Serious thought time

This is me, thinking, about theology, philosophy, and anything in general not related to my main blog about everything else..

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

a prayer

God, if you exist, if you are an individual that can understand my words transcending space-time, if there is a punishment for a lack of obedience, if there is some way I can achieve salvation (or you achieve it on my behalf) then please let me know. Please help me to understand. Right now I don't believe you exist, but if you do, it's in your hands. If I burn in hell, it's your doing, if I do not, maybe that is your doing, or maybe it's no-ones doing. If you have chosen a path for my life, I ask that path does not lead to destruction but to happiness.

Show me you exist if you do.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What I can't deal with

Lately my faith has been at an all time low. In fact I'd struggle to say that I even had any right now. I still believe there is a God, but in what capacity I do not know. I'm even tending towards the idea that God is everything, everything is God. More like how the eastern religions think.

For a long time now, and you can probably tell, I've been doubting the bible. And recently I worded my thoughts with the idea that, if my belief is based on the bible, then I have to make sure the bible is correct, and I'm sure this makes sense to people. If you're going to believe in the Christian God, then every single idea you have about him should be coming from the bible. But, if the bible isn't correct, then your beliefs aren't correct, right? (Because unlike having personal beliefs which aren't necessarily dependent on anything external, christian beliefs are)

I've always had a few questions about the bible:

Why does the OT not talk about an afterlife?
This to me is a big one. In the OT, people sin, and the wages of their sin is lived out within their current life, maybe God takes away their food, or kills them, and quite often their lineage is cursed too. Quite a contrast to the NT where the wages of sin is being judged and sent to the lake of fire. If this is hell or if it's eternal is up for debate, the bible itself is not clear, the church has stepped in and filled in all the gaps and passed it off as doctrine over the years, so the concept of an eternal hell isn't so much biblical as it is from the church, but either way, it's different from the OT.

What about certain contradictions in the bible?
Did the crow crow 2 or 3 times? That's a pretty small inconsistancy, but it's far from the only one. List of inconsistancies from wikipedia. I've read what the christian community say to these inconsistancies, and of course they come up with reasons to explain away all of them, but it's just not acceptable. Is the bible innerant or is it not? Because if it's not, well then, it's a slippery slope isn't it, if one part isn't right, then how do you decide others are? This is where Conservative Christians and Liberal Christians are seperated. Some would say this is why Liberalism is so bad. To be a Conservative, you need to hold that the bible is innerant. You need to decide that despite the fact that the bible has internal inconsistancies, and despite that some of it doesn't make sense, that you're going to follow it blindly anyway. In fact you need greater blind faith this way as opposed to Liberal thinking.
I find it an interesting position, because you're essentially putting your faith more in the bible than in God.
And if you're to think liberally, well, as far as I'm concerned, if you're going to be a liberal, why be at all? I guess you can still believe that Jesus is the Saviour, but how can you be sure?

Are we saved by grace or by works?
Sometimes I used to go to a bible study or service and come away quite scared. They'd read from the bible, and it would make statements like "drunkards, theives, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven" and "forgiveness for a sin only works once, after it is used, it is no longer there", these are paraphrased, but they're in there.
Other times I'd come away feeling much better because the bible's statements this week would be along the lines of "you are saved by grace".
Now basically it's telling me that a) if I commit certain sins, I will go to hell and b) it's nothing to do with you, you're saved purely by grace. They seem to contradict, so which one is it? I guess some would say it's grace, if you truely repent, but I never felt like I could. Christians will point out that people continue to sin for their entire lives, so surely some of these people will go to hell, even if they believe, because the bible says so? But then again, maybe they won't? Either way it kept me in a state of pleasant submission and acceptance while at the same time fear.

What about all the people who've never heard the word?
Obviously there are people out there that never got a chance to hear the gospel before they died. What about them? The bible doesn't say they will be spared, but the church has told us that God wouldn't send them to hell even if they had no choice. Hmm?

What of us goes to heaven/hell?
I was sitting there one day trying to work out exactly what it was of us that went into the afterlife. It would seem that we are in essence our memories. If we were to wake up tomorrow with no memory whatsoever, would I be me? I surely am a conglomeration of all my lifes events? What if I used to be a christian, but then I got amnesia. Would I go to heaven if I died, and if I did, who would I appear as? The old or new me? It's clear that our memory is an aspect of the brain. Maybe we go to heaven with our consciousness as a snapshot, although that seems unlikely, it's the only answer that makes sense despite the fact that it kind of doesn't.

What about all the OT laws?
Most people know about the 10 commandments. What about all the other more specific and bizarre laws. Some are about not eating kinds of meat, some are about how you can treat slaves or woman from other societies, or what makes a person unclean. Now Jesus said he came to complete the law, not replace it. The only thing I can gather that has changed is the need to present sacrifices for your sin has changed. So there is a lot of stuff that is still sin, that the Christian church just decides is no longer relevant. This is like the liberalism thing, when you decide to not use the whole bible the way it's written, they who decides exactly what to use?

I haven't really found acceptable answers to those..

Here are some musings, not really questions, but things that I think about that "help" to break my faith

I've had a number of arguments about the new creation and I think people don't understand what I'm trying to say. According to the bible the idea of heaven itself isn't like what most people think it is, it's describe in Revelation I think as a new world and new creation. There will not be sin or pain. Now if you ask me, that requires a different set of physical laws that the creation will obey. I can deal with that. But others say that it won't, but that God can and will disobey them from time to time to remove pain and sin, but to me, this means a different set of laws of physics. I have a good memory of some of my sin, but surely if I was to take my memory with me to the new creation (if I didn't well, then it would be as if I was born originally into the new creation as opposed to carrying on from this life) then I'm sure I wouldn't be "allowed" (by the physical laws) to have good memories of sin, so in essence I would have had to have a change in personality too. This doesn't really affect my faith in any way, but it's interesting to think about.

It's interesting that most Christians aren't open minded to changing their faith, because in the Gospels, that's exactly what the disciples did. The Pharisees were preached against, but if you look at today, the most hardcore Christians resemble the Pharisees more than anyone.

God treats people terribly in the bible. In the OT especially. On another website another person does this a lot better than I so I'm quoting him (Merle Hertzler) here:
Many Christians have never read the whole Bible, and are not aware of the moral teachings that are found in it. Let's look at some. Exodus 23:19 tells us we cannot cook a baby goat in it's mother's milk. Do you worry about keeping this commandment? Gen. 17:14 tells us a child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised. Is that fair? Ex. 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 34:21, and 35:1-3 tell us that no work may be done on the Sabbath (Saturday) not even the lighting of a fire. The penalty is death. Do you recommend that we kill people who light a fire in their fireplace on Saturday? Lev. 3:17 tells us that we may never eat fat. So how is it that we eat hamburgers without guilt? Lev. 27:1-7 tells us that males are more valuable than females. Do you agree? If you are female, do you think males are more valuable than you are? No? Than these verses are mistaken, aren't they? Num. 5:12-31, tells us that if we suspect our wife has committed adultery, she is to be tested by making her drink water mixed with dirt. If she gets sick, she is guilty. Do you recommend that we implement this test procedure? I don't. Interestingly, there is no such test given for men. Is this fair? Deut. 22:5 tells us we may not wear clothing of the opposite sex. Do you think it is a sin for a woman to wear her husband's shirt? No? Then you disagree with Deuteronomy. Deut. 23:1 tells us that a man whose testicles are crushed may not enter the assembly of the Lord. Should we set up an inspection station at the church doors, asking every man to kindly drop his drawers for inspection, so we can keep injured people out? Or should we just pretend this verse isn't there? Deut. 25:11-12 tells us that a wife who grabs her husband's attacker by his private parts must have her hand cut off and is to be shown no pity. It does not matter that she was only trying to rescue her husband. Do you agree? I could give many more examples.
Obviously some of these are pretty bad. So are we to just put aside all moral judgement we have (which according to the bible is given to us by God) and just accept this? I've had people say that because the Hebrews were an ancient tribe people that they needed to be treated like this, but I disagree, in fact, shouldn't God have called them to a higher standard?

What about other religions? Why is Christianity necessarily correct? What about older eastern scriptures? Are they wrong? Were those people destined to do the wrong thing since before Judasim?

If you're a calvinist, which I used to claim that I was, you'll believe in pre-destination and a God who's totally in control. I have a challenge for you, I'd like you to find a girl that has been raped by her father and tell her that it was all God's plan for her, that he planned it from before the start of time, and that his plan for her involved her father raping her. Then preach the gospel to her. From that perspective to me, I can't do the whole "God works in mysterious ways" sorry.

Also, does might make right? Why is it OK for God to just decide to do things the way he does? Because he's God that's why. It doesn't actually have to be right or OK, but you'd better do it anyway since God has more power than you and you don't want to fight him. So maybe none of what I said matters since God can do what he want, create a race of beings that can think and maybe not follow him, and treat them how he wants and even condemn some of them not being with God.

So a lot of these things make me think that I don't want to follow this God, and in essence, that doesn't allow me to, could I truely submit to a leader I didn't want to? I could pretend to, and trick everyone but God. But he doesn't want that.

Since having stepped back from the faith, I see things a lot differently. I know a lot of good people in the church, but I just can't help but think everyone is blinded.

I might sound really bitter and whatnot, and in some ways I feel like I am. It's a weird place for me to be in, I think it's been coming for a long time but I was not quite ready to actually admit it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

more room for confusion
just some videos, interesting.

I don't want to go and say it's becoming apparent, but the more I look into it, the more and more the bible makes less sense. Sure, every christian based resource points towards the "sense" that the bible is meant to make, but of course it does. it seems that when it's truely questioned, it doesn't stand up. if the only way you can make it stand up to trial is to allow contradictions and explain all abberrations as designed by using all sorts of queer responses, then to me, it doesn't add up.

is the reason we're not truely taught to objectively study and question the bible by the church because it may not stand up? I was told once that by definition the bible needs to be read by someone with the Holy Spirit, otherwise it just won't work, and that God needs to give something the HS, it's not something people can just get.. does questioning the bible make you lose this? I still find the concept of not allowing your faith to be questioned rather weird. I can personally hold the ideal that faith is so precious, that it's actually not strong enough to stand up to question, and because of that fact, you need to make sure it's not questioned, otherwise you'll lose it.

it's like sitting in a box and saying there's nothing outside the box, and to make sure that you're always right, you never allow yourself to open up the box and look outside it, just in case you "realise" you were wrong. of course the box people tell you that there still isn't anything outside the box, if you were to open it and look outside, and they'll say that you're believing a lie when you open your eyes, and use your own brain to determine what there really is, and see other things. how can I deal with this?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


so yeah, if I'm using the wikipedia definition of liberal in christianity
"The word liberal in liberal Christianity denotes a characteristic willingness to interpret scripture without any preconceived notion of inerrancy of scripture or the correctness of Church Dogma."
makes a lot of sense to me..

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Quote

In a thread on the SA forums, a therad about christianity and fundamentalism in general, someone wrote this post about fundamentalists and I guess christians in general, about how they aren't really open to other ideas. Comes from my frustration at people asking "please give me proof of your evolution lies" but they don't want to hear what you have to say.

"I think at a fundamental level this debate is flawed, from Evolution vs. Creationism, to the whole gamut of God vs. Science. The reason is this: the believers don't argue in good faith. They can never be convinced they are wrong. No amount of evidence is good enough for them to say, "Well, shit, look at that, I guess the Bible is wrong."

Science is based on the premise that we have to accept new and occasionally unintuitive models that both describe observations and predict future observations. New observations that we make that don't match current models invalidate the models and we toss them out and look for new ones.

Fundamentalists are interested in none of this. They already have their model, the Bible. They are not interested at all in furthering thought by the generation of new models. Their model does not predict anything verifiable. Instead of utilizing observations to verify or negate their model, as scientists do, fundamentalists view observations as an inconvenience that they have to discard using flawed arguments.

Scientists move forward. Science is an ever-changing field; new technology allows us to make ever more accurate observations, and these often defy current models, and so we create new ones. Fundamentalists don't move forward. They have their answers.

I think this describes the situation best: scientists are open to being wrong, and in fact, aside from personal emotion attached to pet theories, scientists love being wrong. Having new observations stream in that show current models are broken is awesome--it's a challenge, a new way of thinking to create. Fundamentalists have based their entire lives on not being wrong. If one aspect of their book is wrong, than their whole belief system is shattered. Hence, they never argue in good faith--they will make no concessions, will never give an inch, will never agree that they might have been misled.

Therefore, it is stupid to debate fundamentalists, because no real debate is possible. "

another quote from here geocities lol

"After all, if we were to declare all questions about the Bible to be off limits, how would we ever know how the book would stand if questioned? If the book is indeed inerrant, shouldn't the case for the book be even stronger after it is questioned and found to stand firm?"

Sunday, April 06, 2008


christian liberalism I mean.. the whole notion that interpreting the bible literally may not be right.. the more time I spend thinking about it the more it makes sense. I used to be hardcore for bible literalism and also "sola scripture", but now it seems like an absurd theology, since why should it be this way? because the church says so? what about me? if only I knew how I really felt and could actually come to a conclusion

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


imagine that electricity through metal is a bunch of people with small containers of "liquid power". every single person here is an electron. these liquid power containers can get filled up or maybe even just filled up halfway. the more full it has the more it sloshes around etc. now these people when they transport this liquid power around, don't always have to go the same speed, they can move fast or slow. they can also send messages up to the front of the queue to tell them to move faster, and they send this message at the speed of light. now the amount of liquid power this man has? that's voltage. the people also have different terrain to walk over, sometimes it's easy and they flow nicely, but sometimes it's not easy and depending on how full the container is they spill some of it out this means different metals have different properties when it comes to moving liquid juice around. we experience that as heat, which is sometimes the intended desire too. the speed at which the people walk about? that's amperage. the walking speed itself can induce more spillage, so consequently lost of speed means lots of heat. if the neighbouring people have more or less liquid power than he does, they all try to even it out. this is explained by the second law of thermodynamics, and it happens at the speed of light. this also explains why the people like to pour out their liquid whenever they have a useful opportunity, but they can't just pour it out for no reason. this liquid power is charged negative - and attracts anything that is + , this is how it can be made into work. sometimes the people are close to other people on a different piece of metal that is not physically touching. the people can't cross the chasm but they can pour their juice over the chasm, and sometimes on one side of the bridge ten people will pour medium filled containers onto five other people's containers that end up twice as full. these ratios can change to whatever you want, and this is the job a transformer does. not the robot kind. direct current aye

i'm currently cooking a sandwich

so what is it about the church that is so infallible, that it's statement about the bible, which is not contained within in the bible, is that the bible is the only source of truth? is the church so proud that it could not consider otherwise... pride, the sin of the pharisees. and why is this never questioned?

interesting.. i don't what to think of it, but it just came out on nowhere..

Monday, February 12, 2007

An analogy

I was thinking last night about an analogy which I'm not really happy about, because it makes some things look unfair.

Imagine you're floating in the sea, and the sea is sin. Now it's entirely your fault you're in the sea, and there's nothing you can do to get out of it. Now a boat comes along, Jesus is in the boat. He has the ability to save you, he can pull you into the boat and save you from your sin. But it's entirely up to him, he has to reach his hand out and grab you and pull you in, you don't have the ability to climb into the boat yourself.

So the result?

It's entirely your fault that you're in the water, but it's nothing to do with you if you're not in the boat, it's entirely God's "fault" you're not in there.

Doesn't seem very fair but I don't think there's much that can be done about it either..

Monday, November 27, 2006

creation... woooo

well, it's been a long time since I've updated this aspect of my blogging triumvirate, mainly because I've had nothing to say, but now I do, and I'm not even sure if people read this anyway

recently I've been struggling with the creation account that's in genesis. I've done a lot of research, and I understand evolution and creation, and I can honestly say, I don't believe in young earth creation as genesis tells it. I don't think the account in genesis is useless or irrelevant, I just don't think it's literal.

a few things have bought me to this point, mainly science showing me that evolution works and that everything points towards coming from the big bang and evolution, and also the apparent oddness of the genesis account.

another big thing that got me started was realising that christianity has been in this place before, with the earth as the centre of the universe thing. back when galileo offered up the idea that the earth rotated around the sun, the catholic church called him heretical and told him to recant what he had said as it opposed the bible. galileo was a christian, and he agreed with Saint Augustine that not all scripture is necessarily literal, for some of it is poetry or allegory. if you want to know if Saint Augustine was worth listening to, well, he's basically the very start of the reformation, and if you're non catholic (or if you are catholic and you enjoy the catholic church being non corrupt) then you have him to thank. the whole idea here is that galileo proved something "contradictory" to the bible, and he was punished for it.

so is that what is happening today with the whole creation evolution debate? the bible claims one thing and science claims another. I've studied evolution and it works, I have no reason to believe evolution itself is wrong, and I also understand the big bang, the science behind it and how science has come to that conclusion. and to be honest, I think it's greater glory to God to say he did it all that way instead of just "making the earth".

so what's the point of genesis then? I believe it's basically to point out that God did create everything, and that he planned it all and that it was all for his glory. it points out the meaning of everything.

if you want to look up some stuff for yourself here are some links Allegorical Interpretations of Genesis & Saint Augustine

Sunday, August 20, 2006

just thinking

i was just thinking today, this is kind of going to be a bit of a stream of conscienceness kind of thing
i was lying down outside and i was so happy, so content with just lying there
and i was thinking about how the world is full of suffering
and it's unfair that while i can be content, i can't be 100%, only like 99% content, because the christian in me is always there saying 'there are people to be saved' or 'you haven't given God enough time today' and both are true, so it's not like their unresonable
and i was thinking, why is there suffering and sin, why didn't God stop it from happening, wether or not you believe in free will, but why did he set it up so it would happen.
and i was thinking, that there is suffering, but there is a 'solution' which is God, to be saved by Jesus. i was thinking that it's unfair some people are going to not be saved, and that just by being saved, doesn't actually make someone a non-sinner, it just covers their sin, so there in a sense is no difference, between the christian and the non-christian in the sense of having sin in their life. people can't determine where they are born, and so people can't choose to be born into a position that would guarantee salvation, so people aren't necessarily in control of getting saved.
and this is the crux I guess
as we know from revelations, there is to be a new world, I guess some people assume it's Heaven, but that's not directly what the bible says, so everybody is going to be in this new world, that was saved on earth, but what's the difference between someone who was saved and someone who hasn't been? well, as far as I can tell, nothing. is it really to someones credit that they were born into a particular time/place that allowed them to know God? What about Judas, it's a bit unfair on him. What about people born into Saudi Arabia, where converting to Christianity results in the Death Penalty?

I don't know

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

this is here for my sake not yours

well, you can read it if you wish, but i'm putting this here, because i read it and i thought it was great and wanted to keep it, so this is just a simple cut and paste, the writer was some "Martin Zender". if you don't want to read something about free will don't read this. and feel free to comment, but remember, i didn't write it, and that's not why i'm putting this here either. i'm not even saying i agree with all of it! but it's nicely put together. this is just for me to read again and keep basically

Free Will & The "Oh Well" Creed

What is free will? Free will is a doctrine that teaches that man can act independently of God. This should already ring sour to the spiritually-attuned ear. The doctrine of free will teaches that man has the freedom to choose or reject God, never mind the verse that says no man is seeking God (Rom. 3:11).

But I remind you that we’re talking about free will; Scripture has nothing to do with this.

In other words, in the doctrine of free will, man becomes the deciding factor in his own salvation. Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, according to this doctrine, was only a potential salvation, not an actual one. According to this doctrine, the cross of Christ never saved anybody; the cross only saves those who decide to be saved. What about the verse that says no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him? (Jn. 6:44). Never mind it. What about the verses that say God is the Savior of all mankind (1 Tim. 4:10), and that the blood of the cross will reconcile all to Him (Col. 1:20), whether those on the earth or those in the heavens? Never mind them. Then what about the verse that says God is operating all things in accord with the counsel of His will? (Eph. 1:11) Again, never mind. I have already told you. Scripture has nothing to do with this. We’re talking about free will.

Scripture is strong medicine

Reader, if you believe in the free will of man, please investigate the ninth chapter of Romans in any version you please, come back, then tell me if you still believe in it. If you still do, then read Romans 11:32. If you still believe in free will after that, take a little tea, massage your temples, and read John 6:44. You say you’ve read these verses and you still believe in free will? Very well; perhaps your neck needs cracked. If you do not know a good chiropractor, try it yourself. Place one hand on your head, another on your chin and yank. Ah! Now read Ephesians 1:4. Still? Perhaps bed is the answer.

Go to bed, rise tomorrow with a clear head, then read Proverbs 16:9, 19:21 and 1 Kings 22:22. If, for whatever reason—medical or otherwise—you still believe in free will, take Daniel 4:35, Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 21:1, Proverbs 20:24 and Isaiah 10:15 and call me in the morning. As long as you are neither pregnant nor nursing a baby, take two readings of Ephesians 1:11. Caution: do not exceed this recommended dosage. At higher doses, unbearable relief may occur.

Warning: these verses may cause excitability in theologians and seminary students. Avoid operating a motor vehicle while reading these verses. A persistent reliance on orthodox tradition may be a sign of a serious condition. If your belief in free will persists for more than a week, tends to recur, or is accompanied by rash, pride (or rash pride) and a general looking down on others, accompanied by a false estimation of self, consult your Savior.

Who chose who?

Don’t take my jolly humor the wrong way. I used to believe in free will myself. But then a brother asked me to exercise it by deciding not to sin the following day. I was determined to do it. My alarm clock went off and I reached for it, but it wasn’t there; Melody had moved it to her side of the bed. The day had hardly begun and already I had missed my alarm clock; the word sin, in the original Greek language of Scripture, simply means "to miss."

So much for my vaunted free will.

Deep down, many Christians believe that there is something about them that makes them smarter than others, able to make a better decision concerning God than others. Wouldn’t you agree that Christians who think this way would have something to boast in? They would if an account of their salvation began with the word "I."

Yet Paul says that, in the true gospel of grace, boasting is debarred. That’s Romans 3:27. "Debarred" means: shut out, excluded. Do you realize what this means?

This means that a believer cannot even claim credit for his or her ability to believe! (Quite true, I’m afraid. Read Philippians 1:29 and Romans 12:3. The first verse says that our belief in Christ is graciously granted us, the second that our very faith is a gift. You’re disappointed; I can see it in your face. But now you know the truth: You are no different than anyone else. If God hadn’t chosen you, you’d be an unbeliever, too, just like your stupid Uncle Harry. Take heart. Once your pride has recovered from this, you will exult in your Savior as never before; you will need Him as you never have. (If God has used me to save you from a fall and soften your opinion of Harry, I am happy.)


Now think about it. If a person begins an account of his or her salvation with the word "I," then he or she is boasting. That person may say they’re not boasting, but denial doesn’t change facts. Yet if they begin an account of their salvation with the word "God," they are practically repudiating the doctrine of human free will. What about you? Does an account of your salvation begin with the word "I" or with the word "God?" I hope that it begins with the word "God." If it does, then you have rejected the false doctrine of the free will of man and now believe in the free will of God. This is a good thing.

For who makes you different from anybody else, and what have you got that was not given to you? And if anything has been given to you, why boast of it as if you had achieved it yourself? —1 Cor. 4:7

But here we run into an apparently insurmountable problem, which also appears quite impossible to overcome. We now understand that God has given us the belief and faith necessary for salvation. But this leads us to a startling and seemingly troubling conclusion: He has not given this belief and faith to others. While this may be a hard pill to swallow at first (I recommend a little orange juice), it is nonetheless true. As I will show, this is not a problem. No, truth is never a problem. Discarding error is the problem.

Matthew 13:11 records these words Jesus spoke to His disciples: "To you has it been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, yet to those (the throng) it has not been given."

Hear Him in Matthew 11:25- "Jesus said, ‘I am acclaiming Thee, Father...for Thou hidest these things from the wise and intelligent.’"

What does the Master say of Jerusalem in Luke 19:42? "If you knew...what is for your peace! Yet now it was hid from your eyes."

Could it be that God purposely kept some from believing His Son? You may be tempted to think that the "wise and intelligent" nailed their own coffins, or that Jerusalem got stubborn apart from God’s influence. Resist this temptation. I challenge you to read what these verses say, not what the "wise and intelligent" tell you they say. God is a causer, not a reactor. Consider the above in light of the following:

Romans 11:8- "Even as it is written, God gives them (Israel) a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing, till this very day."

Romans 11:32- "For God locks up all together in stubbornness."

Romans 9:18- "Consequently, then, to whom He will, He is merciful, yet whom He will, He is hardening."

To the mind unprejudiced by traditional teaching, these verses say one thing: God is responsible for unbelief. Don’t shoot the messenger! This truth is probably causing yet another seemingly inescapable problem to trouble your mind. That is why I am about to place that problem on a sturdy table in front of you and offer a solution to it in the plainest possible language. I choose English.

Divine-inspired stubbornness

If you believe in either the annihilation or eternal torment of Uncle Harry, then you have encountered a serious problem. I have just shown from the Scriptures that God is responsible, not only for withholding Himself from Uncle Harry, but also for locking up Harry in stubbornness. Now look around you. The world is an oblate spheroid from the weight of people like Uncle Harry; the spiritually stubborn account for most of humanity. My question to you is: what happens when these people die in this condition?

You say everyone gets an opportunity to believe before they die? Let’s test this theory. Pause to consider Israel.

In Romans 11:8, Paul writes that, "even as it is written, God gives Israel a spirit of stupor" that remains "till this very day." Paul was quoting Isaiah 29:10. Israel’s divinely-inspired stubbornness, then, dates at least to Isaiah’s time. (See also Isaiah 63:17 and 64:7-8.) Paul wrote Romans around the summer of ‘58 A.D. Isaiah lived around 750 B.C. Here alone are approximately 800 years of God-inspired stubbornness. And what of the nearly 2000 years of stupor since? Folks, a lot of Jews have died unbelievers in 2800 years. And God, Who has not only made them stubborn (Rom. 11:8, 11:32) but also holds the keys of death (Rev. 1:18), is responsible.

I wonder if your theology has an answer for this. I’ve been staring at that throw rug over there by your rocking chair. All this time I thought that was your dog lying under it. Now I see that Boscoe is chewing on the sofa. That lump under your rug is all the verses I’ve just quoted that you’ve been sweeping under there for most of your Christian life. I think it’s time for a little spring cleaning.

The "Oh well!" creed

Calvinists (those folks belonging to a religion invented by John Calvin) ran into the same problem; they simply put their dogs outside. But besides this, they also had trouble with the idea of a sovereign God bringing billions of people into the world, only to send most to an eternity of torment. You see, the Calvinists at least saw the truth of the sovereignty of God; give them credit for relatively flat rugs. They acknowledged that members of Christ’s body are predestined for it long before birth, apart from personal merit. That’s easy enough to see; Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 8:29 say as much. So hooray for the Calvinists again.

But what of the billions of people who aren’t predestined for heaven? What about the horrible problem of a God who purposely feeds hellfire with divinely-hardened flesh? Well, the Calvinists finally devised a "solution" to that: they no longer considered it a problem! Today, one of their shortest creeds is: "Oh well!" This creed is repeated a great deal at funerals. Calvinism so infuses the heart with Christian love that its founder, John Calvin, once had a disagreeable Spanish theologian, Michael Servetus, burned at the stake in Geneva in 1553. Doesn’t that hurt? I guess only if you hold onto the match for too long.

Song and dance

At the other end of the problem stand the Arminians. These folks followed Jacobus Arminius, who rejected Calvin’s predestination teaching of pure grace. Arminius believed salvation was available to everyone—if they exercised their free wills and took it (i.e. "works"). The Arminians’ rug resembled a beret on the Matterhorn. But at least they relieved God of responsibility for His creation. God sent them a large "thank you" card, which can be seen at the National Free Will Museum in Meesavemyself, New Mexico. This museum is open only if you believe that it’s open.

"If you go to hell, it’s your fault!" is the Good News of the Arminians. This bogus gospel, passed down to the present, is believed and preached by millions. It even makes some people want to wear robes.

But the doctrine, "if you go to hell, it’s your fault!" does have an even more sinister side-effect than making people want to wear robes. That side-effect is: If you go to heaven, it’s your credit. This deduction is unavoidable. If going to hell is one’s fault, how can staying out of it be anything but one’s credit? I give up. If I can be stubborn enough to lose my salvation, it is self-evident that I can be savvy enough to gain it. This little song and dance is also called "salvation by works." But I wouldn’t tell people that this is what they really believe. Well—I guess I would. But they won’t like to hear it. And they sure won’t believe it.

So you say you want to get persecuted? That’s awesome. Then walk into your average evangelistic church today and suggest to them that the blood of Christ was shed for—and will ultimately save—everyone.

For some reason, this news will stab their hearts and they will hate your intestines.

Want to hear some sense?

Now I’m going to solve the problem and relieve your troubled mind. Don’t credit me—give God the glory. (But I do accept Red Lobster gift certificates.)

The problem, restated, is: 1) No one can believe in God unless God gives belief 2) He refuses to give belief to most of humanity, hardening hearts to boot, and—here comes the problem— 3) He allegedly sends those whom He has hardened (without the proper clothing, one would assume) to an eternity of hellfire.

You will notice that the Calvinist and the Arminian viewpoint have one common point: a belief in eternal torment. The Arminians ducked this horror by making God not liable for sending folks to orthodox hell. The ticket out? Free will. Free will is one of the easiest heresies to disprove from Scripture—but it doesn’t matter. Arminian-types who believe in eternal torment are in the embarrassing position of having to stare sovereignty-of-God verses in the face and deny them; I’ve witnessed the phenomenon. But at least, unlike Calvinists, they resist a God who damns people on purpose. Calvinists, delicate souls, simply recite the "Oh well!" creed and go home.

The common problem with these two errant beliefs is—eternal torment. In my next book, I will put together the correct part of Arminianism with the correct part of Calvinism (discarding the rest), to show you the truth.

ALL things © copyright 2001-2006 by Martin Zender. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

andrew rants

i just want to say before you read this, that i was very 'emotional' when i wrote this and it comes off as a big rant, which it is. i still stand by everything i said, but if i wrote it again, i'd be a lot less emtotional and less of a rant

inspired by this blog and the war going on, i have been inspired to write about something.

can we just make stuff up and say it's true? i'm not talking about any old thing, but things to do with God/theology etc?

the more i look back at my past, the more i realise i've heard preachers tell me things, that have no bearing in reality. i have learnt that the bible is the only definate word of God we have. people talk about special revelation and what-not, but i've heard more than one 'revelation of heaven' and they were both different.

lets get a fact straight. the only theological thing we know for sure is the bible. who agrees with me? hopefully you all do.

second, we know that if something contradicts the bible then it is wrong, that too is not a grey area but black and white.

the issue comes from the third area. when someone preaches something that doesn't contradict the bible but doesn't come from it either, then what are we to do?

i heard a preacher at CNLC (guest) tell me that when you get to heaven, if you have gotten over something (like an addiction to drugs) that you'll get a crown.

his message was based on that, yet, there is no reference to that in the scripture?

sure it sounds nice, he may have even woke up from a dream with that in it! but does that mean we can just 'add' it to theology? of course not. often i hear people say things, that do sound correct, and may well be, but they're not from the bible, and therefore, ARE NOT DOCTRINE/TRUTH, and should always be stated with that in mind. something SHOULD NOT tell you something like getting a crown in heaven, without also adding that this information is speculative and not bible sourced

another one is people reading their experience into the bible. in the bible, start of acts, people spoke in tongues. in that instance, it was other known languages. nowadays people speak in tongues (i too used to do it lots), not in the same way as in the bible, but people say that what happened in the bible must be what is happening now. you know what they say about assumption.

and the greatest thing about all this is the pride people have. i am open to new opinion. i used to just accept things. i listened, and changed my mind. at least i gave it a chance. most people who i talk to won't listen. they are set in their way/thoughts and won't accept others. that is pride. to assume you are right? we CAN NOT know for sure if the 'tongues' people speak today are the same thing that was in the bible. never mind the fact that the bible clearly states to not speak in tongues unless there is an interpreter, it still happens in church often.

people will argue and tell me that tongues they speak today are the same as they were back in acts despite the fact that the situation is different and the results are different. i don't know why people are so proud they can't stop and think, maybe i'm just doing what everybody else is doing and not really stopping and studying the situation for myself, and then talking to people on both sides of the fence and really getting their own concept. a well rounded view.

i'm not trying to tell you if tongues are right or not. in my opinion, what i used to say wasn't the spirit, it was me making stuff up. i don't personally think that we have a need to speak in tongues, and that tongues was something for the people who first experienced the holy spirit. that was extraordinary circumstances, the holy spirit came down for the first time in history. they also had fire on them, but no-one has fire on them today??

context context context people. not just with learning, but why did those people have tongues and who else did and why? tongues is just an example here.

please people, study the bible, don't add to it. if it doesn't come from the bible then while it may be true, you can't state it as truth.

Monday, June 19, 2006

education vs ignorance

i was just reading something and it made me think. unlike most things i'm not sure on my position here.

the thing i was reading was about sex education and abstinance etc. this was actually about those 'purity' rings that people can wear that say they have put themselves aside to wait for marriage to have sex.

now usually i think thats a good thing. im not condoning pre-marital sex, with my christian believes and whatnot

the problem here, is that 88% of the people who make these 'purity pledges' go against what they've said.

now that in itself isn't the problem, people are responsible for their own actions and no-one else is, the problem, is that more often than not, the teachings of abstinance do not actually teach the realities of life and the 'what ifs' of what happens when (a large proportion of) people ignore these teachings and go ahead and do stuff anyway.

invariably, these people because they have been taught abstinance, do not know 'what to do', or more importantly, what not to do. this is where more people have unprotected sex, spread stds and get pregnant.

so thats the problem, but the other issue is what to do about the problem. some people (conservatives more than liberals) say that sex education is the same as condoning sex. well, there is a good question. if you teach people about sex are they more likely to do it? well, maybe, but i know i'd rather have my kid have sex younger and protected than older and unprotected (ultimately, i'd rather them wait until marriage) so yeah. education is a good thing, in my opinion. what do you think?

i personally think it's silly that people think education or legalisation = condoning, and this has come up in various debates i've had about drugs with people. i've been arguing with people about BZP and how various people want it made illegal, when i think it should stay legal, and in fact i think most drugs should be made legal, not because i want to use them, but because we shouldn't be told what to do, and it's our bodies, and just because some people don't like it doesn't mean we should force people to do what we want. people have said if you legalise marijuana it's the same as telling people 'it's ok to do', but cutting yourself is legal but that's not ok to do and it's also legal to run into a wall but that doesn't mean anyone is encouraging you to do that (actually, if you're the type of person who does things because you get told to do them, I encourage you to run into a wall) it's more a matter of personal freedom

for those opposed to drug legalisation, seriously answer this: "if someone wants to get high, why shouldn't they be allowed to" because the answer to "if someone wants to drink himself to oblivion every night, why shouldn't they be allowed to" is "but they are"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

what i've been taught vs what i've been "taught"

i was talking with my wife about this, talking about our earlier christian walks, and the churches and everything
iwe were talking about, how the churches were, and how we were taught some things but then the actions would teach us opposing things.

for example, the idea that all sin is the same. we were taught that, we read the bible and people would make a point of saying that all sin is the same. then people would be seriously looked down upon if they went out and got drunk but a lot of other sins were overlooked or weren't looked so badly at.

there were a number of things that i 'learnt' which contradict what the bible teaches me about things

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

freedom to do as we please

i've been thinking, and lets discuss (or not) some concepts of freedom and what we have in our society.

we think we have a pretty free society, but on the other hand, it's illegal to drive without your seatbelt on. we know why, as it is proven that seatbelts can turn fatal car accidents into non-fatal ones. but what if a person knows that danger but wants to risk it anyway? he's not allowed to, he's not free.

we can expand that to almost anything, drugs (my favorite), gambling, tv, basically anything. if something does not directly affect others lives, then why should we stop people from doing something? it's not illegal to be an alcoholic and spend all of your life drunk, some people think it should be, but that person makes decisions to ge drunk every day, and sure we think he's wasting it, but he's just excersising his freedom to do what he pleases. for some people it's not so easy, they can't legally just do what they want.

so what would happen in a society where the state didn't try to be everyone's parents/nanny? if all drugs were legal and taxed and that money was spend on education? a lot of christians read this blog (maybe not a lot..) and i am one of them, but often tend to forget that we live in a free society, not a christian one, so why do we push christian ideals onto people? we all know heroin is extremely addictive and can kill, why is that justification for not letting people do that to themselves?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

bias opinion a

this has absolutely nothing to do with theology, it's just some thoughts on how society, and humanity (in the west) have changed in 50 odd years.

i've just been reading this post on this board and it cracked me up but it also got me thinking. not really about that in particular though.

in the past the majority of people had similar tastes, i guess that would be the 'evolution' of the fundamental way that our western society/civilisation, from earlier times where money was not as existant and people were forced, out of situations generally out of their reach, to have similar lifestyles. next from an ingrained acceptance of society, from growing up only experiencing it, they carried 'not making different choices to other people' 'genes' through. when i say gene here i mean in a sense where although its not biological, you have it (a behaviour) carried on from parent/s to child. so often people are bought up liking the same things, not so much because they didn't have different tastes, but the whole general concept of people having radically different tastes and it being for the most part acceptable didn't even yet exist.

i'm sure that tv was a giant spark in the whole 'acceptance of different tastes', as people experiencing enjoyment in things that weren't what 'everybody' enjoyed also. slowly people in their own very home, they enjoyed television, not when they were around their friends, but when you were home alone with their family, or even by themselves?

then people would see things happening on tv that didn't happen in real life, so people would then slowly do these things (often is lesser amounts) do this more and more in real life and that would set the new standard for society (over a slow gradient of time) and tv's 'standards' are permanently lower than what is acceptable by general (as in average) population so it's an persistant cycle. and now that a large proportion of the population have access to the internet at home, a portion of those people use it as a fundamental part of their living in this current state of society, and so they will 'hone' their interests (some moreso than others) in more specific sub-aspects.

we now, as a common feature of society, will have people that are indulged into certain activities, who are rarely accepted by 'average' people. but people influence other people, people would co-exist with these people (more often now in a physical location sense) and learn from/teach people different ways of thinking and realisations of different tastes from these people not only from talking but learning also from observation (the brain's primary method of learning, being a basis for all thoughts 'above' it) and it may register something in these people.

and seeing as in *our* society the government in a round about way attempts (as the general goal that the government) to give the majority what they want. back in the day often the majority wanted it the same way, but not so today, a lot lost the passed down 'gene' of wanting to remove minorites (in a global sense), and have just chosen to accept them.

now all of this isn't something that happened suddenly, most of these things happen slowly during overlapping generations. remember there is roughly an average amount of people going through this school year learning habits passed down from older kids every year, so often change in society doesn't happen in bursts as history has previously, as we are taught it, but happens slowly.

then something society get quicker bursts happening in subtle and not so subtle (in the past tense) ways. as far as societies' history goes (as we were taught it) the internet being picked up was particulary quick, because for a lot it has revolutionised everything. 'revolutions' of thought and acceptance happened in the 50's, and that small burst of revolution started something else entirely different but entirely similar in the 60's, which has carried on until now going through changes that have basically completely affected the way all of society is today. which has always been happening of course, but this explosion of population growth that's happened recently (history time scale) has accelerated everything.

and it's hard sitting in this position now to wonder how 'wide' society is going to get before they don't fit together anymore at all. i guess some people would imagine that couldn't happen to our 'glorious' western society but it can and it will, at some stage, maybe not anywhere near our time, but we're experiencing it, it seems some parts of society aren't willing to give up things that the rest of people have now 'know' is not acceptable (ingrained racism etc) as quickly as others and when that lag gets too long big problems are going to happen, and they are, society puts it's pressure on people in different ways, and things that used to be of great value are now undervalued, like staying in marriage for example (wether or not the people were happy, is an unavoidable (as a whole) aspect of society that often happened to people regardless of their own efforts and is due to the 'hand me down' construct of society).

/opinion follows
so the patterns of living the way people were, aren't based from self made choices, they were enabled by their ancestors life experiences. wether we want it or not you have picked up stuff from your parents and every single person around you, wether it be good or bad. and basically, in the past, people got those things from directly above (parents) or from people with similar perspectives on life, but the 'web' of effective people is widening.

whats my point? well, that part is based on my opinion of right and wrong and my opinion of how i think society 'should be'

i spend a lot of time reading an internet forum where most are far more liberal than i have been, has this affected me? hell yes, so much, is it all good? me from the past wouldn't agree but who knows? i can accept being liberal in some ways, but not others.

i guess im personally a bit of an odd liberal, because i believe people should be able to do basically anything, as long as they understand (in a complete sense) all the repurcussions off such an anything. is that even possible to achieve?

i have been allowed

Monday, May 08, 2006

what a fling fest

not really
if you keep up with this particular blog of mine, you may have noticed, not so much argument but discussion on the topic of calvinism/arminianism in my last post by people leaving comments, thats fine. i thought i'd make a post giving some points and generally moving that discussion here to where it should be. as per usual i'm crap at explantion so here are quotes.

now before i start, i want people to realise that calvinism is just as valid a doctrine as arminianism (that's what most pentecostal/modern christians are, they just don't realise there is a name for it) and for starters here are some quotes from the wikipedia

"Although much of Calvin's practice was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a correctly reformed church to many parts of Europe. Calvinism became the theological system of the majority in Scotland, the Netherlands, and parts of Germany and was influential in France, Romania (especially in Transylvania and Poland. Most settlers in the American Mid-Atlantic and New England were Calvinists, including the Puritans and Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam (New York). Dutch Calvinist settlers were also the first successful European colonizers of South Africa, beginning in the 17th century, who became known as Boers or Afrikaners.Sierra Leone was largely colonised by Calvinist settlers from Nova Scotia, who were largely Black Loyalists, blacks who had fought for the British during the American War of Independence.

And some more quotes from the wikipedia

The five points of Calvinism

Main article: Five points of Calvinism

Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called "five points of Calvinism," which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dort and which were published as a point-by-point response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance (see History of Calvinist-Arminian debate). Calvin himself never used such a model, and never combated Arminianism directly. They therefore function as a summary of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism but not as a complete summation of Calvin's writings or of the theology of the Reformed churches in general. The central assertion of these canons is that God is able to save every person upon whom he has mercy and that his efforts are not frustrated by the unrighteousness or the inability of men.

The five points of Calvinism, which can be remembered by the English acronym TULIP are:

* Total depravity (or total inability): As a consequence of the Fall of man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. According to the view, people are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures.
* Unconditional election: God's choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people. Rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy.
* Limited atonement (or particular redemption or definite atonement): The death of Christ actually takes away the penalty of sins of those on whom God has chosen to have mercy. It is "limited" to taking away the sins of the elect, not of all humanity, and it is "definite" and "particular" because atonement is certain for those particular persons.
* Irresistible grace (or efficacious grace): The saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith in Christ.
* Perseverance of the saints (or preservation of the saints): Any person who has once been truly saved from damnation must necessarily persevere and cannot later be condemned. The word saints is used in the sense in which it is used in the Bible to refer to all who are set apart by God, not in the technical sense of one who is exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven (see Saint).

And here is a link to a History of Calvinist and Arminian Debate

See Calvinism is not some new doctrine that I've just come up with, it's older than arminianism, the doctrine of most christians out there TODAY.

The beauty of christians is their ability to have crazy arguments based on emotion and an unwillingness to consider an opposite. I seriously challenge people to actually do some of their own research into this, don't just spout of what you think or have been taught by church leaders. If you research this and still find it lacking, then I'm happy, but if you just don't give it the time of day because you are too proud to consider that you may be incorrect, then I am unhappy.

Rayd, you say you believe in free-will but you cannot fall away from Salvation, as in, someone who falls away from God didn't really know him in the first place.

So what about people who don't go to Heaven? You're saying that when someone is born, God knows for certain if they will go to Heaven or not. So God willing makes people that he KNOWS will not choose him and go to Hell? How is that a loving God? Because you said unless someone truely knows God, they won't go to Heaven, but how can someone know God unless HE brings the person to him? A person cannot know God by his own accord or ability. What you're saying is he makes someone, gives them an option KNOWING they won't accept it, and then they go to Hell??

I don't actually disagree with that so much, only I don't think God actually offers something to people he knows won't take it. Well I don't even think God offers anything to us, he gives it to us, and if God gives us something how are we as humans to reject it? Is that even possible? I don't think so personally.

So people, go read about it. Here is another good link. And also read anti-calvinist writings too and see how for me they grasp onto weak concepts and out of context scripture. Remember the aim of the game isn't to be 'right' (even though I am :v) but is to have looked at all the paths and decided on your truth. I honestly believe what we call Calvinism to be the true gospel. No I don't think everything John Calvin said is 100% correct but I believe in the doctrine he outlined.

The theological/historical knowledge of christians about christianity is quite appaling really. I had to do a course to even learn that the original Hebrew people split into two distinct groups and formed the Jews and the Samaritans. Why wasn't I taught this in church, why was I only taught stuff like how to save my school (which is still not saved) and other stuff which is good at the time but based on emotion/being-cool and not really any depth.

Rayd and Sharyn said I should read my bible without the intention of study or trying to get anything out of it. Why should I read it like that? Where are the instructions in the bible for how to read it? Sure there is merit in reading it like that, but seeing as most churches don't study the bible during church and the 'bible studies' leave a hell of a lot to be desired, I need to study it at some stage..


Friday, April 28, 2006

challenge/inspire me

if you read my last post you may be wondering what i am doing
now i made a statement that said i am over non-belief and into uninterested territory. what i mean was that i am now over unbelieving and back into believing, not that i had gone so far in my unbelief. i hope that clears things up. in some ways i am doing better than before but in some ways not.

anyway. you can help me. i know a few people read this from time to time, thanks big jas and rayd sometimes you do

anyway, give me a verse or preferably a passage and i will study it and write a miniture sermon on it to the best of my ability. help me get interested in the bible again. i know if i pick one myself i won't have the motivation but if in a way i'm doing it for someone else, then awesome!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

so what am i doing

so what am i doing? my wife asked me last night if i still think of myself as a christian. yeah i do, but you can't really tell. especially by my personal time. i'm actually almost over my non-belief stage and just in a stage of complete uninterest. the bible just doesn't interest me like it used to. and i know the answer to that is to just read it.

why is it when we fall away from God we often are able to keep outward appearances (for the most part) up to scratch. we're all SO afraid of being seen to be non-christian but don't really have a problem pretending to be 'better' than we are.

and why do i always feel a need to be abrasive to christian concepts? i for whatever reason always feel the need to question people and generally be distracting. now i don't want to make people uninterested in God, i guess often i just want people to think more and listen less. christians as a whole tend to be very sheepy, but more so when it comes to preachers and not Jesus. so many christians will spout out things like "Jesus would rather have a sinning Andrew than no Andrew at all" but where do they get this information? do they have a special internet-connection with God that we don't because that stuff sure as hell certainly isn't in the Bible which is the only SURE thing God gave us. but irrespective of that why do i feel the need to bring up stuff like that. or bring up drugs or other edgy comments. part of me has some amount of disdane for the current state of the church and where it gets its morals from but the other half agrees with them. oh what am i doing

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


i don't know what else to say. my faith as of lately is stuggling to get through the day. i still try to pray and occasionally read the bible but i'm not enthusiastic about it at all and sometimes i even doubt it. i'm even becoming quite cynical and i don't like it. take for example, i was reading some blogs, amy hays to be specific, hers is called 'you love me just the way i am' and the first thing that popped into my head was 'but i'm still not good enough' and in some ways i feel that way. god loves us just the way we are, but that might still not be enough to get us into heaven?

i was thinking about why people are like they are. who am i? where does my personality come from. well, my personality resides in my brain, and the only thing my brain has to go off is memory. without memory what can a brain do. the brain is just a memory machine, a very advanced one. but say for example someone gets drunk and forgets what they did on a certain evening, for example, or even goes under general anesthetic for a operation. now the brain was working but didn't remember it. so in theory you could take away the memory of someone and they'd be no-one. so from the moment a person is born they start to remember things, the way people bring them up and the things they see, and it molds what the person is like. so what makes me different from a child born in saudi arabia? i was born into a situation where i came across god, but he did not. i can only make choices that are given to me, and imo choices are just an illusion anyway, because if you think about it, form the moment you're born everything that is ever going to happen to you is already worked out because nothing is random and because things have to follow laws nothing can change..... if i took away my memory then what makes me a christian or not? if a christian gets knocked out and get amnesia, are they still a christian?

just venting sorry

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

food for thought

ok, here's something to think about. if Jesus died for everybodies sin, then how come everyone isn't saved? does that mean people who die without Jesus then get punished for sins that have already been taken away? or did jesus retrospectivly "un-die" for those sins?

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm saved by grace

Nothing else. Not my works, not my faith. Not my ability to go to church when I don't want to, or my ability to pray when I really don't feel like it. Not my love for anybody whom I meet or have only heard about.

It's like I've just been struck by lightning you know. I've heard the gospel so many times, but is it now that I am only truely understanding it? I am saved by grace, nothing else! I used to think that of course, but I also, contradictorily, believed that we had to try our hardest to follow God and not sin, otherwise we were not saved.

How much of my sin did Jesus die for exactly? If I believe that I have to try hard to get to heaven, then he can't have died for all my sins, and if that is the case, then what guarantee do I have of my salvation? I don't have any. Of course Jesus died for all my sins, past, present and future!

Its like I've just realised, that my works, and my faith, are a result of God's infinite grace! I was completely dead to sin, nothing in myself desires God, the only reason I can come to God is because he has extended his grace toward me. Me "being a better christian" doesn't make me better in God's sight. Jesus died for all my sins, how can I be any closer to God? Sure I can understand him better, and I yearn to do that, but can God accept me any more? Of course not. Grace truely is a gift from God, given freely, without any payment in any way from us, there is not a single thing that we have done on earth which has made God give this to us.

I guess I'm just writing this down because it's like it's just dawned on me. It's an amazing thing this gospel, I'm sure that without God's grace I'd be a terrible sinner, hold on, I am still a terrible sinner, sometimes I don't see how God can still love me despite it all, but I guess that is part of the miracle of grace.

May God bless you all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

songs about me songs about god

i was thinking, if we read the psalms almost all of them are about God obviously. now i know most songs in church are about God in a roundabout kinda way, but often the recent trend is to sing about me and God. "God i bow down, God i give my life to you"

does this strike anybody else as weird? of course not, but upon a lot of thinking, we need to realise that we're not singing about God but about ourselves, and what we do. we need to give praise to God for the things we have done, and if we sing about ourselves it should only be in a sense of our unworthiness to come to God.

please go read the psalms and see what i'm talking about.

Friday, September 16, 2005

General Concerns and Thoughts

It's been such a long time since I updated this. I guess it's because unlike my other blog, I think this is a very serious topic, and don't always have the time or energy to make a decent post, but I'll try now.

I've got general concerns for certain aspects of the church. My position is that I used to be in a predominate Christchurch Pentecostal church and have since moved to a much smaller Anglican Church.

The difference is astounding, but some that stand out are the fact that we don't have a large turn-over, almost 0 in our church. We maybe don't get many new people in the door, but we hardly ever at all get people who come for a short while and then leave. Now before I go further I don't want to be all like "my church is better than yours" but just highlight a few things. Now why are these people staying? For me, for what seems like the first time in my Christian life, I've been actually learning about God and the Bible. Previously I'd learnt tonnes about "Christian Living" but it didn't really help me, I'd heard tonnes of stories about whatever and just a whole lot of talk about decent but misguided things. Now I learn about God, through the Bible, which is the main means that God gave us to learn about him from.

What's really interesting, is that almost every single pentecostal christian that has come to the church to see what all the fuss is about (a number of us left my old church over a period of time and came to this one) has commented on the teaching and the depth and how much they actually get out of a service. It's like it shows them how shallow their previous church experiences have been. They realise they have hardly learnt anything about God, just had lots of good times and socialising, but mainly missed the real point.

I guess I don't have any more to say, but just wanted to say that. What do others think?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

quick note

Hey I just want to mention, that I don't think the things I talk about here are a problem of the "Pentecostal" church.

The Pentecostal church in it's very nature tends to hold onto these things but I'm not specifically talking about that church. Some non-pentecostal churches have the issues I am putting forward and some pentecostal churches don't.

Don't get me wrong people :)

What do I think about tongues?

Well here's a topical topic. Not really topical at all though, but quite controversial. I go to a church where we do not speak in tongues, and I used to go to churches where we (and I) spoke in tongues on a regular basis for the past 7 or 8 years. So how do I feel about them? Well the first topic I'm going to tackle is wether or not all christians should speak tongues and also what they are.

To start with though, I am going to put forward 2 concepts of bible study which will ultimately lead us to determining how we feel about such a subject, because what has God given us to know him other than the bible?

  1. The difference between "Descriptive" and "Prescriptive" books.
  2. Reading our experiences into the bible.
So I touched on the first point in my last update but I will repeat it here as it is an important part of understanding how the bible works and fits together.

What type of book is Acts? If Acts was on it's own and not in the bible, would we look at it as a fiction, a historical book, or an instructional book? Well nothing in the bible is fiction so we can cross that off the list right away. So is it a historical (Descriptive) book or an instructional (Prescriptive) book? Well I guess we'd all agree that it is a historical book, it describes history as it happened.

Note that it is important to realise this isn't a book telling us what should happen to us, but what has happened in the past.

So are we to read this book and assume that what happens in it should happen to us? Surely not, as in acts people get transported (Acts 8:39-40) about, also the holy spirit appears as fire (Acts 2:3), a number of other unusual acts (lol) happen too. Now what we need to understand about Acts that the book is very unique as it deals with the Apostles, a group of people that existed at the time but no-one can ever replace in position or authority (see Acts 1:21 to back that up) and was also a book of many firsts, including the first time that God's blessing ever came onto a group of people that was not Jewish. These are all things that are once-offs and do not happen in this day and age, or more correctly, cannot happen in this day and age.

The second point is reading our experiences into the bible. Now here is where it gets tricky and where I am going to write from. Now I have spoken, and am still able to, speak in what I used to know as "tongues", but now I'm not so sure that what I did speak was what the bible meant when it referred to "tongues", see everything I knew about tongues was from other people and what they told me, but not really from the bible. I think we have been reading our experiences into the bible, as in, we spoke what we thought was "tongues" and then decided that what is in the bible is what we were doing.

The problem I have with this is that the bible when it refers to tongues talks about tongues as if it were another human language. The first time tongues was heard was in Acts 2:4, and please note that the word tongues also means languages. The NIV even has a note to do so. It is a problem when reading the bible in English that we take the translation too literally without studying it to find out what the original text actually said, because often the translation process isn't so straight forward.

I do not believe that the nonsensical sounds that I can produce and call tongues are what the bible talks about. In Acts 2:8, in reference to Acts 2:4, the people all said that they are speaking the native tongue (language) of the people listening, not the people speaking. Now would it not be accurate to say that here the tongues are other languages? In 1 Corinthians 2:2-28 Paul tells us about how tongues serve no purpose in church unless they are interpreted. I have never ever been in a situation where tongues have been interpreted. It says that we should prophesy, and yet I don't see this happening?

In my experience the pentecostal church has put a lot of emphasis on people and speaking in tongues. I have even heard people say that you have to speak tongues if you are a christian! Thats crazy talk! 1 Corinthians 12:10 says "to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues." So it says that some people tongues, some people prophecy, as you can see here.

I think thats all I have to say about tongues right now. My next topic might be the idea of baptism of the Holy Spirit, and is the Holy Spirit coming on us an experience that is different to becoming a christian? Basically the concept of a christian having to "get" the Holy Spirit after becoming a christian is crazy because without the Holy Spirit what is a christian? More later ;)

i'll finish this later

i did some crazy ass quiz which is complete bs but here's the results

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic




What's your theological worldview?
created with

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My problem with the "modern" church pt i

ooooh I said it was going to be controversial but starting out like this?

First of all I'd like to say "don't get me wrong people" because I'm only a christian now because of the pentecostal church, and there are a lot of things good about it. I know it's not good to just go around nit-picking but that's not what I'm doing. I feel that there are some serious issues that modern church mind-set has, and they need to be addressed. And by the way, this is only from my experience of the pentecostal church in Christchurch, mainly my previous church, which was a predominant church near the centre of town.

I feel that the teaching in most modern church leaves a lot to be desired. In fact I would go as far to say that months would go by without any teaching in the church. I know I know there are sermons every week, but my question is, "What purpose do they serve"? Well, is it good enough to go to church, and then have some one talk to us about a certain subject that is christian based? Sure, if it's done correctly. The amount of sermons I have heard and forgotten is unbelievable, is that my fault? Maybe, but a lot of the sermons I have heard have dealt with such subjects as "outreaching in your highschool" and "get more holy spirit". Now for what good value these topics have, well, whats the point in just talking about them? I've found most sermons to be mixtures of stories and well chosen bible verses to illustrate a topic followed by a lot of emotion. While I grew up with this kind of teaching, I now realise that it achieves very little. Sure at a "fired" up concert maybe at the time you'll feel like going home and saving the school, but often the next day you just don't feel that same way.

The problem for me isn't the good intentions of the sermon, but the practical aspects of one. We need to understand that man is man and God is God and we cannot in any way shape or form replace God. God gave us the bible to relate to him with. Jesus only had the scripture when we was around on earth but did he have any trouble with motivation? Do you think if instead of reading the scripture, if one of the Pharisees had decided to take some verses from here and there, and talk about a subject, if Jesus would have been the same? No he wouldn't have. He knew everything about God because he had the scriptures and he read and understood them. He had an ability to understand them that we do not possess, but he still got every single thing he needed from them. Is it not wise that we take this same approach to the scriptures? What exactly about our society needs are not met by the scriptures? I have discovered, and through practice, that being taught Gods word, and by having it explained and researched, that I have learnt far far more about God, I am in a position to understand him better, to understand what God wants for us and how he wants us to live our lives.

I have been a christian since I was 15, and I am 23 now (2 days from 24) and only in the past year have I learnt such fundamental christian historical facts as who the samaritans actually are! How come the hebrew people are called jews in the New Testament? I never knew! It's crazy to think that for all this time I hardly even understood the basis of where we get our beliefs from! Sure I used to try to read my bible every night, but unless we dedicate our selves to studying the scriptures, we are only going to end up with nice memory verses.

Which brings me to another topic: The 3 C's of bible study


I was in an old church of mine recently who are doing up the stage. Plastered on the wall was a quote from 1 Kings 5 "I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God" it may have been a different version but it was King Solomon either way. It was almost as if this verse was the reason for the building of this new stage. Why do I have a problem with it though? I mean, it's talking about making a temple for God isn't it! Well, it is, but in context, we should know that the temple Solomon built was a temple for God in the Old Testament. God promised David that his son (Solomon) would build a temple. But God doesn't "live" in temples any more. Every single christian has the holy spirit and so we don't need to make a temple for God, we don't need to offer physical sacrifices anymore for our salvation, as Jesus has died on the cross and achieved that for us. The temple in the Old Testament went hand in hand with sacrifices and other practices now, that were required so we could be ok with God, but don't need to happen anymore.

Now was this sign trying to say "We are bringing back the old style sacrifices"? And effectivly putting the law back in place? No I'm sure they were not, but in light of what the verses were actually in the bible for, does that make it ok to use those verses where we see fit? We need to understand that there are two types of books in the bible. Descriptive and Prescriptive. Descriptive books, like most of the Old Testament, tell of a history, but are not a prescription of what we are to do. That's not their purpose in the bible. The letters in the New Testament are prescriptive, they are instructions to the church. The Gospel and Acts are Descriptive, as in they tell a history. Sure there are commands from Jesus in there that we are to listen to, but we need to understand the purpose of the whole book.

We need to understand that we can't just use verses by themselves because they sound nice. It's called quoting out of context.

A great example is Jeremiah 1:5 ""Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Wow thats amazing! It speaks right to me!!

Hang on though! What else does God say in the same conversation?

"Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

Oh crikey! That sounds a bit extreme! Lets see what else he says

From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the LORD.
"Their kings will come and set up their thrones
in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
and against all the towns of Judah.

I will pronounce my judgments on my people
because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made.

What the hell!! It seems like all the Northern Kingdoms are about to be summoned by God!

We need to understand that God was saying that to Jeremiah, and not to us. There ARE lessons to be learnt from reading this book, and it is essential to understand God, else God would not have put it in the bible! But we can't just take any old verse and think that it is God speaking to us, well no more than we can from any book. Just because something sounds nice and comes from the Bible doesn't mean we can just read it how we want.

Now I know I've said a lot, and I've probably rushed it, but I would like THOUGHTFUL comments and INTELLIGENT discussion on this. If you have questions please ask as I want to answer them as well as I possibly can.
Until next time.

What is this Andrew?

Well I've been inspired to write about things that actually matter. I'm going to use this as an outlet for serious thoughts of mine. They will mostly all be about God/theology etc. It will most likely be controversial given my prospective audience, but I will keen for people to argue with me, and hopefully encourage everyone to study the bible more to come to a clearer understanding of God through the bible, his appointed method for us to learn about him.

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