thanks veritas and middlebrow
In modern times, things have been different: we take for granted that there must be an absolute divide between vital Christian experience on the one hand, and careful doctrinal theology on the other. To us, action and reflection seem mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to Christian faith. The last thing we would expect to find is gospel and theology flowing from the same passionate commitment. But in the long flow of Christian history, that is how it has usually been, from the church fathers and the medievals through the reformers and puritans. All of them recognized that simple, saving faith could and should be elaborated into the trinitarianism of Nicaea and the incarnational theology of Chalcedon. It took the crafty liberal theologians of the nineteenth century to invent the argument that central Christian doctrines were, in Adolf Harnack’s words, “a work of the Greek spirit on the soil of the gospel” and a betrayal of the simplicity of Jesus’ message.
One of the great ironies of modern theological history is that the heirs of those conservatives who opposed high liberalism have become the chief bearers of the Harnackian bias against doctrine. Whenever they assume that the best way to embrace the simple gospel is to eschew the difficulties of doctrine, evangelicals are unconsciously adopting the position of their opponents and standing in contradiction to their own best interests. In doing so, they take themselves out of the very stream of power which made their movement possible in the first place: the gospel stream of doctrine and devotion that flows from the fathers to the first fundamentalists. J. I. Packer once defined evangelicalism as “fidelity to the doctrinal content of the gospel,” taking care to not to bypass the “doctrinal content” in the rush to get to a gospel. Fidelity to the gospel requires recognition of doctrinal content, and those who would preach the gospel must make use of the tools of theology.
for Augustine and the early church, and for Anselm and the medieval church, the relationship between faith and knowledge could be summed up in the saying, Credo ut intelligam: I believe in order to know,but this relationship was then inverted by Descartes, whose principle then became, "I doubt in order to know":
For Descartes, the fact that he was doubting, that his mind was active in doubting, was for him indubitable evidence of his existence. Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am. But take note of his way to know. It used to be: I believe in order to know. For Descartes, it became: I doubt in order to know.Descartes did not take this to its logical conclusion (namely, "the elimination of the possibility of certain knowledge about anything"), but Nietzsche did, and "the relativism and pluralism of the postmodern mind reflect a triumph of the ways of Nietzsche". A particularly good point made by Dr Okamoto is:
For Descartes, doubt was the starting point to certain knowledge, but doubting has turned out to be his legacy, and it is enormous. As Lesslie Newbigin observed: "At the most obvious level, it has created a prejudice in favor of doubt over faith. The phrases 'blind faith' and 'honest doubt' have become the most common of currency. Both faith and doubt can be honest or blind, but one does not hear of 'blind doubt' or of 'honest faith.' ""Blind doubt": brilliant. That's exactly what we see all around us. People who don't actually have the first idea what Christianity is about, but (like a three-year old refusing his dinner), just know they don't like it. And yet who think they are exercising "honest doubt" in place of the poor, deluded "blind faith" of those ignorant, lumpen, bigoted Christians.
from confessing evangelical
Evolution v Intelligent Design v Creationism
the scientific establishment is bent on amalgamating Intelligent Design (ID) with Young Earth Creationsim (YEC) which seems to kill 2 birds with the one stone, but, only after forcing ID into a sort of 'straw man' marriage with YEC.
there are excellent arguements against YEC and a few were illiterated on the night but the arguements against ID were of woeful quality.
To make matters worse, I engaged in conversation with a bright biology student who invited me to discuss things with him on 'scam.com' where a protracted debate was being held in regards the evolution/creation debate.... only to find stupid Christians who have no idea of how to debate a point properly let alone represent thier faith in an appropriate manner, basically vandalising the debate.
see http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?p=281448#post281448 for more detail on how not to do it.
CHRISTIANS - THE MOST PERSECUTED PEOPLE GROUP ON EARTH
Rising nationalism and fundamentalism around the world have meant that Christianity is going back to its roots as the religion of the persecuted.
There are now more than 300 million Christians who are either threatened with violence or legally discriminated against simply because of their faith - more than any other religion. Christians are no longer, as far as I am aware, thrown to the lions. But from China, North Korea and Malaysia, through India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, they are subjected to legalised discrimination, violence, imprisonment, relocation and forced conversion. Even in supposedly Christian Europe, Christianity has become the most mocked religion, its followers treated with public suspicion and derision.
I am no Christian, but rather a godless atheist whose soul doesn't want to be saved, thank you. I may not believe in the man with the white beard, but I do believe that all persecution is wrong. The trouble is that the trendies who normally champion human rights seem to think persecution is fine, so long as it's only against Christians. While Muslims openly help other Muslims, Christians helping Christians has become as taboo as jingoistic nationalism.
On the face of it, the idea of Christians facing serious persecution seems as far-fetched as a carpenter saving humanity. Christianity is the world's most followed religion, with two billion believers, and by far its most powerful. It is the most popular faith in six of the seven continents, and in both of the world's two biggest economies, the US and Europe. Seven of the G8 richest industrial nations are majority Christian, as are four out of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The cheek-turners control the vast majority of the world's weapons of mass destruction.
When I bumped into George Bush in the breakfast room of the US embassy in Brussels, standing right behind me were two men in uniform carrying the little black 'nuclear football', containing the codes to enable the world's most powerful Christian to unleash the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal. Christians claiming persecution seem as credible as Bill Gates pleading poverty. But just as armies from Christian-majority countries control Iraq as it ethnically cleanses itself of its Christian community, so the power of Christian countries is of little help to the Christian persecuted where most Christians now live: the Third World.
Across the Islamic world, Christians are systematically discriminated against and persecuted. Saudi Arabia - the global fountain of religious bigotry - bans churches, public Christian worship, the Bible and the sale of Christmas cards, and stops non-Muslims from entering Mecca. Christians are regularly imprisoned and tortured on trumped-up charges of drinking, blaspheming or Bible-bashing, as some British citizens have found.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has announced that only Muslims can become citizens.
The Copts of Egypt make up half the Christians in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity. They inhabited the land before the Islamic conquest, and still make up a fifth of the population. By law they are banned from being president of the Islamic Republic of Egypt or attending Al Azhar University, and severely restricted from joining the police and army. By practice they are banned from holding any high political or commercial position. Under the 19th-century Hamayouni decrees, Copts must get permission from the president to build or repair churches - but he usually refuses. Mosques face no such controls.
Government-controlled TV broadcasts anti-Copt propaganda, while giving no airtime to Copts. It is illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but legal for Christians to convert to Islam. Christian girls - and even the wives of Christian priests - are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. A report by Freedom House in Washington concludes: 'The cumulative effect of these threats creates an atmosphere of persecution and raises fears that during the 21st century the Copts may have a vastly diminished presence in their homelands.'
Fr Drew Christiansen, an adviser to the US Conference of Bishops, recently conducted a study which stated that 'all over the Middle East, Christians are under pressure. "The cradle of Christianity" is under enormous pressure from demographic decline, the growth of Islamic militancy, official and unofficial discrimination, the Iraq war, the Palestinian Intifada, failed peace policies and political manipulation.'
In the world's most economically successful Muslim nation, Malaysia, the world's only deliberate affirmative action programme for a majority population ensures that Muslims are given better access to jobs, housing and education. In the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, some 10,000 Christians have been killed in the last few years by Muslims trying to Islamify the Moluccas.
In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, most of the five million Christians live as an underclass, doing work such as toilet-cleaning. Under the Hudood ordinances, a Muslim can testify against a non-Muslim in court, but a non-Muslim cannot testify against a Muslim. Blasphemy laws are abused to persecute Christians. In the last few years, dozens of Christians have been killed in bomb and gun attacks on churches and Christian schools.
In Nigeria, 12 states have introduced Sharia law, which affects Christians as much as Muslims. Christian girls are forced to wear the Islamic veil at school, and Christians are banned from drinking alcohol. Thousands of Christians have been killed in the last few years in the ensuing violence.
Although persecution of Christians is greatest in Muslim countries, it happens in countries of all religions and none. In Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, religious tension led to 44 churches being attacked in a four month period, with 140 churches being forced to close because of intimidation. In India, the rise of Hindu nationalism has lead to persecution not just of Muslims but of Christians. There have been hundreds of attacks against the Christian community, which has been in India since ad 100. The government's affirmative action programme for untouchables guarantees jobs and loans for poor Hindus and Buddhists, but not for Christians.
Last year in China, which has about 70 million Christians, more than 100 'house churches' were closed down, and dozens of priests imprisoned. If you join the Communist party, you get special privileges, but you can only join if you are atheist. In North Korea, Christians are persecuted as anti-communist elements, and dissidents claim they are not just imprisoned but used in chemical warfare experiments.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Barnabas Trust, which helps persecuted Christians, blames rising global religious tension. 'More and more Christians are seen as the odd ones out - they are seen as transplants from the West, and not really trusted. It is getting very much worse.' Even in what was, before multiculturalism, known as Christendom, Christians are persecuted. I have spoken to dozens of former Muslims who have converted to Christianity in Britain, and who are shunned by their community, subjected to mob violence, forced out of town, threatened with death and even kidnapped. The Barnabas Trust knows of 3,000 such Christians facing persecution in Britain, but the police and government do nothing.
You get the gist. Dr Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Centre for Religious Freedom in Washington, estimates that there are 200 million Christians who face violence because of their faith, and 350 million who face legally sanctioned discrimination in terms of access to jobs and housing. The World Evangelical Alliance wrote in a report to the UN Human Rights Commission last year that Christians are 'the largest single group in the world which is being denied human rights on the basis of their faith'.
Part of the problem is old-style racism against non-whites; part of it is new-style guilt. If all this were happening to the world's Sikhs or Muslims simply because of their faith, you can be sure it would lead the 10 O'Clock News and the front page of the Guardian on a regular basis. But the BBC, despite being mainly funded by Christians, is an organisation that promotes ridicule of the Bible, while banning criticism of the Koran. Dr Marshall
said: 'Christians are seen as Europeans and Americans, which means you get a lack of sympathy which you would not get if they were Tibetan Buddhists.'
Christians themselves are partly to blame for all this. Some get a masochistic kick out of being persecuted, believing it brings them closer to Jesus, crucified for His beliefs. Christianity uniquely defines itself by its persecution, and its forgiveness of its persecutors: the Christian symbol is the method of execution of its founder. Christianity was a persecuted religion for its first three centuries, until Emperor Constantine decided that worshipping Jesus was better for winning battles than worshipping the sun. In contrast, Mohammed was a soldier and ruler who led his people into victorious battle against their enemies. In the hundred years after the death of Mohammed, Islam conquered and converted most of North Africa and the Middle East in the most remarkable religious expansion in history.
To this day, while Muslims stick up for their co-religionists, Christians - beyond a few charities - have given up such forms of discrimination. Dr Sookhdeo said: 'The Muslims have an Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community] whereas Christians do not have Christendom. There is no Christian country that says, "We are Christian and we will help Christians."'
As a liberal democrat atheist, I believe all persecuted people should be helped equally, irrespective of their religion. But the guilt-ridden West is ignoring people because of their religion. If non-Christians like me can sense the nonsense, how does it make Christians feel? And how are they going to react? The Christophobes worried about rising Christian fundamentalism in Britain should understand that it is a reaction to our double standards. And as long as our double standards exist, Christian fundamentalism will grow.
In contrast, Philippians 2:3-4 says we’re to be humble, not just looking to our own affairs but also to the affairs of others. Greek and Roman culture mocked humility and exalted pride–just as our society does today. That makes humility a distinctive that marks those who live for Christ.
First Timothy 6:17 goes on to say we must not fix our "hope on the uncertainty of riches." We must continually fight that temptation and fix our hope on the reality of future grace (1 Pet. 1:13). Still, our natural tendency is to rely on our riches when we have a lot, and turn to God when we have little.
Never Take a Leap of Faith
I encourage Christians to ban words like “faith” and “belief” from their vocabulary. They’re too easily misunderstood. In today’s culture, people take “faith” and “belief” as religious wishful thinking, not the kind of intelligent step of trust the Bible has in mind when it uses those words. Instead, use the language of truth during your moments of truth so there’s no confusion. Simply put: Talk about facts, not faith.
Well, I just had a chance to put that advice into practice in one of my own “moments of truth”—for a national TV audience.
The occasion was the taping of a full hour of crossfire-style debate hosted by Lee Strobel for PAX TV. My opponent was New Age guru Deepak Chopra, the best-selling author of more than 20 million books. (This episode of “Faith Under Fire” will air on PAX-TV on April 30.)
Strobel’s opening question to me was, “Greg, what do you think the future of faith looks like?”
This is exactly the kind of situation I'm talking about—the word “faith” twisting in the wind in all its troublesome ambiguity. Here was the essence of my response:
"Lee, we have to be clear on what we mean by “the future of faith.” We could mean “the future of religion”—faith as a noun—or we could mean “the future of acts of trust”—faith as a verb.
"In one sense, the future of religion is the same as it’s ever been. If your religious beliefs are accurate, there is tremendous hope. But if your religious views are false, if you’re taking a leap of faith trusting in fantasy, there is no hope.
"Whatever was true 1000 years ago about religion is true today. Reality doesn’t change just because beliefs change. And reality has a way of bruising those who don’t take it seriously. This is why Christianity has never encouraged a leap of faith.
"If we get reality wrong and trust in a fantasy, a mistake, we’re going to get injured. Our job is to do the best we can to get the facts right, to have accurate religious views—faith as a noun—then act consistently with those facts—faith as a verb.
"So, if truth is your goal, I’m optimistic about the future of faith. If it’s not, if people turn instead to leaps of faith and wishful thinking, then I’m pessimistic."
This was my opening salvo. A vigorous debate followed. From the outset, though, I wanted to set the tone. Regardless of whatever Dr. Chopra had in mind, as a Christian I was interested in reality, in truth—not in rosy fantasies or wishful thinking.
By contrast, Chopra championed feelings and experience over religious doctrine and dogma. This is dangerous advice.
Mark this: Feelings make life beautiful, but careful thinking—reason—makes life safe.
Feelings are misleading indicators. People can feel safe even when in desperate peril. They can also feel completely conflicted and distraught when doing what is right.
This is like the used car salesman who tells you, “Drive the car, but don’t look under the hood.” You may enjoy the ride, but you’ll never know if he’s selling you a lemon or not.
Never trust anyone who tells you to rely on experience over right thinking. Most requests to banish judgments come just before someone says or does something that ought to be judged.
They say, “Experience, not reason is the best guide for truth,” just before making claims you should be inspecting very carefully, but they’re telling you not to. They rob you of the tools necessary to separate good from evil, wisdom from silliness, safety from peril.
In life there are lots of lemons. And many of them are spiritually deadly. “Look before you leap” is sage advice. It applies especially to leaps of faith.
freedom (thanks to zeke)
-Jesus Christ, as quoted in John 8:32 (NIV)
For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave.
-The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7:22, NIV)
Every man longs for his own freedom, the freedom to do what he wants when he wants to. In fact however, there is nothing stopping us from doing so except the logical consequences of our behavior if what we want to do is break the law and hurt other people. Otherwise, God is not stopping us. We can do whatever we wish.
I suspect though that when we say that we want to do whatever we want whenever we want, what we really mean is and be content. The problem for us is that this desire to be unbound and liberated in both person and spirit is not consistent with our design; it would be as if a bicycle wanted to be a paddleboat. We are given free will to make choices, but it is not our design to be liberated from encumbrances and be "free" spirits if free means unaccountable and without responsibility. Simply put, we are not free in that way and never will be no matter how we might wish it. It is our design to serve God. If we choose not to serve God (through loving commitment to our personal mission), then we will simply choose to serve something else, most likely a self-serving (and therefore self-destructive) addiction such as comfort, sex, alcohol, drugs, television, recreation, avoidance or fear. We have to serve. It is our design to serve.
To be truly free, we must choose to serve God--who by the way has demonstrated through his commitment to our free will that he is no slavish taskmaster and has no aspirations to dominate and control our souls. He wants to see us conform to our design specifications and experience the joy and peace that comes from fulfilling what we were made to fulfill. In doing so, we become one with him who created us. We receive the ultimate reward for our conformity: "Well done, my good and faithful servant." We reside with the master and creator for all eternity.
First of all, if someone holds that there is no truth, then there's at least one thing that's true: the statement they just uttered that there is no truth. It's one of those awkward situations for a person making a claim, because there's no way their claim can be true. If it's true, it's false, and if it's false, it's false. Obviously, if the statement "There is no truth" is false, then it's false. But even if it's true that there is no truth, then it's also false, because that becomes a true statement, which nullifies it.
It's called a self-refuting statement. It's as if I said, "I can't speak a word of English." If I said it in English, of course that would be self-refuting. This is one of those statements. Even to utter the statement itself is a statement of truth, and so the statement that there is no truth can't stand. It defeats itself.
But there's more. In order to state the phrase "There is no truth," an individual must exist to ponder the truths of existence. Remember Descartes, sitting around in his oven back in the 18th Century, or thereabouts? He said, "I can doubt everything, but the one thing I can't doubt is the fact that I am doubting." He came up with a dictum: Cogito, ergo sum, or "I think, therefore I am." I must exist if I'm pondering my existence. Someone who states that there is no truth must exist, and so it's true that at least one individual, the one uttering the statement, must exist.
Time must also exist, by the way. Time must exist to express a sequence of words, the sequence being "There is no truth." The word "is" must come after the word "there," and the word "no" after both of them, and one can only come after the other if there's time, with present, past and future. So time must exist as an objectively true thing, because this statement was uttered with words in temporal sequence.
The statement itself is a proposition, so propositions must exist. That's a truth. It contains tokens, words that are tokens of ideas. The concept of truth, the concept of negation expressed in the word "no," must exist as ideas and be true as existants, things that exist.
There has to be the concept of unity, the idea that the four words work together in a sentence, and plurality, the distinction of the four different words. Space must exist to differentiate one word from another, separating the units.
If the statement itself that there is no truth is true, then its opposite must be false. If there is no truth, then it is not the case that there is truth. Therefore, the law of non-contradiction must exist and be true. That statement is also distinguished from all of its contradictions, so the law of identity must be true.
There's at least one sentence that exists, because the person just uttered it. That must be true. There are English words, and grammatical relationships between the words-- subject and predicate. That must be true.
The numbers one through four must exist because there are four different words. So addition must be true, because you add those units up and get the number four. The alphabet exists. Parts of speech exist, like nouns and verbs.
Do you see the point? In order to object by saying "There is no truth," there must be at least 14 things that are true before you can even make the statement. They must, in fact, be necessarily true, given the statement itself. When I say necessarily true, I mean there's no way they can be false, given the statement, "There is no truth," uttered in English. If there's such a statement uttered in English, then all these other things must be true. It's impossible for them not to be true.
That's why radical skepticism like this is not justified. As one thinker put it-- Dallas Willard, a Christian philosopher at U.S.C.-- "If we want to be intellectually honest skeptics, we must be as skeptical about our skepticism as we are about our knowledge." We should take the burden of proof to defend our skepticism instead of simply asserting our skepticism. Anyone can assert skepticism. Whether they can make sense out of their skepticism is a different thing.
That's why just uttering the statement "There is no truth," in itself establishes the truth of many different things. And if we can establish their truth just by uttering such a statement, then it seems to me there are a whole lot of other things we can determine to be true as well, and be certain about.
Therefore, radical skepticism is unjustified.
Authorities have raided an illegal cockfighting ring in Melbourne's south-east, seizing about 50 injured birds.
Police and the RSPCA swooped on a property in Festival Crescent, Keysborough, about 1pm (AEST) Sunday, after an anonymous tip-off.
One dead cock and several injured birds were seized, together with 40 cockfighting spurs.
RSPCA Victorian president Dr Hugh Wirth described the blood sport as appalling, saying some of the birds were so badly injured they may have to be destroyed.
But then lets just ignore the fact that approx 2000 human babies are aborted in Australia ever week then eh....
Gay Marriage, Slippery Slopes and Children
Marriage - considered as a legally sanctioned union of one man and one woman - plays a vital role in preserving the common good and promoting the welfare of children. In virtually every known human society, the institution of marriage provides order and meaning to adult sexual relationships and, more fundamentally, furnishes the ideal context for the bearing and rearing of the young. The health of marriage is particularly important in a free society such as our own, which depends upon citizens to govern their private lives and rear their children responsibly, so as to limit the scope, size, and power of the state. Marriage is also an important source of social, human, and financial capital for children, especially for children growing up in poor, disadvantaged communities who do not have ready access to other sources of such capital. Thus, from the point of view of spouses, children, society, and the polity, marriage advances the public interest.
Wolves in sheeps clothing are not Sheep
and you know what - i am sick to death of this pathetic weak kneed attitude to the truth...
should Martin Luther have taken this advice we would never have had the protestant reformation in 1517.
should the apostle Paul have taken this advice he wouldn't have written Galations... or Timothy for that matter
“I solemnly charge you…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (4:1-2)
more people should have a little more guts to stand up to pastors/leaders who corrupt the teaching of the Bible for their own gain - they do us no good... anon also assumes that i regard certain groups that call themselves "Christian" actually are Christian... Wolves in sheeps clothing are not Sheep
this same anon earlier on the same string said
"PS.. I am a capitalist but not a materialist, I must have huge amounts of excess cash in order to achieve the goals for the Kingdom that God has placed in my heart."
what sort of bullshit is this????? this person obviously has no idea of what it is to be a Christian... Being a Christian is a complete worldview that subverts every vain philosophy that the world puts up to cope with the position of falleness that we find ourselves in... a capitalist puts faith in money (the profit motivation - based on selfishness) to cure the worlds problems... a communist believes in command economies and redistribution of wealth...
more careful consideration is needed of the concept of "in the world but not of the world" ... we live and work in a capitalist democracy... but we are neither capitalist or democrats.
the Western Church has syncretised its beliefs with non-Christian worldviews so seemlessly that it can't now comprehend that God is opposed to those beliefs or is even capable of having his will done without our money...
you are not a mega-overcomer/warrior princess out their taking the world by storm for Christ....... You are white trash, garbage, refuse, worthless decaying dung that has no value whatsoever save for that one thing... The Creator of the universe through his Grace and Divine Fiat has placed value in you and decided that you were worth dying for... why? I honestly don't know but I'm sure glad he did
what is my purpose
what went wrong
where do i go from here
these questions are answered by the Christian worldview in a complete and non contradictory way
and the thing is whether your a stay at home mum, dying of cancer in hospital, running the country or starving in africa .. we all have a lifelong quest to answer these questions… as Christians we believe that we have answered these questions… the problem the church faces is how do we get our answers across to our neighbours when (in one sense) they seem to be speaking another language?
God designed us to share his creation but in our rebellion we want to own his creation and be master of it ourselves and money helps us do that.
Money is not a neutral thing... it is more powerful than sex,power, material things, position, fame etc because money offers them all... good things can be done with money of course but as humans we are (in our natural state of rebellion) unable to do the right thing with it separate from God's grace... it is only ever through Gods grace that i will ever do any good with what i have.
HAVING A GO AT THE STATUS QUO
it is obviously a multifaceted problem the church is facing, and my opinion is focussing on certain areas only, but, i believe wholeheartedly that the area of apologetics and an overarching understanding of the biblical narrative or ‘worldview’ is are two areas where the church has not come to grips with the present day reality.
our pastors are trained to engage in a world that does not exist anymore, modernism is dead and postmodernism reigns…
so many pastors i have spoken to have no idea about what postmodernism even is… how can they reach or train their congregations to reach a society they don’t understand and can’t relate to. most of the time they are preaching to the converted in an effort to make them feel better as opposed to equipping them to engage the world in a manner that is going to be effective in the slightest…
ask these questions of your average church goer..
1. can you show me reasonable evidence for the existence of God.
2. how can you say you are right and i am wrong when truth is relative
3. what is the purpose of humanity
4. hasn’t evolution disproved the existence of God
5. whats the difference between believing in God and believing in Santa Claus
6. don’t all religions lead to God
now some here will give great answers i know but you average Christian will have no idea and i know many pastors that would give the most pathetic kindergarten answers to these questions…
we are fighting a battle in the nuclear age with bows and arrows
Do you pass the test?
Thanks to Lionfish
“…some slick pragmatic operators were to grab hold of and develop a much more efficient form of the Amway Business model:
1) Let’s eliminate the need for physical product. With the cost of production, logistics inventory and stock losses – services always have much higher gross margins than physical product.
2) Lets keep only those physical products that keep well, sell well such as motivational books, CD’s and resources…even better if we can sell them over the Internet!
3) Let’s fill the warehouse with an experience that appeals to their emotions….surely God must be here with those catchy tunes, jokes, good-guy-back-slappin’ and all that flattery.
4) Let’s now tell them that their upline’s are God’s anointed – and should not be questioned. We will do the thinking for them.
5) Let’s tickle their ears with swallow-follow motivational teaching that makes them feel important and that God has an amazing plan for their lives.
6) Who cares about adequate hermeneutics and exegesis – anyway that for boring old seminarian qualified Pastors that answer irrelevant questions that nobody wants to know about anymore…like salvation, the mystery of baptism, the sacraments, sin, predestination, and freewill. What good is that if it does not appear to improve their lives – right here, right now!
7) Let’s tell them that its right that they go out and work harder to double their incomes – as they will have more to give away…to Us and our House of God. Contentment is for the Lazy.
8) Lets twist the scriptures…just a little when it comes to money – tell them that God will bless and prosper them if they bring 10% pre-tax into the ‘House of God’ and infer that they will be robbing God if they don’t…heaping curses upon themselves.
9) If any one questions this teaching – try making them fell guilty “because lives hang in the balance over this one” and because God gave you a revelation about this.
10) Let’s tell them that this old commercial warehouse is “The House of God”…and to contribute to it is their first priority on the road to success. They can only give to World Vision and other good causes after they have brought their whole tithe to God’s House.
11) Let’s tell them that they just can’t get enough of our tapes, conferences and events – as if they do they will miss the important key’s in their life – or worse God talking to them through the anointed speakers.
12) Remember, familiarity breeds contempt, don’t get to close to a downline. Remember what happened the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy pulled back the curtain and saw the Wizard as he really is – small, fallible and equally human. Let’s use sophisticated image management techniques, spin, rhetoric to ensure that there is a mystique between the Us and those down-lines on the spiritual treadmill continuously craving narcissistic supply which you will have the power to regulate.
13) Let’s promote our own Good works and generous deeds, and those of the seriously wealthy within our community - like there is no tomorrow. To hell with what the Bible says about discretion – there is no PR value in that!
14) Let’s focus the majority of our efforts of recruiting and fundraising to ensure that we replace those leaving via the backdoor after being burned out – and manage the levels of churn to ensure continuous upward growth.
15) Build a network with other like-minded Business model…self promote, get on the lucrative Pentecostal speaking circuit to seriously supplement your income and widen the geographic distribution of your resources.
16) Remember, to protect and maintain the secrecy of the Business Model at all costs. Church is a Family affair….maintain control of the Business at all times – so that it may be passed down into the hands of your Children…and your children’s children.
17) Therefore make sure that the governance stature never becomes a democracy – but retains the appearance of a Church to capture all those wonderful tax benefits that are available…such as the ability to buy your own cars cheaply and make a profit at the end of the novated lease!.
Aren’t we all so glad that this sort of nightmare does not happen in real life! “
CHRISTIANITY AND CULTS
i would say yes.... have a look at the following definitions and have a think about the church your in now
WHAT IS A CULT? (thanks to the Christian research institute)
With such an overwhelming number of religious groups around these days, it is necessary to understand the difference between a legitimate religious group and a cult. What exactly is a cult?
There are two ways to define a cult. The first way to describe a cult is popular in the secular media. From this perspective, a cult is a religious or semi-religious sect whose members are controlled almost entirely by a single individual or by an organization.
This kind of cult is usually manipulative, demanding total commitment and loyalty from its followers. Converts are usually cut off from all former associations, including their own families. The Hare Krishnas, the Family of Love led by Moses David Berg, and Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church are some examples of this kind of a cult.
The second way to define a cult is popular in evangelical Christian circles. From this perspective, a cult is any group that deviates from the orthodox teachings of the historic Christian faith being derived from the Bible and confirmed through the ancient ecumenical creeds.
These groups deny or distort fundamental Christian doctrines such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone. Some cults that would fall into this category are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, The Way International, and the Unity School of Christianity.
Most of these cults claim to be Christian, and even consider the Bible to be authoritative. But they manipulate the Scriptures to fit their own beliefs. Although they may claim to serve Jesus Christ, and may even use the same terminology orthodox Christians use, their definitions are vastly different.
These groups do not lead to the Christ of the Bible, but to another Jesus and another gospel (2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:8, 9). We must therefore reject these false teachings, and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). And, of course, remember the Bible also goes on to admonish us that we must do this with gentleness, and with respect. Remember, you must present the message, but you need to recognize that it is only the Holy Spirit that changes the heart.