Answer A Question…Part 2

20Apr08

#1 Thank you. The question I asked could have become a minefield of opinions and arguments. My intent was not to find out if this would happen, but I knew it could. All of you chose instead to focus on the question and lay your thoughts out there.

#2 This question came after reading a post the other day. Frankly, after I finished reading it, I was pissed! I read a post where a group of Christians who all believe in the same God and the same Jesus, ripped each other apart when someone did not share  the same answers. It was extremely frustrating to read.

#3 As I read that post, 2 things stood out to me.

First, we all come from different backgrounds. We come from different churches and denominations, or possibly none at all. We come from different experiences and we all have different views on how God is working in us and through us. Because all of us are unique and God treats us each that way.

Second, We are at different stages of life. Some have been walking in the Christian faith all their lives, some have just begun. some are farther along in study, some are just beginning.

So, as I asked you this question, “As Christians, are we saved from something or saved to something?”. I assumed I would get similar answers but many different angles, opinions and depths of thought. But, what I saw, was agreement. We all came to an agreement that it was both. We found scripture to back that up. And we went on to add to the thought and make sure that Jesus was the focus and that there was more to come. I loved that.

There are so many different theologies out there today in Christianity. The ones taught the most are mostly centered around styles of living and what we can or can’t do. It is amazing to see what different churches or denominations can pull out of scripture and say we have to do, or achieve, or be to call ourselves Christian. But, when it comes to who Jesus is and what he did for us, there is usually an agreement. Yes, there are some different thoughts, but as you have shown me in my last question, there is generally agreement.

So, What is it about theology that we are so determined to hold onto? Are there minors and majors when it comes to theological thought? If it truly doesn’t matter, then why do people hold so tightly to minor theological thoughts?

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38 Responses to “Answer A Question…Part 2”

  1. So…you’re asking, what are the essentials vs. the nonessentials?

  2. Sure, I am probably asking if you think there are essentials and non-essentials and what they might be.

    I am curious what people might come up with on that.

  3. I think you gave the answer in your post Brent! (The ‘First’ and ‘Second’ starting para’s).

    We ALL are different – our paths must therefore be different and different Major and Minor ‘theologies’ areheld closely to us as a result of our difference.

    Jesus was Just One Man – yet millions follow Him; each sees Him differently as Scripture speaks to them directly (or ‘second-hand’ via the various ‘branches’ of christian theology).

    We hold on to what ‘resonates’ most in us.

    I believe Christ and His Message of Love is the single Major ‘theology’ worthy of consideration to us today as this IS The Greatest of God’s Commandments to mankind.

    What is of most importance to me is to understand FULLY what Christ did – so that i can become as Him – dedicate my life to The Will that is the reason i am here rather than the will that is a result of my being here.

    I do not wish to be a Christ imitator – one who simply copies what we are told He did by others who watched him and reported some of his deeds faithfully – but i desire to DO as he did, find the Way to overcome the ‘self’ completely.

    <B

  4. On this side of the cross, I believe Jesus points us to the One True God. Since before the time of Christ, my ancestors were barbarians living in the Northwestern regions of Europe, I would have known nothing of Elohim. I’m glad to live at this time when the teaching about Jesus has almost swept the earth.

    Jesus is the way to our Heavenly Father. He told us how to know the Father — through Him. So I go to the teachings that tell me about Him and have put my trust in the Word who became flesh. I feel I need to know as much about what He taught as possible, so I study the word which has made me aware of Him.

    He said I am a sinner and need to be saved from inevitable death which sin caused. In agreeing with Him I am washed clean by His blood (without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins) and have entered into Covenant with Him through trusting in His death and resurrection for salvation. He promised He would make His abode with me through His Spirit. I am now one of His sheep and I follow Him as my Shepherd. He leads me through the Spirit to walk in a new way — the way of death to self and new life in Him.

    I think that’s essential. What that “looks like” to others doesn’t matter so much…as long as I’m leading them to Him…showing them His love and teaching them His word.

    I’m now going to click “submit” and hope I didn’t leave out anything essential… 😕

  5. Love, “but i desire to DO as he did, find the Way to overcome the ’self’ completely.”

    Do you think you can do this without Him? Do you think it is your job to do this at all? Maybe it is His job to do this?

    Michelle, Beautifully written. I think the intent of what you wrote came through very clear for me. The essential is Jesus. Who He was, is and will be. What he has done for us and how we choose to follow everything about Him.

  6. Thanks, Brent. Years ago I would have given you a long list of the ways that would be “evidenced” in your life, and depending upon what things you were missing, I would have declared you “saved” or not. 😦

    I am very glad to be away from that doctrine. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed. 😉

  7. 7 tam

    Wow Michelle – you’ve left me speechless with that.

    Love – “We hold on to what ‘resonates’ most in us.”

    What if what resonates most in us is bad theology and then try to force it on others as essential?

  8. 8 Nevin

    I have come from a long line of some bad theologies. It seems like the one thing theololgy does is provide a safe warm environment to be in. Do this, do that, play with other people who do the same, and all things will be good. I grew up in a house where catholics and mormons were going straight to hell, and there was some questions about the lutherans across the street. There I just about offended everyone. Anyways…it seems like Christ is always pushing us beyond our comfortable little group of like minded potluck buddies. That’s where theology can fall apart. It can get so thick with good intent that it starts to pull focus away from Christ. Having said that, I still miss saying the nicence creed every once in a while…

    Nev

  9. Tam. Then we would not be truly following Him but following a corruptor and our ‘fruits’ should clearly show this in time.

    Has the ‘Christianity’ of the last 2000 years truly brought His Kingdom any closer than it was in Jesus’ day? Christ is known around the world but there remains as much ungodliness as ever there was in spite of this.

    Michelle – while it was not put exactly the way i would put it it IS exactly what i mean and believe myself.

    Brent – i may have made some comments in the past that could be read by some as meaning we can do it without ‘Him’.

    There is a problem here (not the one you may be alluding to!) 🙂
    The problem is Jesus’s ‘dual’ perfect nature – both Man and God.

    We tend to feel we are less than God while He was (As) God.

    I feel anyone can do without the man Jesus – he was simply a perfect example we all Could follow to live our lives as God Intended (The Way) – IF we choose to live the way He lived on Earth (God ‘centred’)

    I DO NOT FEEL anyone can do it without the Holy Spirit and The Word of God – each of which speaks directly to each one of us individually as we ‘Accept’ them within us. The Spirit lies within us all – underneath our own ego that surrounds every thought we have. God lives within us – we mostly place our own idea of ‘self’ over and above this Spirit – we feel (falsely) like we are walking without His Presence, many times.

    Do i feel i can do it without Him? I know Jesus did it for Himself (as man – overcame his own earthly will and put His Father’s Will first and foremost in his earthly life) if he can – i can. He came to give each of us Hope.

    Is it His Job? Am i to have no input? Am i not to do works on myself but leave it all to God?? Does my free-will count for Nothing in my life??

    What do you think? 😉

    It cannot be done by earhtly works alone! Our Spirit has to be built up into a REAL ‘body’ (Body of Christ) that lives within us in a fashion that we can Hear speaking to our own earthly body Always – Loud and strong enough to drown out our own selfish thoughtin every circumstance.

    In this our own will plays a contributing role. The Spirit is a ‘Gift’ but we pay little to no real attention to it by reason of our loud ‘earthly voice’ within shouting out to pay attention to it and not the Spirit – it is this we work on removing from us with Christ’s assistance. He will place and build His Temple (Spirit) within us but we need to work on eliminating the ‘background noise’ that comes from us as we grow up and keep with us for most of our lives, which causes us to avoid spending our time ‘within’ and listening to His Voice in the (our personal inner) Temple.

    <B

  10. 10 tam

    Love – I see it as we are visual people. We needed to SEE. Although we haven’t seen Jesus with our own eyes – His followers and thousands of others did – many wrote of their personal time with Jesus. We now see through their eyes who Jesus was, as a man, and have a visual example to follow. I need that. Not all will believe, obviously, just because Jesus walked this earth and His(tory) was written for us. BUT Jesus needed to come to die. So no Love, No one can do without the man Jesus. He HAD to come. It was His Fathers will. If Jesus wasn’t needed then we needed nothing to redeem us and His life was lived in vain. Even you said “He came to give each of us Hope.” So there was a purpose to His coming. He came to give us not only Hope, but life to its fullest, forgiveness, mercy, grace, eternity. GOD could have done it another way. Of course, He’s God. But HE chose this way. He sent His son. Therefor, if God said that Jesus was needed – then I’m going with that 😉

  11. 11 Deborah

    Hi B

    I believe the essentials of Chirstianity are the Trinity, Jesus is God, Salvation by grace and that Heaven and Hell are real. I believe these are established in the Word of God. When Christ came to earth, it established the church which is the people, not the building, who declare Him Lord and belong to Him. So the essentials to me are, the Triune God, Jesus (fully God, fully man) came to save sinners, we are all sinners and fallen short, and that Satan is real. I also believe Heaven and Hell to be real places, and that once you have given your life to Christ, salvation is secure.

  12. Here are my essentials:

    Jesus.

  13. I wonder if at first it isn’t because it is something “tangible” that we can grasp? it says “this” in the Word, so I will do or not do it as the case may be. Then just getting attached to it, it’s the way we’ve always done it, and “it” is the right way.

    Not knowing the difference between the old and new covenant? I believe there are many that do not know, this is something that must be specifically taught I think.

    (Apologies if I’ve doubled someone else’s comment. I did not read them first). So, now I’ll go do that!

  14. Okay this is so off topic…but I was wondering if there is any way to get TRF’s rendition of Kari Jobe’s Revelation Song that was done on Easter by Vanessa I believe. I just LOVED that song, and although Kari Jobe does an awesome job singing it, I really really really liked how Vanessa sang it. Just thought I’d ask 🙂

  15. Tam, with what eyes do ye see and with what ears do ye hear???

    You know what is truly in my heart (i hope?) – do not be confused by what is in my mind, or my words (or what is in your own mind for that matter for, at it’s most base level, it is earthly understanding and not of the Spirit that ‘lives’ in our all our minds – for our Spiritual understanding lies in our Hearts – not our minds with which we all ‘reason’ what is ‘true’ and what is ‘false’. (that we ‘see’ and ‘hear’ with our earthly eyes and ears).

    i am ALL about helping others realise that it is The Spirit (God’s comunication/link with us) that it is important for us all to Follow Truly (and this Spirit includes Jesus as God within us!!)- not our own selfish, ego-filled, ideas of what ‘Truth’ is for each individual.

    While we still cling to those ideas and thoughts and behaviours that lead us away from God in favour of our own understanding of ‘truth’ we have not Jesus the man in us, nor us in Him – He eliminated all of the earthly (corrupted) things from within Him with the aid of The Spirit – just as we are supposed to be doing but many do not see this.

    Only Then was he able to ALways do His Father’s Will Truly.

    Why do you think we have no word of Jesus’s actions before he turned 30 in Scripture? (His life is mentioned but not what he learned and knew before He had the full ‘Grace’ of the Holy Spirit descend upon Him).

    How close to Jesus are we all really?

    love you.

    <B

  16. American Heritage defines Theology:

    1. The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.
    2. A system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions: Protestant theology; Jewish theology; etc.

    I’ll take the first one… throw away the second. The two definitons seem dichtomous. How can you seek the nature of God and Truth, rationally and inquisitvely while simultaneously holding to a specific system or school of thought?…

    Desconstruct everything and you’ll find the Truth.

  17. Deconstruct NOT Desconstruct … Sorry…

  18. Hey gang, sorry I have been pretty absent that last day and a half. Been pretty busy, but wanted to jump in.

    Michelle, I have been there as well. I never want to put “form over function” and even worse, hold someone else to it.

    Deb, Good thoughts. I was curious about your post on “once saved always saved”. I have heard both sides and there is scripture to back up both. Do you really think it is essential? Does our life of worship and devotion to God really depend on whether or not we can walk away from all of it?

    Theressa, “I wonder if at first it isn’t because it is something “tangible” that we can grasp? it says “this” in the Word, so I will do or not do it as the case may be. Then just getting attached to it, it’s the way we’ve always done it, and “it” is the right way.”

    I believe this is the way most churches function and it saddens me. There is no room for God to teach or lead. It becomes about protection and self. Good thoughts.

    Love, I think you and tam have a nice discussion going on…do continue 🙂

    BuddyO, Hey dude, it is great to hear from you! Thought we might have lost you.

    How in the world can “American Heritage” have both those definitions for one thing. That is ridiculous. they are completely different thoughts.

  19. Hey Kristen, don’t worry about it being off topic.

    I wish we did have a recording of that. we will be doing it again soon though, so maybe I can see if we can track it then.

    Vanessa blew me away on that song!

  20. Thanks Brent – I’m willing if Tam is 🙂

    As for two definitions: So are you saying science cannot be molecular science?

    Theology is a ‘field’ of study while protestant theology (for example) is simply one branch of that study. Same for the example i gave above – let’s not get too wrapped up with semantics, huh?

    here is a phrase that might better explain…

    “Theology moves back and forth between two poles, the eternal truth of its foundations and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received.” [Paul Tillich, “Systematic Theology,” 1951]

    One man can know God personally – i think where we have ‘trouble’ is when a group tries to tell that one man how he must view God to be ‘correct’ and be ‘like us’/(how we view God/Christ).

    Especially when the evidence it that a lot of the ‘us’ are still trapped in their own sin.

    <B

  21. Hey Love, can there be absolute truth? Can we never decide to rest on something of substance?

    I understand your take on scripture, but if you and I were to sit down tonight and start reading through scripture and to pray together and lean on His understanding through all of it. we would not come away with some sort of truth?

    When do we decide…if ever…to start saying, “this is truth”?

    In reading your last comment, I think Of King David in the bible. A man full of sin and yet a man the God was pleased with. He is a good example of a man trapped in sin and yet one we should be learning from.

  22. Wow – Absolute Truth – that’s a Biggy! 🙂

    Can there ever be? – i say an unequivocal Maybe! (yes!) 😉

    Does any one human ever understand it completely and perfectly?

    Does God?

    I think you know me well enough by now to answer those two for me – i am not entirely sure i could return the favour with yours though?

    Upon what ‘rock’ do we build our Foundations in Christ?

    from my reading in the blogosphere i am sure that it is not perceived exactly the same thing/way for each one of us.

    I do not say that it should be so.

    We’re you and I to do as you suggest (and i have to admit that’s an entertaining thought – one day it would be fun to find out for real! 🙂 )…

    I would hope that both of us increased in Truth and that we might have ‘something’ solid in common – but i do not believe that to be essential to my connection to God – nice, but not essential! 🙂

    When do we decide to start? we never ever stop! The trouble is it is our ego and our ‘so-called’ rational mind that answers for us (what is Truth? – a Truth we find ‘comfortable’ for our self) more often than not, and we live perpetually in error while this remains so.

    God is pleased with ALL his Children when they look First to Him – a man trapped in sin cannot do so always.

    I do hope you are not proferring David as an example for all men to follow/learn from? – i already have my example! I need no other.

    David, Job, Saul/Paul, etc,etc. might be ‘cautionary examples’ to ‘learn from’ if we see their flaws in us and how we might handle them better but i think anyone ‘pre-Christ’ is less than an ideal choice as someone to follow.

    Follow? 🙂

    <B

  23. Thanks Brent…I would love to have a copy of all the song’s Vanessa sings…there is just something so amazing about her voice. Let me know if/when you do it again, I might just be there with my video camera or my phone recording it 🙂
    I did buy the Kari Jobe CD from itunes today, and had the Revelation Song on repeat, so I must have listened to it about 30 times.

  24. I read a post where a group of Christians who all believe in the same God and the same Jesus, ripped each other apart…

    Hey Brent,

    I’ve experienced being the ripp-ie and ripper in similar exchanges. Some online. Some in person. I think as the ripper, I allow a difference to become more important that the similarity (the one thing). Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to be the ripp-ie on some occasions. Those experiences have taught me a great deal about myself.

    My view of the Christian-ripping phenomenon is pretty much Corinth (to the nth power). I hear Paul’s message to that church and think it is the most unlearned, learned, and relearned message of all time (among Christians). I see some local churches as very adept at reaching the lost through what is often called “seeker sensitivity.” Other’s are very adept at teaching and equiping the saved. Others are very good at feeding the homeless.

    I see all of this activity as different parts of the same body. I view nearly all of the intra-/extra- denomination/theological “ripping” as infighting within the same church (within the body of believers). I have found myself neck deep in the mud and concluded that I was placing an inordinate amount of relevance onto a difference rather than acknowledging and encouraging the Christ-centered ministry to which he/she/they are devoted.

    Despite being aware of this, I suspect I will find myself in the mud pit again in the future. I have my own buttons. People who know me sometimes press them to get me going. People who don’t know me, press my buttons unintentionally and then wonder if I am always such a jerk.

    I see it as a bad-news / good-news thing: the bad-news is each park of the body suffers from pride and sometimes (often? quite frequently?) believes to have a direct line to the head. The good news is, no matter how ugly and muddy the different body parts might, at times, behave, the legs will continue walking, ears hearing, and the hands holding.

    thanks for the reminder in these last 2 posts that we are one in Christ.

  25. 25 Deborah

    Hi B, I just read where you responded to me…sorry..
    Do I feel that our salvation security is essential? Ya, one less thing to argue about….. 😉

    I feel it is essential that people understand the security they have in Christ else they live in a state of constant….is He going to leave me? I suppose that stems from watching my Mom struggle with this for so many years, not fully understanding what happens, or our responsibility as a believer. Now, at the age of 80, she’s finally getting it, and there is a tremendous change. I understand that we need to keep short accounts with Christ etc., and that it is daily submission. I think there are people who will go through the motions, for a friend or family member or even because they are wrapped up in the moment who then turn around and go back to the way it was with no intention of truly submitting and following Christ. That’s for Him alone to decide. It’s the heart condition that only He can see. Knowing about your security in Him allows the peace that comes from belonging to the King. Without that knowledge I think it can cause a lot of insecurity, second guessing that can become hindrance is all we were created to be through Him.

    I hold on to John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

  26. Hey Love, I would love someday to sit there together and open scriptures and dig in. Maybe…

    You said, “but i think anyone ‘pre-Christ’ is less than an ideal choice as someone to follow.”

    I would have to disagree…so who’s disagreeing now 🙂 I think men like Paul and David and others give us a perfect example of people living out the Christian faith and learning as they go along. We can learn from their failures and successes. We can learn from their habits and mistakes. We cannot be Jesus. We are supposed to let Him shine through us. Can we seek to live as He lived? Yes, but I don’t feel that I am supposed to become Jesus, I am supposed to be the man God has created me to be, exemplifying Jesus through me as He changes the way I think and act.

    Kristen, it is a great song!

    Ric, beautifully said. I love your positive look at all of it. And the reminder to be that “parts” He has called us to be. And the reminder that as we fail, it truly affects the whole “body”.

    Hey Deb, I completely understand what you are saying, but it sound like to me that your reasons for making it essential are more personal. Knowing your secure, give you peace. I can understand how living life, second guessing, would be overwhelming. I think there is verse after verse that shows that as we choose to follow, He will never leave nor forsake. There is definite promise there.

    I agree with you that only God looks on the heart and determines. My concern with finding peace in not “losing” our salvation is that it becomes a battle of whether or not I’ve done enough, so as to make sure my heart is right. If I am concerned whether I have done enough, I will always be concerned about my security.

    I guess maybe a perspective thing for me.

  27. Hey, I’m kinda back but still real busy. (truth be told too busy to be even writing this…)

    but it sound like to me that your reasons for making it essential are more personal. Knowing your secure, give you peace

    I think we as Christians need to move back away from the “Your Own Personal Jesus” mentality, worrying about who’s in and who’s out, and focus more on living in the Kingdom NOW. Ushering Christ into the world through our inidividual lives for the benefit of ALL creation. Leave the Book of Life for the King to manage.

  28. Hey BuddyO, I think what you have just said really speaks to where my heart is on this.

    For me it is not an agreeing or disagreeing with “secure”. It is more about the “need” for it to be essential.

  29. 29 Deborah

    I gave my scriptural reasoning on my blog..so I did make this more personal…but I believe once saved always saved. I see many examples in the bible where there were years of running hard away from the Lord, and still, He was faithful to bring them back to full restoration…I don’t believe He looses any that give their lives to Him.

  30. Haha, I was starting to write something and then your comment came up Deb.

    I am not arguing what you believe, I wasn’t questioning the idea. I was questioning whether or not it is essential. I have read your post and I still don’t see how “once saved always saved” is crucial to our salvation in Christ.

  31. 31 Deborah

    Sorry B, I’m throwing things out while I’m at work…I don’t mean to sound short…

    Personally in my walk, I do believe it essential…are you asking for scriptural references or stories? i guess I’m not understanding your views…I’ll re-read your thoughts and the others when I get home tonight..when its quiet..*sigh* 🙂

  32. No worries Deb, get to me when you can 🙂

  33. Hey B: I’m here now..what I understood the question to be was why I thought eternal salvation was an essential. I’ve given personal and scriptural reason why…and I understand what you’re saying here:

    “My concern with finding peace in not “losing” our salvation is that it becomes a battle of whether or not I’ve done enough, so as to make sure my heart is right. If I am concerned whether I have done enough, I will always be concerned about my security.”

    That is my very reason why eternal salvation to a believer is so important. Without it, you are always concerned if you have done enough…what am I missing?

  34. Gotcha!

    Regarding your question, my thought was, wouldn’t you still be concerned over whether or not your heart is “right” enough?

    I truly am not going to dispute security or not. That wasn’t my intention for this post. From my perspective it seemed that either view…regarding heart or insecurity, would cause concern, if I was to focus on them. But that’s just me.

  35. K, I’m not trying to dispute…just makin sure I answer you question and understand what ur trying to relay to me. Really,, I promise…:lol:

  36. Totally agreed. that’s where I am coming from 🙂

  37. Brent – just so’s you know – i do wish to comment further but am presently ‘rushed’ and do not want to answer on this thread without paying it FULL attention it and you and others deserve.. 🙂

    love you Man

    <B

  38. Ok – made it back – finally – and the break has allowed me to refresh the thoughts in my mind and see more clearly where we may be at cross purposes.

    I feel you may have misunderstood what i meant when i said BEing as Jesus the Man.

    I don’t mean we (try to) live His entire life and suffer his Physical death – that would be a travesty to any who attempt such – and unnecessary – since He’s already done it once for us all.

    No – what i tried poorly to express was….

    I want to (and believe we ALL ‘should’ ) DO as He did INTERNALLY – which is to observe his own human ‘error’ (things turning the ‘self’ away from God and eliminate them ALL – one by one – until there is NOTHING left within who we are that EVER wants to do it ‘my’ way, which is not in perfect accord with His Way!

    I believe He did so mostly prior to the Scriptural record of his main actions and that He left hints of this throughout Scripture and gave instruction on this (in biblical ‘language’ not my more ‘psychobabble’ terminology) Directly to His Chosen 12 – who were then instructed to share His Wisdom and learnings in ways that people who had never considereed this in the slightest would have a chance to understand and wish to learn more about on their lifelong journey to see His Kingdom Come.

    Basically – that we become Less (of the negative, selfish, evil within and more of Him in it’s place – day by day (3 things i Pray – to see thee more clearly; to LOVE thee more Dearly; to follow thee more nearly – day by day by day.) – Jesus Christ, Superstar, i believe? 😉

    Now do you see what i meant? and when i said we don’t NEED the man, Jesus – i meant as long as we HAVE the Spirit of Him within us First and do what He did – work on eliminating the above from our own minds – that IS something we do actually have ‘Power’ over ya know – our own minds – trouble is it requires a tremendous discipline from us and most of us never ever put the work required in for various reasons.

    <B



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