Can The Bible & Non-Salvation Issues, Be Stumbling Blocks?
Where my curiosity began
>Let me start out by stating that I did not "rush" to the computer with this writing, it's been coming for awhile, the reasons behind it are many and I'll not bother to take up space here explaining them, I think most will be self explanatory. It's not meant to be an offensive writing, but I'm sure it will be to some Christians, it has been Prayed and thought about at length and "experienced" as well. It has to do with presentation to the world, and others perception of it, and Christianity. I tend to be very long winded in my writings and am trying to "hold back" on this one and just make the point(s).
>It was pointed out in a recent sermon that Jesus teaching and belief was most in line with the Pharisees, I believe that to be a pretty good statement. Yet these were the people that he "fought" the most, the belief was the same, yet the presentation or enforcement lost something. Also recently I've become aware of so many Christians that studied the Bible till they no longer believed or came to the conclusion that universalism is correct. How could someone spend that much time in the Bible and then decide it was wrong all together? My only guess is that it's became illogical to them, as to universalism, my GUESS would be that they see the Love of God and can't see anyone perishing, perhaps it's personal and a "lost" loved one died and they can't bear the burden or thought of them not being with them later.
Isn't it supposed to be Faith?
>All of that said to make this point, Christianity, or Faith in Christ is just that, it is Faith. So many people these days have been brought up in a very scientific world as well as a society, that to many people, aspects of the Bible seem illogical, unacceptable, disputable and just plain unrealistic. Faith is where it all comes in, it is by Faith that we accept Christ. It is good as a Christian to read your Bible everyday, it inspires, educates and motivates. However in witnessing to a "lost & dying world" the Bible, when presented (especially from memory) often ellicits a "deer in the headlights" stare from the one your talking to. You might as well be an alien, as what your saying is foreign and invalid to them. Does the Bible apply to them? Sure, do they know that though? No. Why should they just believe you?
>Here's the point, YOU (or I) are the book (little b) of witness, you can quote scripture all day and although it may impress your Christian Brethren it often does nothing to advance the Gospel message of Christ to someone who hasn't asked for it. I have beaten myself up for years about my inability to memorize scripture, and yet I've now come to realize that it may be a blessing, for me, as Christ is in my heart, I know well what the Bible says, I'm just not able to expound it Book, Chapter & Verse, but MY experience with God in Christ is what I can tell and explain to people. The Book (big B) will come later, also how many of you "got your act together" then accepted Christ? It seems so much anymore that there is an expectation of "being a certain way" (good, wholesome or moral) to gain Christ.
The Bible isn't to be Ignored or Neglected
>Now please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that there is no place for deep Biblical knowledge, but it's almost as if you have a "product", and if you were "selling" a stereo you wouldn't pull the "instruction" sheet out of the box and read it to the potential "buyer", you would tell them what the stereo can do, and must likely you'd tell them what the stereo did for you, what your personal experience with it was. This is where your passion would be. I wasn't thrilled about this as an example but it seemed to descibe the event best. Now, once the person takes the stereo home, once they have ownership of it then they will need to pull out the instruction manual and read it, but, they need to acquire the "stereo" first.
>Even within the Church, as I stated above, I've seen people use the Bible to defend universalism and yes there are verses that thwart it as well, as there is with many things. This is the other issue, there are many versions of the Bible, some say only the King James is acceptable, others have a different choice. There are also many denominations because of small differences in belief, most of them all non-salvation issues, so where do we, at any time, get the authority to decide in full what is the right and wrong denomination or version of the Bible? How a person understands certain parts of the Bible, their mere understanding of the words meaning can vary greatly depending on what part of the world they are from. Background and tradition as well as social, ethnical, nationality and customs all effect our understanding of words, terms and phrases.
"We" are not the Holy Spirit
>I've experienced Brethren who've made non-salvation issues part of the belief and acceptance of Christ. First step should always be the repentence of sin and acceptance of Christ, once Christ is living within ones heart he will begin His work(s). Are we so arrogant to think that we are better suited to "fix" a person? Man is created in Gods image & born into sin, with knowledge comes power and all to often with power comes trouble. I am still a sinner today, I'm not what I was many years ago, but a sinner still the same, I strive daily for a deeper, stronger and closer relationship with Christ and to help others as I'm called to do and to Minister to others as I'm called to do.
>The personal experience that led me to Christ when others had failed, and the person that God used to lead me to Christ was himself led, because the person God used to lead him, was willing to put down the Bible for a few minutes. I was invited to Church, very lightly, I was never "called out" for my "issues" and condemned by people who had no authority to do so. God began a work in me, convicted me, once I accepted Christ I read the Bible constantly, it was a hunger I couldn't satisfy, I went to every Bible Study and Sunday School class I could fit into my schedule. The Bible that I read at home was a paperback book King James, all I could afford at the time.
>God has blessed me to be a part of many Ministries in my short Christian life, I came to Christ at 26 years old, actually accepted on my 26th B-Day now some 17 years later I've experienced up and downs, that constant battle between the spirit and the flesh, but I have never fully lost sight of a hurt and broken world and have never forgotten where I came from either, nor how many had passed on me because I wasn't "good yet" for Jesus.
Different Gifts = Different Callings
>If God lays something on your heart, great do it, but please don't assume that because your heart is called to point "A" that someone elses isn't called to point "B", there are many types of people in the world and many types of outreach. Think if nothing other than the King James Bible had never been introduced, what if the long standing "Gospel Music is the Only Music Style For God", wow, if great bands like Stryper, Petra, Bride, Red, etc...had never been given the chance, do you know how much opposition Christian Rock faced in breaking ground? Because some "couldn't see it". Don't let differences be a "cancer" to the "body", Christ went out in Love and compassion, He also played by the book, but the person got the "parable" first, often, or the healing, as Christ didn't have a testimony of accepting Himself.
>Thanx all, to summarize no offense was intended, just a lot going on and I felt a reminder was in order that we are called to be a witness not a judge or jury. What motivated this was things I've seen a lot of lately, on FaceBook and in life as well. I've been part of "public" discussions that had to be taken to a private message, because of the judgements being passed, about the topic being covered. I've seen athiests versed better in the Bible than some Christians who spew things and the point is that it's FAITH when it all comes down, if you do not have the Faith in Christ, there will be no Faith in the Bible.
Ones Background Affects A Lot
>One point to clarify and thank you very much to the 2 good friends that were willing to confide in me that being raised in the Church from birth through life, it is often hard for a person like that or in that situation to understand those that are in "the world" and have no Church, Bible or Christian understanding, background or knowledge. I realize that someone with a full Church upbringing, especially one that had never strayed in any manner could not understand not having any connection to God in Christ.
>Gods Blessings to all, how important was this to me? How heavily was this burden on my heart? Well, if I'm wrong it's at a potential cost of my very soul in some peoples eyes, I may be called heretic, I may be banished by some, there was a lot at stake in saying this, but I felt that it needed to be done anyway. I feel that it needs to be done on a larger level actually, but this is my current forum. I feel in Gods Grace in sharing it, and although many people may feel different I believe that there are many more that would agree. May God be with us all in these times, may God and God alone Judge us for our Faith and Actions.