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Vlad_77
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On 2013-12-28 17:18, katyannmarie wrote:
I'm surprised no one suggested finding out if the church you want to attend actually believes the Bible is true, or says some nice things that you can take or leave on a whim.
The questions I would ask are: Does this church obey the Bible or just read from it? Do they discriminate against anyone? How well do the attenders know their Bibles? How consistent are they with evangelism? church discipline? If they ever say "We don't have the funds for that" that's a big red flag. If they say that, they either believe God is broke, or they themselves have to meet the needs around them. What does the church do with what the attenders have? What is the reputation in the community? Do unbelieves know the church exists? What missionaries do they support? Are all the attenders expected to minister? Interview the kids. Do the kids know the gospel? Do the adults? What do the unbelievers in the community say about the church? If they say, "they are strange people, but they really love those around them," then that church is making an impact on the community. Do the adults know why they believe the Bible? Is there a discrepancy between what they say and what they do? Is it a social club that has no real impact on the members or the community? Are the programs they have effective for anything other than entertainment? Can you cite any differences between what the church does and what any community group does? Are people being saved? Are those who are saved being made into disciples or are they just attenders? Are they really secular humanists with a little religious window dressing?
One last thing, if you hear "no church is perfect" when you ask questions, that's a red flag that says "There is really nothing life changing going on here." No church is perfect, but are they better than they used to be? How can that be measured concretely? If it can't, it's a waste of your time. You may get more religious, but you won't have any impact on the world around you.


Hi Katyannmarie,

I will make just one comment on your otherwise rather positive post. Salvation is not a one time deal, i.e, once saved, always saved - that doctrine is, in the timeline of Christianity a relatively recent doctrine and is in fact not accepted by most churches in the West or East. Philippians 2:12-15 is rather clear that salvation is a continuing process, that is, one we work at and work on all of our lives. St. Paul actually uses the term "work."

Yours in Christ,
Vlad
Danny Kazam
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Our salvation should be evident in our works. Salvation is a gift from God. It is not earned by any work we do. But, if we do not show the works of our Salvation, how can we believe we are saved? We are saved not because of our works, but we should be living a changed life when we are truly saved. We should be working towards being more like Christ, while continuing to die to ourselves.

Some Christians think they just need to say a simple prayer and then go on living the same way as before. Although I somewhat agree with Vlad, I believe that those who show no evidence of their salvation through their works, never really had it. When you have true Salvation, you will show evidence of it. It will change your outlook on life, and you will have a real authentic love for God, wanting to please Him in all you do, growing closer to Him because you desire to be more like Him.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Vlad_77
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On 2013-12-28 21:31, Danny Kazam wrote:
Our salvation should be evident in our works. Salvation is a gift from God. It is not earned by any work we do. But, if we do not show the works of our Salvation, how can we believe we are saved? We are saved not because of our works, but we should be living a changed life when we are truly saved. We should be working towards being more like Christ, while continuing to die to ourselves.

Some Christians think they just need to say a simple prayer and then go on living the same way as before. Although I somewhat agree with Vlad, I believe that those who show no evidence of their salvation through their works, never really had it. When you have true Salvation, you will show evidence of it. It will change your outlook on life, and you will have a real authentic love for God, wanting to please Him in all you do, growing closer to Him because you desire to be more like Him.


Hi Danny,

Actually, we are in complete agreement, just worded differently. The key phrase you made was "I believe that those who show no evidence of their salvation through their works, never really had it. When you have true Salvation, you will show evidence of it." This is what St. Paul was talking about in terms of working out our salvation.

What I was trying to explain is that the simple prayer you talked about which some Christians say and then go on living the way they always have is what is problematic as you say. And, what I REALLY like is your statement that we strive to become more like Him. Smile God became Incarnate so that we might become like Him (but certainly NOT Him). That doctrine has been understood since the earliest of days.

Yours in Christ,
Vlad
Terry Holley
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Pretty confusing to say we are not saved because of our works but then to say if we are not working we are not saved!

I say faith alone in Christ alone.

Terry
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Mel Yoder
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A person who is saved will have the Holy Spirit living within them.So just like the fruit tree,thy will produce good fruit which are good works.They go hand and hand.

Mel
Vlad_77
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On 2013-12-29 14:55, Terry Holley wrote:
Pretty confusing to say we are not saved because of our works but then to say if we are not working we are not saved!

I say faith alone in Christ alone.

Terry


Hi Terry,

St. James 2:14-26, St. Matthew 25:31-46, St. John 5:28-29, Galatians 6:7-10, Revelation 20:12-13, 1 St. Timothy 6:18-19, Acts 26:20, 2 St. Timothy 3:16-17.

Best,
Vlad
DelMagic
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On 2013-12-29 14:55, Terry Holley wrote:
Pretty confusing to say we are not saved because of our works but then to say if we are not working we are not saved!

I say faith alone in Christ alone.

Terry


Right on, Terry! Yes, there is significant disagreement among people regarding the requirements for eternal life and the place of works in soteriology. Surely we are challenged to live lives filled with good works out of gratitude and compassionn, but does that mean that our works are essential for salvation? I concur with Terry that faith in Christ for eternal life is sufficient and at that very moment you have it forever. The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, states is succinctly. John's gospel is unique in that it specifically mentions that it has been written for the unsaved. (John 20:31)

In John's gospel, we find people asking Jesus about works.
John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Reading John with a conscious focus on works and believing can be an enlightening experience.
Terry Holley
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And the Gospel of John never once mentions repentance, a condition that many add to the salvation message! The message is clear; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).
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Mel Yoder
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And the Gospel of John never once mentions repentance, a condition that many add to the salvation message! The message is clear; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).



So how can we explain away Acts 2?

Mel



Acts 2:38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Vlad_77
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On 2014-01-01 19:40, Terry Holley wrote:
And the Gospel of John never once mentions repentance, a condition that many add to the salvation message! The message is clear; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).


Terry,

With all due respect, there is a lot in which we Christians believe that is not mentioned at all anywhere in the Bible. The Holy Trinity is implied once but nowhere will you find the doctrine/theology of Three Persons in One God, yet, Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, that is to say, while the Great Commission speaks of baptizing in the Name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the words "trinity, Holy Trinity, etc., are never explicitly stated. Some have argued - incorrectly - that the doctrine of the Trinity was a Catholic "invention." However, even the radical reformers such as Calvin, Zwingli, and Wesley maintained the belief in the Trinity.

As for The Gospel of St. John the Theologian, it is important to remember the focus of that Gospel in comparison with the other three, known as the synoptic Gospels. The synoptic Gospels focus primarily on Christ as man, that is to say, His works, etc. However in the earliest days of the Church there was great controversy not only over Christ's divinity but whether or not Christ was actually God. I am certain you are aware of the battery of heretical teachings that the Church faced. Some of these exist today in faith groups that use the language of Christianity but are not Christian. Arianism is a heresy that is the very foundation of the Jehovah's Witness group. Even though St. John is quite clear in the very opening verses of his Gospel that Christ is indeed God Incarnate, people like Arius were disputing the Incarnation. As you study the Gospel of St. John you will also notice that he doesn't write or mention a lot of things that ARE (caps for emphasis) written/mention in the Gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The lack of a mention in one Gospel does not mean that a certain tenet of faith is therefore invalid - but there IS a mention as we shall see. The message of repentance is present throughout Holy Scripture.

However Terry, please take a another look at this:

"He said therefore to them [the Apostles] again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."

- The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Saint John 20:21-23

We read here that He breathed upon the Apostles. There is only one other instance of God breathing upon man, Genesis 2:7, when by this act, God breathed into man a living soul. Note also the parallels between the beginning of Genesis and the beginning of the Gospel of St. John. Compare these to the beginnings of the Synoptic Gospels and you will notice a stark difference.

Also, respectfully submitted I add:

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18) St. Paul is very clear on this and we understand from the Ancient Greek that reconciliation to Christ means repentance as well as faith and in confessing Christ as God Incarnate.

But we need only look at The Lord's Prayer, the very words that Christ Himself gave us to understand repentance: "... and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ..." If repentance and forgiveness were not crucial, then why would God Incarnate include these words in His prayer? And then we have: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Mel has already cited Acts 2:38. My point here Terry is that we should not privilege one verse or passage over others.

The later or to put it more accurately, merely confessing Christ as God and Savior is itself an invention that was taken out of context from the rest of Holy Scripture. There is absolutely no mention nor exhortation in Holy Scripture that confessing once and once saved always saved is sufficient. A lot of cherry picking unfortunately has gone on in which Scripture has been misinterpreted and we can go back to the lex talionis to see this misinterpretation as a justification for the death penalty. Yet, rabbinical scholars have argued vociferously that the lex talionis is not a justification for the taking of a life. But, I digress.

The Gospel of St. John is concerned with reminding us of the Divinity of Christ. He does indeed make mention of repentance and obviously, there are verses and passages galore about the necessity of repentance.

Yours in Christ our True God, together with His all Loving and Powerful Father and the Life Giving Holy Spirit,
Vlad
DelMagic
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Considering the little discussion regarding eternal life/salvation, I would say katyannmarie's post about the importance of authority, doctrine, and practice was well-timed. A focus on the church's position on whatever a potential memeber sees as dealbreaking issues is critical.
DelMagic
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On 2014-01-01 21:29, Mel Yoder wrote:

Terry: And the Gospel of John never once mentions repentance, a condition that many add to the salvation message! The message is clear; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

So how can we explain away Acts 2?

Mel

Acts 2:38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Mel,

Why would anyone have to explain away anything? We simply read John and Acts exactly as written and there is no problem. Before we jump away from the first passage mentioned, may we discuss John 3:16? So, as mentioned, John 3:16 tells us very plainly that believers in Jesus have eternal life. It seems pretty plain and clear than nothng else on the part of the believers is required or this verse would not be correct. Do you think people that are believers may not have eternal life? Or perhaps your understanding of the word believe is different than the simple way I understand it.
Mel Yoder
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So if you were told there was a minefield you had to walk trough and I had the only book that told you where to step in order to reach the other side.In this book as I said,
I could save you.But there was also a map to till you how to get there in the book.One person read the map and walked where to step.The other person said yes I belive you can get me to the other said but didn't go where the map directed.Which one do you think truly believed and would make it to the other side.

Mel
DelMagic
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Mel,

Can't we discuss the passage? Why are you going elsewhere?

Believers are those who believe. That's the end of the definition. One who walks through the minefield according to your directions, or goes across Niagara Falls with Blondin*, or one who sits in the chair*, may or may not believers. We can't tell. The actions can be done whether or not you actually believe.

* These are two other classic illustrations that I've heard used in Christian circles to add works to meaning of the word believe.

When you believe, you are convinced something is true. That is easy to understand.

The Bible is full of exhortations for good works, compassion, obedience and holy living. That is not disputed and it ought to be widely taught but they are not conditions imposed upon the unsaved to become saved.

So, what in John 3:16 gives you concern? Believers have eternal life. Eternal means forever. And they have it now because it says they have it, not that they will have it in the future. And they will never perish - they are secure.
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This discussion simply boils down to the classic "Lordship Salvation -vs- Free Grace." I side with Ephesians 2:8 and 9. Salvation is through faith, not of works. We are created to do good works, but those works come under the role of "discipleship," which follows salvation and is entirely separate.
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
DelMagic
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I am not sure Mel is LS. I wss thinking perhaps CoC since he brought up Acts 2:38. Whatever the case, I would like to hear some more on the words we have been given in John 3:16.
Mel Yoder
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Hi Guys
I love John 3:16.In fact I wear shirts with the verse printed on them.But we must be born again as Jesus told Nicodemus.God has a simple plain of salvation even a child can understand.We are saved only by the precious blood of Jesus.Repent is listed all over in the scriptures.So we pull one or two verses out of the Bible that does not have the word repent in it and say no we don't have to.A person who is sincere and a true believer in Christ will trust in his total plain of salvation.Believe,Repent of their sins and be baptised.
Mel
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Mel,

As Terry pointed out, repentance, nor any version of the word, never appears in John's gospel. Given the purpose stated in 20:31, this is surprising. Pulling one or two verses out of the Bible ought to be fine for establishing the truth of something. I would think there are a great many things that only appear once in the Bible. I don't like making you jump around in the Bible to follow my thinking. I like to prove my point succinctly. I like to nail down what we each see in the verse and find out how we agree or disagree on the meaning of the words/phrases/sentences used. Once that is done, we can look elsewhere, especially in verses close by or those which have similar statements. But I am not claiming this is the only place this truth appears in the Bible. However, this verse says what it says. If more is required for everlasting life than believing, then this verse is highly questionable. It's not as if repentance and baptism are shown to be co-requisites with believing either just before or after this verse.

John
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It doesn't matter if a word appears or not in a single book of the Library we call the Bible. You have to read Scriptures in the context of its ENTIRE message.

If you want to play the game of "a word isn't mentioned in Scripture", then I suppose any of you who believe in the Rapture had better stop. That word appears nowhere in Scripture.
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Vlad_77
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On 2014-01-06 00:41, Mike Maturen wrote:
It doesn't matter if a word appears or not in a single book of the Library we call the Bible. You have to read Scriptures in the context of its ENTIRE message.

If you want to play the game of "a word isn't mentioned in Scripture", then I suppose any of you who believe in the Rapture had better stop. That word appears nowhere in Scripture.


Thank you Mike, and as I tried to explain in my long post, the terms Trinity and Holy Trinity also appear nowhere in Holy Scripture.

Guys, the REAL issues at hand is sola scriptura and sola fide and very reasons they are problematic. Many of you are Protestants and two things that ALL protestants share are sola scriptura and sola fide. Yet, there is no agreement even on foundational doctrinal issues nor can sola scriptura and sola fide provide any defense for certain beliefs that all CHRISTIANS hold.

Lutherans reject rapture theology (rightly so as it was a "theology" invented by Rev. Dwight Moody in the 1890s!) Yet many Pentecostals and fundamentalists EMBRACE Rapture theology. Now, both Lutherans AND Pentecostals accept sola scriptura and sola fide yet, they disagree on this crucial issue.

If sola scriptura and sola fide were indeed all that a believer needed, then I ask you why are there 23,000 DISTINCT protestant denominations? Why are there 79 DISTINCT denominations of Baptists. And let's go further: the non-denominational movement grew out of a sola-scriptura based dissatisfaction with protestant denomimations? It has become so murky that many non-denominationals actually get enraged when they are called protestants, yet, just like protestants they hold to sola scriptura and sola fide!

A member here says we need to read no further than St. John, while another asks how to explain away a passage in Acts. The first member completely ignores a passage to "prove" his point! If that isn't cherry picking brothers and sisters then what is??!!! Why would you NOT want to discuss Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."(??!!)

Why would you NOT want to examine St. James's statement, and he is QUITE emphatic, that "faith without works is dead."

No, it is NOT enough to merely confess Christ as your personal savior. In fact, the concept of a "personal" savior was UNKNOWN in Christianity until the latter half of the 20th century!

And finally, ask yourself this question sisters and brothers: Why do you think that so few Catholics, Orthodox, and Coptics post here? We ARE Christians. I will tell you why. Because the few of us who have tried to post our responses to threads in this section of The Café have been berated and even labeled false believers!!! I know of TWO Catholics who have stopped posting here because they told me that they have been attacked in PMs; I have also been the recipient of these attacks in open forum AND Pms - and by a few of you that have posted in THIS thread.

The heading of this section does NOT state "For Protestant Christians Only." Yet, that IS what this section has become. Many of you have been taught that Catholics, Orthodox, and Coptics WORSHIP idols. We DO NOT. Only GOD is worshipped. But, for you sola scriptura people, answer this: why does God instruct that images of ANGELS be carved into the Temple??!!

Many of you have been given the erroneous belief that we WORSHIP Mary and the saints. WE DO NOT. Worship is for GOD alone. However, for your sola scriptura pleasure: "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48). We PRAY to Mary and to the saints. To pray means to ASK. Just like you ask others to pray for you, so too do Catholics, Orthodox, and Coptics ask each AND we ask Mary and the saints. BUT, they are NOT worshipped; never have been, never will be.

I am tired of watching the ancient faith being attacked. Do you know how many thousands of martyrs died in the Name of Christ so that we could even HAVE this section? These people did not shy away and though I have not the piety of these people, to continue to ignore blatantly heterodox and even heretical statements is to sully what these martyrs did for us beginning with St. Stephen.

As Mike said, you simply cannot pick and choose what YOU want to believe. But, here is Act 8: 26-40 that should address the issue of confusion as the Ethipian eunuch asked of St. Phillip. Note the significance of verse 31 and compare that to sola scriptura.

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

In Christ,
Vlad
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