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Old 09-07-2005, 08:15 AM   #1
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Politicians vs. Clerics

Politicians gain followers by saying "yes."

Clerics gain congregations by saying "no."

Agree or disagree?

Discuss.

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Old 09-07-2005, 08:32 AM   #2
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I disagree...well at least in my case. My dad's a preacher...he couldn't imagine saying "no", and turning people off and away. The politician bit I agree with though.
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:43 AM   #3
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Well, I'm not saying that they turn people away. After all, they don't gain congregations by turning people away.

But politicians make promises by spending more. Clerics, on the other hand, demand self-denial and telling you that you can't do things. And the fastest growing religions in this country are also the most intolerant. Do people not trust a religion that trusts them?

Coincidence or connection?

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Old 09-07-2005, 08:45 AM   #4
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it strikes me that it should be the opposite.

clerics should tell you yes -- shouldn't belief in God be an act of empowerment rather than a method to strap you to a list of arbitrary, inadequate, human-created rules?

shouldn't politicians then, in order to have law and order in society, be in the business of making said arbitrary, inadequate, human-created rules?
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:46 AM   #5
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Well once again I disagree...my dad doesn't do negative sermons...he doesn't tell people "don't do this don't do that", he tells them to make up their own minds, plus he says what he thinks is the right thing to do to make life better and the world better based on Jesus' teachings.

But then again my denomination is very liberal so we're an exception.
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:55 AM   #6
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Depends on the religion.

There is short term growth in Protestant churches under the "Yes" model. Sin is not emphasized and seeker services tend to have a feel good goal.

There is significant growth in Islam, which is works based and does contain many "restrictions" on daily life.

Politicians follow the "yes" model by and large. Promises of money always boost your standing.
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
clerics should tell you yes -- shouldn't belief in God be an act of empowerment rather than a method to strap you to a list of arbitrary, inadequate, human-created rules?
I guess it depends on the approach you take with faith. For me, a good sermon is one that makes me aware of where I fall short of God's perfect standards (if you see them as human-created rules, there really is no point in faith).

Seeing that gap underscores (i) that God is Holy and Perfect, (ii) I am a sinner, (iii) my need for a Savior, and (iv) my need to change to be more like God.

Call it conviction if you will.
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:04 AM   #8
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Pelagius, an English monk who lived from A.D. 360-435, visited Rome and was appalled at the moral laxity he saw, which he blamed on the theology of St. Augustine, which he saw as an infiltration of Manicheanism into Christianity.

Pelagius taught the following, as a counterpoint against Augustine's theology of "original sin":

1. Adam was created liable to death, and would have died, whether he had sinned or not.

2. The sin of Adam hurt himself only and not the human race.

3. Infants at their birth are in the same state as Adam before the fall.

4. Neither by the death nor fall of Adam does the whole race of man die, nor by the resurrection of Christ rise again.

5. The Law introduces men into the kingdom of heaven, just in the same way as the Gospel does.

6. Even before the coming of Christ there were some men sinless.

Pelagius also condemned St. Jerome, who first translated the Bible into Latin, of being a Manichean as well. Drawing from Christianity, Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism/Mithraism and Greek paganism, the main theme of Manicheanism was that all creation (flesh) was evil. They believed all sex, even in marriage--including the birth of children--was evil and sinful. Thus, celibacy was best. Lastly, Manicheans were dualist and apocalyptic believing in good verses evil, Satan verses God, etc. (Zoroastrianism). The Book of John and Book of Revelation are heavy on Gnostic symbolism and perhaps proto-Gnostic. Manicheanism were declared heretics and supposedly wiped-out by the Church. And, yet, all these became a hallmark of the Christian Church for well over a millennium.

So why was Pelagius declared a heretic instead of St. Augustine? Why would man purposely choose a theology of self-loathing and contempt over one of more optimism and self respect? Is it because we trust man to hate us, but not to love us?

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Old 09-07-2005, 09:20 AM   #9
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I'll skip the politicians part.

For the last 100 years, I would say that is true religion in America. But for the recent 15-20 years, there has been a strong movement toward more positive messages and attitudes. My perspective is obviously limited, but the majority of growing churches I've seen have adopted this philosophy.
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
So why was Pelagius declared a heretic instead of St. Augustine?
I'd say #6 has a lot to do with it. Jesus as the first and only sinless man is central to the theology of salvation.

That's skirting the bigger issue you raise, I realize, but may still answer your question.
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
So why was Pelagius declared a heretic instead of St. Augustine?
Perhaps his points are unsupported by Scripture? Taken together, they say there is no need for Christ, no need for God.
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I guess it depends on the approach you take with faith. For me, a good sermon is one that makes me aware of where I fall short of God's perfect standards (if you see them as human-created rules, there really is no point in faith).

Seeing that gap underscores (i) that God is Holy and Perfect, (ii) I am a sinner, (iii) my need for a Savior, and (iv) my need to change to be more like God.

Call it conviction if you will.


so a good sermon is like advertising? create a sense of need and inadequacy in the consumer/worshipper?

i am genuinely curious as to what people mean when they say god is "perfect."
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
so a good sermon is like advertising? create a sense of need and inadequacy in the consumer/worshipper?

i am genuinely curious as to what people mean when they say god is "perfect."
I appreciate the discussion, because we approach this from very different angles.

Instead of "create a sense of need” if would characterize it as identifying a real existing need.

Perfection is a way of summarizing many of God's attributes: all knowing, all-powerful, etc. and recognizes God's sovereignty.
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Old 09-07-2005, 12:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by stammer476
I'd say #6 has a lot to do with it. Jesus as the first and only sinless man is central to the theology of salvation.

That's skirting the bigger issue you raise, I realize, but may still answer your question.
But, you see, a lot of the doctrine of salvation ("divine grace") is Augustinian in nature.

Interestingly enough, the Western Church (which became Roman Catholicism) declared Pelagius a heretic at the insistence of St. Augustine, while the Eastern Church (which became Eastern Orthodox) rebuffed Augustine and accepted Pelagius. This was one of the starting moments of the rift between the two Christian churches, and is undoubtedly one reason why Catholic priests are expected to be celibate (in keeping with Augustinian philosophy), while Orthodox priests can marry.

A lot of these moral questions are a matter of what came first: the chicken or the egg? Did Augustine reflect existing Christian doctrine or did he, instead, create it?

Either way, a lot of Catholicism and Protestantism hinges, unknowingly, on Augustinian philosophy. But his theology is highly Manichean, a declared heresy, rather than Christian. So should we call the modern church "Christian" or "Manichean"?

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Old 09-07-2005, 12:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Perhaps his points are unsupported by Scripture? Taken together, they say there is no need for Christ, no need for God.
This is a good question too. I think one of the questions we have to ask is how much of Christian tradition is built upon the Bible or merely extracted from Christian theologians, which we assume to be Biblical in nature. After all, St. Augustine believed in the power of "divine revelation" to the point that it superceded the Bible and Jesus, if need be.

In fact, a lot of the theology of "original sin"--that is, presuming that man is born in sin, due to the sin of Adam--is not particularly Biblically supported. In fact, the Bible does say the opposite:

"Only the father, since he violated rights, and robbed, and did what was not good among his people, shall in truth die for his sins. You ask: 'Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?' Because the son has done what is right and just, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. The virtuous man's virtue shall be his own, as the wicked man's wickedness shall be his own." -- Ezekiel 18:18-20

Who knows. Maybe Pelagius reflected what early Christianity believed before Augustinian influences.

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