Saturday, July 12, 2008

Religious Debate

Don't quarrel about words; it is of no value

A couple of interesting "my voice" columns in the News-Leader this morning:

Politicians may want preachers with safe message, written by Tim Carson, senior minister of University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas.


Bible shows everything occurs as result of God's direction, permission, written by A. Wilson Phillips, senior pastor of Abundant Life Covenant Church in Springfield.

Certainly, the comments are revealing.

I don't think God needs me to defend Him, per se, I think He wants me to choose Him, to love Him, to be obedient to Him and to share Him.

Some of the comments, posted with the above articles, in my opinion, border on cyber-bullying. People who are trying their darnedest, for their own wide-ranging reasons, to make Christians think they're stupid for having faith in God.

Faith is what it is. I have faith in God and I have made my choice, others will make theirs.

The Bible doesn't promise everyone will love Christians who practice their faith and are vocal about it, and in fact, warns us against arguing about words.

I don't think much of the argument that, "because you don't believe the same way I do, you are therefore stupid," coming from anyone.

Closed-mindedness is not synonymous with Christianity and, likewise, open-mindedness is not synonymous with people who don't have faith and practice it in the same way I do.

For those who DO like to argue about it and think it is their place to defend God or their faith, here's a scripture for you to think about:

2 Timothy 1:12

"That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."

From the archives of JackeHammer:

Defending the Faith from Political Attack.

"...I realized... that the Bible is as divisive today as it has always been. The Bible does not tolerate sin. The Bible tells us how God feels about sin. We either accept the Word of God as true, as useful for instruction, as the "anchor and foundation of any true Church," or we do not.

"Of necessity, if one does not believe in an inerrant Bible and consider it the guidebook for the Christian life it separates him from the one who does believe in an inerrant Bible, from the one who does consider it the guidebook for the Christian life. It is not "Conservative" (or evangelical) Christians who are intolerant of sin and it's practice, it is GOD who is intolerant of sin and its practice. The Holy Bible is intolerant of sin and it is still the lightening rod of controversy which it has been since early Christians first shared it with unbelievers.

"When Christians politically attack each other they do not attack each other so much as they attack the precepts and tenets of the Bible. The same Bible which Martin Luther was "conquered" by when he said "my conscience is bound in the Word of God," We would all do well to remember our "anchor and foundation.""

What are you doing here, Jacke? (Revisited)

A Workman Approved by God
(2 Timothy 2)

"Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

"In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to dowith foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2


Anonymous said...

I belive the Bill of Rights states
"Freedom of Religion"
sadly some
in America believe that means freedom from religion.

tom said...

Sadly many people of religion have used the force of government to instill religion in politics. Although religion isn't a bad thing there are instances where religion needs and should separate itself from religion.

As a person of faith I believe everyone has the free will to follow which ever path they chose, that can be of a religious nature or one of not. Schools which are of government nature should NOT teach religion, however a moment of silence before classes is quite appropriate.

Before every NASCAR race there is a benediction to which everyone stands and removes their hats, and I would bet there are people in the stands that aren't religious. They don't complain because tradition is being followed.

At one point neither money or the pledge had any mention of GOD on or in them. Eisenhower stated the reason why "under GOD" was going to be in the pledge is so every child would know of whence we came from, SORRY but this isn't the governments job to instill this belief in kids it is the churches or the parents. In GOD we trust on money seems to be quite hypocritical in the manner of which the federal reserve came into being.

I don't try to convince people to find faith except through my actions on a personal level, I don't expect people to try to convince me of their non religious beliefs unless I ask.

There are just a few places in the general public where religion can bring hard feelings so religious speaking should be done in person but not sent out to a complete group unless you know how everyone in the group feels about religion.

tom said...

"Sadly many people of religion have used the force of government to instill religion in politics. Although religion isn't a bad thing there are instances where religion needs and should separate itself from religion".

Sorry this was supposed to say separate religion from politics.

Jackie Melton said...

These answers don't appear to have much to do with what I wrote about.

I was discussing religious debate in the terms of arguing about the meaning of scripture, or thought I was.

I thought the posting was very specific in quoting straight out of the Bible that Christians shouldn't engage in arguments over words, I'll admit it took me some time to come to that conclusion in my own life.

Here's what I think that means, and what was in my mind when I wrote this blog entry:

I was thinking about how the Bible, which I believe is inerrant, though I understand some people do not, tells us to share the gospel, or good news of Christ: That Christ came to earth as a man and died on the cross for my sin and the sin of all mankind. Then, after three days, Christ rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of his Father God, and when he did those things, he made a way for all men to be reconciled to God through the blood of Christ. That's what scripture tells us to share, that we each have a choice as to what we will do about Jesus. That and God's word gives us direction and guidance for how Christians should live their lives.

It isn't my business what anyone else chooses to do about Jesus, it's only my business to make sure they understand what Jesus has done for them and that he made a way for them to be reconciled to God. Then it's up to the individual and it is between that individual and God. Arguing with people, in my opinion, will not assist them in making that choice, only God can draw a person to Himself at that point.

Scripture warns the Christian against quarreling over words. Scripture tells us quarreling over words is of no value and even RUINS those who listen.

I haven't been involved in any recent debates, arguments or quarrels, regarding the words in the Bible. Perhaps, I've been involved in discussion with other Christians about interpretation. Usually, I do this with people who are members of my Church and those discussions occur with respect and love for one another, I wouldn't term them as arguments.

I've not involved myself in any "group" discussions on the topic either. Apparently, there has been a misunderstanding of some kind.

This blog entry didn't even broach the topic of Christianity as pertains to the government and wasn't intended to, though I do agree with the anonymous poster here that we should have freedom OF religion, not FROM religion in these United States.

Maybe I didn't articulate my point well enough?

I'm not interested in arguing with people about my faith. I believe that sharing the gospel of Christ is what a Christian is called to do, not argue about words and there certainly seems to be plenty of that going on in the world today. I don't think my participation will be missed in that regard.

tom said...

then you have missed my point entirely. You and I both believe there is a GOD and that the Bible is the "rule book" to living a good life. This we agree on, my point was that just because we believe doesn't make us any better then someone who doesn't believe. I hate to say it but I actually know people who have never attended a church service and the live a more moral life then some Christians I know.

In many ways you have taken what I said and directed the response to yourself personally which was never my intended point. I was speaking in broad terms not of individual cases.

Cherie Kail said...

I think you both make excellent points. I have a firm grounding in faith, but I also believe that it does not set me above anyone else. Rather, by acting outwardly on my faith, my public displays of love for Christ, I think that should hold my feet to more of a servant's fire. To me, it seems, the more openly devout in faith one is, the higher he/she must raise their own beacons to be aware of how they act, think, speak. And, of course, I would want a leader to have faith, because that is a form of expressing that they are reliant on others for accountability and that is a necessity.
In fact, I just wrapped up another remarkably great chapter in Arthur Brooks’ new novel “Gross National Happiness” in which the second chapter is about happiness and religion as they relate to one another. It’s well worth reading and I’d be more than happy to write a thorough analysis. Suffice it to say, in relation to the events that have taken place in Springfield lately, this country is morally deficit. Here is a fantastic excerpt:
“Some might argue that allowing the Ten Commandments in the courthouse itself amounts to a kind of de facto establishment of Christianity and Judaism. To this objection I say our government should only be too pleased to add the symbols of justice from other faiths as well. For the sake of happiness, our government should promote a heterogeneity of faiths and encourage the reasonable expression of all of them. Constitutional law is not simple or transparent, and those organizations calling for suppression of religion in any context related to government may convince courts and judges they have the Constitution on their side. What is apparent, however is that they do not have happiness on their side. They make our life less satisfying and when it comes to our faith we were truly granted “FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”
I only wish I had written that, but it’s a slight bit of how I truly am compelled to think.