May 21

Faith: Tool or Relationship

Faith – Buzzword of Christianesse

Other than Grace, Faith is perhaps the most misused and misunderstood word in the Christian vernacular.

faithtoolIn its common usage throughout scripture, and especially the New Testament, it simply means full, relational trust in someone.

Though “relational” is not technically part of the definition, it is part of the process!

Trust is a relational term at its core, but when it is used in the realm of the “religious” it often becomes a work and is therefore NOT relational. AS such it becomes a merit badge rather than a proof of intimacy. This is especially true when the concept of trust is represented by the word – “FAITH”.

In my life and in my preaching, I virtually never use the word faith anymore. This is because it comes with so much baggage and so many misconceptions that I feel the need to define it every time I use it. To avoid this I simply say ‘relational trust’. These words say more without further definition than does the word Faith. Furthermore, it avoids the largest obstacle to genuine trust in Christ, namely, the stigma that the word ‘Faith’ has received over the years due to Christian abuse of the word.

Relational trust (faith) comes as the result of having the character of a person revealed to you through relationship with them.

This is the tone and meaning of the word Faith as it is used in the scriptures in regards to Jesus in the heart and lives of true believers. Which is why, the relational trust we have in Him MUST come from Christ being reveal to us…

“And this proves that faith comes from a Message heard, and that the Message comes through its having been spoken by Christ.”  ~ Rom. 10:17

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June 4

Is all Authority from God?

god-is-in-control_t_nvRevolting Against the State

[link to original article]

With all of the political upheaval in the air this year, and with elections right around the corner, I thought…”Why not right an article about God and politics”. Actually I have adapted this study for use on this blog, from an article I wrote nearly 4 years ago.

Now going in, you need to understand that my position on the topics expressed are not popular – this I admit.  Never the less I believe them to be quite accurate. Their lack of popularity only adds strength to my position from my perspective. In truth, history has demonstrated that the masses are OFTEN wrong, while comparatively few people understand the truth. I do not present this as an understanding entirely unique to me, nor did I arrive at these conclusions completely unaided. These thoughts are an accumulation of various questions I have been asked, studies I have done and Q & A times between God and I. They represent the understanding from scripture which has offered me much peace and a deeper understanding of God Himself. Furthermore, it is the only position I have been able to arrive at which does not require me to make special pleading in versus which seem to disagree with my beliefs.

NOTE: Politically minded Christians are very aware of the promise God made to the Israelites under the old covenant in II Chron. 4:17. At least, they are familiar with part of it anyway. To keep from getting sidetracked, I will not address that verse in this study. If you are interested in knowing more about that passage however, read my four part study entitled, “If My people…”.

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November 10

The Truth about 1 John 1:9

The belief I am addressing concerns whether or not I John 1:9 has any bearing upon a Christian’s life, or whether these verses were intended for an entirely secular audience.

Considering I John 1:9

Now there are many different takes on 1 John 1:9, the following are the most prevalent:

  1. 1 Jn. 1:9 was not written to Christians but to Gnostics.
  2. 1Jn. 1:9 was written to Christians who were being influenced with a Gnostic distortion of the gospel.
  3. 1 Jn. 1:9 was written to Christians.

Now to be fair, there is in fact a “sub-group” of those who believe it  was only intended for the specific Christians John was writing and therefore has no bearing on the rest of the Christian church worldwide – throughout time.

This of course begs the question – “Then why did God see to it that it was included it in the canon of Scripture?”

In my experience this later view is not well known and has even worse credentials for supporting it than any of the others above, so we will not address that view directly.

Now, that John was here writing to a group of Christians who were being seduced into false doctrines seems most likely to me. Almost without question, it was the doctrine of Docetism that he was confronting.

[I know they are big words, and I can already sense a number of people are checking out mentally and in all honesty I don’t blame you. Nevertheless, I beg you PLEASE, stick it out and you will find it was well worth your while to press through the theological mumbo-jumbo (Yes that’s a real word).]

Believe it or not, Docetism (and Gnosticisim) are still very much alive today and variations of these doctrines are taught from pulpits and TV media. Oprah Winfrey’s points of view are largely a new form of Gnosticism (or Neo-Gnostic teaching). Furthermore, this very view that I John 1:9 was only written to a particular flavor of Christian as mentioned last above, is in part a Gnostic approach to interpreting this verse.

So, let’s explain some pivotal truths first, and then we will proceed with our study.

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January 10

Docetism and Gnosticism in the New Testament

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing1I do not enjoy writing about false doctrines, but I suspect that neither did Paul. Nevertheless, any serious reader of the New Testament cannot side-step the fact that Paul, Peter, John & James spent much of their letters addressing issues of  false doctrines and the need for solid teachers, grounded in the Word teaching sound doctrine. So with that in mind…

I am addressing both Docetism and Gnosticism predominately because I refer to it in another study on I Jn. 1:9 and rather than turning THAT study into two studies, I decided to write this one and refer to in in my study on I Jn. 1:9. Also, I am addressing this because the basics of it are very prevalent in today’s world, both inside and outside of the church (the body of Christ).

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