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Is 'Church' no longer a place of virtue?

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posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 03:26 AM
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Disclaimer: I'm a theist but not of the Abrahamic faiths. I have minor biblical scholar and scriptural skills. Also I am not a scientific/legal or medical expert in any field. Beware of my Contagious Memes! & watch out that you don't get
cut on my Occams razor.All of this is my personal conjecture and should not be considered the absolute or most definitive state of things as they
really are. Use this information at your own risk! I accept no liability if your ideology comes crashing down around you with accompanying consequences!

Explanation: Going to the heart of the matter of the O.P. I guess its a case of faith in the mighty $$$'s winning out over faith in the All mighty!

Personal Disclosure: Everything concerning mankind in this world requires money to survive (remember the things which are Caesar's) and organized
religion is no different and of the many bibles I have owned many were bought and paid for by me and a rare few were given freely. Such is this materialistic reality! It's when the majority focus of any particular church (Note I'm not including individual qualified theologians or modern religious music writers who need to turn a $$$'s to survive themselves) is to purely make $$$'s then its gone from Non-profit to Religious profiteering and this should be a major concern of any of its members and also to the community at large.




posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 10:53 AM
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Makes sense to me, if you want a special Bible and you have the money to pay for it, you should.
You actually end up with a valuable product.
So your expendature of money is justified.
If you see a preacher who is not affiliated with an established church, but has his own church that is set up as a buisness and he is the main benificiery, that is not a justifiable expendature of money, to offer it to him.



posted on Jun, 24 2008 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


jmdewey60,
I run a small business and this week has been quite busy...so I apologize for the delay in my answer.

Anyway:

Thanks for the Bible lesson.


I learned a few years ago that 'mis-representing' the Bible and NOT giving a faithful 'BIBLE book report' gets me into trouble. It seems SOOOO easy sometimes to take our favorite beliefs and ride them out...even in the face of a clear contradiction in the Bible.

What I can (and ONLY should) offer you, jmdewey60, is a FAITHFUL report of what the Bible says.


Do you think there is something wrong with me?
Just wondering.
If there is, feel free to criticize me.
I could be completely deranged, for all I know.
I am sort of a miss-fit.
I have always been that way.


I need you to know that I've thought about what you said (in your quote...above) for the past couple of days. I suppose I could share with you the isolation that I had felt for years...until I found other REAL Brethren. I, also, felt alone and that perhaps there was 'something wrong with ME!'.

I was the 'black sheep' of my own family. The eldest, (although I wasn't adopted like you) and I ALWAYS got caught for everything...it seems. It seems I was a lousy 'liar', I was a lousy 'thief', a lousy 'fornicator'...I just ALWAYS got caught!

SOMETIMES...I wonder if God makes certain people a 'laughingstock' or a 'mockery' in order to give them strength (courage) to become the man of:

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

IOW...It isn't entirely impossible for me to live out this verse, for they...at least mom and dad and siblings..."KNOW my BACKGROUND" and they aren't afraid to let me know what they know...about ME

1 Tim 5:24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

and

Mark 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

Back to you:


I was blamed for everything bad that happened to my family.


But you were adopted, weren't you? At what age?


So, I might have a complex or something.


'Complex'? The "Nobody-Likes-ME!" Club? Well, if you are a saved Saint, then this verse is for you:

2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.


So I have to be the voice of the last hold-outs to the traditional Faith of Our Fathers.


No, you aren't the voice. Some (but few) others are also defending the faith once delivered unto the Saints:

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.


We have to live on the knife's edge, trusting in the efficacy of Jesus' sacrifice, and knowing the uncertainty of the ultimate outcome.


I ADORE your above statement....except for one little word "UNcertainty"

May I please say (what you've said) another way?

"We have to live on the knife's edge, trusting in the efficacy of Jesus' sacrifice, and knowing the certainty of the ultimate outcome"

Proof verse:

Phil 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:


Believing we are saved, but at the same time knowing that we may not be saved.


Phil 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

I've heard...and somewhat believe...that a 'mark' of a truly saved Saint is that he/she worries about his/her Salvation. "Fear and trembling" in the verse above MEANS something. Still, verse 13 says it is God, Himself, who works it out.

Now, onto my favorite part of your post:


We have to be a living sacrifice.
Good luck with that.
Kind of like, trash your life, for Jesus.


YES! Every day! Take up your cross daily!

But...it is actually easier than you think...

It is still HARD...but easy at the same time. You do it "one day at a time". I suppose I could go further on this via U2U or email...?


Practically, that does not mean to go out and look for a situation that may be fatal.


EXACTLY! If one desires to 'die FAST' for the name of Jesus, just get a one-way ticket to the Middle-East and run through the streets and proclaim:

"Jesus is God and 'Allah' is a false god".

If I may repeat you:

Practically, that does not mean to go out and look for a situation that may be fatal.


Of course not. JESUS said:
Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.



[edit on 24-6-2008 by PreTribGuy]



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 02:53 AM
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reply to post by PreTribGuy
 

My feeling about being an outcast, I know, has a lot to do with the particular church I go to.
I am a Seventh Day Adventist, so I go to that Church.
The thing is, that there are four individual Seventh Day Adventist churches in the immediate area.
Most people shop around to find one they fit into.
I think that is not right, so I just go to the one closest to me.
The Adventist Church owns a chain of Hospitals and all the "professionals" who worked at the Hospital, here, ended up in this one Church.
So, I understand that my particular church is not indicative of the average Adventist.
It does put me in a place to be Judged, and I accept that.
My point is that this situation does not make me completely depressed.
I have plenty of more practical problems to worry about.
Where I lived, years ago, I had friends in my church, who thought like myself.
I have a couple friends who I have discussions about religion with.
So, I do not feel completely isolated.

Explaining being adopted makes me look worse than ever.
That may not be the right word to explain it.
My family with three brothers and three sisters was not who adopted me.
My mother died in a car accident and my family hated me because while she was alive, she had given me more attention than them.(or, so they imagined)
Kind of a rational for their own mental problems.
I basically ran off and lived at my friend's house to have some peace.

As for the last hold outs thing, you need to realize that I mean it in a narrow sense that I would not expect you to understand.
You might have your own idea of what that faith is.
We would not agree to what that might be.
Could you still love God if you were not so certain about your salvation?
You said it, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Those people who are turned down thought they were doing God's will.
How about another example, "and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; "
But Jesus talks about the man being thrown out of a wedding reception for not having party clothes on.
When people sit in church and hear the pastor tell Jesus' story of the man who prays to God "Thank you that I am not like that man" they always think, "I am glad I am not like that".
Well, they just proved the point.
The Catholic Church kind of played on people's desire to have assurance of their salvation, and made a lot of money from it and had people going off on Crusades.
The Reformers had to say, "Sorry, but God did not establish an institution to give people a guarantee."
They had to tell people the unpleasant truth that we can not be given a feeling of assurance about our personal salvation.
Jesus died to save the world, but not everyone in the world is saved.
Luther said that you might as well imagine God sitting up in heaven throwing dice to decide if you are saved, or not.
I do not think that was what Luther believed, but he was trying to make a point.
That is what the Time of Jacob's Trouble is about.
He did not know how he was going to be received by his brother.
For all Jacob knew, he was going to be killed, on sight.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 03:22 AM
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reply to post by PreTribGuy
 


The U2U is not working and you have not set up your comments area, so I would just say that I can understand why you took time to comment.
You seem to put a lot of work into it.
No worries.
This forum seems really dead right now.
My theory is a lot of the activity this forum enjoys comes from atheists trying to provoke Christians, for fun.
They may be feeling a little deflated and are re-grouping for a new assault.
I would rather discuss things with other believers, than to get into fruitless arguments with people who discard religion, all together.
Thanks for the encouragement.
My main problem is dealing with being disabled from a bad motorcycle accident that makes it hard to get around.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 03:47 AM
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reply to post by PreTribGuy
 


"The pastor equated 'eating one extra Twinkie' with FORNICATION! "
I can relate to that.
I fore go the regular church service because of sitting through sermons like that.
I remember one on the evils of drinking soda.
I only go to the Bible classes, where I have an opportunity to speak up.
I try to get people to focus on important issues and not go off on useless stuff.
There are some things that parents should discuss at home, with their children, concerning practical things but church should be used for discussing religion.
I used to show up with a stack of books and notebooks prepared to talk about the lesson and be appalled when we never got around to it.
I feel good if we even get started on a serious discussion.
So, I hope I am actually being on topic. Church.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 



I am a Seventh Day Adventist, so I go to that Church...


The 'Church' (capital 'C') is who we are, not where we go. You probably already know this, but I write it for those viewing.

I was raised Protestant and my family went from Baptist...to Presbyterian...to Lutheran...to Evangelical Free. So I've been 'all over the map', so to speak. What I discovered is that it wasn't 'what the Pastor taught' that mattered the most, but 'did my family feel welcome there' that mattered (the most...it seemed.

As I grew older I began to note that the REAL reason everyone was getting together any given Sunday was that this was their "social club". The problem was...I really didn't 'like' these people a whole lot...and they certainly didn't like me bringing up questionable content in the pastor's sermon. It is far more complicated than the simple background I've given you, but this will need to suffice, for now.

Doctrine MATTERS! It matters more than any other thing.

Example: When our local Presbyterian church ordained a woman to be 'pastor', every true Saint in that church should have gotten up from their pews and left. TRUE Saints would do this because DOCTRINE matters. The fact that this congregation is still going...tells me that it is nothing more than a "christianized" social club. That is all it really is.

1 Tim 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

On the other hand, there is enough orthodox Christianity in many Protestant AND Catholic churches to save a person. It is the 'extra stuff' the leaven that needs to be tossed out. I like to go where I'm "fed". I sometimes listen to Catholic radio...and SOMETIMES they hit the nail right on the head! This is food for me! The difference is that I've trained myself enough to know what is 'heresy' and what is 'truth'.

My current preference is 'small groups'.

Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

My wife and I, gathering together in the name of Jesus, discussing Scripture IS a Church.


I have a couple friends who I have discussions about religion with.
So, I do not feel completely isolated.


Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

My wife and I, gathering together in the name of Jesus, discussing Scripture IS a Church.

If MORE want to come and talk about Jesus...that is fine with me. It is no MORE of a Church...it's STILL a "Church".

If you and your friends are gathering together, in the name of Jesus Christ...that IS a Church and there is no reason for one to feel "left out" of anything because the numbers aren't that high.

A quick story:

About a year-and-a-half ago I was attending a Bible study next door to our house. It was a TERRIBLE Bible study. It was one that was written by Rick Warren. It was JUST...PLAIN...AWFUL!

One evening, we were to answer a question:

"What could 'we' do to bring more people into our church" (small 'c'). I felt trapped. I couldn't get away with 'saying nothing', for I CERTAINLY had an opinion. (This was a Bible study sponsored by the local Baptist church...and I had attended a couple of their services...and I was NOT fed.)

Again...this question was asked: "What can we do to make our congregation larger?" They are going around the room...it is getting closer and closer to MY TURN. I silently asked God for some wisdom to "get me out from this trap!".

When it became "my turn", I said, "Water down the message."

Rick Warren was worried about "numbers"...I was worried about DOCTRINE.
A "mega-church" full of heresies is STILL lesser than "2 or 3 gathered IN MY NAME".

As one reads through the Gospels, you will notice that EVERY TIME the crowds got BIG...Jesus turned around and said something that caused most of them to LEAVE.

Jesus wasn't worried about numbers:

Matt 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

(continued)



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 07:02 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 



Could you still love God if you were not so certain about your salvation?
You said it, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Those people who are turned down thought they were doing God's will.


Jesus does not deny that they did what they SAY they did, but that Jesus "never knew them" and that they should depart from Him because they "work iniquity".

These people KNEW what He SAID and they DID NOT do it. (Note the verses afterwards).

Example:
Matt 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

When a Catholic is done "explaining" this verse to you...it means nothing anymore.

I take it so serious that I've asked my daughters to only call me "dad" or "daddy" and NOT "father".

Here is another Gospel (Luke) that seems to be the parallel teaching in Matthew:

Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Peter talks about making our calling and election SURE:

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

May I share with you an analogy?

It is as though God said, "Shovel ALL the sand on this beach into the ocean...and you will be saved."

WHO WOULDN'T look up and down the beach...and note the amount of sand...AND the fact that the TIDE will come in in about 6 hours...AND wash IN all the sand you just shoveled out?

Faith is a risk. It isn't something one can "see":
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Those in Luke 6:49 (above) aren't accused of not doing 'enough', they are accused of not doing anything AT ALL! They didn't even bother to get a shovel!

Once again in Luke, Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.


When people sit in church and hear the pastor tell Jesus' story of the man who prays to God "Thank you that I am not like that man" they always think, "I am glad I am not like that".
Well, they just proved the point.


Did they actually SAY this to you or did you overhear this? This question is actually quite crucial to your point...if you think about it.


The Catholic Church kind of played on people's desire to have assurance of their salvation, and made a lot of money from it and had people going off on Crusades.
The Reformers had to say, "Sorry, but God did not establish an institution to give people a guarantee."


Typically:
Catholics put Mary (or Peter...or the Pope) in front of Jesus' words.
Protestants put Paul in front of Jesus' words.

Both are in error.


Jesus died to save the world, but not everyone in the world is saved.


EXACTLY!

jmdewey60, have you ever read "Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther? If not, may I recommend it? It is a REALLY tough book to read...but you will actually find it quite funny at times.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 07:07 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 



I used to show up with a stack of books and notebooks prepared to talk about the lesson and be appalled when we never got around to it.
I feel good if we even get started on a serious discussion.


Religion isn't the "most important thing".
Religion is the "ONLY important thing".

As I stated earlier...local churches are nothing more than a 'christian social club'... nowadays.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by jimmyjackblack
 



PreTribGuy, you have some good verses there concerning "Prosparity Preaching", I suppose you oppose this teaching? What are your views on the pastor taking the tithe? Any more verses concerning prosparity preaching?

-Jimmy


Jimmy,
You've asked me some tough questions. The whole "prosperity teaching" had my attention about 15 years ago. It was a bit different then and it has evolved...and I actually wanted wanted to "buy into it". (Pardon the pun).

But I had a personal experience that God allowed to happen to me. He showed me that several verses were true:

1 Tim 6:6-9 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will (would...desire to...) be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

The fundamental error of this (prosperity) teaching is this:

Matt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If one "seeks FIRST the Kingdom of God"...then Jesus promises that ALL these things shall be added unto you. The problem with the "prosperity gospel" is that they seek "all these things" FIRST...RATHER than the Kingdom of God, FIRST, as Jesus taught.

Here is a good set of verses to prove this:
John 6:26-27 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

All work done in the name of Jesus is the same. The mommy changing her baby's diapers...who doesn't get PAID for her work...does NO LESS LABOUR than the Apostle Paul in the Kingdom of God.

The "prosperity gospel" has a 'bit' of truth in it, but it focuses in the wrong direction. It (errantly, in my opinion) focuses on the result ($$$) rather than the reason FOR the result....the REAL RICHES!

I suppose that Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) has given MORE to charities than you and I or (perhaps) the entire membership of ATS combined. Does that make him BETTER? Worthy of MORE?

1 Cor 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

In the above verse, Paul says that even IF Bill Gates gave ALL (which he has NOT) it still wouldn't matter...if he didn't have charity.

MOST (not all...) homeless people actually just don't want to be part of a functioning society. Give them 5 bucks...and they buy a small pint of liquor and THEY NO LONGER CARE ABOUT YOU or me. They not only don't CARE...but they DESPISE the obligations that this world WILL impose upon them if they EVER get "rich".

Psalm 37:23-25 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

The RIGHTEOUS man is never "down for the count". They get up and WORK.

True story:
I come from a Midwest upbringing. I was in downtown Boston and there was a 'beggar' outside. I gave him a buck or so...and TRIED to engage him in a conversation. He sorta pushed me off. I then asked him directly "how much do you make an hour begging?" He replied (quickly, I might add), "$10.00 per hour". I gave him a $20.00...and said, "NOW can I converse with you?"

Oddly, most of these homeless people are more scholars of Scripture than the local pew-sitter!

They...just don't want the obligations of LIFE...and are only worried about their OWN survival.

If the beggar STANDING RIGHT NEXT to this homeless man is dying of starvation, does he CARE?

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

MOST homeless people are that way because they WANT to be! Furthermore, they are quite aware of the Bible and Scripture for they are (forcibly) exposed to the Bible ALL THE TIME at most homeless shelters. As I said above, I was surprised at his knowledge of Scripture...and he rejects it.

Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Poor does not always equal righteous...nor the opposite:

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.





[edit on 25-6-2008 by PreTribGuy]



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 12:01 AM
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"Did they actually SAY this to you or did you overhear this? This question is actually quite crucial to your point...if you think about it. "
I heard a preacher bring this up in a lecture he was doing.
He said it as a joke, sort of but wanted to find out if people agreed.
Everyone admitted that was how they felt.
So, there might be one person in a hundred, who, when hearing the story, from Jesus, of the man praying to thank God that he was not like the publican, would see themselves as being guilty of that attitude.
Most people would like to imagine themselves as the humble person and not as the arrogant man who seemed boastful, because they recognize that Jesus was pointing out that man as being wrong.
They feel good about themselves because they just passed the test.
They do not realize that Jesus was speaking to them and wanted us to see our own faults.
Oops, so the amswer is yes. We admitted that we see ourselves in the story as the good person and not the arrogant man.


[edit on 26-6-2008 by jmdewey60]



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 12:28 AM
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"have you ever read "Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther?"
Well, I try to paraphrase some of Luther's stuff, from that book.
I do not think I read the actual book, itself.
I read a lot of articles discussing the book.
It could be that the writers quoted only the parts that supported their own positions.
We have been discussing the book lately, and I have done some more studying on it, so I feel like I need to make a stand on the free will topic, as being against it.
Problem is I am also kind of a fan of Erasmus, who wrote the book to refute "the Bondage of the will".
I mainly just admire the scholarly abilities of Erasmus and for doctrine, I have to side with Luther.



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 12:42 AM
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"Protestants put Paul in front of Jesus' words. "
I happen to be of the opinion that if it was not for Paul, there would be no Christianity.
So, I put a lot of weight to the words of Paul.
Protestants had a lot of catching up to do, after hundreds of years of neglect of the true doctrine.
I do not think they solved every problem and they had to fight the Church, every step of the way.
A small part of the people who did hear the restored Gospel, from the Reformers, took it to heart and made progress on it, without the political aspects involved.
One example would be the Waldensian.
Kind of like what you were talking about, above, of being concerned with numbers.
There is protection in numbers, necessary to fend off the murderous attacks from the Catholics.
The Waldensian trusted in the fact they lived high up in the Alps, as their protection, instead of armies.
So they felt free to take it to a farther point than the mainstream Protestant churches.



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 



Problem is I am also kind of a fan of Erasmus, who wrote the book to refute "the Bondage of the will".


I thought "Bondage of the Will" was Luther's response to Erasmus' "On Free Will"?



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by PreTribGuy
 


I think Philpot refuted Erasmus.



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 01:30 PM
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Dear All on this discussion board: I am a Friend to pretribguy, who invited me to read this thread. I am of the very same opinions as pretribguy on every matter he spoke to, and how can you not plainly see how that his every word (commentary) is in plain agreement with the Bible? The SDA teaches all sorts of theological novelties, and cannot be regaqrded as an historically orthodox denomination. Who knows what THEY SAY happened in 1844? How important is that doctrine to anything in anyone's life? It is nonsense....a creation of the theology of neccessity (to excuse and justify a failed prophecy). Pretribguy TOLD YOU and showed you how the Bible plainly and repeatedly says that the last days of The Church Age end in APOSTASY - and we are smack-dab in the midst of it right now. The only moral reaction to it is to separate yourself from this apostasy, in whatever ways you can, and try to live a New Testement life where you are. Those who generate certainty of true religion will find that others of like mind will find them and become their fast friends. 'We' are living proof that this is so - we have REAL Friends in Christ who ARE FAIR with each other and who DO CARE for each other, even as much or more as the best carnal family will take care of each other. I would like to recommend a book.... about the last days of The Church Age
see www.apostasynow.com and read THE GREAT DREAM. Thank you for your time. I am just another Christian



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