kind of orange juice it was. He asked if it was Florida orange juice. The Stewardess replied, "Well, it's Minute Maid." Troy said that he could not drink the orange juice because it contained Florida orange juice. He said, "I'm a homosexual," and "we are boycotting Florida orange juice because of what Anita Bryant is doing to us." He says people started eating about "90 miles an hour." (15) A few minutes later, a smiling male flight attendant approached Troy and said, "Reverend Perry would you come with us. We're going to move you up to first class." (16) Troy flew first class because he faced the problem.
How can we live out PIE Day? On PIE Day, we are reminded of our need to extend a Public, Intentional, and Explicit welcome to members of all gender and minority groups and to members of all other groups who historically face discrimination and exclusion. On PIE Day, I hear Troy Perry challenging our church to go first class.
(1) William Barclay. The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of John. Vol. 1. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), ix.
(2) Barclay (1956), ix.
(3) John O'Donnell. The Mystery of the Triune God. (London: Sheed and Ward, 1988), 60.
(4) O'Donnell (1988), 62.
(5) O'Donnell (1988), 63.
(6) O'Donnell (1988), 63.-
(7) O'Donnell (1988), 63-64.
(8) O'Donnell (1988), 65.
(9) Dick Eugenio. Communion with God: the Trinitarian Soteriology of Thomas. F. Torrance. Ph.D. Thesis. (Manchester: Nazarene Theological College, 2001), 10.
(10) Barclay (1956), 128.
(11) Barclay (1956), 129.
(12) Candace Chellew-Hodge. “Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge Profile.” LGBT Religious Archives. July, 2005, 21 February 2021. <https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/candace-chellew-hodge>.
(13) Barclay (1956), 124.
(14) "Anita Bryant." Wikipedia. 24 February 2021, 03 March 2021. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Bryant>.
(15)"Call Me Troy." Movie on Frameline YouTube. 2007, 03 March 2012. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RD0h7BNIJI>.
(16) "Call Me Troy." <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RD0h7BNIJI>.
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