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New Age Christianity: Pantheism, Paganism, & Mysticism.

40A

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I agree - and I amended my comments.

I also understand the take on Halloween. I will say that this falls into the doubt disputations that Paul teaches on. My own beliefs is that it's an Americanized commercial holiday and the traditions of today are harmless and bear no association with the origins.

But it's also the most unsafe Holiday of the year. A lot of bad stuff happens today.

One small example, try and go down to the animal shelter and adopt a cat. They won't let you. Do you know why? Because people sacrifice them on halloween. They set them on fire and do all kids of messed up stuff. It's so bad that the ASPCA has a moratorium this time of year.

This is the one of the highest holidays for people who belief and worship demons and the occult.
Yep. We were bequeathed a black cat when my brother moved out (lazy bum) and I'll just say that we will make sure that we check every door so the slippery bugger can't get out.

To your last sentence, that stuff is real. When I was in college, we were looking for trouble and went out to this place called Coronado Heights in central Kansas where we heard that some neo-pagan or wiccan folks used to go to celebrate Samhain. Central Kansas is completely flat outside of this one particular area that had somewhat of a mesa that was higher than everywhere else in the area - so back in the day they built a fort on it. Either way, we snuck up on some folks and saw some weird stuff.
 
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Duke Silver

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Yep. We were bequeathed a black cat when my brother moved out (lazy bum) and I'll just say that we will make sure that we check every door so the slippery bugger can't get out.

To your last sentence, that stuff is real. When I was in college, we were looking for trouble and went out to this place called Coronado Heights in central Kansas where we heard that some neo-pagan or wiccan folks used to go to celebrate Samhain. Central Kansas is completely flat outside of this one particular area that had somewhat of a mesa that was higher than everywhere else in the area - so back in the day they built a fort on it. Either way, we snuck up on some folks and saw some weird stuff.
Samhain! If you’re not Celtic descent, participating in Halloween is cultural appropriation.
 
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jamesrh

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Samhain! If you’re not Celtic descent, participating in Halloween is cultural appropriation.
Not only am I of Welsh decent, but I used to attend a church in NYC that did their services in Welsh. Of course, that makes Samhain problematic for other reasons, but not cultural appropriation.
 
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PFD

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You don't have to tell me, I'm a big believer in intent. As an example, I will not be participating in my church's trunk or treat tonight, because I'm not a fan of Halloween and it's occult and Druid history. However, I do not believe my brothers and sisters are bad Christians because they participate, as I believe their intent is good. Rudimentary example, but I think you get where I'm at.

However, while I agree that Catholicism hijacked paganism, I don't know if we agree on the extent of harm that has did/is doing/will do to the Catholic Church.
I agree - and I amended my comments.

I also understand the take on Halloween. I will say that this falls into the doubt disputations that Paul teaches on. My own beliefs is that it's an Americanized commercial holiday and the traditions of today are harmless and bear no association with the origins.

But it's also the most unsafe Holiday of the year. A lot of bad stuff happens today.

One small example, try and go down to the animal shelter and adopt a cat. They won't let you. Do you know why? Because people sacrifice them on halloween. They set them on fire and do all kids of messed up stuff. It's so bad that the ASPCA has a moratorium this time of year.

This is the one of the highest holidays for people who belief and worship demons and the occult.
As usual, Dr. Denison offers an excellent Scriptural take on Halloween in today's entry:

https://www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/do-you-live-in-hauntington/
 

bHero

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What is conversion?

Evangelical conversion means someone who has been saved and converted to Christianity. It's the heart and verbal confession of belief in Jesus.

But here's version I have a problem with.

One group defines "conversion" as coming closer to Christ on the assumption that everyone is already in the spear of his saving grace, though at different distances. When Christ died on the cross, everyone was saved. Because of the cross, everyone is coming closer to grace. All who follow their conscience are right with God. The Muslims pray to the same God as Christians, they are just at a further distance from the tip of on His "spear of grace."

I'd call this Universalism. These are the beliefs of the papacy and Pope Francis. http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/it.html You'll have to convert it to English. The Vatican 2 docs are pretty instructive.
 

mister serious

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One group defines "conversion" as coming closer to Christ on the assumption that everyone is already in the spear of his saving grace, though at different distances. When Christ died on the cross, everyone was saved. Because of the cross, everyone is coming closer to grace. All who follow their conscience are right with God. The Muslims pray to the same God as Christians, they are just at a further distance from the tip of on His "spear of grace."
Yeah, that's not Christianity and it's certainly not salvation as prescribed in the Bible. Everyone apart from a saving relationship with Christ (i.e. the elect) is spiritually dead. The quoted portion above presupposes that everyone became spiritually alive to some degree through the death of Christ. The Bible doesn't teach that. This is just another way that man has perverted the Gospel to "widen the gate".
 

Duke Silver

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After reading some of this thread and eating with my law school friends last night who insisted you couldn’t vote for Trump and not be a racist, it’s clear I have no place in this world except to Stratler and Waldorf you all.
 

jamesrh

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After reading some of this thread and eating with my law school friends last night who insisted you couldn’t vote for Trump and not be a racist, it’s clear I have no place in this world except to Stratler and Waldorf you all.
That's fine. I will continue to alternatively engage you seriously and heckle you back.
 

40A

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BTW if you guys are interested in a good couple of episodes on the NAR, I would highly suggest Mike Heiser's Naked Bible podcasts, episodes 179 and 180, where he specifically discusses this movement. Sorry for name dropping this dude so much, I just really respect his opinion.
 

bHero

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BTW if you guys are interested in a good couple of episodes on the NAR, I would highly suggest Mike Heiser's Naked Bible podcasts, episodes 179 and 180, where he specifically discusses this movement. Sorry for name dropping this dude so much, I just really respect his opinion.
I'll circle back with the NAR's influences after a bit - I'm going to dive a bit more into some of the darker stuff that's been influencing religion in the modern era. Namely, the Aleister Crowley, Anton Lavey & Madame Blavatsky stuff. NAR is the current iteration, but I'd like to find the root and discover what influenced the progenitors.
 

HornsWin

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Of course, those of us of a Protestant background would say that there were no popes in the early church. There is no mention of the office or of the powers ascribed to it in the bible or in any extra biblical writing of the time. In fact, one could argue that interposing what amounts to a human high priest between God and man is contra-biblical. The layers of bureaucracy are also not found in the church of the New Testament. Layers that tend to lead to politically rather than spiritually driven men to float to the top. Not that exceptions don't occur. Furthermore the use of Matthew 16:18 to justify naming Peter as the first Pope is a misreading of the passage. Jesus was talking about building his church on Peter's declaration not on Peter himself. If you look at the overall structure of the early church Peter was one of the leaders and a very prominent one, but he wasn't the absolute authority. If he was God's voice on earth why wasn't the New Testament mostly his writing? With respect to the founding of the church in Rome the best evidence is that is was the work of both Peter and Paul and that Peter never actually conferred the office of bishop to himself and Paul was just a much a leader of that community. And he was as influential or more in the wider church as well as contributing more to the scripture, so why wasn't Paul a Pope? This isn't an exhaustive list of issues I have with the concept of Pope and RCC church governance, but just a quick few off the top of my head.
I can assure you this is a rabbit hole that never ends.
Indeed, case in point, there is no mention anywhere in scripture of the Trinity either. That is a doctrine that was entirely pieced together. Nor does it say anywhere that only the Bible is to be taken as authoritative.

But I don't want to derail an otherwise amazing thread. Keep it going, bHero.
 
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HornsWin

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After reading some of this thread and eating with my law school friends last night who insisted you couldn’t vote for Trump and not be a racist, it’s clear I have no place in this world except to Stratler and Waldorf you all.
Statler? I barely know her.

Kidding. That's an appropriate and important role.
 
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jamesrh

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Indeed, case in point, there is no mention anywhere in scripture of the Trinity either. That is a doctrine that was entirely pieced together. Nor does it say anywhere that only the Bible is to be taken as authoritative.

But I don't want to derail an otherwise amazing thread. Keep it going, bHero.
I promise not to respond back if you respond to this question because I don't want to derail either, but I am interested in your answer. If the Bible and tradition are in conflict, which takes precedence?
 

HornsWin

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I promise not to respond back if you respond to this question because I don't want to derail either, but I am interested in your answer. If the Bible and tradition are in conflict, which takes precedence?
They aren't in conflict, but harmony.

I'm not a thread starter, but if you want to start a thread for us to go round, I'd be over the moon. And given the historical significance of this particular day, that might just be wildly appropriate.
 
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40A

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Indeed, case in point, there is no mention anywhere in scripture of the Trinity either. That is a doctrine that was entirely pieced together. Nor does it say anywhere that only the Bible is to be taken as authoritative.

But I don't want to derail an otherwise amazing thread. Keep it going, bHero.
You mean the Trinity being explicitly exclaimed?
 

40A

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I'll circle back with the NAR's influences after a bit - I'm going to dive a bit more into some of the darker stuff that's been influencing religion in the modern era. Namely, the Aleister Crowley, Anton Lavey & Madame Blavatsky stuff. NAR is the current iteration, but I'd like to find the root and discover what influenced the progenitors.
Don't forget Alice Bailey.
 
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bHero

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I'm sorry, I'm not tracking. The Trinity is very clearly espoused in the Bible, I meant does he mean it's never mentioned very specifically.
1 John 5:7-8 King James Version (KJV)
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

The verse in John was added to the KJV long ago. It's not present in the Codex Sinaiticus or the Codex Vaticanus. It shows up in the 16th century. It's on a 10th century version, not in the print but as a note in the margin. Current analysis is that the earliest definite dating is around the 1500's, but after Erasmus' Greek 1st edition of the NT in 1516. But it was in Erasmus' 3rd edition in 1522, explicitly under pressure from the Catholic Church (Adrian VI). Basically, the pressure was that he wasn't going to get any sales unless it was included. He said he left it out around 1516 because he couldn't find any greek manuscripts with it present. One appears a few years later and he adds it to the 1522 version. Sales go up!

Today we know it wasn't in the oldest documents. Not in the Greek, Byzantine or other languages. I skipped on the Luther (he left it out as well) and the final translations to the KJV, but we get the gist of how it started.

But in the end, it's not a big deal. Many verses affirm the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Spirit). And it's been removed from most modern translations today.

1 John 5:7-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
 
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40A

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1 John 5:7-8 King James Version (KJV)
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

The verse in John was added to the KJV long ago. It's not present in the Codex Sinaiticus or the Codex Vaticanus. It shows up in the 16th century. It's on a 10th century version, not in the print but as a note in the margin. Current analysis is that the earliest definite dating is around the 1500's, but after Erasmus' Greek 1st edition of the NT in 1516. But it was in Erasmus' 3rd edition in 1522, explicitly under pressure from the Catholic Church (Adrian VI). Basically, the pressure was that he wasn't going to get any sales unless it was included. He said he left it out around 1516 because he couldn't find any greek manuscripts with it present. One appears a few years later and he adds it to the 1522 version. Sales go up!

Today we know it wasn't in the oldest documents. Not in the Greek, Byzantine or other languages. I skipped on the Luther (he left it out as well) and the final translations to the KJV, but we get the gist of how it started.

But in the end, it's not a big deal. Many verses affirm the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Spirit). And it's been removed from most modern translations today.

1 John 5:7-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
Right. I'm aware of the history of that verse, I just know that it's affirmed elsewhere, with both Father & Son also in the OT, but with the Holy Spirit in the NT (as it has to be). Just curious.
 
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bHero

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Don't forget Alice Bailey.
"It is time the church woke up to it's true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of god here on earth today, here and now. People are not longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell, they need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth. The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ tried. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world and the service of humanity."

-- Alice Bailey, New Age Nutjob.
 
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40A

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"It is time the church woke up to it's true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of god here on earth today, here and now. People are not longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell, they need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth. The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ tried. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world and the service of humanity."

-- Alice Bailey, New Age Nutjob.
I've watched a lot of kooky conspiracy theory videos linking Christianity and the New Age, and she makes every video.
 
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Shane3

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Indeed, case in point, there is no mention anywhere in scripture of the Trinity either. That is a doctrine that was entirely pieced together. Nor does it say anywhere that only the Bible is to be taken as authoritative.

But I don't want to derail an otherwise amazing thread. Keep it going, bHero.
If you mean the word Trinity is not in the Bible, you’re correct. However the concept of the Trinity is clear.
 
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PFD

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I've been reading in and meditating on Roman's 14 and 15 for the past couple of weeks, so unity among Christian brothers and sisters is on my mind and my heart.

Generally speaking, I would say that I have mostly enjoyed this thread, as it has required me to think more deeply about my faith. In my experience, a civil discussion with Believers of other denominations usually produces a more robust faith. Even where we disagree. Often because of where we disagree.

In law school, I was part of a regular Bible study that included participants from a number of different denominations. We had Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Catholics, and non-denominationalists. Studying the Word with those guys enriched my faith and gave me a new appreciation for brothers and sisters of other denominations.

Perhaps the best lesson I learned was to respect other Christians' differences when it comes to non-essential elements of the faith, e.g., form and manner of worship, rituals, etc. I know that people who agree with me about the essentials but disagree with me about the non-essentials are still very much my brothers and sisters in Christ. And if they happen to be of the "weak" (i.e., narrow-minded) variety described in Romans 14, then it's my duty to love them graciously as commanded in that chapter. As Christ would.

To my Protestant brothers like @Halas, I would respectfully caution against being reactionary or becoming defensive in these kinds of discussions. I disagree with a lot of what @HornsWin has to say on this thread, but he seems to be coming from a sincere and non-adversarial place. He recognizes that we are his brothers in Christ, and that's what matters most.

To @HornsWin, I commend you for taking your faith seriously enough to have studied and informed yourself on some of these historical Church issues. However, taking your comments about "tradition" as a whole, I'm intrigued by your proposition that the Roman Catholic Church most closely resembles the early Church.

Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.

Now, I recognize and acknowledge that what I just said holds true for many, if not most, Protestant churches, too. So, I'm not claiming that modern Protestants have it "right" (or that any one denomination is even capable of having it "right"). I just don't accept the argument that the Roman Catholic Church's organization is somehow more faithful to the early Church.

I also don't accept the notion that confession to a priest is necessary for forgiveness of or sanctification from sin. 1 John 1 says nothing about needing an intermediary to receive God's forgiveness or to be cleansed of unrighteousness. In fact, Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.

My biggest problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that its hierarchical structure and insistence on heavy-handed authoritarianism inherently subjects it to misappropriation by our sin nature. We repeatedly see this exemplified in the Church's history, going back as far as the Crusades and the sale of indulgences or as recently as the widespread sexual abuse and Pope Francis' moral relativism.

To avoid being hypocritical, we've seen these kinds of failures in Protestant churches, too, including heresies, the evils of televangelism, materialism, and our own rash of sexual improprieties.

People are sinful, and any organization that elevates people to positions of authority while insulating them from accountability is eventually doomed to stumble and fall.

I don't base my faith in a Pope, a parish priest, or the clergy at my Protestant church. They are humans, like me, imperfect, like me, and therefore no closer to God than me. I nonetheless recognize that God has placed them in a position of spiritual authority to impart Scriptural wisdom and to serve the needs of our body of Believers.

Ultimately, I'm enjoying the discussion. Thank you.

[EDIT: like an idiot, I posted this in the wrong thread. As some of y'all correctly deduced, it was intended for the "Pope or Not to Pope" thread.

I don't want anyone to misunderstand or misconstrue my post above as a ratification of the kinds of heresies, blasphemies, and false prophets on which @bHero is shining the light of righteous condemnation in this thread. My bad.]
 
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40A

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I've been reading in and meditating on Roman's 14 and 15 for the past couple of weeks, so unity among Christian brothers and sisters is on my mind and my heart.

Generally speaking, I would say that I have mostly enjoyed this thread, as it has required me to think more deeply about my faith. In my experience, a civil discussion with Believers of other denominations usually produces a more robust faith. Even where we disagree. Often because of where we disagree.

In law school, I was part of a regular Bible study that included participants from a number of different denominations. We had Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Catholics, and non-denominationalists. Studying the Word with those guys enriched my faith and gave me a new appreciation for brothers and sisters of other denominations.

Perhaps the best lesson I learned was to respect other Christians' differences when it comes to non-essential elements of the faith, e.g., form and manner of worship, rituals, etc. I know that people who agree with me about the essentials but disagree with me about the non-essentials are still very much my brothers and sisters in Christ. And if they happen to be of the "weak" (i.e., narrow-minded) variety described in Romans 14, then it's my duty to love them graciously as commanded in that chapter. As Christ would.

To my Protestant brothers like @Halas, I would respectfully caution against being reactionary or becoming defensive in these kinds of discussions. I disagree with a lot of what @HornsWin has to say on this thread, but he seems to be coming from a sincere and non-adversarial place. He recognizes that we are his brothers in Christ, and that's what matters most.

To @HornsWin, I commend you for taking your faith seriously enough to have studied and informed yourself on some of these historical Church issues. However, taking your comments about "tradition" as a whole, I'm intrigued by your proposition that the Roman Catholic Church most closely resembles the early Church.

Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.

Now, I recognize and acknowledge that what I just said holds true for many, if not most, Protestant churches, too. So, I'm not claiming that modern Protestants have it "right" (or that any one denomination is even capable of having it "right"). I just don't accept the argument that the Roman Catholic Church's organization is somehow more faithful to the early Church.

I also don't accept the notion that confession to a priest is necessary for forgiveness of or sanctification from sin. 1 John 1 says nothing about needing an intermediary to receive God's forgiveness or to be cleansed of unrighteousness. In fact, Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.

My biggest problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that its hierarchical structure and insistence on heavy-handed authoritarianism inherently subjects it to misappropriation by our sin nature. We repeatedly see this exemplified in the Church's history, going back as far as the Crusades and the sale of indulgences or as recently as the widespread sexual abuse and Pope Francis' moral relativism.

To avoid being hypocritical, we've seen these kinds of failures in Protestant churches, too, including heresies, the evils of televangelism, materialism, and our own rash of sexual improprieties.

People are sinful, and any organization that elevates people to positions of authority while insulating them from accountability is eventually doomed to stumble and fall.

I don't base my faith in a Pope, a parish priest, or the clergy at my Protestant church. They are humans, like me, imperfect, like me, and therefore no closer to God than me. I nonetheless recognize that God has placed them in a position of spiritual authority to impart Scriptural wisdom and to serve the needs of our body of Believers.

Ultimately, I'm enjoying the discussion. Thank you.
Love this post. Grace and Peace to you brother!
 
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Halas

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I've been reading in and meditating on Roman's 14 and 15 for the past couple of weeks, so unity among Christian brothers and sisters is on my mind and my heart.

Generally speaking, I would say that I have mostly enjoyed this thread, as it has required me to think more deeply about my faith. In my experience, a civil discussion with Believers of other denominations usually produces a more robust faith. Even where we disagree. Often because of where we disagree.

In law school, I was part of a regular Bible study that included participants from a number of different denominations. We had Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Catholics, and non-denominationalists. Studying the Word with those guys enriched my faith and gave me a new appreciation for brothers and sisters of other denominations.

Perhaps the best lesson I learned was to respect other Christians' differences when it comes to non-essential elements of the faith, e.g., form and manner of worship, rituals, etc. I know that people who agree with me about the essentials but disagree with me about the non-essentials are still very much my brothers and sisters in Christ. And if they happen to be of the "weak" (i.e., narrow-minded) variety described in Romans 14, then it's my duty to love them graciously as commanded in that chapter. As Christ would.

To my Protestant brothers like @Halas, I would respectfully caution against being reactionary or becoming defensive in these kinds of discussions. I disagree with a lot of what @HornsWin has to say on this thread, but he seems to be coming from a sincere and non-adversarial place. He recognizes that we are his brothers in Christ, and that's what matters most.

To @HornsWin, I commend you for taking your faith seriously enough to have studied and informed yourself on some of these historical Church issues. However, taking your comments about "tradition" as a whole, I'm intrigued by your proposition that the Roman Catholic Church most closely resembles the early Church.

Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.

Now, I recognize and acknowledge that what I just said holds true for many, if not most, Protestant churches, too. So, I'm not claiming that modern Protestants have it "right" (or that any one denomination is even capable of having it "right"). I just don't accept the argument that the Roman Catholic Church's organization is somehow more faithful to the early Church.

I also don't accept the notion that confession to a priest is necessary for forgiveness of or sanctification from sin. 1 John 1 says nothing about needing an intermediary to receive God's forgiveness or to be cleansed of unrighteousness. In fact, Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.

My biggest problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that its hierarchical structure and insistence on heavy-handed authoritarianism inherently subjects it to misappropriation by our sin nature. We repeatedly see this exemplified in the Church's history, going back as far as the Crusades and the sale of indulgences or as recently as the widespread sexual abuse and Pope Francis' moral relativism.

To avoid being hypocritical, we've seen these kinds of failures in Protestant churches, too, including heresies, the evils of televangelism, materialism, and our own rash of sexual improprieties.

People are sinful, and any organization that elevates people to positions of authority while insulating them from accountability is eventually doomed to stumble and fall.

I don't base my faith in a Pope, a parish priest, or the clergy at my Protestant church. They are humans, like me, imperfect, like me, and therefore no closer to God than me. I nonetheless recognize that God has placed them in a position of spiritual authority to impart Scriptural wisdom and to serve the needs of our body of Believers.

Ultimately, I'm enjoying the discussion. Thank you.
I initially was approaching from a non-defensive position. My whole point was we are under the same umbrella of Christ. What frustrated me was him pointing out the speck in the eye of Protestantism and ignoring the plank in the eye of Catholicism. I have no need or want to elevate one way over the other because both lead to Christ, or should. I didn’t feel I got the same back from him which is fine. I probably didn’t respond as well as I should have but I don’t understand the animosity towards a commitment to Christ over any one congregation that sometimes loses the main idea over the rule of being part of that congregation.
 

Shane3

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I've been reading in and meditating on Roman's 14 and 15 for the past couple of weeks, so unity among Christian brothers and sisters is on my mind and my heart.

Generally speaking, I would say that I have mostly enjoyed this thread, as it has required me to think more deeply about my faith. In my experience, a civil discussion with Believers of other denominations usually produces a more robust faith. Even where we disagree. Often because of where we disagree.

In law school, I was part of a regular Bible study that included participants from a number of different denominations. We had Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Catholics, and non-denominationalists. Studying the Word with those guys enriched my faith and gave me a new appreciation for brothers and sisters of other denominations.

Perhaps the best lesson I learned was to respect other Christians' differences when it comes to non-essential elements of the faith, e.g., form and manner of worship, rituals, etc. I know that people who agree with me about the essentials but disagree with me about the non-essentials are still very much my brothers and sisters in Christ. And if they happen to be of the "weak" (i.e., narrow-minded) variety described in Romans 14, then it's my duty to love them graciously as commanded in that chapter. As Christ would.

To my Protestant brothers like @Halas, I would respectfully caution against being reactionary or becoming defensive in these kinds of discussions. I disagree with a lot of what @HornsWin has to say on this thread, but he seems to be coming from a sincere and non-adversarial place. He recognizes that we are his brothers in Christ, and that's what matters most.

To @HornsWin, I commend you for taking your faith seriously enough to have studied and informed yourself on some of these historical Church issues. However, taking your comments about "tradition" as a whole, I'm intrigued by your proposition that the Roman Catholic Church most closely resembles the early Church.

Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.

Now, I recognize and acknowledge that what I just said holds true for many, if not most, Protestant churches, too. So, I'm not claiming that modern Protestants have it "right" (or that any one denomination is even capable of having it "right"). I just don't accept the argument that the Roman Catholic Church's organization is somehow more faithful to the early Church.

I also don't accept the notion that confession to a priest is necessary for forgiveness of or sanctification from sin. 1 John 1 says nothing about needing an intermediary to receive God's forgiveness or to be cleansed of unrighteousness. In fact, Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.

My biggest problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that its hierarchical structure and insistence on heavy-handed authoritarianism inherently subjects it to misappropriation by our sin nature. We repeatedly see this exemplified in the Church's history, going back as far as the Crusades and the sale of indulgences or as recently as the widespread sexual abuse and Pope Francis' moral relativism.

To avoid being hypocritical, we've seen these kinds of failures in Protestant churches, too, including heresies, the evils of televangelism, materialism, and our own rash of sexual improprieties.

People are sinful, and any organization that elevates people to positions of authority while insulating them from accountability is eventually doomed to stumble and fall.

I don't base my faith in a Pope, a parish priest, or the clergy at my Protestant church. They are humans, like me, imperfect, like me, and therefore no closer to God than me. I nonetheless recognize that God has placed them in a position of spiritual authority to impart Scriptural wisdom and to serve the needs of our body of Believers.

Ultimately, I'm enjoying the discussion. Thank you.
Excellent post.
 

Shane3

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Feb 17, 2015
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I initially was approaching from a non-defensive position. My whole point was we are under the same umbrella of Christ. What frustrated me was him pointing out the speck in the eye of Protestantism and ignoring the plank in the eye of Catholicism. I have no need or want to elevate one way over the other because both lead to Christ, or should. I didn’t feel I got the same back from him which is fine. I probably didn’t respond as well as I should have but I don’t understand the animosity towards a commitment to Christ over any one congregation that sometimes loses the main idea over the rule of being part of that congregation.
I agree. I’ve tried to be gentle with my posts but it greatly concerns me that some Catholics think their church can save them. Only Jesus saves.
 

ole tnhorn

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Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.
We recently completed a study titled "ecclesia" which is defined as "a body of Christians". THIS was the early church. It was small groups created by the disciples that met in homes. Today "church" typically is interpreted as a building or a large organization but in the first few centuries AD it meant a gathering of believers just as you mentioned is occurring in developing ares.
 

HornsWin

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Dec 13, 2013
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To my Protestant brothers like @Halas, I would respectfully caution against being reactionary or becoming defensive in these kinds of discussions. I disagree with a lot of what @HornsWin has to say on this thread, but he seems to be coming from a sincere and non-adversarial place. He recognizes that we are his brothers in Christ, and that's what matters most.

To @HornsWin, I commend you for taking your faith seriously enough to have studied and informed yourself on some of these historical Church issues. However, taking your comments about "tradition" as a whole, I'm intrigued by your proposition that the Roman Catholic Church most closely resembles the early Church.

Let's be honest, your average Catholic church and parish looks almost nothing like the realities of the Church in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. There were no fancy buildings or sanctuaries, no ornate sacraments or relics, no formal hierarchy. Instead, they were "house churches," like modern day Believers inhabit in places where Christianity is unentrenched, if not outright outlawed.

Now, I recognize and acknowledge that what I just said holds true for many, if not most, Protestant churches, too. So, I'm not claiming that modern Protestants have it "right" (or that any one denomination is even capable of having it "right"). I just don't accept the argument that the Roman Catholic Church's organization is somehow more faithful to the early Church.

I also don't accept the notion that confession to a priest is necessary for forgiveness of or sanctification from sin. 1 John 1 says nothing about needing an intermediary to receive God's forgiveness or to be cleansed of unrighteousness. In fact, Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.

My biggest problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that its hierarchical structure and insistence on heavy-handed authoritarianism inherently subjects it to misappropriation by our sin nature. We repeatedly see this exemplified in the Church's history, going back as far as the Crusades and the sale of indulgences or as recently as the widespread sexual abuse and Pope Francis' moral relativism.

To avoid being hypocritical, we've seen these kinds of failures in Protestant churches, too, including heresies, the evils of televangelism, materialism, and our own rash of sexual improprieties.

People are sinful, and any organization that elevates people to positions of authority while insulating them from accountability is eventually doomed to stumble and fall.

I don't base my faith in a Pope, a parish priest, or the clergy at my Protestant church. They are humans, like me, imperfect, like me, and therefore no closer to God than me. I nonetheless recognize that God has placed them in a position of spiritual authority to impart Scriptural wisdom and to serve the needs of our body of Believers.

Ultimately, I'm enjoying the discussion. Thank you.
Hey man, I'll reply to this in Pope or Not to Pope. Thanks for bringing all of this up. I'll preface by saying I've had a **** week so if I do come off as a bit too sharp, know it's because I working some things out. It's not, nor is it ever, personal.
 

Shane3

Member Who Talks (A Lot!)
Feb 17, 2015
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Hey man, I'll reply to this in Pope or Not to Pope. Thanks for bringing all of this up. I'll preface by saying I've had a **** week so if I do come off as a bit too sharp, know it's because I working some things out. It's not, nor is it ever, personal.
Take care. Hope you have a good weekend.