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Old 01-19-2017, 01:13 AM   #1
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Default Scientists are Human Too

So far there have been a number of threads involving scientific discussions. Science has been presented as something factual, irrefutable, unquestionable, in the face of irrationality.

However research in psychology shows that scientists are prone to the same cognitive biases as anyone else. It is not surprising given that scientists are in fact human. Even the most sound methodology and rigor cannot overcome the fact that a scientist's brain is prone to various cognitive biases that affect all humans. Even the most sincere and careful scientist cannot escape it.

A number of articles about the various cognitive biases affecting science can be found here:

http://www.nature.com/news/let-s-thi...e-bias-1.18520

One enemy of robust science is our humanity — our appetite for being right, and our tendency to find patterns in noise, to see supporting evidence for what we already believe is true, and to ignore the facts that do not fit.


http://nautil.us/issue/24/error/the-...ith-scientists

Psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia says that the most common and problematic bias in science is “motivated reasoning”: We interpret observations to fit a particular idea. Psychologists have shown that “most of our reasoning is in fact rationalization,” he says. In other words, we have already made the decision about what to do or to think, and our “explanation” of our reasoning is really a justification for doing what we wanted to do—or to believe—anyway. Science is of course meant to be more objective and skeptical than everyday thought—but how much is it, really?

This website provides a good summary of cognitive biases:

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/co...cisions-2015-8

It is unclear whether there is any real solution to cognitive bias. Peer review is well known to be a flawed process, but it remains because there is no better alternative. Even though the peer review process will always be subject to dishonesty and manipulation, one reason it is flawed is that scientific experiments are unlikely to be repeated which means publications remain in the public arena, unquestioned, for many years. The peer review process cannot discover, for example, a bug in the software used to generate the published results.

A good article describing the flaws of peer review is found here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420798/

What is science really about? Some would say fact, evidence, observations, knowledge. But actually science is also about belief. In that respect it is not too different to religion. A peer reviewed article is accepted because the reviewers believe it to be right, not because the reviewers have checked the work or repeated the experiments for themselves. A scientist draws conclusions on the basis of data that they believe to be correct, and statistical methods involving belief are often used. For example hypothesis testing is a big part of science, and hypotheses are about belief - is it unlikely or is it very likely? Testing beliefs is a big part of what science is all about. Religion is also about testing beliefs - my belief versus your belief, which belief is more likely?

"Top 10 Reasons Science Is Another Religion":
http://listverse.com/2012/12/15/top-...ther-religion/

We may say then that the question of "science versus religion", is actually more like "religion versus religion". Those who combine science with the bible, are actually combining two belief systems together in the hope that more belief systems are better than a single belief system alone. The approach is not so different to those who combine Christianity with Buddhism or Hinduism.

It may seem unlikely, but combining belief systems together or Pantheism when it is taken to the extreme, is actually as Richard Dawkins describes, "sexed-up atheism":

http://www.pantheism.net/atheism
Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, has described Pantheism as “sexed-up atheism.” That may seem flippant, but it is accurate. Of all religious or spiritual traditions, Pantheism – the approach of Einstein, Hawking and many other scientists – is the only one that passes the muster of the world’s most militant atheist.

Not committing to one religion or another, yet still holding onto some idea of the supernatural or meta-physical "god", is basically a form of unbelief, a form of atheism.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:08 PM   #2
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I realize that there are some that treat science and the scientific method like religion. But I am not ready to go so far as to call science a religion.

But sometimes scientists go beyond what the actual science can tell them and wander into a land in which they create a scientific-sounding religion. The big bang has to be believed. It cannot be established though something a lot like a really big explosion could explain a lot. Just can't explain where the explosion and the matter in it came from.

And the problem of seeing what you are looking for is always a problem. I see it in the conclusions drawn from political polls. And in statements about what the Bible means. Sometimes we are reading the Bible and realize that as we read a particular passage for the untold"th" number of times suddenly realize that what we thought about it was based upon misreading the connection of prepositions, or ignoring the context.

I did that about 9 years ago when reading 1 Corinthians 3. Paul calls the teachers (Apollos, Peter, himself, and others) farmers, then builders. And he calls the Corinthians the Farm, and the Building. So who does the building? The building . . . or the builder? Not trying to duck any part in the "gold, silver precious stones, wood, hay, stubble" analysis, but he was not talking about us. He was talking about the teachers.

We are all prone to bias in our view. It has been found that people who learn the Bible in what I call "fortune cookie" fashion (each verse is an independent nugget that can be gleaned for doctrine and teaching without reference to its context) learn things that are not there. Then, when later confronted with the context and shown the almost obvious error in their thinking, a little over 50% of them will retain their error anyway because that is what they learned first. Sort of an "if you get it wrong you can never get it right" kind of curse.

But whether in science or in the Bible, if the "peers" who review will not simply start with the assumption that what they are reviewing is from an unassailable source and actually review the context, look at the data, etc., and determine whether the conclusions drawn are actually supported by the data (scientific or theological (the Bible)) then such errors can be rooted out.

Not 100%. Not all the time. But the obvious ones should be discoverable.

That would mean that all those "this simply means . . ." statements that Lee made could be challenged. But they never were from within the LRC. They just accepted that if Lee said it, it was as good as scripture.

I know. I was there for 14+ years and am often amazed at the things that I thought were sound teaching while there.
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:05 AM   #3
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I realize that there are some that treat science and the scientific method like religion. But I am not ready to go so far as to call science a religion.

But sometimes scientists go beyond what the actual science can tell them and wander into a land in which they create a scientific-sounding religion. The big bang has to be believed. It cannot be established though something a lot like a really big explosion could explain a lot. Just can't explain where the explosion and the matter in it came from.

And the problem of seeing what you are looking for is always a problem. I see it in the conclusions drawn from political polls. And in statements about what the Bible means. Sometimes we are reading the Bible and realize that as we read a particular passage for the untold"th" number of times suddenly realize that what we thought about it was based upon misreading the connection of prepositions, or ignoring the context.

I did that about 9 years ago when reading 1 Corinthians 3. Paul calls the teachers (Apollos, Peter, himself, and others) farmers, then builders. And he calls the Corinthians the Farm, and the Building. So who does the building? The building . . . or the builder? Not trying to duck any part in the "gold, silver precious stones, wood, hay, stubble" analysis, but he was not talking about us. He was talking about the teachers.

We are all prone to bias in our view. It has been found that people who learn the Bible in what I call "fortune cookie" fashion (each verse is an independent nugget that can be gleaned for doctrine and teaching without reference to its context) learn things that are not there. Then, when later confronted with the context and shown the almost obvious error in their thinking, a little over 50% of them will retain their error anyway because that is what they learned first. Sort of an "if you get it wrong you can never get it right" kind of curse.

But whether in science or in the Bible, if the "peers" who review will not simply start with the assumption that what they are reviewing is from an unassailable source and actually review the context, look at the data, etc., and determine whether the conclusions drawn are actually supported by the data (scientific or theological (the Bible)) then such errors can be rooted out.

Not 100%. Not all the time. But the obvious ones should be discoverable.

That would mean that all those "this simply means . . ." statements that Lee made could be challenged. But they never were from within the LRC. They just accepted that if Lee said it, it was as good as scripture.

I know. I was there for 14+ years and am often amazed at the things that I thought were sound teaching while there.
Good post OBW. Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:49 AM   #4
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We are all prone to bias in our view. It has been found that people who learn the Bible in what I call "fortune cookie" fashion (each verse is an independent nugget that can be gleaned for doctrine and teaching without reference to its context) learn things that are not there. Then, when later confronted with the context and shown the almost obvious error in their thinking, a little over 50% of them will retain their error anyway because that is what they learned first. Sort of an "if you get it wrong you can never get it right" kind of curse.

But whether in science or in the Bible, if the "peers" who review will not simply start with the assumption that what they are reviewing is from an unassailable source and actually review the context, look at the data, etc., and determine whether the conclusions drawn are actually supported by the data (scientific or theological (the Bible)) then such errors can be rooted out.
Yes. I am reading the book Sapiens. In this book the author identifies human language of the Homo Sapiens that originated 30-70,000 years ago as the key determinant for our unprecedented success. He says this language gives us the ability to form groups larger than 150 individuals, something never done with any other species on this planet. (He distinguishes the kinds of social interactions we have with those of ants and bees as being far broader and virtually unlimited in scope, whereas with insects it is extremely limited in scope and has not changed much for millions of years).

He then discusses how we could do this. The great apes require an intimate knowledge of an individual before they can cooperate and coordinate with them. Likewise with wolves. However, this is where he says that works of "fiction" and "mythology" plays a role. If a group can share the same myth then they can cooperate. By myth he is very clearly referring to the Bible, Koran, and other texts that are central to various cultures.

So then, why do scientists refer to these stories as "myths" rather than "truths". The definition that he is using is traditional stories involving supernatural beings. But the second definition of myth is "false belief". Regardless of how you wish to dress it up, the scientists are demonstrating their bias that these stories are false and part of a false belief construct.

However, based on the theory of Evolution we should prune out and eliminate anything that does not make us more fit. So the scientists have come up with a problem. They must realize that the incredible amount of time devoted by Homo Sapiens to these books and their faith is in fact the reason we have been successful (blessed). It is what has made us more fit (we used to be a mid level predator beneath lions and hyenas, hence our specialty in dealing with bones). Scientists credit our ability to work together in larger and larger groups as the reason we have zoomed to the top of the food chain, and they recognize that ability is derived from the Bible, laws, and other unprecedented developments from Homo Sapiens.

So then why use a term that means "false belief" to describe these books? Why not use "truth". When the Bible says "if you keep these commandments you will be blessed" that is truth, even the Scientists have confirmed this. How could a "false belief" be responsible for making man more fit? How do you reconcile the importance of "myths" with man's evolution?

To me this is an example of their bias sticking out.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:51 AM   #5
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So then, why do scientists refer to these stories as "myths" rather than "truths". The definition that he is using is traditional stories involving supernatural beings. But the second definition of myth is "false belief". Regardless of how you wish to dress it up, the scientists are demonstrating their bias that these stories are false and part of a false belief construct.
For example, he describes a limited liability corporation as one of the most incredible inventions of man. He says it is a fiction. There is no "google", they own buildings, but that is not Google. They have employees, but that is not Google. Their are share holders but they are not Google. He says that Google is considered a "fiction" that is created by modern day shaman's and priests with their sacred documents and procedures that cause this LLC to come into existence. It is certainly something that is quite unique from all the animals, no animal could fathom such a "creature" as an LLC. The term "corporation" comes from the Latin for Body. It was Paul and the NT that "fathomed" a spiritual body.

The fact that we have nations, corporations, and other organizations like this is evidence that we are a spiritual being. We recognize the importance of the "spirit" whereas animals cannot.

And, these "Bodies" are in the image and likeness of God. Teddy Roosevelt said "let there be a Panama Canal and it was so". Herbert Hoover said "let there be a dam and it was so". JFK said "let there be a space program, and it was so".

These are not fictions. If we do not consider the Panama canal a fiction, why would the creator of that canal be a fiction? These Bodies are every bit as real as the things they create.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:24 AM   #6
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When I look up "myth," it is the fourth out of 6 definitions in which fallacy, imagination, or being unverifiable first appears. The first definitions were more about the way history is told. Not necessarily as a modernistic history, but as a pointed recounting.

Lets face it. While many still hold religiously to the 6-day account of creation, it is a myth. Not that it is untrue in what it is trying to describe — that God created the heavens and the earth, and every living thing on it — but that the means by which that description is made is very shortened and probably metaphorical in some/many aspects.

So rather than asserting what someone else means when they say "myth" (something you don't really know unless they spell it out for you), assert what you mean by it. Or explain how the manner of the telling of creation, or so much more of the biblical history, is not simply a modern textbook.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:04 AM   #7
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When I look up "myth," it is the fourth out of 6 definitions in which fallacy, imagination, or being unverifiable first appears. The first definitions were more about the way history is told. Not necessarily as a modernistic history, but as a pointed recounting.

Lets face it. While many still hold religiously to the 6-day account of creation, it is a myth. Not that it is untrue in what it is trying to describe — that God created the heavens and the earth, and every living thing on it — but that the means by which that description is made is very shortened and probably metaphorical in some/many aspects.

So rather than asserting what someone else means when they say "myth" (something you don't really know unless they spell it out for you), assert what you mean by it. Or explain how the manner of the telling of creation, or so much more of the biblical history, is not simply a modern textbook.
The "6 day account of creation" is not what he is referring to as a "myth" that we use to form governments, corporations, etc. This is referring to the OT laws, the 10 commandments, things like this. Our concept of right and wrong, what is righteous, what is a sin. To refer to the 10 commandments as "myths" is biased.

As an aside, I realize many readers of the Bible see the "6 day account of creation" as that. I don't. I see the first verse of Genesis 1 as the account of the creation. The reference to the "6 days" is not a creation account, it is the account of the restoration of the Earth. It does not follow the account of evolution, rather it follows the account of what would take place as a glacier retreated. "Water covering the land" in my opinion refers to the last ice age. The major give away is the appearance of grass. It is one of the last things to appear in the evolutionary record yet one of the first in Genesis 1. Therefore I do not agree that the account is a "myth", rather I think the understanding of it is greatly flawed and that calling it a myth merely ignores the fact that your interpretation is flawed.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:41 AM   #8
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The major give away is the appearance of grass. It is one of the last things to appear in the evolutionary record yet one of the first in Genesis 1.
Can you say more about this?

In Genesis 1.11-12 grass appeared on the third day.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:10 PM   #9
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Can you say more about this?

In Genesis 1.11-12 grass appeared on the third day.
Well, along the lines of this thread I feel the assumption that chapter 1 is a myth perpetuates a flawed interpretation, rather than forcing people to reevaluate their interpretation they assume the Bible is in error or grossly oversimplified.

2And the earth was waste and void; — Ice Age

3And God said, Let there be light — We have evidence that these are often caused due to huge amounts of dust in the atmosphere from meteorites, volcanos, or fires.

9And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: — I would suggest this refers to the melting of a glacier.

11And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so.
— This would be the first thing we would see as a glacier retreats, yet in the evolutionary record it was one of the very last.

14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: — Once again suggesting that the atmosphere was filled with dust that blocked out the sun. First, it was so hazy you couldn’t tell day from night, but as the atmosphere cleared you could now distinguish the stars at night.

20And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [c]in the open firmament of heaven. 21And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good. — Once again, completely opposite to the evolutionary record. According to evolution fish were long before grass, birds also were before grass. However, if a glacier retreats you will be left with a bay that will fill with fish, after the grass appears birds will also flock to the field. So this does not describe the evolutionary record but rather the record of a restoration after a glacial retreat.

This greatly changes the meaning of Genesis 1, rather than a ridiculously brief description of 4.6 billion years it is a step by step description of the retreat of an ice age and tells us about our ancestors 10,000 years ago and their ability to hand these stories down for thousands of years.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:07 PM   #10
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11And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so.
— This would be the first thing we would see as a glacier retreats, yet in the evolutionary record it was one of the very last.

20And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [c]in the open firmament of heaven. 21And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good. — Once again, completely opposite to the evolutionary record. According to evolution fish were long before grass, birds also were before grass. However, if a glacier retreats you will be left with a bay that will fill with fish, after the grass appears birds will also flock to the field. So this does not describe the evolutionary record but rather the record of a restoration after a glacial retreat.
How do we know that fish and birds long preceded the grasses?
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:04 PM   #11
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How do we know that fish and birds long preceded the grasses?
We have fossils of fish skeletons that are almost 400 million years old. However, grass seed is only dated to a couple of million years old.

We have very reliable methods of dating rock samples.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:45 PM   #12
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"Top 10 Reasons Science Is Another Religion":
http://listverse.com/2012/12/15/top-...ther-religion/

We may say then that the question of "science versus religion", is actually more like "religion versus religion".
This is silly talk. Science refutes religion so religion strikes back by calling science a religion, thus bringing science down off its high horse, and down to the low horse of religion.

Typically religion is a closed system. But science is an open system. Science is not fixed, it's been changing ever since the science age began, and is still changing. While religion does everything in its power to stay the same. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

And science doesn't have a book like the Bible and Koran. Science has many books ; more than the Bible and Koran combined.

So, just because science has been refuting religion since it began, doesn't mean you have to bring it down to the level of religion by calling it a religion.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:14 PM   #13
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This is silly talk. Science refutes religion so religion strikes back by calling science a religion, thus bringing science down off its high horse, and down to the low horse of religion.

Typically religion is a closed system. But science is an open system. Science is not fixed, it's been changing ever since the science age began, and is still changing. While religion does everything in its power to stay the same. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

And science doesn't have a book like the Bible and Koran. Science has many books ; more than the Bible and Koran combined.

So, just because science has been refuting religion since it began, doesn't mean you have to bring it down to the level of religion by calling it a religion.

Science tries to stay the same too. Scientific careers are built around trying to keep things the same. it is also in the best interest of companies to re-use same old methods and products, rather than completely change everything. Also, religion tries to change - liberalism for example is an attempt to make religion up to date and relevant for modern society.

Well the article I quoted was written by a biologist with a PhD, so I think it has some credibility as it comes from a scientist or at least someone trained as one. I would not say it is silly talk.

If we watch debates between science and religion it is obvious they are just exchanges around different belief systems, or "religions". It's one belief versus another. If science was truly objective then a scientist could point to some objective fact and everyone would believe them. This is related to my posts a while ago about how objectivity doesn't really exist, everything is subjective.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:14 PM   #14
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So far there have been a number of threads involving scientific discussions. Science has been presented as something factual, irrefutable, unquestionable, in the face of irrationality.
That's false. I challenge you to find a quotation asserting that science is "irrefutable or unquestionable" in Alt Views. Any proposition that is not refutable or questionable is unfalsifiable and therefore not subject to the scientific method. I haven't asserted otherwise, and to the best of my recollection neither has Awareness. Back up your accusation. Or shall I just accept your unsupported propositions without question as if I were listening to Witness Lee in the Local Church?
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:12 AM   #15
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This is silly talk. Science refutes religion so religion strikes back by calling science a religion, thus bringing science down off its high horse, and down to the low horse of religion.

Typically religion is a closed system. But science is an open system. Science is not fixed, it's been changing ever since the science age began, and is still changing. While religion does everything in its power to stay the same. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

And science doesn't have a book like the Bible and Koran. Science has many books ; more than the Bible and Koran combined.

So, just because science has been refuting religion since it began, doesn't mean you have to bring it down to the level of religion by calling it a religion.
This is silly. The book Sapiens is a scientifically based discussion and it demonstrates that Science is now verifying the significance of religion in the development and "evolution" of man.

They point out that unlike all other creatures, we can evolve without genetic mutation, rather the changes in society can take place simply based on the stories we tell. Likewise they also realize you can't study the history of "Sapiens" by simply looking at biology and DNA, you have to include an understanding of the stories.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:57 AM   #16
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This is silly. The book Sapiens is a scientifically based discussion and it demonstrates that Science is now verifying the significance of religion in the development and "evolution" of man.

They point out that unlike all other creatures, we can evolve without genetic mutation, rather the changes in society can take place simply based on the stories we tell. Likewise they also realize you can't study the history of "Sapiens" by simply looking at biology and DNA, you have to include an understanding of the stories.
So Teilhard De Chardin was right, with his noosphere, evolution is now of collective consciousness, that's headed to the Omega point?
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:18 AM   #17
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So Teilhard De Chardin was right, with his noosphere, evolution is now of collective consciousness, that's headed to the Omega point?
Don't know what you are talking about. Not familiar with "omega point", etc.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:05 PM   #18
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Science tries to stay the same too. Scientific careers are built around trying to keep things the same. it is also in the best interest of companies to re-use same old methods and products, rather than completely change everything. Also, religion tries to change - liberalism for example is an attempt to make religion up to date and relevant for modern society.

Well the article I quoted was written by a biologist with a PhD, so I think it has some credibility as it comes from a scientist or at least someone trained as one. I would not say it is silly talk.

If we watch debates between science and religion it is obvious they are just exchanges around different belief systems, or "religions". It's one belief versus another. If science was truly objective then a scientist could point to some objective fact and everyone would believe them. This is related to my posts a while ago about how objectivity doesn't really exist, everything is subjective.
Science will continue changes that surpass that of religions. So fast religions will be left in its dust. Watch and see, while you live. In a hundred years it will be undeniable.
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Old 09-15-2017, 05:53 AM   #19
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Science will continue changes that surpass that of religions. So fast religions will be left in its dust. Watch and see, while you live. In a hundred years it will be undeniable.
True religion is taking care of widows and orphans. This did not occur prior to the agricultural revolution. We now know that the life of the foragers was more challenging and a higher standard of living than that of the early adopters of agriculture. They (early farmers) didn't choose this life because of the glamor or wealth. Rather, what is far more likely is that they couldn't make the cut to be part of the elite forager tribes. We have evidence that hunter gatherer tribes were very selective, killing members that did not measure up in one way or another.

It was the agricultural revolution that found a place for the less "gifted". This is where the mundane jobs were invented. This boredom was critical to our development because it forced us to focus our creativity in other areas like inventions and story telling. We have stories that date back to the beginning of the Agricultural revolution, but have little to no stories of hunter gatherer tribes, even those that lived relatively recently.

It was the agricultural revolution that first made true religion a reality. A society where widows and orphans could have a place, contribute to society and be cared for in return.

But by contrast we find the laws governing widows and orphans from six thousand years ago to be barbaric. As we developed industry, science and technology our standard of living increased to the point we could be horrified by the treatment of the elderly, infirm, widows, orphans and pets. Compare this to one former hunter gatherer in the Amazon rain forest who said 'his job used to be to sneak up on the old women who couldn't keep up and kill them, but now that he lives with the whites he has become weak.' (Sapiens). Clearly the hunter gatherer tribes did not have true religion.

Although Awareness longs for the day when religion will be left in the dust, it seems to me that the arc of inventions (robots to take of people, better health care, replacing jobs with robots) indicates exactly the opposite. As for science the most arrogant of them have claimed their "superiority" to faith (which they refer to as myths, i.e. false beliefs), yet all they have been able to do is confirm things that were written thousands of years earlier.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:47 AM   #20
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This thread is based on the false proposition that someone claimed that science is anything other than a fallible human endeavor. To the best of my recollection that didn't happen.

What has happened on this forum if not on this thread is that apologists for Witness Lee's Local Church claim that it is somehow literally the supernatural "body of Christ". I would suggest to you that that proposition is unsupportable. It is the disparity between the realities of typical group behavior manifest in the Local Church Movement [LCM] and the group's claims that there is something supernatural about it that produces disillusionment with the movement.

Evangelical misunderstands science. Whether that misunderstanding was caused by the LCM or part of a mindset that led him to join the group in the first place, it's evident in the position he has taken on this thread.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:30 AM   #21
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This thread is based on the false proposition that someone claimed that science is anything other than a fallible human endeavor. To the best of my recollection that didn't happen.
No, Post #1 clearly states that this thread is based on the idea that scientists have human biases just like everyone else.

"However research in psychology shows that scientists are prone to the same cognitive biases as anyone else." (Post #1)

"A number of articles about the various cognitive biases affecting science can be found here:" (Post #1)

Scientists recognize the similarity between what they do and what ancient religious leaders did. This is discussed in the book Sapiens.

"What is science really about? Some would say fact, evidence, observations, knowledge. But actually science is also about belief." (Post #1)

"Top 10 Reasons Science Is Another Religion" (Post #1)

For example, the religious leaders generally controlled very accurate calendars as a result of precise measurements of stars with charts and various tools for measuring astronomical movements. Today that would fall in the realm of science. Religious leaders in Judaism were responsible for food safety, today scientists. They were responsible for health issues, today scientists. Many of their laws were scientifically based (precise way in which a census is to be done using copper coins to avoid a plague) would be similar to an edict from the CDC today.

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What has happened is that apologists for Witness Lee's Local Church claim that it is somehow literally the divine "body of Christ". I would suggest to you that that proposition is unsupportable. It is the disparity between the realities of typical group behavior manifest in the Local Church Movement [LCM] and the group's claims of special status with God that produces disillusionment with the movement. Evangelical misunderstands science. Whether that misunderstanding was caused by the LCM or part of a mindset that led him to join the group in the first place, it's evident in the position he has taken on this thread.
Sorry, I missed that, what post are you referring to?
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:48 AM   #22
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No, Post #1 clearly states that this thread is based on the idea that scientists have human biases just like everyone else.
I was referring to this statement:

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So far there have been a number of threads involving scientific discussions. Science has been presented as something factual, irrefutable, unquestionable, in the face of irrationality.
That's a straw-man argument. No one presented science that way here. I'm placing Evangelical's misapprehension of science within the larger context of his support of Witness Lee's Local Church movement as the supernatural body of Christ.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:38 AM   #23
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Those that conflate science with religion are projecting their religion upon science or are playing loosey-goosey with definitions and need to cook up their own lexicon so we can understand what they are saying.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:55 AM   #24
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Those that conflate science with religion are projecting their religion upon science or are playing loosey-goosey with definitions and need to cook up their own lexicon so we can understand what they are saying.
It's nearly impossible to have a decent discussion here when certain posters continually pull out their "WL/LC" joker card. Their posts can't stand up to scrutiny so they claim "WL/LC bias" or some argument of "logical fallacy" has "poisoned" our minds forever. A little honesty would help too!
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:02 PM   #25
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Those that conflate science with religion are projecting their religion upon science or are playing loosey-goosey with definitions and need to cook up their own lexicon so we can understand what they are saying.
Religion -- to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

Science -- systematic study of the natural world using observation and experiment.

Your claim was that science would leave religion in the dust. Perhaps you should stop playing loosey goosey with the lexicon and explain exactly why a systematic study of the universe will cause us to leave the widows and fatherless in the dust, and dive into the cesspool of the world? (BTW it was WL that created his own lexicon of Religion, defining it as "the worship of God apart from God". Where did he get that definition from? certainly not the Bible or any credible dictionary.)
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:14 PM   #26
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Religion -- to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

Science -- systematic study of the natural world using observation and experiment.
If the so-called proponents of science would limit themselves to "observation and experiment," rather than endless theory and speculation, the discussions would be vastly improved.
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:46 PM   #27
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If the so-called proponents of science would limit themselves to "observation and experiment," rather than endless theory and speculation, the discussions would be vastly improved.
An educated guess is essential in designing an experiment to prove or disprove it. I have no issue with their theories and speculation because it isn't endless, it does lead somewhere. We have many discoveries, inventions, and clearer understanding as a result.

What irks me is the hypocrisy. Throughout history there have been startlingly crazy hypothesis that have been proven true. We tell ourselves that science is open minded, willing to examine any theory. Yet, suggest that the theory is that God is real and the Bible is the truth and they all go bat**** crazy as though that particular hypothesis is unscientific. Likewise with the hypothesis that the account of Noah's flood is accurate, or that the account in Genesis 1 is accurate. These are all testable and therefore fall under a "systematic study involving observation and experiment".
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:28 PM   #28
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If the so-called proponents of science would limit themselves to "observation and experiment," rather than endless theory and speculation, the discussions would be vastly improved.
Well amen to that bro Ohio. Science is a human endeavor. Is that what religion is too?
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Old 09-16-2017, 06:58 AM   #29
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Science is a human endeavor. Is that what religion is too?
Science, falsely named, is a 21st Century religion. Its fanatical followers worship their Mother Earth as God. These fundamentalists care little for facts, accuracy, history, or plain reason. Their high priests use the media to call for daily services. Every weather event is proof positive that carbon footprints are destroying their God, and we must reduce the population and return to paleo times to save our "mother."
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:04 AM   #30
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Science, falsely named, is a 21st Century religion. Its fanatical followers worship their Mother Earth as God. These fundamentalists care little for facts, accuracy, history, or plain reason. Their high priests use the media to call for daily services. Every weather event is proof positive that carbon footprints are destroying their God, and we must reduce the population and return to paleo times to save our "mother."
So then we now have 4 different definitions, hence a lot of the confusion.

1. science -- systematic study using observation and experiment.

2. Science falsely called -- Modern version of pantheism

3. Religion -- to visit fatherless and orphans in their affliction and keep oneself unspotted from the world.

4. False religion -- Worship of God apart from God (WL definition)

As for the solution to climate change, it is simply the New Jerusalem.
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:48 AM   #31
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Science, falsely named, is a 21st Century religion. Its fanatical followers worship their Mother Earth as God. These fundamentalists care little for facts, accuracy, history, or plain reason. Their high priests use the media to call for daily services. Every weather event is proof positive that carbon footprints are destroying their God, and we must reduce the population and return to paleo times to save our "mother."
So religion IS THEN a human endeavor, cuz to you science is a religion, and it's members are just a bunch of liberal human snowflake tree-huggers???
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:16 PM   #32
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So religion IS THEN a human endeavor, cuz to you science is a religion, and it's members are just a bunch of liberal human snowflake tree-huggers???
You were the one asking for definitions yet you are the one trying to confuse all the definitions.

Ohio referred to "Science falsely called" -- i.e. false science. Pantheists try to cloak their religion in a scientific garb, just like Mark Twain said -- they use statistics to tell lies.

All 4 definitions are very clearly human centric. They are activities of humans. However, science as a study of the natural world can be viewed as a human activity to understand the creation. Likewise, true religion can be viewed as a human activity to understand the heart of God.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:32 AM   #33
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This thread is based on the false proposition that someone claimed that science is anything other than a fallible human endeavor. To the best of my recollection that didn't happen.

What has happened on this forum if not on this thread is that apologists for Witness Lee's Local Church claim that it is somehow literally the supernatural "body of Christ". I would suggest to you that that proposition is unsupportable. It is the disparity between the realities of typical group behavior manifest in the Local Church Movement [LCM] and the group's claims that there is something supernatural about it that produces disillusionment with the movement.

Evangelical misunderstands science. Whether that misunderstanding was caused by the LCM or part of a mindset that led him to join the group in the first place, it's evident in the position he has taken on this thread.
Science to me is a religion because people when presenting the gospel to them, will often defend their atheist or agnostic views using science, just as a Muslim would defend their muslim views with the Koran. Science is the atheists religion.

Regarding my opening sentence, I may not have been thinking of any particular discussion on this thread when I said "Science has been presented as something factual, irrefutable, unquestionable, in the face of irrationality.", sorry for the confusion. This is my observation of the general way in which science is employed by atheists. It is irrefutable and unquestionable in the sense that an atheists will not generally admit that science is flawed, similar to how any person of any religion would not admit any errors in their sacred scriptures.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:49 AM   #34
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Religion -- to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

Science -- systematic study of the natural world using observation and experiment.

Your claim was that science would leave religion in the dust. Perhaps you should stop playing loosey goosey with the lexicon and explain exactly why a systematic study of the universe will cause us to leave the widows and fatherless in the dust, and dive into the cesspool of the world? (BTW it was WL that created his own lexicon of Religion, defining it as "the worship of God apart from God". Where did he get that definition from? certainly not the Bible or any credible dictionary.)
I believe WL's definition of religion as "the worship of God apart from God" comes from John 4:24 where we understand Jesus telling the woman that true worshipers worship in Spirit, which means "worship with God".

I also bring your attention to Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1:27:

True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God.

I cannot see much difference between Henry's view that true religion is to do every thing in God's presence, and Lee's view that religion is "the worship of God apart from God".


Lee's focus was true religion vs false religion, which is really no different to that described by gotquestions.org:

https://www.gotquestions.org/true-religion.html

"True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion is a relationship with God."

This is a common understanding of what true vs false religion means in Evangelical Christianity. True religion as a relationship is not found in the bible or in the dictionary.

I bring your attention to Ellicott's commentary which shows your interpretation of the verse in James as a definition of religion is strange and lacking common sense:

Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:
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Old 09-17-2017, 12:36 PM   #35
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I believe WL's definition of religion as "the worship of God apart from God" comes from John 4:24 where we understand Jesus telling the woman that true worshipers worship in Spirit, which means "worship with God".

I also bring your attention to Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1:27:

True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God.

I cannot see much difference between Henry's view that true religion is to do every thing in God's presence, and Lee's view that religion is "the worship of God apart from God".


Lee's focus was true religion vs false religion, which is really no different to that described by gotquestions.org:

https://www.gotquestions.org/true-religion.html

"True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion is a relationship with God."

This is a common understanding of what true vs false religion means in Evangelical Christianity. True religion as a relationship is not found in the bible or in the dictionary.

I bring your attention to Ellicott's commentary which shows your interpretation of the verse in James as a definition of religion is strange and lacking common sense:

Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:
Does WL ever distinguish between "true" religion and "false" religion? I was not aware that he did, I thought he considered all religion to be worship of God apart from God. Even with James 1:27 WL says his reference to "pure religion" was from the OT. Also he doesn't refer to "true religion" as some translations, but "pure religion".
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:16 PM   #36
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Does WL ever distinguish between "true" religion and "false" religion? I was not aware that he did, I thought he considered all religion to be worship of God apart from God. Even with James 1:27 WL says his reference to "pure religion" was from the OT. Also he doesn't refer to "true religion" as some translations, but "pure religion".

Lee defines true religion as Judaism, and false religion as Babylon the Great, and Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.

Some may say true religion is a relationship but by saying true religion they really mean "not a religion".
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:24 PM   #37
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I believe WL's definition of religion as "the worship of God apart from God" comes from John 4:24 where we understand Jesus telling the woman that true worshipers worship in Spirit, which means "worship with God".

I also bring your attention to Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1:27:

True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God.

I cannot see much difference between Henry's view that true religion is to do every thing in God's presence, and Lee's view that religion is "the worship of God apart from God".


Lee's focus was true religion vs false religion, which is really no different to that described by gotquestions.org:

https://www.gotquestions.org/true-religion.html

"True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion is a relationship with God."

This is a common understanding of what true vs false religion means in Evangelical Christianity. True religion as a relationship is not found in the bible or in the dictionary.

I bring your attention to Ellicott's commentary which shows your interpretation of the verse in James as a definition of religion is strange and lacking common sense:

Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:
WL spent a lifetime telling us how every Christian church was degraded, rules based, Christless, hopeless, dead ritual-based, etc.

Until you realize that WL was speaking about all the LC's too, you will be forever deceived. Did not WL makes it clear that all his followers had already become Laodicea 30 years ago?

Perhaps his greatest deception was "Christ vs. Religion." What began as the hypocrisy and leaven of the Pharisees in the gospels got changed to Religion. This "religion" opposed and crucified the Lord. Eventually we were led to believe that only his loyal followers at LSM were not religious, since all Christianity and all the LC's were religious.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:23 AM   #38
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Lee defines true religion as Judaism, and false religion as Babylon the Great, and Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.

Some may say true religion is a relationship but by saying true religion they really mean "not a religion".
Wow, didn't understand any of that. Can you give me a reference to the message or book where he gives these definitions?
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:05 PM   #39
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Wow, didn't understand any of that. Can you give me a reference to the message or book where he gives these definitions?
Lee does not believe that genuine Christianity is a religion but faith in Christ, or a personal relationship with Christ. As stated in The Bridge and Channel of God By Witness Lee page 20.

Lee defines true religion as Judaism and Christianity (the religion) here:
https://www.ministrybooks.org/books....=47UV9QNDSOFN9

Lee defines false religion as Babylon here:
https://www.ministrybooks.org/books....=IVGM3RXJGQGBA


To summarize Lee's views would be thus:

(1) Christianity is not a religion (system of beliefs/rituals) but faith in Christ. Many born again evangelical and pentecostal Christians also believe this. Although some may argue that it makes no sense to say Christianity is not a religion, and prefer to say "true Christianity" or "true religion" is faith in Christ, not works. There are many related concepts such as that religion is about man reaching God and "true Christianity" is about God reaching man in Christ.

Many born again Evangelical Christians reject Catholicism as genuine Christianity because of its works-based doctrines and practices. They implicitly believe similarly to Lee that Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ and our attempts to reach God are futile.

(2) There is a true religion that God established called Judaism, and its offshoot Christianity. Most Christians would believe this.
(3) There is false religion which is the so-called religions not established by God. Most Christians would believe this.

There is an unwritten assumption here that Catholicism and its derivatives is a continuation of Judaism - rituals, laws, mixtures etc.
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Old 09-18-2017, 04:51 PM   #40
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Lee does not believe that genuine Christianity is a religion but faith in Christ, or a personal relationship with Christ. As stated in The Bridge and Channel of God By Witness Lee page 20.

Lee defines true religion as Judaism and Christianity (the religion) here:
https://www.ministrybooks.org/books....=47UV9QNDSOFN9
No, he does not. If you read the passage it is very clear that he says that Judaism is "a real religion". In this passage he makes it clear that Judaism is not a false religion, but rather the highest. Hence he makes it very clear that there are many religions. Some may be "false" but he does not say that any in particular are, only that Judaism is not.

He then makes it clear that he holds religion (including Judaism) in contrast to a personal relationship.

However this is contrary to the Bible. The Bible does describe two covenants, the Old and the New, and says that the New covenant is superior to the Old for a variety of reasons. But it never equates the Old covenant with religion.

As long as Witness Lee was "ministering the pure word of God" I was willing to receive it, but WL's teaching on religion is not the pure word, but rather an expression of his personal agenda.

Jesus talked often of "hypocrites". WL equated those teachings with religion. But it is very clear in the book of James, which WL must disparage as it directly contradicts his teaching, that there is a "pure religion" in the NT. The only way WL can get around that is to say that James is "OT".

Given the choice of receiving the word from James or WL, I'll believe James and deposit WL's ministry where it belongs.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:10 PM   #41
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To summarize Lee's views would be thus:

(1) Christianity is not a religion (system of beliefs/rituals) but faith in Christ. Many born again evangelical and pentecostal Christians also believe this. Although some may argue that it makes no sense to say Christianity is not a religion, and prefer to say "true Christianity" or "true religion" is faith in Christ, not works. There are many related concepts such as that religion is about man reaching God and "true Christianity" is about God reaching man in Christ.

Many born again Evangelical Christians reject Catholicism as genuine Christianity because of its works-based doctrines and practices. They implicitly believe similarly to Lee that Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ and our attempts to reach God are futile.

(2) There is a true religion that God established called Judaism, and its offshoot Christianity. Most Christians would believe this.
(3) There is false religion which is the so-called religions not established by God. Most Christians would believe this.

There is an unwritten assumption here that Catholicism and its derivatives is a continuation of Judaism - rituals, laws, mixtures etc.
How long are you going to ignore James? Yes, he was involved with the Judaizers, but he repented. Paul was there when Stephen was stoned. Peter rejected the Lord. In each case it became the basis for their ministry -- Paul saw the Body of Christ as Christ in every member, Peter opened the kingdom to the Gentiles -- he was afraid of denying the Lord a second time.

James gives you the antidote to false Christ's and cults.

18*Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith. 19*Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. 20*But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21*Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22*Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; 23*and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. 24*Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.

If Abraham had just had faith, without any works, we would not be able to see anything. Isaac would not be able to see anything. The entire account of Abraham's saving faith is a story of the works that were associated with that faith that we can see. His works made the faith perfect because it transmitted his faith in the God of resurrection to his son Isaac, and became the heritage of all that believe.

25*And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26*For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

If you listen to WL and all the cult leaders they refer to all the other churches as "harlots". Yet Rahab, the harlot, was saved by faith and works. She didn't simply "believe" that God was with Israel, she risked her life in helping the spies escape.

Let's think about that -- Abraham risked everything. If Isaac is killed he loses everything, his heir, the promise from God, his faith, everything. He laid it all on the line with his work -- hence the faith in the God of resurrection was perfected.

Likewise, Rahab risked everything with her action. She didn't merely believe that God was with Israel, she put her life and the life of her family on the line. Once again her faith in a God who saves was perfected.

If WL is really the MOTA, then risk everything. Being honest about WN would have risked everything, instead he lied. WL's "work of faith" was a lie. That is why he disparages James, because James exposes him as a liar.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:39 PM   #42
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No, he does not. If you read the passage it is very clear that he says that Judaism is "a real religion". In this passage he makes it clear that Judaism is not a false religion, but rather the highest. Hence he makes it very clear that there are many religions. Some may be "false" but he does not say that any in particular are, only that Judaism is not.

He then makes it clear that he holds religion (including Judaism) in contrast to a personal relationship.

However this is contrary to the Bible. The Bible does describe two covenants, the Old and the New, and says that the New covenant is superior to the Old for a variety of reasons. But it never equates the Old covenant with religion.

As long as Witness Lee was "ministering the pure word of God" I was willing to receive it, but WL's teaching on religion is not the pure word, but rather an expression of his personal agenda.

Jesus talked often of "hypocrites". WL equated those teachings with religion. But it is very clear in the book of James, which WL must disparage as it directly contradicts his teaching, that there is a "pure religion" in the NT. The only way WL can get around that is to say that James is "OT".

Given the choice of receiving the word from James or WL, I'll believe James and deposit WL's ministry where it belongs.
You are mistaken. You may have missed the sentence that says Judaism is the only true religion and that there is only one true religion on the Earth. Word search "true religion" on that first link and you will find it.

I understand you have experiences and background with the Local Churches that puts blame on Lee's teaching regarding James. But I think your reasoning regarding why Lee disparaged James is conspiracy theory. Lee's teaching on the matter is fairly stock standard born again evangelical teaching, that James is not to be treated as highly as the gospels.

Let's be honest here - most born again Evangelical Christians, though they may not disparage James openly, do not treat it as highly as the gospels. Rarely, sermons are given on the book of James. The book of James features highly in Catholic apologetics as it supports their works-based doctrines. In the classical Protestant vs Catholic mindset, James is not a book that most Protestants treasure, and that is largely because it supports Catholic viewpoints, and Luther was the one who first disparaged it openly, not Lee. Lee does not go so far as Luther,who tried to remove it from the Bible altogether. Lee's life study on James is evidence of this.

While Lee did a life study on James, Luther on the other hand did this:

Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther%27s_canon


WL's "disparaging" may not be for any other reason than he believed and taught the doctrines of born again evangelical Christianity, with an inner-life flavor of course.
WL's view on this matter is really on different to the vast majority of born again Evangelical Christians who believe Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God. They also often implicitly reject Catholicism as it is mostly based upon rituals (the mass etc) and not personal relationship as per the Evangelical's understanding.

As I have shown by quoting Ellicott, or Gotquestions.org, I think that your interpretation of the James verse as a definition of religion is quirky and bends more towards the Catholic viewpoint.

If you consult born again Evangelical Christians about this matter, of the type who publish on Gotquestions.org, CARM, or even Ken Ham's ministry, I think you will not find much sympathy for your views. But Catholics I think would agree with you that religion is doing good works - that is essentially what Catholicism is all about, and they would use James for support.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:12 PM   #43
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How long are you going to ignore James? Yes, he was involved with the Judaizers, but he repented. Paul was there when Stephen was stoned. Peter rejected the Lord. In each case it became the basis for their ministry -- Paul saw the Body of Christ as Christ in every member, Peter opened the kingdom to the Gentiles -- he was afraid of denying the Lord a second time.

James gives you the antidote to false Christ's and cults.

18*Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith. 19*Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. 20*But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21*Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22*Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; 23*and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. 24*Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.

If Abraham had just had faith, without any works, we would not be able to see anything. Isaac would not be able to see anything. The entire account of Abraham's saving faith is a story of the works that were associated with that faith that we can see. His works made the faith perfect because it transmitted his faith in the God of resurrection to his son Isaac, and became the heritage of all that believe.

25*And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26*For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

If you listen to WL and all the cult leaders they refer to all the other churches as "harlots". Yet Rahab, the harlot, was saved by faith and works. She didn't simply "believe" that God was with Israel, she risked her life in helping the spies escape.

Let's think about that -- Abraham risked everything. If Isaac is killed he loses everything, his heir, the promise from God, his faith, everything. He laid it all on the line with his work -- hence the faith in the God of resurrection was perfected.

Likewise, Rahab risked everything with her action. She didn't merely believe that God was with Israel, she put her life and the life of her family on the line. Once again her faith in a God who saves was perfected.

If WL is really the MOTA, then risk everything. Being honest about WN would have risked everything, instead he lied. WL's "work of faith" was a lie. That is why he disparages James, because James exposes him as a liar.
You are contrasting James with Lee's teaching but if we consider the gospels and Paul it weighs the evidence towards Lee, not James.

Consider that in the gospels Jesus never once mentions religion or religious service/worship in the context of taking care of orphans and widows. Paul mentions orphans and widows but never in the context of religion like James did. Jame's view therefore must have been his own personal opinion and does not find support in the Gospels or Paul.

You seem to be advocating works-based doctrine (or faith plus works doctrine, which is still works-based) as an antidote. However I only have to point out that Catholicism, Judaism and Islam has faith in God and many good works like Abraham, yet would not be considered genuine Christianity.

I will quote again Ellicott who gives the obvious intepretation of the verse in James:

Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:

Since Ellicott declares the obvious interpretation of the word religion here as "religious service" and has no affiliation with the local churches or Lee, we can conclude that your interpretation of the verse in James as being a definition of religion is most likely wrong.

At most, you can only say that based on James ,Lee's interpretation of what is genuine religious service or worship is wrong. You cannot make the claim that Lee's understanding of "Christ versus religion" is wrong as it is a typical viewpoint in born again Evangelical Christianity that Christianity is about personal relationship with God and not good works, and religion is faith + good works.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:55 PM   #44
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While Lee did a life study on James, Luther on the other hand did this:

Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers.
Please excuse me for butting in. Excellent post, btw EvanG.

What WL taught wasn't ever a problem for me. I got The Vision from his teachings. What bothered me was, he didn't practice what he taught. And it was the, 'only apostle, oracle, MOTA thing' that got to me. And got me booted. Not his teachings.

As far as Luther removing Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon, if Luther really wanted to go against the RCC he should have removed I & II Timothy, and Titus. Those are the books that provide scripture support for the catholic hierarchy. And Bible scholars today believe those books are pseudepigrapha.

Anyway, James never bothered me. In the LC I was doing works out the ying-yang. But I fully agree with Luther on Revelation. Get that crazy Christian version of sci-fi outta there.
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:17 PM   #45
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Please excuse me for butting in. Excellent post, btw EvanG.

What WL taught wasn't ever a problem for me. I got The Vision from his teachings. What bothered me was, he didn't practice what he taught. And it was the, 'only apostle, oracle, MOTA thing' that got to me. And got me booted. Not his teachings.

As far as Luther removing Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon, if Luther really wanted to go against the RCC he should have removed I & II Timothy, and Titus. Those are the books that provide scripture support for the catholic hierarchy. And Bible scholars today believe those books are pseudepigrapha.

Anyway, James never bothered me. In the LC I was doing works out the ying-yang. But I fully agree with Luther on Revelation. Get that crazy Christian version of sci-fi outta there.
Good to hear your thoughts regardless. I think the bible shows that Jesus never told us to take care of orphans and widows and there is no record of Jesus or his disciples (representing the first church) doing that.

It seems to me that based upon the information the bible gives us, charity by Christ and the disciples was on an adhoc basis, and not on a missions basis. In other words, the chief mission of the church is not to minister humanitarian aid as some think it is.

There is really no examples in the bible of Jesus or the disciples giving humanitarian aid to anyone for the sake of it, unlike what "social gospel" proponents would have us believe.

There is even record of Jesus and the disciples ignoring perfect opportunities to help poor widows. For example, in Mark 12:42-44 there is the story of the poor widow who gave all she had. Perfect opportunity for Jesus and the disciples to give her a helping hand. But they just watch as she puts in her last dime into the collection plate then Jesus turns it into a teaching lesson for the disciples and then walks out of the temple. The Bible never even says that Jesus compensated her for her efforts. It does not say "then Jesus, seeing she had given all she had, gave her a double blessing and gave back everything she gave, plus more".

Another example is the widows son in Luke 7. Here, Jesus does not take care of the widow with practical financial help and neither do the disciples . Rather, he only raises her son from the dead. It does not say that he raised her son from the dead and then gave her a donation.

Jesus and the disciples were capable of feeding up to 5000 people at a time, but there is no record in the bible of them having an entourage of even 5 poor orphans and widows who they took care of practically on a daily basis.

This is also indicated by the disciples suggestion that the people should go and buy themselves some food:

the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

I think this indicates that the disciples and Christ were not in the habit of providing meals on a routine basis, only on an adhoc basis. It also would have distracted from their main message as indicated by John 6:26

Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

Jesus being concerned for their practical well being is shown in the feeding of the 4000:

Matt 15:32 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

I understand this to be a one-time, adhoc event, and not a routine "feed the 4000" program.
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Old 09-19-2017, 02:48 AM   #46
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You are contrasting James with Lee's teaching but if we consider the gospels and Paul it weighs the evidence towards Lee, not James.

Consider that in the gospels Jesus never once mentions religion or religious service/worship in the context of taking care of orphans and widows. Paul mentions orphans and widows but never in the context of religion like James did. Jame's view therefore must have been his own personal opinion and does not find support in the Gospels or Paul.

You seem to be advocating works-based doctrine (or faith plus works doctrine, which is still works-based) as an antidote. However I only have to point out that Catholicism, Judaism and Islam has faith in God and many good works like Abraham, yet would not be considered genuine Christianity.

I will quote again Ellicott who gives the obvious intepretation of the verse in James:

Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:

Since Ellicott declares the obvious interpretation of the word religion here as "religious service" and has no affiliation with the local churches or Lee, we can conclude that your interpretation of the verse in James as being a definition of religion is most likely wrong.

At most, you can only say that based on James ,Lee's interpretation of what is genuine religious service or worship is wrong. You cannot make the claim that Lee's understanding of "Christ versus religion" is wrong as it is a typical viewpoint in born again Evangelical Christianity that Christianity is about personal relationship with God and not good works, and religion is faith + good works.
Why do you ignore the two verses that James gives? Paul goes into great detail concerning Abraham and Isaac. It is a major thread throughout the NT.

I don't disagree that WL's teaching on James was "stock teaching" or canned teaching. Much of what he taught he just lifted from other sources and gave the impression that it was somehow higher, deeper, richer. You can't have it both ways, if you claim that your teaching the high peak truths that the rest of Christianity is devoid of, and then at the same time claim "oh, this is what Christianity teaches". Once you do that you expose the lie.

James is very clear, if we look at these passages these men and women of faith risked their lives, their future, and everything they had for their faith. If you contrast that with a cult leader you will discover that their "work of faith" is a lie. Witness Lee's foundation to his ministry was his relationship with WN, with WN's "vision" of the ground of the church, and with WN as the "MOTA". He was carrying on this vision. It turns out this entire story is a lie.

Why do you twist my words into a claim of "works based doctrine". The verse I quoted clearly states that faith without works is dead. Clearly this is a faith based doctrine. The point is if you want to see if someone's faith is living there will be evidence, you will see that they have risked all. For example, when Jesus raised the widow's son in Luke 7. If you touch something dead your Nazarite vow is over, you must begin again. Jesus was not a priest according to the Aaronic line, hence He was one according to the Nazarite vow. Jesus risked his entire ministry by touching the dead boy. That is the "work" that perfects the faith. Peter risked his entire ministry by eating with the Gentiles. That is the "work" that perfects the faith. Paul risked his entire ministry by rebuking Peter before all.

Witness Lee, by contrast, would have risked his entire ministry had he been honest concerning WN, but he lied instead. That is what exposes him as a sham.
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:24 AM   #47
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Why do you ignore the two verses that James gives? Paul goes into great detail concerning Abraham and Isaac. It is a major thread throughout the NT.

I don't disagree that WL's teaching on James was "stock teaching" or canned teaching. Much of what he taught he just lifted from other sources and gave the impression that it was somehow higher, deeper, richer. You can't have it both ways, if you claim that your teaching the high peak truths that the rest of Christianity is devoid of, and then at the same time claim "oh, this is what Christianity teaches". Once you do that you expose the lie.
I don't really ignore them but consider them in their proper context, not as defining religion but as explaining what is appropriate religious service, and not to the detriment of many other possible kinds of religious service, as Paul said "God did not send me to baptize" but preach the gospel.

You have pointed out an apparent contradiction in the teaching but I see no contradiction at all. Lee's teaching was built upon existing teachings, not in contradiction to them. This is why there is no contradiction. Lee can agree with the view that Christianity is a personal relationship with God. But the high peak truth comes when he reveals it more than just a chit chat with a friend, but God indwelling man. The relationship Lee speaks of is much more personal and subjective than the "chit chat with a friend" kind of relationship a typical born again Evangelical speaks of. So Lee can agree with the "peak" teaching that Christianity is a relationship, but then can take it higher to the "higher peaks" by defining how that personal relationship actually works. Most Christians do not live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught, but rather as God being beside them, around them, above them, or in front of them. This lack of divine revelation is evident in their speech and prayers and teachings when discussing the influence of God in their lives. Even Catholics believe in a personal relationship with God, but typically achieved or maintained through regular mass and other rituals.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:06 AM   #48
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I don't really ignore them but consider them in their proper context, not as defining religion but as explaining what is appropriate religious service, and not to the detriment of many other possible kinds of religious service, as Paul said "God did not send me to baptize" but preach the gospel.

You have pointed out an apparent contradiction in the teaching but I see no contradiction at all. Lee's teaching was built upon existing teachings, not in contradiction to them. This is why there is no contradiction. Lee can agree with the view that Christianity is a personal relationship with God. But the high peak truth comes when he reveals it more than just a chit chat with a friend, but God indwelling man. The relationship Lee speaks of is much more personal and subjective than the "chit chat with a friend" kind of relationship a typical born again Evangelical speaks of. So Lee can agree with the "peak" teaching that Christianity is a relationship, but then can take it higher to the "higher peaks" by defining how that personal relationship actually works. Most Christians do not live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught, but rather as God being beside them, around them, above them, or in front of them. This lack of divine revelation is evident in their speech and prayers and teachings when discussing the influence of God in their lives. Even Catholics believe in a personal relationship with God, but typically achieved or maintained through regular mass and other rituals.
I don't care if a Christian teacher teaches something I agree with or not. What does bother me is when they are disingenuous.

For example -- I am reading Sapiens, he talks about the Biblical teaching on rape, yet ignores the verses that are very clearly referring to rape and instead talks about two people who are caught having premarital sex. I consider this deceitful since a simple search would have yielded appropriate verses on rape, and the verse he chose does not refer to rape.

I consider WL's dealing with WN's infidelity as disingenuous, it was deceitful. He damaged the reputation of elders and it was self serving. From that point on I concluded his ministry was built on a lie.

I also am very bothered by arrogance. When WL disparages James as "OT" and "Missing the vision" that is arrogance. It is irrelevant to me that others were also arrogant.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:53 AM   #49
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Evangelical---While Witness Lee was preaching that his followers should give up everything to be overcomers and people in the local churches we're doing exactly that, he was bilking the saints for money and practicing nepotism with his carnal sons. So much for his "high peak" spirituality. The proof is in the pudding. Lee's pudding was rancid.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:28 AM   #50
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You have pointed out an apparent contradiction in the teaching but I see no contradiction at all. Lee's teaching was built upon existing teachings, not in contradiction to them. This is why there is no contradiction. Lee can agree with the view that Christianity is a personal relationship with God. But the high peak truth comes when he reveals it more than just a chit chat with a friend, but God indwelling man. The relationship Lee speaks of is much more personal and subjective than the "chit chat with a friend" kind of relationship a typical born again Evangelical speaks of. So Lee can agree with the "peak" teaching that Christianity is a relationship, but then can take it higher to the "higher peaks" by defining how that personal relationship actually works. Most Christians do not live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught, but rather as God being beside them, around them, above them, or in front of them. This lack of divine revelation is evident in their speech and prayers and teachings when discussing the influence of God in their lives. Even Catholics believe in a personal relationship with God, but typically achieved or maintained through regular mass and other rituals.
These gross characterizations and stereotypes passed down from Lee are the things that are most deceptive about the Recovery. Unfortunately these teachings appeal to many Christians, since everyone of us knows other Christians like Lee describes. But isn't that what prejudice really is? -- Applying the shortcomings and failures of a few to everyone else.

Not just are your conclusions false, but they are like rugs which cover up whole rooms full of hypocrisy and unrighteousness. When did Witness Lee and his cadre of followers live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught? When they constantly condemn all other Christians from the pulpit? When they file endless lawsuits against other Christian publishers? When they quarantine those elders and workers who spoke their conscience? When they slandered and libeled those who shined light on the corruption? Don't pretend to me like WL and the Blendeds live a higher life, as if God indwells only them, than all other Christians.

When we read the Gospels, was it not hypocrisy such as this what the Lord Jesus condemned the most?
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:52 AM   #51
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These gross characterizations and stereotypes passed down from Lee are the things that are most deceptive about the Recovery. Unfortunately these teachings appeal to many Christians, since everyone of us knows other Christians like Lee describes. But isn't that what prejudice really is? -- Applying the shortcomings and failures of a few to everyone else.

Not just are your conclusions false, but they are like rugs which cover up whole rooms full of hypocrisy and unrighteousness. When did Witness Lee and his cadre of followers live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught? When they constantly condemn all other Christians from the pulpit? When they file endless lawsuits against other Christian publishers? When they quarantine those elders and workers who spoke their conscience? When they slandered and libeled those who shined light on the corruption? Don't pretend to me like WL and the Blendeds live a higher life, as if God indwells only them, than all other Christians.

When we read the Gospels, was it not hypocrisy such as this what the Lord Jesus condemned the most?
Maybe this thread should be "Ministers of the Age are people too". I have no issue with scientists that come to conclusions that are verifiable and can be replicated by others. So why is it so strange when James applies the same thing to christian ministers. He provides the proof by which we can verify their faith -- works. He provides a framework by which we can replicate these findings -- caring for widows and orphans and keeping yourself spotless from the world. You can't do these apart from faith.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:22 AM   #52
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Good to hear your thoughts regardless. I think the bible shows that Jesus never told us to take care of orphans and widows and there is no record of Jesus or his disciples (representing the first church) doing that.
Still the BROTHER of Jesus said it. But he was saying it, "to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion," Jews that practiced works. He wasn't writing to us. That's a good argument for it not being in the canon.

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It seems to me that based upon the information the bible gives us, charity by Christ and the disciples was on an adhoc basis, and not on a missions basis. In other words, the chief mission of the church is not to minister humanitarian aid as some think it is.
I could quibble with your non humanitarian apologetic's, but why? You're entitled to your opinion ... that seems to match that of Lee's local church when I was there.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:35 AM   #53
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Still the BROTHER of Jesus said it. But he was saying it, "to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion," Jews that practiced works. He wasn't writing to us. That's a good argument for it not being in the canon.
That is an argument for it not being in the canon, not a good argument. I would counter that the "twelve tribes in the dispersion" represented those believers having difficulty with the dramatic change that took place as a result of Jesus Christ. That would be a good reason to include it, this book helps those having difficulty following the Lord's leading as the age changes. Something that we may currently be in the midst of.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:09 PM   #54
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Science to me is a religion because people when presenting the gospel to them, will often defend their atheist or agnostic views using science, just as a Muslim would defend their muslim views with the Koran. Science is the atheists religion.

Regarding my opening sentence, I may not have been thinking of any particular discussion on this thread when I said "Science has been presented as something factual, irrefutable, unquestionable, in the face of irrationality.", sorry for the confusion. This is my observation of the general way in which science is employed by atheists. It is irrefutable and unquestionable in the sense that an atheists will not generally admit that science is flawed, similar to how any person of any religion would not admit any errors in their sacred scriptures.
Apology accepted; but, I still think you're mistaken. A religion requires a common belief and practice. Basing arguments against the existence of God on science, is an insufficient basis for constituting a religion. It might be an argument against practicing any religion based on the existence of God or part of a larger argument against religion of any kind. It is not in and of itself a religion.

There have been atheistic religions, and science-based ones. But, those are relatively small subsets of the population of all atheists and a religion that claims to be scientific is different from the practice of science itself. Therefore, neither atheism nor science are religions per se.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:49 PM   #55
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Most Christians do not live by the concept of Christ indwelling them as Paul taught, but rather as God being beside them, around them, above them, or in front of them. This lack of divine revelation is evident in their speech and prayers and teachings when discussing the influence of God in their lives. Even Catholics believe in a personal relationship with God, but typically achieved or maintained through regular mass and other rituals.
Witness Lee taught us to drop our concepts. He said that we could not live by a concept no matter how good the concept was. So, what matters is not having the right concept of Christ indwelling oneself but having the spiritual reality. A person might have the spiritual reality of the indwelling Christ without being able to articulate the concept. And who would know but God who sees all? So how do you know what "most Christians" are doing even if they are Catholics?
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:27 PM   #56
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I changed my mind. Works according to Jesus :

Mat_5:16 Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Mat 25:35 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
36 naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

40 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:47 PM   #57
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Apology accepted; but, I still think you're mistaken. A religion requires a common belief and practice.
I don't think "religion" needs a common belief or practice.

If we take James definition of a pure religion -- take care of widows and orphans

This is done by Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. They don't have a common belief or practice, yet they all have this same mission.

Likewise "keep yourself unspotted from the world". Once again this is common to all religions regardless of their belief or practice.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:52 PM   #58
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I changed my mind. Works according to Jesus :

Mat_5:16 Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Mat 25:35 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
36 naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

40 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.
Imagine what you have if you have a belief system without works. There is no evidence of love, you can teach it all you want but without works how would we know? No evidence of faith, once again you can claim your faith is very strong, but no evidence at all.

Jesus said that where two or three gathered together into His name there He would be in the midst. How would we have a testimony that all could see and all know that Jesus is in your midst?

Jesus said that "whatever you bind in heaven will be bound on Earth, and whatever you loose in heaven will be loosed in Earth". That is a work.

Jesus said that if you have faith like a grain of mustard you will say to this mountain be taken up and moved, that is a work.

Jesus said "greater works than these shall you do" that is a work.

Teaching that "we don't care for works" allow for you to be deceived. It allows for pride and arrogance to puff you up. It allows for a scam artist to come in, claim to be the "Minister of the Age" and abuse you.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:30 PM   #59
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Still the BROTHER of Jesus said it. But he was saying it, "to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion," Jews that practiced works. He wasn't writing to us. That's a good argument for it not being in the canon.

I could quibble with your non humanitarian apologetic's, but why? You're entitled to your opinion ... that seems to match that of Lee's local church when I was there.
James has always been a controversial book.

Let's take a look at this Christian website which I chose because it seems to cover the topic well:

http://www.christiandataresources.com/jamescanon.htm

In conclusion it says:

The book of James is canonical, but unfortunately it is simply misplaced. Its early writing makes it more of a historical narrative, like the book of Acts, instead of a doctrinal book, like Romans. With this in mind, it would be more appropriate if the 27 books of our New Testament were included in our Bibles in the following order:
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Acts
James
Hebrews
The other Epistles
and, The Revelation
We should read the books of James and Hebrews as we do Genesis through John; i.e., we learn God’s truths and principles from them, but usually not applications that we can apply to our daily lives today.



I would say that most protestant/evangelical Christians treat the book of James like an Old Testament book because it is not in step with the doctrine of grace/faith. Few would bring it to the forefront as ZNP has done and declare it to be the definition of religion. ZNP has criticized Lee for what he said about James. But Lee was just treating it like an old testament book. It is obvious to many that James fits better with the Old Testament than the majority New Testament.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:40 PM   #60
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I don't think "religion" needs a common belief or practice.

If we take James definition of a pure religion -- take care of widows and orphans

This is done by Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. They don't have a common belief or practice, yet they all have this same mission.

Likewise "keep yourself unspotted from the world". Once again this is common to all religions regardless of their belief or practice.
It's true that there is more overlap between the ethical practices of the various major religions than there is of their creeds. But, the fact that an activity is common to all the members of a religion i.e. a common normative practice or orthopraxy, doesn't preclude the possibility that the activity is also practiced by another group. So, your disagreement is baseless.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:12 PM   #61
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The book of James is canonical, but unfortunately it is simply misplaced. Its early writing makes it more of a historical narrative, like the book of Acts, instead of a doctrinal book, like Romans. With this in mind, it would be more appropriate if the 27 books of our New Testament were included in our Bibles in the following order:
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Acts
James
Hebrews
The other Epistles
and, The Revelation
We should read the books of James and Hebrews as we do Genesis through John; i.e., we learn God’s truths and principles from them, but usually not applications that we can apply to our daily lives today.
I like the placement. What do you do if the church goes off the rails? How so?

1. "The twelve tribes in the dispersion" -- stuck in an old covenant and unable to make a transition to the new?

2. "Holding faith with respect of persons" -- lifting up some man as the second coming, a cult like following, a "minister of the age".

3. Cult like leaders that can be compared to a bit in the horses mouth turning you aside, the rudder of a ship steering the entire congregation into a strange area, and finally a fire that sets the entire country side afire. This is just like Hitler, and just like any other cult leader.

4. Wars and terrorism between religions. Where do these come from? How did we wind up here? Seems extremely relevant to be placed after Paul's epistles, rather than before them.

5. Your riches are a testimony against you. So true of Witness Lee. This was the main witness against him. So true of Madoff.

Why would you place a book that helps us identify a counterfeit at the beginning of the NT, this is clearly a book that should come afterwards as a safeguard.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:13 PM   #62
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Witness Lee taught us to drop our concepts. He said that we could not live by a concept no matter how good the concept was. So, what matters is not having the right concept of Christ indwelling oneself but having the spiritual reality. A person might have the spiritual reality of the indwelling Christ without being able to articulate the concept. And who would know but God who sees all? So how do you know what "most Christians" are doing even if they are Catholics?
They are stereotypes of course. There are some protestants who are like Catholics and some Catholics who are like protestants. There are even some LC members who are more like Catholics.

All Christians have the indwelling Christ, the spiritual reality, not all Christians experience it. When I wrote "living by the concept" I am talking about the experience of the indwelling Christ.

It is these inner life teachings which distinguish Lee's teaching from stock standard protestant teaching. I would say that inner life teachings are closer to the message of Christ/disciples and genuine Christianity which is not a religion but an inner life.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:15 PM   #63
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It's true that there is more overlap between the ethical practices of the various major religions than there is of their creeds. But, the fact that an activity is common to all the members of a religion i.e. a common normative practice or orthopraxy, doesn't preclude the possibility that the activity is also practiced by another group. So, your disagreement is baseless.
My disagreement is based on the definition of religion. I feel that Jame's definition is the one we should use, it is Biblical, it is inclusive, it can be applied to every religion we know of.

His definition does not require the same belief or practice, only the same mission. His definition of religion is based on the goal. Throughout human history we can see many, many different manifestations of religion, we know it when we see it, but how do you define it? The goal is always the same.

We know that man has religion whether it is a human sacrifice by the Mayans, or some fat pleasant man, or a guru on a mountain, people who believe in reincarnation, or Christians who believe in the resurrection. You can't define religion by faith, and once you do then everyone is arguing over what is the "true" faith and what is false. You can't define religion by practice. Quakers are different from the Shouters, who are different from tribes in Africa of pantheists, who are different from Shaolin monks.

But what is common to every religion is a mission to not be inhumane, cold, cruel, egotistical, greedy, lascivious, etc. In every religion, even though the practice looks completely different the goal of "not being stained by the world" exists. This makes it easy to spot "false religions" the ones that take Michael Corleone's financial donations, absolve him of his sins, and bless him while he is out killing and extorting others. This is why we know that Gotti, even though he helped widows and orphans, was not "pure religion". This is why we know that Mother Teresa and Ghandi were.

The only way to justify this mission is to look to God or a higher power. There is no such thing as "religion" among any other creature on this planet.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:42 PM   #64
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That is an argument for it not being in the canon, not a good argument. I would counter that the "twelve tribes in the dispersion" represented those believers having difficulty with the dramatic change that took place as a result of Jesus Christ. That would be a good reason to include it, this book helps those having difficulty following the Lord's leading as the age changes. Something that we may currently be in the midst of.
Yes bro ZNP, I agree with you on that point. But I don't think is was in the mind of James to be reaching down thru the ages, and speaking to us gentiles. And by the way, the Judaic line of Christianity, represented by Jame the just, was faded out, or pushed out, by Paul's uncircumcised converted pagan gentiles. James' type of Christianity was historically lost, just like many of the records from back then.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:55 PM   #65
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It is these inner life teachings which distinguish Lee's teaching from stock standard protestant teaching. I would say that inner life teachings are closer to the message of Christ/disciples and genuine Christianity which is not a religion but an inner life.
Then Quakerism is not a religion because they meet in silence, seeking the inner life within, the teacher within, that they call Christ.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:16 AM   #66
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Then Quakerism is not a religion because they meet in silence, seeking the inner life within, the teacher within, that they call Christ.
Correct, and Lee never said the Quakers were a religion.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:48 AM   #67
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Yes bro ZNP, I agree with you on that point. But I don't think is was in the mind of James to be reaching down thru the ages, and speaking to us gentiles. And by the way, the Judaic line of Christianity, represented by Jame the just, was faded out, or pushed out, by Paul's uncircumcised converted pagan gentiles. James' type of Christianity was historically lost, just like many of the records from back then.
I think it was front and center in Paul's mind that he had been involved in the stoning of Stephen, that he was "less than the least" of all saints and that he didn't receive his sight until a brother we never heard of laid his hands on him.

I think it was front and center in Peter's mind that he denied the Lord at His crucifixion so that when it the Lord told him to go with the people at the door he was afraid to deny the Lord again.

I think it was front and center in James mind that he was set up as the leader because of his relationship to Jesus, and that this was something of the flesh. I think he took Paul's rebuke as from the Lord and realized his association with the Judaizers was a terrible failure. But he also realized that these temptations that befell him are common to all believers.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:47 AM   #68
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I think it was front and center in Paul's mind that he had been involved in the stoning of Stephen, that he was "less than the least" of all saints and that he didn't receive his sight until a brother we never heard of laid his hands on him.

I think it was front and center in Peter's mind that he denied the Lord at His crucifixion so that when it the Lord told him to go with the people at the door he was afraid to deny the Lord again.

I think it was front and center in James mind that he was set up as the leader because of his relationship to Jesus, and that this was something of the flesh. I think he took Paul's rebuke as from the Lord and realized his association with the Judaizers was a terrible failure. But he also realized that these temptations that befell him are common to all believers.
But didn't Paul go to Jerusalem (with donations if I remember right) to prove to James, and the other Jews, that he wasn't negating the law of Moses? Paul lied.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:28 AM   #69
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My disagreement is based on the definition of religion. I feel that Jame's definition is the one we should use, it is Biblical, it is inclusive, it can be applied to every religion we know of.

His definition does not require the same belief or practice, only the same mission. His definition of religion is based on the goal. Throughout human history we can see many, many different manifestations of religion, we know it when we see it, but how do you define it? The goal is always the same.

We know that man has religion whether it is a human sacrifice by the Mayans, or some fat pleasant man, or a guru on a mountain, people who believe in reincarnation, or Christians who believe in the resurrection. You can't define religion by faith, and once you do then everyone is arguing over what is the "true" faith and what is false. You can't define religion by practice. Quakers are different from the Shouters, who are different from tribes in Africa of pantheists, who are different from Shaolin monks.

But what is common to every religion is a mission to not be inhumane, cold, cruel, egotistical, greedy, lascivious, etc. In every religion, even though the practice looks completely different the goal of "not being stained by the world" exists. This makes it easy to spot "false religions" the ones that take Michael Corleone's financial donations, absolve him of his sins, and bless him while he is out killing and extorting others. This is why we know that Gotti, even though he helped widows and orphans, was not "pure religion". This is why we know that Mother Teresa and Ghandi were.

The only way to justify this mission is to look to God or a higher power. There is no such thing as "religion" among any other creature on this planet.
Visiting orphans and widows is fine as an example showing that religion should include acts of compassion. But, it is too narrow to serve as a definition of religion. It leaves out myriad instances which deserve compassion such as those demonstrated by Jesus in the gospels toward the blind, the disabled, and the mentally ill [the so-called demon-possessed]. That you fail to see that is puzzling.

I suppose the proposition that James gives the ultimate definition of religion is part of your larger mission to prove that the Bible is an infallible science text book. Your repeated failure at that has provided ample evidence that it isn't for anybody who hadn't figured that out already.
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Old 09-20-2017, 10:43 AM   #70
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Visiting orphans and widows is fine as an example showing that religion should include acts of compassion. But, it is too narrow to serve as a definition of religion. It leaves out myriad instances which deserve compassion such as those demonstrated by Jesus in the gospels toward the blind, the disabled, and the mentally ill [the so-called demon-possessed]. That you fail to see that is puzzling.
I consider "orphans" and "widows" to indicate those disenfranchised from society. So I see this in a much broader sense then the narrowest literal translation would have.

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I suppose the proposition that James gives the ultimate definition of religion is part of your larger mission to prove that the Bible is an infallible science text book. Your repeated failure at that has provided ample evidence that it isn't for anybody who hadn't figured that out already.
How does defining religion support the Bible being a scientific textbook? That does not make any sense. Nor have I ever suggested that the Bible is a scientific textbook and have rejected this false assertion every time it has been made on my behalf. Instead what I have repeatedly proved in the pristine and irrefutable way is that the Biblical accounts are not contrary to our best scientific understanding.

Instead I think the real failure is trying to discuss religion without having a clear definition that everyone agrees on. If one person is substituting "false religion" for the term and another "pure religion" and a third some new age definition, and still a fourth uses a secular definition then any discussion is doomed to failure.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:26 PM   #71
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My disagreement is based on the definition of religion. I feel that Jame's definition is the one we should use, it is Biblical, it is inclusive, it can be applied to every religion we know of.

His definition does not require the same belief or practice, only the same mission. His definition of religion is based on the goal. Throughout human history we can see many, many different manifestations of religion, we know it when we see it, but how do you define it? The goal is always the same.

We know that man has religion whether it is a human sacrifice by the Mayans, or some fat pleasant man, or a guru on a mountain, people who believe in reincarnation, or Christians who believe in the resurrection. You can't define religion by faith, and once you do then everyone is arguing over what is the "true" faith and what is false. You can't define religion by practice. Quakers are different from the Shouters, who are different from tribes in Africa of pantheists, who are different from Shaolin monks.

But what is common to every religion is a mission to not be inhumane, cold, cruel, egotistical, greedy, lascivious, etc. In every religion, even though the practice looks completely different the goal of "not being stained by the world" exists. This makes it easy to spot "false religions" the ones that take Michael Corleone's financial donations, absolve him of his sins, and bless him while he is out killing and extorting others. This is why we know that Gotti, even though he helped widows and orphans, was not "pure religion". This is why we know that Mother Teresa and Ghandi were.

The only way to justify this mission is to look to God or a higher power. There is no such thing as "religion" among any other creature on this planet.
Are you saying that Mother Teresa and Ghandi were "pure religion"? or were not pure religion?
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:22 PM   #72
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I consider "orphans" and "widows" to indicate those disenfranchised from society. So I see this in a much broader sense then the narrowest literal translation would have.
That's a textbook instance of eisegesis.



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How does defining religion support the Bible being a scientific textbook? That does not make any sense. Nor have I ever suggested that the Bible is a scientific textbook and have rejected this false assertion every time it has been made on my behalf. Instead what I have repeatedly proved in the pristine and irrefutable way is that the Biblical accounts are not contrary to our best scientific understanding.
It seems to me that you chose a verse for your definition simply because it has the word religion in it, and you read into it your private interpretation. And, that's a fairly typical instance of what you have done to conflate the Bible with modern science. It seemed like a desperate attempt to read into the text what you needed to see.

Quote:
Instead I think the real failure is trying to discuss religion without having a clear definition that everyone agrees on. If one person is substituting "false religion" for the term and another "pure religion" and a third some new age definition, and still a fourth uses a secular definition then any discussion is doomed to failure.
If you're looking for a Biblical definition of religion you'll be hard pressed to produce a better one than this:

Quote:
“‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’" This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:00 AM   #73
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Are you saying that Mother Teresa and Ghandi were "pure religion"? or were not pure religion?
I am giving them as an example of "pure religion"
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:04 AM   #74
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If you're looking for a Biblical definition of religion you'll be hard pressed to produce a better one than this:
That, to my mind, is a terrible definition. When I think of religion I am thinking of something that is common to all mankind throughout human recorded history.

Jews and Christians would be outraged if you tried to say that the Egyptian version of religion, or the Mayan version of religion, or the Buddhist version of religion, or the Gods in India, or Greece or Rome fit this definition. Hence the supposed fighting. But no one would have an issue to say that Mother Teresa was concerned with orphans and widows and tried to keep herself unstained from the world. Same with Ghandi, and the same even with shamans, gurus, etc.

This is my issue with many of these threads and forums. They create bogus definitions, ascribe them to Christians, and then talk about how terrible they are. If you are going to give a definition to religion that you then wish to use as a base to discuss Christians then the only definition I can see is the one I gave. There is no other definition of religion that Christians need to agree on, this is the only one given in the New Covenant.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:26 AM   #75
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I am giving them as an example of "pure religion"
But they aren't followers of Christ so they can't be examples of pure religion. You are starting to sound like a follower of popular religious pluralism of the Oprah Winfrey kind.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:32 AM   #76
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It seems to me that you chose a verse for your definition simply because it has the word religion in it, and you read into it your private interpretation. And, that's a fairly typical instance of what you have done to conflate the Bible with modern science. It seemed like a desperate attempt to read into the text what you needed to see.
It's obvious to most people I would think, well, all of the bible commentaries I have found on this verse, that this verse is not defining religion, but defining what is acceptable religious practice or service.

To highlight ZNP's narrow-mindedness, I wonder why he does not consider the previous verse as a definition of religion:

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

Based on this verse, true religion is defined as controlling one's tongue.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:27 AM   #77
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That, to my mind, is a terrible definition. When I think of religion I am thinking of something that is common to all mankind throughout human recorded history.

Jews and Christians would be outraged if you tried to say that the Egyptian version of religion, or the Mayan version of religion, or the Buddhist version of religion, or the Gods in India, or Greece or Rome fit this definition. Hence the supposed fighting. But no one would have an issue to say that Mother Teresa was concerned with orphans and widows and tried to keep herself unstained from the world. Same with Ghandi, and the same even with shamans, gurus, etc.

This is my issue with many of these threads and forums. They create bogus definitions, ascribe them to Christians, and then talk about how terrible they are. If you are going to give a definition to religion that you then wish to use as a base to discuss Christians then the only definition I can see is the one I gave. There is no other definition of religion that Christians need to agree on, this is the only one given in the New Covenant.
Mother Teresa ministered to the dying regardless of whether they were widows or orphans. Gandhi didn't advocate limiting compassion to widows and orphans. Besides, your definition is indistinguishable from ethics.

Huston Smith in his seminal introduction to the world's religions when facing this problem with regard to Confucianism which on the surface seems to be primarily ethical provided two definitions one wide and the other narrow:

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Is Confucianism a religion, or is it an ethic? The answer depends on how one defines religion. With its close attention to personal conduct and the moral order, Confucianism approaches life from a different angle than do other religions, but that does not necessarily disqualify it religiously. If religion is taken in its widest sense, as a way of life woven around a people’s ultimate concerns, Confucianism clearly qualifies. Even if religion is taken in a narrower sense, as a concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence, Confucianism is still a religion, albeit a muted one.

Smith, Huston. The World's Religions, Revised and Updated (Plus) (Kindle Locations 3947-3952). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:38 PM   #78
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There is no other definition of religion that Christians need to agree on, this is the only one given in the New Covenant.
It's the only time 'Pure Religion' is mentioned in the entire Bible. You're just stuck on it because it's Biblical (and you're Bible crazy) and it's your begin all and end all definition.

But that certainly can't be the entire definition of the word religion. Words typically have many or several meanings.

Example from Merriam Webster :

Definition of religion

1
a :the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
b (1) :the service and worship of God or the supernatural.
b (2):commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2 :a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3 archaic :scrupulous conformity :conscientiousness

4 :a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

If you insist on being Bible crazy -- that's clearly a given -- and James is your go-to for the definition of the word religion, then add a bridled tongue to your definition, as in the verse just before your Bible obsessed and limited 'widows and orphans.'

Jame was making a point, not defining every meaning of Pure Religion. You look silly sticking to only James as your definition of pure religion.

There's all kinds of religions, of course. Here's Paul on the Jewish religion.
Quote:
Act_26:5* Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Gal_1:13* For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Gal_1:14* And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
And don't come back with "PURE." Then you're just insisting on continuing to be silly.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:32 PM   #79
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Mother Teresa ministered to the dying regardless of whether they were widows or orphans. Gandhi didn't advocate limiting compassion to widows and orphans. Besides, your definition is indistinguishable from ethics.

Huston Smith in his seminal introduction to the world's religions when facing this problem with regard to Confucianism which on the surface seems to be primarily ethical provided two definitions one wide and the other narrow:
Exactly. Show me one religion that took care of the mentally ill and sick and did not care for widows and orphans. Caring for widows and orphans is the base, level 1, no one is caring for lepers like Mother Theresa that doesn't also care for widows and orphans.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:47 PM   #80
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It's the only time 'Pure Religion' is mentioned in the entire Bible. You're just stuck on it because it's Biblical (and you're Bible crazy) and it's your begin all and end all definition.

But that certainly can't be the entire definition of the word religion. Words typically have many or several meanings.

Example from Merriam Webster :

Definition of religion

1
a :the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
b (1) :the service and worship of God or the supernatural.
b (2):commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2 :a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3 archaic :scrupulous conformity :conscientiousness

4 :a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

If you insist on being Bible crazy -- that's clearly a given -- and James is your go-to for the definition of the word religion, then add a bridled tongue to your definition, as in the verse just before your Bible obsessed and limited 'widows and orphans.'

Jame was making a point, not defining every meaning of Pure Religion. You look silly sticking to only James as your definition of pure religion.

There's all kinds of religions, of course. Here's Paul on the Jewish religion.


And don't come back with "PURE." Then you're just insisting on continuing to be silly.
I am being silly?

The book Sapiens makes a very strong case for considering all isms as religions. He designates an entire chapter to capitalism. But liberal humanism, communism, etc. What are the arguments about US healthcare but about how to best care for widows and orphans. Those pushing socialism (Bernie, etc) feel this is the best way. Those pushing capitalism extol the quality of US healthcare as superior to socialists countries. Communism was also about how to best take care of society.

They all exhibit a commitment or devotion to their "faith" or "creed". And they all revolve around a higher power (the State). They all involve an institutionalized system of beliefs, attitudes and practices. Therefore all four definitions you have provided would include the various isms if you substitute "God" for "higher power" in 1a.

This is not a "silly" thesis on his part. He has identified 3 key components that make man unique, religion being one of them. The fundamental reason that man is unique among all animals in his thesis is that we can coordinate with more than 150 individuals. He sees Religion as extremely powerful in this regard allowing us to cooperate with millions of people. Along these lines he sees the debates about communism, socialism, and capitalism as performing the same function.

The problem with your definition is that it also includes things that are clearly not religions.

NFL -- institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs and practices. Different from European Football, and different from Baseball. Many of their fans hold to these beliefs and practices with extreme ardor. Likewise with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. Yet we all know these things are not religions.

Your definition doesn't make any distinction as to the nature of the attitudes, beliefs and practices. My definition could not possibly refer to the NFL, or Baseball, or any of the other multitude of systems that are not religions.

Also your definition says that "religion is a devotion to religious faith". You are defining religion with the word religion, so you haven't done anything to define it.

So in 3 of the 4 definitions you have included the NFL and the Boy Scouts as religions, and in the 1st definition you have given the fantastic definition of "religion is the devotion to a religious faith". I am being silly? If you can't discern who the fool is then this discussion is a complete waste of time.

As to the verse that Paul gives (strict sect of Jewish religion) that is not a definition. James word is clearly a definition.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:24 PM   #81
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Exactly. Show me one religion that took care of the mentally ill and sick and did not care for widows and orphans. Caring for widows and orphans is the base, level 1, no one is caring for lepers like Mother Theresa that doesn't also care for widows and orphans.
Many Christians would say the base thing is faith in Christ, which Mother Theresa likely did not have, neither did Gandhi.

Did you read what Zeek wrote? Without some sort of base faith or belief system, you've found a definition for ethics, not religion.

I think most people can see that the "definition" James gave is by no means exclusive and does not exclude the faith aspects which your examples like Gandhi seem to imply.
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:41 AM   #82
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ZNP][/B]I think it was front and center in Paul's mind that he had been involved in the stoning of Stephen, that he was "less than the least" of all saints and that he didn't receive his sight until a brother we never heard of laid his hands on him.

I think it was front and center in Peter's mind that he denied the Lord at His crucifixion so that when it the Lord told him to go with the people at the door he was afraid to deny the Lord again.

I think it was front and center in James mind that he was set up as the leader because of his relationship to Jesus, and that this was something of the flesh. I think he took Paul's rebuke as from the Lord and realized his association with the Judaizers was a terrible failure. But he also realized that these temptations that befell him are common to all believers.
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But didn't Paul go to Jerusalem (with donations if I remember right) to prove to James, and the other Jews, that he wasn't negating the law of Moses? Paul lied.
I think that one of the problems with trying to make Paul into the source of primary information on being Christian is that we start with Paul rather than assuming that he is providing interpretation to the Gentiles.

And we may have rejected Lee, but we retain so much of his thinking in ours. For example, we still buy his version of the termination of the law. The only thing terminated in the law was the requirement to follow the rituals to be right before God. It did not make following them bad or in-Christian. The only change was that the way to God no longer included a requirement to follow such rules.

So Paul wasn't negating the law of Moses. But he did put it into the proper perspective of being no longer a requirement for salvation. Now the requirement is belief in Christ.

But there was a whole lot more law that was not abolished in any way (despite Lee's claims to the contrary). Paul referred to this as the "righteousness of the law" in Romans and was strong to insist that those who would set their minds on the Spirit (not the spirit) and walk according to it would fulfill it. Any claim that it is no longer required is a gross misinterpretation of the scripture. But then Lee (and Nee before him) was a master of misinterpretation.

Paul did not lie. He never said that following any tradition of the old Jewish system was sinful or un-Christian, or that any part of scripture (all of it, including the teachings of Christ that had not yet been settled into scripture) turned their practice into sin or error. Only that those practices do not save you, and that teaching that they are required for salvation is an error and contradicts the words of Jesus. Some claim that when Paul went to Jerusalem the last time to take a vow, he was violating his own words. But he was not. He never declared such a practice to be in error. Only that the practice does not save you. Yet even he recognized the value of a focused practice, like the vow he set to undertake, in his spiritual progression.

As for ZNP's assertions about what and how each person thought and reacted, it is nothing but speculation. It could be true. But possibly not. The only thing that can be said about it is that nothing refutes it. But then there are many other possibilities that also are not refuted. But neither are any of them established as true. They make for decent moralizations, but cannot be taught as if a truth of scripture.
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:44 AM   #83
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Many Christians would say the base thing is faith in Christ, which Mother Theresa likely did not have . . . .
I can agree concerning Gandhi. But Mother Theresa? On what basis do you declare that she "likely did not have" faith in Christ? Simply because she was Catholic?
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:46 AM   #84
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Many Christians would say the base thing is faith in Christ, which Mother Theresa likely did not have, neither did Gandhi.

Did you read what Zeek wrote? Without some sort of base faith or belief system, you've found a definition for ethics, not religion.

I think most people can see that the "definition" James gave is by no means exclusive and does not exclude the faith aspects which your examples like Gandhi seem to imply.
By reading the "fatherless and widows" as the "disenfranchised of society", [which was the point at which he lost me], ZNP was engaging in the kind of broad figurative interpretation that Witness Lee is infamous for. Can we believe that that is what the author of James had in mind? Does it matter?

James does anchor ethical concern in what Huston Smith called "concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence" by mentioning "God and the Father" a textual fact that ZNP ignored.

By the way, do you see what this has to do with your OP thesis or has ZNP hijacked the thread as he often tends to do?
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:32 AM   #85
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Many Christians would say the base thing is faith in Christ, which Mother Theresa likely did not have ...
This is the kind of pathetic rhetoric which so characterized the LC experience. Find one fault in a person, and then discredit her entire life and service to God. Fortunately for us, our God's heart is not so constricted as yours.

Read some of the things she said and wrote. Her source was the love of God. Here are a few quotes of hers:
  • Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
  • Jesus said, "I am the truth," and it is your duty and mine to speak the truth. Then it is up to the person who hears it whether to accept or reject it.
  • Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, and suffering are but the kiss of Jesus -- a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.
Sister Teresa was not a great teacher of words like your grand MOTAs and Blendeds, but the downtrodden of India saw more of the love of God thru her than all your teachers put together. (cf. I Cor 13.2)
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:14 PM   #86
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This is the kind of pathetic rhetoric which so characterized the LC experience. Find one fault in a person, and then discredit her entire life and service to God. Fortunately for us, our God's heart is not so constricted as yours.

Read some of the things she said and wrote. Her source was the love of God. Here are a few quotes of hers:
  • Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
  • Jesus said, "I am the truth," and it is your duty and mine to speak the truth. Then it is up to the person who hears it whether to accept or reject it.
  • Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, and suffering are but the kiss of Jesus -- a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.
Sister Teresa was not a great teacher of words like your grand MOTAs and Blendeds, but the downtrodden of India saw more of the love of God thru her than all your teachers put together. (cf. I Cor 13.2)

She seemed to be universalist/pantheist/pluralist to me and this is also coming through in your posts, defending your "sister" Mother Teresa.

"then discredit her entire life and service to God" - God, not Christ? Possibly pantheistic. In the Bible, genuine disciples/apostles of Christ said they served Christ, not "God" which has multiple possible pluralistic interpretations.

"God's heart is not so constricted as yours." - a clear reference to the broad way of following all religions, not the narrow way of Christ alone.

"Her source was the love of God" - another pantheistic reference to God, not Christ.


Consider this website which doubts her status as a Christian:

https://www.gotquestions.org/Mother-Teresa.html

There is clear evidence for her being a non-Christian. In her book, Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers, she says:

Our purpose is to take God and his love to the poorest of the poor, irrespective of their ethnic origin or the faith they profess. Our discernment of aid is not the belief but the necessity. We never try to convert those whom we receive to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men—simply better—we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life—his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.

When a Catholic priest asked if she attempted to convert people, she reportedly answered, “Yes, I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, or a better Muslim, or a better Protestant, or a better Catholic, or a better Parsee, or a better Sikh, or a better Buddhist. And after you have found God, it is for you to do what God wants you to do.’ ”


https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/a...-mother-teresa
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:20 PM   #87
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I can agree concerning Gandhi. But Mother Theresa? On what basis do you declare that she "likely did not have" faith in Christ? Simply because she was Catholic?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Mother-Teresa.html
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:50 AM   #88
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She seemed to be universalist/pantheist/pluralist to me and this is also coming through in your posts, defending your "sister" Mother Teresa.

"then discredit her entire life and service to God" - God, not Christ? Possibly pantheistic. In the Bible, genuine disciples/apostles of Christ said they served Christ, not "God" which has multiple possible pluralistic interpretations.

"God's heart is not so constricted as yours." - a clear reference to the broad way of following all religions, not the narrow way of Christ alone.

"Her source was the love of God" - another pantheistic reference to God, not Christ.
You refer to me as Pantheistic because I used the word "God" in one place rather than Jesus or Christ???

Seriously?!!!

And you are the guy who espouses Lee's high peak teaching that we become God!?!

Will the real PANTHEIST please stand up?
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Old 09-23-2017, 04:08 AM   #89
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You refer to me as Pantheistic because I used the word "God" in one place rather than Jesus or Christ???

Seriously?!!!

And you are the guy who espouses Lee's high peak teaching that we become God!?!

Will the real PANTHEIST please stand up?
If I praised a muslim for showing Allah's love to a person that would mean I am either a muslim or a pantheist wouldn't it? Actually I think the correct term is pluralist, a belief that all religions lead to God.

You referred to a pluralist like Mother Teresa as showing the love of God without reference to Christ, implying you believe similarly to her that all religions lead to God.

As I have quoted, she showed the love of God as one who believes all religions lead to God, not as a Christian. A Christian believes the love of God is found in Christ alone and would not encourage those of other religions to pursue their own gods.

I think only a person who believes as she did would esteem her as an example.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:04 AM   #90
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If I praised a muslim for showing Allah's love to a person that would mean I am either a muslim or a pantheist wouldn't it? Actually I think the correct term is pluralist, a belief that all religions lead to God.

You referred to a pluralist like Mother Teresa as showing the love of God without reference to Christ, implying you believe similarly to her that all religions lead to God.

As I have quoted, she showed the love of God as one who believes all religions lead to God, not as a Christian. A Christian believes the love of God is found in Christ alone and would not encourage those of other religions to pursue their own gods.

I think only a person who believes as she did would esteem her as an example.
More hypocrisy here.

I clearly pointed out Sister Teresa's love and service for Jesus Christ, but you can find splinters and faults in every Christian's life, including notables like Billy Graham, but when it comes to your W. Lee, you are so forgiving, "no one's perfect."

Has not Madam Jean Guyon been promoted to 17th century MOTA in the book Vision of the Age by Kangas? Was not she also an ascetic Catholic who revered Mary? Never seemed to bother Lee or Kangas.

OK, I am done here. You can have the last word.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:19 AM   #91
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More hypocrisy here.

I clearly pointed out Sister Teresa's love and service for Jesus Christ, but you can find splinters and faults in every Christian's life, including notables like Billy Graham, but when it comes to your W. Lee, you are so forgiving, "no one's perfect."

Has not Madam Jean Guyon been promoted to 17th century MOTA in the book Vision of the Age by Kangas? Was not she also an ascetic Catholic who revered Mary? Never seemed to bother Lee or Kangas.

OK, I am done here. You can have the last word.
I find it amusing that the liberal hater holds the liberal view in this discussion.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:37 AM   #92
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More hypocrisy here.

I clearly pointed out Sister Teresa's love and service for Jesus Christ, but you can find splinters and faults in every Christian's life, including notables like Billy Graham, but when it comes to your W. Lee, you are so forgiving, "no one's perfect."

Has not Madam Jean Guyon been promoted to 17th century MOTA in the book Vision of the Age by Kangas? Was not she also an ascetic Catholic who revered Mary? Never seemed to bother Lee or Kangas.

OK, I am done here. You can have the last word.
So which of these two people are more Christian?:

(1) Lee - says Jesus alone is the only way to God, yet did not do the works that Mother Teresa did.
(2) Mother Teresa - says Jesus is not the only way to God, supports different religions, yet has many good works.

An evangelical would say (1), Lee is more Christian than Mother Teresa on the basis of his belief that Jesus is the only way to God.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:59 AM   #93
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I find it amusing that the liberal hater holds the liberal view in this discussion.
He's backed into a corner where his only way out without admitting error, is to basically profess the Catholic faith in good works for salvation (which he sort of did anyway when upholding Mother Teresa as an example of a true Christian, where her faith was in Catholicism, her good works, or some mish-mash of religions).

Anyway I am more puzzled by ZNP's definition of religion which divides "true religion" from Christianity, as he cited obvious non-Christians (like Ghandi) as examples of "true religion".

The normal understanding of James of "true religion" is a professed faith in at least the Christian God and His Son, and evidenced by religious service which includes (but is not limited to) taking care of orphans and widows. More importantly, Christ in the gospels emphasized taking care of that which came out out of the heart (Matthew 15:18), and this is related to James 1:26 about bridling the tongue. Clearly, true religion involves more than just what one does, but also what one believes and says.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:45 AM   #94
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Thanks for thoughtful response, and correction. I'm sure you know that I was being hyperbolic.

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And we may have rejected Lee, but we retain so much of his thinking in ours. For example, we still buy his version of the termination of the law. The only thing terminated in the law was the requirement to follow the rituals to be right before God. It did not make following them bad or in-Christian. The only change was that the way to God no longer included a requirement to follow such rules.
When I said Paul lied I didn't mean he actually lied. But wasn't he basically saying something like : "I'll take that vow. There's nothing wrong with it -- wink wink?

And even if he wasn't saying that, isn't Paul at the bottom of our illustrious antinomian Witness Lee, and antinomianism that has come down thru Christendom up to today (tho sola scriptura does seem to create a new kind of law keeping)?

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Originally Posted by OBW
As for ZNP's assertions about what and how each person thought and reacted, it is nothing but speculation.
I think we're all getting use to our dear brothers' frequent brain-dumps, and taking off at the mind like chasing rabbits.

Ya just gotta love him.

I found his little run down of Peter, Paul, and Mary ... er ah, James, was a little intriguing.

Back to antinomianism. I wonder sometimes if Paul wasn't a self hating Jew ; that maybe his Jewishness was that thorn in his side. Cuz methinks more of his antinomianism leaked out when he rebuked Peter for playing different with the circumcised than with the uncircumcised. Sure he was rebuking Peter's hypocrisy, but it sure provided plenty of support to the antinomianists ... and fuel for the coming (from his time) antisemitism ; that the Jews, not the Romans, were the Jesus killers. ; Jewish deicide ; "His blood be on us, and on our children" ; written decades after Paul.*
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:49 AM   #95
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He's backed into a corner where his only way out without admitting error, is to basically profess the Catholic faith in good works for salvation (which he sort of did anyway when upholding Mother Teresa as an example of a true Christian, where her faith was in Catholicism, her good works, or some mish-mash of religions).
Although i am not certain about this, [who but God can be?]I tend to agree with Ohio on this. You make salvation a matter of holding the correct formula, whereas, New Testament salvation is a matter of spiritual reality. Jesus said "by their fruits ye shall know them." Might Mother Teresa's works not have been the good fruit of her faith?




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Anyway I am more puzzled by ZNP's definition of religion which divides "true religion" from Christianity, as he cited obvious non-Christians (like Ghandi) as examples of "true religion". The normal understanding of James of "true religion" is a professed faith in at least the Christian God and His Son, and evidenced by religious service which includes (but is not limited to) taking care of orphans and widows. More importantly, Christ in the gospels emphasized taking care of that which came out out of the heart (Matthew 15:18), and this is related to James 1:26 about bridling the tongue. Clearly, true religion involves more than just what one does, but also what one believes and says.
I think ZNP is looking for a definition of religion that includes the major world religions. I have already supplied him with one framed by one of the world's foremost experts in comparative. But, being a Christian fundamentalist he wants his definition to come from the Bible. Since he believes the Bible is infallible, he doesn't accept that the bible authors could possibly have religious biases.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:16 AM   #96
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So which of these two people are more Christian?:

(1) Lee - says Jesus alone is the only way to God, yet did not do the works that Mother Teresa did.
(2) Mother Teresa - says Jesus is not the only way to God, supports different religions, yet has many good works.

An evangelical would say (1), Lee is more Christian than Mother Teresa on the basis of his belief that Jesus is the only way to God.

Where are all of these evangelicals that say W. Lee is more Christian?
Not even Hank Hankygraft is considered evangelical.

If as the Lord Jesus says, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples," (John 13.35) then it looks like Sister Teresa was the one that proved to the world she was His disciple.

And your statement attributed to her about "Jesus is not the way to God," is negated by her other quotes. Why is it you scream and threaten lawsuits when Lee is "taken out of context," yet allow no such mercy to others?

I have read hundreds of sayings by W. Lee which evangelicals would not consider "Christian," like his so-called high peak talks about "becoming God."
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Old 09-23-2017, 02:58 PM   #97
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Where are all of these evangelicals that say W. Lee is more Christian?
Not even Hank Hankygraft is considered evangelical.

If as the Lord Jesus says, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples," (John 13.35) then it looks like Sister Teresa was the one that proved to the world she was His disciple.

And your statement attributed to her about "Jesus is not the way to God," is negated by her other quotes. Why is it you scream and threaten lawsuits when Lee is "taken out of context," yet allow no such mercy to others?

I have read hundreds of sayings by W. Lee which evangelicals would not consider "Christian," like his so-called high peak talks about "becoming God."
Gotquestions doubts teresas status as a Christian but not witness lee's. So lee is more Christian.

As this article shows she was not Christian so she was not following john 13.35 actually. John 13.35 refers to disciples of christ not disciples of catholicism.

https://www.challies.com/articles/th...mother-teresa/

If she was not pantheist then she was devoted Catholic of the priest and mary worshipping kind.
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Old 09-23-2017, 04:59 PM   #98
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Although i am not certain about this, [who but God can be?]I tend to agree with Ohio on this. You make salvation a matter of holding the correct formula, whereas, New Testament salvation is a matter of spiritual reality. Jesus said "by their fruits ye shall know them." Might Mother Teresa's works not have been the good fruit of her faith?
What faith? And faith in the catholic god or the bible god ?the got questions article it says she doubted.

Anyone can do the good works she did even atheists. Doesnt mean they have faith.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:10 PM   #99
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What faith? And faith in the catholic god or the bible god ?the got questions article it says she doubted.
She doubted, then, like the scientists, and, apparently unlike you, she was human. Oh, that's right you're becoming a God-man. Seems as if you might be losing your humanity in the process.

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Anyone can do the good works she did even atheists. Doesn't mean they have faith.
Jesus said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." But, that doesn't go along with Witness Lee's theology, so you reject it. Your loss.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:32 PM   #100
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She doubted, then, like the scientists, and, apparently unlike you, she was human. Oh, that's right you're becoming a God-man. Seems as if you might be losing your humanity in the process.
Just as you say her fruit could be from faith, her expressed doubt could be from a lack of saving faith. In non-Catholic Christianity, not having the assurance of salvation is a sign that one is not a Christian.

Anyway, the evidence points to her being a pseudo-pantheist sadist like many in the Catholic church of old who took pleasure in giving and receiving pain in the name of Christ's sufferings.

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Jesus said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." But, that doesn't go along with Witness Lee's theology, so you reject it. Your loss.
If you want to play bible games lets quote the whole bible shall we

1 John 2:22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist--denying the Father and the Son.

We see, then, that Mother Teresa held beliefs that contradict many Biblical principles. Chief among these principles is that Christ is the only means of salvation. In John 14:6 Jesus states, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” By teaching that all religion could bridge the gap between man and God, Mother Teresa taught principles completely opposed to the Bible. At the same time she taught a bizarre “pseudo-pantheism” in which she believed Jesus was present in everyone.

https://www.challies.com/articles/th...mother-teresa/


There are also myths around her compassion in humanitarian work:


Contradictions in her beliefs, then, are apparent. We see similar contradictions in her humanitarian work. The common belief is that Mother Teresa worked with the sick and destitute to lovingly return them to health. An examination of her missions will show that this is far from the case. Mother Teresa believed that there is spiritual value in suffering. Once, when tending to a patient dying of cancer, she said “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (Christoper Hitchens – The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, p. 41). For this reason she would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:11 PM   #101
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Bro EvanG, I was raise that the RCC was the whore of Babylon. That meant that Mother Teresa was evil. Why? Because she made the whore of Babylon look good.

And all that went well in Lee's local churches. Just as it goes well with you.

But since then I found out that Mother Teresa was just human. Sorta like you and me.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:05 PM   #102
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If you want to play bible games lets quote the whole bible shall we
I quote the words of the Savior and interpret them literally and you call that playing "bible games"?! Such cynicism. If you won't believe Jesus , who will you believe? Oh , I know, the self-professed minster of his age, Witness Lee. Excuse me if I stick with Jesus.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:12 PM   #103
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I quote the words of the Savior and interpret them literally and you call that playing "bible games"?! Such cynicism. If you won't believe Jesus , who will you believe? Oh , I know, the self-professed minster of his age, Witness Lee. Excuse me if I stick with Jesus.
Being very selective with bible passages, not considering the many verses that emphasize faith in Christ alone and the teachings of Christ (not Hindu, Muslim etc)

For example:

As John 8:30-32 says, those who hold to the teaching of Christ are His disciples. This is not "holding to the teaching of muslims, hindus" etc.


31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:11 AM   #104
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Being very selective with bible passages, not considering the many verses that emphasize faith in Christ alone and the teachings of Christ (not Hindu, Muslim etc)

For example:

As John 8:30-32 says, those who hold to the teaching of Christ are His disciples. This is not "holding to the teaching of muslims, hindus" etc.


31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
You are being selective by ignoring that Jesus said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Jesus said nothing about muslims or hindus. So, why do you? Your distinctions are superficial and sectarian. God looks at the heart.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:37 AM   #105
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Being very selective with bible passages, not considering the many verses that emphasize faith in Christ alone and the teachings of Christ (not Hindu, Muslim etc)

For example:

As John 8:30-32 says, those who hold to the teaching of Christ are His disciples. This is not "holding to the teaching of muslims, hindus" etc.


31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Excuse me, Mr. Evan Gelly, but we in Ohio got quarantined for emphasizing faith in Christ alone and the teachings of Christ.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:58 PM   #106
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You are being selective by ignoring that Jesus said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Jesus said nothing about muslims or hindus. So, why do you? Your distinctions are superficial and sectarian. God looks at the heart.
Distinguishing between Christians and Muslims is sectarian? Now Ive heard it all.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:01 PM   #107
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Excuse me, Mr. Evan Gelly, but we in Ohio got quarantined for emphasizing faith in Christ alone and the teachings of Christ.
I guess thats why you now believe all religions lead to god like your sister teresa and bro zeek.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:15 PM   #108
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I guess thats why you now believe all religions lead to god like your sister teresa and bro zeek.
I have hundreds of witnesses for decades who will affirm my faith in Jesus Christ alone.

You have now become a false witness on the internet.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor. -- Commandment #9.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:42 PM   #109
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I have hundreds of witnesses for decades who will affirm my faith in Jesus Christ alone.

You have now become a false witness on the internet.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor. -- Commandment #9.
You became a liberal on the internet as of post #90 and #91. One could only assume that you still held those liberal views as of my last post. Anyone who puts forward aunty teresa as an example of true Christianity is a liberal I think.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:02 PM   #110
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Many Christians would say the base thing is faith in Christ, which Mother Theresa likely did not have, neither did Gandhi.
Faith is the base of the Christian life. But the discussion was about religion. Everyone would agree that Ghandi was religious, Mother Theresa was religious, and Buddha was religious.

Many other assert that Capitalism is also a religion (The author of the book Sapiens does), as well as communism and liberalism.

Then of course NFL fans are often a counterpoint to religious fervor though no one (that I am familiar with) considers that a religion, at least not yet. Now that it is becoming clear that the NFL includes human sacrifices perhaps that will change.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:12 PM   #111
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By reading the "fatherless and widows" as the "disenfranchised of society", [which was the point at which he lost me],
Today we have many programs to take care of the fatherless and widows. That was not true of ancient societies which practiced infanticide and hunter gatherer tribes that would kill widows (I quoted the testimony of a member of one of these tribes in the Amazon who lamented that now that he lives with the whites he has become weak, whereas before his job was to sneak up on old weak women and kill them (members of his tribe). This may be "practical" for a hunter gatherer tribe's survival but we find it abhorrent today. That is the result of religion.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:13 PM   #112
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You became a liberal on the internet as of post #90 and #91.
Been called many things in my life, but never a LIBERAL.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:20 PM   #113
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He's backed into a corner where his only way out without admitting error, is to basically profess the Catholic faith in good works for salvation (which he sort of did anyway when upholding Mother Teresa as an example of a true Christian, where her faith was in Catholicism, her good works, or some mish-mash of religions).

Anyway I am more puzzled by ZNP's definition of religion which divides "true religion" from Christianity, as he cited obvious non-Christians (like Ghandi) as examples of "true religion".

The normal understanding of James of "true religion" is a professed faith in at least the Christian God and His Son, and evidenced by religious service which includes (but is not limited to) taking care of orphans and widows. More importantly, Christ in the gospels emphasized taking care of that which came out out of the heart (Matthew 15:18), and this is related to James 1:26 about bridling the tongue. Clearly, true religion involves more than just what one does, but also what one believes and says.
Christian is not equal to religion. Since the NT does spend a lot of time on hypocritical religious leaders and the Great Babylon it is fair to refer to "false religion". Witness Lee lumped all religion into "false religion" that is an error. James identifies "pure religion" making a distinction with false religion, mixed religion and hypocrites.

However, elitists and other arrogant sects assume that they only have a word from God, the creator of all, despite having no Biblical basis or logical basis to make this claim. That is the error that goes before a fall.

You cannot claim that religion in all human societies and cultures is evidence of a human spirit that contacts God and then claim on the other hand that you alone of all people have ever contacted God.

Our concern for widows and the fatherless is evidence of a spiritual influence that no other species has. Likewise our understanding that we don't want to be stained by the world is also evidence of an evil spirit operating in the son's of disobedience, once again an experience that no other species has.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:24 PM   #114
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You are being selective by ignoring that Jesus said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Jesus said nothing about muslims or hindus. So, why do you? Your distinctions are superficial and sectarian. God looks at the heart.
"If you hold my teaching then are you really my disciples" -- Evangelical has confused "disciples of Jesus" with "pure religion". This is why you have to define your terms. This kind of idiocy leads to his claim about Mother Teresa. It is not for me to judge if she "held to Jesus teaching". What I can easily judge is that she cared for widows, orphans and tried to keep herself unstained from the world.

If you don't define your terms you get idiotic questions like "who is more Christian, Witness Lee or Mother Teresa".
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #115
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"If you hold my teaching then are you really my disciples" -- Evangelical has confused "disciples of Jesus" with "pure religion". This is why you have to define your terms. This kind of idiocy leads to his claim about Mother Teresa. It is not for me to judge if she "held to Jesus teaching". What I can easily judge is that she cared for widows, orphans and tried to keep herself unstained from the world.

If you don't define your terms you get idiotic questions like "who is more Christian, Witness Lee or Mother Teresa".
To hack with terms, I want one of EvanG's Christian meters, that he uses to measure the level of a Christian.

Then I might be able to measure who is more Christian, Abraham or Melchizedek.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:37 PM   #116
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To hack with terms, I want one of EvanG's Christian meters, that he uses to measure the level of a Christian.

Then I might be able to measure who is more Christian, Abraham or Melchizedek.
Like a geiger counter. That is pretty cool. Then give each Christian a number, like an SAT score or IQ score or the LCD Christianity scale.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:40 PM   #117
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Christian is not equal to religion. Since the NT does spend a lot of time on hypocritical religious leaders and the Great Babylon it is fair to refer to "false religion". Witness Lee lumped all religion into "false religion" that is an error. James identifies "pure religion" making a distinction with false religion, mixed religion and hypocrites.

However, elitists and other arrogant sects assume that they only have a word from God, the creator of all, despite having no Biblical basis or logical basis to make this claim. That is the error that goes before a fall.

You cannot claim that religion in all human societies and cultures is evidence of a human spirit that contacts God and then claim on the other hand that you alone of all people have ever contacted God.

Our concern for widows and the fatherless is evidence of a spiritual influence that no other species has. Likewise our understanding that we don't want to be stained by the world is also evidence of an evil spirit operating in the son's of disobedience, once again an experience that no other species has.
Lee lumped all religions except Christian and Judaism into false religions.

Islam taking care of their own widows is still a false religion. If a muslim takes care of a widow it does not make Islam pure religion. The same Islam hacks off heads of non muslims and creates widows.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:18 PM   #118
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Our concern for widows and the fatherless is evidence of a spiritual influence that no other species has.
Whales and elephants care for their elderly if Google is correct.

Therefore according to your view, whales and elephants must be practicing pure religion.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:30 PM   #119
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Lee lumped all religions except Christian and Judaism into false religions.

Islam taking care of their own widows is still a false religion. If a muslim takes care of a widow it does not make Islam pure religion. The same Islam hacks off heads of non muslims and creates widows.
Goodness EvanG, seems you completely lost track of the Second Great Commandment. You must be reading a different Bible than mine (oh, you do).

And as far Lee considering only Christianity and Judaism as true religions I say : "Duh!" ... they're the only ones in the Bible that are the true ones. All others are of false gods, and of the lies of the great liar from the beginning. Oh! Don't forget ... thrown in the whore of Babylon to boot, the RCC, and evil universalist Mother Teresa.

That's a lot of neighbor hatin' a'goin' on.. My tag line is right.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:43 PM   #120
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Goodness EvanG, seems you completely lost track of the Second Great Commandment. You must be reading a different Bible than mine (oh, you do).

And as far Lee considering only Christianity and Judaism as true religions I say : "Duh!" ... they're the only ones in the Bible that are the true ones. All others are of false gods, and of the lies of the great liar from the beginning. Oh! Don't forget ... thrown in the whore of Babylon to boot, the RCC, and evil universalist Mother Teresa.

That's a lot of neighbor hatin' a'goin' on.. My tag line is right.
What's your view then, which one is the pure religion and true religion? And what is the difference between a follower of Christ (disciple) and a person who follows pure religion?

Can a person who follows pure religion be saved without being a disciple of Christ? - this is picking up on ZNP's post that says a disciple of Christ and religion are different things.
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Old Yesterday, 02:17 AM   #121
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Whales and elephants care for their elderly if Google is correct.

Therefore according to your view, whales and elephants must be practicing pure religion.
Elderly are not equal to orphans and widows. So this has nothing to do with James verse. Nor have you shown any evidence that whales and elephants try to keep themselves from being stained from the world, or that they even have an evil worldly system.
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Old Yesterday, 02:18 AM   #122
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Can a person who follows pure religion be saved without being a disciple of Christ? - this is picking up on ZNP's post that says a disciple of Christ and religion are different things.
This is not "picking up on my post". Where did I refer to a person following "pure religion" being "saved"?
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Old Yesterday, 03:01 AM   #123
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This is not "picking up on my post". Where did I refer to a person following "pure religion" being "saved"?
So it's possible that Mother Theresa, while following pure religion, is right now in hell?
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 AM   #124
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Elderly are not equal to orphans and widows. So this has nothing to do with James verse. Nor have you shown any evidence that whales and elephants try to keep themselves from being stained from the world, or that they even have an evil worldly system.
A widow:

"a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not married again."

Elephant Matriarch. An elephant family is ruled by a matriarch (older female), and generally consists of her female offspring and their young

https://animalcorner.co.uk/elephant-family-structure/

An older female elephant without a husband is a widow.


Elephants and whales keep themselves from being stained by the world for the simple fact that animals do not sin and "the world" is a human thing.

"Animals do not sin. They are incapable of sin because they were not created as independent moral agents. " ~ https://www.gotquestions.org/do-animals-sin.html

Furthermore, Elephants and whales have bridled tongues (James 1:26). Have you ever heard an elephant tell a coarse joke or vain babbling? They only speak when necessary and for a specific purpose.

Therefore it seems to me that whales and elephants are species which follow pure religion, and perhaps even to a higher degree than humans, as they cannot sin and cannot speak like humans do.
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Old Yesterday, 04:29 AM   #125
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What's your view then, which one is the pure religion and true religion? And what is the difference between a follower of Christ (disciple) and a person who follows pure religion?

Can a person who follows pure religion be saved without being a disciple of Christ? - this is picking up on ZNP's post that says a disciple of Christ and religion are different things.
I understand questioning. I do it myself. The most common way your question is phrased here abouts, in the Bible belt, is, "Do you know if you are going to heaven?"

But I can't answer your question. Only God can.

I defer to Melchizedek. Who held the covenant, Abraham, or the pagan king priest of Salem, Melchizedek?
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Old Yesterday, 05:00 AM   #126
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But I can't answer your question. Only God can.

I defer to Melchizedek. Who held the covenant, Abraham, or the pagan king priest of Salem, Melchizedek?
Why do you call Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and priest of God, a pagan?

And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High,
who has defeated your enemies for you.”
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Old Yesterday, 05:33 AM   #127
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I defer to Melchizedek. Who held the covenant, Abraham, or the pagan king priest of Salem, Melchizedek?
Why don't you be consistent and call liberals, comedians, actors, and football players also pagans?

At least you could muster supporting evidence for that claim.
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Old Yesterday, 06:06 AM   #128
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So it's possible that Mother Theresa, while following pure religion, is right now in hell?

You cannot "follow" pure religion because there are essentially too many the different theologies and doctrines, similar to different trails up a mountain.

I am not a judge for anyone, and have no interest in speculating where Mother Teresa went, though according to my doctrinal understanding of the NT no one is in "hell" yet.

What I think is important is that no one is genuinely saved if there is no evidence of this fact, and the evidence will show forth as works of faith and a new heart and new mind. This new heart and new mind will include a care for widows, orphans and the desire to not be stained by the world.
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Old Yesterday, 06:11 AM   #129
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Can a person who follows pure religion be saved without being a disciple of Christ? - this is picking up on ZNP's post that says a disciple of Christ and religion are different things.
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This is not "picking up on my post". Where did I refer to a person following "pure religion" being "saved"?
Me, me, me! Can I not pick up your post too?

I think the question of salvation and the book of James is important, including his widows and orphans.

Back in the days of the conflict between James and Paul there were three, maybe more, but main ways, to salvation : Keeping the law=James, Gnosis=The Gnostics, and grace thru faith=Paul.

And I don't know, but brother EvanG, methinks, is on the grace side, while bro ZNP seems to be tilting to the law side. I prolly fit somewhat to the gnosis side, but can't be sure, since even that requires vouchsafe from God.

Since, like EvanG, I'm already missing your post bro ZNP, let me ask Evan's question this way :

Can I be a scoundrel, lying, thieving, cheating, manwhore, and be saved, as long as I take care of widows and orphans?

But bro ZNP, I think is right. I don't think he ever claimed widows and orphans is the way to salvation. And of course I don't know, but I don't think James made that claim either.

I think James was writing to law keepers. And I think he was pointing out that keeping just the law isn't pure religion, that keeping the law AND taking care of helpless outsiders, is pure religion ; that is James' way of bringing the Christian message into The Law.
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 AM   #130
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Me, me, me! Can I not pick up your post too?

I think the question of salvation and the book of James is important, including his widows and orphans.

Back in the days of the conflict between James and Paul there were three, maybe more, but main ways, to salvation : Keeping the law=James, Gnosis=The Gnostics, and grace thru faith=Paul.

And I don't know, but brother EvanG, methinks, is on the grace side, while bro ZNP seems to be tilting to the law side. I prolly fit somewhat to the gnosis side, but can't be sure, since even that requires vouchsafe from God.

Since, like EvanG, I'm already missing your post bro ZNP, let me ask Evan's question this way :

Can I be a scoundrel, lying, thieving, cheating, manwhore, and be saved, as long as I take care of widows and orphans?

But bro ZNP, I think is right. I don't think he ever claimed widows and orphans is the way to salvation. And of course I don't know, but I don't think James made that claim either.

I think James was writing to law keepers. And I think he was pointing out that keeping just the law isn't pure religion, that keeping the law AND taking care of helpless outsiders, is pure religion ; that is James' way of bringing the Christian message into The Law.
I am definitely not tilting towards the law side as a theory on salvation. I have not said this and those of you who got this it was simply because you think "religion" = "Christians and Jews" = "Disciples of Christ" = "Holding to the teachings of Jesus" etc.

These are all different items, hence the different terms so that we could tell the difference.

Not only do I not see "keeping the law" as a path to salvation, neither did James. But that is not the focus of his book. The idea that there are 27 books in the NT and everyone is dedicated to showing us how to get saved, is not logical.

James is concerned with helping those who have lost their way (i.e. the twelve tribes in the dispersion, clearly referring to those who did not make the transition to the NT) with finding their way in a world full of charlatans. Anyone can claim to have the "pure word" or the "high peaks ministry" or to be the "Minister of the Age" or in Paul's words a "Super apostle". But, how do we know?

Charlatans are not concerned with widows and orphans, they are concerned with lining their own pockets. They are not concerned with keeping themselves from being stained by the world, on the contrary WL, PL and TL are the proof of that.

James was not writing to "perfect Judaism", that can easily be proved. He was writing to people who had been defrauded by the Judaizers (James was one) just like many on this forum are writing to those defrauded by LSM (which according to Evangelical has the Mostest Christians with Witness Lee kicking Mother Teresa's butt.
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Old Yesterday, 08:40 AM   #131
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Evangelical has the Mostest Christians with Witness Lee kicking Mother Teresa's butt.
Mother Teresa wasn't a saint. She was just an exceptional human. She wasn't perfect. She admitted doubts about God, maybe played a little funny with money, and was maybe a little cult leader. But she did do exceptional good to others, not of her Klan. Unlike Witness Lee, who spawned a group that doesn't care about widows and orphans ... but only those of his Klan ... and even that is questionable.
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Old Yesterday, 09:23 AM   #132
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Mother Teresa wasn't a saint. She was just an exceptional human. She wasn't perfect. She admitted doubts about God, maybe played a little funny with money, and was maybe a little cult leader. But she did do exceptional good to others, not of her Klan.
If the Lord rewards us for good works (2 Corinthians 5.10), will Teresa then receive one of the greatest rewards?

Everything she did was for Jesus and the poorest of the poor.
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Old Yesterday, 11:31 AM   #133
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If the Lord rewards us for good works (2 Corinthians 5.10), will Teresa then receive one of the greatest rewards?

Everything she did was for Jesus and the poorest of the poor.
I agree bro Ohio. They say the tack that sticks up gets hammered (or something like that).

Sister Teresa was just such a tack. That's why we know about her shortcomings. They've been hammering on her. To pound her down.

But their voices, when weighed against her accomplishments, and unusually large love for others, rings hollow in my ears.

If only the world could be full of such people.

But what does brother EvanG, and his like -- namely those of The Recovery -- care about the world? Doing good to others of the world just isn't what they do, or who they are. They only keep The Second Great Commandment at a distance, without any efforts of actual involvement. The world to them is bad, and evil, and needs to get burned as soon as possible.

And Mother Teresa loved them. How evil is that? Is loving those in the world more evil than wanting them to be burned?
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Old Yesterday, 11:40 AM   #134
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Mother Teresa wasn't a saint. She was just an exceptional human. She wasn't perfect. She admitted doubts about God, maybe played a little funny with money, and was maybe a little cult leader. But she did do exceptional good to others, not of her Klan. Unlike Witness Lee, who spawned a group that doesn't care about widows and orphans ... but only those of his Klan ... and even that is questionable.
So are you saying that Witness Lee wouldn't kick her given the chance?
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Old Yesterday, 01:09 PM   #135
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But what does brother EvanG, and his like -- namely those of The Recovery -- care about the world? Doing good to others of the world just isn't what they do, or who they are. They only keep The Second Great Commandment at a distance, without any efforts of actual involvement. The world to them is bad, and evil, and needs to get burned as soon as possible.

And Mother Teresa loved them. How evil is that? Is loving those in the world more evil than wanting them to be burned?
EvanG loves to pretend -- delusionally -- that only LC people can be pleasing to the Lord.

Because they supposedly "see the church, see the vision, etc."

Truthwise, EvanG can cast his stones at sister Teresa for her shortcomings, but the Apostle Paul had EvanG in mind when he said, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up," and "even if I have prophecy, and know all the mysteries and have all knowledge ... but have not love, I am nothing."

Teresa had love for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick. And all who saw her knew she did it out of love for Jesus. "Who can bring a charge against one of God's chosen? It is God who justifies."
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Old Yesterday, 03:31 PM   #136
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If the Lord rewards us for good works (2 Corinthians 5.10), will Teresa then receive one of the greatest rewards?

Everything she did was for Jesus and the poorest of the poor.
She gets extra rewards for doing it without anasthetic when she thought they weren't suffering enough.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #137
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A widow:

"a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not married again."

Elephant Matriarch. An elephant family is ruled by a matriarch (older female), and generally consists of her female offspring and their young

https://animalcorner.co.uk/elephant-family-structure/

An older female elephant without a husband is a widow.
You cannot be a "widow" if you don't have a husband. Although there are cases of animals "adopting" offspring that aren't theirs it is unique. Do you have evidence that elephants and whales specifically adopt orphans that are not related to them? Also do you have evidence of an evil worldly system that the Elephants and whales try to keep them self from being stained?

James provides 3 points to define religion. You have at best got half of one point. That is like saying a pogo stick is a car because it has a shock absorber.
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Old Yesterday, 03:37 PM   #138
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EvanG loves to pretend -- delusionally -- that only LC people can be pleasing to the Lord.

Because they supposedly "see the church, see the vision, etc."

Truthwise, EvanG can cast his stones at sister Teresa for her shortcomings, but the Apostle Paul had EvanG in mind when he said, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up," and "even if I have prophecy, and know all the mysteries and have all knowledge ... but have not love, I am nothing."

Teresa had love for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick. And all who saw her knew she did it out of love for Jesus. "Who can bring a charge against one of God's chosen? It is God who justifies."

I have never heard of mother teresa mentioned in the local churches.

However all of the material ive found for evidence about who she really was was written by others..evangelicals.. not Lee or the LC.

Ive known Presbyterians who say harsher things about mother teresa than Lee ever did..if he ever did i dont know.
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Old Yesterday, 03:44 PM   #139
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You cannot be a "widow" if you don't have a husband. Although there are cases of animals "adopting" offspring that aren't theirs it is unique. Do you have evidence that elephants and whales specifically adopt orphans that are not related to them? Also do you have evidence of an evil worldly system that the Elephants and whales try to keep them self from being stained?

James provides 3 points to define religion. You have at best got half of one point. That is like saying a pogo stick is a car because it has a shock absorber.
In the context of elephants the matriarch would have had a husband and had children and then the husband dies or leaves.

The instruction to care for widows includes those elderly who cannot look after themselves who may never have been married.

As James says in a number if bible versions it is only to care for them in their distress not 24/7.

The evil worldy system that they keep themselves from would be the world of the humans. Afterall which species hunts whales and elephants and have they ever hunted us?
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Old Yesterday, 03:46 PM   #140
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What's your view then, which one is the pure religion and true religion?
My view is that religion is a distinctly human characteristic that we do not see any evidence of in any other creature. In this sense it demonstrates that Man was created in a special and unique way. There are many different religions on this earth, and very few of them stress or even teach the way of salvation. The idea that Shintoism is somehow false because it is not the way of salvation demonstrates a lack of understanding of what it is. It is evidence that man is a spiritual being. When we say that all human civilizations have religion it is not a judgement as to which is good, bad, evil, true, false, etc. Rather it is evidence that man is a unique creature unlike all the other creatures on this planet. But, what is astounding is how poor a job Merriam Webster and dictionaries do at defining exactly what is religion. Either the definitions are Judaeo centric, or they are so vague as to be meaningless. James definition to me is clear, concise, and specific. It can apply to Shintoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Yet it cannot apply to the NFL, MLB, BSA, or any other species on this planet.

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And what is the difference between a follower of Christ (disciple) and a person who follows pure religion?
A follower of Christ holds to the teachings Jesus gave. If you truly did that then you would have to also care for widows and orphans and try to keep yourself from the world's stain. But that is merely a subset of being a Christian, and a byproduct of having a new heart.

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Can a person who follows pure religion be saved without being a disciple of Christ?
No, they cannot be saved from sin apart from receiving the Lord's redemptive blood.
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Old Yesterday, 03:51 PM   #141
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Mother Teresa wasn't a saint. She was just an exceptional human. She wasn't perfect. She admitted doubts about God, maybe played a little funny with money, and was maybe a little cult leader. But she did do exceptional good to others, not of her Klan. Unlike Witness Lee, who spawned a group that doesn't care about widows and orphans ... but only those of his Klan ... and even that is questionable.
The Pope says she was a saint.
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Old Yesterday, 03:56 PM   #142
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A follower of Christ holds to the teachings Jesus gave. If you truly did that then you would have to also care for widows and orphans and try to keep yourself from the world's stain. But that is merely a subset of being a Christian, and a byproduct of having a new heart.
The bible teaches that our duty is first to our own family and church. Therefore taking care of our family is also pure religion. The widows mentioned in James are widows without family. Not all and any widows.
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Old Yesterday, 04:05 PM   #143
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James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

This is the context of James' concluding word defining religion. The point is that the reason we can be so easily deceived as Christians is that we cease to be doers of the word, but settle to becoming hearers only. This is encouraged by false prophets. For example, Witness Lee did not want churches involved in any other work other than supporting his ministry because he wanted to milk the saints for all they had. This was why everyone was to attend and pay for two trainings a year, designed to monopolize their entire vacation time.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.


What manner of man are you? I climbed Mt. Washington this last weekend. Prior to this I had been working out regularly in the gym. I might have thought I was in good shape. But it immediately became apparent to me when I was climbing that I was not in shape. I need to spend more time on aerobic exercise because my heart rate repeatedly maxed out.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Jesus commanded that we "do unto others as we would have them do to us". This is an active command. He didn't say that we should treat others the way they treat us, but the way we would have them treat us. And it is a command to "do". Why do Christians forget that?

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

You have to connect this with the "law of liberty". Jesus commanded us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Do you want others to accuse you of worshipping a false God? Do you want others to slander your faith? Therefore, doing unto others includes "bridling your tongue". Witness Lee is a prime example of someone who didn't bridle his tongue, he seemed to be religious, but he deceived his own heart and his religion was vain. In other words in the LSM there was no real care for widows, orphans nor was there a genuine attempt to not be stained by the world. If he had cared for widows and orphans PL would not have been president. If he had tried to not be stained there would have been no Daystar.

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

This definition of "pure religion" is "before God and the Father". God, the creator of All, and our Father is a witness as to what is and is not pure religion. Cults are not pure, they are a scam intended to uplift the false prophet. A pure religion uplifts the lowly, the despised, the ones who do not have any allies, nor do they bring any worldly profit.
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Old Yesterday, 04:18 PM   #144
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Distinguishing between Christians and Muslims is sectarian? Now Ive heard it all.
A sectarian has two standards. One for himself and the members of his group and another for everyone else. The sectarian shoe seems to fit you pretty well.
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #145
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A sectarian has two standards. One for himself and the members of his group and another for everyone else. The sectarian shoe seems to fit you pretty well.
It's not sectarian because Christians and Muslims are two different religions.
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Old Yesterday, 04:45 PM   #146
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"If you hold my teaching then are you really my disciples" -- Evangelical has confused "disciples of Jesus" with "pure religion". This is why you have to define your terms. This kind of idiocy leads to his claim about Mother Teresa. It is not for me to judge if she "held to Jesus teaching". What I can easily judge is that she cared for widows, orphans and tried to keep herself unstained from the world.

If you don't define your terms you get idiotic questions like "who is more Christian, Witness Lee or Mother Teresa".
I gave two good definitions for religion in post # 84. An important element of James 1:27, is God. The prescribed behavior is undefiled in the sight of God. Religion includes both horizontal and vertical axes. James 1:27 specifies the vertical axis first consistent with Jesus' first commandment. [Mark 12:29] before the horizontal: visiting the fatherless and widows which is an instance of Jesus' second commandment.
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Old Yesterday, 04:50 PM   #147
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It's not sectarian because Christians and Muslims are two different religions.
You have a different standard for people in your group than for others. That's sectarian.

Christians and Muslims are all humans. A non-sectarian standard applies to us all.
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Old Yesterday, 04:52 PM   #148
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Default Why James alone is inadequate as a definition of religion

ZNP has put forward the verse in James as a definition of religion. But I can show that James is not a complete or adequate definition of religion as ZNP supposes. I will then present a clarification of what it means to care for widows, by Pastor Steven Cole, of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, showing how the verse has been misapplied and conflated to a standard of Christian practice that not even the early church held to.

First, one shortcoming of the verse in James is that it omits mention of aliens, mentioned in Deut 27:9, Ezekiel 22:7, Malachi 3:5, Deuteronomy 24:17

Deut 27:9 'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Second, the verse in James does not specify who exactly qualifies as a widow, and this is clarified for us in 1 Tim 5:3-16, where it is clear that there are different types of widows. Each widow is treated differently according to their circumstance and their own behavior (are they trustworthy, or given to wanton pleasures, flippant, busybodies etc):

1 Tim 5:3-16

Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. read more.


Third, the verse in James does not mention taking care of ones own family, which according to 1 Tim 5:8 is key to not denying the faith:

1 Tim 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I understand this to mean that if a person cares for widows in the church or wider community but neglects their own household, they are not practicing "pure religion". In this respect, the definition James gives is inadequate as it does not explain these matters.

The Bible never says that to not care for widows is to deny the faith. However denying ones own household is to deny the faith. Therefore if taking care of widows is pure religion, then taking care of ones own household is even more pure religion.


Fourth, James is inadequate because it mentions nothing about the age of the widow. Should the church support a widow aged 20 years old? No. Widows who are able to work to support themselves are not eligible for church support:

2 Thess 3:10 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”


Fifth, if we take a narrow view on the definition of "widow", as meaning only those who have lost a husband, then what about the old women who have never married?. The biblical definition of "widow" also includes elderly women who have never been married as God's care extends to them as well.


Sixth, James 1:27 is not about caring for widows full time, but visiting them in their affliction:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

ZNP and others have conflated James 1:27 to mean taking care of orphans and widows everywhere, but reading the verse properly it is clear that it means to visit them in their distress. This is hardly an adequate definition of religion.

Finally, a more complete explanation of what it means to take care of widows is given here, by Pastor Steven Cole:

https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-...-timothy-53-16


To summarize this article:


A. NEEDY WIDOWS SHOULD BE CARED FOR BY THE CHURCH (5:3-6, 9-10).

A “widow indeed” is a godly woman over 60 (v. 9) who has been left alone. Either she has no children and grandchildren, or they have died or are so far away as not to be able to render aid to her.

B. WIDOWS WITH FAMILIES SHOULD BE CARED FOR BY THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS (5:4, 7-8).

2. The church has a duty not to support younger widows (5:11-16).


After 100 posts or so on the topic ZNP could have easily presented this thoroughly just as I have done. Instead, they prefer to offer their own conflated definition of religion and what it means to care for widows based on a single verse in James, being fixated on such a thing and not considering the whole bible's revelation on the topic.
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Old Yesterday, 04:54 PM   #149
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You have a different standard for people in your group than for others. That's sectarian.

Christians and Muslims are all humans. A non-sectarian standard applies to us all.
I'm not sure what you are referring to by "different standards". We have the same Christian "standard" to all people, regardless of who they are. That standard is to accept and follow Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Your use of the word "sect" and "sectarian" is strange because strictly speaking it means a cut or division in something.

Christianity and Muslim are not sects of some other religion, nor are they "different types of humans" (saying Christians and Muslims are all humans is also strange, as obviously to be a Christian or Muslim one must be a human), they are completely different religions. Just as we would not say the USA and China are sectarian for being different countries, the term sectarian cannot apply to different religions.
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Old Yesterday, 05:57 PM   #150
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I'm not sure what you are referring to by "different standards". We have the same Christian "standard" to all people, regardless of who they are. That standard is to accept and follow Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Your use of the word "sect" and "sectarian" is strange because strictly speaking it means a cut or division in something.

Christianity and Muslim are not sects of some other religion, nor are they "different types of humans" (saying Christians and Muslims are all humans is also strange, as obviously to be a Christian or Muslim one must be a human), they are completely different religions. Just as we would not say the USA and China are sectarian for being different countries, the term sectarian cannot apply to different religions.
I'm talking about ethics. Is there one ethical standard for all humans or not? Is there a different ethical standard for Christians and Muslims? Are there different ethical standards for people in different countries? If you hold that there is one standard for all, you're an ethical universalist. If you have different standards for different people you're an ethical sectarian. Based on my experience, Witness Lee's local churches are sectarian. We had a double standard even for Christians outside our group. But, the ethical duplicity of professing evangelical Christians is wider than the LCM. Many advertise that they are Christian for business purposes and grant special favors to their brethren, for example. Your shock at my distinction suggests to me 1) that ethical sectarianism is such a part of your experience that you consider it normal and 2) you are philosophically ignorant. Or maybe I just caught you off guard in this context.
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Old Yesterday, 06:16 PM   #151
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James does anchor ethical concern in what Huston Smith called "concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence" by mentioning "God and the Father" a textual fact that ZNP ignored.
I discussed it in a later post. God and the Father are presented as witnesses of the pure religion. However, I don't think that should be part of the definition of what religion is since monotheism isn't common to all religions.

My understanding is that God, as creator of all, is the witness for all. Animists, Shinto, Buddhist, etc.

The Father is witness for Jews, Moslems, and Christians.
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Old Yesterday, 06:21 PM   #152
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ZNP has put forward the verse in James as a definition of religion. But I can show that James is not a complete or adequate definition of religion as ZNP supposes. I will then present a clarification of what it means to care for widows, by Pastor Steven Cole, of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, showing how the verse has been misapplied and conflated to a standard of Christian practice that not even the early church held to.

First, one shortcoming of the verse in James is that it omits mention of aliens, mentioned in Deut 27:9, Ezekiel 22:7, Malachi 3:5, Deuteronomy 24:17

Deut 27:9 'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
I have already covered this. Show me one religion that practices righteousness towards aliens but doesn't care for widows and orphans you will have a case, otherwise you don't. Just like the earlier point concerning mentally ill and lepers. This definition is the bare minimum. Shintoism is clearly a religion and it is a very nationalist doctrine focusing exclusively on Japan. They might not have the same attitude towards aliens as other religions, but they are still clearly a religion.
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Old Yesterday, 06:24 PM   #153
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Second, the verse in James does not specify who exactly qualifies as a widow, and this is clarified for us in 1 Tim 5:3-16, where it is clear that there are different types of widows. Each widow is treated differently according to their circumstance and their own behavior (are they trustworthy, or given to wanton pleasures, flippant, busybodies etc):
Once again, all you have demonstrated is that Christianity, as a religion, has doctrines on caring for widows. This supports the definition. Being generic and broad in definition once again proves that James is being all inclusive.
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Old Yesterday, 06:24 PM   #154
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I'm talking about ethics. Is there one ethical standard for all humans or not? Is there a different ethical standard for Christians and Muslims? Are there different ethical standards for people in different countries? If you hold that there is one standard for all, you're an ethical universalist. If you have different standards for different people you're an ethical sectarian. Based on my experience, Witness Lee's local churches are sectarian. We had a double standard even for Christians outside our group. But, the ethical duplicity of professing evangelical Christians is wider than the LCM. Many advertise that they are Christian for business purposes and grant special favors to their brethren, for example. Your shock at my distinction suggests to me 1) that ethical sectarianism is such a part of your experience that you consider it normal and 2) you are philosophically ignorant. Or maybe I just caught you off guard in this context.
I believe that the Christian ethics are the one ethical standard for all humans.
The Muslims believe the Muslim ethics are the one ethical standard for all humans.

You have proposed some greater ethical standard for all humans, presumably above that of any one religion, and in this context described Christian and Muslim as sects/sectarian. But there is no such thing in practice. Ethical standards in themselves cannot stand apart from any one religion or philosophy. The religion or philosphy provides the framework for the ethical standards. So if you were to claim one greater ethical standard for all humans of which Christian/Muslim are sects (and all other religions), it would be difficult to define what religion or philosophy is the "mother" of the sects.
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Old Yesterday, 06:26 PM   #155
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Third, the verse in James does not mention taking care of ones own family, which according to 1 Tim 5:8 is key to not denying the faith:

1 Tim 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
James is not talking about the Christian religion (and faith) but rather religion in general which includes all religions, many of which do not hold to the Christian faith. This confirms that this definition is generic and not specific to Christianity.
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Old Yesterday, 06:26 PM   #156
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She gets extra rewards for doing it without anasthetic when she thought they weren't suffering enough.
So you'd get a few kicks in, right?
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Old Yesterday, 06:29 PM   #157
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Fourth, James is inadequate because it mentions nothing about the age of the widow. Should the church support a widow aged 20 years old? No. Widows who are able to work to support themselves are not eligible for church support:

2 Thess 3:10 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”
I have covered this already. Christianity, like any "pure religion" has teachings concerning caring for widows. That is James point. He is not referring to Christianity or Judaism but is being generic for all pure religions.
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Old Yesterday, 06:31 PM   #158
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Sixth, James 1:27 is not about caring for widows full time, but visiting them in their affliction:
The widow of the founder of McDonald's is not in affliction. Religion is not required to care for widows who are millionaires and billionaires. James is being practical. There is no reason a "pure religion" would blindly care for those who don't need any assistance.
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Old Yesterday, 06:33 PM   #159
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After 100 posts or so on the topic ZNP could have easily presented this thoroughly just as I have done. Instead, they prefer to offer their own conflated definition of religion and what it means to care for widows based on a single verse in James, being fixated on such a thing and not considering the whole bible's revelation on the topic.
I have responded to every one of your points as you made them. None of them do anything but prove that this verse by James is generic and not sectarian or specific to Christianity.
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Old Yesterday, 06:34 PM   #160
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Once again, all you have demonstrated is that Christianity, as a religion, has doctrines on caring for widows. This supports the definition. Being generic and broad in definition once again proves that James is being all inclusive.

The generality in James allows for us to claim care for widows when caring for our own family members who are widows. Many LC members care for their own elderly family in America or overseas, by way of indirect or direct financial or personal support. Caring for widows of ones own family is considered paramount to caring for widows who are outside of our family, are wanton to pleasure or are able to support themselves. Therefore the LC cares for widows as per 1 Tim 5:3-16 and James. The LC also cares for aliens when they come to America from China/Taiwan etc. People without a place to stay are received into the homes of those willing to take them in or accommodated at the meeting halls.

I think some (Awareness) are interpreting the verse in James in a very narrow way, to mean that only if we care for widows in the Mother Teresa way, are we practicing "pure religion". Of course the LC is not establishing orphanages around the world, but neither does it have to, to fulfill the verse in James and 1 Tim 5:3-16. Caring for ones mother or father who are widowed is just as valid in God's eyes as all the good works Mother Teresa did.
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Old Yesterday, 06:39 PM   #161
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The generality in James allows for us to claim care for widows when caring for our own family members who are widows. Many LC members care for their own elderly family in America or overseas, by way of indirect or direct financial or personal support. Caring for widows of ones own family is considered paramount to caring for widows who are outside of our family, are wanton to pleasure or are able to support themselves.

Therefore the LC cares for widows as per 1 Tim 5:3-16 and James.

The LC also cares for aliens when they come to America from China/Taiwan etc.
God and the Father is the witness.

My point is simply that false prophets will espouse a vain religion. They will promote the practice of being hearers only and not doers. They will be stained by the world. They will lack a care for widows and will manipulate and take advantage of orphans.
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Old Yesterday, 06:41 PM   #162
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EvanG loves to pretend -- delusionally -- that only LC people can be pleasing to the Lord.

Because they supposedly "see the church, see the vision, etc."

Truthwise, EvanG can cast his stones at sister Teresa for her shortcomings, but the Apostle Paul had EvanG in mind when he said, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up," and "even if I have prophecy, and know all the mysteries and have all knowledge ... but have not love, I am nothing."

Teresa had love for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick. And all who saw her knew she did it out of love for Jesus. "Who can bring a charge against one of God's chosen? It is God who justifies."

I think you are just confusing the matter between religion and salvation. There are different ways to "please the Lord". One way is to believe in Christ for salvation. The other is to do good works. One way to please the Lord is better than the other - belief can compensate for lack of good works but good works cannot compensate for lack of belief.
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Old Yesterday, 07:13 PM   #163
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I believe that the Christian ethics are the one ethical standard for all humans.
The Muslims believe the Muslim ethics are the one ethical standard for all humans.
What's you're point? Different strokes for different folks? That's moral relativism.

Quote:
You have proposed some greater ethical standard for all humans, presumably above that of any one religion, and in this context described Christian and Muslim as sects/sectarian. But there is no such thing in practice. Ethical standards in themselves cannot stand apart from any one religion or philosophy. The religion or philosphy provides the framework for the ethical standards. So if you were to claim one greater ethical standard for all humans of which Christian/Muslim are sects (and all other religions), it would be difficult to define what religion or philosophy is the "mother" of the sects.
The major religions are not sectarian when they recognize ethical universalism. And there is evidence that they do. For example, most have a version of the golden rule:

• Christianity: Do to others whatever you would have done to you.

• Confucianism: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

• Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

• Hinduism: Do not do to others what would cause you pain if done to you.

• Jainism: One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated.

• Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to others.

• Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.

• Sikhism: As you think of yourself, so think of others.

• Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good that refrains from doing to another whatever is not good for itself.

• Humanism: Act so as to bring out the best in others, thereby bringing out the best in yourself.

• Islam: No one is a believer until you desire for your sister or brother that which you desire for yourself.

But, religions are the products of fallible humans. So, they tend to be tribal. And, as such, they favor in-group members and disfavor out-group members and thus are sectarian. I joined the Witness Lee's Local Church movement because they claimed to have transcended divisive sectarianism. But, we were sectarian in practice so I was disappointed.
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Old Yesterday, 07:38 PM   #164
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ZNP has put forward the verse in James as a definition of religion. But I can show that James is not a complete or adequate definition of religion as ZNP supposes. I will then present a clarification of what it means to care for widows, by Pastor Steven Cole, of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, showing how the verse has been misapplied and conflated to a standard of Christian practice that not even the early church held to.

First, one shortcoming of the verse in James is that it omits mention of aliens, mentioned in Deut 27:9, Ezekiel 22:7, Malachi 3:5, Deuteronomy 24:17

Deut 27:9 'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Second, the verse in James does not specify who exactly qualifies as a widow, and this is clarified for us in 1 Tim 5:3-16, where it is clear that there are different types of widows. Each widow is treated differently according to their circumstance and their own behavior (are they trustworthy, or given to wanton pleasures, flippant, busybodies etc):

1 Tim 5:3-16

Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. read more.


Third, the verse in James does not mention taking care of ones own family, which according to 1 Tim 5:8 is key to not denying the faith:

1 Tim 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I understand this to mean that if a person cares for widows in the church or wider community but neglects their own household, they are not practicing "pure religion". In this respect, the definition James gives is inadequate as it does not explain these matters.

The Bible never says that to not care for widows is to deny the faith. However denying ones own household is to deny the faith. Therefore if taking care of widows is pure religion, then taking care of ones own household is even more pure religion.


Fourth, James is inadequate because it mentions nothing about the age of the widow. Should the church support a widow aged 20 years old? No. Widows who are able to work to support themselves are not eligible for church support:

2 Thess 3:10 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”


Fifth, if we take a narrow view on the definition of "widow", as meaning only those who have lost a husband, then what about the old women who have never married?. The biblical definition of "widow" also includes elderly women who have never been married as God's care extends to them as well.


Sixth, James 1:27 is not about caring for widows full time, but visiting them in their affliction:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

ZNP and others have conflated James 1:27 to mean taking care of orphans and widows everywhere, but reading the verse properly it is clear that it means to visit them in their distress. This is hardly an adequate definition of religion.

Finally, a more complete explanation of what it means to take care of widows is given here, by Pastor Steven Cole:

https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-...-timothy-53-16


To summarize this article:


A. NEEDY WIDOWS SHOULD BE CARED FOR BY THE CHURCH (5:3-6, 9-10).

A “widow indeed” is a godly woman over 60 (v. 9) who has been left alone. Either she has no children and grandchildren, or they have died or are so far away as not to be able to render aid to her.

B. WIDOWS WITH FAMILIES SHOULD BE CARED FOR BY THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS (5:4, 7-8).

2. The church has a duty not to support younger widows (5:11-16).


After 100 posts or so on the topic ZNP could have easily presented this thoroughly just as I have done. Instead, they prefer to offer their own conflated definition of religion and what it means to care for widows based on a single verse in James, being fixated on such a thing and not considering the whole bible's revelation on the topic.
Now that was a super duper post. Good job.

I just wonder if these instructions in Timothy aren't written by by an author -- prolly not Paul -- whose views are skewed by misogyny. But considerin it's canon, you nailed it.

Still, I don't know if those really of the Spirit should take these verses as law. That's not the spirit of a real follower of Christ.

Otherwise the followers of The Way should have remained Jews, with the modification of 27 more books of law.

Still brother, you really nailed it down. Methinks you'll get some far-fetchin' comin' atchya. Where's the popcorn?
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