Earlier this week the Charlotte Observer reported on a controversial decision made by a local Christian church: Christ Covenant Church declined an offer from a Mormon couple who wanted to volunteer as Scout leaders. They were refused because their Mormon faith is “not consistent with historical Christianity.” The pastor of Christian Education and Young Families at Christ Covenant explained,
“Boy Scouts is a ministry of our church. We want to insure that what (Scout leaders) believe is consistent with our denominational viewpoint.”
According to the Charlotte Observer,
“What upset the Stokes family most was the church questioning their Christianity.
“And, she added, look at the formal name of their church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“‘It was so offensive,'” said Jodi Stokes, who was raised Catholic, then became a Mormon. ‘I have a picture of Jesus in my living room.’
A look at Christ Covenant’s online Statement of Faith reveals that the pictures one hangs in one’s living room, and the name of the church to which one belongs, do not even merit honorable mention in its summary of “What We Believe.” In fact, of the nine doctrines listed in that Statement of Faith (addressing Scripture, the nature of God, the nature of man, the Being of Christ, the way of salvation, etc.), Mormonism disagrees with six (or perhaps even seven) of them. Even so, the Charlotte Observer reported,
“Bishop Steven Rowlan of the LDS ward, or parish, which the Stokes attend in Weddington, acknowledged that Mormon theology diverges from some beliefs shared by most Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. But he insisted members of the LDS church are as Christian as the members of Christ Covenant.
“‘Yes, there are distinct differences,’ he said. ‘But not with respect to being a Christian. We definitely and truly are Christians in every sense of the word.'”
Well, not in the senses of the word as understood by Christ Covenant Church. Nor, as the newspaper points out, as understood by “Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches” in general. Mr. Rowlan is surely mistaken when he says Mormons are Christians “in every sense of the word.” Perhaps in every sense of the word as he defines it, or as the LDS Church defines it, but not necessarily as others may understand and define Christianity. Even so, this argument in this context is a moot point. Christ Covenant Church clearly explained that those who are in positions of leadership in that church must be “on the same [doctrinal] page” as it is defined in the church’s Statement of Faith. Whatever label is attached (Christian, non-Christian, Mormon, etc.), whatever pictures may be prominently displayed in one’s home, are not the point; what one believes is what’s important.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Christ Covenant Church assured Mr. and Mrs. Stokes that their boys were welcome to join the church’s Scouting program, and Mr. and Mrs. Stokes were invited to volunteer as helpers in the program if they’d like, but “as practicing Mormons, they couldn’t be leaders.”
The Bible has plenty to say about the purity of faith and leadership within Christ’s church. For example, the Apostle Paul called for those of the church to be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). He admonished, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). “What fellowship has light with darkness?” he asked. “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” Regarding the qualifications for Elders in the church, Paul said they “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that [they] may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). Certainly any leader in the church should aspire to “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Because Mormonism does not rightly handle the word of truth, because it promotes the worship of an unbiblical god, because the doctrine it espouses does not conform to biblical teaching (as understood by “most Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians”), a “practicing Mormon” (i.e., one who embraces the teachings and god of Mormonism), cannot be allowed to hold a position of leadership within Christ’s church. The members of Christ Covenant Church, in standing firm on this issue, demonstrate their commitment to obey and honor the one true God, the God they love. Would that all Christian churches would stand firm for God’s Truth.
If you think there is hate in my heart, far from it. I may come off stearn but there was no hatred meant in it. What room do I have in my heart for hate when I have the mercy of Jesus Christ filling it? My salvation is secure in Jesus Christ and what He did – not in man created rituals stolen from Freemasonry. And – a bonus – my wife is no longer a member of the LDS church but found freedom in Christ. So God in his infinite goodness brought two unequally yoked people together and made them whole.
My "logic" is poor? I dont think so, maybe I should simplify it for you. Keep in mind, Mormonism ISN'T a denomination of Christianity – Mormonism is its OWN religion. For instance: I'm a Toyota Camry, F Melo is a Toyota Celica, and you're a Ford Escape. Now switch Toyota with the term Christian and switch Camry and Celica for recognized denominations of Christianity. We are of the same company and you are of a completely different company trying to say that you, a Ford, are a Toyota. – You can even make this comparison with the animal Kingdom.. We are both different types of birds and you are a fish.
LDS doctrine may use a couple of the same names but your doctrine and our doctrine do not mesh at all. Our doctrine among our denominations only varies on non-essential doctrine (Women pastors, etc) – when it comes to Salvation by grace through faith and not of ourselves, who the Father is, who Jesus is, we all agree. – I cant even say that for the other LDS denominations.
I don't know what your trying to get at trying to explain to me why I can't be a stake president? You're right, I did say why… ??
Justin, I'm going to guess that you could care less about the truth and if I showed you some things said by LDS prophets that are pretty hateful, you either will not reply to me, or make excuse for them. Lets see if I am right. Read this stuff and tell me the LDS did not say some hateful things.
Do you need more quotes? Will you speak out against the LDS or will you make excuses and say stuff like, This was years ago and they no longer say this stuff, which is not true. Or will you simply ignore and not reply?
Mary, I know we will not agree, but I have no problems with R rated movies. Movies like 300 and punisher war zone are awesome, I love those movies. Also I am a huge fight fan and a fighter.
The newest UFC coming up is 121, I have seen every single one to date, and did Judo and submission style fighting for about 6 years, Even entered two tournaments.
The Church I was going to in MAINE before moving to MN, we had a little fight club, We opened it to men only and people outside the church, We would have a brief bible study before training and as of today it has been going on for close to 14 years. I know because I went back for a two week visit about 1 1/2 years ago and sat in on class. Then when I was doing Judo/submission style fighting here, I was able to share the gospel with one of the fighters.
I also have meet many LDS who are fighters and we start off our talks by talking martial arts. Pretty much LDS know by things in my house or things I say, that tell them I am a fighter, then sometimes they say they are also and I spring board off of that and share the Gospel with them. F_melo is right, I do my best to avoid Nudity in movies, but can see that in a grocery store line with all the magazines or ad's on TV. But when it comes to me, The more violent the movie the better.
Jeff B wrote
Maybe not a great metaphor, but I get your message.
I'd prefer to put it like "I'm a Ford Camry and you are a song by Led Zepplin".
In other words, so different it's impossible to draw a comparison.
…but what the heck. I'm rambling.
We've been through this before here, but I'll ask you once again.
Do you worship Jesus Christ?
And I do mean worship as in the sense of the worship of the One True God, as prescribed in Deut 5:6-10
"we have a restaurant called Buffalo wild wings"
Sounds good, i don´t know much about peppers but i´m sure i´ll love it. I´ll remember to stop by when i go visit the US!
I'm thinking this is one of those situations that highlights something Mormons aren't really interested highlighting. That is, people asking, "Well how does Mormonism differ from mainstream Christianity?" I know that happened with a friend of my daughters who has little or no knowledge of Mormonism. She's a college age student. She was visiting my daughter when they saw a reference to this situation on the internet. I heard my daughter say, "Let's ask my dad. He knows a lot about this." I was up until one in the morning (way past my bed time) going through all the different aspects of Mormonism with my daughter (who does know the score) and her friend.
Now she's fully informed regarding Mormonism and the techniques the missionaries use to seduce and lure unsuspecting souls into Mormonism. Mormons are better off, for their own good, flying under the radar screens of the general public. The white washed image coming out of SLC only gets exposed as Mormons begin to scream bigotry slogans at Christians. Most Christians are content to ignore Mormons and let them live their own lives. Mormons calling attention to themselves only serves to expose Mormonism to the light of day. Being a stealth religious group serves the goals of Mormonism much better than does full disclosure.
What country do you live in? If you like heat or can handle heat, check out my dry spices on my food blog, And my email address is on their, write me and tell me which on you would like. Happiness, sorrow or eternal suffering, HOT, HOTTER, AND EXTREMELY HOT. And I will send you some as a gift.
It was pretty interesting that the Mormon woman in this article used as evidence that she was a Christian because she had a picture of Jesus in her house. People have all sorts of reasons why they are Christians. Some believe because they live in the United States they are Christians. Some will even point to the fact that they were baptized as a baby and went through confirmation as proof that they are Christians. Some Mormons will even say that they have "received Jesus as their Lord and Savior" and therefore they are Christians. On the macro level, Mormonism will claim that their religion is Christian and the tried and true evidence is that they have the name of Jesus Christ in the name of their church.
So what does it take for an individual to be saved? As quoted often on this blog are the words of the apostle Paul when asked by the Phillipian jailer, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul answered, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Now believe doesn't mean that a person believes that someone by the name of Jesus lived on this earth at one time (historical Jesus). The bottom line for a Mormon who professes Jesus as Savior is, "Who is this Jesus that you are claiming as Savior?" The Mormon Jesus can't provide salvation for a Mormon. How can that be? It's because the Mormon Jesus is not a qualified Savior. The Mormon Jesus is just one of many gods in the Mormon pantheon of gods.
The Jesus revealed in the Bible is God, not "a" god. Ask any exMormon who has come to faith in Jesus Christ and are now saved and they will tell you that the Jesus they now claim as Savior is not the Jesus they knew as a Mormon. If eternal life is a concern for a Mormon, it would be a good idea to find the real Jesus and in finding Him, receive the gift of eternal life that God is offering them.
If my son or daughter marries a mormon, I, as a non-mormon am not allowed to attend the ceremony because it is too sacred. They are excluding the rest of the religions. Joseph Smith said that God said, 'All other churches were an abomination, the Catholic Church, the whore of Babylon along with her Protestant daughter. Mormons throw the first punch. We are the only True Church. I was talking about nothing, no defensiveness, offensiveness. Just enjoying the company of a friend (not specifically her religious affiliation), and they throw a punch from left field. The others (non-mormons) are left feeling defensive and you want us all to get along. We were just being kind and human and are thrown into learning about their religion, and feeling nothing but defensive. You really have a lot of nerve to say 'Oh, we should all just get along.' You sound pretty high and mighty like the rest of us just want to have a fight with anyone not of our faith. Please. Devote your time, energy and talent and find out you are looked down upon. Its hard to take because hearts have strings attached. Its not so simple. You sound like a twelve-year old. Really. We have all researched, investigated and are here because we want to understand, not judge anyone. Mormons exclude themselves because they were chosen by god and are more spiritually sensitive that is why they know the truth. Families suffer great amount of heartbreak. Try to be a non-mormon in a family of mormons. They will disown, not let that person even attend a wedding of their sibling, parents.
How many movies are out there (PG, too),that do not have bedroom scenes in them.And how many themes are Christian?
The thing that's been bothering me so much is that so many Christians are using scripture to condone,and live theirs,and others sinful lifestyles.Using love,and grace verses to justify that. It's gotten so,it's scary to me.And I can't help but speak out,and say "THOSE VERSES WERE NOT MEANT FOR THAT!".I want it to stop,and surely God does too.I may not get any thumbs-up,but that has to be ok.These thing are serious,and have to be said.Scared,or not,I will point them out,as long as I think perhaps God can do something with them.And leave it with Him.And even if I failed,God is satisfied,and so am I,that,at least I did what I could.And for that I can be glad,at least.
I live in Brazil.
I´ll definitely do that – Thank you so much!
I just don´t know in what condition it would get here…
"Happiness, sorrow or eternal suffering, HOT, HOTTER, AND EXTREMELY HOT"
Wow! If i stop posting here you´ll know why… 😀
My daughter just got invited to a wedding reception for a Mormon young lady who will be married earlier in the day at a Mormon temple. My daughter, who is aware of the Boy Scout flap is wondering why it's OK for Mormons to exclude nonMormons from events but Christians can't apply the same principle (to Mormons). I don't live any where even close to an area that is dominated by the Mormon church or culture much less have Mormon family members. Let's face it, it's high school all over again. It reminds me of that saying, "The only time you're not in high school is when you're in college and then you're right back in high school again."
As many here know, I grew-up Catholic in a small town where Catholic and Lutherans predominated. There were all kinds of rules, many associated with marriage and weddings. Thankfully all of that just faded away. I read somewhere where a Mormon woman said her wedding day was miserable. She was speculating that the more Mormon women attend the weddings of nonMormon friends, the more they'll feel cheated. That's her opinion but it's all this super secret stuff that leads to an us vs. them mentality in Mormonism. Thankfully, most Mormons ditch the program.
I would love to visit Brazil, Home of some great steakhouses and home to some of the best Ju-Jujitsu players.
Just let me know which level of heat you want and an address and I will get it out, I'm not worried it will break.
falcon, your daughter asked a very good question. To bad it was,nt asked of the Mormons
interviewed in the above article. Speaking of the contrast between a Mormon temple rituals,
hopefully more and more Mormon women will come to see how man made it all is.
Having a stranger (temple worker) touching and "annointing" areas close to parts of
the body that only a husband or a doctor should touch, having to learn handshakes and
code words etc, in order to be more worthy before God , but then learning the truth that
it is through Jesus alone that they can be accepted by God , that can be truely liberating
A religion or an individual can claim to be "Christian" but as is the case with Mormons, and the woman in the article, they are setting their own criteria as to what Christian is. So who gets to decide? Well in the end, God decides. However as we lead our religious lives, definitions are important. In the case of Mormonism, as with other cults, they have their own definitions of terms that are not consistent with those of orthodox Christianity. Cults do this in order to blur the lines of difference so as to confuse the public and prospective members/those they are targeting.
At the outset, as Christians we can ask, "Does this group support the doctrine of the trinity of God, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace, and the second coming of Christ. What is meant by "support" is do they define these things in the same manner as orthodox Christianity? The Christian Church, in the first four hundred years of its existence, worked all of this out refining, defining and finding words to express what was handed down from the Apostles who received it from Christ.
There are predictable characteristics of cults.
1. Cults are started by and maintained by strong leaders who exert absolute control over their members.
2. Cults have some "Scripture" that is either added to or replaces the Bible.
3. Cults in one form or another, deny salvation by God's grace alone. Some "work" is involved in salvation.
4. Cults rarely have trained clergymen.
5. Cults have doctrines and practices which changes and are in a state of flux.
6. Cults have living leaders who can change revelations as they wish. These revelations can contradict and supersede the Bible and previous revelation by the cult itself.
7. The cults claim to have truth not available to any other groups or individuals. The new truth is said to be a "restoration" of the "pure" Christianity which was corrupted at some time in early church history.
8. Cults have an initiate vocabulary by which it describes the truths of its revelation.
(attribution: "The New Cults" by Walter Martin)
So when dealing with Mormons, as with other aberrant and heretical groups, it's important to ask the follow-up question to cut through the fog and establish reality. As has been pointed out often, Mormons are no more Christian than are Christians Mormons. A circle can't be a square no matter if it wants to be or if calls itself such.
Mary, I dont recall saying that the Bible endorses watching those movies, I'm just saying I like them.Speaking strictly for me and me alone here, I like movies, I love martial arts movies and action.
I hate so called christian movies, and here is why. The vast majority even Passion of the Christ simply are not Biblical at all. In the Movie Passion of the Christ, the vast majority of that movie was Roman Catholic and revolved around the 7 stations of the Cross, Thats not found in the Bible. Then there was the Bit About satan tormenting little Kids or something strange, again not found in the bible.
Take the books and movie, left behind? Those are not accurate either. The Bible does not teach that after the rapture groups of people will band together and fight the anti-Christ or something stupid like that.
I saw a low-budget movie called "Revelation" Have you ever seen it? It was supposed to be a Christian movie, people were asked to put some type of goggles on and they would then see some sort of "Fake world" Gamers use this type of technology and you play games, But in the movie after you enter this world, they tell you you are going to be beheaded by a guillotine.
People found out that they were going to be killed, it was something along that lines. It was STUPID, and not even close to accurate. Christians make this crap because they claim it is Clean and christian based, so they can justify watching movies.
I would rather watch a good action movie with Bronson or Stallone or someone knowing it is not real and never will be, then to watch a christian movie claiming to be based upon Gods word and know it's not, and I'm being lied to and deceived. What if I did not know Gods word? Then I might think this stuff is true, then when I find out it's not, I might get mad and feel like Christians lied to me, then why should I believe them and their gospel.
I'm glad you want to talk to people about movies, but does your passion and zeal make you confront Christians endorsing stupid and false "Christian" based movies and books? If not, why not. I do, I will let people know exactly why I will not watch or buy or promote these movies.
If we were to live in isolation here in Newcastle I would be very lonely. I was the only member in my grade at high school and in my classes at uni and now at work. The stats here are about 1 in 10000 members per population.
No we are not taught isolation. Some members might for their own families, but on a whole the church does not.
I saw a great movie calles 'Red belt' about a jujitsu fighter/trainer. Have you seen it?
Me, my wife and best friend saw it opening day at the Movies. We went mainly because Randy Couture was in the Movie. I liked it. I almost had my knee broke in a judo Tournament, It was an accident, I had to be carried off the mat and needed to wear a knee brace for about a month and was not allowed to train for two months.
I have since stopped playing because I am getting old, 40 right now, The price for training went up, the gym was 30 miles away, and I am now back in school and working 2 jobs. But I did go watch the Fights yesterday, and was so happy to see Brock Lesnar get destroyed, It was great. I do not like him and was happy to see him get a beating.
Martin Walter – an Evangelical Christian defining what is a cult. Can I use the same arguments that are used against JS? He was not inspired of God but wrote his own thoughts. He was just a man. If its not from God and not in the Bible than it is not valid church wise. What else can we put in there?
Here's the thing – if the LDS church is correct (just put the 'if' in there for your benefit) then you are in the 'cult' and that then fully discounts the definition above of what a cult is.
But if we look at some of the above definitions –
#1 – Jesus was a sole, strong leader that took the reigns from Judaism at that time.
#2 – The early Christian added to their scriptures.
#4 – All of Jesus' apostles were not trained in the seminaries but were called straight from their work (ie some were fishermen). This continued with the selection of Judas' replacement and Paul's calling.
#7 – they had their new truths that superseded a corrupted version of the Israelite religion (what is called Judaism today).
I could comment on one or two others in the list but they are a little more difficult to argue (eg #3).
So does this mean that Christianity is a cult of Judaism? Is Judaism the true church as its been around longer?
Just a thought.
But you are right – in the end it’s God who will decide. So why are you looking at and emphasizing a manmade definition?
Well Ralph, so nice to hear from you.
Yes indeed Walter Martin was just a man as he himself would have undoubtedly admitted. He was a scholar who did research and wrote his findings. "If it's not from God and not in the Bible….." are you referring to Walter Martin's work? He drew his conclusions based on the teachings of the Bible and the Church Fathers. I get a kick out of you Mormons with your "revelation" riff. Let me be blunt Ralph. I don't believe you or any Mormon is hearing from God when what you say/write is not consistent with Biblical revelation. Mormon prophets' musings sound like uninspired mental meandering in search for a cogent though, which they never find.
No Ralph I'm not in a cult. I don't have any person or organization controlling me telling me what I have to donate to the cause, what callings I need to accept and with holding a "pass" to get into a building where by I will have to do a bunch of rituals to become a god. I don't have to wear church prescribed underwear. I won't get shunned if I drop out of a group, nor does anyone check-up on me and try to pull me back into the group if I leave. I am a free soul, able to follow the dictates of my conscience as to how I will serve God. I speak to God on a regular basis and he speaks back to me, guiding my walk with Him.
OK Ralph as to 1-2-4-7 you are as usual way off the beam. The point of course is for you to jump up and down and say "See, see, this is exactly like Joseph Smith." Which I guess means that anyone who comes up with an off shoot of Christianity can claim the same thing. The apostle Paul BTW, had very specific training. He was a learned man. As for the rest of the Apostles, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with spiritual gifts that guided them. Joseph Smith and his cronies were a bunch of rock gazing treasure hunters who were not led by the Spirit of God but, in large measure, by the folk magic they embraced.
Christianity completed the Jewish faith as Jesus was the qualified Savior who fullfilled all of the Messianic prophecies.
These aren't man made definitions. The Holy Spirit guided the Church Fathers in battling the heretics who sought to distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well Ralph you keep trying. I'll keep praying for you that instead of battling against God's church, His gospel and His Savior, you will come to know, understand and accept the gift of eternal life that He is offering you.
falcon, you said, " Well Ralph, you keep trying. I'll keep praying for you that instead of battling against God'schurch, His gospel, and His Savior, you will come to know, understand and accept the gift of eternal life that He is offering you. " I join you praying for Ralph. May he surrender his goal of being worshipped as an Almighty God in the hereafter and come to know the liberating truth of the Lord Jesus Christ , the blessed hope of His appearing leading believers to worship the One Majestic True God of all creation.
I must admit, when I read a post like Ralph's last one, it causes me to pause, scratch my head and then comes the realization, "Oh, Ralph thinks 'Mormon'." So I have to adjust my thinking to formulate a response. TBM Mormons typically throw out a lot of red herrings, misdirections and empty rabbit trails to chase Christians down. But, Mormons also think differently than Christians. Their whole objective is to try and prove to themselves that what they believe in is true. And it really doesn't take much to keep a TBM feeling that way.
It kind of reminds me of the debates during the Cold War between communists and capitalist. The frame of reference was totally different. In our case (in interacting with Mormons) the view of the nature of God is totally different as is the plan of salvation and the view of the Bible and Church history. I mean think about it, we're dealing with folks who think their going to become gods. To Christians that notion is so absurd that it seems like a total waste of time to even engage in a discussion. In addition to that, we're dealing with people who think they have received a confirming message from God based on a feeling they got regardless of evidence to the contrary.
Only God, through the power of His Holy Spirit can break through that shell. We will continue to pray!
I think one characteristic cults have in common is when they say only one man, or a few more-special-than-you elite men can have direct communication with God. You either submit yourself to their authority or else…
Even though the mormon church teaches their members can have personal revelation from God, that only applies to their own lives, in subjection to priesthood authorities in higher positions. God can´t simply call anyone without having to go through priesthood bureaucracy.
When i thought about Brigham Young´s theocracy in Utah, i was troubled because i always thought that the same thing happened with Israel and Moses.
That perspective changed when i read an article arguing for Israel´s national revelation. I never noticed it before but the Bible is clear that the ten commandments were spoken directly by God to the whole people, and not only to Moses in an isolated grove. The rest of the commandments were given exclusively to Moses, but the entire nation of Israel witnessed the presence of God, and heard His voice – they did not have to believe Moses´word alone.
That is a huge difference between how the Mormon church teaches God communicates with His people and what the Bible tells us. They teach that God only speaks to people through prophets. Not true. Not only that, but the power of God wasn´t bound by any priesthood. If God decided to call someone, He did it, no matter if other prophets were also alive.
Also, Israel wasn´t governed by a prophet but it was governed by God´s law, the prophet couldn´t make stuff up because the entire people heard God´s commandments, and also were given strict commandment to test prophets that showed up(notice, no instructions are given about praying to feel if anything is true).
In some way, correct me if i´m wrong, the way Israel was ruled is similar to the way the U.S. is ruled – by the law of the land(constitution). The role of the Government is to enforce the law. The difference is that the U.S. has some democracy that allows laws to be changed, and allow the people to choose their representatives, but Israel had no democracy whatsoever, and the ruler was God.
That´s why when the people wanted a king, God told Samuel that the people didn´t reject him, but people were rejecting God as their ruler.
What do you all think? Am i in the right path in those conclusions?
Whenever you get a chance to visit, let me know! I live in a city that isn´t really a place tourists go visit… no beaches… but there are great steakhouses and top quality barbecue around here.
"Just let me know which level of heat you want and an address and I will get it out, I'm not worried it will break."
"Sounds" great, i´ll let you know. Thanks again!
I´m not concerned about breaking either – it´s about smashing… 😛
> I was raised a Catholic, moved with my parents into Messianic Judaism, and married an ex Mormon. I have been trying Bahai, Universal Unitarians, and non denominational Christianity. I don't think any of them fit me. I have a hard time being told I need to be baptized/converted/signed up/whatever before I can be classified as a good person. <
If all you want is to be "classified as a good person" by a religious group, you miss the point of Christianity. The point is that your salvation is dependent upon what Jesus did for you on the cross, not on your works.
You are being told that you need to be baptized, (at least this should be the reason in Christian churches), because the Bible says that baptism follows belief in Jesus, Acts 8:12 says, But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. When you express an interest in being part of a church body, the members, quite reasonably, are going to hope and pray that you will be saved (if you aren't), baptized (if you've declared your faith in Jesus and what He did for you on the cross), and fruitful (growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18). Those expectations are neither judgmental nor intolerant; they're Biblical.
As far as being converted goes, there's no point in being baptized in a Christian church until you have really made the decision to submit to God. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. One can be baptized over and over from now until eternity; and, if one does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that baptism will not signify the inward change that it must signify. And, when I say Jesus Christ, I am speaking of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14); the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13); the One about whom Acts 4:12 says, Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”; the One Who said of Himself, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) and, in John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.; the One who said, I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30); the One of whom Colossians 1:16-17 says,16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.]
Regarding tolerance, Gal. 6:10 says. Do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. It does not say (regarding 'all men') that you must declare the object(s) of their worship or their faith practices equal to Christ and Christianity. So, members of Christian churches you attend have every reason to want you to be saved (converted), baptized, and growing in Christ.
Part of our growth in Christ should also be a knowledge of Biblical submission and a willingness to live out that submission, not only to God, but to family, church, and governmental authorities (James 4:7; Colossians 3:18; I Corinthians16:15-16; Romans 13:1).
A good passage which addresses most of this is Titus 3:1-10 – 1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
* most verses from NKJV, one or two from KJV
There's a huge topic here about God, the "people" (whatever that is) and governance. Here are some of my brief observations…
1 In the Biblical context, Israel did, in fact, choose its own leaders. Or, rather, when a Judge came along that they didn't like, they ignored him. Also,consider that King Saul was the "people's" choice, but he got superseded by God's choice in King David. OK, that's a massively simplified analysis, but the tribal leaders exercised a lot of autonomy – they just didn't do it through the ballot box.
2 Speaking of the tribal leaders, decisions were made by family or tribal heads, not by majority rule (see Joshua 24:15). This presents a profound problem to you, if the head of your house is an idiot.
3 The good news is that the head of God's House (His Son) is not an idiot.
4 The good, good news, is that ultimately, by faith, you can get transferred out of your current Household (the inheritance of Adam) into the Household of God (the inheritance of the Son)
5 Even though Israel was given (by God, no less) a "good" constitution (the law of Moses), it's constitution failed to save it (see the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles). We're not saved by the constitution, we're saved by the living work of Jesus that's brought to life in us by faith (to paraphrase Paul, the writer to the Hebrews and a host of other NT authors). In other words, you cannot rely on a God-given constitution (a.k.a. religion) to bring the people into a right relationship with each other and God.
6 Finally, though democracy cannot deliver a person to God, it's a good form of Government. Fundamentally, it recognizes the indelible image of God in all his Children, not just the powerful. Practically, it means that you can change your politicians without having to kill them first, which releases the pressure on them to maintain their power at all costs. However, as it is administered by sinful human beings, it is as vulnerable as any other system to human abuse.
So, I view the system of Government in Ancient Israel as an intriguing and useful lesson in the history of humanity.
But, like I've posted here before, I view the OT system not as a revelation of religion, but as a revelation of God. In other words, it does not set the pattern for religion and theocratic rule, rather, it shows us how God interacts with humanity.
The Temple is a prime example – it does not show us the kind of structures and rites we need in the Church Age. Rather, it is a tangible, comprehensible illustration of God – it tells us something about God's Holiness, His inaccessibility and His inapproachableness, yet it also tells us of His immanence and His persistent presence in the human community. All the more reason to rejoice, knowing that in Jesus, we have access to the inaccessible (see Matt 27:51, Hebrews 10:19), and that He is the Word become flesh (John 1:14).
I belong to the cult of Jesus of Nazareth.
Meaning, that I worship him, follow him, obsess about him, try to emulate him, study his life and the environment in which he lived, meditate on what he said and did, align my life with his values, try to understand him, listen to stories about him. I get upset when other people don't treat him with the respect that I think he deserves. I don't understand why other people don't find him as fascinating as I do. He is my life's major focus.
What cult do you belong to?
Sadly I do not see myself coming out for a visit. I am in school till June of 2011, then in October of 2011 I am going to visit Israel, Greece, and Turkey for two weeks. For me and the wife that will cost 7,000 dollars. We are paying the travel company as much as we can monthly, and have paid almost 3,000 so far.
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That will be a lot of fun!
The invitation is open to any time in the future, anyways!
Martin, great post. Thank you! I´m going to keep this one!
your the one with the photo holding Hammers. Do you think any of us can inform you about the real meaning of tolerance?
How do you know that homosexuals don't tolerate you?