This list of beliefs I wrote about 5 years ago, came from an approximate 20-year study of the Statements of Beliefs by many different Christian denominations. These were the beliefs I found that were of most common agreement between them. That doesn't mean they represent ALL denominations but rather a large cross-section of evangelicals. Believers in Christ were called "Christians" first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Denominations did not exist in the early days of the Christian church.
If you disagree with Christianity or the beliefs held by many Christians feel free to express that. Try to resist attacks and "generalizations" of people if possible but if you can't, so be it.
(It's lengthy, so read or don't read in-full as it pleases you.)
1. The Holy Bible is the "inspired word of God" (II Pet 1:21) and God's Word strictly forbids adding to or taking away (Rev 22:18-19, II Tim 3:16 ) from Bible scripture. Manmade doctrine is also warned against (Gal 1:8-9, II Tim 2:15> "..rightly dividing the word of truth.." ).
2. There is one God, expressed in three persons, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit (I Jn 5:7, John 1:14 ). God is the creator of the universe (Gen 1:1). God created mankind to have fellowship with him and worship from him (I Jn 1:3, Luke 4:8).
3. The Old Testament records Adam's sin and the fact that all of mankind is in a fallen condition and in need of salvation (Gen 2:17). The Old Testament, is also a record of God's dealings with the Hebrews, who would become the Jewish Nation and the people whom God has chosen to be the avenue through which he would bring deliverance and blessing to the whole world (Gen 12: 2-3). The Old Testament is also a prophetic for-shadowing of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, containing hundreds of detailed prophecies, fulfilled by Christ, at his First Coming, with many yet to be fulfilled at his Second Coming (Jn 4:25, Is 9:6).
4. The animal sacrifices required of the Hebrew Children of God, were a "type" of the sacrifice by Jesus Christ, that provided complete restitution and redemption, making an end to all other sacrifices, establishing the "New Testament" in Jesus' blood, he being the sinless sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifices "covered sin" but did not redeem people through regeneration of the new birth (Heb 10:4 and 10:14). This new birth is referred to as being "born again" (John 3:3) and "saved" (Rom 10:13). Salvation also is not obtained through obeying the commandments but when we are saved, God places a desire in our heart to obey his commandments because we love him (I Jn 3:9, John 15:10 ) and want to please him. The "Sabbath" commandment, is a "type" of "..entering into my (God's) rest.." (Heb 4:3-11) and was given to man as a blessing (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath does not exclude worship on the other days of the week and does not exclude providing for needs on that day (Matt 12: 10-12).
5. The New Testament scriptures, detail the life of Jesus Christ, his miraculous birth, his mother Mary conceiving him by the Holy Ghost, his death on the cross for the sins of mankind, his burial and resurrection and the establishment of the Christian church, it's beginnings and doctrinal teaching for it's continuing future. Jesus is referred to as "God manifest in the flesh" (I Tim 3:16 ). He along with the Father and Holy Spirit, were present and involved in the creation of the universe (Gen 1:26 ) and each in the trinity manifested during Christ's earth-ministry (Mark 1:9-11). Jesus pre-existed his earthly birth (Jn 8:56-58).
6. The New Testament teaches that there is only one mediator between God and man, that mediator is Jesus Christ (I Tim 2:5, John 14:6 ). To claim there are other mediators to God is anti-scriptural. There are many precious Saints of God to whom we owe great respect for their obedience to God but they too received salvation through Jesus Christ (Rom 3:10,Rom 3:23 and Rom 5:12).
7. After Jesus death for man's redemption, he stated that he would ascend into Heaven to return to the Father and he would send the Church "..another Comforter.." (John 14:16-17 ) the Holy Ghost/Spirit. Jesus describes the role of "God-The Holy Spirit", as being a "Comforter", a "glorifier of Christ", who will guide the Christian believer "..into all truth.." (John 16:13 ), and the one who would endue Christians with "..power from on high.." , to be "witnesses for Christ" (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8 ). One witness God enables us to have through his Spirit, are the "fruits of the Spirit", that testify of his presence in our lives (Gal 5:22-23).
8. The "Rock" of the Church Jesus describes in Matt. 16:13-19, is the revelation to the hearts of people, that Jesus is "Christ, Son of the living God". This is a description of salvation, also described the same way in Rom. 10:9-10, Which also states that confessing Jesus and believing in your heart that he is Christ/Lord (the Messiah who died and was raised), brings salvation/forgiveness of sins (keys of God's Kingdom that hell cannot prevail against). Christ is described as the only foundation of our faith (I Cor 3:11).
9. Peter who denied Christ three times but was forgiven, later became a great "Apostle" and this is the title he gives himself in his epistles, written at least two decades following Christ's ascension (I Pet 1:1, II Pet 1:1). History states that Peter was crucified "upside down" for his testimony of Jesus Christ. Jesus' giving of the name "a stone" to Peter is reference to the fact that Peter was one of many apostles and Prophets, who helped lay the foundation of the Church through "evangelizing" and witnessing, just as Paul who wrote the most epistles. Peter himself calls all Christians "lively stones" (I Pet 2:5 ). Paul calls the Apostles layers of the foundation, Jesus Christ himself being the "Chief cornerstone" (Eph 2:20-22 ).
10. Jesus commanded his disciples to evangelize the world, making more disciples of men, teaching them to observe his teachings (Matt 2818-20) and that "believers" should be baptized, as an outward testimony of receiving him as Lord. Only "born again" believers can be scripturally baptized because Jesus said they must first believe, (Mark 16:16). Baptism is an act of obedience by one who has already been saved and is testifying through baptism that they were buried with Christ and raised to new life (Rom 6:4 ). Jesus also taught that Christians should partake of Communion, being the bread and fruit of the vine, representing his body and blood, given for us. We do this to remember Christ's sacrifice, which gives us eternal life (I Cor 11:23-31).
11. When a Christian sins, he does not need salvation all over again but simply needs to confess his sins with a sincere heart, directly to God in prayer (I Jn 1:9-10). Jesus is the "only mediator" and so we ask for forgiveness in Jesus' name and through no one else. The available forgiveness is not a "license to sin", Christians will fail at times but are admonished to struggle against sin. Salvation without commitment, leads to backsliding (Rom 6:15-16).
12. Jesus redemption of mankind, who accept him, was for man's complete deliverance, spirit, soul and body. This redemption therefore, provides deliverance from spiritual death (the sin nature Eph. 2:1-7 ), mental oppression (fear of death and all mental anguishes Heb. 2:14-15), poverty and all sickness and diseases Phil 4:19 and I Pet 2:24.
13. Salvation is "..through faith..", a free gift, not earned by works (Eph 2:8-10, Gal 2:16).
14. There will be a resurrection of the dead, lost and saved. The saved will stand before the "judgment seat of Christ", to be judged as Christians and rewarded in addition to salvation
(I Pet 4:17 and I Cor 3:11-15). The lost will stand before the "White Throne Judgment", to be judged as "unredeemed" and "..cast into the lake of fire.." (Rev 20:12-15 ).
15. The "first resurrection" which is for the "saved", includes an event called "the rapture". This word not found in the Bible, is simply a word that sums up the event described in IThes 4:16-18 and I Cor. 15:51-52. Other scriptures also refer to this event.
16. When the redeemed are resurrected and rewarded, they return with Christ to Earth, at the end of a time of judgment that will come upon the "ungodly" (Jude 1:14-15) who remain after the rapture and they will reign with Christ on earth for 1,000 years (Rev 20:6 and 5:10). The remaining survivors of this judgment will be those Christ and his Saints will rule over, when they return to Earth at his second coming.
17. The time of judgment that falls upon the world, is a period of 7-years, called the Great Tribulation. This is a time in which God allows evil to operate through an anti-Christ system, plus a time God pours out his judgments upon the world of the unsaved (Rev 6:15-17). The Great tribulation culminates at the end of this 7-year period, in a great war called "Armageddon", in which the anti-Christ, influenced by Satan and having a "false prophet" to help him, will gather the worlds unredeemed armies, to fight against Israel, Christ and his redeemed armies, that are returning. These armies are defeated by Christ, who then begins his reign. The tools of war are then remanufactured into tools of agriculture (Is 2:4 ).
18. Persons left behind at the Rapture can accept Christ and be redeemed during the Great Tribulation but many will be killed for their testimony (Rev 20:4) and everyone on earth at that time will be compelled to receive the "mark of the beast" (Anti-Christ), or they will be unable to "..buy or sell.." without it (Rev 13:17). The scripture states that those taking this mark will seal their fate as eternally lost. It will be a terrible time to be a Christian on Earth.
19. After Christ's 1,000 year reign, the judgment of the unsaved begins (Rev 20:5-6 ). After all unsaved, including Satan, the beast (anti-Christ) and the false prophet, are cast into the lake of fire, God renovates the earth by fire and re-creates a new heaven (surrounding earth) and Earth. A beautiful city called the "New Jerusalem" then ascends down to Earth from Heaven and God and his people, the Saints will dwell together forever (Rev 21:1-5).
20. Christians are anointed (enabled by his Spirit), to teach, preach and minister about all of the above listed things, through "ministry gifts" (Eph 4:11-12). The Bible also lists supernatural "gifts of the Spirit" (I Cor 12:8-11), some Evangelicals believe these are still in operation today, while others believe they have ceased.
-The Christian Church is not a denomination it is the "Body of Christ" according to the Bible (I Cor 12:12 and 12:27).-
I can't disagree with the sentiment but I think Paul clarifies Yeshua's statement about the "rock" in Eph.2:20-21.
The word Yeshua uses in contrast to Cephas / Petros (stone) is Petra - a ledge or cliff. Petros in this case can be seen as a smaller part of the larger petra. In Ephesians Paul explains that the "household of God" is:
"built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone"
The idea of "Apostles and prophets" is, due to Greek grammar literally "apostle-prophets".
I think this reveals that Yeshua was referring to Peter as only one of the 12 (or 11 depending on how you count them) core students (disciples) who together form the foundation of the "ekklesia" or assembly.
Great topic Jim. Thanks.
Hey Marc! - We're both Suite101 writers as well. Hello fellow Suitey!
While I'm making a final check of the thread tonight, I'll also say a goodbye to the thread and step aside for others to comment as they like.
I'm in contract sales and End of October, through 1st of next year are always my "crunch-months" and I barely have time to fit in an article during this time.
My interest in starting the thread was to let those out there know what basic Christian belief is all about because many have asked in a number of different ways.
There are some very knowledgeable Bible scholars here, including Marc Salyer who has a masters and others here who are knowledgeable, so I leave the remaining life of the thread to them, as far a questions go and comments they may further add (and anyone else)!
Thanks once again!
good grief dude. i'm a Christian and i ain't tryin' to read all that...wow. i can't imagine someone who thinks Christianity is bogus would want to either...
My question is "Why did Jesus kill all but eight people (Noah's family) in the Flood?"
I did. It clearly demonstrates that if a megalomaniac gets hold of a crazy belief system, they can convince themselves that they are right and everyone else is conveniently off to hell.
No need to refer to yourself as a megalomaniac but I do agree your belief system is off the wall.
It is not me who sends the rest of the world to hell because they do not agree with a pile of pavlova!
It clearly demonstrates that if an Atheist gets hold of a crazy belief system, they can convince themselves that they are right and everyone else is conveniently off to a padded cell.
Same old stuff over and over Earnest. Who are you trying to convince? yourself or others?
Not an atheist, just not indoctrinated in to believing an hilarious fairy tail that any smart ten year old can see though.
It clearly demonstrates that you're the one convinced of a crazy belief.
If you can believe God talked to a lot of people in ancient times. and stuff like that you've been posting everywhere.
In short, if you believe in the God of the Bible.
I've not once said God talked to everyone. Please show me that.
God certainly did not speak out loud. They were prophets, they had a gift.
I also did not say I believe most of the bible, especially not the English one. Of course you are always too busy making snide remarks to me and trying to put down everyone who's not like you, to read what people write. Although I believe in Christ I am not Christian. Are you a Christian because you post on the forums?
You might try being a little more Humane.
Hey Jim, Great stuff here as usual, I lean more towards a post-trib rapture. - Mark 13:24-27 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven."
Either way, every knee will bow.
Have a great day.
I agree some of those details such as the time of the rapture are not absolute and open to varied interpretations. I believe that was by God's design in many cases.
Some people believe the "elect" spoken of there are those who are saved during the great tribulation, including the 144,000 elect Jews (12,000 from each tribe) who preach the gospel during it.
Regardless, Jesus said no one knows the day or hour, so we just stay ready for that blessed hope!
Great seeing you come by and look forward to any other posts you might add.
I have agree there are a few varied interpretations. The 144,00 is alway an intersting convo. I too am glad you didn't stay out of the forums, you and all us Christians need to continue to fight for the cause of Christ. God Bless
6. The New Testament teaches that there is only one mediator between God and man, that mediator is Jesus Christ (I Tim 2:5, John 14:6 ). To claim there are other mediators to God is anti-scriptural. There are many precious Saints of God to whom we owe great respect for their obedience to God but they too received salvation through Jesus Christ (Rom 3:10,Rom 3:23 and Rom 5:12).
Like I said, your way or the highway.
The irritable covert bull baiting noted as usual.
Not "my way", "his way". I also believe every individual that is ever born, has opportunity to receive Christ. There is scripture that even refers to Christ preaching to spirits "in prison" < translated from words with meanings that include "holding place".
Quote: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison." (I-Peter 3:19)
This is not the same as the purgatory doctrine which I do not agree with.. respectfully.
It is my belief that people who didn't have a chance to receive the gospel message in this life, will have a chance following their death. Some disagree with this I'm sure but if they never heard the gospel, it would be unjust for God to not give them the chance.
Quote: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25)
I enjoyed this post very much... and replies are interesting also. Faith is elusive to many out there, isn't it?
I am not the speaker of tongues, though I go to a pentacostal church. Some have tried to rid me of whatever is hindering me from babbling, like bitterness or whatever, and it hasn't worked. I am happy with the lifting up of hands and the songs, but not the tongues. Recently I have had Jehovah Witnesses in my home, but am also not comfortable with "HAVING" to call God Jehovah, and not being able to wear my cross around my neck, nor am I happy with them not believing the satan worshipers will not go to hell, but just to "sleep" and not be a part of the new heaven and new earth. I am looking for a denomination that is suitable for me, be it that I need to not forsake the assembly of Christins. If I continue to go to church, what may some of you suggest? I don't believe that if you pump enough money into a church or just feel more positive, you will be saved and blessed.
Thanks Marc and G.L.A. for dropping by and commenting!
I expect a lot more posts in days ahead. I'm ready to get some sleep now but will check for new and I'm sure "interesting" posts tomorrow!
I think this is the basic fundamental truth of the belief of most Protestants around the world. The belief that there is only one way to Heaven, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Not Jesus plus works, plus this, plus that....Jesus alone. Of course, when you get into denominations, there are different doctrines and such, but this is the basic truth of nearly ALL Protestants.
Jim Low: being that the UPC (United Pentecostal Church) believes in faith + Baptism + tongues, does that exclude them from being among the Protestants? Seems like every UPC church I've visited hasn't preached the saving love/forgiveness of Jesus. It's all about gettting the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues, though I know they get saved. This is NOT an attempt to create a debate over whether tongues exist or not, I just want to know if you think they are considered among the Protestants.
By the way, I like your discussion here.
The tongues for the Pentecostals ,(For Their Belief),is a sign of the Holy Spirit being recieved.They believe it is a sign of being filled with the Spirit.As at Pentecost.
I had time to pop in between my work which has piled-up on me the past few weeks.
I wanted to address your question as best I can but as I said earlier, my opinions are mine and often do not best represent scriptural interpretation and certainly not perfect interpretation.
I believe regardless of denomination one chooses to involve-in, if they have true faith in Jesus Christ, they are of the body of Christ. If they moved to a new location and attended an available church of a different denomination they feel comfortable-with, they would not also be changing their membership in the body of Christ but are the same "lively stone" in God's temple they were before.
Some denominations choose not to have the "gifts of the Spirit" (such as tongues & interpretation of tongues) operate in their church sanctuary, as part of their worship-services while others are open to it. If a person who believes in these gifts, attends a church that isn't open to them being in operation, they can always operate in them during their daily lives apart from church and in their prayer closets (that's anywhere you like to pray).
I respectfully disagree with a doctrine that says a person must operate in a supernatural gift of the Spirit to be saved or for salvation (being born again John 3:3) to be confirmed as having occurred in someone's life.
The book of Romans 10:9 says whay brings salvation - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Jesus stated it similarly in John 3:16 stating "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I personally believe in the gifts of the Spirit and do not believe scripture states they have passed away. I also believe however that how much demonstration of love believers in Christ have toward others is an even greater proof of their having the fullness of God's Spirit in their lives than are the operation of supernatural gifts.
Sorry I overlooked your question earlier and others may have even more-informed comments than mine in this area.
I do not believe any of the gods.
Apart from providing examples of the worst forms of human behaviour projected as god's behaviour, it does provide a clear look at the psychological naiveté of the times and just what a psychotic sociopath looks like!
I am not fixed in my beliefs. I change them when information is outdated.
"it does provide a clear look at the psychological naiveté of the times and just what a psychotic sociopath looks like!"
Do you really imagine you'll be changing this one any time soon? I don't get that you're potentially open to a belief in the God of the Bible from anything you've posted here.
I asked because you seem obsessed with other people's belief in a person (God) whom you claim doesn't exist. You want others to know you hate the idea of there being a God like the God of the Bible. You want others to know your "way" and that yours is the right "way" and the deist's is wrong (apparently on the highway).
You know, Marc, you just took the thought right out of my mind. I was thinking the same thing! I wonder...
I would happily re visit any doctrine in the light of better information.
I would even believe in a god of some sort if it were proven in any way.
I have spent years as a foundation member of CBMC, and completed a two year bible course in 3 languages.
I do not see why a god needs to be a basket case who is worse than any human other than as a fear operated tool for men to control other men.
And you expect that someone in this forum might prove there is a "god of some sort"? Again you don't seem to be here to share (except in despair) in the doctrine discussion.
That you do not see God as others do is interesting about you, I suppose, but it only leads us back to the fact that you believe you are right and the participants in this thread are wrong. We get it. We disagree with each other (you and the rest of us God folk). You believe you are right and we, who by faith accept the Creator of Torah, are wrong.
But your pretense of philosophical flexibility is intellectually dishonest. Bible believers believe they're right and you believe you are right. You are therefore, like the God you openly despise, inflexible on the issue of His existence. It's your way or the highway. No one here will disparage you for holding to a belief that you can’t support and rejecting the beliefs of others. We understand you. We just wish that you understood yourself as much.
I agree we should do our best. My best is to be honest with my beliefs, knowing they must always be wrong at least in part, but be true anyway until something moves me to believe otherwise.
Staying open to the "otherwise" does not mean accepting religious doctrine as truth.
The first statement of faith listed above; "do not take away or add to the word of God".
We have done that a hundred different ways when a hundred different people teach their personal interpretation of scripture.
If we do this on the first day of our understanding;
the things that we learn on the following days brings farther from the true word of God.
Line 15 mentions the "Rapture"
Daniel 11:45 thru 12:2 says that this event is to ocur during the time of the FOURTH kingdom to have dominion over the EARTH (Holy Land) 4th kingdom WAS the Roman empire
And concerning the second coming of Christ.
Mark 14:62 " I am, and ye shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Matthew 16:28 " Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.
And concerning knowing the day or hour
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, til all these things be fulfilled. But of that day and hour knoweth no man.... (v.36)
Now you should read 24:3 that clearly specifies that this is a PRIVATE conversation between Jesus and his disciples (Peter James John and Andrew)
Remember the first rule of the creed... do not take away or add to the word of God. Do not Interpret these words spoken by Jesus Christ in such a way as to take away or add to the meaning of what Jesus said.. If we must interpret scripture do it to the things that the disciples said so that they coincide with the word of God.
Jerami, I am always interested in the eschatology of others. I don't understand what you are saying about the conversation being private. It sounds to me like you are saying that we must read it in a context outside of Yeshua's public teaching because it's hard to know what Yeshua meant in His private teaching. Is this accurate? Could you clarify? Thanks.
There is a very good reason that this word PRIVATE is written Matthew 24:3 Mark 13:3 Peter James and Andrew came unto him Privately
Yes I wholeheartedly believe that this Private conversation was not a sermon preached to the multitudes or to the future events.
Read Matthew 23 remembering that this is basically one conversation where Jesus was blasting the Pharisees walks out of the temple continuing the conversation and the disciples follow Jesus and ask him concerning the things that they had just heard him saying in the temple to the Pharisees and spoke of the temple being thrown down; they ask him, "When are these things going to be? and Jesus says "When YOU see... and they are going to take YOU before the synagogue, etc,
This from someone with no proof for their belief at all.
Because I do not agree with you makes it my way or the highway?
How do you arrive at that?
I am willing to look at anything. You have offered nothing.
What`s up Earnest?you old hateful cuss.Good to see you.
OK, here goes nothing-
You first stated:
"Christianity. The "My way or the highway" of religions!"
And I pointed out the following:
Yes. That you disagree "makes it" so by a standard set by you. And all in this thread are fine with that. We believe we're right too. That's pretty much how beliefs work.
Logic tells us that you and I both have no way to prove our core contentions:
Mine: There is a God
Yours: There is not a God
And I would never suggest that I could prove such a thing. I am however convinced by a force beyond myself (Faith) that the God of Torah is my righteousness and salvation.
This thread is in the: Religion & Beliefs - Christianity - Theology & Religious Discussion - Basic Beliefs of Evangelical Christians section of the forums. No one here can prove that God exists. You didn't really believe that someone was going to do that for you. Did you?
You entered this thread with a blasphemous description of Adonai. I have read some of your hubs you're a good guy and you seem better mannered than:
"Apart from providing examples of the worst forms of human behaviour projected as god's behaviour, it does provide a clear look at the psychological naiveté of the times and just what a psychotic sociopath looks like!"
Flexible that aint Earnest. That's you laying down your version of truth and condemning those who disagree. Anyone who worships a "psychotic sociopath" is pretty much in the "highway".
A fare and reasonable discussion, thank you for that.
It is true that I do not find the bible matches my idea of reality as I once did as a reformed religionist.
I am sorry for the offense felt if any was, but it is my belief that the Torah was written by some very angry and hateful men, and to see all the hate and intolerance displayed here I am of that opinion still.
I would add that I am somewhat evangelistic. I do not want hate taught in the world no matter who's god it is from.
I didn't mean to suggest that I was offended. I was simply making that point about the thing with the stuff and all that. On the other hand, God probably was offended but I'm guessing that's not a problem for you (insert smiley emoticon here).
In your defense I think you have made your position very clear.
I actually use many of the same arguments you have given here and throughout the forums as a Bible study challenge that I call "Good old fashioned Bible Bashin". Many of the participants get frustrated and angry but they are issues that need to be addressed.
Not sure if this is the forum for it but I would like to know what events led you down this road. For the sake of curiosity: by reformed religionist do you mean the Presbyterian kind of Reformed? Have you written a hub on it? Perhaps I should check before I hit the sack.
Mother roman catholic, father C of England.
I started challenging my parents belief seriously at around age ten.
In my early twenties I worked with an evangelistic baptist who led me in to his religion.
I had a grounding in philosophy from my father which got me reading psychology along with religion. At this time I did a structured 2 year bible study course and started to grasp the intended meaning of the OT at first and then the quoran, for reasons that escape me now, I went on to study psychology.
I have an understanding of brain chemistry, science, religion, philosophy and psychology as I have had a keen interest in all for about forty years now.
or you can read my hub "The biblical god is a psychopath" if you like for a longer version, the rest of me is on my hubs.
I just have a few questions about Evangelical Christians Beliefs, which I have always wondered about:
What do you believe happened after death to all the people who died before the time of Christ? Doesn't seem fair to me that they could be punished for something they knew nothing about?
The idea of the rapture has also always seemed to me one of the most unchristian of concepts. The idea that Jesus sweeps his chosen few off for a grandstand view of the rest of us suffering twelve plagues down here on earth, is more worthy of a Roman Emperor than a god of love. Again, can a person be eternally punished simply because they lived their life and sincerely followed their beliefs as a Buddist, Muslim or Atheist? A lot will have been really good people, and there are plenty of christians in jails around the world?
I also have a problem with the notion of Original Sin. To blame billions of souls for the action of one individual is bizarre at best. And was is really a sin? Humans are curious, it is an inbuilt function, so the apple was going to be eaten? Also why would a god create all these pre-damaged souls? It is an insidious, damaging belief; people need to realise that they don't need saving, they are fine just as they are. Humans should stop feeling guilty, be happy and enjoy life.
The part of the bible I truly believe is 'Love Thy Neighbour As Thy Self'. There are no caveats or get-out clauses about what type of neighbour you have, where they come from, or what religion they follow. I think that one of the big problems of the world is that most people really don't like themselves very much, and this allows them to treat other people with cruelty and intolerance.
I respect everyones beliefs and their right to believe what they do, but I personally struggle with a the concept of a punitive, petty-minded, authoritive god. I have a fairly nebulous image of who/what I think god is, but it is always an image of total acceptance, unconditional love, light and happiness. The idea that I could offend god, or that god could create a thing like hell, or would want people to suffer is something I can't get my head around?
I will try to answer your questions as best as I can from my prospective.
Those people that died in the BC era did as it is said that King David did. They sleep with their "Fathers" or ancestors until the promised resurrection under the covenant with Abraham. I believe that they were resurrected as described in Rev. when the sixth seal is opened.
Concerning the "RAPTURE" if we study scripture we find that it originates in the Book of Daniel 11:45 thru 12:2
At that time that the little horn comes to his end those that are written in the book are redeemed from among men. We must remember that the "Little Horn" is a king (Emperor) of the 4th. kingdom given dominion over the earth (Holy Land) This RAPTURE of those redeemed from among the living were all Hebrews. They lived in the time of the 14 emperor of Rome. All of that other stuff about the Rapture is False interpretations of scripture. "At that time..." was fulfillment of the Old testament covenant. Jesus made a new covenant
Concerning your question concerning Buddhist Muslim etc. I believe that if you are a Christian you must follow those conditions and be judged by them. If Islamic then you must live by those standards and be judged by them etc. etc. As far as Atheists go, I believe that most of them are more Anti religious than anti God.
Incredibly interesting comments and discussion here!
I wanted to interject here that I have a great deal to learn and I don't have perfect interpretation on many things and I don't believe many other men/women do either. I believe God intended it that way because once we believe we have "arrived" at perfect knowledge, we stop seeking it and God's guidance into deeper truths he has for us in his timing and when he knows each of us is ready for it.
The basic things in my opinion are certainly what are most important, namely things such as belief in Christ as messiah and savior if you are of the Christian faith.
CMHypno, in regard to people of the Old Testament time pre-Christ's arrival to offer himself for mankind, I believe God accounted men as righteous because of their faith in him, as God the Father.
Romans 4:3 for example, talking about Abraham says "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
I also believe Old Testament believers went to "paradise" (Abraham's bosom), described as being a compartment in the "heart of the earth" that was moved up to heaven where the throne of God is, once Jesus blood sacrifice was completed and after his resurrection.
I realize that point sounds strange if you've not heard it before but from biblical perspective, it is backed by losts of scripture.
Jesus statement to the theif crucified beside him:
"To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
16th Chapter of Luke describes Abraham's bosom and hell being seperated by a "great gulf" but were in view of eachother.
When Jesus died on the cross, scripture states he was 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
I-Peter 3:19 “By whom also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”
Ephesians 4:8 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
It's an interesting and a bit complicated - subject but I hope the scriptures I offered helped answer the question you asked.
I'm busier than usual with work during these months of the year but will check in to read new comments by tonight. Thanks to EVERYONE for the contributions to the thread!
Thanks for the answer and the quotations JimLow. It is a very interesting subject and I can see why people can study it for years. I am probably a very idealistic person, but I find it very difficult to accept that violence, intolerance, bigotry and hatred are part of any religion.
Good list! Although I am Roman Catholic, I do consider myself a Christian. When asked 'what am I?' I say that I am Christian, but choose to express my Christianity primarily through Catholocism. And I know that Evangelicals usually are suspicios or frown upon Catholics. But this Catholic loves your list.
Loved your comments Shazz!
(Now I'm off to the road again until tonight. - Thanks again everyone.)
Catholics have always been considered Christian, in fact they are the largest denomination of them and at last count still the fastest growing...why I don't know, I'll leave that debate to the protestants out there, I'm just stating the statistics. I think it wise to point out though that the majority of Christians in the world are in fact Catholic, Protestants have large numbers in the US though outside of this nation Catholicism is the majority.
iN reference to my question about UPC being Protestant:
Thanks for replying JimLow. I see where you're coming from and must say I'm in the affirmative. Your answers and observations are much appreciated.
You make good points.
I've always been of the opinion that regardless of denomination, if someone has come to know Jesus Christ in the true sense of believing in his sacrifice made for them, it makes no difference what denomination they may attend. I know Catholic people personally who love the Lord dearly and it shows in their actions towards others. With this said, some people change denominations at some point because they prefer a different type of worship toward Christ. In my opinion, the worship you show outside of church attendance is most important and part of that worship is by doing good to those who are in God's image.
Church attendance might be 2, 3 or 4 hours per week but our life outside of it is 7 twentyfour hour days per week. Not to diminish it's importance because church can be a santuary away from the pressures of the world and a time of fellowship with those of like-faith.
Also, just to mention again, "protest-ant" implies protest of the Catholic church but I've never protested it and no one I know has. The term comes from a time in history when Christian denominations did in fact become devices of control over peoples lives. I realize this is where people get the "millions of people have died because of religion" statement but they also have to realize that if they do believe Satan, the Devil exists, he would not pass up the opportunity to hit mankind in their most sacredly-held things. If he did pass it up, he wouldn't be very smart would he?
Medical research for example, at one time in the early 1950s, actually endorsed smoking and well-known doctors were actually recommending certain brands. This was of course later exposed as medical quackery but that doesn't diminish the vast importance of medical research and care. You can cite this type of example in regard to corruption found in law enforcement (both my son and brother are law enforcement officers) or any other field but the bad apples don't spoil the whole barrel.
The same is true of faith beliefs and practices. Are there bad practices and bad behaviors perpetrated by people of faith or have there been in past history? Absolutely yes, but there is always the real deal. Every counterfiet has to be copying something real. Each person has to depend on God's leading to point out the counterfiets to them.
It may interest some in this thread to know that there is a difference between Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Doctrinally they can be similar but principally they are different. There are two basic distinctions between the two camps of protestants. One is a cultural distinction and the other is doctrinal one.
The Cultural Distinction:
Fundamentalists are much more conservative and resistant to change (cultural and doctrinal). Evangelicals tend to adapt to cultural shifts more easily (a fundamentalist might say “more readily”) and they tend to be more doctrinally diverse. You will find more variety in political and philosophical leanings as well as cultural participation among evangelicals.
The Doctrinal Distinction:
Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word and as such is without errors. (That is not to say that translators have not erred but rather, what is God’s word has been preserved in spite of the generations of copies and mistakes within.) A fundamentalist would explain that the original autographs are / were the inspired word and what we have today are reliable copies of those texts in which the word has been preserved by God and which, therefore represent the inspired word with authority. Fundamentalists are Biblical literalists who typically shun allegorical interpretation, mystical editorializing, and typology.
Many fundamentalists will tell you that they believe in the five fundamentals of the faith. However every fundamentalist seems to have a slightly different list. In short a few of the fundamentals are:
1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).
6. Priesthood of the believer (1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 2:21-22, 1 Corinthians 6:19,)…
Some fundamentalists of note are: Chuck Swindall, John McArthur, Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Ravi Zacharias (celebrity fundamentalist: Kurt Cameron)
Evangelicals tend toward allegorical interpretation (doctrinally speaking) and a free will view of the individual. This seems to drive their “seeker friendly” philosophy which tends to soft sell sin and hell and present a brighter picture of forgiveness and salvation. This same attitude can be seen in the evangelical’s presentation of the Bible as a book that can enhance the believer’s life. Shuller is famous for using the Bible as a self help textbook. There is also a tendency toward positive thinking in the camp. There is a strong ecumenical sense among evangelicals as well. The following list of evangelicals represents both the cultural and doctrinal. I have marked those who I believe are cultural evangelicals only with a “C”.
Examples of evangelicals are: Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Billy Graham “C” (also a bit ecumenical), James Dobson “C”, and Chuck Colson “C” (celebrity evangelicals: Stephen Baldwin and Alice Cooper)
That is a little insight (and some opinion) into the two big camps of the contemporary protestant world. (evangelicals are the biggest of the two camps).
The development of the mega church:
One of the criticisms of evangelical types is that they are organized like a pyramid scheme to bring new members into the organization (church) and thus grow the budget as they grow in bodies. The goal seemingly to embiggen the infrastructure and membership of the organization. I think it is believed by many that this manifestation of many members and big budget and big buildings is proof that God is alive and working to bless His people. This idea has given rise to the "mega church".
If a person considers the volume of churches in their community and takes an honest assessment of the average church's mode of operation they would have to admit that this is the case often enough to accept the criticism (not based on a collective intent but on the practical function of the local church as a corporate organization.)
The problem with this is that it taints the EVANGELICAL nature of the organization (an organization that can work fine without a budget) and creates an opportunity for critics to accuse the organization of being money motivated (greedy) rather than evangelistically motivated (loving).
However an individual doesn't have to accept this motive for themself and furthermore such a model of organization is not on any church charter or statement of faith. It is a cultural condition that has developed in the Western world (and perhaps beyond).
I imagine other Christian organizations (and other religions as well) are probably similarly motivated on an administrative/corporate level.
Hello Marc, I would like to point out that in our city of 4 million we have a lot of established Churches that are very well structured around providing scholarships and assistance to the poor and distribute wealth really well.
One that comes to mind is the Anglican church who provide perhaps the country's best School from preps to year 6.
A school that has no bullying of any sort, and prepares academically for the best senior school in our city, who accept these kids because of their high marks.
Many of those who are the backbone of the church here never mention religion to their pupils unless they ask to be a part of regular church and belief.
I do not believe in the bible as religion, nor the quoran but the church like other organizations attracts some very good people. I know that you realize this, I just thought I would mention it.
You're right. I left out the charity and community stuff hoping others would jump in and carry this thread along. And who chimes in to defend the crazy Christians? Earnest!
The congregation I am a part of meets in a public park and only takes collections for immediate needs (health issues, automotive trouble...) when they pop up. But you made the point that without the big organizations who are committed to certain values and principles many good works would go undone.
Well, I do like to keep things above board.
I like the various church's street work in our city too.
Every Friday night next to St.Pauls Cathedral in the heart of the city the church has a special night for the homeless and needy, with healthy beautiful hot food cooked with real love and other needs like blankets distributed to all who come.
It will never be enough, but it sure helps!
I will not post the normal babble that associates with religious articles. It is sad we cannot seem to be civil and curious of other points of view without feeling offended and desire the need to attack. In the spirit of exchange I do offer the following points according to my own understanding in regards to your #13:
1) Galations 2:16 refers to the Law of Moses. It is true that no man is saved by the works of the law (of Moses). One must understand the time. Ritual and ceremony were paramount and led to hypocrisy of the heart. This clarifies that works of that law will not save, however, one must understand exactly what faith is in order to understand the passage. Faith is a principle of action and of power. Faith without the action of works is dead, it is hypocrisy. It is through works that we grow and develop our faith. You cannot just claim it and expect salvation. It must be cultivated, digged about and nourished.
2)Ephesians 2:8-9 refers to the heart of man in relation to his intent of action. If you proceed a work to be "seen of man" it will avail you nothing in spiritual benefit. Your works must be completely selfless and not unto boasting.
Great post Goldenpath and abnormal babble is always welcome.
We are a funny brood who follow the Bible by Faith in Yeshua (I hope I'm not assuming too much about you). We use many of the same terms and seem to understand one another but just to be sure I know what you mean could you explain the idea of "principle" and of developing faith.
I agree that claiming salvation certainly does not secure it. But many folks do claim it and go on to, not only avoid the good works but participate in the bad. If you have read any number of the threads in these religious forums you have seen that those claimers have given the faithful a bad name. (I'm not talking about hubbers and participants but examples provided by the anti-religion crowed). I would like to know if you are suggesting keeping laws or simply doing good works.
I'm not a touchy feely guy but big hugs and back slapping from me on your last point. I think that when believers fast they should run in and out of ice cream shops throughout the day just to keep everybody in the dark.
First off, thank you Marc Salyer for you inquisitive mind. By your comments you have upheld a level or bar of civility that should always accompany all hubs, posts and comments on such a good platform as HubPages. You were not judgmental of me or my beliefs but asked for clarification. Thanks!
Why does a sad child reach out to a parent? Why do we go out each and every day and work? Why do the vast number of us continue to linger and push on in life even when the very walls seem to tumble around us? Faith! A child would not reach out to a parent if the child did not believe he/she would be succored. We would not work if we did not have that faith that we will receive a paycheck to support our families. It is faith exercised that there is hope at the end of the dim tunnel when all we presently see is darkness. What's important is the action that the child did reach, we do work and we continue to weild on to life. Yes, faith is the principle of action.
True faith is also the principle of power. It was through faith that the Eternal Father orchestrated the creation. It was through faith that the sun turned back. It was through faith that prison walls were rent around the righteous.
However, true faith must be centered in correct actions otherwise it would not be faith. Faith is the assurance of that which is not seen, but is true. I better stop or I'll have to create a hub. Thanks.
In part two of your inquiry as to the developing of faith I give the following words. In high school I never got the concept of mathematical proofs. It was stupid to me and so I lagged behind in my math studies. Had I stuck with it I eventually would have grasped the doctrine of a proof and would have been able to apply it to my life. Proofs still frighten me and I have not even attempted to learn them again. However, I have developed other talents. I have improved in my writings. I have improved and instructed the martial arts for over fifteen years. To apply a doctrine to oneself is to constantly and consistently continue learning of it and practicing it. It's called personal progression and is at the very core of our being. Progression is eternal and is without end even after we lay this mortal clay aside.
I strongly do not submit to the idea that confessing our sins each week enables or "entitles" us to repeat those sins. Doing so only deepens the scarlet color of those sins and depreciates our own self worth. Forgiveness, repentance, salvation and personal progress is heavily dependent on the sinner forsaking that sin completely within the heart, mind and soul. These are my views and I deeply respect the views of others. In these times where the "hearts of man" are failing them it is good to see people upholding their faith even if I, personally, do not share those beliefs. Again I thank Marc Salyer for his question and the opportunity to express them.
I've only met one Evangelist Christian I respect. He was able to acknowledge my beliefs as plausible along the same level as his, and at the same time express his in a way that were non intrusive, but thought provoking. I think he was an extreme rarity. It is unfortunate.
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