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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 06-06-2019, 09:43 PM   #1
byHismercy
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Default I need a church life that isn't led astray!!!

Hi saints. I would like your guidance. We moved out of Washington state after God opened the way for us, after our painful exit from the LC in 'anonymous city'.......the Lord is gracious and merciful to me and my family and we live in a beautiful little community in Idaho now. I have been searching church statement of faith and various 'what we believe' pages online trying to find a new congregation to meet with. This little community church near us seems to be special in many ways and ticks boxes for me. We visited there last weekend and I had really good feelings and I even wonder if this is the Lords' choice for us....but discovered they are reformed which I have questions about. I spoke to the pastors wife and she was open and sweet and let me know they believe that God did not die for everybody, only His elect. And one of their positions is holding to the faith that we have no free will in coming to Christ but rather only those elect will come to faith in Him.

I don't share these beliefs. For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

They come so close but no cigar. So many sweet things there. A reverence for the Lord, the pastor is awesome and diligent to know the word, they obviously cherish Gods' word, their position on all other points align with the word as much as I can see.

I fear taking my kids into the same ol' same ol' direction where a deviation from scripture leads to wrong believing, wrong thinking, wrong actions. I mean, we all have seen it play out. There is a real and legitimate danger. And I believe when scripture said a little leaven leavens the whole lump He was warning us about leavened doctrine....and maybe other kinds of leaven that I do not see yet.....

Please, brothers and sisters, what is your take? Where is the assembly without error?? I cannot seem to find them....I asked the Lord to choose the assembly, to take me to it. Please what would you do?

byHismercy
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: I need a church life that isn't led astray!!!

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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
I fear taking my kids into the same ol' same ol' direction where a deviation from scripture leads to wrong believing, wrong thinking, wrong actions. I mean, we all have seen it play out. There is a real and legitimate danger. And I believe when scripture said a little leaven leavens the whole lump He was warning us about leavened doctrine....and maybe other kinds of leaven that I do not see yet.....

Please, brothers and sisters, what is your take? Where is the assembly without error?? I cannot seem to find them....I asked the Lord to choose the assembly, to take me to it. Please what would you do?
Beware - if you ask 50 Christian's this question, you will get 35 different answers. Not that any of them are more wrong or right, but folks have different ways of solving problems such as this.

Now I'll give you my own answer: seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be added. The kingdom is near, it is in your heart and in your mouth. In is waiting. It can be found in that person nearby, the proverbial 'neighbour' who's perhaps asking the same questions as you.

Do not seek the kingdom ready-made in some 'proper church' but rather seek it not-yet-made-but-becoming in your fellows. At some point(s) it may assume fixed structure(s), but at others it may seem entirely fluid or even unknown.

If your children see you and your spouse consistently in love, cherishing them and each other and attempting to provide a safe and interesting family space, they will be encouraged to seek and follow and obey. And they will find spiritually oriented peers and mentors as well. God will provide.

On the LC we sang, "Home, home in the church/It is here that we've ended our search." That is a lie. Our home is with the Father in heaven. Jesus had no place to call home (Matt 8:20; Luke 9:58), neither should we. "My kingdom is not of this world". Yet Jesus consistently poured out the Father's love to all who drew near. How can we not but desire to follow, and imitate? And yes, it may be in some formal, structured setting. But it does not require one. Wherever you are, that is where you are.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:10 AM   #3
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I don't share these beliefs. For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 byHismercy
You cannot find a church that is so perfect without a single error. Regarding with John 3:16, this is what I do with such a beloved passage:

My exegesis of the passage:

◼ John 3:16 NASB
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16 — οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν (κόσμον) ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν ἵνα (πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων) εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν

κόσμον (kosmos) ~ world

In John’s context the word kosmos (κόσμον) has the implication of *both* Jew and Gentile...The Jews would have believed that there was a limitation to them only, but John clarifies here that it is not *only* that Jesus died for the believing Jews but also for the believing Gentiles...

πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων (pas ho pisteuon) - Whosoever/Whoever Believes

πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων denotes particularity in that pas (everyone/whoever) of that particular group who believes will not perish. There is a specificity to faith, there are people who believe and those who do not believe and this is perfectly consistent with God's electing grace and perfectly consistent with the free offer of the Gospel. The verse means “all the ones engaging in the action of substantive adjectival participle believing” will be saved. In English this means “whoever” is definite and specific to believers.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:25 AM   #4
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Beware - if you ask 50 Christian's this question, you will get 35 different answers. Not that any of them are more wrong or right, but folks have different ways of solving problems such as this.

Now I'll give you my own answer: seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be added. The kingdom is near, it is in your heart and in your mouth. In is waiting. It can be found in that person nearby, the proverbial 'neighbour' who's perhaps asking the same questions as you.

Do not seek the kingdom ready-made in some 'proper church' but rather seek it not-yet-made-but-becoming in your fellows. At some point(s) it may assume fixed structure(s), but at others it may seem entirely fluid or even unknown.

If your children see you and your spouse consistently in love, cherishing them and each other and attempting to provide a safe and interesting family space, they will be encouraged to seek and follow and obey. And they will find spiritually oriented peers and mentors as well. God will provide.

On the LC we sang, "Home, home in the church/It is here that we've ended our search." That is a lie. Our home is with the Father in heaven. Jesus had no place to call home (Matt 8:20; Luke 9:58), neither should we. "My kingdom is not of this world". Yet Jesus consistently poured out the Father's love to all who drew near. How can we not but desire to follow, and imitate? And yes, it may be in some formal, structured setting. But it does not require one. Wherever you are, that is where you are.
Great answer aron!
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
And one of their positions is holding to the faith that we have no free will in coming to Christ but rather only those elect will come to faith in Him. byHismercy
The Scripture is clear that man is unable to believe in Christ on his own fallen free-will.
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No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)

And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." (John 6:65)

“Why do you not understand what I am saying? Itis because you cannot hear My word.“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:43-45)

"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. (John 10:26)

But though He had performed so many [signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. (John 12:37-41)
Many have misunderstood that we Reformed folks deny human free-will and its role in redemption. We believe from Scripture that while the human will after the Fall has been “enslaved” to Sin (so much so that the unregenerate heart is absolutely devoid of any salutary disposition), the faculty of the human “will” itself is not altogether extinguished.

The spiritual slavery that is the result of the Fall did not render the human heart “incapable of willing anything absolutely.” Rather, the Fall rendered the human heart “incapable of willing THAT WHICH is right and pleasing in God's eyes” as the Scripture declares (see Romans 8:7-8, cf. Eze. 36:25-27).

So, the fallen man still “freely makes choices” according to the inmost desires of his heart. This is volitional liberty that nobody denies. But we do affirm more. While we acknowledge the fact that we indeed make choices according to the inmost desires of our hearts (volitional liberty), we also affirm that the inmost desires of our hearts are predisposed only to Sin (moral & spiritual slavery) unless the heart is first regenerated by grace. Indeed, we freely chase after that which we love and treasure; but apart from grace our fallen hearts does not and will not love and treasure God above all. We have volitional “liberty” and yet, at the same time, with respect to our moral disposition, are “enslaved” to the Sin that we so love.

Thus, if we are talking about volitional liberty, we heartily affirm “free-will.” But if we are talking about spiritual/moral liberty, the Bible is clear that man had lost this freedom by Sin.


Watch this video from R. C. Srpoul on "Why We Can’t Choose God?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0C8AArEk3E
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:39 AM   #6
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Great answer aron!
JB thank you for the kind affirmation.

In retrospect I didn't engage the body of the initial post, with regard to understanding scripture correctly, and the impact that can have on one's spiritual life, both with the Lord and with others in assembly. Kevin has come along and attempted to address some of the points made. I love how this little forum allows for different points of view, interpretations, and understandings of scripture. Such a plurality of opinions, if respectfully made and engaging of others (rather than 'talking past' each other) can only be a good testimony of the common faith, once delivered to all.

I would add this: I consider the idea of 'volition' and 'free will' (along with 'determinism' and such) to be fascinating, and as a former addict (others would say 'recovering addict') it is not mere speculative fluff. "Oh, wretched mortal man that I am! Who can save me?!?" &c.

I would merely add to the points made already that what matters is not what Calvin thought, or Augustine, or Witness Lee. What matters is what the 1st-century Jews (and the Gentile converts) thought. Because that alone gives proper context to the NT. And remember, not all of them thought the same things - some of them, for example, didn't believe in the resurrection from the dead. Even some Christians didn't believe, if you read Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians (15:12-14)!

So even though assuming some monolithic, 'orthodox position' that we must by our own logic and word studies re-create in toto in our assemblies today, whether Idaho USA or Zimbabwe Africa, seems a bit optimistic - sorry LSM - we should endevour to track this down, what was meant when the apostle wrote this or that. In fact I do nothing but this on my spare time, but read intelligent and informed people who write and talk about these kinds of things. But ultimately it's not what Pastor Bob preaches down the street. It is what Jesus said, and what Jesus meant when he said what he said. If I am zealously pursuing such things, then I can meet with most anybody. I have my views and I am not threatened or offended by the views others hold. (mostly, unless they try to enslave me)

My own view is this. Jesus essentially had no free will. He kept saying, "I come to do the Father's will". He kept saying, "Not my will but the Father's will be done". He kept saying, "It must be fulfilled, Scripture has been written". My sense is that Jesus saw himself caught by the Father's will, expressed in scripture. It was written, so it must be done. Now, Jesus of course had free will, but that was to choose the Father's will. To believe.

"He (Jesus) trusted in God (the Father); let Him (the Father) save Him (the Son) now". Psalm 22:8; Matt 27:43. Jesus chose to trust, to believe, to obey. He saw nothing but the Father. Now how can we see anything but Jesus?

So, he 'chose' to have 'no free will'. Because he believed. That's why (I think) Paul called it the "faith of Christ". It is his faith, now dwelling in us.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
We visited there last weekend and I had really good feelings and I even wonder if this is the Lords' choice for us....but discovered they are reformed which I have questions about. I spoke to the pastors wife and she was open and sweet and let me know they believe that God did not die for everybody, only His elect. And one of their positions is holding to the faith that we have no free will in coming to Christ but rather only those elect will come to faith in Him.

So many sweet things there.
A reverence for the Lord, the pastor is awesome and diligent to know the word, they obviously cherish Gods' word, their position on all other points align with the word as much as I can see.

I fear taking my kids into the same ol' same ol' direction where a deviation from scripture leads to wrong believing, wrong thinking, wrong actions. I mean, we all have seen it play out. There is a real and legitimate danger. And I believe when scripture said a little leaven leavens the whole lump He was warning us about leavened doctrine....and maybe other kinds of leaven that I do not see yet.....

Please, brothers and sisters, what is your take? Where is the assembly without error?? I cannot seem to find them....I asked the Lord to choose the assembly, to take me to it. Please what would you do?

byHismercy
byHismercy,

"Reformed" usually refers to the teachings of John Calvin, who tended to be extreme regarding predestination. For modern day churches, it basically provides safe "boundaries" for them to remain in the orthodoxy of the scripture. Whether reformation, restoration, reformed, recovered, catholic, pentecostal, baptist, wesleyan, etc. its almost impossible to find a congregation which does not have some ties to past movements. Each of these also brings certain traditions of worship and practice. But it really comes down to the people and their heart for the Lord. As others have said, no church will be perfect. Regarding free will, do they preach the gospel?

I left the LC, not so much because of "errant" teachings at LSM, as you said "leaven," but because they hurt and abuse people. Then they cover up their unrighteousness by smearing those who resist while trying to protect the saints. It was a downward spiral in the recovery -- bad practices produced bad teachings which produced worse practices and worse teachings. Their road had no guardrails. There were none to provide healthy checks or balance.

I would encourage you to stay. Focus on the positive -- faith, hope, and love. Remember, there would be no epistles in the N.T. unless all the churches had "issues." The Lord is faithful to purge each assembly. The "Son of Man" walks in their midst. The real downfall in the recovery was rejecting the Lord's speaking, replacing it with Lee's. The Lord came to them often, but they shut Him out.

Pray much and seek the Lord. If necessary, ask the elders about "troublesome" teachings. A healthy response will tell you much about them.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:55 AM   #8
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JB thank you for the kind affirmation.
Amen brother,we all know what happened when Adam innocent exercised his free will. And the Last Adam,the Second Man always did His Father's will. Very interesting subject matter.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:10 AM   #9
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Amen brother,we all know what happened when Adam innocent exercised his free will. And the Last Adam,the Second Man always did His Father's will. Very interesting subject matter.
I should have said when Adam innocent exersised his will independent from God.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:21 AM   #10
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Aron and Kevin thank you both. You brothers are pursuing the truth in the word and your council is the kind I need. Amen to seeking the Kingdom of God first and it being near, in our hearts and in our mouths, Aron.

The reformed position takes scripture and its' interpretation makes so much sense sometimes. One problem I have with it, though is it doesn't align God with His will for us all. He desires that NONE should perish. But then He somehow changed into a god who chooses some but not the rest....leaving them to perish for eternity? I cannot believe our righteous Lord would create us with the foreknowledge....yes, the intention....of letting most of them suffer hell, forever. To say He alone chooses is to say He doesn't love us all. It is to say that He didn't die for all. Which is verbatim what I was told in the reformed assembly the other day. ``We believe He didn't die for everybody! Only His elect!" This god breaks my heart. And does not seem to match His own word??

And I agree, Aron, this discussion is good and important to have, and could be a real testimony of Jesus.

byHismercy
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:06 AM   #11
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I would encourage you to stay. Focus on the positive -- faith, hope, and love. Remember, there would be no epistles in the N.T. unless the church had "issues." The Lord is faithful to purge each assembly.
Put another way, if you held opinions contrary to the pastor and the elders, but didn't make them a point of contention, would they tolerate you?

I think about the children a lot. Do they want to see the adults arguing about the finer points of doctrine, and dismissing others' abstractions for their own, or do they want to see the adults receiving one another (and them) in love? Humility is not a word, it's a consistent series of actions spurred by an attitude consistently held.

The original "church split" in the 4th century, at the Chalcedon Conference, was over an abstraction, that centered around the Greek word meaning 'nature'. The Oriental Orthodox went one way, the Greek Orthodox went another way. Even today if you ask them what it was all about, they say, "It's complicated." I would rather be simple.

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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
The reformed position takes scripture and its' interpretation makes so much sense sometimes. One problem I have with it, though is it doesn't align God with His will for us all. He desires that NONE should perish. But then He somehow changed into a god who chooses some but not the rest....leaving them to perish for eternity? I cannot believe our righteous Lord would create us with the foreknowledge....yes, the intention....of letting most of them suffer hell, forever. To say He alone chooses is to say He doesn't love us all. It is to say that He didn't die for all. Which is verbatim what I was told in the reformed assembly the other day. ``We believe He didn't die for everybody! Only His elect!" This god breaks my heart. And does not seem to match His own word??
I don't see easy answers coming to such questions. I think a lot about Jesus and how he saw the Father, especially in the Hebrew Scriptures. And how he saw himself and his role. I felt like the Jews were very constrained by the word (God's command) and Jesus was constrained most of all. And yet all of this was (somehow) 'his' choice. If it were the Father alone, how could there be a reward?

Somehow both points (detervminism v/v free will) seem so opposite, and I can't logically reconcile them, and don't even try. Yet somehow it somehow feels like that's the way it was.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
The reformed position takes scripture and its' interpretation makes so much sense sometimes. One problem I have with it, though is it doesn't align God with His will for us all. He desires that NONE should perish. But then He somehow changed into a god who chooses some but not the rest....leaving them to perish for eternity? I cannot believe our righteous Lord would create us with the foreknowledge....yes, the intention....of letting most of them suffer hell, forever. To say He alone chooses is to say He doesn't love us all. It is to say that He didn't die for all. Which is verbatim what I was told in the reformed assembly the other day. ``We believe He didn't die for everybody! Only His elect!" This god breaks my heart. And does not seem to match His own word??

byHismercy
I have interpreted the foreknowledge and predestination of a loving God to remind me that He gets all the glory. I have nothing to boast in. I Cor 1.31 does not just apply to boasting in ministers (i.e. "I am of Paul"), but also boasting in ourselves. I have heard some dramatic testimonies over the years with the story-teller concluding how they chose the Lord. They received great applause. But predestination informs us, not so much that we did not choose to believe, but that all the glory is His.

This is how I have tried to reconcile this mysterious Biblical enigma. Stretching the understanding further seems to invite trouble.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:50 AM   #13
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I ain't gonna push the envelope to defend Calvinistic soteriology. Well, this forum is about the Lord's Recovery movement anyway. I'll just leave this photo anyway.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:00 AM   #14
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Somehow both points (detervminism v/v free will)
It's essentially compatibilism which I affirm.

Aron, in my position on total depravity I've indicated that man's will is bound by its nature. Which is why it cannot do the opposite of its own nature, such as submit to the law of God.

▶Jeremiah 13:23 NASB◀
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.

Compatibilism allows us to correctly connect man's will with God's sovereignty hence soft determinism in making these two seemingly opposite entities compatible. You can search that more on Google.

Okay, enough this Calvinism stuff. Lol
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:05 PM   #15
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Aron and Kevin thank you both. You brothers are pursuing the truth in the word and your council is the kind I need. Amen to seeking the Kingdom of God first and it being near, in our hearts and in our mouths, Aron.

The reformed position takes scripture and its' interpretation makes so much sense sometimes. One problem I have with it, though is it doesn't align God with His will for us all. He desires that NONE should perish. But then He somehow changed into a god who chooses some but not the rest....leaving them to perish for eternity? I cannot believe our righteous Lord would create us with the foreknowledge....yes, the intention....of letting most of them suffer hell, forever. To say He alone chooses is to say He doesn't love us all. It is to say that He didn't die for all. Which is verbatim what I was told in the reformed assembly the other day. ``We believe He didn't die for everybody! Only His elect!" This god breaks my heart. And does not seem to match His own word??

And I agree, Aron, this discussion is good and important to have, and could be a real testimony of Jesus.

byHismercy
One day, while walking through a crowded commercial area downtown, something on the ground caught my attention. Printed in bold letters on this flyer were the words, "free ice cream". Needless to say, I swooped down and picked it right up. It turned out that a nearby frozen yogurt restaurant was having a grand opening and because of the occasion they were giving out free frozen yogurt to their first 100 customers.

Of course having nothing on my mind at this point other then free ice cream, it was only a little later after I indulged in my good fortunes that the Lord used that day to teach me about predestination.

There are many out there led to believe that election is a matter of being predestined before birth at the individual level like Christ was, as in, the Lord saying to himself " ok, so and so will be born on this day and I have already decided that this person specifically will be a Christian when they grow up" sort of thing.

There are some exceptions, but the Lord taught me that predestination in general is a matter of a potential that he's created open-endedly to be filled by whomever makes the individual choice to partake in His free gift of eternal life.

The Lord then affirmed this message to me through scripture with the verse in Romans 11:25 that speaks about Israel being hardened until the number of gentiles be fulfilled. This verse showed me that just as in the first 100 customers getting free ice cream so it is with Heaven and the gentiles. There is a specific number (not specific individuals) that the Lord has set aside to be fulfilled. Yet, he already has a name set aside for those that are chosen.

And also the parable of the Great Banquet in Matthew 22:1-14 when Jesus speaks about sending out invitations to guests for his wedding banquet. Ultimately those invitations were not responded to only to be later extended to all others.

This of course was fulfilled when the Jews rejected the gospel thus bringing it to the Gentiles but I am led to believe this principle is still at work even within the gentile communities.

So you see, the flyer that I picked up from the ground was originally mailed to specific addresses in the area but apparently one of those addressees discarded their flyer and so I was the one that picked it up and redeemed it in their place. I assume many more than 100 flyers where mailed but only 100 were able to be redeemed.

Salvation, in short, is just like this offer for free ice cream. I believe everyone does have the individual opportunity to respond to it but as it turned out many will discard it or walk right past it only to be picking up by someone else and in my case it was only by His mercy that person was me.

And yes absolutely, the Lord died for everyone so that we all will be given the opportunity of receiving his free gift of salvation.
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:34 PM   #16
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I ain't gonna push the envelope to defend Calvinistic soteriology. Well, this forum is about the Lord's Recovery movement anyway. I'll just leave this photo anyway.
Am I the stupid penguin in this analogy? If so, I forgive you. :-)
Wait, which one?

I just cannot feel silly referencing any scripture as Gods' truth. Nor ashamed. I fully believe every word of scripture and I also have a bit of trust in the interpretation that belongs to me via the Holy Spirit.
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:54 PM   #17
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Please, brothers and sisters, what is your take? Where is the assembly without error?? I cannot seem to find them....I asked the Lord to choose the assembly, to take me to it. Please what would you do?

byHismercy


My take is this. The Lord said he would be sending us out into the world as sheep amongst wolves.

We're also commanded to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

I don't believe this is just limited to the general populace, I also believe it applies to all groups we are surrounded by and religious congregations we fellowship with. Therefore, we shouldn't look for a certain congregation to be the salt and light for us, rather we as individuals should be the salt and light for the souls in these various church groups.

In other words, it's not what a church can fulfill for us rather it's what we can do for other people attitude we should be approaching with when looking for a group to fellowship with and the rest will fall into place. And of course as many already know here, this is assuming you already know it's the Lord Jesus Christ and his heavenly kingdom you're serving and not another man's fleeting movement on earth.

As I've said before, I do not believe there is a perfect church group out there. It's something the Lord is still working out and will only be fulfilled when he gathers all of his elect together from amongst the various congregations at the last day.

As adults, I do believe we should first be content within our own personal relationship with Christ before fully committing to fellowships so that no matter what happens we'll still have Christ. Sometimes I believe the Lord leads us out into the wilderness to establish just that.

Just think of what kind of Church Life Jesus had on earth. I imagine he often times felt lonely even amongst his disciples in the sense that he didn't have others that were able to fully relate and understand as he did. Yet, he still had his Father and the hope of his brethren one day becoming one with him just as he is one with his Father.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:00 PM   #18
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I have interpreted the foreknowledge and predestination of a loving God to remind me that He gets all the glory. I have nothing to boast in. I Cor 1.31 does not just apply to boasting in ministers (i.e. "I am of Paul"), but also boasting in ourselves. I have heard some dramatic testimonies over the years with the story-teller concluding how they chose the Lord. They received great applause. But predestination informs us, not so much that we did not choose to believe, but that all the glory is His.

This is how I have tried to reconcile this mysterious Biblical enigma. Stretching the understanding further seems to invite trouble.
Yes, not that any should boast! And I will pray. I fear joining an assembly which wholehearted believes these points might be allowing my kids to become indoctrinated in an error. I can only think such a stance would lead Christians to see the unsaved with a pessimistic lens.....'maybe that one is not chosen....maybe why bother?' Also, what a mystery! I mean, as sure as I am that His death and resurrection are for whomever will believe, I also completely see that yes, we were fore known, called into fellowship with the Son. But only because He came to me, but that was because I asked Him to show me, and that because of His mercy!

It is so easy to go too far. To state as scripture what may not actually be there. Or to discard any portion which doesn't match your personal interpretation or understanding. John 3:16, anyone? Kevin?
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:28 PM   #19
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And yes absolutely, the Lord died for everyone so that we all will be given the opportunity of receiving his free gift of salvation.
Yes, He did die for us all. Hallelujah! I really like how the Lord used your enthusiasm for ice cream to show you something in His word. Makes me smile. And thank you for the references, Jo S. Do you think the wedding garment is the blood of Christ? Matt. 22:11-12
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:44 PM   #20
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Do you think the wedding garment is the blood of Christ? Matt. 22:11-12
Yes, it could be. The Lord could also be referring to the linen garments that are the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8) which of course is the righteousness of Christ and his act of death on a cross being first and imbued to us through faith in him. Which now that I think of it is just as you mention although I complicated it a bit more.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:52 PM   #21
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Actually, Ohio, I would stay if it were just me. I think. The pastors wife encouraged me to listen to the pastors teaching on John. She said he took 7 years to cover the book!! They are available on the churchs' website and I have been enjoying his expounding on Hebrews they are currently in.

The thing is my children are young and being formed. I don't think I can lead them into/promote teachings I myself feel are erroneous....I don't want them to be confused. We all pray together for their dads' salvation. What if they gave up hope? What if they started to think their dad might never come to the saving knowledge and trust in Christs' atoning work?? All they have seen in their young lives, for years, is their dads' stubborn denial of God, and his refusal to see, hear, or even acknowledge any truth which is in Jesus. What if his current state of unbelief leads them to believe he is one of the 'unchosen'. One of those not called....one of 'them'. There is so much at stake. I am responsible for their spiritual upbringing and in that sense, I am the only one. I mean, there are no other regenerated Christian's in our family, at least not whom they have any contact with or live a couple thousand miles away from. Please, anyone here feel moved to, pray for Steves' salvation. Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:58 PM   #22
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Am I the stupid penguin in this analogy? If so, I forgive you. :-)
Wait, which one?
No. I don't mean to refer yourself in that analogy. It's just for fun that I myself am fond of reformed memes. But seriously, I don't wanna argue to push this further because of the maligned stereotype that Calvinists are just mean robust geek jerks.

I suspect a lot of people get turned off from Calvinism because of Calvinists. If you’ve been burned by us, I’m sorry. If you’ve been put off by what Calvinism teaches because you’ve seen how some Calvinists speak and act, then I understand. Calvinists like me get a rush of adrenaline over winning an argument or justifying our beliefs, and we tend to forget about loving our brothers and sisters who have also been justified by Christ. And that’s wrong.

But honestly, I don't wear badges. I find Calvin, Luther, Wesley, and Tozer helpful men. I aim to read the Scriptures faithfully. I find that people make assumptions about labels.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:10 PM   #23
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I agree with Piper on limited atonement. He says,

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The atonement of Christ is sufficient for all humans and effective for those who trust him. It is not limited in its worth or sufficiency to save all who believe. But the full, saving effectiveness of the atonement that Jesus accomplished is limited to those for whom that saving effect was prepared. The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people. Whosoever will—whoever believes—will be covered by the blood of Christ. And there is a divine design in the death of Christ to accomplish the promises of the new covenant for the chosen bride of Christ. Thus Christ died for all people, but not for all in the same way.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:45 AM   #24
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...my children are young and being formed. I don't think I can lead them into/promote teachings I myself feel are erroneous.....
Well then there you have it. You don't want the children in your care to sit under teachings that you yourself don't agree with.

But at the same time the apostles' word is to be at peace with all, best as you can. So it would behoove you to engage this assembly at some level beyond the nominal, wave-as-you-drive-by level. They are fellow believers and you can still love them and receive them as such.

But I'd like to add a point, with an example. My point is that under the one-church-per-city model, you're in a fix if the pastor starts teaching that the Son is the Father or that you become God, and it doesn't make sense to you. Or suppose the pastors son is appointed office manager and starts molesting the church members, and the elders side with him and agree to bury the issue? And then it happens again? If you believe in the one church per city model you are stuck.

And my example is from my own experience. Recently, I began to consider "God's economy which is in faith" in light of all the seemingly random accounts that start the book of Acts. Consider the gospels: "Lord, we have left everything and followed you". And, "When you give a feast, invite those who cannot repay you". This is the opposite of the human economy where you store your grain in barns, and your money in the bank, or stocks, or land. And in the human economy there is reciprocity- when you give, you expect equal or greater return.

But the divine economy is a variant of the "pay it forward" idea. Give by faith, expecting that God will take care of you. Does He not array the lilies of the field in splendor?

Now, look at Acts. The people sold what they had, and held things in common. There was the issue of the dispensing to the 'hellenist' widows who of course had no assets... there was likewise Dorcas making shirts for the widows. There was Peter, telling the crippled beggar, "silver and gold I have none..." There was the case of Barnabas, selling everything and becoming a disciple, and Ananias and Sapphira pretending to sell everything.

Then you have Paul and Barnabas acting as channels to the poor of Jerusalem, who have given up everything to follow Christ. Luke's narrative has a thread that runs through it all, and it continues the gospels' theme: give without expecting return. This is Gods economy in faith.

Now, what do I do if I get this 'vision'? Start a new church? Force my assembly to come on board? Start seeking a fellowship that teaches this?

No - the gospel never changes and the faith never changes. It was delivered once, for all and to all. I will not leave it.

But that doesn't mean that I have to forget my ideas, to conform to the Hive Mind. I just hold them lightly within the context of the assemblies of Jesus' faith.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:56 AM   #25
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The thing is my children are young and being formed. I don't think I can lead them into/promote teachings I myself feel are erroneous....I don't want them to be confused. We all pray together for their dads' salvation. What if they gave up hope? What if they started to think their dad might never come to the saving knowledge and trust in Christs' atoning work?? All they have seen in their young lives, for years, is their dads' stubborn denial of God, and his refusal to see, hear, or even acknowledge any truth which is in Jesus. What if his current state of unbelief leads them to believe he is one of the 'unchosen'. One of those not called....one of 'them'. There is so much at stake. I am responsible for their spiritual upbringing and in that sense, I am the only one. I mean, there are no other regenerated Christian's in our family, at least not whom they have any contact with or live a couple thousand miles away from. Please, anyone here feel moved to, pray for Steves' salvation. Thanks.
As an old parent and grandpa, having lived thru some of these same difficulties, I understand your concerns. Personally I believe a loving display of kindness, peace, and respect at home far outweighs some occasional misinterpretation of scripture one hour a week at church. (Thinking about I Cor. 7.14; I Peter 3.1, etc.)

Now if your children's father was singled out publicly or privately as "unchosen," or some such nonsense, then fireworks are in order.

How about we all pray for your family?
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:40 AM   #26
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Please, brothers and sisters, what is your take? Where is the assembly without error?? I cannot seem to find them....I asked the Lord to choose the assembly, to take me to it. Please what would you do?
byHismercy,The Church life has been in a state of ruin since the end of the first century A.D. that is why the Apostle John instructed the saints to go back to the beginning. The Lord Jesus has always been faithful to meet the needs of the saints whatever the state of the professing Church has been. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:22 AM   #27
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byHismercy,The Church life has been in a state of ruin since the end of the first century A.D. that is why the Apostle John instructed the saints to go back to the beginning. The Lord Jesus has always been faithful to meet the needs of the saints whatever the state of the professing Church has been...
I don't think "a state of ruin" is too strong. The Church in toto has been in a state of ruin, and this has resulted in various attempts at recovery or reformation or restoration, which merely modify the ruins somewhat, and pronounce themselves satisfied. My analogy is that they camp out in the desert, proclaiming that they're in the Good Land. "Here we are on Mount Zion!" What makes it Zion? Your declaration? What is the basis?

The good news is that once one realizes the state of abject ruin of things, one is free to fellowship with most anyone, without holding them to unrealistic expectations. If they confess Jesus as Lord, then we probably can meet, encourage, pray, testify & exhort, console & encourage, and be mutually edified & built up. I don't expect them to be at "the high peak of Zion" or "the central lane of the divine economy".

And on the other hand, if I receive those who confess the Lord then I have every expectation to be received as well, and that includes what the Lord speaks to me in his word. If I'm willing to listen to those who use Calvin as their muse, or Luther or Darby or Wesley or whomever, then they can hear me as well. Each one has.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:06 AM   #28
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.. in my position on total depravity I've indicated that man's will is bound by its nature. Which is why it cannot do the opposite of its own nature, such as submit to the law of God...Compatibilism allows us to correctly connect man's will with God's sovereignty hence soft determinism in making these two seemingly opposite entities compatible.
But Jesus was a man who was not in total depravity and it is in this man that we hope, not in ourselves. I see him choosing the Father's will and I choose him.

Then we come to the question of "nature"... Jesus the Son of Man submitted to the law of God. "I come to do Thy will, o God, behold in the scroll of the book it is written concerning me". Jesus chose to believe that the scroll of the book was written concerning him, and he walked accordingly, and God raised him from the dead and gave him glory.

To me, the salient issue here is not "nature" but "walk". Words are words, but it is my conduct that will prove the issue. It is not a debate that I can "win" in a Calvinist assembly, or any other. I confess Jesus Christ as Lord - now where is my walk? How I interact in the assemblies, some of whom may be stuck in various abstractions like "oneness" and "local ground" (for example) - that will prove of what sort I am. If we show mercy to others, God will show mercy to us.

My point is that the "degradation of the church" is an opportunity for us to show mercy, and love. Outreach is not only to the unbelievers but also to those of the household of faith.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:55 AM   #29
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And on the other hand, if I receive those who confess the Lord then I have every expectation to be received as well, and that includes what the Lord speaks to me in his word. If I'm willing to listen to those who use Calvin as their muse, or Luther or Darby or Wesley or whomever, then they can hear me as well. Each one has.
I agree with what you say aron,I really appreciate your insight on the subject.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:35 AM   #30
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And on the other hand, if I receive those who confess the Lord then I have every expectation to be received as well, and that includes what the Lord speaks to me in his word. If I'm willing to listen to those who use Calvin as their muse, or Luther or Darby or Wesley or whomever, then they can hear me as well. Each one has.
Aron, I had a conversation with Evangelical (whatever happened to him?) a while back about discerning between those that confess Jesus as Lord but are not confessing the correct Jesus. Can I ask, how do you personally discern "those that claim they are Jews and are not"? Do you base your discernment on words, works, both or...?
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:40 PM   #31
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But Jesus was a man who was not in total depravity and it is in this man that we hope, not in ourselves. I see him choosing the Father's will and I choose him.

Then we come to the question of "nature"... Jesus the Son of Man submitted to the law of God. "I come to do Thy will, o God, behold in the scroll of the book it is written concerning me". Jesus chose to believe that the scroll of the book was written concerning him, and he walked accordingly, and God raised him from the dead and gave him glory.

To me, the salient issue here is not "nature" but "walk". Words are words, but it is my conduct that will prove the issue. It is not a debate that I can "win" in a Calvinist assembly, or any other. I confess Jesus Christ as Lord - now where is my walk? How I interact in the assemblies, some of whom may be stuck in various abstractions like "oneness" and "local ground" (for example) - that will prove of what sort I am. If we show mercy to others, God will show mercy to us.

My point is that the "degradation of the church" is an opportunity for us to show mercy, and love. Outreach is not only to the unbelievers but also to those of the household of faith.
This post gives me some light, Aron. When I consider my own state it seems silly to expect the body to be anything more.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:40 PM   #32
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How about we all pray for your family?
Yes, please!
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:53 PM   #33
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Aron, I had a conversation with Evangelical (whatever happened to him?) a while back about discerning between those that confess Jesus as Lord but are not confessing the correct Jesus. Can I ask, how do you personally discern "those that claim they are Jews and are not"? Do you base your discernment on words, works, both or...?
This is the scary part. There are a few groups that I have been made familiar with who I think are holding forth another jesus, another spirit, another gospel. In some cases it is so obvious. In other cases, it is not so clear. What if I am not sure?
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:26 PM   #34
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This is the scary part. There are a few groups that I have been made familiar with who I think are holding forth another jesus, another spirit, another gospel. In some cases it is so obvious. In other cases, it is not so clear. What if I am not sure?
If you are not so clear then try to give the benefit of the doubt. God can make things clear. One must always be cautious, and when caring for vulnerable children even moreso. But one must also be cautious to pass hasty judgment. Because we also are being judged. So show mercy! But I get ahead of myself, here...
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about discerning between those that confess Jesus as Lord but are not confessing the correct Jesus. Can I ask, how do you personally discern "those that claim they are Jews and are not"? Do you base your discernment on words, works, both or...?
Obvious cases who "claim they are Jews but are not":

~David Koresh and Branch Davidians. Koresh started with the Southern Baptists, then SDA, then took over the Branch Davidians.
~Black Israel. They believe that Jesus was black and they are the true Israelites. They love to remonstrate with others over Hebrew words and keeping the law.
~Mormon Polygamists. All Mormons, for that matter. I don't greet them in the streets, I just move on.
~Moses David Berg and the Children of God/Family. Started as "Teens for Christ" in 1968, believe it or not.
~Rastafarians. They think that Haile Selassie was God incarnate.
~Unification Church. They think that Sun Myung Moon was God incarnate.
~[LC spin-off]Eastern Lightning. They think that God is a Chinese woman who failed her university exams and had a nervous breakdown and identity crisis. Hey! Maybe she's God incarnate! Yeah! That's it! (Nah)
~Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. Jones started as a Methodist, then became a charismatic Pentecostal, then started his own spin-off group in San Francisco.
~Elizabeth Clare Prophet. She grew up with parents in Lutherans' and Catholics' faith traditions, then was exposed to Christian Science, then started her own New Age "Path to Christ-hood" called Summit Lighthouse.
~Heavens Gate cult: Jesus was supposedly coming on the Hale Bopp comet.
~JWs, etc, etc... one must draw the line somewhere.... God eventually makes clear (to me) who to avoid. Otherwise I'd try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, to start anyway. Peter at one point denied Jesus, but Jesus had mercy. So I need to follow Jesus and try to show mercy. If they are trying to acknowledge Christ, try to acknowledge them.

Jude v. 3 says, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people." But vv. 22,23 say, "And indeed, have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; and to still others, show mercy tempered with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh." In other words, those who show mercy will be shown mercy. ~Matt 5:7 Just like Jesus taught, surprise, surprise...

My current criteria are that there should be words (confess Jesus as Lord) and there should also be works (humility, eagerness to learn, showing love to those who are without). I try to be patient and kind, if possible, but there are some who are best to avoid (see list above). And if caring for young children, even moreso! Keep them safe!

There are some borderline cases like Seventh Day Adventists and Christian Scientists that may be genuinely "Christian" but I don't spend time on them. I don't judge them but I'm not going to spend my time in fruitless argument and/or outreach over abstract formulations. But my point here is that if someone's nominally "Christian" I should try to find common ground, and fellowship, and opportunity mutual experience and expression. This is my job as one who confesses Jesus Christ. But there are clearly lines drawn - who to avoid. Be wise like a serpent, guile-less like a dove. Try to find the good and avoid the egregiously bad.

Back in the first century you just hung out with Peter and John if you wanted to be safe. Or be with those whom John received/approved. Now we don't have that simplicity.

(The above list was a bit tongue-in-cheek, as these groups are not where most wouldn't want to end up. But that's the point - start with obvious cases and move toward 'iffy' ones. And remember that they all either started out Christian or claimed to...)
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:12 AM   #35
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~Mormon Polygamists. All Mormons, for that matter. I don't greet them in the streets, I just move on.
It's curious to see Mormons on this list because as far as zeal to spread their movement and biblical knowledge, they would run circles around LC'ers. Same goes for JW's.

The Mormons have the prophet Joseph Smith and his extra biblical revelation of a latter day restored church. The LC's have their apostles Nee, Lee, Chu with the extra biblical revelation of a restored church in a one church per city model.


Both claim Jesus as Lord. Where do you draw the line in the case of the Mormons and do you consider the Local Churches in that group that you posted? Why or why not?
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:42 PM   #36
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The Mormons have the prophet Joseph Smith and his extra biblical revelation of a latter day restored church. The LC's have their apostles Nee, Lee, Chu with the extra biblical revelation of a restored church in a one church per city model.
The Book of Mormon is an addition to scripture, not an interpretation of existing canon. Seems like a clear difference to me. Although the uncritical reception of the Lee hermeneutic within the LC, versus the critical reception of scripture as "fallen human concept" does blur the line somewhat. The LC likes to dance on the edge of orthodoxy- the LDS goes over the edge with its Book of Mormon.

But there are a lot of similarities.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:32 PM   #37
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The Book of Mormon is an addition to scripture, not an interpretation of existing canon. Seems like a clear difference to me. Although the uncritical reception of the Lee hermeneutic within the LC, versus the critical reception of scripture as "fallen human concept" does blur the line somewhat. The LC likes to dance on the edge of orthodoxy- the LDS goes over the edge with its Book of Mormon.

But there are a lot of similarities.
I'd agree that the Book of Mormon is over the top but the biblical charge you're referring to is the addition of special revelation to scripture found in Revelation 22:19 although I believe you may be interpreting the "adding" to a literal second book rather than in a more general sense.

Yes, Mormons do add revelation to scripture but so do the Local Churches. Perhaps it's not through an additional book but they do it through biblical interpretation in speech and literature.

Adding revelation to scripture can come in more than one way. It doesn't matter whether it comes from an additional book or through verbal or written exposition, you're adding revelation to scripture that is not there in the text. Mormons and Local Church members are similar in this sense no matter what the "extra" is.

So if you argue that the reason Mormons and the Local Churches differ is because they do not have an additional book along with the bible I'd say that may be true but both groups are still violating the same command in scripture.

As it stands both groups have their self appointed apostles and prophets and their unique revelation, neither of which are found in orthodoxy, so if you deem one heretical based on adding to revelation then wouldn't it only be fair and do the same with the other?
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:32 PM   #38
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I agree with Aron as to the LC dancing near the edge of the precipice whilst the Mormon church has fallen off the cliff with their lineage of gods, god fathers, god grandfathers and on and on. But regarding adding to scripture they have both erred.

Which brings me back to the reformed assembly. Isn't saying that God has elected some, His chosen, and the rest of mankind, the vast majority in fact, are without chance of salvation....absolutely without hope of avoiding hell, isn't that an addition? I just don't see it in scripture. And if it is an addition, should I have anything to do with it? It may be that it doesn't divide or separate the believers, but it seems like an awfully slippery slope to play near, in my opinion. Especially coming out of the LC.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:42 PM   #39
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I agree with Aron as to the LC dancing near the edge of the precipice whilst the Mormon church has fallen off the cliff with their lineage of gods, god fathers, god grandfathers and on and on. But regarding adding to scripture they have both erred.

Which brings me back to the reformed assembly. Isn't saying that God has elected some, His chosen, and the rest of mankind, the vast majority in fact, are without chance of salvation....absolutely without hope of avoiding hell, isn't that an addition? I just don't see it in scripture. And if it is an addition, should I have anything to do with it? It may be that it doesn't divide or separate the believers, but it seems like an awfully slippery slope to play near, in my opinion. Especially coming out of the LC.
I understand that Mormon theology is out there, I don't argue with that. But to someone outside of the LC's, their theology can look the same way. It's all a matter of perspective.

At it's core, becoming "God-men" isn't much different from what Mormonism teaches aside from perhaps being a bit less colorful in it's presentation. So where exactly is the edge? Both groups can effectively defend their positions with scripture. Is the edge merely subjective or is extra biblical revelation itself the edge, no matter the form?

The Mormons have a 100 year head start so they are definitely further down the cliff but I believe both fell off as soon as they embraced unique revelation.

With that said, ByHisMercy, I can't really tell you what to do in regards to new fellowship. What I do know is, the thing that gets many people involved with groups such as the Local Churches is loneliness or fear of being alone. That's all too human, nothing wrong with wanting community (which the LC's do well enough) but when your main driving force is social desire, isn't the root of your search for fellowship a wanting to be served rather than to serve?

I'd humbly suggest continue seeking God with all your strength and wanting to serve others first and foremost. Then I believe the Lord will lead you into the fellowship he intends for you to be a part of.
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:09 PM   #40
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I understand that Mormon theology is out there, I don't argue with that. But to someone outside of the LC's, their theology can look the same way. It's all a matter of perspective.

At it's core, becoming "God-men" isn't much different from what Mormonism teaches aside from perhaps being a bit less colorful in it's presentation. So where exactly is the edge? Both groups can effectively defend their positions with scripture. Is the edge merely subjective or is extra biblical revelation itself the edge, no matter the form?

The Mormons have a 100 year head start so they are definitely further down the cliff but I believe both fell as soon as they embraced unique revelation.

With that said, ByHisMercy, I can't really tell you what to do in regards to new fellowship. What I do know is, the thing that gets many people involved with groups such as the Local Churches is loneliness or fear of being alone. That's all too human, nothing wrong with wanting community (which the LC's do well enough) but when your main driving force is social desire, isn't the root of your search for fellowship a wanting to be served rather than to serve?

I'd humbly suggest continue seeking God with all your strength and wanting to serve others first and foremost. Then I believe the Lord will lead you into the fellowship he intends for you to be apart of.
I don't know if social desire is my driving force. Socially, I would rather put it this way....if I were an animal, I would be a clam. In a closed shell. With a sign. It reads ``KEEP OUT. Mind your business and leave me to mine."

However, Jesus ask of me that I not forsake the assembling together with His body. So I would rather obey Him than my own preferences. Because I want to remain in His will for me, and receive the blessing. I've become accustomed to it. :-)

And I do have a desire to serve His body and others. I mean, there is not much love in my way, is there? Today I read that love is to keep His commandments. 2nd John vs. 6. So although it is plain to myself and probably others that I lack in love, maybe He will account me love if I obey....which is good news to me. I don't have much faith in my equipping unto that, but I will that I would.

But that doesn't make me any less wary as to doctrinal error.....I feel very much on guard, you know?
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:38 PM   #41
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I'd humbly suggest continue seeking God with all your strength and wanting to serve others first and foremost. Then I believe the Lord will lead you into the fellowship he intends for you to be apart of.
Also, this might not be what you meant to suggest, but I don't believe the Lord has qualifications on His children as to the stage of transformation they need to be in in order to meet! He said 'present your bodies, a reasonanle sacrifice'.....I doubt He would not want me in the assembly because I was not 'absolute' for service.....
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:09 PM   #42
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Also, this might not be what you meant to suggest, but I don't believe the Lord has qualifications on His children as to the stage of transformation they need to be in in order to meet! He said 'present your bodies, a reasonanle sacrifice'.....I doubt He would not want me in the assembly because I was not 'absolute' for service.....
This is what I fear most for people coming out of groups like the Local Churches. What tends to happen is a culture of "absolute" servitude is instilled but steered in the wrong direction thereby tainting these types of biblical principles for people later on. Rather than guiding you toward absolute servitude for Christ and his heavenly kingdom alone you're virtue is directed toward earthly ministries that merely feed the appetites and ambitions of men.

Let me ask you this. Was the apostle John forsaking the assembling together while exiled on the island of Patmos? Was God setting up a bad example for us by doing this? Of course not, it was God's will that he be kept in isolation for the purpose of His testimony. He can use any circumstance for His glory.

You'll often find that Hebrews 10:25 is a popular verse twisted by oppressive and controlling religious groups in order to prevent members from leaving through guilt. Looking at the complete context of that verse, the command given by the Hebrews author was specifically directed toward Jewish believers in Jesus Christ at a time when Jews struggled fellowshipping with believing Gentiles because of certain stigma.

Remember, Jesus often withdrew to be alone (Luke 5:16). God can use your time in the wilderness to further establish your individual relationship with him. Please don't think this is only possible in a corporate setting. It's simply not true. As matter of fact the order goes; love the Lord your God and then love your neighbor.

Please don't misunderstand, you do not have to be at a certain stage of transformation to fellowship with others! In the first commandment, the Lord is suggesting He wants to personally fellowship with you first and foremost! The outflow from that then results in service toward others in love and fellowship.

Don't be anxious or worry too much. If it's His will for you to fellowship with a new group of believers then He's capable of making that happen. Perhaps you need a bit more time to heal your wounds in Him or shift priorities before finding another fellowship? I know that tends to be the issue for me.

Either way, seek first Him and His kingdom. All else will fall into place.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:18 PM   #43
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I appreciate your encouragement Jo. Yes, I absorbed many false ideas from the LC, and the Lord needs to reset me, heal me in many ways. Some I am aware of and probably others I'm not. But He knows. And He will heal me, and us. For sure, He has shown me just how faithful He is through all this, and how capable He is to dissipate darkness by His light.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:19 AM   #44
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I understand that Mormon theology is out there, I don't argue with that. But to someone outside of the LC's, their theology can look the same way. It's all a matter of perspective.

At it's core, becoming "God-men" isn't much different from what Mormonism teaches aside from perhaps being a bit less colorful in it's presentation. So where exactly is the edge? Both groups can effectively defend their positions with scripture. Is the edge merely subjective or is extra biblical revelation itself the edge, no matter the form?

The Mormons have a 100 year head start so they are definitely further down the cliff but I believe both fell off as soon as they embraced unique revelation..
I've already mentioned the incongruity of the LC lauding WN for sifting through thousands of different Christian books and forming a coherent and balanced view, and we can't do the same with his writings and WL? Why can't local assemblies both affirm and critique these authors? When we can only affirm, we're pushing their writings dangerously close to that of scripture. Especially when their output (WL) holds scripture as being "fallen" and "natural". I went into this in some depth in the 'Psalms' thread.

The question of, Where does one draw the line, has a subjective element. In my case, I make every effort to fellowship with believers of every type and stripe, knowing full well that where they're short of the mark I may be doubly so. Every failure is an opportunity to show mercy. But on the other hand there's this little word called 'truth' and we should not indulge someone's illogic merely to be polite and get along.

Paul said that everyone has a psalm, a revelation, a tongue or interpretation. But this is not 'adding to scripture' because it may be amended by others. My interpretation may balance your revelation. But the Book of Mormon doesn't allow that. What of, Science and Health by MBE? I've never read it but it seems to be in the Untouchable class by her followers. And the writings of WN & WL in the LC come perilously close as well.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:40 AM   #45
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The Mormons have a 100 year head start so they are definitely further down the cliff but I believe both fell off as soon as they embraced unique revelation.
As a point of comparison, referencing the "100 year head start," examining the history of the Exclusive Plymouth Brethren is far more informative. Both had identical beginnings, both then developed MOTA teachings and practices initiating their downward spiral, and both have deteriorated over time into aberrant and abusive sects.

If you want to know where the LC's are going, then study where the Exclusive Peebs are now.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:00 AM   #46
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The question of, Where does one draw the line, has a subjective element...
In my case, I feel LDS and JWs are 'over the line' and not genuine Christians. SDA have added the law and imposed it on the gentiles. So they are perilously close to being 'out' if in fact not already so. The LCs with their slavish attention paid to their 'apostle' who by Paul's word in Titus 1:6 and 1 Tim 3:4 doesn't even qualify to be an 'elder' in a local church are also perilously close to being 'out'. But who can really say who is 'out' and who is 'in'? I am thinking of the story where the reaping angels gather the wheat and the chaff is thrown away, and the 'wheat' is in the "Wedding Feast" and suddenly the Master comes into the feast and says to one 'wheat', "Who are you? Where is your garment?" and the one accosted is silent and ashamed. ~Matt 22:11-14

My point is, we can't really tell. If the reaping angels bring in the wrong ones, how much more will we! Just be merciful to everyone, and let God sort things out. But obviously keep yourselves from the wolves. Some people don't give the benefit of the doubt. But only God knows for sure.

But there's another aspect here, and that is ruined human lives being restored. Jesus did it, Peter did it after Pentecost, and we have that aspiration to follow. The Assembly is not merely a P & W session, or a 'training' to indoctrinate ones into somebody's ideas... its focus is on glorifying the King by visiting the sick, the weak and the prisoners. By aiding the proverbial widows and orphans.

If the children in our care see us exhibiting genuine love toward those in need, giving to those who can't repay us in this age, it will enhance their walk with God. It's all about helping the other guy - the supposed 'other' is in fact part of 'us', and 'us' is as close to God as it gets. Remember the gospels: love God and love your neighbour is as great as any command ever given. The Assembly is an opportunity to collectively experience and show this love. Not just to those who seem lovable, but especially that 'those who lack would be shown more abundant honour'.

To me, after confessing Jesus as Lord, and keeping myself from sin, the most important thing is to be a vehicle for God's outpoured love. When Peter looked down at the beggar man and said, "Silver and gold I have none, but this I have - in the name of Jesus rise and walk!!" this is the 'sign' that Peter is following Jesus. God's love reached Peter, and now God's love is flowing through Peter into the streets. Really, there is nothing else. Without this love, teachings are empty. Only love will endure.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:48 PM   #47
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In my case, I feel LDS and JWs are 'over the line' and not genuine Christians. SDA have added the law and imposed it on the gentiles. So they are perilously close to being 'out' if in fact not already so. The LCs with their slavish attention paid to their 'apostle' who by Paul's word in Titus 1:6 and 1 Tim 3:4 doesn't even qualify to be an 'elder' in a local church are also perilously close to being 'out'. But who can really say who is 'out' and who is 'in'? I am thinking of the story where the reaping angels gather the wheat and the chaff is thrown away, and the 'wheat' is in the "Wedding Feast" and suddenly the Master comes into the feast and says to one 'wheat', "Who are you? Where is your garment?" and the one accosted is silent and ashamed. ~Matt 22:11-14

My point is, we can't really tell. If the reaping angels bring in the wrong ones, how much more will we! Just be merciful to everyone, and let God sort things out. But obviously keep yourselves from the wolves. Some people don't give the benefit of the doubt. But only God knows for sure.

And there are those that feel the same way toward Local Church members. To make the point, a number of professing Christians have openly labeled the Local Churches a cult in the past and condemned many of their teachings, specifically on the topic of the nature of Christ .

Still your line in the sand is based on feelings and opinion yet you say there's a "little word called truth". Is truth also subjective? If not, where can we find it and know for certain? If you say things like "only God knows" then does that by default leave us all in the dark absolutely, in this case, regarding fellowship? If God knows, is He not capable of speaking to His children? And are not His children capable of hearing their shepherd's voice?

If you struggle with uncertainty would the solution then be to embrace a liberal approach to fellowship? What about 2 John 1:10? You say meet with all believers yet in another sentence claim all Mormons and JW's are not genuine Christians. They too believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. If only God knows who's faith is genuine or not, then by this logic shouldn't we meet with all Mormons and JW's just to be of the safe side?

This thinking seems like another case of an oppressive religious group wrongly executing biblical principle thereby tainting them completely. Seeing now the LC's hostility toward Christians and realizing how wrong it was, is now going to the other extreme and embracing anyone and everyone (save those that fit a muddy and purely subjective criteria) solve the issue then?

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Paul said that everyone has a psalm, a revelation, a tongue or interpretation. But this is not 'adding to scripture' because it may be amended by others. My interpretation may balance your revelation. But the Book of Mormon doesn't allow that.
In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul's saying those that come with psalms, prophesy, tougues, ect should do so for the building up of the body. He is not teaching ecclecticism. And by "interpretation" he means interpretation of tongues, not interpretation of passages of scripture. And also, I do not agree with the extra biblical revelation of " One Church, One city" being something that's "amendable" within the Local Churches because without it the Local Churches wouldn't exist.

Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find (Matt 7:7). If there's no reply, keep asking (Lk 18:1-8). Why settle on "only God knows" implying we cannot if that's not scripture?

ByHisMercy is asking for an answer to a question regarding fellowship. She wouldn't be doing so if she didn't believe her concern couldn't be answered. It's true that perhaps neither you nor I can answer that question for her but God certainly can. Being content with "only God knows" is, to me, raising a white flag.
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:28 AM   #48
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Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find (Matt 7:7). If there's no reply, keep asking (Lk 18:1-8). Why settle on "only God knows" implying we cannot if that's not scripture?

ByHisMercy is asking for an answer to a question regarding fellowship. She wouldn't be doing so if she didn't believe her concern couldn't be answered. It's true that perhaps neither you nor I can answer that question for her but God certainly can. Being content with "only God knows" is, to me, raising a white flag.
Everyone has to figure out who to meet with, and who to avoid. My experience among those who claimed certitude has made me shy of certitude. Perhaps too shy, I admit. I try to avoid the real crazies, try to be careful with the borderline cases, try to accept the ones who confess, no matter how much I may disagree with aspects of their confession.

Regarding "God only knows", my favourite author is Ephrem the Syrian:

“Whoever is capable of investigating becomes the container of what he investigates; a knowledge which is capable of containing the Omniscient is greater than Him, for it has proved capable of measuring the whole of Him. A person who investigates the Father and Son is thus greater than them! Far be it, then, and something anathema, that the Father and Son should be investigated, while dust and ashes exalts itself.”

But perhaps I am avoiding the truth. Yet truth if pursued is asymptotic. One must be content with what one has, and not go beyond what one is given.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:00 AM   #49
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ByHisMercy is asking for an answer to a question regarding fellowship. She wouldn't be doing so if she didn't believe her concern couldn't be answered. It's true that perhaps neither you nor I can answer that question for her but God certainly can. Being content with "only God knows" is, to me, raising a white flag.
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Everyone has to figure out who to meet with, and who to avoid. My experience among those who claimed certitude has made me shy of certitude.
I too well understand about being "shy of certitude." Certitude produces pride and the accompanying arrogance that is so debilitating to fellowship.

Perhaps another more difficult issue for us ex-LCers is our affliction with judgmentalism. Having been trained for a few decades to judge all things Christian, apart from the MOTA himself, plagues us when leaving the system. I freely admit to being a recovering judgaholic.

We have been indoctrinated to place insurmountable standards on our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we should be merciful and forgiving, we are criticizing. No assembly on earth can meet our standards! Instead of researching whether some internet apologist ever had issue with some past teacher related to a nearby church, perhaps it's better just to reduce our views of "church" to those around us, and love and serve them.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:11 AM   #50
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Instead of researching whether some internet apologist ever had issue with some past teacher related to a nearby church, perhaps it's better just to reduce our views of "church" to those around us, and love and serve them.
My certitude is that I've confessed Jesus as Lord and entered a faith journey. Others have theirs, some with more certitude involved than that.

I used to fellowship with JWs and LDS on the street, and try to share "my Christ" with them, but at some point just stopped. Not that they were beyond some proverbial pale, but simply that the Lord said, "If you see the other coming at you with 10,000 troops and you only have 5,000, just sue for peace and keep distant." Others may have profitable discourse with them. I don't. Doesn't mean much beyond that.

Just because Philip ran up to a certain chariot on the South Road out of Jerusalem, doesn't mean all other chariots were doomed to eternal perdition. He was limited by the HS. We all are.

The command was, "Love God and love your neighbour." The person at your job site may be a Muslim or a flaming atheist homosexual. Okay. No problem. But if we are talking "Christian fellowship" then we have to assess the particularities of the HS' guidance within us.
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Old 06-15-2019, 02:02 PM   #51
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Perhaps another more difficult issue for us ex-LCers is our affliction with judgmentalism. Having been trained for a few decades to judge all things Christian, apart from the MOTA himself, plagues us when leaving the system. I freely admit to being a recovering judgaholic.
I suppose the point of my last post was that those that come out of oppressive groups should take care not to deviate and fall into other extremes, as many are inclined to do, but to rightly apply our faith moving forward.

In Aron's case and many other ex-LC'ers, the issue seemed to be that their "certitude" was dictated for them (along with many other things). But there is another way and it's not defaulting to relying on one's own understanding but to lean on the Lord completely and trust in His certitude. That certainty can be passed on to us through faith. Faith isn't some mystical living moment to moment in a constant unknowingness trusting things will eventually work themselves out. You can surely get answers and we should always be striving to involve God in our pursuit of that. Otherwise this type of faith is a faith of defeatism no matter how it appears. Even if you move mountains, without the active participation of God and His love in your life, your faith ultimately comes to nothing.

In your case of judgementalism, Ohio. The answer isn't to stop judging, as the world would tell you, but to judge righteously. (Jn 7:24).

In other cases, like complete devotion and zeal toward one ministry and one man. The solution isn't to disregard the idea of serving just one man and one ministry. We, as Christians, should be serving only one man and only one ministry with complete devotion and zeal. That is, it should all be pointed toward the man Christ Jesus and his heavenly kingdom alone.

The LC may have failed you in these regards but take care not to let your past experiences taint these important principles for you as you continue on in your walk with Christ.

To those that have left Jesus along with the Local Churches. I am sorry for what you've gone through and I pray for your healing. Your circumstances may have changed but Jesus still is and always will be the way, the truth, the life and the only way to eternity in heaven. Please trust in that. His love is the only love that can heal us and make us whole.

And to the others that seem to be stuck in limbo after leaving the LC's. The most important fellowship is between you and your God. Examine your heart, take time to build on this individually and when He's ready I trust He'll guide you into a new fellowship.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:45 AM   #52
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Read God's word, pray, fellowship, worship and serve.

Love God, love people. Without love, all the other stuff means nothing. What is love? It is caring for others enough to sacrifice for them. Ask God to teach you to love people the way he does. Be merciful. Receive the believers. Don't expect anyone or anything to be more perfect than you are (which is not close to perfect, BTW). If you do that you can enjoy meeting with just about anyone.

Keep it simple. Trust and obey. It's not complicated. It's the devil that complicates things.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:03 PM   #53
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The topic is, if you are new in town, where to bring your family to fellowship with other believers? My point was that "to believe" 2,000 years after Jesus Christ is not so simple. Or, if it is simple, one has to pare away a lot of added "complications".

One of the complications of the past 2,000 years is the tendency of people, even Jesus-followers, to fool themselves into thinking they are something they are not. This can be seen in the gospels. The disciples wanted to know who was 'greatest', which is nothing more than the old "Alpha Dog" debate that surfaces on every playground, regardless of culture, among 10-year-olds.

My take home lesson is this: because of sin, one cannot simply do a Lebron James vs Michael Jordan comparison. It doesn't matter how many books you have written or churches you have founded. Because of sin, any tendency to think in terms of 'greatest' and 'least' is going to get hopelessly corrupted.

The only safe position is to be the 'least', and let the Lord of the feast call you higher in due season.

This is not to say we should not do 'works', on the contrary. Faith without works is vanity. You are not going to sit in a chair, doing nothing, and "absorb God" and "become God in life and nature", because that's the deluded "hearers of the word" position - it's only "doers of the Word" that receive the reward at the end of the race. But again, your works are nothing, of themselves... only God, at the Bema, will say what is what. Just take the least place, and labor in love on one another.

Many in the LC do just that, but there is a great, big, stinking carcass in the assembly and that is the Deputy God principle. Jesus alone is Deputy God. Only Jesus has passed the veil. The rest should take Jesus' advice and be nothing.

Of course there are prophets, and evangelists and shepherds and teachers. Some are able to give a revelation or a tongue or a psalm, others give an encouragement or an interpretation. Some are (apparently) one-talented, others two- or five-talented. But the fire will test everything. Let it go.

The Minister (or ministry) of the age is the "greatest" pile of doo-doo. Run away from such notions. Flee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Don't believe me...just listen to the president of the Living Stream Ministry, Mr Benson Phillips:
“In any case, do not leave the Lord’s recovery. I can assure you that if you go away from the Lord’s recovery, you will have no way for the process of sanctification to go forward within you. Instead, you will just enter into a bankrupt situation. I know of no one who has left the Lord’s recovery and today is a great spiritual person on the earth. The sanctification process is carried out in the Lord’s recovery”(The Ministry Magazine Vol. 8, No. 1 Page 189, first paragraph)
This speaker has not learned the Spiritual ABCs of life on this planet. Because of sin, nobody can claim to be a great spiritual person on this earth. Only God will reveal such things, in due time. If you use such words you are far from the mark. Jesus was made both Lord and Christ after the cross, not before it. Do you think, if the sinless Jesus had to pass through such a fire, that we can avoid it, and claim greatness while in the flesh of sin? Have we learned nothing from scripture? They tried to call Jesus "good" - he had none of it. Should any of us? Who among us Christian believers is a "great spiritual person on the earth"?

If you learn such basic lessons, you'll be able to have mutually profitable fellowship with believers near you. You'll be built up with others, and will see them built up with you. What a blessing!
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:33 PM   #54
aron
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Default A Great Spiritual Person on the Earth - GSPOTE

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Because of sin, nobody can claim to be a great spiritual person on this earth. Only God will reveal such things, in due time. If you use such words you are far from the mark. Jesus was made both Lord and Christ after the cross, not before it. Do you think, if the sinless Jesus had to pass through such a fire, that we can avoid it, and claim greatness while in the flesh of sin?

Have we learned nothing from scripture? They tried to call Jesus "good" - he had none of it. Should any of us? Who among us Christian believers is a "great spiritual person on the earth"? If you learn such basic lessons, you'll be able to have mutually profitable fellowship with believers near you. You'll be built up with others, and will see them built up with you. What a blessing!
I’d like to develop this idea as pertaining to finding fellowship among believers in your geographic area, and for that matter holding the gospel out to unbelievers.

The main issue the Bible deals with is sin. Because of sin, humanity was separated from God, with all that separation entails: pain, fear, loneliness, purposelessness, alienation, shame, anger, frustration, failure (mistakes), sickness and death. This issue is introduced in the first few chapters of Genesis and isn’t really resolved until the last few chapters of Revelation. In between, it's a constant theme.

Now, everything in the NT narrative hinges on the claim of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. If Jesus wasn't raised, then his death was merely the death of a good and holy man, a martyr of sorts. Like David, his grave remains among us. Jesus taught, “Love your neighbor”, then he died... he did good works, healing and feeding and caring, then he died. Game over. If there's no resurrection of Jesus, the story ends there.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then his blood does not cleanse us from sin. If he didn’t rise from the dead, then he's not Lord and Christ, but merely another good person who died for a cause. (There have been many, unfortunately.) If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then he was not made sin on our behalf, and our sin remains.

Now, looking at the NT in this light, I want to examine the idea of a “Great Spiritual Person on the Earth” (GSPOTE) as put forth in the LSM, as seen by the quote in the previous post (#53). To me, Jesus’ answer was, Don’t claim to be GSPOTE, rather be the least of all. Because of sin, nobody can claim greatness while on earth. Because of sin, it's prudent instead to take the least place. And don’t get misled by people who claim to be GSPOTE, because they misunderstand the gospel and will lead you astray. People like that will distort the fellowship of the assembly (a good current example may be the New Apostolic Reformation).

Quote:
Luke 14 (KJV)

8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;

9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.

10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Take byHismercy facing the idea of “total depravity” or “determinism” or however one puts it, as found in the Reformed Church in his town. Actually I think the idea has a lot to recommend it, and I understand its attraction (I also understand the objections of byHismercy on this thread). But ultimately if one accepts it as “truth” then one is tacitly or overtly accepting John Calvin (or whomever) as a GSPOTE who defines “truth” in our assembly. I don’t think it’s safe to call Luther or Calvin or Billy Graham or Mother Theresa or WL or WN or anyone a GSPOTE. Let the Master do all that at the Bema.

Now if you go to a local assembly and they hold some derived “truth” that they insist on as a precondition and precursor of fellowship, your ability to fellowship will be circumscribed. They have been distorted by a self-proclaimed GSPOTE, and the opinions of that person are now “truth”. It doesn’t matter if it is Ellen White or Mary Baker Eddy or John Nelson Darby or Watchman Nee, if some person’s teachings have determined the understanding of “reality” or “truth” in that assembly then you will have to deal with that.

Because of sin, nobody should make presumptions of themselves or their place. Clearly WN and WL did, and it effectively ruined their ministries, and stumbled many. May we learn the lessons and go on: confess the faith delivered once to all, fight the good fight, serve the Master by helping others, and trust God's mercy and love. At the end, it is all His. It is God's love that sent Jesus, and it His mercy that we can look homeward, with hope. God is Love, and Jesus is the Way.

Now, I can still have fellowship with other believers. But if they insist on "truths" and my holding them as a basis of fellowship, then my ability to fellowship there will be circumscribed. Think, e.g., LC "local ground" and "one minister per age" culminating with Witness Lee saying, "If you aren't 100% for this ministry get out. If you're only 99% for this ministry get out". What kind of fellowship can one have in that assembly? Pretty much none. They have a "truth" that's subsumed the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:33 AM   #55
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Default Re: GSPOTE

I'd like to re-frame my argument from post #54.

There actually are "great spiritual persons". There is to be a "kingdom reward". There will indeed be rulers over ten cities, and rulers over five. There are prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers.

But because of sin, nobody should presume anything.

Jesus was a "good teacher", but because of sin he would not touch it (Mark 10:17,18). He was the Messiah, but rather than with words he showed it with good works (John 10:38; 14:11) - he was Master but did the works of a servant(John 13:13,14). And then the Father raised him to glory.

We can all follow this path, this Way. There is no need of presumption, and because of sin we should avoid hasty claims (1 Tim 5:22). Watchman Nee cribbing JPL and publishing it under his name at age 24 - that was a hasty claim to spiritual greatness, and many bought it. But we learn from our mistakes, and not institutionalize them.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:59 AM   #56
ZNPaaneah
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Default Re: GSPOTE

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
I'd like to re-frame my argument from post #54.

There actually are "great spiritual persons". There is to be a "kingdom reward". There will indeed be rulers over ten cities, and rulers over five. There are prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers.

But because of sin, nobody should presume anything.

Jesus was a "good teacher", but because of sin he would not touch it (Mark 10:17,18). He was the Messiah, but rather than with words he showed it with good works (John 10:38; 14:11) - he was Master but did the works of a servant(John 13:13,14). And then the Father raised him to glory.

We can all follow this path, this Way. There is no need of presumption, and because of sin we should avoid hasty claims (1 Tim 5:22). Watchman Nee cribbing JPL and publishing it under his name at age 24 - that was a hasty claim to spiritual greatness, and many bought it. But we learn from our mistakes, and not institutionalize them.
Hence my interest in the Lord's word that unless you repent and turn and be like children you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom.

He was telling them to repent from the attitude which is the basis for the question "who is the greatest in the kingdom", a discussion prompted by seeing Elijah and Moses talking with the Lord on the mount of transfiguration.

This "becoming as a small child" is the "path" you are talking about. So can you explain what this path is?

I feel the difference between their discussion and a small child is that they wanted to classify, categorize, and qualify the various historical figures whereas a small child simply wants to experience. That was the point of my example with the piano. When the child sees the piano they want to play it, they have no thought as to who the great piano players in history were, nor does that matter to them. The piano is cool because they get to experience it.
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:34 AM   #57
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Default Re: GSPOTE

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Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
This "becoming as a small child" is the "path" you are talking about. So can you explain what this path is?

I feel the difference between their discussion and a small child is that they wanted to classify, categorize, and qualify the various historical figures whereas a small child simply wants to experience. That was the point of my example with the piano. When the child sees the piano they want to play it, they have no thought as to who the great piano players in history were, nor does that matter to them. The piano is cool because they get to experience it.
I suppose there's some logic to it. But the reason I see Jesus hiding himself and not revealing himself was because of sin, not lack of enthusiasm/curiosity.
Quote:
John 2:24,25 But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men. He did not need any testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man.

Isaiah 11:3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what His eyes see, and He will not decide by what His ears hear,

Matthew 9:4 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, "Why do you harbor evil in your hearts?
Jesus knew he was from God and returning to God (John 13:3). He knew he was the Only Begotten Son of the Father (too many citations to bother with). But he would not reveal himself, but continually went away and hid, or "withdrew himself" (again, many citations in the gospels).

Now contrast that to the disciples who as corrupted human vessels wanted to be something. "And they were arguing which one of them was greatest" - multiple citations.

So, what is a "child" in this context? Without sin? No. With curiosity/cooperation to God's will? Yes, see, e.g., "here is a little boy with 5 small loaves and 2 small fish". The child didn't despise his "little" portion but the disciples did - "what are these (small) among so many (large)?" This is the fallen, sinful mind at work. Looking at the outward thing. The Jews were expecting a "big man" to show up, but Jesus showed up riding on a donkey's colt.

The main thing the child is in this context is "least of all". Small, despised, rejected as of little value. "Tell these children to shut up!!" ~Luke 19:37-40

Jesus was Master (Kurios, Lord) but washed their feet, was great but became small on our behalf. Should not we? And yes, that includes being curious when God gives you a piano. Don't despise the day of small things. But don't think you are "great" just because you can play piano.

Everyone has a gift. That includes your neighbor. But don't presume your gift is bigger than someone else's. Nee did just that. He was the Big Man in the Room. And Lee saw what a successful move that was, and followed suit.

But it is not in the "ministry", unless it is the Ministry of the Kingdom of Self.

From an LSM document on Titus Chu:

Quote:
In spite of Brother Lee's efforts, Titus and his work were never blended into the one work in the Lord's recovery. At the end, Titus' person and his work were untouched and untouchable.
Could we not say the exact same thing of WL? His person and work were untouchable? Then what was the crime?
Quote:
What concerned Brother Lee as much as Titus' divisive work was that many co-workers were inwardly following Titus and not following the ministry.
Couldn't we also say many were inwardly following WL and not following the ministry of TC? Then what was the crime?

Ambition? Who is ambitious, here? The ministry here seems to be of a veritable ravening wolf. The moral of the story -- don't try to be a "great spiritual person on the earth." Let God be great.

https://afaithfulword.org/articles/BriefAccount/
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