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  • Walking into a friend's home, and realizing that she has one of my photos on her living room wall.

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    • Had a thought or two about Christians who have made the mistake of not being a part of a vital community of faith but the thread I posted them in suddenly became active in a peculiar sort of way, so I'm going to leave them here instead.


      I've noticed that people who lose their faith often aren't members of any particular congregation. I suspect that it's easier to find fault with the body from a distance than it is up close, easier to criticize them than it is us. Easier to drift away than to struggle within. When I have a conversation with a Christian complaining about our shared faith one of the first things I ask them is what church they attend. I believe that when we isolate ourselves in that particular we can also lose sight of our own weakness and need. A need to comfort and be comforted, to forgive and be forgiven, to help and to be helped.

      We are fashioned in faith to be instruments working in concert. Dull that edge and the impact must be profound over time. So we end up abandoning our faith, because we have found it increasingly easy to judge others, to note their hypocrisy and to become angry with our sense of that failure. It is an easy thing without the empathy that intimate connections encourage, and failing to see God in others we eventually fail to be aware of Him in ourselves.
      Last edited by Town Heretic; January 22nd, 2019, 07:23 AM.
      You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

      Pro-Life






      Comment


      • Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
        So either we end up abandoning our faith, because we have found it increasingly easy to judge others, to note their hypocrisy and to become angry with our sense of that failure.
        TH, if a person has a saving faith that comes in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men (1 Cor.2:5) then that person will never abandon their faith:
        "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever" (2 Cor.2:2).

        Saving faith is the "evidence" not seen (Heb.11:1) and the saved individual has this evidence because the Lord has given us an "understanding
        "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 Jn.5:20).

        A person with saving faith is not in doubt because He "knows" the Son of God has come and "knows" that when He appears we will be made like Him (1 Jn.3:2).

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
          TH, if a person has a saving faith that comes in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men (1 Cor.2:5) then that person will never abandon their faith:
          "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever" (2 Cor.2:2).

          Saving faith is the "evidence" not seen (Heb.11:1) and the saved individual has this evidence because the Lord has given us an "understanding
          "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 Jn.5:20).

          A person with saving faith is not in doubt because He "knows" the Son of God has come and "knows" that when He appears we will be made like Him (1 Jn.3:2).
          I don't agree, Jerry. I've seen doubt in my own life, witnessed it in others directly and by reading the Bible. I think, rather, that God does not lose His own, which is different. Doubt is the reflection of imperfect beings approaching perfection. It is a temptation to resist that perfection and to retreat into the "comfort" of our own certainty. Without loving individuals to help us, we are fortunate if we don't stumble into the darkness again, though God will pull us from it in His time and by His design.

          I believe we may lose people from time to time in grief and anger. People who relied on Christ and confessed. I believe their road back will be a trial of sorts, but where that confession and reliance was unreserved I also believe the homecoming is inevitable.
          You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

          Pro-Life






          Comment


          • Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
            I don't agree, Jerry. I've seen doubt in my own life, witnessed it in others directly and by reading the Bible. I think, rather, that God does not lose His own, which is different.
            Did you ever question the truth of the gospel of your salvation?

            So you think that those with saving faith can stop believing but they will be saved nonetheless because God does not lose His own? I really have a hard time believing that because the faith of those with saving faith comes in the power of God:

            "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Cor.2:4-5).

            The gospel comes in power and in the Holy Spirit and provides "much assurance" that it is true:

            "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake" (1 Thess.1:5).

            Those with saving faith have the "evidence" of the things of which the word of God testifies (Heb.11:1). Since that evidence comes in power and the Holy Spirit then that "evidence" is even more sure than anything at all found in the secular sphere. So it is immpossible with someone with saving faith to cease grom believing the truth of the gospel.

            Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
            Doubt is the reflection of imperfect beings approaching perfection. It is a temptation to resist that perfection and to retreat into the "comfort" of our own certainty.
            You confuse emotions with knowledge. There is no such thing as a person with saving faith retreating from the "evidence" which they possess because the Lord Jesus has given us an "understanding" of these things.

            Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
            Without loving individuals to help us, we are fortunate if we don't stumble into the darkness again, though God will pull us from it in His time and by His design.
            A person with saving faith can stumble in His "walk" but it is impossible that he can ever stop believing the "evidence" which comes in the power of God because that evidence is stronger than any evidence anyone might have about anything in the secular sphere.

            What "truth" do you think that is being referred to in the following passage written by the Apostle John?:
            "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever" (2 Cor.2:2).

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
              Had a thought or two about Christians who have made the mistake of not being a part of a vital community of faith....

              I've noticed that people who lose their faith often aren't members of any particular congregation. I suspect that it's easier to find fault with the body from a distance than it is up close, easier to criticize them than it is us. Easier to drift away than to struggle within. When I have a conversation with a Christian complaining about our shared faith one of the first things I ask them is what church they attend. I believe that when we isolate ourselves in that particular we can also lose sight of our own weakness and need. A need to comfort and be comforted, to forgive and be forgiven, to help and to be helped.

              We are fashioned in faith to be instruments working in concert.
              Like members of a single body. 1st Corinthians 12:12 KJV
              Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
              Dull that edge and the impact must be profound over time.
              1st Corinthians 12, starting at verse 14:

              For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

              Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

              He then goes on to wax eloquent about love in famous chapter 13.
              Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
              So we end up abandoning our faith, because we have found it increasingly easy to judge others, to note their hypocrisy and to become angry with our sense of that failure. It is an easy thing without the empathy that intimate connections encourage, and failing to see God in others we eventually fail to be aware of Him in ourselves.
              I want so badly to agree that the remedy to Christianity's problem is for us all to unqualifiedly focus upon love, but the trouble with that is that it is not a new idea, and so therefore I fear that what we now have before us, with a pronounced fraying of the one Body of Christ (in direct contrast to, "there should be no schism in the body" 1Co12:25KJV), with so many going to different worship services, and with so many abstaining from any weekly worship service attendance, is already a fruit of that tree.

              I fear that the solution must be in some way theological, that there must be theological rigor in the solution, in the elixir, in the cure, in the remedy. I fear that the focus on love needs to be qualified theologically, so that we all are speaking the same language, and we are all using the same homonym ("love" having many different meanings for many different people).

              And I see in Paul's words, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," and in contrast to when he wrote that, now all the Apostles are dead, and prophecy appears to have ceased, but those teachers that he mentions; those are in other scriptures called "elders," "overseers," "bishops," and Paul wrote to two bishops, Titus and Timothy, and we also know that James the Just was the first bishop of the church in Jerusalem.

              We know that Paul instructed Bishop Timothy to instruct other men (2Ti2:2KJV), so we have the pattern right in Scripture, for how the authentic pastorate would continue. The New Testament is rather clear about there being an authentic pastorate, and especially in the centuries following the Apostolic era, Church unity centered around these authentic bishops, who presided over the weekly celebration of the Christian Mass, which has been celebrated from the first day of the Church (Acts 2:42 KJV), and yes, who taught the one authentic Christian faith.

              I applaud your apparent desire to work towards seeing the Body of Christ reunified, as in the beginning, and I agree that it is a worthy endeavor, a worthy goal to pursue; in fact, I think it might be the most important thing to focus on, as a Christian; as a subject of our King, the Lord Jesus. We the Body of Christ are over two billion strong. If we can come together as one (again), we can do great things for the cause of Christ on this earth, imo.
              "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

              @Nee_Nihilo

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
                I don't agree, Jerry. I've seen doubt in my own life, witnessed it in others directly and by reading the Bible. I think, rather, that God does not lose His own, which is different. Doubt is the reflection of imperfect beings approaching perfection. It is a temptation to resist that perfection and to retreat into the "comfort" of our own certainty. Without loving individuals to help us, we are fortunate if we don't stumble into the darkness again, though God will pull us from it in His time and by His design.

                I believe we may lose people from time to time in grief and anger. People who relied on Christ and confessed. I believe their road back will be a trial of sorts, but where that confession and reliance was unreserved I also believe the homecoming is inevitable.
                I so much disagree with the identification of believing in Christ as like Kierkegaard's "leap of faith," because I disagree that it is like a leap of any real sort.

                With any leap, there is a time where we are suspended in the air, and, being humans and not birds, at that point, we are powerless to change our direction. The physics that we possessed when we left the ground during our leap, determined inexorably our trajectory and where we are going to land, and this isn't what being a Christian is like for me in any way. Being a Christian, believing in Christ, is a positive choice that we make every moment of every day, and there is nothing that we can do that is not reversible.

                The most important outcome of this rejection of Christian faith as being a "leap of faith," is that nonbelievers are free to, without concern, "try" Christianity. In other places, I have made the impenetrable case that the one Seed of the Gospel that we must believe in order to be authentic Christians, is to believe in Christ's Resurrection as nonfiction historical fact. This is the 'sine qua non' of the faith, and if we reject that Christian belief is a "leap of faith," then we can set out for people an experimental plan, if they would just like to see what it is like to be a Christian. The one thing needful is believing in Christ's Resurrection, and since we are not 'leaving the ground' or catapulting ourselves into mid air, we can 'taste and see,' without worry that we've made an unalterable life choice.

                Now, as a Christian holding to a particular school of Christian theology, I do believe that the choice is permanent, and that anybody who at any time in their lives truly and freely believes in Christ, cannot then dig up that sprout from that seed---but nobody else has to believe in that. Or even know it.
                "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

                @Nee_Nihilo

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
                  Did you ever question the truth of the gospel of your salvation?
                  Intellectually, yes. But it won't stick. It's like wondering if there are lions in the attic. Intellectually, I understand it's possible, but contemplating it still feels absurd against the experience of my life in this house.

                  But I suspect it is all in our focus. You cannot understand a door to be opened to you unless you see the door. If something stands between you and it, then the choices you make will be different, at least until the obstacle to your sight is removed or you move sufficiently to gain a new perspective. So I don't look at every apostate and say, "Well then, you weren't really a Christian after all." I look at them and wonder at what it might be that has come between them and their better understanding.

                  You confuse emotions with knowledge.
                  No, I don't believe that I do. I'm speaking to how we process life, which is really rarely one way or the other.

                  There is no such thing as a person with saving faith retreating from the "evidence" which they possess because the Lord Jesus has given us an "understanding" of these things.
                  I think that's a dangerous and hard mistake you make and one that will render you useless in the effort to reach and help those who are in anguish and need.

                  A person with saving faith can stumble in His "walk"
                  Who are you or I to define the time and degree of that stumble and what is entailed? Maybe we're just talking about the same thing using different words. I think of the apostate who genuinely loved Christ as a form of stumbling, only different from the rest of us who sin by degree and duration.
                  Last edited by Town Heretic; January 22nd, 2019, 03:07 PM.
                  You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

                  Pro-Life






                  Comment


                  • Someone claiming to have lost their faith, never possessed it in the first place. True believers persevere in faith and sanctity not by their good works but by the grace of God. It is impossible that those whom the Father gave to the Son, for whom the Son intentionally laid down his life, whom the Holy Spirit has efficaciously brought to new life and true faith, whom the Spirit has united to Christ, whom God has justified and adopted, whom he will finally save by grace alone, through faith alone, should be lost. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

                    When WCF 17.1 says that you can neither totally nor finally fall, it acknowledges the possibility that you may partially and penultimately fall. Similarly we would say that the elect are not totally or finally deceived as to fundamental points of truth necessary for salvation; but that means they can be partially and penultimately deceived and deal with great confusion.

                    Any decent theologian worth his salt can distinguish between the act and the habit of faith. The act of faith may recede beyond your ability to discern it; but the habit is there. So it is true that the elect never lose their faith; it is not true that the faith of the elect is always sensible to them or visible to others. In having doubts or temptations, etc., there's certainly some weakness in the acting of faith; but that doesn't imply its entire destruction.

                    Perseverance is not a straight line. Sometimes perseverance looks like joyful triumphing over problems. Sometimes perseverance looks like Job: struggling, flailing, uttering words without wisdom, but retaining his integrity and resolving to trust God even though it kills him. Perseverance in faith is not necessarily freedom from confusion, doubts, and wrong ideas, but continuing to trust the Lord (or continually returning to that trust after forgetting!) and seeking to hear His word.

                    Firstly, I firmly believe that those whom God chose and accepted in Christ He effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit; can neither totally or finally fall away from the state of grace. The believer is eternally saved and shall persevere until the end (Phil. 1:6; 2 Peter 1:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 10:28-29; 1 John 3:9; 5:18; 1 Peter 1:5, 9).

                    Secondly, even true believers may have their assurance of faith shaken by several things; it may be diminished or even interrupted; such as negligence in preserving it, by falling into sins which wound the conscience and grieve the Holy Spirit. Also, these things can happen by some sudden or particularly vile temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His face, or suffering the same things that cause fear to those who walk in darkness having no light (Psa. 31:22; 51:8, 12, 14; 77:1-10; Eph. 4:30-31; Matt. 26:69-72; Luke 22:31-44).

                    However, the true believer is never totally destitute of the seed of God and the life of faith that in the end their love of Christ and the church having a conscience to their duties by operation of the Holy Spirit will in due time be restored (1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Psa. 51:8, 12; 73:15). In the meantime, they are supported to keep them from utter despair (Micah 7:7-9; Jer. 32:40; Isa. 54:7-14; 2 Cor. 4:8-10).

                    We need to trust God's word, not our fickle feelings, when He says:

                    "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life."

                    I believe assurance can be gained in our walk of faith from feeding our faith and starving our doubts by not neglecting daily Scripture study, rejoicing in hope, being patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12), fellowship with other believers, keeping stewardship of the secular and spiritual gifts God has given us, and with regular assembly with others to worship God, receive instruction, access the ordinary means of grace, and be subject to discipline.

                    For more:

                    http://theologyonline.com/showthread...=1#post4495390

                    http://theologyonline.com/showthread.php?101223-Why-shouldn-t-I-convert-from-Evangelical-Protestant-to-Catholic&p=4348822&viewfull=1#post4348822



                    AMR
                    Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



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                    • Hey AMR. For some reason I couldn't get the quote function to work. I'd say there would be no real point to scripture noting that none God has can be lost to Him without that reflecting what I'm speaking to, the ability to lose our way for a time, to have our vision obscured, to rest in our understanding instead of relying on God, but I never doubt that God will bring those through their personal wilderness.

                      I'm not suggesting this is true of all apostates, but then I've met apostates whose claim to Christianity appeared, upon mutual reflection and examination, to be more the product of social conditioning or experimentation than conviction.

                      I am convinced that men can be blinded by anger, grief, and ego into a darkness that only time and God can pierce.
                      You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

                      Pro-Life






                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Town Heretic View Post
                        Intellectually, yes. But it won't stick. It's like wondering if there are lions in the attic. Intellectually, I understand it's possible, but contemplating it still feels absurd against the experience of my life in this house.
                        Town, what "truth" do you think that is being referred to in the following passage written by the Apostle John?:
                        "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever" (2 Cor.2:2).

                        At one point in time I called myself a Christian but I had some doubts about whether the revelation revealed in the Bible was true. Then one day while I was reading the Bible I knew for certain, beyond any doubt, that it is true. At that moment I knew that I had been "born of God," "born of the Spirit," "born again."

                        Those who don't experience this birth are ,for some reason, "resisting the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51) which accompanies the gospel.

                        Of course the LORD who made us can communicate with us in such a way whereby that we know beyond any doubt that the revelation He gives us is true.

                        And that happened in my case. And the Bible testifies to the truth that those who have been born again "know" these things are true because the Lord has given us an "understanding" of them:
                        "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn.5:20).

                        Even though the Lord Himself has given us an understanding that comes in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance you say that we can be in doubt. If you are right then the Lord gave us a inadequate "understanding" or an insufficient "understanding" so that we may know Him.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                          I believe assurance can be gained in our walk of faith from feeding our faith and starving our doubts by not neglecting daily Scripture study, rejoicing in hope, being patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12), fellowship with other believers, keeping stewardship of the secular and spiritual gifts God has given us, and with regular assembly with others to worship God, receive instruction, access the ordinary means of grace, and be subject to discipline.
                          Full assurance happens the moment a person believes the gospel:
                          "For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction" (1 Thess.1:5; NIV).

                          According to your ideas assurance cannot come to a person until he has done this or done that even though the gospel comes in the power of God (1 Cor.2:5) and in the Holy Spirit and results in those with saving faith have the "evidence" of things not seen (Heb.11:1).

                          A person with saving faith has this "evidence" the moment he believes and the same evidence provides full assurance that what is revealed in true. But according to you "assurance" is gained in our walk.

                          Comment


                          • Went outside late with Joanna and Jack because they told me, "It (the eclipse) won't happen again for eighteen years!"

                            Watched the two of them shivering in the cold, wonderstruck, and thought that a rarer and more beautiful thing was happening right in front of me.

                            I can do eighteen years standing on my head.

                            Better, I won't have to wait a few decades to see it happen again. Only until the next thing that catches their imagination.
                            You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

                            Pro-Life






                            Comment


                            • I'm going to close this one down until an issue is resolved.

                              Sorry to those of you who have attempted to advance the conversation or share something meaningful otherwise.
                              You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

                              Pro-Life






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                              • If anyone comes here to engage in personal attacks, I don't care who you are, you will be booted from this thread.

                                From the TOL rules:

                                "Please do not marginalize TOL threads or TOL members, the topics and threads that interest some TOL members might not interest you. Just ignore threads and TOL members that do not interest you."


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