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Old 03-30-2004, 11:14 PM   #76
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well . . . can't argue with that. That is, the statements from your church. The statements of the denomination, though, is another story. But we're all Christians. We've got the essentials straight. Let's not get into that.
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:34 PM   #77
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well . . . can't argue with that. That is, the statements from your church. The statements of the denomination, though, is another story. But we're all Christians. We've got the essentials straight. Let's not get into that.
come on, let's debate! bring it.....

:P
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Old 03-31-2004, 04:13 AM   #78
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My point is, if the biblical writers were not accurate in recording the flood, the story of David & Goliath, etc., who's to say that they were accurate in recording the life of Christ? What if Jesus didn't really claim to be God? What if he never really came back from the dead? The historical truth of these claims is what makes Christianity possible. Without it, it's nothing more than a philosophical system, and our faith is in vain.
You can't really compare the accounts of the flood with the gospels, they were written hundreds of years apart. That's like comparing modern writing to Shakspeare or Chaucer.

As well, the accounts of the life of Christ were not written that far after his death, I think Mark is the closest at around 25-30 years, John the furthest at 40-50 years. Whereas the "accounts" in Pentateuch were written a thousand years later, during the exile. It's not really fair to compare the "historical" accuracy of the life of Christ with the life of Abraham or Noah. The bible took shape over 1000 years, it must be interpreted with this in mind.

May I say that I am stretching myself to remember these numbers from my university days, it's been a while since I contemplated these things.
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Old 03-31-2004, 09:35 AM   #79
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I totally agree with you. That comment was not meant for people who have that knowledge. It was written for those who see the Bible as a whole or who have very limited knowledge of it, and therefore discount its credibility because of strange narratives.
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Old 03-31-2004, 04:35 PM   #80
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come on, let's debate! bring it.....
Lies, if you want to have an honest discussion on Calvinism vs. Armeniansim, I'm game if you're game. But let's do it through private emails. I'm not a big fan of theological sparring in public forums.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:46 PM   #81
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Lies, if you want to have an honest discussion on Calvinism vs. Armeniansim, I'm game if you're game. But let's do it through private emails. I'm not a big fan of theological sparring in public forums.
haha, that would be funny since my own personal beliefs tend to fall more towards Armenianism, but I still think Calvinist theology has the least amount of loopholes.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:57 PM   #82
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Loopholes. That's a nice way of putting it. I guess my thinking is this . . . you only have loopholes if you have a system. No system, no need for loopholes.
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Old 04-01-2004, 12:39 AM   #83
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Loopholes. That's a nice way of putting it. I guess my thinking is this . . . you only have loopholes if you have a system. No system, no need for loopholes.
you and I, we're on opposite ends of the spectrum. I prefer Calvin b/c I feel that his theology is (though I may not agree or like it) the most systematic, the most sound, has no loopholes....where as you have no theology.

I'm not sure if you feel this way or not, but maybe you know people that do, and I'd like to ask, why do some people fear doctrine/theology? Do you see it as something that forces you do to things against God's will? Is there not a single doctrine you can agree with?

From what you wrote before it seems that on the surface, the only difference between your non-denomination is that you have no doctrine. My denomination is like yours in that we answer to no higher authority. We elect our own leaders and choose our own pastors and reverends.

I'm not trying to say I'm better, just trying to understand....please bear with me!

I guess I just can't get the point of avoiding doctrine.....

(BTW, you don't have to fear theological sparring here b/c FYM is not a public forum, it's accessible only to registered users)
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Old 04-01-2004, 03:37 PM   #84
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I'm not sure if you feel this way or not, but maybe you know people that do, and I'd like to ask, why do some people fear doctrine/theology? Do you see it as something that forces you do to things against God's will? Is there not a single doctrine you can agree with?
It's not theology I disagree with. Certiain theologies (Jesus' incarnation; Jesus' sinless life; the work of the Holy Spirit; Grace as the method of salvation, etc.) are vital to our faith and I would not want to live in a world without them. The Bible has clearly spelled out these theologies, and it's only through criticism of the Bible's source, not its statements, that they can be questioned.

It's systematic theology (i.e. Calvinism) that gets to me. The idea of taking Scripture passages and forcing them together into answering all of the unanswerable questions about God just doesn't make sense to me. Calvinism and other systematic theologies seem to try to answer what isn't there. And answering what isn't there gets into personal opinions, biases, etc. . . . and before you know, there's crusades, witch trials, and burnings at the stake.

To me, it's just dangerous territory. I believe that there are certain issues God has specifically NOT answered for us, and we would do well to not answer them for Him. I'll quote from Philip Yancey in his book, Reaching for the Invisible God, "I have a book on my desk titled 'The Encyclopedia of Ignorance.' Its author explains that whereas most encyclopedias compile information that we know, he will attempt to outline the areas of science we cannot yet explain: questions of cosmology, curved space, the riddles of gravitation, the interior of the sun, human consciousness. I wonder if God has perhaps fenced off an area of knowledge, 'The Encyclopedia of Theological Ignorance,' for very good reasons. These answers remain in God's domain, and God has not seen fit to reveal them.

"Consider infant salvation. Most theologians have found enough biblical clues to convince them that God welcomes all infants 'under the age of accountability,' though the biblical evidence is scant. What if God make a clear pronouncement: 'Thus saith the Lord, I will welcome every child under the age of ten into heaven?' I can easily envision Crusaders of the eleventh century mounting a campaign to slaughter every child of nine or younger in order to guarantee their eternal salvation--which of couse would mean none of us would be around a millenium later to contemplate such questions. Similarly, the zealous conquistadors in Latin America might have finished off the native peoples for good if the Bible had clearly stated that God's overlooking 'the times of ignorance' applied to all who had not heard the name of Jesus."

My experience is that systematic theology does this very thing. A system of theology, by definition, cannot have major holes of God's behavior that are answered by "I just don't know." So to cover the areas that the Bible is unclear or otherwise silent, they develop theories (i.e. the beloved T.U.L.I.P., which I think borders on heresy) based on Scriptures that are taken out of their context or manipulated entirely.

On a personal level, my experience with God has been mysterious and ever-changing. The more I experience with Him and the more I learn about His nature, the more I realize He is an unpredictable, mysterious, undefinable being. God cannot be put in a formula. He's too big for that. He does what He does and we as finite, fallen creatures will never be able to comprehend all of the why's and how's. It's not our place to. Consider Job's complaint about his family and possessions being destroyed. You would think this book would be a great opportunity to explain suffering or why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but instead the main message is "God is God and you are not. Let's leave it at that." That may seem cruel or uncaring or downright illogical, but we know enough about God to know that He is not any of these.

Does God control every detail of the earth's movements, or does He randomnly intervene while generally letting things work themselves out? Does God create some people specifically to be condemned, or do we choose our own destination for eternity? Do we choose salvation, or does salvation choose us? Simply put: I don't know. And I don't think God has let us know. Scripture isn't clear enough to draw definite lines. Why? I don't know that either; I'll just add it to my list of questions to ask when I get to heaven.

One of the major tennants of our brotherhood in its earliest days is something I think Christianity would do well to observe: "Speak where the Bible speaks. Be silent where the Bible is silent."
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Old 04-01-2004, 03:47 PM   #85
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Lies, on a personal level, let me say that I've truly enjoyed discussing these things with you. I've always sought honest discussion over matters of faith in an environment where both parties can respect each other and keep things as unemotional as possible. To your credit, you've asked some very intelligent questions, and you've caused me to really think through why I believe the way I do.

I'd strongly recommend reading the book I quoted from earlier, "Reaching for the Invisible God" by Philip Yancey. I think a better title for it would have been, "Christianity for Grown-Ups." It's deep, honest, and asks the tough questions most of Christianity is afraid of asking. It's deepened my faith and made me a more mature Christian. The publisher, Zondervan, is right in your area, so you might want to check it out.
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Old 04-05-2004, 06:54 PM   #86
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Originally posted by stammer476
Lies, on a personal level, let me say that I've truly enjoyed discussing these things with you. I've always sought honest discussion over matters of faith in an environment where both parties can respect each other and keep things as unemotional as possible. To your credit, you've asked some very intelligent questions, and you've caused me to really think through why I believe the way I do.
I think the most difficult thing about religious "discussions" is that too often people misinterpret what someone's said to be a personal attack or an attack of a certain religion or denomination instead of a good debate. For example, I'm not at all trying to put you or your beliefs down (which I see you understand) it's just that I've never *met* someone like you before and have always had these questions....so, thanks for not taking it personally! I'm sure I have more questions; I'll post them when I'm back from vacation...

I think the one thing that you and I have in common is that we both know why we are what we are and why we aren't what we aren't. For example, I know I'm Christian Reformed not just because I was raised that way, but I know what it is about Catholicism that I don't agree with and I know why I could never be comfortable in a Baptist church, etc.... I think before people are going to seriously debate religion or matters of doctrine, it's important to fully understand what you're arguing for or against. That's part of my discussion with you. I know a lot about all the major denominations except the concept of non-denomination. But your replies have given me a much clearer understanding, thank goodness no longer tainted by that odd Robert-Frost-worshipping church I went to.

And yes I am quite familiar with Zondervan, lol. I'm actually supposed to be calling them about sponsoring a youth writing festival my college has every other year...better get on that.....
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Old 04-05-2004, 10:33 PM   #87
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Thanks for the response, Lies. I think this has been good for both of us. Let me know when you get back from vacation. I've got some questions I've always wanted to ask Calvanists, as well.
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Old 04-06-2004, 04:29 PM   #88
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Re: Church...

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OK, I am Dutch Christian Reformed and have been all my life and have gone to a tradition, conservative church my entire life, so I'm not sure if this applies to other denominations, but please post if you have anything to say!

What are your opinions on:

1. Overhead projectors/PowerPoints in church-

I HATE them!!! I think they are disrespectful. We go to church to listen and pray and mediate. Are we really not able to focus for an hour or two? I can't stand having PowerPoint shows with famous quotes, or the main points of the sermon. I think it's weak. Not to mention I work on computers all day, and often fix or help people create PowerPoints, the LAST thing I want to do on Sunday morning is to watch ANOTHER PowerPoint. I also hate them b/c churches often use them as substitutes for the hymnal. I can't sing hymns without the music, NOT just the words, but the music in front of me.

2. Praise teams-

It depends. I don't like praise teams with singers, mics, and a lot of instruments, b/c I've noticed that in many churches with this, if you take away the noise from the praise team, there's no volume coming from the actual congregation singing. It's also pushing the thin line between a worship service and a show. I don't mind the use of instruments in church services, but I'm not too keen on their being basically a band in front of church.

3. Contemporary music-

I can do without it, ALL of it. I was raised to love the old classic hymns. Last service I attended at my home church, we didn't sing a single song written after 1692. There's just something much more spiritual about a beautiful hymn, with translated lyrics from Latin, and a tune by Tallis, Bach, Beethoven...It seems like the newer songs are so empty, cookie-cutter. Sometimes they're not even theologically correct.


I supposed I should describe my home church services so you know where I'm coming from. Again, I'm CRC, so we have a very structured Order of Worship. Our minister (either Minister or Reverend, NOT Pastor) wears robes and preaches his 45 minute sermon from a pulpit. Our only sacraments are Baptism and Lord's Supper, which we celebrate the first Sunday of each month. I cannot take communion b/c I have not yet made Profession of Faith, which we usually do in the early 20's, after we take all the Catechism classes. We sing traditional hymns from the gray Psalter Hymnal. Our intrument is a huge old pipe organ in the balcony. We have adult choirs that sing VERY old and traditional songs, and some kids choirs. Sometimes there is a violin or flute accompanying. We belive in TULIP and really like the Heidelberg Catechism and sometimes have sermons on it as if it were cannonized scripture. For more, ask me questions or see http://www.calvincrc.org

Now tell me what you think of the three things I've commented on above.
Don't have any of those in my church. Come join!!!
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Old 04-06-2004, 09:22 PM   #89
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Let me know when you get back from vacation. I've got some questions I've always wanted to ask Calvanists, as well.

OK, well, I'm not back yet but we got a dial-up connection so I'm ready when you are...
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