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Discussion Starter #1
In the past six years I have had the opportunity to visit dozens and dozens of other Churches. Mostly to learn from what's working for them and what's not. We have had several small ministries start because of a few observations and listening to other Christian churches.

One notable one was our divorce care ministry. It attracts several hundred people per year seeking post-divorce counseling, all for free. The volunteers were very plentiful and extremely talented and gifted people. All under the command found (Phipp 2:4), 1 John 3:7) Gal 6:2) etc.

Another great one to help in post-??????? care for women. Another substance abuse 100% free and available 24/7/365.

In all this Church visiting I have noticed a few characteristics that healthy churches have and the characteristics unhealthy have. I'm not bashing the unhealthy churches because in the end we are all works in progress at different levels.

These are JUST my takes and observations that I've notice and are my opinion based on what I've seen and conservations with pastors and leadership etc.

-Healthy churches are deeply passionate about introducing Christ above all else and are fully committed to doing His commands. Unhealthy churches are passionate most about self-preservation and self-promotion. They become the object of worship itself.

-Healthy pastors are eager to share the lime-light. They have many guest speakers and allow other leaders within the church share to the congregation. They are wise enough to know it's not all about them and they don't allow their ego's to lead. Unhealthy pastor keep the spot-light on them at all times and most often don't trust very many people around them.

-Healthy churches walk in complete humility. Often openly omitting personal failure and sin. Unhealthy churches walk in arrogance and loads of self-righteousness.

-Healthy churches teach and encourage discipleship. Unhealthy churches preach what attracts the most people to their services.

-Healthy churches encourage and help people in individual callings into ministry even though it may not directly help a congregation. Unhealthy churches objectify and use the people to fulfill their ambitious vision and agenda. Always suspicious of new ideas. (John 15:16)

Just to name a few....any thoughts or observations?
 

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Healthy churches preserve the faith once delivered to the saints.

Healthy churches don’t compromise on morality.

Healthy churches don’t compromise on matters of doctrine.

As far as suspicious of new ideas, that is as it should be. Innovation is great in computer science and medicine. It’s horrible in matters of faith.

“If it’s true, it’s not new. If it’s new, it’s not true.”
 

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Discussion Starter #3
=Watchingtheweasels;19971056]

As far as suspicious of new ideas, that is as it should be. Innovation is great in computer science and medicine. It’s horrible in matters of faith.

“If it’s true, it’s not new. If it’s new, it’s not true.”
Nothing "new". Remember what I said "All under the commands found (Phipp 2:4), 1 John 3:7) Gal 6:2) etc."

No one debates on the direct commands from Christ and His Apostles regarding ministry objectives, it's about how best to apply them in the most effective ways in individual churches.

Again, no one debates

-Feeding the poor
-Jail ministry
-widows and orphans
-etc....
 

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Careful. Look at the word games that get played here... “‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church.”

So the obvious loophole that they’ve given the ********* is to claim that they aren’t practicing.
 

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Careful. Look at the word games that get played here... “‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church.”

So the obvious loophole that they’ve given the ********* is to claim that they aren’t practicing.
Yeah, sounds alot like "don't ask, don't tell."

We all know how well that worked... Supposedly the catholic kiddie diddlers weren't practicing either. All credibility is lost.
 

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In the past six years I have had the opportunity to visit dozens and dozens of other Churches. Mostly to learn from what's working for them and what's not. We have had several small ministries start because of a few observations and listening to other Christian churches.

One notable one was our divorce care ministry. It attracts several hundred people per year seeking post-divorce counseling, all for free. The volunteers were very plentiful and extremely talented and gifted people. All under the command found (Phipp 2:4), 1 John 3:7) Gal 6:2) etc.




Another great one to help in post-??????? care for women. Another substance abuse 100% free and available 24/7/365.

In all this Church visiting I have noticed a few characteristics that healthy churches have and the characteristics unhealthy have. I'm not bashing the unhealthy churches because in the end we are all works in progress at different levels.

These are JUST my takes and observations that I've notice and are my opinion based on what I've seen and conservations with pastors and leadership etc.

-Healthy churches are deeply passionate about introducing Christ above all else and are fully committed to doing His commands. Unhealthy churches are passionate most about self-preservation and self-promotion. They become the object of worship itself.

-Healthy pastors are eager to share the lime-light. They have many guest speakers and allow other leaders within the church share to the congregation. They are wise enough to know it's not all about them and they don't allow their ego's to lead. Unhealthy pastor keep the spot-light on them at all times and most often don't trust very many people around them.

-Healthy churches walk in complete humility. Often openly omitting personal failure and sin. Unhealthy churches walk in arrogance and loads of self-righteousness.

-Healthy churches teach and encourage discipleship. Unhealthy churches preach what attracts the most people to their services.

-Healthy churches encourage and help people in individual callings into ministry even though it may not directly help a congregation. Unhealthy churches objectify and use the people to fulfill their ambitious vision and agenda. Always suspicious of new ideas. (John 15:16)

Just to name a few....any thoughts or observations?

I understand your premise, although your "commitment to following Jesus' words and Scripture" statement is debatable. The post divorce counseling especially caught my eye. Your verse choices are a good generic listing for helping those in need, for sure. But I'd like your take on a few other verses...

Gen 2:24
Mal 2:16
Mat 19:3-8
Mark 10:2-9
Luke 16:18
Mark 10:11-12
1Cor 7:10-11
Rom 7:1-3

I honestly have never understood the Protestant reasoning for accepting divorce so readily, especially when espousing such fealty to Scripture.

Oh, and to quote about the "exception"...

Some Christians hold that Jesus made an exception to the rule of permanence of marriage when he said that “whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9, emphasis added; cf. Matt. 5:31–32.) The word translated as “unchastity” here is the Greek word porneia (from which the word pornography is derived) and its literal meaning is debated among Scripture scholars. Full treatment of this topic is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say here that Jesus’ and Paul’s constant and forceful teaching about the permanence of sacramental marriage as recorded elsewhere in Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was not making an exception in the case of valid, sacramental marriages.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I understand your premise, although your "commitment to following Jesus' words and Scripture" statement is debatable. The post divorce counseling especially caught my eye. Your verse choices are a good generic listing for helping those in need, for sure. But I'd like your take on a few other verses...

Gen 2:24
Mal 2:16
Mat 19:3-8
Mark 10:2-9
Luke 16:18
Mark 10:11-12
1Cor 7:10-11
Rom 7:1-3

I honestly have never understood the Protestant reasoning for accepting divorce so readily, especially when espousing such fealty to Scripture.

Oh, and to quote about the "exception"...
yes, not many if any Christians believe divorce is in God's perfect plan but it happens just like the effects of drug abuse, alcoholism and a host of any other sins. Not to mention the particular sin we aren't allowed to mention here on the board but we offer "after-sin care" for the broken. Trust me many, many who go through our divorce care (16 week program) are Catholics and are very welcome. Nearly half who attend a variety of ministry programs are the Unchurched.

(Pslms 147:3) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Again, it's not about agreeing with sins it's dealing with the effects of it. Aka: Ministry to the world.
 

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yes, not many if any Christians believe divorce is in God's perfect plan but it happens just like the effects of drug abuse, alcoholism and a host of any other sins. Not to mention the particular sin we aren't allowed to mention here on the board but we offer "after-sin care" for the broken. Trust me many, many who go through our divorce care (16 week program) are Catholics and are very welcome. Nearly half who attend a variety of ministry programs are the Unchurched.

(Pslms 147:3) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Again, it's not about agreeing with sins it's dealing with the effects of it. Aka: Ministry to the world.
I will never deny the efficacy of therapy for those who need it. My point is that many of those who profess adherence to Scripture willfully ignore it when it’s expedient. (And I fully agree that EVERY flavor of Christian is guilty.)
I guess more to the question would be what Divorce Therapy is designed to accomplish? I think you would agree that Jesus made it perfectly clear that it’s a big time sin, no? And any Christian entering into Marriage is doing so with that knowledge? So even contemplation of future divorce (maybe barring Porneia) is pre-ordaining sin. So WHEN a Christian divorces AND REMARRIES, they have willfully and consciously ignored the Will of God. Do your therapy sessions absolve them of that sin? Does it teach them to go and sin no more? How about 2 time divorcees? 3 timers? Are you confident that those who profess repentance after the second, third or fourth marriage will be welcomed with open arms by Jesus? “Come on up! You asked forgiveness every time, so it’s all good!”

Ohio Man, you have a good heart, and I’m fully behind every Ministry designed for outreach to the poor, downtrodden, homeless, gender confused and even those truly damaged by a divorce, either by no wish of their own, or forced due to abuse. But just like the Gov’t. giving out SNAP cards to anybody who “qualifies”, giving Therapy for the results of sin with no acknowledgement of the sin itself defeats the purpose of what Jesus taught.

And that being said, maybe your church approved therapists do actually teach Scripture and explain what Jesus and Paul taught about divorce. Or do they just provide emotional support and make you feel better about yourself?

“What profit for a man to gain the whole world and lose his immortal soul?”

Defining a church as “healthy” needs Christ as first and foremost. Our total existence on earth has only one goal. To get to heaven. We get there by being Holy, and leading others to be Holy. And if any of your ministries exist without that ultimate goal, you’ve done more damage than good. Providing therapy without teaching God’s Truth is simply enabling, no matter how feel-good it is.
 

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An interesting read related to rehabilitating terrorists could be applied to pervs...

https://www.hstoday.us/channels/global/top-psychologist-no-certainty-terror-offenders-can-be-cured/

How quaint. Insight oriented therapy. What the heck, why not just trot out Freudian analysis? The thing that they both have in common is that neither of them is particularly effective.

Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, which links faulty behaviors with faulty thinking, and strives to impact the behavior by changing the thinking, has been found to be only moderately effective in treating incarcerated ASPD offenders in the US.

Jihadis and pedophiles are a whole ‘nother ballgame. IMOP, striving to therapize murderers following the dictates of their culture is a waste of time.

If the role of the therapy in the article wasn’t so serious, this would be lol news article. Therapists love doing insight oriented therapy, because it lets them sort of play detective and God at the same time. Even when done well, it is a seriously flawed therapy, as it focuses on the therapist’s ability to elicit belief and motive from the patient, rather than challenging the patient to examine and identify the logical errors in their own beliefs and cognitions, then work to structure internal challenges to those flawed belief constructs.

With insight oriented therapy, what you get in a case like this is “I never really wondered why I wanted to kill Kafirs; after all, it is commanded by the prophet. But now, thanks to my work with you I now understand so much more about why I want to kill the Kafirs. Thanks! This is so helpful. I feel better now. Is it ok if I go to the knife show on my next pass?”

The same logic could be applied to tghe misguided priest who abuses kids.

Understanding personal motive is not correlated with change.

Insight oriented therapy has been found to be ineffective in promoting patient change, and tends to promote a false sense of competency on the part of the therapist, while encouraging the formation of a largely preconscious collusion within the therapeutic relationship between the psychotherapist and the patient, to actively avoid topics/content upsetting to the patient and/or the therapist.

This collusion was always harmful and it always mimicked many dynamics typically found in incestuous relationships.

Within those dynamics, intelligent criminals can become adept at gradually flipping the roles in the relationship so that the therapist becomes dependent upon receiving validation or gratification as a therapist from the pseudo positive regard of the criminal patient (who think its all a hoot). Really adept ones can do the flip thing adroitly while in front of a judge and jury.

Fascinating to watch.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
=Cabinet Maker;19971884]I will never deny the efficacy of therapy for those who need it. My point is that many of those who profess adherence to Scripture willfully ignore it when it’s expedient. (And I fully agree that EVERY flavor of Christian is guilty.)
Agreed!

Many (over half) have never had any biblical teaching. Or got married out of the will of God because they weren't committed to a biblical marriage to begin with. Some had cheating/abusive spouses, some had spouses that left the faith and on and on.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) but doesn't hate the person and that reconciliation and forgiveness should mark a believer’s life (Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32). However, God recognizes that divorce will occur, even among His children.

No matter the reason for this "breaking of the vow before God" there is mercy and forgiveness. That is clear.

I guess more to the question would be what Divorce Therapy is designed to accomplish?
From a mission statement:

He has sent us to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion —
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.


I think you would agree that Jesus made it perfectly clear that it’s a big time sin, no? And any Christian entering into Marriage is doing so with that knowledge? So even contemplation of future divorce (maybe barring Porneia) is pre-ordaining sin. So WHEN a Christian divorces AND REMARRIES, they have willfully and consciously ignored the Will of God. Do your therapy sessions absolve them of that sin? Does it teach them to go and sin no more? How about 2 time divorcees? 3 timers?
Yes, sin is devastating for human beings on nearly all levels. I don't want to get into the biblical nuts and bolts too much of divorce because it's not the topic of the thread but there is a good overview of the biblical aspects of it.

No matter what view we take on the issue of divorce, it is important to remember (Malachi 2:16) "I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel" but He doesn't hate the divorced person.

According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment. "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6). God realizes, though, that, since marriages involve two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. In the Old Testament, He had laws in order to protect the rights of divorcées, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1–4). Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because such laws were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8).

(1 Corinthians 7:15) is another "exception" allowing remarriage if an unbelieving spouse divorces a believer. However, the context does not mention remarriage but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave. Others claim that abuse (spousal or child) is a valid reason for divorce even though it is not listed as such in the Bible. While this may very well be the case, it is never wise to presume upon the Word of God.

Are you confident that those who profess repentance after the second, third or fourth marriage will be welcomed with open arms by Jesus? “Come on up! You asked forgiveness every time, so it’s all good!”
Heck, I'm not even confident anyone will be greeted with "open arms" of forgiveness. My sins alone causes great doubt.

I'll never understand His amazing grace. I hear of these child molesters and I'm ready to throw them into hells fires forever.

What we do have is His words on forgiveness:

(Colossians 3:13)
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

(Ephesians 4:32)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

(Isaiah 1:18)
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.


Ohio Man, you have a good heart
Evidently you've never been in car with me during heavy traffic :cool:


and I’m fully behind every Ministry designed for outreach to the poor, downtrodden, homeless, gender confused and even those truly damaged by a divorce, either by no wish of their own, or forced due to abuse. But just like the Gov’t. giving out SNAP cards to anybody who “qualifies”, giving Therapy for the results of sin with no acknowledgement of the sin itself defeats the purpose of what Jesus taught.
yeah, we just don't know every single heart. There is no guarantee a person addicted to meth will not return to drugs. We just offer ministry in a attempt to help them to be restored and destroy the works of satan. That's the mission according to Jesus.

And that being said, maybe your church approved therapists do actually teach Scripture and explain what Jesus and Paul taught about divorce. Or do they just provide emotional support and make you feel better about yourself?
We believe we offer a good biblical overview of this issue as in all ministry areas, drug addiction, a variety of mental issues, homelessness, alcoholism, abuse of all types and of course failed marriages.

“What profit for a man to gain the whole world and lose his immortal soul?”
Exactly:thumb:

Unfortunately many don't adhere to God's perfect plan and get off track. We believe it's our job to help others get back on track as we are commanded to do. (Colossians 3:23( Serve God with all your hearts.


Defining a church as “healthy” needs Christ as first and foremost. Our total existence on earth has only one goal. To get to heaven.
yeah, I don't think anyone "Christian" would disagree with that. Getting to heaven and doing what we are called to do and offer service to His kingdom while on earth.

We get there by being Holy, and leading others to be Holy.
Exactly what I'm talking about


And if any of your ministries exist without that ultimate goal, you’ve done more damage than good.
I'd agree...

Christ is the center! If we don't adhere to His commands, His words we are just playing church with no real direction that rises above self-service and self-congratulations of Holiness. This Christian work is about getting our hands dirty at times in unpleasant circumstances. So much so even the Apostle Paul spoke of his weariness. It's all because of Him and His commands and we have a part to play/serve.

Providing therapy without teaching God’s Truth is simply enabling, no matter how feel-good it is.
What you call "therapy" we would call ministry. In the end God himself is the "therapist" we just show up and do his will and become available. Pointing to the healer (Jesus) is the primary command and not pretending to be the healer ourselves. We are just the road sign that say's "Jesus Ahead"...all are welcome.
 

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Our total existence on earth has only one goal. To get to heaven. We get there by being Holy, and leading others to be Holy.
This is a works based religious doctrine. God does call all people to be holy but the fact is that "all have sinned." And "there are non righteous, no not one". And no one did live or can live a holy life but the lord Jesus Christ. People get to heaven by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as savior, believing that He died for their own personal sins, was buried and resurrected. Not by works or even holy living "lest any man should boast".

When someone receives Jesus Christ by believing they receive His righteousness. However, according to 1 John saved people still sin and must confess that sin to God for it to be forgiven and cleansed. But their salvation is not lost, only fellowship. They are still going to Heaven.

This is not to say it is OK to sin. It is not. God will chasten (punish) and even kill Christians who continue in sin. But the soul is still saved.

As far as divorce counseling is concerned, Christ did some great counseling to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had 5 husbands and was living with someone else. She got saved and influenced her entire village to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

Multiple marriage and divorce are not God's plan. And God doesn't condone it. The only time where divorce seem to be condoned is in Ezra 10 when Ezra commanded the Israelites living in Judea who had married "strange wives" (not Israelites and idol worshipers) to put them away to keep the Israelite race pure now that God had brought them back to Judea from captivity in Babylon.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
This is a works based religious doctrine. God does call all people to be holy but the fact is that "all have sinned." And "there are non righteous, no not one". And no one did live or can live a holy life but the lord Jesus Christ. People get to heaven by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as savior, believing that He died for their own personal sins, was buried and resurrected. Not by works or even holy living "lest any man should boast".

When someone receives Jesus Christ by believing they receive His righteousness. However, according to 1 John saved people still sin and must confess that sin to God for it to be forgiven and cleansed. But their salvation is not lost, only fellowship. They are still going to Heaven.

This is not to say it is OK to sin. It is not. God will chasten (punish) and even kill Christians who continue in sin. But the soul is still saved.

As far as divorce counseling is concerned, Christ did some great counseling to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had 5 husbands and was living with someone else. She got saved and influenced her entire village to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

Multiple marriage and divorce are not God's plan. And God doesn't condone it. The only time where divorce seem to be condoned is in Ezra 10 when Ezra commanded the Israelites living in Judea who had married "strange wives" (not Israelites and idol worshipers) to put them away to keep the Israelite race pure now that God had brought them back to Judea from captivity in Babylon.
Well stated Pink!

Not to mention God himself divorced. He handed Israel a bill of divorcement (Jer 3:8)
 

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This is a works based religious doctrine. God does call all people to be holy but the fact is that "all have sinned." And "there are non righteous, no not one". And no one did live or can live a holy life but the lord Jesus Christ. People get to heaven by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as savior, believing that He died for their own personal sins, was buried and resurrected. Not by works or even holy living "lest any man should boast".
Religious doctrine? :xeye: So we are NOT supposed to emulate Jesus? We’re not supposed to try to be as sinless as possible? Since we are already sinners, why should we go out of our way to follow His lead? When all we need do is look up and say “I’m sorry” after every recurring sin?
And the “lest any man should boast” is way out of context. Hundreds of Saints lived exemplary lives and never once boasted. Quite the contrary.

When someone receives Jesus Christ by believing they receive His righteousness. However, according to 1 John saved people still sin and must confess that sin to God for it to be forgiven and cleansed. But their salvation is not lost, only fellowship. They are still going to Heaven.
So as I asked Ohio Man, someone on their third or fourth divorce and remarriage, as long as they asked for forgiveness each time, is good to go?

This is not to say it is OK to sin. It is not. God will chasten (punish) and even kill Christians who continue in sin. But the soul is still saved.
Considering how many Scriptures specifically tell us not only how to act, but also what we must DO to achieve Salvation, thinking that professing belief is an automatic Salvation guarantee is simply not supported. (Except in your religious doctrine, I guess.). Your idea of what the difficulty of the Narrow Gate is and mine quite differ. Care to interpret the parable of the Sheep and Goats with regards to your lack of works requirement?

As far as divorce counseling is concerned, Christ did some great counseling to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had 5 husbands and was living with someone else. She got saved and influenced her entire village to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.
You bet! But I’d venture that she never got divorced again (go and sin no more). And she brought her village to Jesus because He knew all these things about her.

Multiple marriage and divorce are not God's plan. And God doesn't condone it. The only time where divorce seem to be condoned is in Ezra 10 when Ezra commanded the Israelites living in Judea who had married "strange wives" (not Israelites and idol worshipers) to put them away to keep the Israelite race pure now that God had brought them back to Judea from captivity in Babylon.
Agreed. The Catholic Church makes exceptions for non-sacramentally valid “marriages”. But although I’m not sure whether Ezra’s people knew what they did was wrong in the beginning, there is zero doubt that any Christian can claim ignorance of Jesus’ express Commands.

We are all sinners. Yet without a sincere effort to NOT repeat those sins, confession, whether to a Priest or directly to Jesus, is hollow at best, and damning at worst. The word Repentance actually means looking at something in a different way. When you repent, you’re actually changing your mindset about the sin and what caused you to commit it.

Again, search out the Scriptures where Jesus makes specific demands of us, both in thought and deed, and how many times He warns of the difficult road it is to follow Him, and what awaits those who do not. Those Scriptures simply cannot be reconciled with the mind pablum of “Just believe in Jesus and you’re automatically assured Heaven”. Is belief necessary, yes. But as it’s often said, Satan believes in Jesus. It’s what you do with that belief on earth that makes the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
=Cabinet Maker;19973012]
So as I asked Ohio Man, someone on their third or fourth divorce and remarriage, as long as they asked for forgiveness each time, is good to go?
It's like 77X7 :D:

It's truly amazing grace for the repenting heart. Mary Magdalene who married some five times. Jesus told her to sin no more. Hopefully she did. To make sure it's clear, no one thinks it's a good idea to marry over and over again. God's perfect plan is one marriage. Man hates it because some insist on harsh punishment of others because they some how believe God favors their judgemental hearts and might be easier on their sin.

Remember how Jesus dealt with the sin condemning Pharisees’ because of their self-righteous hypocrisy because it blinded them from seeing their need for repentance and a Savior.

Pharisees prided themselves in their strict avoidance of the obvious, outward sin. They believed they looked so good and religious. But they refused to look inside themselves and acknowledge the presence of inner sin that didn’t fall within the boundaries of their man-made rules.

Jesus knew that in spite of their obsession with outward perfection, they willfully resisted their own inner corruption and need for grace. We all fall into the same boat.

Jesus brings it home here "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

The truth is, we are all sinners and are in desperate need of a savior. Pointing at others and their sin seems so ridiculous in light on our own sin. When we are honest, true humility takes place.

Considering how many Scriptures specifically tell us not only how to act, but also what we must DO to achieve Salvation, thinking that professing belief is an automatic Salvation guarantee is simply not supported. (Except in your religious doctrine, I guess.). Your idea of what the difficulty of the Narrow Gate is and mine quite differ. Care to interpret the parable of the Sheep and Goats with regards to your lack of works requirement?
In the end, only God knows. If we think we can play God and determine who is saved and who is not then that's another issue.

Sheep & Goats!

All the nations will be gathered before Him; and and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:32-33)

As any country-boy will tell you sheep and goats are frequently herded together. But sheep are docile, gentle animals, whereas goats are unruly and rambunctious and can easily upset the sheep. Because they do not feed or rest well together, most will separates them for grazing and for sleeping at night.

Christ will separate believers from unbelievers when He returns to establish His kingdom. He will put the believing sheep on His right, the place of favor and blessing. But the unbelieving goats He will put on the left, the place of disfavor and rejection.

A careless reading of this story seems to suggest that salvation is the result of "good works". The sheep acted charitably, giving food, drink, and clothing to the needy. The goats showed no charity. This seems to result in salvation for the sheep and damnation for the goats because of works...right?

Rather, good works are a result of salvation.

Scripture does not contradict itself, and the Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that salvation is by faith through the grace of God and not by our good works (see John 1:12; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:22-24; Romans 4:4-8; Romans 7:24-25; Romans 8:12; Galatians 3:6-9; and Ephesians 2:8-10).

In fact Jesus Himself makes it clear in the parable that the salvation of the sheep is not based on their works but rather their inheritance was theirs since the creation of the world (read Matthew 25:34), long before they could ever do any good works at all.

The good works mentioned in the Sheep & Goats parable are not the cause of salvation but the effect of salvation. As Christians we become like Christ (read Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; and Colossians 2:6-7).

Over in (Galatians 5:22 ??? or 20'ish) tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Good works in a Christian's life are the direct results of these traits, and are only acceptable to God because of the relationship that exists between us and His son Jesus.

We are all sinners. Yet without a sincere effort to NOT repeat those sins, confession, whether to a Priest or directly to Jesus, is hollow at best, and damning at worst. The word Repentance actually means looking at something in a different way. When you repent, you’re actually changing your mindset about the sin and what caused you to commit it.
We do our best!

In a perfect non-fallen world repeating sins would probably be rare. Here in the human world people "ALL" people fail over and over again. So much so the Apostle Paul says that if any say thy are without sin, is a liar! (1 John 1:8) in (1 John 1:10) if we claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us and make Him a liar.

We fail, we sin, it's a fact even sometimes when we have repented (turned or change our minds).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Seriously??
yeah!

“I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. . . . Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense” (Jeremiah 3:8–10).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey CM...you ask a lot of good questions about divorce. But I don't want the thread to go in that direction. The thread is about healthy church vs unhealthy churches from what I've seen and my opinions.

If you want to start a thread on it, I would be more than happy to contribute my thoughts on the subject of divorce. I'm no expert but I would enjoy hearing everyone's take.

thanks, OM
 

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Originally Posted by pinkerpv View Post
This is a works based religious doctrine. God does call all people to be holy but the fact is that "all have sinned." And "there are non righteous, no not one". And no one did live or can live a holy life but the lord Jesus Christ. People get to heaven by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as savior, believing that He died for their own personal sins, was buried and resurrected. Not by works or even holy living "lest any man should boast".
Originally posted by Cabinet maker
Religious doctrine? So we are NOT supposed to emulate Jesus? We’re not supposed to try to be as sinless as possible? Since we are already sinners, why should we go out of our way to follow His lead? When all we need do is look up and say “I’m sorry” after every recurring sin?
And the “lest any man should boast” is way out of context. Hundreds of Saints lived exemplary lives and never once boasted. Quite the contrary.
Its disingenuous when you leave out the part of your quote I was referencing. The part about you stating
Our total existence on earth has only one goal. To get to heaven. We get there by being Holy, and leading others to be Holy.
Being holy doesn't get anyone to heaven. Because no one can be holy. All have sinned . . .Trust in the lord Jesus Christ is what gets people to heaven.

And the "any man should boast" is taken from Ephesians 2:8-10*
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:*Eph 2:9* Not of works, lest any man should boast.*Eph 2:10* For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.*
The "not of yourselves" part is your own works, or trying to be holy or doing what Christ commanded. Salvation is based not on doing; its based on believing. That's what faith is. And the "lest any man should boast" part is to keep someone from saying He or she was saved by his/her works or by being holy. Its all based on what Christ did on the cross and a persons belief.

Now after a person is saved by their belief in Jesus Christ, He commands us to do good works. But not for salvation.
 
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